Dark Sentinels Book 1

Roz and her friends are on a ghost hunt, but end up finding more than they bargained for—is it ghosts, aliens…or…both?

Sixteen-year-old Roz is hoping for a fresh start in Las Vegas with her father, but instead, she encounters ghosts haunting her home and her possessions being rearranged. Despite her father's belief that she is having hallucinations due to stress, Roz is convinced that something more sinister is at play. She enlists the help of her cousin, neighbor, and amateur paranormal investigators to confront the ghosts.

However, as she delves deeper, Roz becomes more frightened as she discovers the truth about her own supernatural powers and the dangerous beings that want to kill her for them. Determined to save her world, Roz and her friends set out to stop the looming darkness or risk losing their lives in the process.

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The Shadows (Dark Sentinels Book 1) book photo

Excerpt from The Shadows © Copyright 2023 Jacob Crawford

“So, you’re the one with the ghosts,” Emily said.

“Uh…well, I don’t really think so, but Hazel seems to.”

“Emily knows everything about the paranormal,” Hazel said.

Emily laughed. “Well, I wouldn’t say that, but I do spend a lot of time studying unexplained events. And I do some paranormal investigation.”

“And you think you can help me? You’ve gotten rid of ghosts before?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Emily said, nodding enthusiastically and munching on a fry. “I’ve gotten rid of ghosts before.”

“Okay. Yeah, I’d love your help…you know, if you can.”

“Great! Let’s get to business, then. When did you have your first encounter?”

I recounted my various “ghost” experiences to her. Emily’s eyes glittered with excitement as I spoke. When I mentioned throwing the journal away, Emily cut me off.

“Wait, you threw it out?” she demanded.

I fidgeted. “Well, yes…”

“Why? It’s important. There’s something in that journal that the ghost is trying to communicate about to you,” she said.

I stammered, caught off guard. I played it off with clearing my throat, giving myself a moment to recover before saying, “But what would some…ghost…guy want with my mother’s journal?”

“I don’t know,” Emily said.  “But what I do know is that there’s something in there that’s important to the ghost. Maybe it’s just a clue or a statement he relates to. An image. Anything, really. Either way, that’s your ticket to helping this ghost,” she said, pointing sternly at me with a French fry.

“Wait, helping him? I just want him to leave me alone,” I said, my voice rising slightly.

Emily shook her head and popped the fry into her mouth. “You have to help the ghost resolve his unfinished business, then he’ll be free, and you’ll get your house back.”

I sighed. “Look, I don’t even know if there really is a ghost.”

“What about Thursday?” Emily asked.

I turned and looked at Hazel, who shrugged and gave me a guilty smile.

“Sorry, I was telling her about it, and I got kinda carried away…”

“Did you tell her anything else?” I asked, a little more sharply than I’d intended.

Hazel’s eyes went wide. “No. I promise. Just the stuff you told me about the house.”

“If what Hazel told me is true, then you are dealing with a serious haunting,” Emily said.

I nodded slowly, my stomach knotting. I kept trying to tell myself that I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I wasn’t as convinced as I had been before. We were silent for a moment as Emily sipped at her milkshake and Hazel watched me carefully.

“This is a lot to take in,” I finally said.

“I know, Roz. Emily, tell her how we can fix it,” Hazel said, too excited to contain herself. She was actually bouncing slightly.

Emily glanced at Hazel, then back at me, like she was trying to decide if I could handle what she was about to say.

“What? What is it?” I asked.

She smiled. “Rosalind, how would you feel about hosting a séance?”

I stared at her.

“Are you serious? A séance? Are we in a B-movie now?”

Emily laughed. “I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but I’m not kidding. Séances can be really effective.”

I was starting to feel sick. I glanced at Hazel, who was watching me, looking a little nervous, like she was afraid I was mad at her.

Hazel was excited, and Emily too, but neither of them had been there. Neither of them had been scared out of their minds, afraid that maybe something terrible was going to happen.

They didn’t have to live in a house with the threat of the unknown hanging over them at every minute of every day. They thought it was great, because they weren’t there. But I couldn’t take a shower, or make myself breakfast, or go to sleep, or even walk from one room to another without wondering if something was going to jump out at me—and wondering if this time, it would hurt or even kill me.

My throat tightened when I thought about the intruder from Thursday night. Everything pointed to the house being empty. My dad had changed all the locks and updated our security system, but it didn’t make me feel any safer. Was a séance going to help, or make it worse?

“Guys, I don’t know if I can do this,” I finally said.

Hazel looked disappointed, but Emily nodded.

“I understand. This stuff can be pretty freaky.”

“Right. And I don’t…I don’t even know what happened, I just…”

Emily shook her head. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me. But I do think I can help you; so, when you’re ready…” she opened her purse and pulled out a little black card, handing it to me.

I took it and read the stark white letters: Emily MacNeil, Paranormal Investigator.

Hazel took me home after that. I didn’t really want to be in my house, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go.

My dad came home not long after me, preparing us dinner. I forced down some food and went through my evening routine until I couldn’t put off sleep anymore. As I did every night, I turned all the lights on and checked over my whole room. I knew it was useless—even if I found something, what was I going to do? Fight? Cry? Scream until it killed me?

I reminded myself that things had been uneventful for the past couple of days. Most likely, I would have another quiet night, unworthy of all this anxiety.

Telling myself all this trouble was behind me, I climbed into bed and shut off the light. My room was cool as I lay down, tugging the blankets around myself and closing my eyes. I was tired and ready to sink into dreams, hoping that tonight they would be peaceful.

Just as I was drifting off, someone sat down on the edge of my bed.

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