Whispering Graves: Banshee Series Book 2
Whispering Graves: Banshee Series Book 2
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A deadly whisper . . .
Reeling from the terrors at Fort Wayward, all Benton wants to do is enjoy some peace with his new companion, Nicole. But everything changes in one horrific night with a single, unworldly whisper.
A malicious force now prowls the town unlike anything Benton has ever encountered. It remains hidden in broad daylight. It moves without making a sound. It kills by simply whispering its victim’s name.
Benton’s world unravels once again. He discovers that not only can this monster hunt Benton in reality, but also in his dreams. Severed from his ability to see through the eyes of a killer, Benton is unable to discover who’s next to die. But there’s no doubt that the hunt is on.
The duo is determined to save the residents of Fort Wayward. But they struggle to find a way to stop the demon. Time is running out.
It won’t be long before the demon discovers Benton’s name. And whispers him straight to his grave.
The small round dining table made it impossible for Benton to ignore the corpse that sat in the chair across from him. Death had claimed its eyes, hiding both the color and pupil under the milky film, but it didn’t weaken the weight of its gaze. Sitting on either side of him, his parents continued their conversation between mouthfuls of the Chinese takeout that had already gone cold and soaked through the paper containers by the time it had arrived. Benton flinched each time their cutlery scraped against their plates. Familiar aromas clung to the warm air of the living room and filled his nose.
And the corpse kept staring at him.
“Benton,” his mother said softly.
Benton didn’t respond. Instead, he kept his eyes locked on his dinner plate, one of the few places he could look where the corpse wasn’t visible. His mother’s perfectly manicured hand crept into his field of vision and tapped the edge of his plate.
“It’s getting cold, sweetie.”
He could feel the weight of his father’s gaze as it shifted onto him. And with that, Benton now had the full attention of all three people seated at the round table. Clutching his fork until his fingers lost feeling, Benton forced his eyes up. With his parents sitting on either side of him, there was nothing to disrupt his view from the dead man before him. Sixty years had passed since Oliver Ackerman had been buried in a shallow grave, and only a month since Benton had dug him up.
It hadn’t been an intentional thing, at least not consciously. Benton and his parents had moved into the house hoping for a fresh start, and on their first night, while sleepwalking, Benton had found the mangled corpse in their barn. The whole event had seemed to fit right in with the long progression of twisted nightmarish happenings that constituted his life. People liked to tell him that it was just bad luck or a coincidence. He knew it wasn’t. He knew that there was something about him that wasn’t quite right.
But no one ever really believes a teenager when he says that he feels he’s different. It didn’t stop him from feeling it; like an alien body under his skin. Something growing. Something that had strengthened the night he had found Oliver, and evolved the day a demonic spirit had tried to kill him.
That attack had forever shifted something within Benton, and Oliver had marked the occasion by making his first appearance. He had begun almost timidly. Standing at the foot of Benton’s bed as he slept, or lurking in the shadows only to disappear when Benton turned a light on. He wasn’t so timid anymore. Now he liked to be seen, but only by Benton, and always appearing undeniably dead. Oliver was as bloated and festering as a fresh corpse, nothing like the brittle, discolored remains that had been pulled from the earth. Each time he saw him, Benton could smell the lingering stench of decay. As soon as Benton locked eyes with Oliver from across the table, the scent of rotting meat grew until he gagged.
“Are you feeling okay?” his mother pressed.
“Yeah,” Benton said after swallowing down his bile. “I’m fine.”
His mother talked across him, her attention focused solely on his father. “He looks pale.”
Benton jumped when his father pressed a hand against his forehead.
“Relax, Chey, he’s not warm.”
“Really, I’m fine,” Benton assured as he let his eyes drift back down to his plate. The broken eye contact didn’t distract him from the ghost’s attention. It only intensified it, until Benton could almost taste the putrid smell in the back of his throat. Oliver never took his eyes off of him. “I’m just not that hungry.”
“Well, you need to eat something,” Cheyanne said. “You can’t keep expecting Constable Rider to pay for your meals.”
His father scoffed. “Don’t be so dramatic. We let the Constable’s daughter eat our food when she’s over.”
“It’s hardly the same, Theo,” his mother shot back. “He’s been having at least one meal a day over there. That adds up. We don’t want her thinking that we’re taking advantage of her hospitality.”
What neither of them was taking into consideration was that Constable Rider’s daughter, Nicole, was a force of nature, like a hurricane of bubbly energy and glitter. When she decided that something was going to happen, she didn’t give up until she made it happen. Whether it was making Benton agree that they were friends, or hunting down and slaughtering a serial killing demon, she put the same amount of energy into both tasks. While Benton had decided that he needed to get out of the house, somewhere far away from his parents, and Oliver, it was Nicole who had declared that he would spend that free time over at her place. And, somewhere along the line, it just sort of happened.
The stench grew stronger, ripping Benton from the safety of his thoughts and thrusting him back into his meal with the dead. As subtly as he could, he pressed the back of his hand against his nose and breathed through his mouth. He could feel the traces of airborne fat coating his throat and making his eyes water.
With renewed determination to ignore Oliver, Benton stabbed at a hunk of pork. The crimson sweet and sour sauce swelled around the prongs of his fork. It appeared to thicken as he watched it, darkening until it looked like blood oozing out from the slice of meat. His stomach churned and he forced the morsel off his fork. Instead, he quickly shoved down a bite of honey chicken before Oliver could play any mind tricks with it.
The mouthful was enough to satisfy his parents and they resumed their previous conversation, chatting happily, unaware of the corpse only inches from their sides. They didn’t see him, didn’t feel the weight of his dead eyes upon them, but they did feel the shift in the air. It was a small comfort to see them shiver and watch as his father went to check the thermostat. But it was still a comfort. It was a slither of proof for Benton that he wasn’t crazy.
Forcing himself to swallow the mouthful, Benton glanced up at Oliver. He was closer. Sitting perfectly still, his hands on his lap and his spine straight. The specter had drifted forward, entering into the solid wood of the table. Benton’s heart hammered as a cold sweat bristled his skin. He blinked and Oliver was an inch closer. Staring. Silent. Benton lowered his gaze and felt the shift, the press of frigid air against his skin as Oliver drew closer. Benton looked up, and Oliver was halfway through the table. This time, Benton didn’t take his eyes off of the ghost, but he couldn’t quell his need to blink. Each time his eyelids flicked down, Oliver leaped forward until his decomposing face swallowed Benton’s vision. His sunken, cloudy eyes held Benton’s, while the stench of death gushed from him like a physical force. Benton felt drenched in it. His clothes grew heavy with festering vapor and he could almost feel a thick putrid mucus covering his arms and face. Oliver lurched forward again. Close enough now that the decaying flesh of his nose pressed, wet and weeping, against Benton’s own.
“Benton,” Theodore said from somewhere now unseen. “Eat your dinner.”
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