This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Flickering flames. Dancing shadows upon the high walls. A great room, like a cave. Our circle is joined. Everyone’s here, hand in hand around a massive round table. My heart’s beating out of my chest.
Going to a campout with some friends. Lies. Mom’s gonna have my ass.
Cameras roll from their hidden perches.
“When you’re ready,” Doug says. The ghost hunter’s brown glare seems disquieted. His black hair concealed beneath a matching knit beanie. Summit Paranormal Investigations.
My palms are cold and wet. Donna turns a perturbed eye down on me. Probably grossed out by my sweat.
“If you please.” Dr. Benson’s low voice reeks of impatience.
A psychologist. Figures.
All eyes turn to me. My stomach spins into nauseated knots. I can’t help it. I’m only sixteen! I didn’t ask for this. No one asked me if wanted this gift. The stale coldness of this once elegant estate closes in all around my skinny body. Should’ve worn a heavier jacket for this.
I clear my throat and close my eyes. My senses assure me the other have followed suit. Deep breaths – in through the nose and out the mouth. My muscles release.
The doctor’s mellow voice finds my ears. “Subject has begun. Entering trance.” His words bounce around in my slipping conscious. “Breathing appears normal. No signs of distress.”
Dark forces. Too many to count. One shoves its way forward into my body.
“Trespassers!” The distorted male voice spews out of my mouth. “All of you. Common criminals!”
All I can do is watch. I stand frigid beside my body while these entities have their way.
“Leave my house!”
I sound demonic. Unnatural.
Donna jumps at my body’s side in her chair. My limp arm falls. Her squeal betrays her disbelief. College girls.
The dark man passes. My torso convulses at the arrival of another.
“No, daddy. Don’t!” It’s a little girl. Seven at most.
The scent of daisies and –
“Do you smell that?” The college girl, Donna. Her button nose searches the room. “Cinnamon rolls?”
I sense it too, hot stuff. Sorrow and misery overwhelm everything. An older presence jars me.
“Henry, please.” Now, the girl’s mother. “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
My terrestrial arms fling out over the tabletop. “Give me our child, Henry!”
I’m out of my body. Floating over the table.
“Sweet Christ,” Doug mutters.
This will put you on the map, Dougie boy. Benson’s bald black head drifts closer. His little red light blinks.
“Subject now speaking in various voices. Male, female, and young female child. Note: research split personality disorder later tonight.”
Dumbass. You don’t have a clue.
“Oh, my God!” Mrs. Benson’s thin hands clamp down over her open mouth. Interracial couple. Interesting.
My voice. So strange.
The good doctor again: “Subject is now wailing like a newborn baby. While humanly possible, the likelihood is low.”
My head lulls from side to side. Eyes clamped shut.
Dougie boy: “Jake. Please tell me you’re still rolling on this.”
The camera jockey grumbles.
A wild sensation of flying. Weightlessness. My whipping arms slap Donna on one side and Benson on the other. Cold water everywhere. Daylight twinkles on the ripples. Sinking down.
“He’s turning blue!” the doctor screams.
Doug: “Sean! Sean, snap out of it.”
Dr. Benson’s meaty hand connects with my cheek.
My body is my own again. A watery bulge plugs up my throat. Soon, a small fountain erupts from my maw. My torso reels forward onto the polished oaken table. More fluid spews out into a large puddle.
Donna shrieks and backpedals, knocking over her chair. “This – this is fucked up.”
Stinging musty air gets to my lungs. My vision returns. Watery, but there.
Doug’s hand slaps me between the shoulders. “Hey. You all right, pal?”
I heave my dead weight up on both elbows. I try to speak, but my throat is dry as a bone. I nod.
Benson: “Medium has recovered from trance. Spewed water all over himself and the dining hall table. Uncertain of its origins. McAllister Manor, 9:15 p.m. End session one.”
Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...
Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...
Andria M. Redlin-Author: "For those who play the game: you just lost." These words from "This is Not a Joke" pretty much sum up the plot. The story centers around three drug addicts who are playing the game of addiction, only to discover that it comes with a cost that is much higher than any of them can pay. ...
Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.
: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."