Chapter One


Tanya Williams paced across her extravagant living room, waiting for help they desperately needed to arrive. Alec, her husband, was on the phone, having called the investigator shortly after the incident occurred. They'd been in continuous contact since then. The evidence of the event had spilled across an Oriental rug, the urn's ashes had sizzled and hissed only minutes before, turning into a black, tar-like substance.

For weeks, they'd been in denial, wanting to believe their perfect house was not haunted. Over the last few days, Tanya tried to remind herself it wasn't possible whenever she heard a bump, scream, or groan. There was no such thing as ghosts, spirits, or demons, she had told herself often. It was an old house, they expected the floors to creak, and the walls and pipes would groan as the season changed. The framed pictures had just fallen off the walls. It was not an angry, wayward spirit who had knocked them down.

Tanya stopped in front of the mirror in the foyer, the wide, gilded frame, a family heirloom her husband had inherited from his grandmother. Sleepless nights had taken a toll on her once perfect face, and blotchy cheeks greeted her in the mirror's reflection. The bags under her red-rimmed eyes had enough luggage for a month in Hawaii. The smile that had graced magazines and screens across the nation, appeared weathered and cracked. She could barely make out the color of her lips against her pale skin. She turned one way and then another, hating how much her strawberry blonde hair seemed dull and lifeless, her cheekbones more hallowed out than ever.

Her husband's voice rose an octave higher in the kitchen, catching her attention. She watched him in the mirror. Standing at just over six-feet-four, with dark brown hair and broad shoulders, her once handsome husband appeared to have aged ten years overnight.

Her first thought was, "What would the ladies at the club say?"

Strange, she thought. It wasn't like her to care about such things.

Laughter bubbled from between Tanya's pale lips, escaping as she realized she looked even worse than her husband. Her gaze returned to the mirror, watching the reflection as Alec walked around the kitchen island. Despite his less than stellar appearance, she loved his stride. He had confidence in spades, always had. It was what attracted her—well that, and his financial stability. They didn't need his family's old money though, because he was bona fide self-made millionaire.

Alec held up his hand to catch her attention, telling her that the ETA on their contact was less than five minutes out. She blew out a breath of relief, but choked back a comment and scrambled away from the mirror when she saw her face looking at her differently. In the mirror's reflection, she was holding a knife in one hand, slowly turning it from side to side. The blade appeared so real that it would catch the light overhead, the glint of steel turned blinding.

Tanya looked down at her own hand, questioning her own sanity. It was empty.

Her eyes snapped back to the mirror, and in it, she saw a knife on the butcher block start to shake, before it turned toward her husband. "Alec!" she screamed and ducked, turning in time to watch him do the same. The thwack of the knife hitting the wall behind him sounded like a gunshot as it reverberated around the room. They rose from the floor, each shaking as they scrambled to reach each other.

Despite the knife missing him, the blade embedded in the wall dripped with blood that seemed to glow. One drop, then two, landed on their pristine white marble, spreading out like veins and arteries, toward them, growing in mass.

Tanya clasped her husband's arm, her nails biting into his skin. "Tell him to get here now!"

Alec nodded and delivered the message through the phone he still held, his face turning ashen white at a disturbing sound. The rest of their cutlery started to rattle in every drawer and on the counter space. Not taking any chances, he grabbed his wife and ran. A blood-curdling scream seemed to chase them, a stench of decay not far behind.

.

.

.

Edward Masen's old truck idled in the driveway of the Williams Estate, his gaze on the fancy house before him. Lights flickered in all the windows, a shadow darting from one spot to another, as a scream or two drove the point home. It looked like it would be just another night in life of a paranormal investigator.

"Maybe I can keep the power on this month." Edward turned off the engine, grateful for some business. It wasn't often that ghosts decided to haunt the rich and famous. Most of the time, when he investigated a home, it was free. He lived off the subscribers and affiliates on his blog and YouTube channel, but it wasn't much. He hadn't posted anything new in months to keep subscribers coming, so it was time to pay the bills.

Edward walked around to the bed of his truck, grabbing his equipment, double-checking the extra batteries. He called out for his reinforcements. "Are any of you getting anything on who is haunting this place?"

Nothing scared Edward anymore, not since he realized he could see and hear the dead. It didn't bother him in the least when his long dead cousin, James, popped his head out from inside the truck, his body missing. His dull, ice blue eyes glared at him. "I ain't going in there, Edward. I'm stating that right now. Whatever is in there, it is pissed and thirsts for blood."

Yes, spirits fear other spirits.

"Thirsts for blood, eh? Then you shouldn't have problem. Besides, you say that about every investigation." Edward closed the tailgate and lifted one of the camera bags onto his shoulder. "I never would've guessed you were such a pussy." Edward's cousin rolled his eyes right of his transparent head, and Edward watched as they bounced around in the bed of his truck. "Cute."

James huffed as he appeared beside Edward a few seconds later, as he walked up the steps leading to the front door. It wasn't long until Mrs. Cope joined them, quiet as usual, her hands working two lethal knitting needles through some garnish green yarn. She'd been knitting when she passed, and hadn't stopped, even in death.

"What do you think, Shelly?" Edward asked, groaning at the weight of the equipment. The problem with only having ghosts help—there was nobody to help carry the bags.

"You're going to have your hands full. The dead wife is quite angry at the other woman in her home. Though, why she suddenly decided to act out now is unclear."

The Williams had been married for a while now.

"Fucking perfect," Edward said under his breath so his old grade school teacher wouldn't hear.

"Mr. Masen," she scolded in the same tone she used when he was only eight years old. "I advise you drop the gutter mouth and do something about that mess you call hair." She waved one of those needles toward his unruly sienna colored hair, and out of instinct, he ducked.

James' laughter made Edward's skin crawl, but he ignored it and knocked on the door.

Here we go.


AN: This fic is currently being edited and new updates will start once editing is complete. Thanks to kyla713 for all your help, I love you, bb.