by Teri Polen
GENRE: YA horror/thriller
A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.
Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house - but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.
I knew that smell. With the multitude of soccer injuries I’d received over the years, the copperish tangy aroma of blood was all too familiar. Wait - blood? Was Eby injured somewhere up here? But I’d looked around and knew for certain he wasn’t here. Had I stepped on something and cut myself? When I looked down to check my feet, that’s when I saw it. A circular pool of blood on the floor about a foot in diameter. How had I missed this? It hadn’t been here when Finn and I were looking around last night. One of us would have noticed this.
So how did blood get here in the past twenty-four hours?
Then I felt it. Frigid air wrapped itself around me, like it was a living, breathing entity, causing me to gasp. When I let out a shaky exhale, I could see my breath. In a 90 plus degree attic. My gaze shot down to the floor where the blood had been.
It was gone.
My cat, Shadow (who has since crossed the Rainbow Bridge), gave me the idea for this story. My family and I had just moved into a new house that had no previous occupants. Shortly after moving in, Shadow would sit at the bottom of the steps leading to the bonus room, fur bushed out, back arched, muscles tense, and hiss or growl at something at the top of the stairs we couldn’t see. It was a little freaky and creeped out my sons at the time – it didn’t help that I told them cats could supposedly see ghosts. But it made me start thinking about how a place could be haunted when no one had ever lived there. Then I thought – what if something had happened while the house was being built? And things fell into place after that. Since Shadow gave me the idea, I had to include a black cat, Eby (short for Ebony), and I knew my protagonist would be a male teenager. Yes, I’m female, but I find it difficult to write from a female perspective – strange, but true. Then again, I loathe shopping (unless it involves book stores or electronics), steer clear of anything pink, and don’t read or watch romance – which my female friends think is very odd and disturbing. But I have two sons and wouldn’t know what to do with a daughter if I’d had one, so I’m familiar with the way a teenage boy’s mind works. The camaraderie I’ve observed between my sons and their friends has been wildly entertaining at times and that carried over into the relationship Cain, my protagonist, has with his best friend, Finn, and the scenes where they rag on each other were among my favorite to write.
You never know where the ideas will come from, so I have an ongoing list in my phone, on my computer, notebook – whatever is around when the lightning bolt strikes. Thanks so much for having me on The Silver Dagger Scriptorium and for helping to promote Sarah!