Welcome to my stop on the Every Hill and Mountain blog tour!
Today, I’m sharing an excerpt.
I hope you’ll like it! 🙂
· · ·
Every Hill and Mountain
By Deborah Heal
The second floor of Hickory Hill was much the same as the first. The wallpaper was just as garish. Other than that, the walls looked ordinary, and Abby couldn’t imagine them folding back to form a ballroom. Either that was a figment of Miss Granger’s imagination, or someone had renovated the walls. Not wanting to take advantage of Miss Granger’s hospitality, they only peeked in the rooms. The six bedrooms were filled to capacity with the same dark, over-sized, and over-ornamented furniture.
“Let’s just sit here in the hall to time-surf,” Abby said.
“The sheriff took Ned to the third floor,” John said. “Only I don’t see any stairs.”
“They must be in one of the bedrooms,” Kate said.
“They wouldn’t put the staircase in a bedroom,” Ryan said. “It would be in the hall. Obviously.” He walked down to the far end of the hall and entered the bathroom. “But if the bathroom was added later — since obviously they didn’t have indoor plumbing in 1834 — then maybe…”
Abby and the others crowded together at the door to look in. Like everything else, the bathroom was oversized. It was paneled in boxcar siding that at one time had probably been painted white but was now yellowed with age. Just inside on the left was a small door of the same material set flush with the wall. A padlock dangled, unlocked, from a bracket high on the door.
Ryan removed it and opened the door, smiling smugly. “And there you are.”
Inside was a dark, narrow staircase, not nearly as grand as the main one to the second floor.
John pulled out his flashlight and aimed it up the stairwell. A thick layer of dust covered the steps, indicating no one had swept them for a very long time. Footprints in the dust meant someone had been using them recently.
John started up the stairs. They creaked loudly, but Kate followed gamely after him. Ryan politely offered Abby the chance to go next, but she waved him on.
The third floor was one open room, a garret really. Although there was plenty of daylight left outside, the room was dim because the windows in the gables of the roof were boarded up.
Even so, they provided enough light to see what the third floor held. Ryan cursed and then Abby saw why.
Twelve sets of chains with manacles were set into the walls at equal distances. And chains hung also from the three support posts in the center of the room. Abby went to the one nearest her and knelt. At the end of the chain was a rusty neck collar resting on the floor.
“What is this place?” Kate asked, her voice hollow and strained.
John grimaced and his nostrils flared as if he had picked up a disgusting smell. “Ned Greenfield’s new home.” He opened his laptop and launched Beautiful House.…
About the Author
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win a set of signed books — the whole trilogy!
- Open to U.S. addresses only.
- Winner will be announced. May 16, 2013.