This month, we're spotlighting...
Sarah Bromley lives near St. Louis with her husband, three children, and three dogs. She likes the quiet hours of morning when she can drink coffee in peace, stare into the woods behind her house, and wonder what monsters live there. When she’s not writing or wrangling small children, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.
You can find her on Twitter and at her blog. Her adult works are under the name Sarah John Bromley. She is represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Thunder grumbled as Chloe brought out a junky white box. “You ever see one of these?”
The box read Ouija and contained a board painted with letters, numbers, and a Yes in one corner, a No in the other.Goodbye dead center in the top. Spirits talked through a plastic triangle, a planchette. Fortunetelling was nothing new to me. Mom read tarot cards and taught me palmistry. She’d also believed spirit boards were the devil’s playthings.
“This is a bad idea,” I said.
Chloe pulled me to the floor and giggled. “Are you scared?”
“No. Just—” I had to be careful how I answered. “I come from a superstitious family.”
“It won’t hurt you,” Chloe insisted. She opened the box, tossed the lid on her quilt, and dumped out the board. “You’re doing this, and what happens stays between us. I swear to God.”
Her eyes flicked to the silver cross hanging above her bed. She vowed her honesty on that cross. Promises made on a cross, if broken, brought upon a curse.
The board sat between us, and the planchette was a celluloid triangle, once white but jaundiced with age. Chloe placed her index and middle fingers on one side.
“Come on, Vayda,” she coaxed. “You’re not afraid of a little game, are you?”
I wasn’t about to be called chicken, but Chloe had no idea what she asked of me. I was wedged between fitting in like Dad wanted and my superstitions, but I ultimately had to live with my father, not my ancestors and their beliefs. My barriers rose, steeling against any residue left behind by past hands, and I placed my fingers on the game piece.
The planchette bounced.
“No way,” Chloe whispered. “You feel that?”
“Shut up.” I teased and tried to sound dismissive. “It was the wind.”
But there wasn’t a draft.
Rain plinked off the windows. In the storm-darkened room, the hollows in her cheeks were sickly. I’d never seen her so unwell. It was the bad light, nothing more. Wasn’t it?
“Spirits,” she began, talking to the board as she tried not to laugh from nerves, maybe from the ridiculousness of hoping the Ouija board had power, “tell me a secret about Vayda.”
“What? Why me?”
“Quiet!” She noticed my fingers lifting off the planchette. “Don’t you dare let go!”
I choked on a reply when the celluloid triangle moved in a lazy circle across the board. Chloe was moving it. She had to be moving it. Yet emotions never lied, and she felt spooked.
The planchette spiraled inward on the alphabet before coming to rest on the M. From there, it skated to U. A chill shot down my veins to my hands.
“M-u-r-d-” Chloe read aloud as the triangle dashed from letter to letter.
Shit. I didn’t like how this felt, and the planchette moved too fast for either of us to control it. I could tell Chloe that Murdock was a family name. She didn’t have to know. It could be a coincidence—
That wasn’t how to spell Murdock.
Lightning cracked close outside, and a blue-white flash reflected off the board’s sheen. I ran my tongue along my lips, and the nervousness streaming from Chloe soared until the flutter of energy in my fingertips grew so strong the planchette vibrated. An acrid smell, something burning, hit my nose. The legs of the triangle began to melt. I yanked my fingers away but not before the planchette settled on one last letter.
About A Murder of Magpies
Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.Just as Vayda and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
Sarah is sponsoring a giveaway for a paperback of A Murder of Magpies! Check out the rules and then enter below!
- Ends at 12 AM on June 13th