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Paranormal Ghost Thriller Horror
BY AUDREY GRACE
“When you’ve made a thousand wishes praying that the 1,000th wish comes true.”
In 1947, 16 year-old Clara Hamilton was accused and wrongfully convicted for the murder of her father. Her stepmother, Alice, sent her to Blackwater Asylum, where she may very well spend the rest of her days.
Blackwater Asylum is a private facility in Massachusetts, where wealthy families send their not-so-perfect offsprings to forget. With no oversight, Dr. Heinrich Von Stein is free to conduct experiments on the patients under his care.
Not long after arriving, Clara realizes the detrimental situation she has found herself in as she listens nightly to the screaming of the mentally insane all around her. Her own sanity is in question as the time passes and she finds herself losing days with no memory of what occurred. Suddenly prone to fits of violent rage and hallucinations, she starts to doubt her own innocence.
Her only hope of escape is a legend her governess had told her from Japanese folklore. One wish to repeat as she makes 1,000 origami cranes. If she believes, her wish will come true. As if a sign, Clara finds a stack of paper under her bed and obsessively folds the cranes all day and long into the night.
Her former governess never had the chance to warn her that all magic comes with a price, and Clara did not expect for her wish to turn out the way it does. Still, she’s given a chance to clear her name and seek vengeance for those who hurt her, and she’s going to take it.
What truths will she uncover on her quest to clear her name and make the real culprit pay for her father’s death?
This book is suitable for teens and adults alike. Please see the author’s note for further information on content which may be disturbing, along with a note on the use of historical terminology.
As the bones turned to dust, my voice came back and I let out a blood-curdling scream. It didn’t stop as I slid to the floor and hugged my knees, my eyes closed tight as my whole body shook.
The door came crashing open and all the noise of the building came rushing back, my own screams joining theirs. I glanced up, the shrill sound stopping as I laid eyes on Tim.
I wasn’t alone anymore.
I knew him.
He was real.
He kneeled in front of me with his brows furrowed, his pupils swaying side to side as he examined me, surely finding the terror in my own eyes. I leaned forward to fall against his chest, listening to his heartbeat. As long as it thudded, I wasn’t alone. I had someone to save me from this nightmare.
“Clara, what happened?” he whispered as he patted my back.
“I saw them. A monster. He was dead and said I did it. I didn’t. I swear I didn’t kill him.”
“Who? Who did you see?”
“My father. And Miss Tsuru, but I know she’s alive. Alice would have told me if she died. And Alice. Alice was here.”
“Alice hasn’t been here for a week, Clara. She wouldn’t be in your room either.”
He didn’t believe me and thought I was as insane as the rest of them claimed. I could hear it in his voice, in the words he chose carefully, and the way he was firm but gentle.
I shook my head, trying to clear the fog from my mind before desperately begging for him to believe me, “I saw them. They weren’t real, but they were. Like ghosts. I could see and hear them like they were here. But they came from the shadows, from the floor.”
I felt his chest move as he sighed heavily. Sharply, he said, “They aren’t here. It was your imagination or a dream. You’re okay. I need you to pull yourself together before the rest of the nurses and orderlies come in.”
He peeled me away from him, and my back hit the icy wall. The chill of it matched my inner emotions, and I clawed at his shirt, trying to get back to the comfort I desperately needed, the comfort he’d given me that I couldn’t let go of.
His fingers dug into my wrist and pressed against a spot that made me cry out and release him. Emptiness swept through me, a far-reaching feeling of being utterly alone in this world. My tears fell as I heard shuffling behind him and the sob I’d held in released, coming out in a shuddering, loud moan.
“Shit,” I heard him mutter under his breath as Annie spoke, asking what happened.
“I think the medicine is messing with her. She may have been mad when we brought her in, but nothing to this extent. Dr. Von Stein needs to reevaluate the patient.”
“You’re telling me how to do my job?” Annie said incredulously, followed by her haunting laughter. “You, a simple orderly, think you know better than those of us who have been trained medically? You’ve been here one year, boy. You’re the muscle, not the brains.”
She was so harsh and rude. I wanted to scream at her and say she was wrong. I wasn’t myself anymore. I was other, haunted. The innocent girl who could recall the most minor facts no longer remembered days. An entire week passed since my stepmother visited, and I couldn’t remember any of it.
I tried to get the words to form, to prove her wrong, but my lips refused to move. When I spotted the needle in her hand, relief washed over me. If it meant I never had another shot of that horrific medicine, I’d never speak again.
“I just think something needs to be done. This isn’t normal,” he replied with less confidence.
“You know what? I’ll have Dr. Von Stein look at her. But not because I think she’s gone mad. She was mad before. It seems the medicine isn’t working to keep her calm,” Annie’s smile was unnerving, making her look closer to the skeletal being my father looked like in the vision I had.
“Why her?” Tim questioned, ignoring her threat. “We have plenty of patients out there who scream all day long. It’s so loud and constant, it rings in my ears long after I leave this place.”
“She killed her father, Tim,” Annie snarled. “Out of the blue with no signs before it happened. The rest of the patients have different stories and need different treatment. They’re sent here because their parents can’t take care of them. But Miss Hamilton here – she hides the evil lurking beneath her pretty face. Those are the worst ones, Tim. Patients like her who have deteriorating mental health problems.”
“As far as why her, Dr. Von Stein, has directed us to provide extra care. As the director of this facility, we do as he says. If you have an issue with doing your job, take it up with him,” she continued. “Now, you have a choice. You can sit there and be taken by this manipulator and lose your job, or you can move and let me do mine.”
Audrey lives in the Midwest and grew up with the influences of some of the greatest horror and thriller writers of all time. Her own writing journey began with short spooky stories to tell around the campfire and eventually she started writing them down. As she did so, they grew into full books. With the nudge of her friend, she decided to throw caution to the wind and become an author. Her favorite stories to write are terrifying spins on urban legends from around the world.
While Audrey likes to write on the dark side, she loves romance, Victorian era cosplay, musicals, and history shows. You can find her visiting haunted locations whenever she gets a chance.
Links to Audrey’s website, blog, books, etc.
Thanks, Audrey, for sharing your book with us!
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