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Soul Collector: Soul Collector Series Book 1

Soul Collector: Soul Collector Series Book 1

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Reading, writing, and relentless terror…

Ghost hunter Shane Ryan has never had an easy life. Years of battling paranormal forces and supernatural evil have taken their toll. But the retired marine isn’t ready to give up the fight yet. So when a missing girl stirs up memories of an old case, Shane sets out to investigate.

Communing with the spirits, Shane discovers a link between the killer and a vicious biker gang based in New Hampshire. Tracking them to their clubhouse, Shane soon finds himself embroiled in another battle against horrific forces from beyond.

Other girls have gone missing, and they all fit the same profile. Young. Innocent. Perfect little angels. Someone behind the scenes is gathering a flock of students for an infernal school of the dead. Unless Shane can stop them in time, these missing girls are about to learn an unforgettable lesson in terror.

And Shane may find himself consumed by the nightmares of his past once and for all…

245 pages


Chapter 4: Ms. Gillian's School

Ronald Braeburn unplugged the phone from the backup charger, turned the phone off, and put both devices in his briefcase. He locked it, adjusted the fitting of his black gloves, and the way his scarf fell about his neck. With that done, Ronald picked up his hot chocolate, sipped it, and discovered it had reached the perfect temperature.

Standing in the front office of Ms. Gillian’s School, Ronald took the time to enjoy the hot chocolate, looking out the window at the fall foliage spread out across the mountain a short distance from the school.

When he finished his drink, Ronald turned around and placed his briefcase and mug on the closest desk. An old black rotary phone stood on one side of the desk, and in the center was a typewriter. The dead woman behind it stared at him with glass eyes, and once more, he found himself impressed with whomever Ms. Gillian had originally hired to do the taxidermy. Ronald glanced down at the nameplate on the desk and then smiled.

“Mrs. Hathaway,” he greeted. “I must apologize. I always forget your name. As you are aware, I have an appointment to see Ms. Gillian. Would you do me the kindness of watching over my belongings?”

He waited a moment for the taxidermized secretary to respond, and when she didn’t, his smile broadened. “Thank you so much. You are ever so kind.”

Ronald’s eyes flicked to a vase on the other side of the desk. Within its dark confines stood half a dozen long dead roses. “Those are absolutely lovely, Mrs. Hathaway. What’s the occasion?”

Again, he paused, and then he nodded. “I had forgotten. You did tell me last time that it was your twenty-fifth anniversary coming up. You’re quite the fortunate woman.

I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting anyone I would enjoy having a meal with, let alone spending the rest of my life beside. Well, I’m sorry, here I am talking your ear off, and you’ve work to do and I an appointment to keep. I will see you shortly.”

With one more smile, he turned and exited the room. He passed by the janitor, posed in the act of sweeping the floor.

“Good afternoon, John,” Ronald greeted. The janitor’s face was set in a permanent rigid grin. “The school looks immaculate as always. You’re well, I trust?”

Ronald shook his head and asked. “The pipes are leaking again? Well, I’m certain Ms. Gillian will see to their repair. She always does.”

Humming to himself, Ronald walked along merrily, glancing inside the classrooms as he passed them by. Most of them were dark, the shades drawn and the doors closed. Further into the building, though, he paused by the first lighted room.

Sharp, harsh fluorescents illuminated the classroom, and he was able to see the students at their desks. The class size was small, which he approved of. Far too many schools were crowding their students into rooms and overworking the teachers. Not Ms. Gillian’s school.

As he stood in the hallway, looking in, Ronald saw that the students were working on their times tables. Numbers one through three were written on the chalkboard, and ten students were bent to their task at their desks.

Each student appeared to be the same. They were all girls, their blonde hair in pigtails and the dresses they wore all the same cut. Even the shoes, Mary Janes, were identical. The class was the perfect image of conformity.

The sight of it brought a smile to Ronald’s face.Continuing on toward his appointment, he passed by three more rooms. They were all identical to the first occupied classroom. It wasn’t until he reached the fifth classroom that he found Ms. Gillian. Ronald stopped and knocked on the closed door.

Ms. Gillian, who had beenin mid-lecture, glanced over at him and motioned for him to enter.

Ronald did so, opening the door and stepping into a room colder than the air outside the school.

Ms. Gillian was unaffected by it. She wore a calico dress, the sleeves of which fell just beyond her shoulder and the hem brushed the top of the sandals she wore on her bare feet. Her light brown hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail and tied with a soft yellow ribbon that matched the flowers on her dress. In the light of the classroom’s fluorescents, Ronald could see through her to the desk and windows beyond, and once more, he was impressed at how lively a ghost could appear to be.

“Continue studying your math, girls,” Ms. Gillian addressed the three students and turned her attention to Ronald. “Mr. Braeburn, how are you?”

“I’m quite well, thank you, Ms. Gillian. And yourself?”

“I can’t complain.” The dead teacher sighed. “Not when I have wonderful students like my girls. Do you have news about when the next transfer student is arriving?”

“I do.” He nodded. “I was hoping to bring her in over the next week or so, as there has been some disruption of the cash flow for transportation, but it seems I will need to dip into the reserve funds. Our finders are being rather touchy about boarding our student for more than a day or so.”

Ms. Gillian frowned, anger flashing in her dead eyes.

Ronald hid the shiver of fear that burned through him.

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