My Dear Reader-Friends,
Today I'm sharing an extra special preview of CURSED ASYLUM. An entire scene from Chapter One!
Jasper rushed to dress the next morning like he always did on Saturdays. Only getting to see Wes on weekends was a challenge. Jasper spent the entire week pining and daydreaming of the time they’d spend together and once the weekend came, the days flew by so fast he barely had time to grasp them. Every second counted and he couldn’t be bothered to waste them on primping in a mirror or trading morning platitudes with his parents. So, he shouted a short, “Have a great day!” to his mom and dad as he zoomed past them having their morning coffee on the couch while watching the news. However, Jasper did take a moment at the door to grab his jacket and scratch Zener, the family’s tabby cat, behind the ear before heading out to meet up with Wes at the park.
Tony’s suggestion of renting an apartment for the weekends had rooted itself in Jasper’s thoughts. While he drove into town, he kept running over the logistics of the scenario and each time concluded it financially impractical. However, his imagination insisted on how amazing having a safe place all their own would be. No more rushing to get ready on Saturday mornings because they’d already be together.
The park was within walking distance from the Shain’s house, where Wes stayed while he visited. Jasper spotted him on the metal bench near the small hedge maze in the center of the park. The park wasn’t too busy this early in the morning. Only a few joggers were on the walking trail and a couple of families with small children were gathered around the playground equipment. The hedge maze appeared to be empty save for Wes who hopped up from the bench when Jasper arrived.
“Since when did you become such a morning person?” Jasper asked after a brief kiss in greeting. Wes grinned so wide he could have been rehearsing to be the Cheshire Cat.
“Since all of our prayers have been answered!” Wes rocked on his feet with pent up exuberance.
“Well, that’s not much of a feat since I don’t pray,” Jasper teased. He locked elbows with Wes and led him into the hedge maze in an effort to help him funnel out all his apparent excess energy while they walked and talked.
“I’m so excited, I don’t even think this is the best way to tell you this but I’m going to do it anyway,” Wes said. “I just can’t keep it to myself until we see Liv and Tony later and I didn’t want to relay the message through texts because this is definitely one of those things you have to announce to people in person.”
“You’re rambling,” Jasper pointed out while they rounded a hedge.
Wes took a deep breath and stopped Jasper in his tracks by unlinking their elbows and pivoting to face him. Wes grabbed Jasper by the arms as though he were about to need steadying.
“I submitted an audition tape with clips of our work to a reality show competition about paranormal investigators and—they accepted us! We’re in!” Wes shook Jasper’s arms. “We’re going to be on television!”
He let Jasper go and ran his hands through his long black hair, brushing wild strands out of his face where they had fallen in his excitement.
“You did what?” Shocked, Jasper’s body locked in place like he'd had a nightmare where someone was chasing him, and he couldn’t run away because his legs had become heavy as stone. The thought of being on network television caused years of carefully managed social anxiety to crash over him in a giant wave. Sure, they had a web series, but that was different. They had a niche audience, and he could control how much he would be seen, and he tried to stay off camera whenever possible. But a reality show? No. No way. Everyone in the nation would be watching and criticizing.
“This is the chance of a lifetime! I can’t wait to tell Liv and Tony.”
Jasper fought off the rapid sensation of distress building up. “You should have told us before you applied!”
Wes knitted his eyebrows. “Why? So, you could shrug it off and say ‘no’? See, this way if we were rejected—no harm, no foul. But now that we’re accepted, we can celebrate! And start preparing. We’re supposed to fly out to film over winter break.”
Jasper continued walking the maze in silence, allowing Wes to ramble on about what the reality show entailed. He couldn’t talk Wes down when he was this enthusiastic about something. Jasper would have to leave that job to Liv. She was much better at bursting bubbles.
Winter break was in three weeks. Maybe that would be enough time to talk some sense into him.
“And, it gets better!” Wes’s announcement broke through Jasper’s desperate thoughts.
“Oh, I doubt that,” Jasper muttered.
Wes didn’t seem to hear him. “We get a paycheck! Like a pretty big paycheck. Just for being on the show. Which means we could totally get our own place once it’s over.”
Jasper slowed his pace. So, Wes had Tony’s suggestion on his mind too? Maybe this reality show was a strange blessing in disguise. He’d just have to figure out how to be the most uninteresting person to ever be on television so they wouldn’t spend much time filming him, right? He could do that. His peers had once nicknamed him Casper.
Jasper knew how to be invisible.
CURSED ASYLUM - Summary
In the final installment of the series, The Dead Oaks Paranormal Society is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete against several other teams of paranormal investigators on Fright Team TV, a reality television special, for the chance to win a show of their own!
The production takes them on location to one of the most haunted asylums in North America. But will the group be able to survive the temptation of fame and a chilling curse from beyond?
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- Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology releases December 8th! My short story, Thatcher Maugden And The Dream Witch, is included. (published by Fractured Mirror Publishing)
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