Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Red Satin Shoes by Melissa Saari

Melissa Saari lives by the Columbia River, the river that powers America. Wildfires rage every summer, and the smoke and water mix like a spell. Melissa writes every day, and nothing can distract her from her craft. Her two loving and protective dogs, a pit bull named Marla and a Chow named Leo. Instead of distracting, their antics inspire her to write more books.

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About the Book

In the vineyards of Sonoma County, young Kim O’Reilly watches as a thunderstorm knocks out power to her house. Going downstairs to fix the power, she discovers a ghost who wants to know what happened to her red satin shoes. The horror only grows deeper when she explores the mystery of the red satin shoes, only to uncover dark family secrets hidden by her ancestors.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

She drew in a breath sharply as the light finally revealed a young girl, about ten she guessed, cowering against the wall, with her head down. 

The girl’s outfit was an old-fashioned skirt with lace frills around the edge, and Kim remembered lace like that on her grandmother’s table. Her grandmother had crocheted it herself: fine, crocheted circles and pineapples and shells. 

“Are you all right?” she asked the girl. 

The girl remained sitting with her head hung low, her mop of red hair obscuring her face. As Kim spoke to her, she began raising her head until her face came into view. Kim screamed in surprise. 

Above the small, dark mouth, the eye sockets ran deep and empty, nothing but blackness behind them, the hollow recesses of the braincase echoing back at her. 

Kim was struck hot with terror at the realization that she was looking at a ghost. She expected this kind of surprise would make her even colder than she was now, but it didn’t. 

Kim felt a strong surge of compassion and pity for this ghost before her. Even though her skin prickled in fear, the deep emotional connection she felt with the spirit overrode her body’s reactions of horror and disgust. After all, hearing about a ghost, and seeing one, were two different things, really. She stood her ground, and then saw the dark mouth open and ask her a question which sent a chill through to her bones. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” 

“You’re dead!” Kim shouted. As the words rushed out her mouth, she felt more alive than she had in years. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes with the buckles?” 

“What are you talking about?” Kim asked. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the ghost inquired. 

“I must be losing my mind,” she said, although the ghost didn’t even turn her head at the comment. 

Kim closed her eyes tight and rubbed her fingers against them until beautiful colors formed. Even behind her closed eyelids, she could still feel the girl’s presence. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the eyeless ghost demanded. 

Kim snapped her eyes open. She was still there, and the eye sockets were still empty dark holes. Kim finally comprehended the ghost wasn’t a hallucination and wasn’t going to go away just because she wished it or rubbed her eyes. 

“I’ve never seen your red satin shoes!” 

She wasn’t sure if the ghost misunderstood her or was simply lost in her own purgatory. “So you have seen my shoes? I knew it, you lying thief! Give them back! Give them back! Give them back!” 

With each repeated command, the ghost’s voice grew fainter and fainter, as if it was being pulled farther and farther away from her. Then the ghost disappeared from sight entirely and the tension in the air eased to a more normal level, as if the ghost had never been there at all.

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