Sunday, March 07, 2010

Another Random Excerpt - "Uninvited"

Like most published authors, I have a few old, unpublished manuscripts under the bed (technically, they're on my hard drive, but the point is, they were never published). One of them, called UNINVITED, is a modern day ghost story about a young woman fleeing an abusive husband, who moves into a house that turns out to be the scene of a murder/suicide, and haunted by two different ghosts, both the murderer and the victim (ooo, spooky!). And just so you know, this is based on a true story, which I've mentioned on my blog before. So here's a scene from UNINVITED, in which the heroine has called in a paranormal investigations team (4 guys and a psychic) to help her figure out what's going on:


The lights on the electromagnetic field detector flashed bright green, then red. Dave stopped, fiddling with the dials. “Baseline reading was .4mG. I’m getting spikes up to .9, and down to .3.” He spoke for the benefit of the video camera as much as ours.

“He was surprised.” The psychic, Maureen, came up behind me. Her soft statement had an otherworldly tone to it, bringing us back from the safe world of science. “He didn’t think she’d do it.”

She moved down the hallway, Dave and Steve making way while keeping their eyes on their instruments. At my bedroom door, she stopped, then turned, searching the air around her.

“Is the EVP recorder on?” Steve’s sharply hissed question betrayed his excitement.

Maureen ignored him as she addressed herself to the shadows. “Spirit, tell us why you linger.” Her voice was like honey, soothing and full of ease. She lured an answer from the air as though inviting confidences from her best friend. Closing her eyes, she swayed slightly, her rosary clutched in both hands. Even in the dimness I could see her fingers moving on the beads.

Utter silence, save for whatever Maureen might hear. I felt nothing this time... saw and heard nothing. Somehow I knew that Parker was drawn to Maureen instead of me, concentrating his ethereal efforts on someone whose earthly spirit reached out to him, a potent lure for a phantom forever trapped in a hell of his own making. A chance to communicate with the world of the living again, however briefly.

“Guilt, and remorse.” Maureen opened her eyes. “He feels very badly about something -- no, someone. He feels very badly about someone, but I don’t know who.” Surprisingly, she smiled. “He likes you, though, " she said to me. "Your aura’s just brightened.”

Sure enough, I felt a whisp of ice on my cheek. I shrank against Adam and stayed there, avoiding the sweeps of Dave’s metered amplifier.

“Another big spike here,” he said, for benefit of the camera. “.9 and fluctuating.”

“I don’t think you need to worry about this gentleman. He isn’t out to do anyone any harm.” Maureen’s grin turned decidedly naughty. “But I get a very clear impression that he likes the ladies... Jody, in particular.” Apparently unconcerned, Maureen turned and entered my bedroom.

I righted myself, determined not to be afraid of a flirtatious ghost. Since I’d seen him at the séance, I’d felt no menace from Parker. He was in death what he’d probably been in life, an ineffectual shadow of a man – reduced to peeping through the mist at the physical world he no longer had access to.

Parker wasn’t the reason I was here tonight. Holly Townsend and her overwhelming anger - her tortured, unquiet soul was why I was here.

I wanted to set her free. To prove to myself that no one person can so influence your life that you’re driven to acts that forever doom you to an even more hellish existence.

Imagine -- living out eternity in the house of the lover you killed, doomed to feel all that turmoil and jealousy over and over and over again – driven insane by the knowledge that you’ve killed a person you once loved, and lost everyone you ever loved in the bargain. Crazy as a loon, and dead to boot.

Giving Adam’s hand a squeeze, I let go of him to follow Maureen into the room. She was standing at the head of my bed, looking toward the window. As I watched, she staggered, catching herself with a hand against the wall.

“Oh, there’s terrible grief here.” Maureen shook her head, steadier now. She trailed her fingers over the wall, moving slowly toward the closet. “Sadness,” she whispered.

Next to my dresser, she stopped, and put up a hand, signaling the rest of us. “Wait there, please.”

I stood in the doorway, Adam at my shoulder. I could hear Jim’s camera equipment humming as he hoisted it higher, keeping it trained on Maureen.

She closed her eyes and stood in the quiet darkness, listening. Crossed her arms, she hugged herself as though cold. “Don’t be afraid. We won’t hurt you.” Anyone hearing Maureen would have thought she spoke to a frightened animal or a small child. “We’re here to help."

Her breath was indrawn on a hiss, and as she let it out, she spoke more urgently, this time to the humans in the room. “She doesn’t like us being here.”

No one questioned the pronoun usage, accepting the switch from ‘he’ to ‘she’ without question, for the feel in the room was very different from the earlier encounter.

And then, though I willed it not to be so, I saw the first dark coils of shadow moving in a far corner. I was frozen with fear, for the black tendrils oozed up the wall, spreading like a stain in the gloom.

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