We’re just ten days away from Halloween, so here’s another excerpt from my haunting paranormal romance, So Fell The Sparrow. It was recently awarded an Honorable Mention in Paranormal Fiction in the Readers’ Favorite Awards, and is now available in Audiobook!
Here you’ll get to know the ghost hunting team in So Fell The Sparrow, Ian Black and Alex Gallagher. They were a blast to write and I put all those hours of watching Ghost Adventures to good use when I wrote their scenes 🙂 Enjoy!
* * *
“Did you die in this room?”
…we all did.
“Were you tormented by the doctors, the nurses? Did they drive you to kill yourself? Or were you murdered by one of them?”
Silence saturated the halls of the once great Bellhurst Institution, but what the human ear could not detect, Ian Black knew his digital recorder would. Haunted souls had a tendency to crave acknowledgement, and he was more than willing to listen. Given the strange events that had already happened that night, he had a gut feeling they’d captured some dynamite evidence. He couldn’t wait to review it once the investigation was over.
Until then, he’d ask his questions of the lost souls and the damned that he knew remained in the old asylum. He could feel them, could sense their presence. It chilled his skin with goose bumps and lifted the hair on his arms. He felt like there were eyes on him, though he could see no one. Such was the magic of the supernatural.
He was, by profession, a ghost hunter. A teenage obsession with horror flicks and haunted houses turned quickly into real life adventures with some truly frightening encounters. It was in his mid-twenties that he founded Great American Paranormal with his childhood best friend, leaving behind a career as a trained chef and focusing everything he had on investigating the paranormal. Now at thirty-one, it was everything to him. And by some stroke of either genius or luck, he had managed to capture worldwide interest in his investigations and offers for TV deals were being thrown his way.
None of that mattered to him, though. At least not as much as his commitment to finding rock solid evidence of life after death. He’d go to the ends of the earth for it, breaking down doors others were too afraid to touch and opening himself up to a world beyond his own.
It wasn’t just his job; it was his life.
The temperature suddenly dropped several degrees in pockets of air around him. His Mel Meter showed fluctuations that were frankly impossible. Drastic and sudden temperature drops like that could only mean one thing. The ghosts had found him.
“Dude, I feel that. Do you feel that?”
Ian didn’t bother looking at his partner as he continued to walk down the hallway holding his recorder in one hand and the Mel Meter in the other. “Yeah, man.”
Alex Gallagher grinned toothily and shifted the professional-grade camcorder he held on his shoulder. He kept the lens focused on Ian, the green of the night vision glowing over his face from the camera’s screen. “Check out that doll on the floor to the left missing its legs and shit. Creepy.”
“There were children that were patients here too,” Ian said, repulsed by the thought. “Left here to rot by their families.”
“The world was a cruel place back then.”
Ian glanced over his shoulder with a dark grin. “Still is.”
Alex nodded, panning the camera to the doll as Ian checked the EMF readings surrounding it.
When Ian didn’t get anything out of the ordinary, he turned away and continued to ask questions aloud to whatever spirits may be present. “Why were you sent here? Did your family abandon you?”
Alex scratched his shoulder blade, feeling uncomfortable in his own skin. It was a common side effect for him whenever the air chilled and quieted to an impossible void of nothingness. He wanted to scratch his nose but fought back the urge in an effort to keep the camera steady. They were trying to get some good film to show the TV producers, and the last thing he wanted to do was drop the camera because of an itchy nose.
Thinking of being on TV got his blood pumping with excitement. He was dying to take Great American Paranormal to the next level, and he knew that they were good enough to make some serious waves in the paranormal community. Hell, they already were. Paranormal groups all over the country emulated what he and Ian showcased on their popular YouTube channel. It was only a matter of time before they had the whole country—the whole world—watching them hunt down ghosts.
Plus, they made a good team. Ian was practically his brother; his best friend since they’d been kids growing up in Seattle. Where Ian was the more intensely-serious-brooding one, Alex liked to think of himself as the wildly-intelligent-and-nerdy-but-still-good-looking sidekick with a heart of gold. How could that not make great television?
The chills that ran up his arms began to dissipate signaling the end of their encounter. He ran a free hand through his sandy blond hair, his grass-green eyes landing on Ian. “I think they’ve moved on. Where to next?”
“I want to check out the old infirmary. Nancy said that’s where she saw the shadow figure.” Ian took the next right and made his way into the asylum’s hospital wing, his eyes well adjusted to the darkness as the hour approached two a.m. He deftly avoided the debris littering the grimy linoleum floor, his ears perked for any sound.
“Remember what that old guy said?” Alex asked, dodging an ancient typewriter that lay mangled in his path. “About patients who misbehaved having their teeth ripped out in that dental chair? We need to find it and do an EVP session.”
Before Ian could reply they both heard a resounding crash of something heavy and metallic. The sound penetrated the silent darkness in echoing waves, jolting through both of them.
“Holy shit!” Alex cried out, the camera shaking as he faced the direction of the crash. “What the fuck was that?”
“I don’t know.” Ian faced the camera, his adrenaline pumping hot with the thrill of the hunt. “Let’s go find out.”
Alex let out an unsteady laugh, pushing back the shock of fear and embracing the rush. “Great American Paranormal: investigating unexplained crashes and bangs since 2007.”
Ian brushed back his dark, shoulder length hair. “Somebody’s got to do it.”
They hurried toward the hospital wing, rushing through the doors and into a high ceilinged room lined with broken beds and tattered sheets. Wide windows covered one wall, though the cloud cover outside prevented any moonlight from shining through.
In the center of the dilapidated room sat a large metal chair, the legs bent and twisted and the backrest bent over the seat. The dirt that layered the floor surrounding it was marred, as though the chair had recently scraped over it.
Alex’s breath left his lungs in a rush. “Dude, that chair wasn’t there before.”
“No, it was in the back corner, I remember,” Ian recalled, approaching the chair cautiously. “Something must have thrown it across the room.”
“No fucking way.” Alex focused the camera on the chair and the disturbed floor around it. “Let me check the static camera I set up in here.”
While Ian continued to inspect the chair, Alex raced over to the camera set up on a tripod in the corner of the room. He immediately let out a loud curse and seriously considered kicking the equipment. “The battery’s dead!”
Ian looked up from the chair. “How is that possible? It was a brand new battery.”
Alex grunted with frustration as he examined the camera with a flashlight. “Whatever it was that threw that chair must have drained the energy out of this battery and used it as fuel.”
“Maybe it was trying to get our attention.” Ian glared around the room, letting the blood rush take over. “You wanted us in here, didn’t you? Now we’re here. Show yourself! Throw this chair again. Use my energy!”
Alex abandoned the dead camera and returned to filming Ian, biting his lower lip anxiously as he looked around the darkened room. Although he didn’t hear anything, he sensed a sudden humming of electricity running along his skin. He gritted his teeth in a hard smile. “It’s here, buddy.”
“I know.” Ian held his arms out, welcoming the sensation. In his right hand he held his digital recorder. “Did you kill people here? Were you one of the sick, twisted motherfuckers that hurt innocent children?”
…can’t kill what does not live.
“Why don’t you hurt me? If you’re so tough lift that chair and smash it over my head.” Ian eyed the chair in challenge, willing it to move. “C’mon!”
In that instant, he both heard and felt this ominous, otherworldly whisper rush at him from behind. He jumped and whirled around, eyes wide as he scanned the darkness. “Did you hear that?”
“Nope. What was it?” Alex asked, still filming as he walked closer. “A voice?”
“A whisper,” Ian shook off an icy chill, suddenly feeling lightheaded. He swayed a bit, gripping his head with both hands.
“Dude, you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Ian assured him. “Just drained.”
“You did tell it to use your energy,” Alex joked, patting his friend on the back. “C’mon, let’s go find that dental chair.”
Ian nodded, glancing back at the broken metal chair as they left the room. He tried to make sense of what the voice had said to him. He could have sworn it said the word doctor…
* * *
Like ghost stories? Sign up for my newsletter and get Gypsy of Spirits for free! 🙂