by Pamela McCord
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Mystery
After her husband is killed by a drunk driver, Kelly Harris and her son TJ move into a sprawling Victorian house in Ohio that her husband inherited from his grandmother. Dealing with her overwhelming grief is a struggle as she adjusts to life in a small town. And, just as she’s beginning to feel more comfortable, life takes another unexpected turn.
The Alexa unit in her son’s bedroom starts to cry, and a little girl’s voice comes out of it asking for help.
At first Kelly is unnerved by the presence of the voice. After ruling out all the other likely possibilities, she begins to put the pieces together, and suspects the girl is a ghost. Unwilling to be uprooted from another home, she decides to find out what the child wants. Maybe she can help.
Kelly isn’t the only one interested in the voice. Detective Rob Porter is investigating the disappearance of a child named Marilee. As the two cross paths, Porter is taken aback when Kelly’s ghost mentions Marilee’s name. In fact, the ghost says “Marilee’s with me.”
Whether that means the child is a ghost as well is a question Rob and Kelly hope to answer.
“Dot was crying last night,” TJ said through a yawn.
“Dot? Who’s Dot?”
“You know. Dot. Alexa’s Dot.”
I stared at the back of his head, frowning, as I dished up his breakfast.
“Alexa can’t cry. It’s a cylindrical inanimate object. Are you sure you didn’t imagine it?”
“Mom. I’m eight. It really did happen.” He looked at me with a scowl. “I don’t imagine things.”
A frightened “Mom” roused me from a fitful sleep. I swung my legs off the bed, the hardwood cool against my feet. “I’m coming,” I called as I rushed to TJ’s room. I found him sitting up in bed, his eyes big and worried.
“What is it, sweetie?” I asked as I sat beside him. “Did you have a bad dream?”
“Mom, Alexa was crying again.”
“What do you mean?” I tipped his face up and looked him in the eyes. “Alexa can’t cry. She’s not a real person. Tell me what happened.”
“I was asleep and I heard a little girl crying. There wasn’t anybody in my room but I could still hear it.”
“Maybe you were dreaming.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at me. “I wasn’t dreaming, Mom.”
“Okay, then. Maybe it just sounded like crying.”
“There were words, too.”
He nodded. “I said, ‘is anybody there’ and the crying stopped. Then Alexa said Help us.” His serious eyes dared me to not believe him.
Turbulent emotions kept me awake. At 2:30, I gave up trying to sleep and padded downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. I sat in the dark kitchen, moonlight streaming in the window over the sink my only companion. I sipped and contemplated. Eventually the warm comfort of the tea calmed my shaky nerves and I headed back upstairs. I poked my head in TJ’s door, tiptoed in and sat at the foot of his bed watching him sleep.
A chill came out of nowhere. I glanced at his window, but it was closed and locked. I bent over him and pulled the covers up around his shoulders. That’s when I heard sobs that seemed to echo around the room. I whirled my head around but no one was there. I started for the door, but it slammed shut as I approached. A small cry escaped me and my hand flew to my mouth. My hair lifted around my face as if a wind swirled through the room, and I froze. And, then, something impossible to believe happened. Alexa said Help us and a child’s eerie crying filled the room.
“What the hell?” I turned the doorknob and pulled, but the door wouldn’t open.
“Mom?” TJ sat up in bed. I could see his wide, startled eyes in the light from his nightlight, and rushed to his side.
“We have to get out of here,” I whispered, a tinge of urgency coloring my voice as I helped him out of bed.
Please, the disembodied voice said. Help us.
The door banged open. Grabbing TJ’s hand, I pulled him out of the room. We flew down the stairs and huddled in the living room.
Born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, Pamela McCord started writing later in life when she was challenged by a friend to create a book out of his story idea. Since then, she’s become an internationally published author. Pam has spent over 40 years working as a legal secretary at a law firm in Orange County, California. Aside from writing, she follows the stock market, buying, selling and trading stocks and options. In contrast to that, she loves trips to Las Vegas where she can spend many happy hours at the Pai Gow tables. She shares a condo with her very own My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable.
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