Happy Friday, everyone!
I had plans to spend this weekend in a haunted campground with a local ghost hunting group. It would have been my first ghost hunt, but rainy days prevented that.
I was particularly excited because tonight, my main character, Leia Angeletti, goes on a very important ghost hunt in the world of fiction. In fact, when I started writing my book in January, I chose tonight's date for the opening chapter (technically it's tomorrow morning at 1 a.m.). It seemed so long ago, but now it's here!
For that reason, I'm going to share Leia's experiences with you this weekend.
These are the opening pages of my young adult book. Check back often to see how the scene unfolds!
June 20, 2009, 1:01 a.m.
I held the voice recorder to my mouth and said, “June 20th, approximately 1 a.m., the former Western State Penitentiary. Hello? I’m Leia. Is anyone in the room with me?”
My voice filled the basement and echoed off the cement walls.
“I bet some painful things happened down here. Wanna talk about it?”
According to my thermometer, the air around me dropped from 60 degrees to a chilly 48. The cold and its implication made me shiver inside my Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt.
“I know you’re here. Come on. Make a noise for me.”
“I guess you aren’t strong enough to make a noise.”
Metal crashing across the room proved me wrong. I smiled. Provoking spirits is a piece of cheesecake. That might have something to do with eternally being trapped between two worlds. That much solitude, and I’d be ready to communicate, too.
“Betcha can’t do that again.”
My provocation was rewarded by a series of noises at the other end of the basement. I switched on the night vision camera to see a mess of tools spread across the floor next to a workbench. A few nails were still rolling around.
The green light on my recorder dimmed, then faded completely. It was 1:08 a.m. Less than ten minutes in, and the batteries were already dead.
Using the light from my cell phone, I pulled two AAA batteries from my backpack, hoping the new ones wouldn’t fall victim to spirit manifestations. I brought backups to every investigation, but I wasn’t exactly a walking Radio Shack.
Across the room I heard footsteps. Looking through the lens of the night vision camera, I saw a dark figure turn the bend into what was once the prison laundry room at the end of the hallway.
I pumped my fist in the air celebrating victory, blew out a deep breath and followed, stepping lightly, but there was no escaping the loud pounding in my chest.
My family doesn’t care to understand the rush I get from “this stuff.” She’s only 17. She shouldn’t be chasing ghosts. She should be curling her hair and going to dances. If her mother was around, she would be a normal girl.
I’d heard it all. Of course my father and aunts didn’t know at that moment I was alone in the basement of one of the most haunted buildings in the state.
“And they don’t need to know,” I mouthed, so the camera didn’t pick up the words.
Instead, it hopefully recorded the sound of the boots pounding against the cement floor. They stopped in the laundry room. I could hear whispering as I approached. I stopped and coached myself through a few short breaths, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw around that corner.