Ticket to Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 8
Ticket to Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 8
Ticket to Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 8

Ticket to Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 8

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A faded old ticket glows with an unholy light…

Historian Victor Daniels never planned to devote his life to battling evil spirits, or tracking down a collection of cursed antiques unleashed by ruthless occultist Stefan Korzh. But after months of clashing with paranormal threats, he’s developed a reputation as an investigator of the strange and bizarre. So when a rash of mysterious deaths strikes Victor’s home state, an old friend reaches out to him for help.

As Victor investigates the chilling mystery, he is shocked to discover that the victims all died by drowning… within the safety of their own homes. Another cursed antique has been unearthed, a ticket for a steamer ship that sank over a century ago. The worn scrap of paper is haunted by the vengeful ghost of a passenger, and it must gather the souls of the living to complete its final voyage.

Before Victor can put a stop to the murderous spirit’s killing spree, Stefan takes their blood feud to the next level, when he captures Victor’s adopted son. Following the madman’s trail to his sleepy hometown, deep in the Pennsylvania woods, Victor must confront his nemesis face to face.

The final clash between good and evil has begun, and only one man can emerge victorious…

201 pages

 Chapter 1: A Surprise

What in God’s name is this? Nancy wondered. I didn’t order anything. Did I?

Placing the boarding pass on the coffee table beside her birthday card, Nancy looked at the bill of sale and felt her face become hot with embarrassment.

She hadn’t purchased anything.

Her neighbor, Mr. Gilbert Bray had.

The mailman had delivered the package to the wrong house.

And I opened it, Nancy thought, sighing. She dropped the bill of sale on the couch, finished her wine, and then refilled the glass. Nancy and the elderly Mr. Bray didn’t get along. Mostly because she didn’t appreciate the volume at which he listened to his Beatles records. The songs could be heard late into the night up until early in the morning.

And she had complained more than once. Not only to the condo association but to the police as well.

I will never hear the end of this, she frowned. He won’t ever shut up about this one.

Nancy shook her head, sipped her wine and tried not to think about how the old man would react. After several minutes of sitting in silence, Nancy picked up the boarding pass and examined it closer, thinking, in for a penny, in for a pound.

The paper was thick, and ink on it faded with age. Some words, such as the Lady Elgin, were still crisp. Others looked as though they were water damaged, and she wondered vaguely what the history behind the piece was.

I’ll look it up later, she thought, stifling a yawn. Now, I think I need a bath. Then, if I’m still awake, I’ll see if there are any more episodes of Ghost Hunters on Netflix. Or something on haunted houses. Anything.

She carried both the wine glass and the bottle to the bathroom, started the water in the tub and proceeded to poke around her collection of bath salts. After a few moments, she shook her head, picked one at random, and dropped it into the water. As the level of water steadily rose, Nancy stripped down and climbed into the almost-too-hot water.

Sinking down into the tub, Nancy closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation of the water against her skin. She felt the bath salts leach the tensions of the past weeks out of her muscles, and after half an hour, she raised herself up slightly. Nancy added more hot water, then she finished off the bottle of wine. The combination of warmth, exhaustion, and alcohol made her extremely giddy, and more than a little drunk.

And it was for those reasons that she didn’t pay much attention to the bathroom lights when they flickered over-head.

She did notice when goosebumps rose along her arms and shoulders, and she shivered as she sank lower in the water. The steam coming off the liquid increased, and her own breath appeared before her as she exhaled. Despite the bath’s warmth, Nancy shivered. The light above the vanity mirror flickered and went out, followed a moment later by the recessed lights in the ceiling.

Nancy was alone in a dimly lit room, the only light was provided by a street lamp outside of her guest room window.

For a moment she thought she had lost power, but the street light assured her she had not.

When her home lost power, everyone did. They were all on the same grid. And she knew it wasn’t due to a lack of payment, all of her bills were withdrawn automatically each month.

Ignoring the cold, Nancy sat upright and listened.

“It’s been a long, long time since I had a bath,” a soft voice said morosely.

Fear swarmed over her and Nancy’s body shook uncontrollably.

“The lake was so cold,” the voice whispered. “Unbearable. Mother tried to save me.”

Nancy’s eyes darted around the darkness, searching for the source of the voice, looking for a person, for a microphone, anything.

All she saw was a glimmer in the doorway, as though the light from the street lamp passed through a thin layer of muslin.

Oh, she thought, this is just like Ghost Hunters! I can make contact!

“I didn’t know it would be that cold,” the voice continued, and Nancy was certain the sound came from the doorway.

“Who are you?” she managed to whisper.

“I’m,” the voice hesitated, then let out a shaky laugh. “Isn’t that strange? I don’t know who I am.”

Nancy spoke again, her voice a little stronger. “Where did you come from?”

“Michigan,” the unseen speaker said. “Detroit. We were visiting someone. I can’t remember who.”

“Are you a ghost?” Nancy asked.

“I don’t know,” the voice said morosely. “I hope not. But I think I am. Yes. Yes, I think I died. That’s why I can’t find my mother. And why I don’t know who I am.”

Nancy got a grip on her courage, forced herself speak firmly and asked, “What do you want?”

“I suppose I want to show you what it was like,” the stranger said, his tone thoughtful.

“What was?” Nancy asked, then she let out a sharp, terrified shriek as she felt small, cold hands settle upon her head. Her wet hair froze and cracked beneath the ghost’s touch, and then the pressure started.

It began slowly and at first, Nancy was able to resist the downward weight.

Within seconds, it was too much, and she tried to twist away.

But the hands remained in place, and the pressure increased.

Nancy felt herself being pushed down towards the water’s surface. She grabbed onto the edge of the tub with both hands, but it didn’t matter.

“No,” she gasped. “Don’t!”

“Why?” the ghost asked, pausing.

“I don’t want to die!” Nancy shrieked.

“Neither did I,” the stranger said and pushed Nancy’s head below the water.

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