The Orion Circle #1
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option
Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.
When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.
But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.
Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.
Everything hurts. My arms are wrenched behind my back, and I’m curled up in the fetal position on my side. When I try to move, to ease my screaming muscles, I realize my arms are tied together. Panic surges through me as I squirm against my bonds. Shivers race along my body from the frigid cold. A sharp pain bites into my cheek. As I shift my head, I realize a small rock is embedded in my cheek. My eyes open to inky darkness. Though I can hear shuffling and scraping, I can’t see anything. My heart races and I choke back a sob.
Where am I?
Light flares to life, burning my eyes and leaving me blind for several moments. When I can see again, I cringe at the ghastly vision. Several spirits surround me in vivid corporeal form. They appear as they did in death—bloody, mutilated, bright images of a horrible tragedy. I recognize the raven-haired girl. I’ve seen her broken body numerous times in my nightmares. She teeters on legs shattered beyond any hope of repair were she still alive.
Two spirits flank her, both boys around ten years old. Their forms are so solid, they appear alive, but the grievous injuries make it clear these boys couldn’t possibly be among the living. No one could survive such extensive injury. One boy’s head hangs to his shoulder, only attached by a band of sinew. His blond hair is soaked in blood where it brushes his chest. Bile rises in my throat. I wonder if I can vomit during a vision.
My eyes move to observe the other boy. It’s hard to tell anything about him because his face has been destroyed. The right side is concave and his nose is missing. Gulping down a breath of air, I hold it in, willing the overwhelming nausea away.
It’s just a vision. I repeat this over and over in my head until I can breathe again.
“Help us,” the girl rasps in a voice that sounds like she’s gargling gravel. “He won’t stop hurting us. You can save us. Please!”
“I’m so scared,” the boy with the dangling head whispers. “He’s getting worse. What will happen if he destroys our souls?”
“I-I don’t—” Before I can continue, an angry voice cuts me off.
“You left!” The accusation comes from the boy with the smashed face. His voice echoes all around me, loud, furious. “You were here and you left! You left us alone with the monster. How could you?”
“Where?” I ask in a hoarse whisper, flinching at the raw pain that sears through my throat. “Where are you?”
“Be quiet!” the girl orders in a whisper. “He’ll hear us.”
“Who will hear you?” I ask becoming desperate. “Where are you?”
“The manor,” the girl replies, her head darting around in frantic movements. “He’s coming!”
“What manor? Who’s coming?” I ask in an urgent whisper.
“Foxbl—” The girl disappears in a flash before she can finish.
“Kassandra Ramsey,” a deep male voice says from the shadows. “How nice to see you here. You can’t help them, you know. Soon you will belong to me and my reign of terror on the mortal plane will begin.”
“Who are you?” I shout to be heard above the sinister cackling. Someone has been watching too many melodramatic old movie villains. “What do you want?”
“You, my dear,” the voice says in my ear.
I jump, trying to scramble away from the phantom’s breath against my face. With my arms tied behind my back I don’t get far. A hoarse scream leaves my throat, but it seems to make my tormentor laugh harder. Pain sears through my ankle, such horrible pressure. I can feel the outline of fingers ending in what feels like sharp claws.
“Soon, Kassandra, soon.” The dark voice is hollow in my ears as I slip into blessed unconsciousness.