Be careful what you let in…
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead. The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them
It was only when the crickets and frogs stopped that Jess awoke. She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to the dark. She turned back over, expecting Allison to be either still sitting up, or asleep. But her bed was empty and Allison stood in front of the dresser, hands at her sides, staring at the mirror. Alarmed, Jess sat upright.
“It’s happening again,” Allison said.
“The spirits. They’re back. I can see them.”
Jess rubbed her eyes as a spark of uncertainty and a moment’s worth of fear rustled somewhere deep inside her. “They’re there, in the mirror?”
Jess got out of bed and tentatively stood next to Allison. She looked at the mirror, then behind her. Nothing. Uncertainty gave way to disappointment. The mirror cast back only the shadowy figures of Allison and herself, their faces made pale by the moonlight streaming into the room. They were alone, as far as Jess could tell.
Damn it! Why couldn’t she see the ghosts? Were they here? Disappointment gave way to a pang of envy.
“You don’t seem as upset as you were before,” Jess said. “If they’re back, aren’t you afraid they’ll take over? Possess you?” She wasn’t making fun of Allison. Something horrible had happened to her, and she was probably more sensitive to the supernatural than Jess was.
“Yes, I’m afraid,” Allison replied calmly.
The way Allison spoke seemed at odds with her words. The hairs on Jess’s arms tingled, but not because of any ghosts she couldn’t see. Right now, the only thing creepy in the room was Allison. The girl had been possessed, after all.
Allison turned her head to look at Jess, her expression unreadable in the shadows, even this close up. “He collects souls.”
Jess peered harder into the mirror, trying not to show Allison she was indeed afraid. “He? Who are you talking about?”
“He’s looking at you. I can’t make out what he’s saying. But see?” she pointed to the mirror. “He wrote his name.”
Fear and a healthy dose of agitation rose inside Jess. Fear, because someone staring at them from inside a mirror was downright scary. Agitated, because she couldn’t see anything, and Allison’s continual freak-outs were wearing on her. After a long day getting here, she was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.
“Allison, I don’t see anything! He? Who are you talking about?”
“Riley,” Allison whispered.
“Riley? Who’s Riley?”
Allison stood just as still as she had upon Jess’s wakening. “He lives here. With the others.”
“Others?” Jess stepped closer to the mirror, leaning against the dresser to get a better look. Her breath fogged it enough to reveal a single name, written backward: Riley.
Michelle has always loved storytelling. When she was a child, her favorite stories were of monsters and things that lurked in the dark. Telling stories often frightened her classmates and got her into a lot of trouble with her teachers. They had no sense of humor.
As an adult, Michelle traded her love of writing for the corporate life where she was an IT professional. Today, she’s doing what she loves best – writing and storytelling.
Michelle grew up in Chicago, but currently lives in NE Georgia with her husband and their two dogs. She loves scary books, funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, dogs, and changes of season.
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