The storm blew, a swirl of white. I struggled with the door to my stone and shingle home.
An unnatural, colder draft flowed through the open door and past my ankles, “my” dead cat escaping for the night.
Turning to the yard, I let my focus drift, stretched my sight into middle world. But the cat’s spirit remained invisible.
I rubbed my temple. Would I see ghosts again? I was no detective. I needed that world’s aid now.
Toeing off my shoes, I climbed to the attic. This had once been my aunt’s private, magical space. Since I’d inherited the home, I’d made it my own, adding books on animal symbolism and energy healing to her antique, glass-fronted bookcase.
Dreamcatchers dangled from the peaked ceiling. Crystals, feathers, and bones balanced in the round windows and on an old wooden chest. Soft white and ivory carpets and pillows lay in the center of the wood floor.
Connecting my phone to the speakers, I began a drumming track. I laid down on the carpets and shut my eyes.
Even bad shamanic journeying had to be better than no journeying at all. The animal spirits in Lower World might have answers, and that realm had always been easiest for me to reach.
“Had” was the operative word.
Focusing on the drumbeat, I visualized the oak in my yard. I imagined its branches shifting in the starlight, dried leaves drifting to the ground. I shrank, its gnarled roots growing bigger, until every wrinkle in the bark was a vast crevasse and the snow crystals the size of my Volvo. Antlike, I made my way to the spot where a root plunged into the ground. A cavelike gap yawned before me. I stepped inside.
Something flapped above me. Startled, I looked up. This was a journey, and I had nothing to fear. But my heart sped faster than the drumbeat.
I edged deeper inside, looking for the usual glow of crystals to light my way.
Ahead, something bleached and bonelike shifted.
A terrible flapping, like thousands of birds’ wings. A blaze of white. And then I was being buried, gasping, in pages. Their weight drove me to my knees, squeezed the air from my lungs, crushed my ribs—
I jolted upright, gasping, and I was in the attic.
Coming next in Episode 8: Lenore reaches out to a fellow book dealer to learn more about the mysterious book.
Photo (top) by Charlie Harutaka on Unsplash. Photo below by Daniil Kuzelev on Unsplash.
About the Author
Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.
If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.
Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at kirstenweiss.com