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Anaconda!

Anaconda!

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Anaconda!

Length:
202 pages
3 hours
Released:
Feb 12, 2015
ISBN:
9780991518647
Format:
Book

Description

Just a few short weeks ago, sixteen-year-old Nick Michelson discovered that he was a psychic medium destined to help restless spirits cross over to where they belong. One evening while working after-hours at his high school, an especially frightening ghost of a bloody soldier appears to Nick and attacks him. Nick sets out on a quest to learn who the ghost is and why he is haunting Nick’s high school. Using his deck of tarot cards as a tool, he gradually begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the ghost’s death.

Meanwhile, Nick is experiencing disturbing dreams and visions during which he witnesses, through the eyes of a killer, the brutal mass murder of several of his classmates at his high school. As Nick gets drawn deeper and deeper into a web of mysteries surrounding his nightmares and the ghost of the soldier, he begins to suspect that the two are related — and that the horrific scene from his nightmares is actually a premonition of events that may — or will — come to pass. 

Nick must solve the riddle of his enigmatic premonitions and race against time to somehow prevent an unknown killer from shooting up his school — and not become the shooter’s first victim in the process.

Released:
Feb 12, 2015
ISBN:
9780991518647
Format:
Book

About the author

Roger Hyttinen a fiction author of titles including A Clash of Fangs and A Touch of Cedar. His latest projects include a YA series featuring a high school medium who read Tarot cards and a Werewolf novel featuring a handsome prince, all of which should be released later this year. He has a Master's degree in Foreign Language & Literature and has worked as a French teacher, an English teacher, a technical writer, and a computer programmer. He currently lives in the chilly midwest with hopes of eventually moving about 1200 miles south.


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Anaconda! - Roger Hyttinen

Chapter One

His dirty boots scrape against the cement as he walks up the steps. He pauses, then enters the building and looks around. Only a few students gather in clumps in the hallway, barely noticing him as he passes by. It’s early. He still has time.

He moves slowly down the hallway, dragging his feet. He stops outside the library door for a moment and then grasps the cold doorknob. He turns it and pushes open the door. The library is completely empty and he sits, silent and stiff, waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

Finally, the bell rings. He swallows and glances around to make sure nobody is watching him.

He reaches into his backpack and pulls out the gun. With his other hand, he fiddles with the ammunition belt that’s attached snugly around his waist. He’ll definitely be needing that today. He stands and stuffs the gun into the pocket of his black coat.

The halls grow quiet. It’s almost time. He mentally reviews the list in his head.

The list of all those who will die today.

He rises and leaves the library.

A moment later, a scream. Then another…and another.

Pow.

Pow.

Pow.

The clomping of his boots echoes in the hallway. He kicks in the door to another classroom.

Pow.

Pow.

Pow.

Pow.

No emotion, no remorse, he tells himself.

No emotion, no remorse.

He mentally scratches off another name from his list. Nobody tries to stop him. It’s amazing the power of a gun. Without it, they slam his head into the lockers, stuff him into garbage cans, stuff used condoms in his backpack when he’s not looking and trip him in the hallway. With the gun in his hand, they cower behind their desks like fucking frightened little rabbits. Not that it matters. Those on his list can’t hide. He kicks over a desk and aims the gun at the jock cowering on the floor.

Ah, the prize.

Todd Moore.

Pow!

Who’s the fag now, huh douchebag?

He extends his right arm and swings it around the room. Nobody dares to meet his eyes. Everybody hides. Some of them cry, some of them whimper, a few of them even pray, but no one dares to move. He lowers his arm and turns toward the door. There’s only one more.

He counts his steps as he walks towards to the library. He pushes the door open and looks around. Nobody. The loud scream of police sirens approaches the school. He’s not gonna give them the satisfaction.

He shivers as he presses the chilly barrel against his forehead. His mouth dries up, and his hands shake uncontrollably.

In a moment, it will all be over.


No! screamed Nick. He flung both his arms out knocking over the TV table that was next to him.

Nick! His father held firmly onto his arms shoulders.

Gunfire rang out from the blaring television, the noise causing Nick to crouch and stiffen in fear. He snapped to, his body tense and rigid. He gasped, trying desperately to catch his breath.

Nick, are you okay?

His father’s clear blue eyes bore into him, his face only inches away from Nick’s. Nick turned his head to look around the room and breathed a slow sigh as relief washed over him. He was in his own living room, not at the school. Now he remembered. He’d been watching a movie with his parents. He was at home. He was safe.

I’m okay now Dad.

Are you sure?

Nick nodded. I’m good.

His father released him. Another nightmare Nick?

His parents stared at him wide-eyed, and Nick struggled for the words to describe what had just happened. This wasn’t the first time that he’d seen this gruesome scene, but until now, he’d only experienced it as a dream while sleeping.

No, this time was different — much different. He’d been watching the movie with his parents when the vision crashed down upon him without warning. Nick knew he hadn’t fallen asleep. Never in his life had he fallen asleep in front of the television. Ever. He was too light of a sleeper for that. No, this was no nightmare. This was something else. This was too real, too vivid for it to have been merely a dream.

It was the same one, he said.

That’s three days in a row, the same bad dream, said his father. The concern was evident in his expression.

Nick rubbed his temples. It was more like real life this time — like I was there in person.

Did you see the face of the gunman? asked his father.

No, only his scuffed-up black boots and the gun. Nick didn’t want to tell his parents that this time, he wasn’t watching the gunman. He was the gunman. He was inside the shooter’s head, seeing through his eyes. The past two nights, the dream unfolded like a film, giving Nick the impression that he was a spectator at some bizarre movie viewing. But not tonight.

Tonight he was the star.

Have you talked to your lady friend about it? asked his mother. She was referring to Katrina, his teacher and mentor in things of the spirit. Nick was surprised that his mother had even brought her up. His abilities were something they didn’t understand, and they had made it known to him — although not directly — that they preferred not to talk about it. At least they no longer ignored the fact that he was psychic and was able to see and talk to ghosts.

Nah, said Nick. He gazed absently out the window. It was only a bad dream.

I don’t know, said his father, watching him. He creased his brow. This might be something worth talking over with her. He paused. Just in case.

I’ll think about it, Nick said. He rose and righted the TV table. I’m gonna go to bed. I’m beat.

What about the rest of the movie? asked his mom. You’re the one who insisted we watch it.

Nick shook his head. I missed too much of it now. I’ll stream it some other time.

You sure you’re okay? his father asked.

Nick put his best grin forward. I just have a pounder of a headache.

He said goodnight to his parents, turned and left the room. He kept his hands in his pockets so his parents wouldn’t see them tremble. His heart continued to thump uncomfortably in his chest.

The more he thought about it, the more certain he was that it was a vision that he had just experienced and not a dream. He’d been completely engrossed in the movie when all of a sudden, there he was — inside of the maniac’s head. Nick knew that a vision like that only meant one thing.

It meant that a ghost was involved.

Nick swiped his student employee card in front of the bulky gray time-clock in the employee lounge and then retrieved the mop bucket from the supply closet. As he pushed it down the abandoned school hallway, he thought back to the disturbing vision he’d experienced the night before. Could it be related to a ghost? It’d been several weeks since Nick had last seen a ghost and for that he was grateful. Everyone in his family was still preoccupied with the recent unexpected death of his uncle, the second family death in only a few weeks. While his grandmother’s death was certainly upsetting, it affected him not nearly as much as his uncle’s. Nick was close to his uncle and Nick was the only one in his family who had even associated with the man. Shortly after Nick’s sixteenth birthday, he had discovered that he and his uncle had something in common, something that nobody else in the family shared: they both had the ability to see ghosts.

Not the ghosts of people long gone — only certain types of mediums could do that, or at least that’s how his uncle had explained it. No, the spirits Nick could see belonged to those people who had died but were still here on the earthly plane — unable to cross over for whatever reason. And it was now up to Nick to help them move on.

Nick’s uncle Mitch had barely begun teaching him about the spirit world when the man had suddenly taken sick and shortly thereafter passed away. Nick, still devastated by his uncle’s untimely death, had moved zombie-like through his days, not thinking or caring about what was going on around him. The shock still hadn’t entirely worn off, and although he’d tried to continue his psychic studies, his heart wasn’t in it. He missed his uncle terribly and never felt so alone as he did now.

He dragged the large yellow mop bucket into the tiny janitor’s closet, hoisted the bucket up to the sink and twisted the rusty brown faucet. Water splashed loudly into the container and Nick struggled to hold on as the bucket grew heavier and heavier from the water’s weight. This would be so much easier if the sink were nearer to the floor, he thought. With muscles now burning from the increased burden of the weight, Nick shakily lowered the bucket to the floor.

It’d been barely a week after his uncle’s death when Nick had received the call about the job at his high school. Funny, he’d forgotten that he’d even applied for it so when the agency phoned to offer him a position, it took him a moment to figure out why someone was calling him about a janitor job. Several months earlier, he’d signed up with the Community Service Job Agency, an organization that matches high school kids with jobs. He hadn’t specified any particular position on the application since at the time, he was willing to do whatever became available. Given that he’d forgotten about applying, he’d also neglected to tell his parents. So when he landed the job, they were more shocked and stunned than anything else. For a moment, Nick had feared they were going to tell him that he had to turn down the offer.

I don’t know Nick, said his father. Don’t you think it’s a bit soon?

Soon? Nick had asked. What do you mean by soon?

His mother took a deep breath. We know you’ve had a difficult time since Mitchell passed. We’re concerned that you might be taking on too much too quickly. Why don’t you wait a bit before taking on any extracurricular activities?

Nick swallowed. So you prefer that I mope around here?

We didn’t imply you were moping. Only that some people need time and space to work through their grief.

I’m fine, said Nick. I just need something different in my life right now; something else to focus on. You know?

His parents looked at each other for a long moment and then finally, they both agreed to his job, as long as he promised to keep up his grades. After he’d left the room, he had heard his father telling his mother that it probably would do Nick good to get out of the house.

Yeah, it probably would. It’s better to work than to think.

Nick pushed against the bathroom door, and with his left leg propping the door open, he shoved the squeaky mop bucket inside with his right foot. A bit of water sloshed out of the bucket and onto the floor. When will he ever learn not to fill the darn thing so full? This happened every single day.

As he entered the room, he crinkled his nose. The room reeked of piss. He was thankful that he didn’t have to touch the floor with his hands. He pulled the heavy rag mop from the soapy water, pressed it firmly into the rusty wringer and then slid it across the room in slow and even strokes. He sunk further into his thoughts, barely aware of his actions.

He was happy that there was nobody else around. Frank, the full-time janitor to whom Nick reported, was busy in another part of the school. Thankfully, Frank wasn’t a pain-in-the-ass hovering type of boss. When Nick clocked in at the end of the school day, Frank gave him his nightly instructions, and Nick typically didn’t see him again for the rest of the night. Most awesome boss ever.

Finishing the boy’s bathroom, Nick moved on to the girl’s. He shook his head the moment he entered. While the boy’s restroom typically stunk of urine, the girl’s was always a complete and total mess, with crumpled up paper, candy wrappers, empty lipstick containers, spilled soft drinks and clumps of toilet paper strewn about everywhere. Sure, his male classmates might have a problem with their aim, but the girls at his school were downright slobs. Whoever came up with that idea that girls were neater than boys had apparently never visited a high school girl’s bathroom.

Nick finished up with the bathroom and pushed the mop bucket out into the hallway. Only one more to go. He was eager to get home. A full day of school and a couple of hours cleaning bathrooms had tuckered him out, and he looked forward to stretching out his tired body on his soft bed at home. He pushed the wobbly bucket down the corridor when he felt it. His stomach flipped twice and the skin on his arms prickled. This was a feeling that he hadn’t felt in a couple of weeks — a feeling he hadn’t felt since the last time he’d seen a ghost.

Nick jolted to a stop, dirty water splashing outside of his bucket onto the hallway floor. Frozen, he looked around but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe he’d imagined it. Maybe he was simply hungry.

His stomach churned and flipped again. Nick shivered. Okay, there was definitely a ghost nearby. The temperature had noticeably dropped in the hallway. Nick remembered his uncle telling him that a sudden decrease in temperature was often a good indication that a spirit was nearby. Nick jerked his head to look behind him. Nothing. He let go of a long breath and glanced down the hallway. The pins and needles sensation crept all over his body now, and he shuddered.

Where are you ghosty? Come out, come out wherever you are.

Then, he saw it.

At the far end of the hallway, a swirl of pale green smoke rotated like a cyclone. Nick stared and then shifted his gaze down towards the floor, For a brief moment, he wondered whether there was a fire in the basement that was causing smoke to pour in through the vents. He stared and took a deep whiff but smelled nothing other than the ammonia from his mop water. The smoke then darkened and started to solidify. Nick watched as the vapor slowly took the form of a man. Except this was no man. Nick knew that what he was seeing was a ghost.

The man didn’t look to be much older than himself, maybe in his early 20’s. Nick squinted, watching as the ghost’s form grew clearer and more vivid. He wore some sort of uniform that looked like a combination of brown splotches, the shirt and pants both matching, though they were caked in what appeared to be light brown mud. Nick guessed it to be a military uniform. The man wore faded well-worn black boots also covered

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