TITLE: Soul Cutter
GENRE: YA Horror/Romance
In the center of town, the clock tower above City Hall chimed midnight. Twelve metallic gongs vibrated across the countryside. The last of autumn’s leaves spiraled down from naked branches, ducks buried their beaks deeper in feathered-warmth, and housecats curled closer to the fire.
It was time for all the good little citizens of Kirby Landing to be in their beds.
So, naturally, Élan Duchamps was far away from hers, running across a shadowy lawn with her camera crew close behind.
A holly bush caught her black sweats, its barbs pulling threads loose. She threw a glare at the plant as if that could make it apologize. Against the holly’s dark leaves, small red berries shone like droplets of blood.
Frowning, Élan skulked past another bush and into a withered flowerbed outside an old Victorian home. Plant-stalks crackled under her soles as she stood on tiptoe to peer through the window. Her pulse cranked up a notch, and her tongue slipped out, wetting dry lips. The man inside would call the ghosts soon, and she didn’t want to miss a thing.
Beside her, Tyler braced the legs of the tripod among the dead flowers and aimed the camcorder toward the glass.
“Make sure the lens cap is off and the auto-focus is on,” Élan whispered, surprised to see her words become puffs of white in the cold air. Every year, the first frost came as a shock, as if summer’s heat wiped away all memory of the past winter.