Excerpt: GHOST HUNTER (Haunted Series, Book 1)
Another night and another ghost. Caleb ‘Ghost’ Hunter yawned, and stretched his tight muscles and aching back. What he really needed was a woman. Only a flesh and blood woman instead of the shadowy specters and disembodied voices as was his norm these days, or rather, his nights.
He turned to survey his surroundings in the close, warm atmosphere of a typical coastal night. A light fog crept along the ground, and buildings and landscaping rose from the mists. Cloud cover obscured the nearly full moon. It was a night for seeing through the unworldly veil or for romance under the stars with a gothic twist. But the woman he wanted, needed, had nothing to do with romance.
Caleb tossed the final coil of coaxial cable into the back of his black Excursion. Yeah, he needed a woman. Not that a man couldn’t do the job, he thought, but the customers, already excited and a bit skittish seemed to respond better to a calming, female influence.
On the one hand he was glad as hell for the great weather and the busy tourist season, on the other hand, he was less glad that he was having to be the chief booking agent, tour guide, and resident ghost hunter all rolled up into one tired package.
Yeah, he definitely wanted a woman.
“Man that was crazy intense. I can’t wait until we review the voice analysis and film. You could hear it, man. Weeping, but like the sound was coming from under water. The veil was thinner tonight. Yeah, crazy. Aren’t you amped over it, Ghost?”
“Amped, yeah. Has it also occurred to you how shorthanded we are? We’re going to flop into bed for a few hours, get up and start on booking ghost walk tours, researching and booking for our next possible paranormal investigations, and reviewing evidence already collected.”
“Yeah, ain’t it great?” Rory hefted the last camera case and extension cord roll into the vehicle’s nearly full back hatch space. “Yeah, we’re tired. Yeah, we need more help, especially with Joe and Wynter off on their own for the Porter Asylum gig. Sweet gig, that one, but this one is gonna get their motor’s running when they get back. My neck is still tingling from that cold touch. Hope we got that on the cameras.” Rory gave an exaggerated shiver and ruffled his thatch of bright copper hair, which already stuck every which way like an overused scrub brush.
Caleb leaned an elbow against the glassed hatch door on the big truck and listened to Rory Mathis, his chief investigator, enthuse over the evening’s events. It had been an active night and the review tapes should show some evidence to support the owner’s claim of paranormal activity. It was an investigative gem on a night filled with unearthly and inexplicable sounds, cold spots, and even personal contact.
Except there was no direct communication.
Frustration roiled inside of him. It haunted him to know what he knew, but couldn’t break the wall to communicate. He turned and glanced down the road towards the imposing Gable House mansion where it had all started for him. He could close his tired eyes and nearly hear the weeping again that had drifted through the Gable House mansion halls all those years ago and raised the hair on the back of the neck. Even after twenty years, the experience was just as sharp and bone-chilling today as it had been then for a twelve-year old kid. A twelve-year old kid just as scared and lost as the ghost who haunted that house.
His memories ran to his childhood friend, Nick Gable, who’d been a brother to Caleb and had shared his own family with a kid who’d suddenly had none of his own. Nick Gable. Hadn’t heard from him in a while. Still trying to distance himself from his own ghosts, both earthly and unearthly, although the latter he staunchly denied.
His lips tightened and he felt the tiredness in every one of his thirty-two year old bones. For all that they discovered, filmed, proved and debunked, they could never make that final leap and achieve direct verbal communication. It drove him on so many levels. For a very personal reason.
He took stock of the vast array of ghost hunting equipment and tools he’d acquired over the years. The entire back end of his large SUV was packed, along with the second equipment van the rest of his team still loaded. Over the years, he’d documented masses of evidence that even his most strident skeptics had drawn blanks on. Still, he hadn’t reached the goal that drove him for the past twenty years, and continued to drive him.
Even all the flack he’d caught growing up from the other kids in school hadn’t dinted his belief or his determination. Not even the adults, with all their therapists and counseling, had shaken his belief. Illusions brought on by the intense grief and tragedy he’d suffered from the loss of his family, they theorized. Ridiculous, especially living in Gable Cove, Texas. One of the top ten most haunted towns in the US.
He shook his head and rolled his shoulders as if to shake off a heavy weight. They hadn’t seen what he’d seen. Hadn’t experienced what he’d experienced. There had to be a reason and there had to be a way to harness all of that to break through to the other side. To get the answers to the questions that haunted him.
He tuned in as Rory’s enthusiasm wound down a few notches. Caleb reached and clamped a hand on Rory’s shoulder and gave him a small smile. “It was an excellent night. Let’s roll. Tomorrow is coming fast and it’s gonna be a long one.”
“Ah, yeah. Interview day. Saw the towering stack of applications on the booking desk. Looks like everyone in town applied,” Rory said around a gaping yawn. “Well, maybe you can hire someone who can organize and run the office and who is also a psychic medium. One bird, two stones kinda deal.”
Caleb grimaced. “Those are just the applications we’ve received in person. You don’t want to know how many came from the online application. Or the photos they enclosed in all their best psychic wardrobe, or the psychic predictions they sent. I just want someone to organize the damned office, book customer tours, and handle the payroll and banking business. That’s it.”
“Well maybe one who also likes to bake cookies? Cookies are good. Now there’s the perfect applicant. Skilled office manager, psychic medium, who also bakes cookies,” Rory grinned.
Caleb muttered an oath under his breath, but Rory heard and hooted with laughter.
“No, no. Uh-uh. Spare me from the Madame Zelda’s of psychic medium-hood. There’s only one psychic medium on the planet I’d trust and he isn’t accepting communications or likely to visit Gable Cove any time soon.” Caleb slid behind the wheel and turned the ignition.
“Spencer Davis,” Rory said in a tone of awe and not a little bit of hero-worship. “The Ghost Communicator, Extraordinaire.”
“The one and only. Let’s go home.”