WORD COUNT: 97,000
GENRE: Adult Supernatural Thriller
Dolyn Pierce can stand in any room and listen in on conversations that took place there days, weeks, even years earlier. She can tell you who cursed, who lied and, when the police drag her to a crime scene, who committed murder. Her gift, if you want to call it that, has led her to a suicide attempt, electro-shock therapy and more than one stint in the psych ward, not to mention Juvenile Hall.
While trying to hide from her parole officer, Dolyn ducks into an out-of-the-way alley and discovers a pentagram-shaped fire surrounding a package containing eighteen seeds. She wonders if this is connected to the spate of unsolved ritualistic stabbings that have put the city’s residents on edge, but before she can report it, the seeds inexplicably call out to her.
Dolyn is soon tracked down by Eli Porter, a young man who knows more about Dolyn’s forgotten past than he’s willing to let on. He explains that the seeds were picked from a stolen shoot of the Tree Of Life, of which he is a guardian, and each represents the soul of one of the murder victims. Had Dolyn not rescued the seeds, the fiery pentagram would have merged with the souls to open a portal to the Underworld. Now, Dolyn must use her hyper-sensitive hearing as well as her unintended connection to the deceased to help Eli recover the souls, which have taken refuge in living bodies in order to pursue a new hobby: mass murder.
For Dolyn Pierce, life is about to be Hell.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
Quit looking over your shoulder, Dolyn, I tell myself. He won’t find you here.
I’m standing in line at a fast food joint in a part of the city where most people wouldn’t be caught dead. My order is memorized and as specific as I can make it. No quibbling over details, nuh uh. No gray areas that’ll require clarification or lead to unnecessary banter. My intention, as always, is to state what I want, hand over the cash and collect my morning shot of caffeine. Then it’s off to the reading destination du jour: a road construction site, where they’ll be using a jackhammer.
Be patient and listen to the noise coming through your headphones.
That’s something no one calls me unless they’re referring to the kind of ‘patient’ who has spent time in a psych ward.
Yeah, I’ll own up to it. Just don’t expect me to own up to being crazy.
I’m not. I was only trying to drown the voices.
It didn’t work. Nothing does.
The line shifts and I take a step forward. The guy standing next to me keeps placing his hand over his heart like he’s reciting the pledge of allegiance. At first, I think this is a little weird, then it dawns on me that there’s probably a breast pocket in the lining of his trenchcoat. He may be compulsively checking to make sure whatever he’s carrying is still inside.
Jeez, I hope it’s not a knife. There’ve been enough stabbings this week.