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Authors: Christy Sloat

The Crimson Key

BOOK: The Crimson Key
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The Crimson Key

A Visitors Series Novel

 

Written by

Christy Sloat

 

All rights reserved. Published by Anchor Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.

 

 

Copyright 201
3 Christy Sloat

Published by Anchor Group Publishing

PO Box 551

Flushing, MI 48433

Anchorgrouppublishing.com

Edited by Melissa Ringsted

Cover Design by KC Designs

 

 

 

 

Dedication:

For my dad. The first person I turn to when I need good advice.

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

This book would not be possible without the stories my husband told me about the real brown house. So thank you
, Joe, for helping this all evolve.

 

Thank you to Anchor Group and all its lovely members. To friends who stuck by my side and gave me the push I needed to write these books. I love you all.

 

Thanks to my editor, Melissa Ringsted, for taking care of my mistakes.

 

Katherine Polillo, my bestie, for the long talks and crazy movies we go see.

 

Stacey Rourke for ‘Rourking out’ on a regular basis. Your motivation inspires me to be just like you when I grow up. Love you girl.

 

This list could go on and on. You know you’re all very special to me. This process is not easy and it takes so many people to make it happen. Thanks to you all!

Chapter 1

 

 

Hollow. Sad.  Defeated. Pitiful.

It’s been three weeks since Ephraim told me the curse of the Brown House was starting to take hold of his mind. Three weeks of feeling all the emotions I didn’t want to feel. It didn’t take long for the sorrow to kick in; only mere minutes after he’d told me. I felt like I had forsaken him and let him down by not protecting him from my house. Really, it was my fault. If I had only opened the door on my own then he and Lynley would not be affected. But my fear kept me from doing it alone. Now they were both cursed by witches so ancient that we couldn’t find a cure. To top it off, the original witches were dead. Killed by Everett Brown himself, so that he could protect his family. But in doing so, he killed off our only chance at finding a way to help them.

Now my boyfriend and my best-friend were cursed. Such a stupid thing really
, a curse. You don’t think about that when you’re in high school. You live your life like everything will turn out great. College is your main focus, or a job even. Certainly not a curse.

Not for me. For me it’s different. I see ghosts that live in my house. They are trapped here because of said curse. Do you know how inconvenient that is? Seriously
, I will be seventeen soon and I am not thinking about being a teenager. I am trying to find a cure somehow to save the boy that I love more than anything in my life right now. Isn’t it odd to say that at my age? For us it was a quick romance, we bonded fast. He believed that I could see ghost’s when any sane guy would run the other way. Ephraim and I needed to be together. I couldn’t let anything keep us apart.

 

“Brylee,” Mom called from downstairs. “Let’s go!” It was a Saturday and the last thing I wanted to do was go shopping with my mom. I knew Ephraim was asleep because he worked the late shift. All I wanted to do was crawl in bed with him and fall back to sleep. But I couldn’t because Mom wanted to get me birthday presents. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful, I just had my mind on other things.

“I’m coming
,” I called back, trotting downstairs. She was in the kitchen, still making a to-go cup of coffee, so I sat in the rocking chair. It usually has a spirit in it, but not today. I hadn’t seen my ghostly “friends” since the week before. They must have decided to stop bugging me for a while. I wasn’t too happy at our last meeting. I was taking a bath and the lights went out. My heart pounded and I was frustrated at whoever was playing the joke. Bathing in the dark is very scary and pretty inconvenient. Once I turned the light on, a fair-haired ghost stood next to me, brushing her hair in my mirror. She didn’t seem like she had noticed I was there, but I noticed her all right. I had never encountered this girl before. As I had stood there, stark naked, she continued to brush her hair. Finally she turned, walked through me, and out the door. After I peed myself, I cleaned up and went to bed.  Today I saw no one besides my mom standing by the door waiting for me.

“What’s wrong
, you don’t want to go shopping?” she asked, hooking her purse on her shoulder.

“Not really. I want fresh air
,” I replied, trying to sound sincere. The last thing I wanted was to hurt her feelings. She wanted to get me out of the house as much as I did, but shopping in a stuffy mall on the weekend was not my idea of fun.

“I have a better idea. Carole mentioned an outdoor mall in Atlantic City
, let’s go next door and I’ll ask her about it.” I was all for it as I jumped out of the rocker and headed next door with my mom. I hoped Ephraim would be up so I could steal a kiss, but if I knew him he would be sound asleep. He worked mostly nights at the country club that his family owned. Now that graduation was coming closer for him, he needed to save as much money as possible. University College wasn’t in the cards for him. Ephraim’s mom was a widow, and she made hardly enough to support them, let alone pay for school.

Crossing the path that led to their house
, my mom suggested we take Lynley with us. I shrugged. I didn’t know if she would feel like coming out. The Lynley I knew was tucked away inside herself lately. When I first met her she was a shy girl with a bright spirit. Once we became friends, she came out of her shell and turned into this outgoing girl who gained a boyfriend and a little better social status at our school. Nevertheless, once the curse hit that all fell away. Now she was single, by her own doing, and a recluse who only came out for school.

Once we arrived at the front door
, Mom gently knocked. Carole answered wearing her usual bathrobe and slippers. She was a good person, just stylishly challenged. She and my mom went directly into the kitchen and I made my way upstairs. As I walked past Ephraim’s room, I was tempted to take a peek inside. Being as though I didn’t want to wake him, I went to see Lyn.

Sticking my head in her door
, I yelled, “Boo!” She jumped, the book she was reading flying up in the air and landing upside down on the floor.

“Whatcha got?” I asked
, grabbing the book. She fought me for it but I won. Turning it over, I read the cover.
Black Magic; Counter Curses and Spells
.

“Are you serious
, Lyn?” I asked as I tossed the book back to her. What we needed wasn’t going to be found in some book. “Where did you get that?”

“The bookstore
,” she answered shyly. I sat on the bed next to her, feeling unexpectedly sad for her. Yes I felt sorrow for my best friend and the curse I brought upon her, but her sitting here alone in her room, looking in some fake book on black magic, made me ever sadder. When I placed my hand on her shoulder to give her support, she cringed at my touch. I quickly yanked my hand back.

“Sorry
, I just feel like my skin’s on fire today,” she said, giving me a puppy dog face. Where was my friend? I missed her. She seemed to be getting more symptoms of the curse than Ephraim. The depression was supposed to set in last. I was told that once that happens, it’s too late.

“Why is your skin on fire?” I asked her.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She avoided my eyes and kept hers on the floor.

“Lyn
, what is going on with you?” Pulling her to me, I hugged her. “I promised you we would find a cure. I will live up to my promise.”

“How?” she asked as she sobbed on my shoulder. I didn’t know how. I had no clue what to do. Our only hope was the Mayhew sisters
, but they didn’t exist. I had to come up with an idea fast. She needed hope, and that was what I would give her, no matter what.

“I’m gonna break into the Mayhew sisters’ old house. Maybe they’re lurking around there still and I can talk to them. You know
, me being a medium and all.” She laughed despite my terrible idea. Now I had to go into the house and try to conjure up the spirits of these evil witches. I’ll admit, it wasn’t my best idea, but it gave her optimism.

Luckily she didn’t ask me any of the details on my
plan
, so that gave me time to actually come up with one. I left her room after she promised me to stop reading that awful book. I had to talk to Ephraim even if that meant waking him up.

His room light was on so I pushed through knocking quietly.

“Wow, this is a great surprise!” Shutting the door with his foot, he pulled me down on the bed. “You look so hot today and you smell awesome.” I nuzzled my nose in his neck as he ran his fingers through my hair. His room was a place I didn’t visit frequently. We usually stuck to my room or the lake. Being in here with him felt different, but good. His laundry littered the floor and spilled out of the hamper. He was a typical teenage boy who relied on his mom to clean up his room. I didn’t mind the mess. He was too cute today, even though his blue eyes were red, showing the exhaustion he was feeling due to lack of sleep. I kissed the bridge of his nose and he pulled me closer.

“Ephraim
, I have to go shopping with my mom today, but I want to stay here with you,” I told him as I bathed in his comfort.

“You make it sound like a death sentence to shop. You’re unlike any girl I have ever met.”

I pulled away from him and gave him the evil eye. “I better be the
best
girl you ever met!” He laughed, pulling me back toward him. Being in his arms was heaven to me. It distracted me from the curse that threatened to take him away from me forever.

The curse of the Brown family started with Violet Brown. She had asked the Mayhew sisters
, two powerful witches, to bring her daughter Pearl back from the dead. Pearl had died from influenza, and Violet couldn’t deal with the loss. The sisters were easily persuaded by money and brought her back. Violet made the sisters a promise that she would never speak of the magic they used, and they made her make a blood pact. A promise that if broken would bring a curse on her, causing her to kill herself and giving the house its blood payment. Then it would take the first born son and every first born daughter after that. Once Mr. Brown found out, he was livid that his wife would do something so awful. Even though she was just a child and was no threat to the family, he let his fear of the unknown get in the way of his feelings for Pearl and locked her away from everyone. She would cry at night for the whole town to hear.

Slowly
, Violet Brown’s curse spread, starting with unexplained voices in her head. Then followed by anger and severe depression she could not shake. In the end, she was so lost and lifeless that she found the hidden key to Pearl’s room and killed herself in front of her daughter.

The very key that opened the door to the corner room
, I either have hanging around my neck or in my drawer for safe keeping. That key unlocked the curse that had killed many of the Brown’s. Making them all go through the same as Violet and ending their life in the same room. Everett Brown was the one who found the sisters and sealed the door. He killed them, ensuring that they never did anything like that to anyone ever again. With them dead, we don’t have any clue how to find a cure for this wretched curse. And I face losing the two people I love the most.

Ephraim’s gentle hands brought me back from my trance. I couldn’t let him leave me. I was desperately in love with this boy
, as he was with me.

BOOK: The Crimson Key
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