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Here is the first part of Chapter 1 of Dead Awakening, the 2nd in the Preternatural Investigation Agency series.

‘Things were finally going well,’ Billy Markum thought to himself. He was a firm believer that life was not defined solely by one particular moment, but rather by many little events. Even more important was one’s choices in response to those moments.

Billy was positive that his recent choices were the best things he could have done. He saw an opportunity and took full advantage of it, and his life was already improving. The upperclassmen who had ignored and scoffed at him were now accepting and even including him in their current prank. This was how his life was supposed to be.

Billy stood in the center of the hallway at the top of the stairs so that he would be in full view when the other fraternity pledges walked by on the first floor. Reaching a hand behind him, he quickly checked the safety line once more even though he was told it was secure. He just felt better touching it and making sure it was still clipped tight. If this prank worked right, it was going to be talked about for the rest of the year.

He heard voices approaching and knew that it was just about show time. A double-knock on the floor from the room around the corner was his signal to get ready. A minute later, the pledges arrived. “Billy, what are you doing up there?” one called.

“Just looking around. I haven’t seen anything yet, have you?” Billy replied, hoping his voice sounded calm.

“A door slammed on us earlier, but nothing since then,” the pledge answered, disappointed. If he was being forced to walk around a supposedly haunted, condemned building with a group of frightened college freshman, he wanted to hear disembodied voices and see apparitions.

Out of the corner of his eye, Billy saw a shadow detach from the wall and move slowly toward him. Keeping his face as normal as possible, he pretended that he didn’t see it and waited for his cue. Luckily he didn’t have to wait too long.

“Billy, what’s that?” a pledge asked nervously, pointing at the shadow with wide eyes.

“Holy shit!” another exclaimed, excited to finally see something worthwhile.

“What?” Billy replied and turned toward the shadow and gasped. “Oh my god!”

He took a few stumbling steps backward until he stepped on the next mark and waited. It was now time for the big finale and it was hard to keep the grin off his face. He wondered if the pledges would scream. That would really be funny.

He felt the warning tug at his waist so he could prepare himself and then his body was pulled backward with more force than he expected. The yelp he uttered when his body hit the glass window and went through it wasn’t completely acting. This was scarier than he thought it would be.

The window had been already partially broken so he was only somewhat scraped by the glass shards, but he didn’t feel it because he was suddenly hanging mid-air and it was amazing. A small laugh bubbled up inside him as his body swung backwards away from the building. He could still see inside the window and he could hear faint shouts and screams, but he didn’t pay them any attention because he was trying to figure out why a lady in a hospital gown and bathrobe was looking at him so sadly. It didn’t register that the cable had come loose until he was falling and then it was already too late to scream.

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