“Come and see. Oh, come and see—”
As their haunting refrain repeated, the pawn tipped over so the wind could flip open our book, Curse Breaker: Faceted, and turn its pages. Light cascaded out and words leaped from the page. They caught Papa and me (ahem, *Ran*) in its spell.
And now, I bring you an excerpt from Curse Breaker: Faceted.
“Papa, I want to go now. I’m scared.” Ran huddled close, pressing his small body tight against Sarn’s side.
Something had changed the dynamic down here. Shadows strengthened, growing larger and bolder. They tapped gray fingers against the ceiling-bound lumir crystals, and they dimmed. But that was impossible. Once kindled by magic, lumir crystals could glow for thousands of years. Sarn stared at them. His breath misted as the temperature dropped. Ran shivered and he rubbed his hands down his son’s back. Friction warms, so did activity, so Sarn skulked around a tower of crates searching for the source of that frigid air.
While never warm, these subterranean tunnels usually stayed well above freezing even in winter, but it was summer now. Where had the arctic chill pebbling his skin come from? The same place as last month when you faced a demon. Fear gripped Sarn and shook him. No, the demon was gone, either destroyed or banished back to its realm. This chill had another cause. Had a new evil taken the demon’s place?
He’d never verified if his best friend was the only possessed person living under this mountain. Did I just spend four weeks chasing the lesser evil? Sarn shuddered at the thought, and in his arms, his son whimpered as the cold stole through his thin clothes. Let there still be time to stop whatever horror this demon was working.
Sarn stripped off his cloak and wrapped it several times around his son before clasping the cocooned child against his racing heart.
Ran snuggled into his embrace. “Can we go now?”
Sarn gave his son a distracted nod. “We’ll go as soon as I get some answers.”
Ran groaned at the delay.
If Dirk’s consorting with demons, I need proof and to somehow stop it. Not a pleasant thought, but Sarn gritted his teeth and made peace with the possibility.
Unbidden, the Queen of All Trees’ call sign sprang to mind, and his fingers itched to trace those interconnected circles. Inside his heart, a pure white flame burned, yearning for release. Sarn shook himself free of the partial trance.
What was going on in the storeroom with the unknown woman? How was she connected to Dirk and company and what were they doing? Staying low, Sarn wended around pallets and towers of casks moving ever closer to the open door and the answers to his questions.
A tongue of white light licked up from the ground in front of Sarn. The luminance shaped itself into a boy of perhaps eight years who shook his head. Sarn froze and fought the pull of a gaze lock. One glance into that ghost’s eyes would tax his sanity too much, so Sarn cast his eyes elsewhere. I don’t want to know what comes next. I don’t want to know.
In his arms, Ran squirmed to get a better look at the specter. All Sarn’s unanswered questions came roaring back as Ran freed a hand and extended it toward the apparition.
Before the thing could disintegrate, Sarn backed away holding his son tight. It was the ghost of the boy who’d died a month ago. The same ghost who had haunted him for three days until he’d solved the riddle of the boy’s death. But he—it—had crossed over. Why had it come back to haunt him?
“What do you want?” Sarn asked the ghost boy.
Find out in Curse Breaker: Faceted.
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Until next time, dear reader
This is Ran, son of Sarn, “the Ghost Disintegrator” signing off.
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