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Unreliable Sneak Peek!

The following are two brief excerpts from my upcoming murder mystery, Unreliable. I hope you enjoy these little snippets, and stay tuned for more!

Dominick Turner, age 16, October 2, 2017

I’ll let you in on a little secret: this town is under some sort of curse. It’s true that most sleepy little towns have a certain darkness to them, once you get past the grey surface. But not like this. Not like Willow Creek, Arkansas. When a teenager’s murder is only one of several chilling mysteries, you know you’ve got a problem.

I’m not talking about the underground gambling ring or even the goddamn grave robberies. I’m talking about how owls literally fly around in the daytime for no reason. How every time any of me or my classmates see a murder of crows on the way to Willow Creek High School in the morning we know something has happened. The fact that we get more lightning than any other part of the country every year but no one has ever been struck. Nothing has ever caught on fire and no meteorologist has come close to figuring it out. The way the pink lipstick my mom buys at the drug store always turns green when she opens it, so she has to always buy it online.

But I know. I can’t prove it yet, but I know the truth. When this town was founded in 1863, it was founded by witches. Or fairies. Maybe even a lich. The point is, there’s no explanation for all the weird shit that happens in this town that doesn’t involve the supernatural. And supernatural forces were at work in Jerome Cabot’s death. I’m sure of it.

Victoria Summers, October 3, 2017

My chauffeur, Carl, pulled up to the school soon after Serena and I met on the front steps. I let her get in first and closed the door behind us. The air conditioner hit me like a cool breeze and the sunlight reflecting through the windows made her tan skin glow golden.

She stared out the window. What does it all look like in her eyes? The toads and ravens sitting alongside one another outside the old library. The moss that keeps growing on the new library no matter how many times people attempt to get rid of it. The fog surrounding the moors—and only the moors— despite it being an otherwise clear day. Gosh, this town is strange.

She fiddled with the golden cross she always wears around her neck as we stepped out. She looked up at my humble abode with the same wide Hope Diamond blue eyes she always did. The ribbed vaults and flying buttresses, the pointed arches and the stained glass windows.

Serena ran her hand over the grey stone walls while I unlocked the door. The crystal chandelier in the entrance hall shone over us as we ascended the winding staircase to the left.

“Do you need any help with your bag?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” I didn't meet her eyes.

I lead her inside my room, shutting the door even though no one was home. It was messier than it would have been if I knew yesterday she’d be coming over; used sheet masks were spilling out of my wastebasket and the spilled contents of my makeup bag lay by the floor of my canopy bed.

My snow white ferret made a dooking sound from his cage on the night table and I went to him.

“Look who it is, Draco,” I cooed and he looked at Serena. “Do you wanna play?”

I opened the cage door and he crawled into my arms. Serena sat down. He crawled into her lap as I stroked his soft fur. She rubbed his little chin and I wondered why everything had to be so complicated. Why couldn’t we just be like this?

“So, what do we tell the cops when they come after us at school tomorrow?”

Oh, that’s why.

It had been announced over the loudspeakers in homeroom that morning.

“Sheriff Buckley will be pulling many of you out of class starting tomorrow to attain any information he can that may help him apprehend Jerome’s killer,” Principal Scorsese thundered over the loudspeaker and my body turned to jelly. “It is imperative that you comply and share any information you have. Now is not the time for secrets or lies.”

My phone buzzed with a text from Serena: We need to talk after school.

And here we were now.

“We didn’t do it,” I said. “We’re innocent.”

“But what if he asks about…you know…” she trailed off and looked at the ground. She gulped.

“They don’t need to know that.” My hands shook. “They’ll jump to the wrong conclusions.”

She fiddled with her cross.

“We’re innocent.” I repeated.

She paused for a moment before she nodded. “Right.”

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