For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.
If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.
This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
An icy blast of salty air shook the trees and rattled the dry grass eerily. Katelina shivered, and it seemed to draw Jorick back to the present. With another wordless grunt he took her hand and led her slowly to the front of the house. “Look at this,” he muttered. “Look at the state of this place.”
Katelina didn’t reply, only followed him onto the small porch and waited as he fished a ring of keys out of his pocket. She marveled at his “magic” pockets. He always seemed to be pulling something out of them, and yet she never saw the telltale pile of belongings that men left on the dresser tops when they went to bed. What did he do? Just leave the stuff in there and transfer it from one pair of jeans to the next?
The door opened and she let the thoughts disappear in her hurry to get into the house, but if she’d expected it to be warm she was – again – disappointed. Though there was no frost on the inside of the windows, she was sure that it was only a single degree too warm for it.
Jorick sniffed the air and muttered darkly, “Stale.” He flipped the light switch and exclaimed with grudging surprise, “At least the electricity is still on.”
Katelina’s eyes swept the room. It was stuffed with antique furniture: a sideboard, a curio cabinet, a collection of stands, a secretary, a set of slender wing backed chairs and a low couch that sat under the front window. The floor was wooden, but two large rugs in mismatched patterns covered most of it. A stone fireplace stood black and waiting in the corner and gave Katelina some hope that heat was coming, however, it was not the most prominent feature of the room. The thing that stood out the most was the books. They were piled everywhere; on the stands, in towering heaps on the floor, even in one of the chairs. Their jackets ranged from shiny and new to old and worn with no discernible rhyme or reason to their locations.
Jorick continued to mutter unintelligibly as he walked through a wide doorway and into the rest of the house, switching on the lights as he went. Katelina followed close on his heels as each room was revealed: a dining room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. All were overrun with dusty books stacked at odd angles. It was almost as if they’d been discarded randomly as they were finished.
The house looped around on itself so that as they walked down a narrow hallway they were facing the front again. The small hall ended at two doors; one literally at the end and a white painted one to the left. They came to a stop and Jorick fell silent. He stared at the white door as if it might eat them both. When nothing happened, he cleared his throat noisily and glanced back at her. “You should go make yourself comfortable.”
“Make myself comfortable?” she echoed uncertainly.
He nodded absently and fished the ring of keys from his pocket. He slid the appropriate one into the door’s lock and addressed her without meeting her eyes. “Yes. Start a fire or something. I suppose it’s probably cold in here.”
“Well, now that you mention it-” she got no further before he swung the door inward and disappeared through it. “Hey! I don’t really know how to-” but the door closed after him quickly, effectively shutting her out.
The only answer was a loud click as the door was locked from the inside.