Last week, I showed you what it’s like to live inside The Sparrow House. Today, I want to take you there in the form of an excerpt from So Fell the Sparrow. Also, below the excerpt you can check out all the fun shenanigans that will take place on release day, November 21st, right here on this blog and on Facebook! So sit back, turn out the lights, and enjoy this sneak peek of So Fell the Sparrow!
SO FELL THE SPARROW
By Katie Jennings
Coming November 21, 2013
For a more extended preview, download the prequel short story Gypsy of Spirits from Amazon
* * *
When Ian and Alex returned to the living room, Grace swallowed the urge to laugh. She stood in the kitchen with her cup of tea, eyebrows raised.
“You boys really are the Ghostbusters,” she joked, admiring their camera equipment and Alex’s strappy black backpack. “Where’s the laser beam thing to nab the slimy bastards?”
“Left the Proton Pack at home, sorry,” Alex replied with a crooked grin. “But I did bring along this puppy that you should find equally as impressive.”
Grace resisted the temptation to roll her eyes and humored him. “You mean there’s something better than a Proton Pack?”
He whipped out what looked like an oversized remote control. It had a simple screen at the top with two numerical readings on it. “This is called a Mel Meter. It detects EMF—electromagnetic field—fluctuations and ambient temperature changes. Ghosts are made up of energy, and when they pass near the meter these little lights at the top will go off, giving us a good idea when they’re around. Of course, we usually feel it first, don’t we, Ian?”
Ian shrugged, not paying attention as he messed with the settings on his camcorder. He glanced down impatiently at his watch, noting it was nearly eight o’clock. “It’s still relatively early, but we can take some base readings and do an EVP session. Let’s hit the basement first, since most of the activity seems to be down there.” He set his camcorder on the dining table, but grabbed his digital recorder.
Grace’s eyes narrowed. “EVP session?”
“Electronic voice phenomena. Spirit voices,” Alex supplied. “That’s what the digital recorder is for. We often catch disembodied voices speaking within the white noise.”
“Is that right?” Grace decided not to mention radio interference and other more logical explanations, deciding it wasn’t worth the wasted breath. “What do they usually say?”
A slow grin spread over Alex’s face. “More than you’d expect.”
His answer intrigued her, despite the cold hard science that proved “spirit voices” to be nothing but baloney.
“Alright, let’s go.” Ian nodded to Alex and started toward the basement door.
Grace immediately followed him, sipping her tea. “Don’t mind me. I’ll be sure to stay out of your way.”
Ian stopped mid-stride and faced her. “You’re staying here?”
“Well, duh. Someone rational has to stick around and make sure you don’t cheat or steal anything.” She lifted her chin, the movement both distrusting and amused. “Plus, I will admit that I’m a little curious.”
“Just keep your mouth shut and don’t move around too much,” he shot back, irritated that she was going to be hanging around. He’d hoped she would take off for a few hours, give him some room to breathe. As it was, the weight of whatever baggage she carried on her back was stifling the very air in the room.
“Lead the way, boss.” Alex motioned toward the basement, allowing Ian to brush past.
He opened the basement door carefully, holding his breath as he listened. The house around them was silent as death. In his left hand he held his digital recorder, turned on and ready to go. He led the way down the steps into the dark basement, feeling around for the light switch near the bottom. Behind him, Alex held his camcorder and closely monitored the Mel Meter, looking for EMF spikes and odd temperature changes.
Grace followed them down, her footsteps heavy on the planks of wood. She slurped her tea and fought back a laugh at Ian’s exasperated sigh.
“I thought I told you to shut the hell up?” he barked, glaring up at her.
She only shrugged. “Oops.”
Alex chuckled and continued down the stairs, reaching past Ian to flip on the light switch. The basement illuminated from the light of the single bulb, and they all stared at the nearly empty space for a long moment.
“Feel anything funky?” Grace asked with a sly smile as she watched Ian scan the room. He ignored her question and stepped onto the hard packed dirt, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the space.
It was cold and musty, as most underground cellar-type basements were. The concrete block walls kept the heat out, but also gave off an industrial scent that permeated the air. The boots he wore barely made impressions in the floor as he made his way around the room, feeling the walls and searching. For what, he wasn’t sure. But he would know it when he found it. He always did.
“I’m getting some weird readings under the stairs over here,” Alex called out. He held the Mel Meter under the stairwell and it started to shrill loudly, announcing it detected a spike in the electro-magnetic field. Green lights flickered on and off at the top of the meter. “Temperature was 68 degrees coming down the stairs. Now I’m getting 66.6 and the thing is going off like crazy.”
Grace stood on the last step and leaned against the wall, looking bored. “666. There’s your demon, boys.”
…you will pay.
“Actually, that is pretty freaking strange,” Alex murmured, brows furrowed as he stared at the device. “It’s never done that before.”
“It could be a coincidence.” Grace lifted her tea for another sip, but paused as she watched Ian tense like an animal suddenly detecting a predator. The features of his face hardened to stone and he froze, as if reaching out with all his senses. She would have laughed at him if she wasn’t so caught off guard by the swift change of mood in the basement. It went from amusing to anxious like a cloud covering the light of the sun.
Ian slowly held up his digital recorder. “Talk to us. Did you make our Mel Meter read 66.6 degrees?” He went quiet for a moment, and his eyes met Grace’s. He saw the skepticism on her face, but also spotted the intrigue. His lips curved in challenge. “Grace thinks you’re a demon. I think otherwise. I think you just wanted to get our attention.”
Alex was focused on the Mel Meter, monitoring it as Ian spoke. Suddenly, the readings on the device went back to normal. They hovered in silence for a few moments as the tension in the room eased up, the weight of whatever had been with them lifted. He glanced up at his partner with a grin. “That was weird. I think you insulted it.”
Ian let out a whoosh of breath and flipped off his recorder, running his free hand through his hair. “Maybe.”
“So…what happened, exactly?” Grace asked, clutching her mug between her hands tightly. She didn’t even realize she was doing it.
Ian looked pleased. “There was a definite presence here. I’m going to play back the recorder and see if we caught anything.”
He turned the volume up on the device and played back the last few minutes. As they listened, Grace heard her own voice come out of the recorder.
“666. There’s your demon, boys.”
She frowned at how mocking her tone was, momentarily distracted as Ian suddenly turned off the recorder, rewound it, and played it again. He did it twice more before he and Alex looked at each other in triumph.
“Did you hear that?” Ian asked, a fire in his eyes now that had nothing to do with anger.
Alex nodded excitedly. “Yeah, man. It sounded like ‘you will pay’ or something like that.”
“That’s what I heard, too.”
Grace shook her head. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“That’s because you don’t know what to listen for,” Ian began, walking forward and handing the recorder to her. “Hold it up to your ear this time and listen.”
She rolled her eyes but did as he requested, hitting play and holding it by her face. Her lips pursed as she listened to her own voice yet again. After her words faded and just before Alex’s voice piped in, she heard a low mumbling noise mixed with the static. Her forehead creased with doubt as she shut it off and handed it back to him. “I just heard grumbling and static. That could be anything. Hell, it could be your stomach for all I know.”
Ian tried to hold on to what little patience he had left. Damn skeptics. “When I can get this on the computer and amplify the sound, you’ll be able to hear it clearer. Either way, this is a great EVP and I feel it warrants more investigating.”
“Well, seeing as your little ghost friend hightailed it out of the basement, maybe you should head upstairs,” Grace suggested with a dry smile. “I’m still not convinced, but I’ll give you another chance to prove it to me.”
She started up the stairs, leaving Ian to brood. Alex patted him on the back companionably. “That old lady was right. There’s something in this house.”
“I know,” Ian agreed, staring after Grace. “The problem is convincing Dr. Cynic to give us free reign of the house to do a proper investigation.”
“She did get really touchy about those old photographs. I don’t know how much she’ll let us do.”
Ian focused on the space beneath the stairs, pondering over the 66.6 reading and EMF spikes they had gotten. There was bad energy in the basement, most particularly near that area. But why?
“She’s not going to have much of a choice,” Ian decided, turning to his best friend with a hard smile. “I’ll tie her down if I have to. Whether she likes it or not, we’re doing a full investigation.”
Alex chuckled. “You attract more flies with honey, my friend.”
“Who the hell wants to attract flies, anyway?” Ian winked before making his way upstairs.
Alex followed close behind, shaking his head. “A spider.”
* * *
And now for the fun stuff! On November 21st to celebrate the release, I’ll be hosting a raffle here on the blog with some nifty giveaway items! Here’s a look at what you can win!
Handmade So Fell The Sparrow Bookmarks! (3 available)
A signed print copy of So Fell The Sparrow!
On top of these prizes, I’ll be hosting a Facebook event where we’ll have ghost related trivia questions and games, and there will be prizes for that too! I hope you’ll join me here on November 21st for the release of So Fell The Sparrow!
Over and out!