Helloooooo... Jamie and Mia wish you a Happy Friday!

So... without further adieu, we present to you the first half of a silly little two-shot we cooked up the last few days. While debating all the angsty routes we could pursue throughout our partnership, we made a few jokes that sounded a little too fun to ignore, and this little story was born. We hope you enjoy it, and... Umm. We liked to be praised. Copiously. And not criticized. At all. So. Do that, or else. ;) (kidding, we're kidding...)

Plus, poor Jamie is all alone in the car on her way to another state, and Mia needs something to read to her while she's driving. So we need reviews so she doesn't fall asleep at the wheel, you know??

Also, this is only part one. Smuttiness shall ensue in part two, so if you don't find this first half as amusing as we do, you'll at least have something to look forward to...

With that in mind, we now present to you the first effort of 5 Steamboats Shipping Co:

Scared Stiff

A two-shot

Seeley Booth's heels thumped impatiently against the side of the crate he sat on as his fingers methodically twisted the flashlight on an off. When he clicked it on for the umpteenth time, he lifted it, letting it shine across the spacious basement. The air was damp, and he zipped his jacket up quickly against the chill. The room was nearly silent, and he heard only the sound of the wind and branches scraping lightly against the windows and the creak of the old house.

The walkie-talkie suddenly crackled to life next to him, making him jump.


He snatched up the radio, pressing the button. "Yeah, Bones?"

"You scared yet?"

He heard the amusement in her voice and scowled. "Well, you're the one who can't sit by herself in the attic without talking to me every two minutes, apparently. You scared yet?"

Her laughter rang out in the large room through his radio, and he sighed, irritated. Leave it to her to attempt to emasculate him in under ten minutes.

"I'm a former ranger, Bones. I'm an FBI agent, for god's sake. I'm not scared of a damn basement."

"Even all alone down there in the dark?" she teased. "I know you aren't exactly fond of spiders."

He swung his feet out and jumped from the box, shining his flashlight where he'd been sitting. "That's not true. Spiders don't bug me at all." He frowned when he thought he saw something scuttle across the floor. "Besides," he muttered snidely. "It's not like attics are known for being spider-free."

There was no response for a moment, and he grinned. He could almost see her shining her own flashlight in his mind and chuckled. "See any yet?"

"I wasn't looking," she muttered. She was silent for another minute, and when she spoke again, her voice had changed and he knew he was in trouble simply from the tone she used.

"You know what is up here..?" she asked sweetly.

He sighed. "No, Bones, I do not. Because I'm in the basement -- not the attic."

She sounded positively gleeful when she finally spoke. "A clown suit."

He shuddered immediately, his skin crawling. "Very funny."

"I'm not kidding," she said in a sing-song voice. He heard a large thunk from her end and he jumped again.

"Bones! You okay?" he said tensely, clutching the radio.

"It was just the lid of a trunk, Booth."

She chuckled through the static, and he shivered slightly in the chilly basement. "You know, there's a wig up here, a mask, one of those big plastic flowers that squirt water…"

"You're not going to scare me by talking about a clown costume," he snapped.

"You were scared when we were after that guy at Halloween."

He lifted his flashlight again, sweeping the room. "Because that costume happened to contain a serial-killer, Bones. Not someone who made balloon animals." He paused. "And I was not scared."

She suddenly let out squeak and his heart leapt in his throat. "Bones!"

"It's nothing," she said quietly. "Just a mouse."

He relaxed quickly and smiled, feeling somewhat smug over her reaction. "This was your idea, your dare," he teased. "You're the one who wanted to see who could last in this house longer." And it better be me.

He practically heard her scowl. "Because you were jumping like a five year old girl when we came to see the body, that's why." She snickered. "Especially when you heard the neighbors say this place was haunted."

He chewed on his lip, and again brought up the flashlight, shining it towards the stairs. "I can last down here for days, baby," he promised, his voice low. "Just watch."

"Mmmm…" she murmured. "We'll see about that. You're the one who believes in ghosts, right?"

"I never said that," he said quickly. "You just immediately announced that you did not – not that it was a big shocker or anything."

"Ghosts are a physical improbability."

The beam of his flashlight suddenly settled on an intricate and broad web with an enormous spider in the center, and he swallowed, checking his watch. Eight hours until sunrise.

"I guess we'll find out."


Easy, easy, she told herself. This was going to be so easy. Because of the following:

A. Insects didn't bother her. She worked with dead things. Dead things frequently attracted insects of some sort. So much so that she had to work with a man who was so enamored by insects that he routinely referred to them as "exotic beauties."

B. Rodents didn't bother her. They were just tiny little mammals…not that much different than cats or dogs, she reasoned.

C. The dark was just the dark. There was nothing in this room that wasn't here a few hours ago, when sunlight streamed through the small window.

D. Corpses didn't bother her. The whole "working with dead things" fact again. So the graveyard that sat just a few yards away from this house, and the fact that another body had actually been found inside this house, meant absolutely nothing about the relative comfort or discomfort she felt being in this place.

But she had to admit…all those things put together did give this place a certain…unsettling atmosphere. And she was an imaginative person; had to be, to be successful at writing, so when she first saw that clown suit draped haphazardly across an old coat rack it had been all too easy to picture a hulking creature of the night in the corner, waiting and watching her with predatory eyes for just the right moment to pounce on her…


"You suppose there are snakes in an old house like this?"

The sound from the walkie-talkie jolted her. Shaking her head, she lifted the receiver to her mouth. "If there were, they'd be more likely to gravitate towards the area with water. Like the basement."

"You know what I don't understand, Bones? You were so scared of all those snakes on Halloween. Needed me to carry you around like a little girl. But when we were in New Orleans and came across that giant voodoo snake, you acted like you wanted to take it home with you."

Her flashlight scanning the floor, she murmured back, "The big ones don't move as fast on land. I could probably escape it. The little ones…just have this look in their eyes. Like they'd like nothing more than to slither up my pant leg and bite me." She gave an involuntary shudder.

"In the ass?" he teased, and she knew he was downstairs with a huge grin plastered on his face.

"Shut up, Booth." She heard the edge in her own voice, and hated it.

"Are you scared, Bones?"


"You sure? Let me tell you a little about the fear response to be sure. Your muscles tighten and oxygen starts flowing to the parts of the body you'd need for a physical response. One may start to sweat, as the blood flowing away from the visceral areas. Your pupils dilate, your skin tingles, your heart rate increases, you start breathing faster…"

"There are other causes for that response," Brennan blurted out. "If I were experiencing that, it wouldn't mean that I'm afraid." She stood and began to pace, the floor creaking with every step, trying to shut off her partner's talk of tingles and heavy breathing.

There was a pause on his end. "What else would it mean?" he asked quietly, and something flipped in her stomach at his tone of voice and she shrugged it off.

"One might have a similar response if she were excited. Say, about winning a bet."

"You are just so sure of yourself," he snapped.

A gust of wind outside whistled through a crack in the window. She dropped to the floor again, drawing up her knees to her chest. Seven more hours.

"I don't buy that you are up there all wound up about the prospect of winning five dollars."

"And a week of driving," she reminded him.

"Even so."

"Surprise. Anxiety. Sexual arousal. All physiologically similar."

"There's nothing that's a bigger turn-on than an attic full of snakes and spiders and ghosts."

Her heart leapt, and she quickly got up off of the floor, brushing off her bottom. "Hey Booth?"


"What would you do if I put on this clown suit? And chased you around the house?"

She grinned at his tone of horror. "Um. Well. At some point, I would suppose that I'd have to make sure you had a snake up your pant leg." Her smile fell off.

"Point taken."

The wind blew again, making the rafters moan.

It was going to be a long night.


Her voice was low and sweet the next time it crackled through the radio, but her words were anything but – he sighed heavily when she asked him how the rats were doing.

Picking up the radio, he pursed his lips for a moment, considering his response. "Why don't you come down here and find out?" he taunted softly.

She ignored his response. "Did you know that before autopsies were popular, people were sometimes mistakenly buried alive?"

He rolled his eyes. "Bones, if this is your best attempt at scaring me, you're failing miserably."

He could practically hear her smile. "It's true. They had to invent a system where the person inside the coffin could ring a bell above ground for the ground's keeper of the cemetery to hear." She paused. "Can you imagine that? Waking up underground with a piece of wood two inches from your face in the complete darkness?"

He shivered but kept his tone neutral, refusing to give her even a hint of satisfaction that she'd effected him. "Do you know what a man's deepest fear is, Bones?"

She didn't even hesitate. "Yes. At his core, a man's deepest fear is being laughed at or rejected – especially by women."

He frowned. "What? No. That's not --"

"Sure it is. Anthropologically speaking –"

"No, no, no," he muttered. "I refuse to believe that's the case. Who said that? Some wank-job from –"

"It's common knowledge," she replied coolly. "And at her core, a woman's greatest fear is that a man will kill her." She paused. "What's a wank-job?"

Flustered by her response, he started pacing back and forth across the cement floor. "Bones, my deepest fear is not rejection from a woman."

"It isn't?"

He paused, considering this. There was absolutely no way, after fighting in a war and tracking down serial killers that his greatest fear was being laughed at – by a woman, no less. No, that was absolutely absurd.

Maybe being laughed at by Bones. Maybe.

"Rejection is not the worst thing," he muttered.

There is silence on the other end for a moment, and he fidgets waiting for her to respond. Bones is anything but predictable, and he's already anticipating a curve ball of some sort.

And she doesn't disappoint.

"So you're saying that proposing to Rebecca wasn't the scariest thing you've done? Being a sniper was scarier? Fearing for your life perhaps? Or facing down Epps? I imagine you had to be quite brave to do all those things."

He shut his eyes and prayed for patience. "Bones, it's not the same thing at all."

"Why not?"

"We're discussing lack of fear, not bravery."

"It's the same thing."

For a woman so brilliant, she could often be quite dense.

"Being unafraid and being brave are not the same thing," he explained, feeling exasperated. "They're related, but not synonymous."

She seemed to consider this for a moment – at least he assumed that's what she was doing by the silence on the other end. He never could be sure. She could be doing physics in her head for all he knew.

"How do you think they're related?" she finally asked.

Her tone was interesting. He couldn't tell if she had asked because she already knew the difference and just wanted to hear what he had to say, or if she really didn't understand.

He scraped the toe of his shoe across the floor. "I think... that being brave has a lot to do with being afraid of something and doing it anyway. How can it be considered brave if it isn't something you're afraid of?"

Again, there was silence on the other end, and he shifted impatiently and shivered again in the chill. He should have worn a warmer jacket.

"So you weren't afraid Rebecca would turn you down?"

He dropped his free hand against his thigh in frustration. "Of course I was afraid, Bones. But I wouldn't say it was my deepest fear."

She chuckled. "Oh? What is your deepest fear?"


He shook his head, surprised by the thought that had immediately materialized. "I don't know," he muttered. "Something happening to Parker, probably."

She seemed to accept his answer for now, and he was about to attempt to change the subject, preferably something more titillating than his rejected marriage proposal, when something ran over his foot and he let out a shout.

"Booth?" she gasped suddenly, her voice echoing from the radio. "You alright?"

The beam of the flashlight traced the floor in time to see a rat scurry into the corner and he shuddered.


Let her sweat a minute, the thought. That's what she gets for pestering me about my "deepest fear".


He chuckled finally. "Guess we know what frightens you."

"Oh, you bastard!" she cursed. "That wasn't funny."

He laughed again. "So, Bones… you feeling tingly yet?"


The bare branches of the trees outside the window were casting strange shadows on the wall through the moonlight. If you squinted at those shadows, they resembled large, pointed claws, beckoning at her…she turned away from the wall.

"It can actually feel pretty good, you know." Having habituated to the crackle of the receiver, she didn't jump quite as high this time. Why did everything he said tonight sound like an innuendo? It unsettleld her, in a strangely pleasant kind of way. She picked it up and pressed the 'talk' button.

"What's that, Booth? Sleep? Because right about now, that would feel very good." Even though she had been sitting up every five minutes from her resting spot on the blanket, disturbed by the old house's noises.

"Having trouble falling asleep, Bones?" he asked softly. "I could always come up there and tuck you in. Although I'm pretty sure that would be a violation of the terms of the bet...we were supposed to do this alone."

She fought back a shiver, and wondered what he would say if she took him up on his offer. "I'm absolutely fine. Soon I'll be sleeping like a baby." She paused. "Maybe you're the one scared to sleep alone who needs to be tucked in," she shot back. Ha. Take that, Seeley 'Smart Ass' Booth.

"Is that an invitation?"

Yes. Please, her internal voice quipped. She shook it aside. This place was starting to get to her, mess with her head.

"I don't know... are you scared?"

He ignored her. "Some people purposely seek out frightening situations for the rush. Think of how packed theme parks get…all those people lined up to scream their heads off on roller coasters. And all the bungee jumping fans."

"Sensation-seeking," she murmured. "For some, the Yerkes-Dodson curve is skewed to the right." Rolling to her stomach, she flipped her flashlight back on.

"Yeah, Bones. Sometimes I like to make up words, too."

"No," she insisted. "The relationship of stress to mood and performance. Most of us have a bell curve. But some people actually function better with greater stress."

"Sickos," he muttered.

"Typically, those involved in law enforcement and the military are very high sensation-seekers," she replied sweetly.

"Thank you. Thank you for calling me a sicko."

She was distracted by the spot on the ceiling above her that the flashlight illuminated. A daddy-long-legger was lazily making its way across. She wrinkled her nose, and thought about moving somewhere else. Like, a real hotel, perhaps.

"Bones? You there?"


"You're breaking up."

"Oh?" She tapped the receiver experimentally. "That better?"

"Bones, I can't hear you…something's weird here." She could hear him fiddling with his receiver.

"Everything okay?" she asked, suddenly concerned.

"I think…" He cut out. "Do you hear something? What was that?"

"Booth? You better not be messing with me."

There was only static in answer.

"Booth! I swear…"

Nothing. Either the battery had died on his receiver. Or something awful had happened to him.

This is not what she signed up for. They were supposed to keep tabs on one another with their walkie-talkies. As long as she could talk to him, she knew she'd be alright. Now...

She struggled into a sitting position. And that's when she heard it.

CRASH. From some unidentifiable part of the house. It sounded as if a large object had been pushed to the floor. Or, as if a risen-from-the-dead corpse was stumbling about the house, searching by smell for the blood of the living, perhaps making its way down the basement stairs to trap her partner there…

The latter option shot through her instantaneously, at a visceral level before her mind could tell her how ridiculous the thought was, and she was surprised by the loudness of the scream that left her lips as she reeled to her feet. Her shaking hands dropped the flashlight, and it clattered while rolling across the rickety wooden boards of the floor.


Booth. Screaming. For her help. Somewhere inside the house.

Her body on autopilot now, she swiped the flashlight from the floor. Unable to distinguish between her fight or flight response, she chose both. Running full-force towards the attic's trapdoor, she prepared to face whatever demons were haunting her partner.


Breeze whistled through the crack in one of the basement windows, the sound low and eerie. Booth lifted his head from where it rested against the wall. He found himself wondering what Bones considered a "rush." He pictured her upstairs, goosebumps covering her bare skin. He wondered, if she were to be mildly anxious or nervous, if her breath would become more rapid, if her chest would heave slightly. She'd told him those kind of responses could be similar to arousal, and the thought of her reacting in that way, based on what he said to her through the radio, made his own body feel slightly heavy, to tingle in response.

Did he have that effect on her? Sometimes he could swear he did. Other times, he found himself dismissed by her cool gaze.

He heard an impatient sigh through the radio. "Having trouble falling asleep, Bones?" he murmured. He followed up with some comment about whether or not she needed him to tuck her in. The thought having left his lips, he squeezed his eyes shut in frustration at himself. Stupid. He'd meant for it to tease, and ended up only teasing himself with the possibility.

There was a pause on the other end, and he held his breath, wondering if she would actually take the dare.

"I'm absolutely fine. Soon, I'll be sleeping like a baby." There was a long pause before she threw the offer of being tucked in back to him. Of course she would.

His stomach flip-flopped. "Is that an invitation?"

"I don't know... are you scared?"

"Some people purposely seek out frightening situations for the rush," he told her quietly, trying to cover up his disappointment, continuing to tease her. He talked to her about roller coasters and bungee jumpers and all the crazy things that people did for a little thrill.

"Sensation-seeking," she murmured. "For some, the Yerkes-Dodson curve is skewed to the right."

The what? He shook his head. "Yeah, Bones. Sometimes I like to make up words, too."

"No." She hadn't sounded impatient, but he figured she'd launch into an explanation nonetheless. And she did; told him about how some people like to put themselves in danger just for the fun of it.

"Sickos," he muttered.

As usual, she found a way to irritate him further, her voice sugar-coated, even through the static. "Typically, those involved in law enforcement and the military are very high sensation-seekers."

He grunted. "Thank you. Thank you for calling me a sicko." He squinted in the darkness. Had something moved? This was ridiculous. He could be asleep in a hotel nearby if she hadn't tried to insult his masculinity and imply he was a wimp. Just because he didn't get excited by the sight of decomposed corpses didn't mean he was a wimp.

She hadn't responded to his sicko comment yet, and he frowned. "Bones? You there?"

He couldn't make out her response, and his shoulders tensed. "You're breaking up."

Only static crackled through the line, and he stood up nervously.

"Bones, I can't hear you…something's weird here." He flipped on the flashlight, pointing it at the radio, and the small red light on the top of the hand piece flickered.

And then the floorboards above his head creaked, and his heart slammed in his chest.

"I think something's upstairs." He took a step towards the stairs hesitantly. "Do you hear something? What was that?"

He still couldn't hear her, and then the static cut off abruptly and the red light winked out and he was standing only in darkness and silence.

An enormous crash reverberated from above and he nearly jumped ten feet. Had something fallen? Had something happened to her? Maybe she'd just knocked something over, or crashed into a piece of furniture...

Or maybe they weren't as alone as they thought.

That's when he heard the scream. Oh, god. Bones. She was three floors above him, trapped in a small attic. If anything happened to her because his stupid batteries died, or because he'd allowed them to hang out in some freaky old house with possible creeps and murderers who dared to come near his partner, he'd never forgive himself. Never.


He raced towards the wooden stairs, thundering up them two at a time, his hand collecting splinters from the old railing as he hoisted himself up at a frantic pace. As he burst through the door, his flashlight crashed to the floor and he stopped in the dark kitchen, his breath coming in sharp bursts. "Bones!"

He heard footsteps above him, but had no way of knowing whether it was her or an intruder. He turned his head in both directions and then glanced at the ceiling, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. He shivered, closing his eyes, and took a deep breath, trying to slow the frantic beat of his heart.

Focus, you fool. Focus.

And then he heard her, heard her calling for him. He turned towards the right, racing down the hall.


She was calling his name again and again, unconsciously, and she could hear him too, a perverse form of the Marco Polo game she used to play with her brother, except there was nothing fun about imagining her partner hurt or injured somewhere in this godawful place. She hadn't really noticed before just how large this house was...now it seemed there were hundreds of rooms, all of them shadowy and dark and none of them containing the person she so badly needed to find. And then he stopped screaming, and that was somehow worse.

What a stupid idea this had been. Out in the middle of nowhere in this strange place, where they had found a dead body. Granted, she had all but confirmed that said body was in the state it was in due to natural causes, and not a bloody murder, but still, this place was a psycho killer's dream lab, not to mention in such a state of disrepair that she should have accurately predicted that something bad would happen. And now she was stumbling around in the dark while God-knows-what was had happened to her partner...stupid. She was never going to forgive herself for this one.

How many bedrooms did any one house need? She must have found herself in at least four by now. Her desperation had her body reacting...pounding heart, sweaty palms, panting breath, skin tingling...yes. This wasn't anything else but fear.

She flew, flashlight pointing in no one particular direction, looking everywhere and nowhere. And when she ran into the living room, almost crying, her overtaxed heart nearly exploded when she collided head-on into another large, moving object. She screamed again, and the object screamed back as they both reeled away. Two beams flailed for a moment before they fell on each other.

Jesus. Booth. Alive and seemingly well. Gasping in relief, she fell towards him. They gripped each other's upper arms as they blurted out questions and comments at each other's faces.

"Where were you?"

"What happened??"

"Did you hear that??"

"Where did you go??"

"I thought that..."

"And there was that crash..."

"I was so afraid..." Those particular words rushed out at the same from both of their mouths. That made them stop and stare at one another again with their wide, panicked eyes.

Then, again, much closer this time...a crash. Not as loud. But in the room. They both squeaked and whirled back-to-back, trying to find the unwanted soul in the room.

"Bones," she heard him whisper shakily, and she looked in the direction of his flashlight beam. A lamp, long since without electricity, broken on the wooden floor, shade rolled aside. And, next to it, a picture frame. Slowly, he raised the beam upwards, up the legs of the table, to the top, until they were staring straight into the eyes of...

A cat. A gray-and-white, yellow-eyed cat who eyed them nonchalantly as it licked its paw, looking at them as if to say "What the hell is wrong with you people?" It must have knocked those objects to the floor, and that was the crash they heard. They stared back for a moment, before their eyes returned to each other's. Brennan wasn't sure whether she wanted to laugh or cry.

Booth spoke first. "This place is horrible."

"Yes," she agreed, uncomfortably. There was now something awkward about the fact that there wasn't a murderer or a ghost chasing them. She shined her light onto the floor.

At that moment, there was a loud rumbling sound, and the room filled with a brief, intense flash of light. Right before the sky apparently opened up. The sound of fat raindrops pounding onto the window panes was everywhere. It was officially, a dark, stormy night. She shuddered hard, and he put a protective arm around her.

"You think...maybe...we should get out of here?" he asked, uncertainly.

"But the storm," she replied helplessly. "We'll get wet..."

Suddenly, she felt a light brush to her right ankle. Remembering their company this time, she didn't jump, but just looked down to see their new friend weaving in and out between her feet. Cute.

Then she saw the dead mouse it had deposited in front of her. The cat looked up at her proudly.


Absolute panic had grabbed him. Her screams had terrified him enough, but when they suddenly stopped, and he could only hear the distant and rapid movement of feet, his heart nearly busted free from his chest. Oh, god.

Trying to keep quiet so that he remained the hunter and not the hunted, he tried to recall the steps he'd been taught while being trained as a ranger to quiet his breathing. Keeping his feet silent was almost an impossibility -- every time he stepped an old floorboard creaked under his weight. The footsteps were easier to pick up, and they sounded light and quick. A woman? It could be Bones; she could still be alright.

Or she could be running from someone.

Screw the ranger training. He raced around the corner, pushing open the first doorway he found. "Bones?" he whispered raggedly.


He repeated the process three more times, until he was so anxiety-ridden and fearful he was practically weeping. How many damn rooms were in this stupid house?? And why hadn't he noticed how big it was before? All the symptoms they'd ticked off earlier were present -- his palms were sweating, his heartbeat accelerated. He just wanted to find her -- now.

He tore down the hallway and around the corner into the living room and suddenly ran full-tilt-boogie into another body. A terrified shriek erupted from the intruder, and he let out a terrified shout, leaping back.

Oh my god. Bones. She dropped into his arms and he wanted to throttle her and kiss her at the same time, he was so relieved. They shot questions back at one another for several moments, fighting to calm down, and his fingers dug into her upper arms.

He sucked in a breath, still trying to convince himself she was alright, words falling from his mouth without thought. "I was so afraid."

She blurted out the exact same words at the same moment and his eyes widened. He just blinked at her in the near-darkness, his heartbeat still a wild staccato, realizing it had as much to do with his residual fear for her and realizing she'd been terrified... for him.

Before he could speak again something fell to the floor across the room, glass shattering, and he whirled around and felt her back pressed against his own as he swept the wall with the beam of his flashlight

A busted lamp and shattered picture frame were surrounded by winking pieces of glass. But there was no sign of anyone, and he felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. "Bones..."

She was suddenly next to him, her breathing ragged as he moved the beam up from the floor and saw...

A cat. A damn cat was sitting there nonchalantly licking his paws. Not a ghost. Not a killer after his partner.

A. cat.

He swallowed, shaking his head. "This place is horrible."

She agreed with him, and he shifted uncomfortably, unsure what to say next. Couldn't exactly say what he was thinking, which was somewhere along the lines of: I thought you were in trouble and... maybe that's my deepest fear come to life.

As if things couldn't get any worse, the sky suddenly erupted and rain pounded the roof, pinging against the windows, and an explosion of thunder made them both jump as the room lit up with the glow of lightning. She shook next to him, either from fear or cold, and he wrapped his arm tightly around her, relieved to feel the heat from her body, comforted that she was finally next to him.

He hesitated for a moment before asking if maybe she thought they should leave, unsure if she was as horrified as he was.

She seemed concerned by the fact that they would most likely be drenched, and he weighed their options for a moment while she glanced between her feet and he followed her gaze.

The cat had proudly deposited a dead, bloody mouse next to her shoe, and he felt her revulsion coming off of her in waves as the cat began to purr.


He felt his own stomach churning. His armpits were damp with sweat and he his throat was dry. This was, without a doubt, the worst idea they'd ever had. And if she still wanted to stay, he was going to have to either reason with her or pretend he didn't mind sitting all night in a creepy-ass old house with a homicidal cat during a massive thunder storm for a measly five bucks and the right to drive his own vehicle.

But she made it easy for him, and he found himself thanking God when she finally spoke.

"Get me the hell out of here right this second."