book one of 'the mis-adventures of Alyson Bell' YA series
The Ghost of Colby Drive
The Wheel of the Year is set in place and begins turning...
Keywords for this book: Lammas, Autumn, Harvest, upturning roots, setting out on one's new path, following your heart, guidance from the winds of change (synopsis to follow)
Book One ~
When one door closes, another opens… or so they say. But what happens if that door is stuck? Some choices you are forced to confront, no matter how ugly or dangerous. Such is the doorstep of Alyson Bell, a tenacious teenage girl new to the rural town of Hollow Creek; a town rumored to be haunted by a ghostly spirit and a cat with more than the usual nine lives. Alyson tests her own strengths and weaknesses as she transitions into her new life, facing everyday teenage obstacles (bosoms and boyfriends), and hurdling over supernatural mysteries only she is predestined to encounter. Does one girl have what it takes to piece together the myriad of clues left behind in her century-old house to end a cat-astrophic curse, vanquish an evil soul-stealing vampire and still have time for a relationship with her new boyfriend, all before the next full moon?
The Ghost of Colby Drive, book one of the mis-adventures of Alyson Bell series, is told from the first-person voice and perspective of teenager Alyson Bell. This young adult paranormal romance novel is approximately 65,000 words. Readers who enjoy authors V.C. Andrews, Marissa Meyer, and J.K. Rowling will certainly take interest in this haunting novel. It is targeted for girls aged 13-18, but appropriate for anyone 13+, as this novel delves into some deeper teen issues and is not appropriate for a younger audience. Several of my characters are still trying to find their own identity and their own paths in life, while learning to cope with their problems and the problems of others around them. Some topics are very deep, but I feel teens need a starting point for their conversations; something that helps them open up and see that they are not alone in this world.
It is recommended this book be a part of your collection prior to enjoying any further books in the series, but as a premier book, it is considered stand alone.
Originally written and first published in November 2004.
Release date: 7/7/07
read Chapter 1:
BEHIND THE LOCKED DOOR
The door across the hall from my new room taunted me in the same way that knowing the presents for my sixteenth birthday were hidden beneath my parents’ bed. With each box I brought up the stairs, I passed the ominous door. It was at the farthest end of a darkened hallway linking the two bedrooms. Something about it, I couldn’t put my finger on. There was something behind it… lurking. It haunted me. My spine tingled every time I approached the top of the stairs. At the top of the stairwell, a shiver ran through me and I lost my grip, almost dropping the heavy packing box. I stood before the massive door, out of breath. Moving was such a chore and we had only just begun. Hours of labor beckoned. Still, that door was getting the better of my attention with each box I lugged upstairs. Sometimes intuition acts up and you just know where trouble hides. This very circumstance, this very moment, I knew. The antique brass knob honed me in with its shine, but my senses were alert. I took one step in the direction of the door. Intense fear spread through me. I couldn’t take another step. A supernatural cold chill came from underneath the door, unusual for August. The door began to rattle aggressively by an unseen hand on the knob and then halted abruptly when my mother’s voice interrupted from the stairs below. I practically jumped out of my skin and sent the heavy packing box crashing to the floor, nearly spilling its contents.
“Come downstairs when you’re done Alyson. There’s plenty more here!” Mom’s high-pitched voice echoed through the dusty halls of our new home. Her voice was comfortingly familiar in this unfamiliar place with a history all its own.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” I muttered to myself.
A tiny glass bulb rolled out of the box and across the hallway towards the door. I watched it in awe. It had no fear. It couldn’t possibly ever know what fear felt like. The biggest fear I knew right now was not the door; it was the move. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to go home, but this is home now. This is our home.
I felt a breeze pass over my bare sunburned feet and shrugged off the door rattling to just a gust of wind on the other side. Probably. What else would it be? I laughed uneasily.
The century-old dust from this relic of a house made me sneeze and clung to my body’s sweat, forming a paste. I longed to jump in the lake behind the house.
Boxes labeled ‘Aly’s room’; each brimming with the typical junk of any normal fifteen year old girl, were carefully labored up the narrow stairwell to my room. I was anything but normal however. That was something I’d known since I was born and found myself communicating in ways no ordinary child could. For the most part, I keep my gift a secret. This was a new place.
I was going to do my best to fit in.
“Okay,” I yelled back regrouping my fingers around the box and walking hastily into my room, avoiding glancing back at the door. After placing it on my bed, I looked carefully at the contents. The heavy box I’d brought up by mistake belonged to my mother, filled with some of her paints and palettes, modeling clay and pottery wheel, and a purple dream catcher – I’ll keep that. Dozens of other ornate baubles and paperweights littered the box. Mom fancied all things artistic and made plenty of knick-knacks to sell at galleries. I took out a small bronze cat and placed it next to my bed. I’ll keep that too. Mom was a sister to me. We share everything. Even our gift of intuition. As a child, I can recall having conversations with relatives long since crossed over. It was a gift, a rare one, a blessed one and also a cursed one, but a gift no less. Perhaps one day it will reveal its purpose, but for now, it was as mysterious as the locked door. What lies behind it only time will tell.
I sat on my bed and looked down the hallway. There was something about that door to the second bedroom that frightened me. Fear of the unknown, I thought. Sunlight streamed from underneath the narrow crack of the door where it hovered above the wooden floor. The sound of something moving quietly behind it perked my ears as I watched the sunlight break its pattern. In a blink, there it was. My heart raced as a shadow stood centered in the doorway, forming jagged patterns on the floor where the sunlight cast. It disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. My pulse quickened and I summoned up enough bravery to approach. My hand outstretched for the knob but then quickly retracted.
I crawled on my trembling hands to peek underneath the door. The sunlight was warm, but there was a breeze coming through. Perhaps it’s just a tree on the other side casting a shadow.
I tried to be rational. It’s an old house. Probably has a few quirks. Maybe even a few ghosts. It was nothing unheard of.
I was rattled. It’s just a tree. I convinced myself momentarily.
The wooden floor was incredibly dusty. The thick cobwebs under the doorway whispered it hadn’t been opened in a long while and their feathery webs swayed gently with the breeze. I paused for a couple of moments to listen at the door. Tiny creaks in the floor; wind whistling through the cracks; flapping of papers from an open book. I bravely peered under the sliver of the door. My eyes watered with the cold chill blowing directly into them. As I wiped a tear, I saw it. It took me so much by surprise that I almost leapt out of my skin. A tiny brown mouse ran across the floor from one side to the other. A mouse! Just a stupid mouse. It stopped for a moment when it saw me before scurrying back across the room. I stood to my feet, dusting myself off disgruntled and placed my hand on the knob. Without any trepidation, I was determined to enter and catch the rodent that had gotten the better of me. I gripped it steady and twisted it. It was stuck. “All that teasing me and now you won’t open?!” I yelled at the door expecting it to magically open. The knob wouldn’t budge. I jiggled it and yanked it hard, pushing my weight onto the door. Nothing happened. It felt rusted into place and would not dislodge itself from its locked state. If I was going to enter, I’d need to find a key.
“Fine!” I muttered at the door, with a huff. I was tempted to kick it, but still, a part of me could sense the energies behind it. They were not to be meddled with lightly. Frustrated and tired, and having my nerves been rattled, I moved on. Perhaps it’s best for now. I had seemingly endless work to do.
I turned my back to the door and started to walk away, my nerves calming down. After two steps, I stopped. I looked back at the door. All was quiet. The tiny mouse must’ve gone into hiding. Still, from inside that room, something was drawing me to it. Something more than just a simple mouse. Behind a locked door remained a mystery yet to be solved. It would have to wait, for now.