Monday, November 19, 2012

Excerpt from The 13th by Shadow Stephens

 
Jade paused to look at her home. The house had been remodeled several times over the centuries.  Now it had a Victorian look to it. White, wood siding covered the exterior, and it was badly in need of paint. A porch wrapped around the entire first floor, with several French doors prominently located for easy access. Inside, at the back, stood a three-story staircase that circled around a steeple like structure.  There were two other staircases in the house, but they only led to the second floor, although technically, there were four floors to this house. The kitchen was filled with old cabinets and a cast iron stove, with a large hood. Jade’s father had converted the stove to gas some time ago. In the sitting room was a massive fireplace that a grown man could stand in.  Attached to the kitchen was a glassed in atrium, where herbs and plants were grown year round.
Jade walked up the porch steps and into the living room and flipped on the light switch. The single switch turned on a series of faux candles positioned around the room bathing it in a soft yellow glow. On the far wall was a bookcase and she walked to it. She stopped at the spinning wheel that sat in front of shelves and touched it softly with her hand, slowly turning the wheel. Her grandmother would sit here for hours spinning wool.
Jade pulled the clip from her hair and allowed it to cascade down her back. She pulled a cellphone from her pocket and called her grandmother.
“I’m gonna come over and visit you tomorrow. Yes, I’ll bring lunch.”
Jade chuckled as she hung up. Her grandma moved out of the large house when Jade’s grandfather died, leaving it to her parents. Katherine now lived in a small house in the center of town.
Walking up the main staircase, Jade headed for the shower. She let her clothes fall to the floor before grabbing some towels. The hot water filled the bathroom with steam. She lathered her hair with shampoo of her own making and scratched her scalp with her fingers. Without warning, a light bulb above the sink exploded with a pop and she jumped. Wiping condensation from the glass shower doors she peered out, but could only see fog. Shrugging it off she rinsed her hair. She stuck her face under the water to remove any suds. As the water cascaded down her face and neck the other lights exploded. One by one the light bulbs shattered leaving her with only a glow from the bedroom lamp. Quickly, turning off the water she grabbed her towel.
She walked carefully, trying to avoid stepping on broken glass with her bare feet. Bending down she picked up a piece. The light bulbs were all black on the inside. Jade straightened up and for a split second she saw movement in the fog-covered mirror, causing her to shriek. 
“Hello,” she called out.
She felt a breath against her ear and whirled around, but could see nothing there. In two strides she was out of the bathroom.  She put on some pajamas and shoes and went downstairs to grab the broom and dustpan.
Holding her hands up the broom moved on it’s own accord and the dustpan trailed after it until all the glass pieces were cleaned up. Jade replaced the light bulbs and the bathroom again glowed with warmth.
Being already on edge, the ringing of her cell made her jump.  She grabbed it and said “Hello?” in a shaky voice.
“Hey Elf, what’s going on?” Asher asked with a tinge of panic in his voice.
“I just got spooked, I’m fine.”
“You don’t sound fine.”
“I’m sure it’s just my imagination.”
“Jade, you can’t fool me, what is going on?”
“I was in the shower when all the lights in my bathroom exploded. I thought I heard and saw something, but nothing was there. There’s no reason for a spirit to be in my house.”
“You need to be careful. Do you need me to come over?”
“No, don’t be silly. Really, Asher, I’m fine. Why did you call?”
“I felt you were distressed.”
“We should never have swapped blood as kids—now you have to deal with my stress too.” Jade smiled at the thought.
“I still have the scar to prove it,” Asher said and Jade held up her palm to examine her own. They had taken her father’s pocketknife and slit down the center of their hands, then held their hands together, infusing each other’s essences.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Ash.”


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