Here’s a sample of my newest book Ghost Magnet
I chased the miles, driving as fast as I could manage, my eyes constantly seeking the rear view mirror, terrified at what I might find in my backseat.
In my heart loomed a horror I couldn’t wrap my mind around. Had this really happened to me again?
Did another demon latch onto me?
Why was this happening?
Was I marked in some way, creating a beacon they could easily follow?
I could hear the entity’s words inside my head. They rattled around like a loose screw in a frantically racing machine.
When it gets dark, I will show myself to you and cause you to have an accident.
I saw his scenario unfold in my mind, playing with such perfect detail that it felt more like a memory than a vision. I would watch dusk settled on the horizon as I crossed the border into Kentucky, still hours away from home. I would feel his presence before I actually saw him, catching movement out of the corner of my eye as a passing car illuminated the interior of my car.
I’d turn with a gasp and he would be there in all his immortal glory, grinning at me with teeth that were crusted with cemetery dirt. His face was as black as the inside of a crypt, making the whites of his eyes seem brighter, almost as though they were illuminated by an internal fire, reminding me of something from a Halloween display. His white shirt was neatly pressed beneath his slim black jacket, but I only saw this detail for a moment. My eyes were too fixated on his horrible sneer. It made me want to crawl inside of myself and find a place to hide where he couldn’t find me.
He wanted to tear my flesh from my bones with those horrible teeth, one painful bite after another, and then spit me out, claiming my soul as his own until he had pulled every ounce of light from it.
“God, help me,” I whispered.
I wanted a cigarette, even though I hadn’t smoked for more than two years. The need was so strong, I nearly pulled over at the next exit to purchase a pack, before I realized that cigarettes weren’t going to help me with this.
What I needed was someone to sweep in and save me. I needed a miracle because this thing was in my backseat, patiently waiting for darkness to fall.
That was all I could think about.
Darkness and what it would bring.
At first glance, there is nothing remarkable about me.
I’m average height and weight, with dark blonde hair and green eyes.
At heart, I’m a true introvert. I like quiet activities, often indulging in long thought-purging walks with my dog or camping out at home, reading or binging on Netflix.
Sometimes, when the creative urge strikes me, I paint pictures that I usually give away to friends and family. I like to wear clothes that are comfortable, typically something along the lines of jeans and a t-shirt. If you saw me at the grocery store, you’d probably identify me as a suburban mom, someone with grown kids and a normal everyday life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, there is something quite startling about me.
Despite my outward appearance, there is a hidden element inside of me that has made my life a living hell. I’ve alluded to it in several of my other books, but I haven’t divulged the full extent of the nightmare that I live with every single day.
I am a ghost magnet.
I’m not sure how it started, but it’s been with me since childhood. My earliest memories come from the age of four years-old.
Bedtime was a true horrorfest for me. As soon as my mother tucked me in, I begged for her to turn on a nightlight before she left the room. If she tried to close my bedroom door, essentially cutting me off from the rest of the family and the blessed light that filtered through my doorway, I’d nearly go into hysterics.
“No! Please, leave it open!” I wailed.
She stared at me for a moment, probably wondering if she should follow the advice from the child rearing books that were piled on her nightstand and just force me to get used to it. In the end, she sighed and ended up leaving the door open a crack.
(Above) The log cabin where I first encountered ghosts
Even with the meager light, it wasn’t much better. The dead would still find me. If I thought that the light was a means of keeping them at bay, I was sorely mistaken. The light only served to allow me to see them better. They liked the fact that I was isolated and frightened. They would wait until my mother’s footsteps receded down the hallway before they would emerge from the shadows.
My first indication that they were there came with a noise. It was a buzzing in my ear that mimicked the way the television sounded when the station went off the air. I heard it drift across the room, getting louder as it got closer. I tucked my head under my covers and hugged my stuffed animal close, trying to remember my prayers. If I cried out for my parents, my pleas were often met with frustration.
“Joni, go back to bed. There’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” they would tell me, and that would be the end of it.
When I finally managed to fall asleep, my night was filled with terrifying nightmares. This continued throughout my childhood. By the time I was seven years-old, I began having night terrors. I would race around the house, fleeing from something my parents couldn’t see, tears streaming down my face. No matter what they did, they couldn’t wake me up. They had to just wait it out.
Eventually, I would come out of the nightmare, bits and pieces of the dream world still clinging to my mind. I often had the same dream over and over again. A tall skinny man with an evil smile and a black hat pursued me, chasing me through the woods to the site of an old chair lift. Once I got onto it, thinking I was escaping him as I was carried high into the dark night, I began hearing his voice in my ear.
Come with us or we will take your family, one by one.
We’ll start with your little sister. She will be most delicious.
And then we’ll take your mother, and then your father, while we make you watch.
I would wake up, feeling disoriented and confused as I stared up at my parents who looked as though they’d just seen a ghost themselves.
Not long after that, I began experiencing excruciating migraine headaches, something that would follow me into adulthood. They came on just after lunch and would completely drain me of energy and a will to live. Within an hour, I would be vomiting up anything I ate that morning, the pain in my head so severe, I couldn’t function. I would hole myself up into a dark room and pray that sleep would take me away from the pain.
My mother whisked me off to every doctor and specialist she could think of. My head was examined inside and out thoroughly, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.
Typically, migraine headaches start when a child enters puberty, but it started far earlier for me, which made no sense to the specialists. They put me on medications that caused me to fall asleep at school, but didn’t prevent the onslaught of pain. After a while, they threw their hands up and sent me home to deal with it.
“Maybe she’ll outgrow them,” they said.
Perhaps they should have looked at what they couldn’t see instead. What they didn’t realize was that I was born with abilities that would mark me forever.
I began retreating inwardly, avoiding other kids and adults as much as possible. I discovered a love for books, something that kept my mind off of everything else going on in my life. I learned to ignore the strange feelings that came over me when my ears would begin to buzz with the sound of static.
During this time, my parents began fighting which led to a pretty nasty divorce. The doctors began blaming my migraines on the divorce, but I wasn’t sure that was the reason. Something was wrong inside my head, something nobody could fix.
As an adult, I can look back and see the progression of events as though they were schematics on a blueprint. Children with metaphysical abilities often go through physical changes as well. Attempting to adapt to something so terrifying changed the way my brain functioned. I’m also pretty sure all those x-rays and magnetic probings didn’t help much either.
All this would continue throughout my childhood and into my adulthood without explanation. I wouldn’t understand why I sometimes just “knew things” and hated crowds until I was in my mid-forties.
The truth was: I might have looked like an ordinary child, but there was something fairly extraordinary about me from the very start. Unfortunately, it would take several decades of suffering before I truly understood what was going on.
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