The third novel in the Cast Down series qualifies as a “Prequel” since it takes place before A New England Haunting. The story focuses on the character of Carrie, who we already met in New England Haunting. It’s the story of her life, seeing spirits since she was a child, growing up in the paranormal world with the demonic influences that almost take her sanity and her life. Enjoy a brief teaser from Masked while I finish tying up the loose ends…
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Carrie opened the door and entered the home with her team and the homeowner following silently. Mike had already instructed Gabby not to say anything at all that might influence her. Carrie froze in the foyer and without turning around requested, “I’d like to walk through the house by myself.”
She paused only briefly to see if there would be an objection before walking to the staircase. Normally she was methodical in her investigations and started with the ground floor or basement. In this case she felt the pull to the upper floors too strongly to wait. The house itself was a mess. Carrie had to navigate an obstacle course of books, shoes, boxes and stacks of clothing on her way up the stairs. The smells of the house fought for her attention; stale body odor, old books, damp cardboard and something more unappealing that she could not quite identify. None of the odors were overpowering but they combined in a distinctly unpleasant way.
She reached the second floor and briefly glanced around at the open doors to several bedrooms and a bathroom that was dark and very narrow. She felt the pull again and continued on to the third floor. The uppermost level of the habitation contained one bedroom with an attached sitting room, a half bath and a large storage room, the true ‘attic’ of the house. The musty smell of the house was more prevalent on the top floor. The large pile of unwashed clothes tossed into the corner was her prime suspect. It seemed to be a common thread; the paranormal activity and the decreased interest in cleanliness. She doubted highly that the occupants of the house had always been sloppy but spiritual oppression weighed heavily upon the victims.
Carrie walked slowly through the rooms of the upper floor, letting the waves of impressions wash over her. A bedroom was supposed to be a place of rest, but this one was distinctly unrestful. The darkness of the room shifted unnaturally. There were blankets nailed up in front of the windows to block out natural light during the day and streetlight illumination by night.
Something moved boldly through the room, bringing with it a draft as cold as an open window in winter. A pungent, cloying smell blew into her face like a fetid breath. A picture formed in her mind of the true owner of the house, who she could sense standing right in front of her.