Alice Turner, reporter for the LA Worker, interviewing Sera Paterson after the death of Mr. Meriwether.
Alice: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Sera. First of all, I can’t help but observe that I’m talking to you in Cliffside Estates, the mobile home park on the edge of Oak Haven. I thought you lived in exclusive Oak Haven gated community of Meadow Oaks?
Sera: We did live there, but after my dad’s death, we couldn’t afford it anymore, so we had to leave.
Alice: I’m so sorry. That must have been difficult for you.
Sera: Of course it was. It’s not something I really want to talk about.
Alice: I understand. Ok. Mr. Meriwether died a horrific death last night, they’re saying he was killed by some enormous mountain lion. But from what I understand you don’t think that’s true?
Sera: No, I don’t.
Alice: And you saw him just the day before his death? How did it happen that he came to your house?
Sera: Well, we had just returned from my dad’s funeral and this funny little man in a suit, carrying a big briefcase, was waiting on the doorstep. He was my dad’s lawyer.
Alice: There must have been an important reason why he came to visit that day?
Sera: Yes. He came to tell us that…hey, that’s the part I don’t want to talk about. But the thing is, my dad left something for us, and that’s what important.
Alice: What did he leave?
Sera: A key in a box. I wear the key around my neck now. See?
Alice: Wow, it’s beautiful…although it isn’t exactly the sort of thing you expect to be left by your dad. I’m guessing there were some money difficulties and that’s why you moved—
Sera: Can I make it any clearer—stop asking those kinds of questions!
Alice: Of course. Now, did Mr. Meriwether appear distraught in any way? When we talked on the phone, you implied something suspicious was going on in regards to his death. Can you elaborate on that?
Sera: That’s what I want to talk about! I don’t think he was mauled by an animal. That’s ridiculous. He was murdered. Like my dad. And I think both their deaths are related.
Alice: Woah! That’s more information than I anticipated! What makes you think this?
Sera: For starters, they both died within two weeks of one another—what’s the odds of two people so closely connected dying like that? Did you know they say my dad so far down the underground tunnels, it was impossible to recover his body? Doesn’t that sound suspicious? And then Meriwether dies in that horrible way? Trust me, there is something weird about it all. Meriwether was nervous, very nervous about something.
Alice: Did he give any indication what he was nervous about?
Sera: I don’t know, but I’m going to find out! And you, as a decent member of the press should try, too!
Alice: Forgive me if I am a bit skeptical but—
Sera: Look, I don’t care what you or anyone thinks. I’m letting you know my suspicions so that when the next death happens, you’ll pay more attention.
Alice: Next death?
Sera: Oh, yes. Trust me, this is only the beginning! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my mom. She hasn’t been doing so well since my dad died.
Alice: Of course. But perhaps you might just let us know why you moved to Cliffside? They’re saying that your dad wasn’t exactly being honest about his life—
Sera: I knew this interview was a mistake! I only agreed because I know that the next time we talk, you’re doing to listen to me.
Alice: And why would I do that?
Sera: Because this is only the beginning of the horrors that are happening in Oak Haven. Only the beginning!
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Key of Mystery
by KH Mezek
Evernight Teen Publishing, 77K
“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”
When Sera’s father is killed in a horrific accident, all he leaves behind is a mysterious key. Sera places the key on a chain around her neck and vows to avenge her father. Strange characters arrive in town including the otherworldly Night Angels, who claim to be sent for her protection.
Sera falls hard for one of them—exotic, arrogant Peter. But what if his promise of love is only a ruse to gain access to the key? As Sera’s connection to the key grows, so do her supernatural powers. Guided by clues left by her father, Sera searches for the hidden chamber beneath the city, hoping to save what lies within before the sinister mayor and his deadly followers drown humanity in a bloodbath.
14+ due to adult situations
Before my dad’s death and the move to Cliffside, I had known only lies. I hadn’t seen the truth about myself, my family, or my friends. But here on the ground, covered in blood and dirt, and most likely dying, I knew I didn’t want to go back there. I wanted to stay with the truth. The truth hurt like hell, but it was better than being numbed by ignorance.
“No.” I think I said it out loud, but it sounded more like a gurgle. I tried harder. “Never give you the key.” I gasped. “Never.”
He hissed in anger. “Then I will turn you into undead.”
I knew he was bluffing. If he turned me into one of them, he would never get the key. I had to willingly give it to him, with a rational mind, and those undead were anything but rational.
Gore howled like he had on the plateau, and the nail raked across my face, penetrating deep into my skin. He reached down and licked the blood with his long snake tongue, a poison so painful seeping into my flesh that I almost passed out again.
When he spoke next, his tone was venomous, each syllable biting as if they were his teeth. “Clever girl, I will do something better. I will turn your brother into undead. Think on that.”
I made a feeble sound of terror, struggling to get up and unable to move.
He laughed. “You will give it to me now. Or else your brother will end up like this.” He grabbed one of the undead and pulled the grotesque, dead-eyed face down next to mine. Then, he tossed it away like a stick.
This was the end, then. Gore had won. I had to at least try to save my brother, even if Gore's promises were lies. With unbearable effort, I reached up and tried to undo the chain. I couldn’t. I tried to pull it up over my head but somehow, it became tangled in my torn clothes. I was too weak and the problem of removing the key from around my neck overwhelmingly impossible.
“Come, little bitch, quickly.” Gore’s fingers dangled in front of my face, as if itching to undo the chain for me. But he was powerless to do so.
A growing uneasiness rippled through the undead standing in a circle behind him. Low moans rose from cavernous mouths. Any second now, surely Gore would unleash the hoard upon my brother to devour him. Why, oh why, couldn’t I undo the chain?
I grabbed the key and pulled with all my remaining strength, whispering, “I want this. I want to give him the key. I do.”
About the Author:
Karen Hunt is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth who live in remote, violent and poverty stricken areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London and a village in Yugoslavia. She writes her YA works under the name KH Mezek. Key of Mystery, book I in the YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, was published February 5, 2016 with Evernight Teen.
NIGHT ANGELS Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nightangelschronicles/
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