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Ayn Hunt

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The Haunting - Sample Chapter
By Ayn Hunt
Thursday, July 01, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Sample Chapter from The Haunting, now available from as a trade paperback and ebook.

Watching the four officers and two plain-clothes homicide detectives methodically work the crime scene, their flourescent black metal lanterns and flashlights scattered throught the vast room, I leaned close to Emily. "I believe our destination is that door I was headed for when I tripped over the hand of the poor dead man," I whispered in her ear. "It should be safe to go down there, since one officer's checked the area." Emily nodded. "You're probably right, Jessica. But should we really try? What if the killer of that man's down there? That officer couldn't have searched very well. He was only down there a couple of minutes." "But he's an expert, Emily. If he'd seen anything suspicious, anything at all, he'd have looked into it. I think his being so quick's a good sign." She shrugged. "Maybe," she said, her tone dubious. "I guess you should know since you were married to a cop." "I know you don't like any of this, and neither do I. But we can't let our fears get in our way. The area has been checked, so now's the time to make our move. Besides, if we see anything suspicious ourselves, we can always yell and the cops up here will hear us." "You don't think they'll notice we're gone and get angry about it?" "As many of them are here, I seriously doubt it. We're the last thing on their minds right now. They have a murder to solve. If they do happen to notice we're gone, chances are they'll think we've just gone home. Officer Jensen knows Alice. He met her at the wedding, remember?" "Yes, well, he met me there too. But you'd never know it. He barely glanced at me outside." "That's just because of his job. He's preoccupied right now. He'll remember you later on, when things settle down here." "Think so?" With her green eyes cloouded and her white brows raised, she looked like her feelings were hurt. "I'm positive," I soothed. "No one could forget you. You're much too dear." I smiled. Now, all we have to do is ..." Suddenly every radio and walkie-talkie on every police belt in the room clicked on, interrupting me. "Code four-three-nine-three. Code four-three-nine-three. Officer down," crackeled the radio. "Office down. See the man at six-zero-seven-one-zero Fourth Stree. See the man at six-zero-seven-one-zero Fourth Street. Office down. Code four-three-nine-three." As I watched every man jump up, I grabbed Emily's waist and flung us back against the nearst wall as, oblivious of us, all of them ran out. Not one of them even glanced in our direction. For a moment, we just stood there in the darkness listening to their receding footsteps. Then the door in the front slammed closed, learing us there all alone and forgotten. "There goes our protection," whisipered Emily, her soft voice sounding loud in the abrupt silenct of the large, closed house. "What do we do now?" I was wondering the same thing, but decided not to voice my concern. Emily was worried enough. "I'm sure they'll be back," I said, not feeling as confident as I sounded as I got my flashlight out of my purse. "They'll remember to come back here. I'll bet one of them is standing guard outside right now." "Want to go check?" And prove I'm wrong?" I thought. If I found out no one else was round, I might have lost what little courage I had left. Then too, there was another reason I didn't want to go in the front. "I don't think it's a good idea to pass that staircase again. I don't think we should do that any more often then we have to. Why give away our situation unnecessarily to what's upstairs? Let's just go down to the basement, do a quick search, then get out." "Well...all right, dear. But I'm sure they already know whether there's someone out there or not. We're the ones who don't know. Besides, we're not going to be alone even down there. I told you, remember? Something's in the basement and it doesn't want us here. I told you that earlier, and I'm getting stronger energy pulses from it now, alsmost as if it sense our indecision and is trying to keep us away." I stiffened, hesitating. I wasn't sure what we should do. "It is dangerous? The thing downstairs?" Emily stilled, her eyes closing, a look of intense concentration on her sweet old face as she hung her head. Although some people might've been turned off by her mentally tuning out her surroundings and getting in touch with powers the average person wasn't even aware of, I was kind of used to it. After all, I'd known the woman for nearly twenty years. She didn't scare me, didn't do what she did to frighten people. Sure, the knowledge in her green eyes scared me at times. But she was the kindest, most generous person I'd ever known. As I waited, I aimed the beam of my flashlight at the colorful mural and glanced at the other walls which looked drab in comparison. But I wasn't thinking about the decor. I was considering our options. I didn't want to disappoint Alice by not searching. Then again, I didn't want to expose Emily to any more danger than I already had by bringing her here. We could always leave and come back later. But if we did, it'd have to be soon, considering the wrecking crew was scheduled to demolish this house any day now. If it was destroyed, our chance of finding clues to the identity of the murderer of my aunt's fiancee would be destroyed as well. She was already sick enough without having such bad news. Getting news like that now could push her over the edge. "I'm sorry. I'm just not sure about it at this point, Jessica," she admitted, opening her eyes. "It's like I'm getting mixed message from the basement. I don't know how to interpret them." "Do you think we can safely procced with caution? If we go slow, would the messages you're getting become stronger? Surely we haven't reached the danger point yet. You'd know that by now, wouldn't you, if the thing was going to attack or whatever. That message would be loud and clear, wouldn't it?" "Not necessarily. The ghost downstairs, in fact, all of them here, know I'm attuned to them, and they mightbe using this knowledge to their advantage. It's possible they're deliberately sending out a flood of energy signals to confuse me. As many of them that are here, that wouldn't be hard to do." Dear God!" I thought, my knees suddenly feeling wobbly. "So they're all working together? For what purpose? To bring out my death or something to make me think I'm dead so that one ghost you told me about can take over my body?"  

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Reviewed by Mary Quire 7/4/2004
Very interesting. I think I would love to read the entire book. Good luck to you.


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