"Is this your first glass of wine, my dear?"

Carlo's voice had only a hint of his original Italian accent, but Clara still thought it made him seem exotic. She studied her hands, holding the glass of Malbec tight at the rim. Now that it was clear Nicholas was out of danger, her thoughts zigzagged their way between everything she'd seen and learned starting with her arrival in Breach Point. She only let her mind touch at the edges of the knowledge she'd acquired tonight, sensing that its repercussions might take a lifetime to deal with.

Clara looked up at Carlo, finally answering. "How can you tell?"

Carlo smiled. "If you hold the glass at the stem," he said as he demonstrated, "the warmth from your hand won't travel to the liquid above. You don't want to drink warm wine, young lady!"

He gave a little laugh as he walked off down the weathered steps of the cabin's deck and over to the area where the others sat. Clara could see why the group was so fond of the man who was once in charge of them at the Castle. He had that perfect grandfatherly air to him.

She took another sip of wine, then stood up to get a better view of the group. Genevieve emerged from inside the cabin carrying a plate of food. Her first stop was Nicholas, who sat next to Greg. Nicholas grabbed two sandwiches, taking a generous bite from each. He seemed back to his normal self.

The rest of the Breach Point Castle cast members - Corine, Darlene, and Howie – told old stories as they drank and listened to an old battery-powered radio playing eighties songs from a cassette. It hadn't taken long for the second boat to arrive once Carlo had called the others. Despite what had happened with Nicholas not even an hour ago, there was an easiness between them all now.

And off to the side, at the edge of the cabin grounds in a clearing, Kevin sat with Eric in front of a fire pit. Though their backs were to Clara, it looked to her like they were in the midst of a casual conversation. The smoke that rose above them kept the swarm of fireflies at bay.

Clara started walking across the rickety deck and instantly felt the effect of the alcohol. She grabbed the railing to steady herself as she went down the stairs.

"There she is!" Howie smiled at Clara, clearly noticing her uneasy wobble.

"You know," Genevieve said, "when we were your age, we held our liquor way better than you, Clara."

Corine shook her head at Genevieve. "That's nothing to be proud of."

Darlene gave a gentle pat to Genevieve's head. "Hey," she said, "don't ever be ashamed of our wayward youth."

The group laughed. Greg stood up as Clara approached, vacating the seat next to Nicholas.

"Here you go," he said.

"Thank you," Clara said. She sat and looked Nicholas over, inspecting him for anything unusual.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

He finished swallowing the last of his sandwiches and answered. "Believe it or not, I'm totally fine."

"Really?" she asked.

Nicholas nodded and took a chug of water. "Yeah, really," he said, looking over at Greg. "Though from what I hear, I shouldn't be feeling anything at all."

"Nah," Greg said. "It might be tough to swallow now, but from a physical point of view, your body wasn't really affected. You weren't actually healed, even though it seems that way. Eric didn't fix the damage to you – he undid it. It's like your body took a little trip through time, back to before it got hurt. That's the best explanation we've been able to come up with."

Breach Point (Haunted)Read this story for FREE!