This novel gave me far more trouble than anything I've written since "The Nightmare". You can go here
to read the back cover and dedication for the novel. The link above is for the paperback version. There is a kindle version as well, but they haven't linked up yet on amazon. That usually takes about a week.
In celebration of publication, have a sample from the story. *grins*
Josh sighed. “I found something really weird today and want to review it with you guys before I keep researching,” he said. “I think I might have turned up what the current owners are hiding, somehow, and you guys need to hear this. It’s really, really weird that no one has picked up on this, and I’m thinking there might be some serious money involved here. I don’t like it one bit.”
“That is strange, I’ll give you that. We just pulled in, hang tight,” Jake said. “It’s cold and windy here, so you’ll hear that before we’re inside.”
“I’ve got that too. I can’t wait for these polar vortexes to stop,” Josh sighed. “The south is supposed to be warm in the winter, not snowy with ice everywhere.”
“Tell me about it. I’m going to pass the phone off so I can carry my bag in.”
There was muffled talking over the speaker before Dick came on. “You’re seeing weird shit?” he asked.
“That’s one way to phrase it,” Josh said, pausing at the sound of a large gust of wind. “I spent the day at the historical society reading up on the site and found some things that I want to research tomorrow, but wanted your opinion on first because, I’ll be honest, it’s really freaking me out.”
“You don’t scare easily,” Dick said. “There, we’re inside. What’s going on?”
“Would you believe sitings of the ghost of a house out on the land?” Josh asked in reply. “One that comes and goes mysteriously, at least as far as I can tell so far, and no one in the paranormal community has seemed to pick up on at all.”
“We’ve been doing this long enough, I’ll believe anything with enough historical backing,” Dick said. “What do you mean ghost house? It’s the plantation site, Matt.”
Matt’s voice came over the phone. “Ghost house. Seriously?”
“Maybe you should put me on speaker when you get to your room, Dick,” Josh suggested. “That way everyone can hear what I have to say and you won’t be repeating things.”
“Yeah, sounds good. Matt’s opening the door now,” Dick said. “How’s the demon research going for you?”
“I hit up a few pages last night and just marked them for tonight. I wanted to focus on location first, but finding what I did today, I think I need to spend more time reading about the whole incubus/succubus thing because this is just weird.”
“One second. Okay, you’re on speaker and the phone is on the table,” Dick said. “What’s going on, Josh?”
“There’s been six reports in the last sixty years or so of a house spotted out at the plantation site,” Josh said. He had his notebook open next to him for quick reference. “All from what seem to be credible witnesses, or at least not drunk or high at the time they spotted the house. The site is remote and back up in the trees, and every report seems to start off with the siting of lights through the trees. Everyone knows there’s nothing back there, that it’s just empty land, so they’ve reported the lights thinking that it’s trespassers and either waited for the authorities or gone on their way.”
“Who do the official reports come from?” Matt asked.
“Four are from the police officers that responded to the reports of trespassers,” Josh said. “They all describe what comes down to the same house sitting directly where the original mansion sat prior to the fire that wiped out the house and slave quarters. I dug up some pictures of paintings, and one actual photograph from that time, and the descriptions match the house that was there closely enough that I think it’s the same structure. I also found some pictures of the three houses built since the Civil War, the last in the 1940s, and found out that a fire destroyed each of them as well. No one knows how or why the fires started, the fire department couldn’t find anything in the remains of the houses, and they were all written off as accidental. The house in the 1940s was the last time anyone tried to build anything there. This site has a lot of weird fires going on, guys.”
“What about the other two reports on the ghost house?” Dick asked.
“Those are people that weren’t willing to wait for the police and hiked back to the site themselves,” Josh said. “One of them claims to have taken pictures of the house before the police arrived and made them leave the property. I’m trying to track her down, see if she’ll talk with me, maybe show me the pictures of the place, but is it possible for a house to be a ghost, guys?”
There was silence for a minute, and Josh could almost picture his friends looking at each other and doing the silent communication thing they had going between them. “I don’t see why not,” Jake finally said. “If you think about it, buildings could be considered to be alive, in a way, and this one was burned down during a war. That’s a death, and with death, there’s always a chance of ghosts.”
“My thinking, and I could be way off-base on this, is that it’s the demon or spirit bringing the house back to trap victims,” Josh said. “I found obits for two of the people that investigated the house, both police officers, and the cause of death was unknown pending autopsy because of how young they both were. They were close onto your age, Matt. I couldn’t find any follow-up information, and the death certificates are locked away for some reason. It’s weird, like someone doesn’t want the information out to the general public.”
“Okay, yeah, twenty-three is young for unexplained deaths. Yeah, you need to research incubuses, incubi, whatever the hell the plural of the damn word is, and see what you can find,” Matt said. “The spirit of a house though, that’s pretty cool.”
“We’ve seen reports of ghost cars and trains, why not a house?” Dick asked. “I agree that they are alive in the same way cars and trains are. Anything that can pick up human emotions, absorb that energy from the people it surrounds, has a life of sorts and can turn into a spirit. I just want to know if it’s friendly or preying on humans. Josh, do me a favor and find the name of a priest in the area that would be willing to help us out if we need them, would you? Even talking about getting this close to something that’s possibly a demon makes me nervous, and I’m not going out to the site until we’re sure it’s safe.”
“Will do,” Josh said, making a note. “Anything else?”
“Track down those pictures if you can,” Jake said. “I’m curious to see what the house looks like. Also, see what the conditions were like when the house appeared each time. See if the stats match up, and if it’s something we can attempt to replicate while we’re there.”
“Got it,” Josh said. “I’ll talk with the police too, see what sort of information I can get from them. They’re usually a bit harder to get reports from, but some of this is old enough that I think I might be able to get into them. Well, as long as these mystery blocks don’t turn up again. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before when I’ve been researching, and I don’t know what to think. I won’t give up though.”
“Sounds good,” Dick said. “What did Sandy come up with regarding the woman of the place?”