Promo: Change of Season
Author: A. C. Dillon
No of Pages: Ebook
Release Date: Published June 3rd 2012
“Ten months. Two hundred and ninety-nine days. Seven thousand, one hundred and seventy-six hours. Four hundred and thirty thousand, five hundred and sixty minutes. Perhaps not as melodic as Larson’s rock musical anthem, but it is how I will measure a year at Casteel… I will measure in time, because it is my only constant between the old Autumn and the now Autumn. I will measure by changes of season.”
Sixteen-year-old Autumn Brody has enrolled at Casteel Preparatory Academy, a prestigious boarding school with a focus on the arts, for her grade eleven year but the move isn’t recreational. Her choice was made in a desperate bid for the survival of herself and her family, who remain oblivious to the looming threat against them. In her self-imposed exile, Autumn must remain invisible – “a Chbosky wallflower” – or more blood will cling to her hands.
Forced into a behavioural reform program at the Academy by her frantic parents, Autumn refuses to whisper of the ghosts haunting her. But the troubled young woman soon finds that there are more reasons to fear the night than she ever dared imagine. A student cries out in anguish through the walls, rousing her from restless slumber. Mysterious messages seem to land near her feet – messages from a supposedly dead girl that Autumn sees darting into darkened service corridors. And yet, the reclusive film student she literally runs into might just be the gravest danger of all.
As past bleeds into present, Autumn uncovers truths long buried behind the door of room 308. Secrets that someone will kill to keep silent – someone who stalks Autumn’s every move, patiently waiting to strike…
She turned the water off, drying her hands briskly and tousling her hair. It had to be this way, at least while he remained an unknown. Besides, tonight was about Veronica, not her pathetic panic attacks and relationship carnage.
The pipes rattled and bubble beneath the sink, and Autumn’s gaze flew downwards. You’d think with all their money, they would have replaced the plumbing, she thought wryly, amused by the churning stomach of soapy water beneath the oak surface. Her smile shifted to suspicion as the sound grew, seeming to echo within the tiny confines of the bathroom.
Oh please tell me that not’s the toilet pipes, she pleaded silently, tilting her head in its direction. No, it was definitely louder near the sink. Should she call Lucas over? Or would he just jam his stupid pen in the drain and smack the taps with the clipboard?
“Fuck it,” she muttered. Lucas could deal with it.
She spun around, grasping the knob tightly, but found herself paralyzed.
A hissed warning, genderless, cold. A hiccup, and then, it laughed. Turning slowly, body shaking, she braced herself, insisting she’d imagined it. The room was empty behind her, as she’d left it. Was someone pranking her?
The blood seeped out of the drain, snaking up the porcelain sink, beckoning her with its sticky fingers. Her hand clamped over her mouth, stifling a scream as it bubbled forth, the scent of rust thick in the room. A single drop hit the tiled floor, then another. So much blood. She could feel it in her palms, body memories of weeping wounds and a tiny heart beating its last. Her back pressed against the door, she edged on tiptoes as the two drops became ten, and rolled slowly towards her, hungry…
“Autumn? You in there?”
“Veronica?” Her voice was frail, shaky. It was a scant five tiles away, relentless in its pursuit. Help me, she begged forces unseen.
“You okay? They need you on stage.”
Three tiles… two…. With a whimper, she unlocked the door, yanking it open and nearly falling into her friend’s arms.
“Whoa! What’s wrong?”
“The…” Autumn paused, blinking her eyes hard. No… Wait….
There was nothing there. The sink was pristine, save a small cluster of soap bubbles wreathing the drain.
“What?” Veronica’s voice was gentle, her look one of concern as she embraced her. “You look so pale.”
Nothing there. But she could feel it!
“It’s nothing,” she lied. “Just got nervous about being on stage.”
“But you’ve done it before,” Veronica countered, leading her away from the bathroom. “Did someone say something to you?”
“No, no. I don’t know why. Maybe because I know people down there? It’s silly. I’m sorry.”
The lies fell easily from her lips, calculated in their innocence and believability. Satisfied, her friend hugged her once more, beaming in her pale green dress.
“Thank you for being here tonight, and for helping me find my lucky charm,” she whispered. “Now scooch!”
Forcing a smile, Autumn followed a flustered Lucas to her seat across the stage, settling into her chair with a whoosh of air fleeing her lungs. It was just an anxiety attack, she told herself. Matt keeps mentioning this place is haunted, and you’re not sleeping because your room is suicide central. Breathe, Autumn! The house lights dimmed as the band warmed up and she clasped her hands tightly in her lap, squeezing until her fingertips glowed white. It’s all in your head.
It hissed in her memory anew: Autumn… It knew her name. What else did it know? And why did she feel, as a chill coursed her veins, that this was only the beginning?