99¢ “Shadow Stations: Unseen” by Ann Grant
Shadow Stations: Unseen
After college student Amy Wong hikes across an isolated Pennsylvania field with her German shepherd, a stranger stops her by a fence to ask for directions. The man disturbs her, from the taunt behind his eyes to the way her dog shies away from him. To her relief they part ways. But when she sees his cell phone fall from his coat, she can’t leave it on the ground. She decides she ought to return it to him… and discovers that instead of a cell, it’s a device that opens a terrifying window to scenes she never was supposed to see.
SHADOW STATIONS: UNSEEN (Book One: Amy’s Story, a 30,000 word novella) begins a sci-fi/horror series about two sisters who discover an invasion in rural Pennsylvania.
SHADOW STATIONS: BLACK FRIDAY (Book Two) will be published in late 2012.
From the Inside Flap
I saw the stranger on Long Lane when I climbed over the rise in the field. The good looking blond was in his late twenties or early thirties, ambling through the fog in jeans and a hunter green coat. He raised an eyebrow. Wondering if he’d heard me ranting about my boyfriend’s car accident, I shortened my German shepherd’s leash to give him time to pass us. Ever since the accident I’d been taking my dog out to isolated areas where I could throw every swear word I knew at the sky. The last thing I wanted was some guy listening to me.
Nikki pricked her ears and moved her wolfish body through the tall grass to the pavement. Usually the road cleared when I took her for a walk, but not that day. The man slowed down by the fence as if he wanted to say something. By then I couldn’t avoid eye contact, so I gave in and nodded.
“Beautiful dog,” he said, staring at me.
“Yeah, she’s my best friend,” I replied, walking by him.
“I’m looking for Meade Road.”
I turned around. A tourist. No camera, but I should have known. Somebody who’d driven here in the dead of winter to see the battlefield.
“I’m house sitting near Meade,” I said. The second I said it, I couldn’t believe I let that out. “Are you driving or walking?”
He gave me an amused smile. “Walking.”
I flushed under his gaze. Of course he was walking, but I’d thought maybe he’d parked nearby. There was something odd about his right hand. He had six fingers. A polydactyl, some kind of birth defect. I didn’t want to stare and turned to the field.
“Meade’s over there on the ridge.” I pointed to the foggy horizon. “You can walk across the field or you can follow Long Lane around to the Rec Park and cut up through the Armory. There’s some snow in the field so you might want to take the road.”
Nikki made a low noise in the back of her throat and nosed my leg.
“We expanded here this year,” the man said. “I own the Grasslands.” Both of his hands had six long, perfect fingers, not just the right one. I’d never seen anything like it and caught myself staring again. “You’ll have to come out when we open.”
So I was talking to local royalty. The Grasslands was a resort under construction in the middle of wild nowhere off Route 15. The plans for a soaring dome and an open-air restaurant surrounded by exotic ornamental grasses had been all over the newspapers. The Grasslands was supposed to revitalize the area, but I didn’t get it. The place was too remote. And six weeks ago, Ben had died in a terrible car accident on the same rural road. I had no intention of ever going out there.
“Amy Wong,” I said. “I missed your name.”
His eyes flickered to a Honda as it passed us. “John Savenue. You live here?”
I hesitated. “I’m from D.C., but I go to Gettysburg College. Look, I’ve got to be someplace right now.” Which was a lie, but I’d picked up a faint taunt behind his eyes and didn’t want to stand there any longer with him. I nodded goodbye, reeled in my dog, and took off in the opposite direction, intending to take a roundabout way to the Rec Park in case he went the same way. I’d left my Jeep in the parking lot when Nikki and I began our hike.
Something told me to glance back. The six-fingered man was still there, staring at me, and then he loped across the field. Strange guy. When he reached the creek, something fell out of his coat on the bank. I almost called after him, but I stopped myself. He was too far away to hear me.
“Come on,” I told Nikki. “Let’s go see.”
He’d dropped his cell phone. It took me a while to find it in the ice-encrusted grass, but the cover wouldn’t slide back or flip open. I put it in my pocket. John Savenue. I’d look him up when I got to the house. It was the decent thing to do even though he gave me the creeps.