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Lost

Souls

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Book One in the Redstone Chronicles

J.T. Bishop

Want access to free content from J.T. Bishop, including her first book, Red-Line: The Shift, plus additional books, excerpts, short stories, and missing scenes? Then look for the link at the end of the book to learn more.

Chapter One

“He’s in there. I saw him. I know he’s in there.” Serita Avery wrung her hands. “Don’t you see him?”

Mason Redstone sat on the carpeted floor and stared into the long, free-standing mirror. Other than seeing the reflection of his own face, he saw nothing, but he tweaked the end of his handlebar mustache and made a mental note to get a haircut. Mrs. Avery paced behind him, every bit as distraught as when he’d first arrived. Her clothes hung on her small frame, and her narrow face pinched more as she waited for Mason to answer.

He tried again, and focused. Mirrors could be a powerful conduit for energy and in his experience as a paranormal investigator and medium, could be used by a spirit to make contact with the living. Mirrors had been used as a tool for communication for years, and he didn’t doubt Serita Avery’s story; she likely had seen something come through. According to her, it was a male energy, and it had spoken to her more than once. At first, she had considered it part of her imagination, and had tried to ignore it, but it had lately become more insistent and wouldn’t leave her alone.

Mason took a sip from the cup of coffee she’d given him and tried to center himself. It had been a long week. He’d just completed an investigation of a family home in which a mother and child had been affected by a malevolent spirit. Mason had made contact with the former home owner who’d died in the house fifty years earlier from suicide, and who now tormented the current owners—especially the child, who Mason realized had her own gifts. Over the course of a week, he’d finally convinced the energy to move on and had encouraged the mother to stay in the house and support her daughter’s gifts. He understood how difficult it could be to grow up hearing the strange voices and seeing the ghostly faces, knowing that everyone believed you were crazy, and keeping it all a secret so you didn’t get sent to a shrink or a mental hospital.

Still feeling the effects from the difficult case, he chastised himself for taking on a new client so soon. He needed time between assignments, or his health suffered as a result. But Mrs. Avery had sounded desperate over the phone, and although his sister Mikey had attempted to push back their initial meeting, he’d agreed to meet with Mrs. Avery and investigate her mirror.

Blinking, he took a deep breath and shook out his hands. Serita Avery continued to pace behind him. “Mrs. Avery, perhaps you could wait in the other room? That might help. Your worry could be blocking anything from coming through.”

She stopped, her small dark eyes darting around. “He’s here. I know he is.”

“Who’s here? The man from the mirror?” Mason paused. “Do you see him outside of the mirror, or is it just in the mirror?”

Holding her head, she slumped. “I see him in my head. He keeps talking. Just like before he...”

Mason frowned. “Before he what?”

Dropping her hand, she stared at him blankly. Her pale skin was stark in the dusky bedroom. She’d kept the curtains closed, and he wished she’d let some sunlight in to shed the murkiness from the space. She stepped closer and picked up his cup. “I’ll get you some more coffee.”

Mason watched her leave, uncertain of her response. Looking around, he took in the unmade bed. Despite the covered windows, some light filtered in, and he could see her open closet. Clothes hung neatly from hangers, mostly dresses and blouses, but also pants and collared shirts. A pair of men’s loafers peeked out from the beneath the clothes. Settling in without Mrs. Avery’s nervous energy to distract him, Mason took a deep breath, and his skin tingling, sensed a masculine presence. He tuned in. Was this the man his client had seen? Did the male items in the room belong to him? He went still and listened.

The presence gained strength. Mason couldn’t see it but could feel it. Speaking silently in his head, he asked what the spirit wanted him to know and waited again. The standalone mirror in the bedroom reflected only the wall behind him and his own face, so Mason closed his eyes, preferring to connect in his own way.

A chill made his skin prickle, and Mason shivered. Curious as to the spirit’s intentions, he probed again and hoped for a response.

A voice sounded in his head. “Help her.” It was low and raspy.

Mason clenched his eyes and responded in his mind. “How?”

“Help her. It’s not too late,” came the reply. “I should have listened.”

“It’s not too late for what?” asked Mason.

There was a pause. “Help her. You know how. She shouldn’t be alone. I should have known.”

“Known what? How should I help her?”

“She is lonely. Help her see what I could not. You know what to do. Trust your instincts.”

Mason didn’t understand. “Did she lose you? Is she grieving for you?”

“She is looking for answers. You can help her. Let her know I made mistakes. I should have offered my help, but I was blind. She can make different choices, though. She can stop it.”

“Stop what? Do you want her to do something?”

“Help her. Trust your instincts. Trust your friend.”

Mason opened his eyes. He hadn’t expected that. “Trust my friend? What do you mean?” he asked aloud.

“You’ll know what to do,” said the voice inside his head. “No secret remains hidden for long. For all of us.”

Mason blinked, trying to make sense of it. It hadn’t been the first time

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