Excerpt from Nightspell:
A sudden sound made Callie sit straight up. She could still feel the impression of the couch fabric on her neck and back; she rolled her shoulders instinctively, but they didn’t ache, even though she must have been asleep for hours. She had fallen asleep on the couch long after the card party ended, because she’d had nowhere else to go. She was sure if she had gone to her bedchambers, Darri would have been there waiting for her.
The lamps had gone out, and the windowless room was pitch-black and cold. She had been asleep for a long time. In the darkness, someone had just knocked something over.
“Jano?” she said, ignoring her pounding heart. This was just the sort of opportunity he would love. Scaring the living, and especially scaring her, was one of his favorite pastimes.
Reminding herself firmly that she was no longer easy to scare, Callie reached over the arm of the couch, groping for a lamp.
A hand clamped over her wrist. “Don’t.”
The hand was cold and clammy, but the voice was worse: dry, raspy, and guttural, as if it was being forced through a mouthful of dirt. Callie twisted and went for the lamp with her other hand.
Two seconds later she was on the floor, her head slamming against the far wall; she had been lifted by her arm and tossed across the room. Callie drew her knees up and bit her lip to keep in a whimper.
That inhuman voice rattled out of the darkness: “I said don’t.”
Suddenly Callie felt very much like the terrified child she had been when she first arrived in Ghostland. She didn’t even think of getting to her feet, or running, or fighting. Something about that voice drained every ounce of will from her. She hugged her knees to her chest and forced her voice through her tightening throat. “What do you want?”
“I am here to do you a favor.”
That was better than to kill you. But only by a little; Callie was familiar with Ghostland “favors.” She took a deep breath, trying to figure out who was doing this. “Lovely,” she said. She had learned long ago how well sarcasm masked fear.
“Or rather, to do your siblings a favor.”
“Even better,” Callie said. “I’m eternally grateful.”
The laugh was worse than the voice. “You think you don’t care about them? Then you need do nothing when I tell you where they are.”
A prickle ran up Callie’s spine. In this castle, there were places -- people -- whom it was well-advised to stay away from. Darri would have no way of knowing that.
She tried to tell herself Darri deserved to know what it felt like, but she couldn’t make it convincing. Darri was here, after all. She had come willingly to this terrible place, where the dead walked with the living as if they belonged on this earth. And she had come for Callie. Callie pushed herself up from the floor, her mouth set.
“Where,” she said, “are they?”
Want to find out more about Nightspell? You can check out the author’s website, www.leahcypess.com; read the first 3 chapters at the HarperCollins site (http://browseinside.harperteen.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061957024); or check out the book’s Amazon page (http://www.amazon.com/Nightspell-Leah-Cypess/dp/006195702X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317861163&sr=8-1)
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