Only a few more summer Sunday samplers left to go. Here’s one from The Haunting Season. The setup: the main character, Jess is just returning to the room she shares with Allison.
Allison was still awake, still reading her book.
“If we go to sleep now, we can still get a couple hours,” Jess said as she exchanged her shirt and shorts for a sleep shirt.
Allison looked at the clock and yawned. “Yeah, I suppose. Did you run into Mrs. Hirsch?”
“Never saw her. Found Bryan in the kitchen, though.” She didn’t mention the part about Gage.
Allison frowned. “That’s weird she didn’t run into you guys. She’s been by here a few times. I can hear the floorboards creak in the hallway. For a while, she was up and down it so much I thought she was looking for you in one of the rooms again. I almost checked.”
Jess crawled into bed and fluffed her pillow. “Nope. She never found me.” Before Allison could ask why Mrs. Hirsch hadn’t found her, Jess turned out the light and rolled over. “Sleep quickly,” she said.
“Maybe it wasn’t her, then.”
“Maybe it was one of them.”
Jess turned back over. “Them? You mean the girls?”
“No, it was only one set of footsteps and too heavy for a couple of girls.” Allison adjusted her own pillow. “Anyway, they’re gone now. See you in a couple of hours.”
Great. Even when Allison wasn’t really trying to creep her out, she was creeping her out. Jess looked at the dresser where a large bath towel covered the mirror.
Don’t think about it. Gage’s mirror was covered, too.
Jess lay on her side, listening to the sound of crickets and bullfrogs, which were in full chorus, and trying not to think about any of the other sounds that might be one of the resident ghosts. Or Riley. What if he found a way out of the mirrors like Allison said?
What if he hadn’t needed them all along?
Stop thinking about it. You’ll never get any sleep.
But exhaustion and thoughts of Gage won out and Jess drifted into perfect, dreamless sleep.
Until she felt a cold hand on her arm. She jerked, wondering if it was three o’clock already and Allison was shaking her awake. Sensing someone standing beside the bed, she bolted upright. The twins. They’d startled her so badly she couldn’t even scream. God she hated when ghosts snuck up on her. They were like cats, mostly quiet and stealthy.
“Shhh!” Gracie whispered. “We don’t have long.”
Jess tried to collect her thoughts. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. She looked at the nightstand clock. Two thirty. “What are you doing here? What’s wrong?”
“We want to show you something.” Emma stuck out her hand as though she expected Jess to take it.
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