For lovers of all things Finnish and paranormal, here's a sneak peek at an excerpt from the anthology Spirited. This story, "The Cold One," is by bestselling, award-winning author Candace Havens.
"Bone-chilling cold and secrets.
Those are the two things I'll take with me when I leave Finland.
If I leave..."
"Havahduttaa jalkeilla apulainen." The words are so loud I jump out of bed and hit my head on the slanted roof. Groaning, I rub the top of my head.
Grandmother stands at the end of the bed pointing at me. "Havahduttaa jalkeilla apulainen." She says it again.
"I am up," I grumble. I can see my breath the room is so cold.
"Wait." I sit back on the bed. "I understood you. You said, 'Wake up, girl.'"
"He's coming. Save me." Poof. She's gone. I mean, like I blink, and she's no longer there.
"Who's coming?" I whisper. I glance at the clock on the wall. Two in the morning. But I'm wired. No way I'll be able to go back to bed any time soon.
I pull on one of the big sweaters mom bought me for the trip and go downstairs. It's even chillier in the living room without the fire. The crazy thing about houses in Finland is that everything is white—the walls, the counters, the floors, and even the cabinets. The house reminds me of a hospital. In the kitchen I fill a glass of water from the tap and chug it down.Thump. The sound against the basement door sends my glass clattering into the sink.
My breath catches as the door opens. Screaming and moving seem like great options, but my body freezes. My reflexes take a hike.
Maybe this is one of my crazy dreams. And…
"Good, you're awake." A guy's blond head pops out of the darkness. He steps into the kitchen, and I can see he's probably only a year or two older than me. "I can use your help. We're almost out of time."
"Who-uh-who are you?" My voice sounds strangled. He's more solid than the ghosts, so I assume he is real. Though, around here anything can happen. But how did he get in?
"Riku. I'm helping your grandmother. She won't leave me alone. Come on." He waves me toward the basement stairs and then disappears.
Bad things happen in basements. In every horror movie I've ever seen, people die when they go to the basement. Sometimes it's the devil. Other times it's zombies or evil spiders. But they always die. There's a strange guy I don't know in grandma's house, and the smartest thing I can do is tell my mother. Or call the police.
Do they have 911 in Finland?
Then something he says clicks in my brain.
Before I realize it, I'm halfway down the stairs.
"My grandmother is dead," I say...
To read more of this story or others by authors such as Maria V. Snyder, Shannon Delany, Linda Joy Singleton, Jill Williamson, and other exciting YA authors, click here for the ebook or preorder your print copy from the Leap Books store.
And watch for other exciting news to celebrate Leap Books 3rd anniversary on January 1. Throughout the month we'll have books on sale for $.99. One pre-celebration treat is Judith Graves Under My Skin, available now for only $.99.