Last Breath: Haunted Collection Series Book 7
Last Breath: Haunted Collection Series Book 7
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Manic laughter echoes through the night as victims struggle for their last breath…
Mysterious deaths continue with every haunted item Stefan Korzh releases into the world. Horror and mayhem are felt everywhere, from trailer parks to the hallowed bayous of New Orleans. But as he finds himself pushed into a corner by those who want him dead, Korzh goes to great lengths to establish an unlikely alliance.
The only thing more threatening than his desire for revenge is the new ghost he has set loose. Appearing as a frail elderly woman, Martha’s inviting smile is as deceitful as her looks. It masks a terrible cruelty as she draws the final gasps of air from her victims, and delights in their pleas for mercy.
Meanwhile, there’s no rest for the trio caught in the midst of Korzh’s games. Victor and Ariana are close to uncovering the key to mysteries that haunt them, and come face to face with secrets that will change the course of their lives forever. Even Tom’s attempts at an ordinary life are shattered with a stark reminder that nothing about him can ever be normal.
With terrors closing in from all sides, each will have to go to great lengths to survive. There’s no escaping the horrors they must face, or the pain they must endure.
The stakes have never been higher, and one mistake could end up being their last…
Chapter 3: Dale Sleeps Through Everything
Her mother ended the call, and Bethany shook her head as she put the portable phone down on the bed. She leaned back on the pillows and closed her eyes.
She’s right, Bethany thought. He drinks too much. It’ll kill him in the end. Just like it did his dad. Damn it, though, he needs to start buying beer somewhere else!
She was making a mental note to talk to him about that again when she heard a soft whisper.
Opening her eyes, Bethany looked around the room.
The sound had seemed to come from inside the bedroom, but she knew it could be outside. A new family had moved into the Patterson’s old trailer, and the walls of her own were thin, even with the additional siding and insulation Dale had put on them a year before.
Frowning, Bethany rolled onto her side and moved the curtain on one of the windows to open a fraction of an inch.
In the dull, fluorescent glow of the nearby streetlight, she couldn’t see anything.
No kids ran or rode their bikes. There weren’t any cars in the driveway of Patterson’s trailer. Or even any in the closest units.
The mobile home park was exceptionally quiet for a Saturday night.
Then she shook her head, remembering the church fair going on in the center of town.
No one would be back for hours.
Bethany was about to let the curtain drop back into place when she stopped.
If everyone’s in town, she thought, then what made the noise?
She sat up and peered intently out the window, searching for some sign of movement. Any sort of explanation for the strange sound.
As she did so, the noise came from behind her.
It was louder, a dark sound that shook to her bones and caused her to shiver with fear.
Swallowing dryly, Bethany turned around.
The shadows in her room took on sinister overtones, and she had a sudden fear that someone was hiding in them.
Don’t be stupid, she told herself. Worst case scenario, a damned field mouse got in. That’s it.
She nodded, agreeing with herself.
“Yes,” she whispered, “just a field mouse.”
No sooner had the last word left her lips than she heard a grim chuckle.
From the corner of the room, near her samplers, a shadow emerged.
Horrified and unable to move, Bethany watched as the darkness twisted and shrank, stretched and grew, until the semblance of a woman stood in the room, staring at her.
The woman’s eyes were wide and set too far apart on either side of the bridge of her nose. Her forehead was tall as well, and her high cheekbones gave her long face a gaunt appearance.
She was tall and gangly, ill-clad in an old-fashioned dress. White hair was pinned up in a tight bun on the upper back of her head, and she wore a dark gray gown. A bit of gold hung about her neck, and a pair of pince-nez glasses were seated on the bridge of her nose.
The woman looked older than 50, and younger than 70.
And suddenly Bethany knew that the sampler she had ordered had indeed been haunted.
Her disbelief in ghosts, her atheism, her general refusal to accept anything unseen as real; all of it vanished.
She was left with the stark reality of it all standing in her rapidly cooling room, the strange apparition staring impassively at her.
“What are you?” Bethany managed to whisper, too afraid to try and move off the bed.
The strange ghost continued to stare, her lips twitching and fingers doing the same.
Bethany could feel a sharp needle pricking the skin of her arms, and she was afraid to look down and find blood spilling out of her flesh.
“Please,” Bethany begged. “Just tell me what you are.”
“Who I am is a better question, woman,” the apparition stated, and the voice was devoid of warmth.
“Who,” Bethany whispered.
“My name is Martha,” the ghost said.
“Tell me,” the dead woman continued, motioning towards the dresser, “these photographs, they are of your family?”
Bethany nodded, too frightened to speak.
The ghost clenched her hands into fists. “There are an awful lot of children in those pictures.”
“We’re a big family,” Bethany whispered. “We’re Irish.”
The woman’s back became straighter, her shoulder’s tighter.
“Irish?” the dead woman asked in a soft voice.
“Yes,” Bethany answered.
“The children in the photo. Are they here?” the woman asked.
Bethany could only shake her head.
“Do you have any children?” the dead woman asked.
“No,” Bethany said. “I never did.”
As the word hissed out of the dead woman’s mouth, she rushed toward the bed, a cold force slamming into Bethany, throwing her backward.
A heartbeat later an intense pressure kept her pinned down while a pair of frozen hands wrapped around Bethany’s neck and squeezed.
“I won’t have any more of your kind in my world,” Martha snarled. “Not while I can do something about it. You’ll die, you foul whelp. Everywhere I looked, there you were. Everywhere! No more! No more!”
Bethany tried to free herself, but there was nothing to latch onto, no body to shove away.
And by the time she finally realized she needed help, that she needed Dale, Bethany couldn’t even draw a breath to scream.
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