Have you ever moved? Have you ever had an encounter you just can’t rationally explain away? Then you know exactly how stressful either of those situations can be. Now imagine moving your entire family to an area considered sacred for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and having a spirit insist you get involved with solving a murder.
Welcome to Cerri Baker’s life!
Named after a pre-Christian Celtic Goddess, Cerri has spent her life trying to avoid the spirituality and hocus-pocus her mother embraces. Now in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Cerri doesn’t seem to have much choice as a spirit guide insists she find justice for a murdered man. As she struggles with her own destiny, Cerri must also convince the FBI that she is getting her information from another realm and not from first-hand knowledge of the murder.
“I’m not sure what I can tell you, sir . . . Officer . . . Agent Oliver . . .” I paused. What I was supposed to call the man standing before me? “We just moved here,” I said closing the door behind him and hoping he wasn’t a serial killer, posing as someone from the FBI.
He followed me to the kitchen where I offered him a glass of water or tea.
“You are Cerridwen Lynn Baker, correct.” It wasn’t a question. I could tell that he knew precisely who I was, but I had no idea how he knew.
What do you say to an FBI agent in your home? Is there a correct protocol for that?
“Is there something I can help you with? I don’t understand why you’re here.” I hoped that sounded more like a statement than a question. It occurred to me that maybe this was part of a background check for some new assignment of Dad’s, although I’d never met one of the “background check guys”—as my sister and I called them when we were growing up—so rude and downright scary.
The mountain-sized man continued as if I hadn’t spoken at all. “How well did you know Scott Curtis?”
“Who?” I mumbled the word before I could even comprehend what he had asked. His rudeness made the biggest impression on me. This man must have gotten his manners out of a Cracker Jack box.
“Scott Curtis. He was found at the base of Devils Tower. I’d like to know how you knew him.” The agent’s steel grey eyes stared at me with such intensity I had to look away.
My throat went dry and there was a hole in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to vomit. Even without looking in a mirror, I was sure I had lost all color in my face. Stammering, I replied, “I didn’t.”
I could see the man’s jaw muscles clenching as he stared me down.
Agent Oliver took a deep breath. “You called the tip line yesterday. You gave the name of the victim and knew he was from Rapid City. In addition, you knew other aspects of the crime that had not been released to the public. Now, I’ll ask you again. How well did you know Scott Curtis?”
It was my turn to take a deep breath, hoping it would steady my nerves. It didn’t. Instead a new wave of nausea hit me like a brick wall. I was pretty sure an answer like “Well, this spirit told me Scott’s name and how he was shot. Why don’t you grab an Ouiji board and ask the spirit these questions?” would cause me more trouble than I was already in.
Click here to read the first chapter of: Ghost Mountain by Nichole R. Bennet
After first being published in Daisy Magazine at the ripe, old age of 7, Nichole never dreamt of any other career. To help her achieve that goal, she became a DINFOs trained killer for the US Air Force.
An avid mystery reader from a young age, Nichole has devoured Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, and Agatha Christie. Nichole has also had an ongoing fascination with the supernatural — everything from angels and spirits to ghosts and hauntings. It’s only natural that she combine her two interests to create mysteries with a paranormal twist.
She lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, two daughters, three dogs, and four cats.
When she’s not writing, Nichole can be found reading, knitting socks, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, or spending too much time online.