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Soul Cutter

Author(s): Lexa Cain

Young Adult Dark Fiction Horror

The Soul Cutter is hunting again.

Seventeen-year-old Élan spends her free time videoing psychic scams and outing them online. Skepticism makes life safe—all the ghosts Élan encounters are fakes. When her estranged mother disappears from a film shoot in Egypt, Élan puts her medium-busting activities on hold and joins the search.

In Egypt, the superstitious film crew sucks at finding her mom. When a hotel guest is killed, whispers start—the locals think their legendary Soul Cutter has come back from the dead. Élan's only ally is Ramsey, a film-crew intern, but he’s arrogant, stubborn—and hiding dangerous secrets.

When Élan discovers the Soul Cutter is no scam, she finds herself locked in a deadly battle against a supernatural killer with more than her mother’s life at stake.

Élan's fighting for her very soul.

Excerpt


A cry of pain cut through the air. Élan stiffened, and her gaze flew left and right.

 In the room opposite, the curtain flapped from an open door, one she was sure had been closed a moment ago.

Inside, something flickered, like a ball of electricity. Multi-colored sparkles fractured and popped, making an illogical wind chime sound she could hear twenty yards away.

Her heart sped up. Not a ghost, not a ghost, not a ghost, she chanted to herself. Denying her gut reaction, she grasped the next likeliest explanation: a fire. The room was on fire! Maybe someone was inside, and there was no one around but her.

She plunged toward the room, wanting to help, to put out the fire or rescue the hapless victim. But the closer she got, the more the strange blaze appeared to be human-sized. When she skidded to a halt at the patio door, her heart dropped. She’d made a mistake. A big one. It wasn’t a fire. It was someone—something—inside.

The glittering shape revolved in slow motion, turning toward her. A bald head topped its shoulders, but seemed way too small for the huge, glowing body. Her gaze crept up to its face. Please don’t be Warren Ziegfield.

It wasn’t. It was worse. Above a huge hooked nose, inhumanly black eyes sparked with anger. Its glare splashed across Élan like kerosene, and her skin tingled and burned. Her muscles locked in place. She couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think.

The creature floated toward her, its mouth open in a soundless cry. Its arms rose, palms up.

Pleading? Imploring? Or ready to snatch her up and carry her into the pit of Hell to be punished?

Adrenaline coursed through her. She wanted to run, but her body was rooted in the doorway, her mind trembling on the edge of reality and delusion.

The thing drew nearer. Lines of static electricity crackled off it and snaked into the air.

Her ear canals ached from growing air pressure. The bones of her face buzzed. The hair stood up on her arms.

The wind chimes were so loud their resonance vibrated in her chest. Spots blotted her vision, her body went numb, and she knew she was going to faint.

Oh, Lord, please don't let it get me.

Without warning, wind blasted out of the room. It struck her like a blow, snapping her from her stupor. She yelped and threw her arms across her face.

When she peeked through them, the apparition was gone. Nothing remained of the glowing fire.

But the bed was rumpled, its sheets lumped over a still form. Élan couldn’t see who lay there because she was blocking the garden light. Had the freaky-fire giant hurt the person under the covers? Did they need help?

She bent forward and peered around. Nothing moved, so she edged inside. It was a small room, like Aysha’s, and it took only three strides to cross the floor.

A foul odor filled her nostrils, the smell of meat left too long on the grill. She coughed. Her hand rose to cover her nose and mouth. She sidestepped out of the floodlight’s path, sending light slicing across the bed.

The sleeper lay on their back. The face—there was no face. It was burned black, flesh warped and molded to the skull. Dull bits of red shone through where the skin had cracked and split apart. Singed hair curled in wiry tufts, some adhering to the scalp, some speckled across the pillow like the feathers of some weird, black bird. The eye sockets were empty pits, dark tunnels to another time and place. Its mouth was wide open, and its silent wail reached into Élan’s soul.

Gulping back a scream, she spun and dove toward the patio door.

And ran straight into a figure in the opening.

It grabbed her.

The shrieks that had been so precariously clamped behind her teeth broke free. Their shrillness bounced off the walls and rang in her ears.

Hands clasped her upper arms. She tore away, dodged around the bed, and headed for the hall door.

It opened before she got there, revealing a man whose hawk-like eyes stared down from a gaunt face.

Élan squealed and staggered backward, slamming into the dresser. Her eyes swung from the new man to the stark silhouette on the patio. And between them, the scorched corpse on the bed.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-77127-421-0
Genre: Young Adult
Date Published: 12/06/2013
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

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