Eris is your average sixteen year old girl living in a small, heavily wooded town named Pauwau. Quiet and reserved, Eris is able to hide her gift that she counted as a curse. She is able to speak to the dead. What will Eris do, though, when she encounters a malevolent spirit that might not be a dead human but a living demon? What will she do when she discovers even more gifts that she never knew about? How will she protect the ones she loves from something who wishes her dead?..

Chapter 1

Because The Night Calls


Slide. Squish. Click. Slide. Squish. Click. Slide. Squish. Click. My mind focused on the sound of the windshield wipers to tune out the voices. You'd think after two years of hearing the dead I would get accustomed to hearing their constant complaints. The problem is that the second I manage to tune out one voice, two more voices join in the song. It's a continuous problem that I can never see the end of. Dead people are about as whiny as highschool girls. At least the dead say 'thank-you' when you help them.

"Are you going to hang out with Erica tonight?" Dad asked as he messed with the radio, trying to find a station that wasn't static-y. Like every other day, he finally gave up and turned on whatever CD was already in the player. My mom's Les Miserables CD began playing.

A wave of different emotions swept through the car. The emotions were both bad and good. My dad couldn't handle the bad, though, I guess. He turned off the radio; and the only noise was our breathing, the winter wind outside beating the car, and the windshield wipers. Slide. Squish. Click. Slide. Squish. Click. Slide. Squish. Click. I pushed the voices farther and farther into the back of my mind until they were a low murmur.

"Yes. She's turning sixteen tomorrow, and her mom said I could take their car and drive Erica where she wants to go." I mumbled as I stared out the window. Snow fell heavily from the sky. Cold air seeped through the cracks in the window. The voices seeped in through the same cracks. It always confused me as to why I could hear the dead, but I could only see them occasionally. I think it's a dead person thing, maybe it has something to do with their strength. No one I know speaks to the dead so asking for an opinion would make me the nut of the small town of Pauwau.

Cool trivia about Pauwau is that it stands for "witch". It's a town of only 309 people, and I swear half of them only live their in the summer. Pauwau surrounds the Red Lake. The Red Lake is our main tourist attraction. It's water is clear blue, and you can see all the way to the bottom, even at the deepest sections (32 feet deep). Cliff diving is usually how most teenagers around here spend their time. The Red Lake is surrounded by heavy woods and cliffs galore. Most kids only jump from the ten foot tall cliffs, but my friends and I like to jump off the higher things. The other attraction are the trails. The forest covers over 1,000 acres and holds the most beautiful trees. Somehow the trees always reminded me of something from Bridge To Terebithia the way their branches twisted around other branches and the roots pulled up from the ground. The forest has always been my favorite place to go, even with all of the voices.

Pauwau was originally a town made to imprison those convicted of witchcraft. It was sort of like a concentration camp for witches. They would lock up any pregnant witches and starve them. Occasionally, they would even beat those who were pregnant. The guards were thoroughly convinced the children inside the witches would turn into demon children and kill all of the "normal" humans. Therefore, the guards would do anything possible to kill the children before they were born. Now, for the already born children, it was a completely different story. They would take the children to huts in the middle of the forest and leave them there to starve. They would pack ten children into a tiny hut. A few of the children even turned cannibalistic and would devour the other children. This only verified what the guards believed of the children being demons. After a few weeks, the guards would check on the children and then kill them by either breaking their arms and legs and leaving them for the wolves to get or by hanging them. Back in the large camp with the mothers, they would beat and ra0pe the women. They burned them by making a bonfire out of brooms and tying them to a metal pole in the middle. The metal would heat up quickly and it would be more agonizing. I would know, I've helped a witch cross over before.

After the mass murder of thousands of women and children, they created a town. A lot of miners and paranormalists originally resided in the small town. Now a days, we have a wide variety of occupations in the town. We have a day care, an elementary school, a junior high school, and a high school. Oh, good old Pauwau Chiefs. Full of the most annoying teenagers in the United States of America. Sadly, I must admit that I was once a Chiefs Cheerleader. It was one of my favorite things to do, being a flyer that is. I loved flying. I loved being in the lime light during football games and soccer games and basketball games. I loved the feeling of everyone having their eyes on me as I showed them how I could bend my body in way that most people couldn't do on the ground let alone in the air, on one foot, balancing on shaky bases.

My mom had been a flyer. She made sure I was able to do scales, scorpions, bow and arrows, and everything else by the time I could walk. She even had the town contortionist give me tips and train me. My mom was so proud of everything I put my mind to. I was a straight A student with a 4.8 GPA. I was the main flyer of the Chiefs cheerleading team. I was the libero for the Chiefs volleyball team, and a setter for a private team an hour away. I was a photographer for events like weddings and senior portraits. I was her daughter, and she loved me more than anything in her world. I was her only daughter, and she had almost died giving birth to me. We talked about everything including the annoying women at her florist shop that worked for her, the annoying girl who spread rumors about me, the way Dad was obsessed with ghost hunting. We continuously talked about how she was paying most of our bills as a florist, and how was dad going to take care of us when he was fired and was extremely obsessed with ghost hunting. She was my best friend.

She's the only voice I wish I could hear. She's the only voice I couldn't hear. Maybe she passed over quickly after the accident. I always wanted to ask her what had happened. I had hit my head and couldn't remember much of the accident. Sometimes I'm happy I don't remember a lot. Maybe I had seen her bleeding out. Maybe I had seen her had smash through the window. Maybe I had accidentally let go of her hand while she died. I always prayed that I had held onto her hand through it all. All I remembered was that it had rained all of the previous night, and then suddenly dropped to -3 degrees Fahrenheit. The roads had iced over, and she was driving me to a home game against the Nightlife Eagles. It was five at night so the sun had already begun to drop below the tree line. We were going around Dead Man's Curve when Mom saw something. I will never know what she saw. All I would ever know is that I hadn't seen anything in the road that night. I remembered the car rolling down the hill. I remembered hearing her scream. I remembered hearing glass shatter and metal tear. I remember crying and screaming. I remember much blood. I remember blacking out.

I remember waking up and smelling smoke. I remember being pulled out of the car and put onto a stretcher. I remember passing out again. I remember waking up in a hospital. I remember a dream I'd had while asleep. I remember my dad telling me I had been dead for a minute and a half. I remember the dream..

"Wake up, Darling." The angel whispered. My body felt light as I lifted off of the hospital bed. My mouth felt sewn shut. I couldn't ask any questions. The woman in front of me lifted my chin gently so I was looking at her. I'm sure my eyes were wide from shock and fear. "Darling, you will live. You have a purpose in this world. It is not your time yet. Listen to me, Darling. You will be given a gift. Help those who beg for your assistance. You know now what it's like to be in the in between, help those who can't escape it. Darling, don't be frightened. You are going to be a living angel to those who can't get passed their emotions." The angel pulled me into a gentle hug. I felt myself being zapped. Electricity was pulsing through my body. It hurt. It hurt more than anything. I don't want to go! My mind screamed. Tears poured down my cheeks. The angel let go, and I slowly sank to my knees on the ground. I was zapped again, and my hand went to where my heart should have been beating. "Wake up, Darling. It's not your time." The zaps kept coming. After the seventh shock of electricity, the stitches on my lips came undone. I gasped as I felt my heart begin beating. My eyes closed and I felt a terrible tugging at my abdomen. I was violently sucked back into my body.

"Well, be careful while driving. Stay in town. If you must leave town, take the straight roads and Pauwau Bridge, please." Dad pulled up to Pauwau High School's front door.

"Yeah, okay, Dad. I'll call you when we get to her house." I told him to ease his nerves. I stuffed my Kindle and cell phone into my backpack. I opened the truck door.

"Hey, Eris, take this." Dad handed me a $100 bill. My eyes widened, and I looked at him. "I got a raise, and you deserve a thank-you for taking care of the house and land while I was working. I'm sorry I've been putting so much pressure on you. I just needed this raise. Ever since...the accident...I've realized I haven't been pulling my weight in work. Thank-you for helping with the bills. I know things have been really hard on you. I hope with this raise things will be a lot better. You could probably start cheering again, too." He rambled.

"Dad, I'm fan. I helped because I wanted to. Save this for something else." I handed him the $100 bill. He pushed my hand away.

"Keep it. You can save it. This raise gives me a lot of money every month. So much money that I could probably send you to college twice. Now, get to school or you'll be late. I love you." He shoo-ed me out of the truck.

"Okay, if you say so. Thanks, Dad. I love you, too. Drive safely." I shut the rusty door and waved as he drove away. Great. School.

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