I had so much fun making that graphic. It's not aligned correctly, but hey, I'm not an artist. I just write books.
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Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy.
A low chuckle and the pantry door swung open. Misty tentacles curled up from the landing and into the kitchen. They floated freely, like a foggy mist before a storm. In a way, she found them pretty, and they calmed her. One stopped just inches from her face undulating hypnotically.
Let me in.
Another step back and she felt the kitchen counter press against her back. The tentacles drifted around her. A feathery touch upon one shoulder and another on the hand that held the flashlight. One came close to her face, and she jerked back with a gasp of horror before clenching her jaws tight.
The appendage found its way in through her mouth. It pried open her teeth and crawled through her sinuses and into her brain. Her mind’s eye was suddenly overwhelmed with the restful shores of Bowmen Lake. She pictured the gentle motion of waves. A dock, warm with the sun and cooled in the shadows by a gentle breeze, was inviting. The fresh scent of cedar hung in the air. The sounds of family and good friends surrounded her. Warm and comfortable, she wasn’t the least bit afraid.
She tried to pull back and, shocked, she realized how much more powerful the djinn was than before.
I have to get out. Get out. Get out!
She tried to grab the appendage that bound her to Shenahobet when a flute sounded in her ear, distracting her and filling her with a sense of well-being.
No, Leanore! Stop!
But her body wouldn’t listen. She opened the pantry door.
A wave of noxious fumes riding high on a moist breeze hit her full in the face. She stepped forward, a wisp of smoke forcing her downward. A memory of playing Chinese checkers with her uncle caught her attention. He always let her win. Suddenly, the odor of vanilla extract mixed with pancake batter drifted on the air. She closed her eyes, trying to gain an upper hand on the djinn.
The odors are a distraction, meant to make me feel safe, she told herself.
Terror slipped around her neck like a noose, until the comforting scents of chocolate chip cookies then oatmeal covered in brown sugar and butter wafted around her. She opened her eyes.
Dark green moss grew like a sheet from the upper curvature of the tunnel. The rest of the rock shined with pyrite. Her captor kept her feet from slipping as she started forward, listening to the drip of moisture falling from the ceiling. Halfway to the bottom, she registered the stench of sulfur. Strong enough to burn her nose, she gasped, sucking in sulfuric acid and searing her lungs.
The shock made her stumble, and she shrieked, falling into noxious mold.
The appendage withdrew.
I have to get out of here.
She looked up toward the pantry door. It seemed so far away. The mold that clung to the sides of the cavern grew thick and burned to the touch. It began to creep across the step toward her, seeking her flesh to its burrow its way into.
Once again, Leanore screamed. The djinn took that moment to reinsert itself.
Shenahobet forced her upright. The steps grew steeper. Her mind told her body to run, but her body listened to the djinn that controlled it.
Carved stone steps passed beneath her feet. She reached the bottom, put out her hand, and touched the wooden door. Ancient redwood, she thought as the knowledge came through loud and clear. Made from a gigantic tree that once grew atop the Jackson pass.
Somehow, Shenahobet made her abilities stronger.
And there is more, the djinn promised.
The door opened with ease. Flashing the light into the interior, she saw an eerie assemblage of stalactites and stalagmites reaching seductively for each other in the semi-darkness.
Water ran in sheets from the top of the cavern down a curtain of stone. A pool of brackish water shimmered in front. While the cave gave the illusion of beauty, it was corrupted by a foul stench that filled the air. She moved closer, waving the flashlight in circles to illuminate her way. Shadows flirted with the stone floor, refusing the encroachment of the beam.
Whatever floated just beyond eyesight danced away at the approaching light and took with it the tentacle that guided her body.
She was back in control.
Louann Carroll, writer, author, blogger, journalist
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