by Sara J. Alley
Series Ghost Town Series
Genre Young Adult
Tags Young adult, paranormal, romance, ghosts, family, ancestors, slavery, music, dyslexia
Release October 14, 2014
Cover Designer Celairen
Something very wrong is happening in Ava Morrow’s tiny town, and she might be the only person alive who can make it right. Or die trying…
In 1862, Will Fairmont was executed during the Great Hanging, a real event that happened in Gainesville, Texas. Will’s [CS1] spirit lived on to protect his family. Now one of his living descendants is in grave danger. Since Ava has a talent for communicating with the dead, Will needs her to help. The good news is the descendant is a hot young musician. The bad news? Her mom is about to prosecute him for a hideous crime. And he might be as guilty as sin.
The air is still and heavy as I hop into Franny. It looks like we may be in for a summer storm. With this humidity, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t waste too much time doing my hair. When I arrive at the college, the parking lot is almost completely deserted. I don’t see Bo’s Jeep anywhere, but maybe someone dropped him off or something. In his text, he said to come to the building where his concert was held, and then go down the stairs to Practice Room A. It is spitting rain as I jog to the building. The main door is locked. Ugh. So I run around to a side door. It’s starting to rain heavier, and a bolt of lightning flashes in the sky. I’m glad to find this side door is open. I am now very soggy from the rain, and I shiver as I enter the air-conditioned building.
Okay, going into a deserted building at night in the middle of a storm is a little creepy, but I trust Bo. And how romantic is it that he is bringing me here when everyone has gone home for the night? That way, we can be alone. I feel a little flutter of excitement in my belly. I wonder what else he has planned for tonight.
I text Bo and tell him I’m here. Then I head downstairs. It’s not hard to find Room A, because I hear the piano playing. The music sounds a little spooky. I’m sure this isn’t my song. It sounds something like one of the songs I heard him play at his concert. I don’t know my ancient composers, but maybe something by Beethoven or Mozart? I can’t wait to hear the song he wrote for me.
Then something incredibly weird happens. I open the door to the room, and it’s empty. The piano is no longer playing. The room is eerily silent. I know I heard the music coming from this room, and I made sure that I went into Room A. Maybe Bo is going to jump out and surprise me. I step inside the room. Something seriously strange is going on. I can feel it. A cold, evil presence fills the room. It swirls around me. It caresses the back of my neck. It blows in my ear. I can smell its putrid breath in my nostrils. My heart is pounding, and I can barely breathe. I have to get out of here. Fast. Then suddenly all the lights go out; the room is pitch dark. Okay, I tell myself, trying to stay calm, maybe the lights went out because of the storm. But maybe not. There are no windows, so I can’t see a thing. I drop to the ground and start crawling. I feel the carpet burning my knees as I crawl. The sound of whimpering fills my ears. It takes me by surprise for a second. Then I realize that it is coming from me.
I tell myself to keep breathing. I need to stay focused. On trying to get out of here alive. As freaked out as I am, I realize that it is better to be crawling on the ground than to be standing upright, so that I won’t trip over something in the dark. On my hands and knees, I fumble for the door. This is not a large room, but it takes me an eternity to finally find it. I’m flooded with relief to finally feel the smooth, cool metal door knob in my hand. I grab hold of it and use it to pull myself to a standing position. But when I try to turn it, my heart sinks. The door won’t open. It’s locked. I frantically try to turn the knob back and forth, but it does no good. Blood is pounding in my ears. Is this where I’m going to die? Where the Hell is Bo? Then my phone starts buzzing. The screen is illuminated in the otherwise pitch-black room. To my great relief, I see that I’ve just received another text from Bo’s number.
But my relief is short-lived, because this message says, “Leave Krider alone, and you can stay alive. And so can he.” Okay. This was seriously not written by Bo, right? Because this would be a very weird way to break up with someone. If someone is texting me from Bo’s phone, then where is Bo? Has he been kidnapped? And if someone has his phone, does he have Bo, too? I am beyond panicked.
Then I hear it. The soft sounds of a lullaby. Strangely, it’s being sung by a man in a voice I sort of recognize. And it’s not being sung in English. Is it Russian? It is soothing. As the soft singing continues, the atmosphere in the room changes. It’s like the evil vibes I’ve just been experiencing are draining away like dirty bathwater. After feeling like I was about to die, I now suddenly feel…loved and comforted. But still freaked out, of course. And an image flashes into my head, but it’s gone before I can really grasp it. I think it was a man holding a child.