“…an evocative and unusual ghost story. Archer gracefully weaves together the contemporary and historical into an eerie mystery, while examining relationships, reality, and the power of the mind.” – Publishers Weekly
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Every ghost has a story to tell . . .
The last thing Tansy Piper wanted was to move to the middle of nowhere in Cedar Canyon, Texas. Once there, her life takes a chilling turn when she finds a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal in the cellar of her new home.
The items belonged to Henry, a troubled teenager who lived in the house and died decades earlier. And Tansy, an amateur photographer, soon discovers that through the crystal and her photographs, she can become part of Henry’s surreal black-and-white world.
But the more time Tansy spends in the past, the more her present world fades away. Can she escape Henry’s dangerous reality before losing touch with her own life forever?
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I died on a bitter cold night. Beneath a black sky and a bruised winter moon, I tried to fly, hoping
my arms might act as wings. When the howling wind refused to lift me, I closed my eyes and
willed death to take me away.
The end came quickly and without pain, but no angel of mercy appeared to help me
escape this place; I’m as trapped here as I was in life, forced to roam Father’s remote house, the
barren fields, this dusty wind-battered town full of small-minded bores. And it’s all the worse
because the girl I love is gone.
At least in the afterlife I fly with ease. I have learned to hover like mist and to soar like
a bird. Today I mix with particles of debris and ride the wind as it circles the turret. I rattle the
roof beams and roar at the sun, swoop down and around to the front porch, swirl up the steps and
shove the old swing, causing the rusty hinges to screech.
I push out into the yard, where another gust of wind carries me around to the side of the
house and lifts me to the top of the mulberry tree. Green leaves tremble, and gnarled branches
shudder beneath my breath. A small space between a dirty glass window pane and its frayed
wooden frame allows me enough room to squeeze through into one of the house’s second story rooms.
Once inside I rush down the hallway past more vacant rooms, my silent screams
bouncing off walls. Father’s precious house has sat empty too long, devoid of life except for
insects and rodents, and they can’t help me ease my pain; they can’t accomplish what needs to be done.
At the uppermost landing of the staircase, I slip beneath the door to the turret, my refuge
in both life and death. I circle the room twice, once fast, the second time more slowly. Soothed
by the surrounding plaster and wood that still contain strains of my violin music, I float on lost
notes that echo from a time when I played for her, when I hoped my melodies might drift across
the field and reach her ears.
The wind calms outside, and the sound of a sneeze startles me out of my reverie. Curious,
I sweep to the window that overlooks the land behind the house. The root cellar door stands
open. Someone — a person — is climbing inside! A hand reaches up from the cellar and grabs a
bag and two books from the ground beside the opening. The title on the spine of the top volume
scatters particles of hope through me. Finally . . . finally. A lover of Yeats and Shelley, of
Shakespeare and Dante. The sort of mind that I might reach . . . or possess.
The cellar door closes. Drifting through the window and down, I sift through the minute
cracks in the splintered wooden door, eager to meet my guest, hoping that this one will be my
salvation. At last.