Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today we have a picture prompt of an empty room with winding stairs. My excerpt is from one of my books in progress, Hannah’s Haint, a vintage paranormal romance set in a small town in the 1950s. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.
The winding stairs led Hannah to the attic. Music tinkled, tinny sounding but louder. The jasmine fragrance was more palpable up here. A tingle ran down her spine. She swiveled around. No one behind her. The breath she’d been holding escaped in a whiny trickle. Squeezing her hands stilled their trembling. Now if she could hold off the urge to scamper back downstairs like a frightened mouse.
Stepping carefully through a maze of boxes, she made her way toward a small wooden shutter. A breath of fresh air would calm her nerves. She didn’t remember seeing such a tiny window anytime she’d viewed the hotel from outside, but she was a little disoriented at the moment. Maybe it was obscured from outside somehow. Why would you have a hidden window though?
Clamping her teeth, she reached for the knob and tugged. Nothing happened. Frowning, she tried with both hands this time. The bottom of the shutter gaped open a hair, but the top refused to budge. Warped, blast it. What she needed was a case knife or, better yet, a screw driver. She glanced around at the boxes. Maybe there was something in one of them she could use to open the shutter. After a moment she shook her head at the way her overloaded brain ran around in circles. She’d deal with the stuck window later. It’s not like she was suffocating or anything. She had traipsed up here because her imagination had played a trick on her. This was her building and consequently her attic full of junk, regardless how it got here. Maybe there were even treasures among the motley piles. She may as well investigate.
She dragged a chair up to one of the largest boxes, determination settling in. All was quiet now. No more eerie music or jasmine. She inhaled a deep breath and let it out in one fell swoop. Ugh, dusty nostrils. Luckily she carried a handkerchief in her apron pocket. She dabbed at her nose, careful to keep it dainty. You never knew when someone was watching you, her mother had advised. No, that etiquette tip didn’t help a bit right now. She reached for a box lid.
The scent of jasmine flooded the room, swirling in on the sudden musical notes. In an instant the temperature plummeted. Icy tendrils snaked around her heart and squeezed. Jerking up, she knocked over the chair and ran headlong toward the door. On the landing, sunlight blinded her just as a dark figure loomed up in front. She screamed. Hands reached out to grab her shoulders.
I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on a picture prompt of a room with winding stairs. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance