Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1
Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1

Berkley Street: Berkley Street Series Book 1

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An abandoned house. A forgotten evil. Home sweet home…

Shane Ryan returns to Nashua and the childhood memories that drove him to join the Marines. After a prolonged legal battle with his aunt and uncle, Shane has possession of the family home where his parents disappeared over 20 years ago. The house, a monstrous castle filled with ghosts and secrets, is more alive than its inhabitants.

When his aunt and uncle come to town, then vanish, Shane's life takes a turn for the worse. Detective Marie Lafontaine immediately labels Shane as the prime suspect. And in a race against time, Shane desperately searches for clues about his parents.

But there's something lurking beyond the walls and beneath the surface. Something sinister that has haunted him ever since he saw its face in the pond behind the house. And it isn’t happy that Shane is back.

It isn’t happy at all.

EBOOK PRINT LENGTH 221 pages
AUDIO LENGTH 6 Hours and 51 Minutes
NARRATED BY Thom Bowers
PHYSICAL COPY 219 pages
PRODUCT DIMENSION 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
ISBN 979-8-89476-001-8
LANGUAGE English
PUBLICATION DATE December 16, 2016

 

CHAPTER 27: THE ROOT CELLAR

 

A terrible wave of cold air rushed out of the darkness, and Shane staggered back.  He and Marie coughed and wheezed at the stench of old death heavy in the air.

“Jesus Christ,” Marie hissed.  “It didn’t smell like this yesterday when we opened it.”

“I don’t remember it ever smelling like this,” Shane said.  “Or it being this cold either.”

He took a small LED flashlight off a shelf, turned it on and pointed it down the ladder.  The darkness tried to eat away at the cone of light, which revealed a hard-packed dirt floor.  Shane looked over at Marie.

“Ready?” he asked her.

“Yes,” Marie said, nodding.  She slipped a hand into her pocket and took out her own flashlight.  Marie grinned at him.  “Better than a boy scout.”

Shane smiled.  “Yes, you are.”

He looked back down the ladder, ignored the nervous rumble of his stomach, and descended into the root cellar.  When he reached the bottom, he pointed the flashlight at each of the walls.  They were made of large, rough cut stones with small niches carved in them.  In the far left corner, a stone had been removed, and blackness awaited.

Marie reached the floor and a moment later, her flashlight’s beam joined his.

“There?” she asked him.

“Yes,” Shane said with a nod.  He walked forward, and Marie was barely a step behind him.  Finally, just a few steps away from the darkness, the light cut through it.   A small, oval doorway was revealed, absent of any door, though.   The floor beyond was made of smooth stone, and it gently sloped down.

The walls and ceiling were of the same type of stone and the passage turned slightly to the right.  Within a few feet, the remainder of it was hidden.  The foul smell and cold air of the room emanated from the tunnel.

“This wasn’t here,” Marie said.

“No,” Shane said in agreement.  “It wasn’t.  I’ve never seen it before, and I thought I had seen just about everything this house had hidden.”

Something splashed in the distance, and Shane stiffened.

“What is it?” Marie asked.  “What’s wrong?”

“Did you hear the splash?”

“Yes,” she said.  “Is it bad?”

“More than likely,” Shane said softly.

“Well,” Marie said, taking a deep breath, “only one way to find out.”

Shane nodded and stepped into the tunnel.

Instantly it felt as though the walls would close in on him and he had to crouch slightly or else he would hit his head on the ceiling.   He reached a hand out to steady himself and pulled it back quickly.

“What’s wrong?” Marie asked.

“The wall,” Shane answered.  “It felt wrong.”

“Oh Jesus,” she said after a moment.  “Feels like mucus.”

“Yeah,” he said.  He continued forward.  He followed the path of his own flashlight as the passage curved.  And it continued to curve and descend in a tight circle.

“I hope we don’t have to come back up this way,” Marie said after a minute.

“Why not?” Shane asked.

“I’m having a hard time not slipping right now,” she answered.  “Can you imagine what it’ll be like going up this path?”

“No,” Shane said.  “I can’t.”

After a long time, the floor leveled out and the passage straightened.  Slowly, it widened as well.  The walls disappeared, and only the floor remained.  No matter where they pointed the flashlights, they only found darkness and the stones upon which they walked.

“Shane,” Marie said after a few minutes of walking.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Is there something up ahead?” she asked.

Shane moved the beam of his flashlight towards hers, and he saw a small shape on the floor.   He hurried forward and came to a sharp stop.

“It’s a belt,” Marie said.  She stepped past Shane and squatted down.  

A long, dark brown, leather belt lay curled on the stones.  The silver buckle was face down.   She reached out to turn it over with her flashlight.

But Shane already knew what the buckle had engraved on it.

“‘H R,'” Marie said, looking up at him.

“Henry Ryan,” Shane said.  “Well, he preferred Hank.”

“Your dad’s?” Marie asked.  

Shane nodded.  “Yes.  I gave him the belt on his birthday when I was fourteen.”

“Why is it here?” she asked, looking at him.

“He loved to wear it,” Shane said sadly.  “He wore it all the time.  He said a man always needed to wear a belt or suspenders.   And he hated suspenders.  He always had it on.”

Reverently, Marie picked up the belt and handed it to Shane.

“Thank you,” Shane said softly.  He took the belt, wrapped it into a tight loop and slipped it into his back pocket.

Marie stood up and looked around the darkness.   “Well, which way from here?”

Her flashlight flickered and went out.

“Take my hand,” Shane said quickly, extending his free hand to her.

Marie clasped it just as his own flashlight was extinguished.

Over the sound of his own heartbeat, Shane heard the slap of something wet against stone.

It was repeated, rhythmically.

“Something’s walking,” Marie said.

He tightened his grip on her and fought down a wave of fear. 

“Do not let go,” he whispered.  “No matter what you do.  Do not let go.”

The walker drew closer.

“What is it?” Marie asked in a low voice.

“I think it’s the girl in the pond,” he said softly, unable to keep a quiver of terror out of his voice.  “We need to leave.”

The darkness pressed down upon them, and Marie asked, “How?”

Before Shane could answer he caught a bit of music.

A violin playing part of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

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