Read Echoes (Whisper Trilogy Book 2) Online

Authors: Michael Bray

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Thriller, #Suspense, #Horror, #Haunted House, #action adventure, #Ghosts

Echoes (Whisper Trilogy Book 2)

ECHOES

 

 

Michael Bray

Echoes by Michael Bray

First published in 2014 by

Horrific Tales Publishing

This edition published March 2015

http://www.horrifictales.co.uk

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Copyright © 2014 Michael Bray

http://www.michaelbrayauthor.com

The moral right of Michael Bray to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

eBook Edition

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Back when I started work on the first book in this series, I could never have imagined how popular it would prove to be, let alone go on to be a best-selling novel. Working on the sequel was both a pleasure and a challenge which was daunting. I truly hope this book lives up to expectation and sits well alongside the first. I think it does, but then again, as the author and I would say that!

Even so, without a lot of other people this entire project wouldn’t have been possible. Huge thanks have to go out to Graeme Reynolds at Horrific Tales Publishing. He saw enough in the first book to take a chance on publishing it and I was thrilled to link up with him again to bring Echoes to print. Thanks also to Stu Smith for once again producing a superb piece of cover artwork, to Simon Marshall Jones, an editor who has a great knack of turning some of my more rambling prose into something much more readable, and Lisa Jenkins who again has done a sterling job as our last line of defence and picked up on a lot of errors that everyone else missed.

In addition to this core team of people who worked hard on getting this book to print, I want to thank my family and friends, in particular the beta readers who looked over early drafts of the story and suggested changes which in hindsight were incredibly valuable.

Lastly, I want to thank those who continue to buy, support and read my work. It truly is humbling and drives me on to keep working hard to bring you more stories to read.

 

 

 


At the midpoint on the journey of life, I found myself in a dark forest, for the clear path was lost…”

— Dante Alighieri, Inferno

 

 

 

“Nibble, nibble, gnaw,

Who is nibbling at my little house?”

The children answered,

“The wind, the wind,

The heaven-born wind,”

— Old Woman, Hansel & Gretel

CHAPTER 1

Abandoned in the summer of 1987, Ridgewell Hospital for the Criminally Insane had been left to rot as the city grew and prospered around it. During its peak of service it housed eighty staff who had been charged with caring for its three hundred residents. Now, almost three decades after its closure, the building was a filthy, graffiti covered shell, its gardens overgrown with thorns and hip-high yellow grass, its once pristine whitewashed stone walls now broken and crumbling.

Deep inside the bowels of the building, Dane Marshall crept through the darkened corridors littered with mildew-covered mattresses, discarded needles and empty cans left behind by the homeless wretches who had, over the years, taken shelter within the building.

“Here we are in the recreational area, where at one time, the residents of the hospital would be left together to share in their madness,” he said, glancing over his shoulder at his cameraman, an overweight, olive-skinned New Yorker called Sean Lemar. Sean adjusted the camera on his shoulder, better framing the green-hued host in all his night-vision glory.

“We here at Paranormal Truth are the only investigation team to have been granted access to the long forgotten corridors of Ridgewell Hospital, and we intend to attempt communication with the spirits of those who died here and still roam the halls in perpetual limbo,” Dane said quietly as the duo crept deeper into the pitch black hospital, their breath pluming in the freezing air.

“We’ve heard reports this particular wing has been a hotbed of paranormal activity. And it’s here we intend to record our EVP sessions. Already tonight, we…”

Dane paused, staring into the impenetrable darkness.

“Did you hear that?” he whispered over his shoulder.

Sean pointed the night-vision camera down the litter-filled hallway just in time to hear it again, a dull, barely-audible scraping noise.

“Are you getting this?” Dane whispered, his eyes shining like twin lighthouse beacons in the glare of the night vision lens.

“It seems to be coming from one of the treatment rooms. Let’s see if we can get another response.”

He peered into the black void, speaking in a loud but clear voice which echoed around the narrow walls.

“Is there anybody here who wishes to make contact with us? We don’t intend to harm you.”

He paused, holding his breath. Just as he was about to repeat the question, he heard it again, a tiny scratching coming from the one of the rooms ahead.

“Okay,” Dane said, turning back to the camera. “I don’t know how well this is picking up on camera, but we’re hearing noises coming from one of the rooms down the hall. As is our policy here on the show, we shall investigate without fear, all in the name of finding the truth.”

The door to the treatment room loomed large, the windowless space barely betraying its secrets even to the camera’s night-vision lens. Inside, amid the masses of abandoned papers and empty drinks cans, a tattered treatment table dominated the room, its cracked faux-leather covering split, exposing its wiry stuffing. The duo paused at the threshold, Dane turning full on to face the camera.

“We’re outside what seems to be some kind of treatment room. It’s here where we think we heard the noises, and we’re about to go inside. Remember, nothing on this show is pre-recorded. Nothing is done with edits. This is all shot in real-time in the name of truth. Are you ready Sean?”

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Okay, let’s go in,” Dane replied, turning back towards the room.

“Okay, cut there.”

Dane relaxed as the corridor became bathed in the artificial lights set up down its length and hidden from view. Sean lowered the camera and handed it to one of the show runners who hurried off to the editing truck. From the treatment room, another assistant clad in a jacket emblazoned with the show’s logo stood from his position behind the table, stretching his legs.

“What did you use to make the scraping sound?” Dane asked as fresh script pages were handed to him.

“Screwdriver. Did it pick up on the camera?”

“Barely,” Sean cut in. “We might need to reshoot it.”

“Nah,” Dane said. “We can dub it in later. I’m not hanging around this shit-hole any longer than I have to.”

“Whatever man, I just shoot the footage. I’m gonna go grab a bite to eat. It’s late.”

“Got it. Be back in half an hour and we can shoot the room interior scenes and get the hell out of here.”

“Good show again boys,” said a thin man with glasses approaching Dane.

“It’s goddamn freezing in here Fred,” he replied to the waxy-skinned South African as he handed Dane a cup of coffee.

“Get some coffee in you, that’ll fix it,” Fred said in his distinctive accent, standing beside Dane. “Besides, fogging breath only adds to the show, eh?”

“Forgive me if I’m not as excited. Once you’ve seen one rotten old building you’ve seen them all. What episode number is this?”

Fred referred to his script. “Two hundred and seventeen.”

“Jesus, I wouldn’t think there were any more shit-holes like this left to explore.”

“You alright buddy?”

“Yeah, nothing a hot shower and a good night’s sleep won’t fix. Did you get all the shots you need?”

“Apart from the room interior and a couple of pickups, we pretty much have it in the can.”

“Good, it stinks in here.”

“Do me a favor, walk with me will you?”

“You have that look in your eye Fred. Why do I get the feeling I’m not going to like what I hear?”

The producer squirmed, and flicked his blue eyes towards the rest of the crew who were setting up for the interior shot.

“Not here eh? Let’s go outside.”

Dane sipped his coffee and shrugged. “Whatever you say. Anything to get out of this stink.”

They walked towards the exit, the corridor looking infinitely less intimidating now it was lit by the high-powered lights.

“The ratings have come in,” Fred said as they exited the building into the fresh air where their production trucks waited, each emblazoned with the show logo in gold. “They’re not good.”

“I’m not surprised,” Dane said with a shrug. “People are getting tired of shows like this. They’re ten a penny now.”

Fred opened the door to his trailer and ushered Dane inside.

“Take a seat,” the South African said, pointing to the small kitchenette table. Dane sat as Fred took the seat opposite. In the light of the overhead bulb, the thirty six year-old producer looked aged beyond his years.

“The network is thinking of canceling us,” he said, almost sighing the words as he poured himself a generous glass of brandy.

Dane remained silent, sipping his coffee as he waited for the producer to elaborate.

“You don’t seem surprised,” Fred said.

“I’m not, not really.”

“Why?”

“Just look at what we’ve become. We’re chasing something we know doesn’t exist. A show like this was only going to have a certain lifespan. It’s the nature of the game. People get tired of seeing the same thing. Hell, I’m tired of seeing the same things. You can only spend so many nights in crumbling castles or rotting buildings before it starts to get tedious.”

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