Reading The Dead: Fidelis In Aeternum (preview)

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Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles,  Book 2: Fidelis In Aeternum

Enjoy this three-chapter preview of the second book of the Reading The Dead series! Be sure to watch for it on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords when it arrives in February 2014, along with a two-story companion novella, featuring the standalone adventures of teenage ghost, Anna Nigma. For more information about this series, visit http://jbcameron.blogspot.ca or stop by the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ReadingTheDeadTheSarahMiltonChronicles

DRESSING UP DEATH

CHAPTER ONE

1

The musty smell of nostalgia clung to the attic. A set of rusted handlebars sprouted from a mound of dusty cardboard boxes. A garish billboard from Senator William H. Milton's election campaign slowly faded into a yellowing Warhol image of his smiling, younger face. A frayed quilt of cobwebs adorned Emily Milton's favorite rocking chair. The detritus piled in containers of all shapes and sizes strained in precariously stacked towers towards the rafters.

Sarah took a moment from her search to cast her eyes about the room. The sight of mementos from her childhood in Tilford, now abandoned and forgotten, deeply saddened her. Not since her mother's funeral did she feel such an overwhelming bout of melancholy. When she climbed up into her family's attic in search of a relic from her mother's past, she had no idea that it would feel so much like grave robbing.

From outside, the squeal of violins faintly disrupted the almost sacrosanct stillness permeating the air. The soft music was a gentle reminder of the continuance of life flowing all around her.

Sarah brushed off a spot of dust from her bridesmaid's dress and returned to her search of the many boxes containing her nearly forgotten past. Somewhere amongst this seemingly endless mountain of remembrances, she would find a trinket that once held her mother's fondness.

"What will they do with all of those flowers?" a young voice piped with curiosity.

Sarah glanced up from the container at a blonde child in her early teens. Anna Nigma, as Sarah named her many years ago, stood at a large window looking out over the backyard. Rays of sunlight effortlessly gleamed through her red dress and comely features. The ethereal child shimmered as she basked in the light, almost angelic in her aspect. The spirit cast no more of a shadow behind her than the glass through which she observed the wedding preparations happening outside.

The girl's real identity remained as much a mystery to them both as it was when they first met over twenty years ago. In all that time, Anna never changed, aged, or ceased in her constant wonder of the world from which she perpetually remained apart.

The child's ghost shot her blue eyes towards her companion, shaking Sarah from her reverie.

"Sorry?"

"The flowers. What happens to them after the wedding's over?"

Sarah returned to rummaging in the box between her legs. It contained a neatly folded assortment of old clothing, but none that might have once belonged to her mother.

"Thrown out, I guess."

"Oh," Anna replied sadly. She returned to her view of the ceremonial preparations assembling below. "Seems a shame. They're pretty."

Sarah ignored the sentiment. "Nothing lasts forever," she muttered dismissively.

One could hardly fault her for having such a blasé attitude when it came to such matters. Over the years, the specter of Death was so familiar to her that it might as well be giving the bride away. All it took to remind her of its continued presence in her life was a glance at the dead child smiling at her from across the room.

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