How about if the rent was dirt cheap?
That was the dilemma faced by Cassie, Pete, Lance, and Tad, when they first moved into Brackenby House. And it wasn’t too much of a dilemma at the time. The house was famous in the local area, and it had featured in a few dark history books, but the students were sceptical about the rumours that the home was still haunted. Their friend Kyle (housemate and son of the current homeowner) liked to tell them regularly that his distant relative, the psychic Lucius Holgrove, had managed to banish the ghosts within the walls of Brackenby House after the séance massacre of 1876. So they accepted Kyle’s offer of low rent and the 5 of them settled into both university life and Brackenby in no time. That is until Halloween night 2016, when the group decide it will be fun to hold a séance of their own. Nothing bad will happen – not in this day and age. Right?
Plus, the jury was still out on what really happened that fateful night back in 1876. Did Lucius’s séance really pull forth 5 cursed ghosts from hell in order to fulfil a spell found in an ancient book? Did the hapless group of wealthy merchants and professionals, guests of Brackenby’s then-owner, Professor Josiah Grant, really die gruesome deaths at the hands of each of the ghosts? Or was Lucius the only survivor for another reason. A reason no-less dark. After spending months in jail awaiting trial, and then being freed into a sanitorium, Lucius was finally freed. The judge and jury hesitantly agreed – surely one young man couldn’t have been responsible for the carnage discovered at the house. A house that would claim another victim, when Lucius leapt from a cliff to his death shortly after being released. Victorian newspaper records detailed the initial carnage, Lucius’s graphic and terrifying testimony, and the news of his untimely death all too thoroughly. The séance was dubbed The Suffering, a sensationalist name that had lasted, almost 150 years later.
Kyle loves to big-up his distant uncle and his astonishing abilities not only to resurrect the dead but to send them back to whence they came. But trying to emulate him for a Halloween party trick doesn’t go the way he’d hoped. Now, the 5 ghosts are released back in the house: Jarvis Rice, a 17th century executioner who framed men for murder so he could get the thrill of killing twice. Connor Rourke, who died falling from the rafters of the grain factory he stole from, his footsteps a constant echo along Brackenby’s landing. Anthony Pile, a member of the Hellfire Club who struck a deal with the devil so he could keep his ill-gotten riches in the afterlife. Lisa Vaughan, a fortune teller who cursed the sailors who visited her, forcing them to jump into the sea and join her deadly hoard halfway through their next sail. And, most terrifying of all, the ancient pre-Incan giant, Po. Rumour has it Po has nothing in his eye sockets, and 3 eyes on his forehead. And he’s now residing in Brackenby’s basement.
Each of the ghosts latches onto one of the students, the individual hauntings driving them all to the brink. But the students soon learn that they can’t leave Brackenbury. When they do, the people around them are at risk, and the ghosts only grow stronger. Only Kyle’s uncle Caleb can help. Unlike their distant ancestor, Lucius, Caleb isn’t dashing, charming, or remotely psychic. But, as gruff and rude as he is, Caleb has his uses. He’s been trying to get to the bottom of the house’s secrets for years. And he may just have found a solution that turns the reported history of the séance on its head. The housemates must each do battle with their own individual ghost. But not all of them can make it out alive…
The Suffering, published by Wicked House Publishing – coming soon!
Next up: Meet The Suffering Ghosts! Which one will haunt you?