Beacon’s Spark preview

As a bonus to my readers, here’s an excerpt from Beacon’s Spark, now available as a pre-order:

I stared down the drab hallway, the heavy weight of fear pressing me firmly in my ugly blue molded plastic chair. I opened my mouth to call out, but little more than a hollow croak sounded. I tried to swallow, to get some sort of moisture in my mouth, but my breath caught. An icy chill ran along my spine and up into my hairline. My scalp felt like a million ants were crawling their way around inside my hair.

The face poking out of the door stared at me, and after a moment I realized it looked like a woman. Her face was a pale circle with two black circles where her eyes should have been, a thin dark line underneath that I guessed was her mouth, and the whole framed in a fuzzy halo of dingy gray hair.

I couldn’t make out much detail from where I sat, but my guess was that she was one of the residents here. Was she lost or confused? Why was there no nurse helping her out?

Then a more important thought slammed into me: why was her head sticking through the freaking door?

I wanted to turn my head away, to look at something else, to focus on waiting for Robert to come out of my grandpa’s room—anything else but that strange face. A subtle bass drone, almost electrical, suddenly hummed down the corridor and echoed in my ears.

I furrowed my brow, realizing that as hard as I tried, I couldn’t turn my head away from the strange woman. I even tried moving my eyes, but they were rooted in place, as if all the muscles had cramped up to keep me focused on that one strange face.

If I could have generated a sound, I would have screamed, or at least cried out, but all I could manage was another little squeak, hardly audible over that strange electrical sound.

And as suddenly as it had started, the hum ceased, the pressure eased on my headache, and the woman’s face faded out of sight, dissipating like smoke in the wind. The temperature all around me soon shifted from frigid to temperate, and my whole body slumped forward, free of whatever unseen force had held me in place.

Even with the new warmth in the hall, I pulled my arms around and hugged myself hard. “What the Hell was that?” I muttered, though there was no one in the hall to hear me.

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