Tuesday Sampler: Never Alone by Linn B. Halton

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesday’s Sampler is an excerpt from Never Alone, a paranormal romance by Linn B. Halton.

As one reviewer said: If you have an interest in the afterlife and how fate can direct us in ways that we never imagined, this book is what you’ve been waiting for. Never Alone, is a solid read, with interesting characters that will hook readers and a plot that will leave you questioning your own life choices! Then again, this type of intriguing, well-written fiction is exactly what we’ve come to expect from author Linn. B. Halton.

The Story

Life is all about the choices we make…

Holly is the envy of all her friends; she has lived with the gorgeous Will for five years. She supported him whilst his IT company grew and a life split between homes in the UK and Los Angeles beckons, offering them a glamorous and exciting lifestyle.

A series of terrifying encounters unleashes an inherited psychic sensitivity within Holly and she begins to wonder whether the path she’s on is the one she’s destined to take. The thought of hurting the people she loves the most causes her to bury her emotions, until fate takes a hand. Suddenly her perfect life begins to unravel…

“It’s a gift to be shown something that allows you to make a difference and alter the outcome of someone else’s life. However, the weight of the responsibility that goes along with that is huge and what about the ethics? The thing I have to ask myself is how did my actions change the future?”

The Sampler

Linn B. Halton
Linn B. Halton

“I read an article once about a man who was dying of some horrific lung condition. The interviewer asked if he was scared of death and he said, “No, why—should I be? I am scared about how my wife will cope when I’m not here anymore. I know I will be in a better place, but she will always wonder, until it’s her time”. What struck me most was how firmly he believed it wasn’t the end of anything for him and that his wife was the one he felt sorry for.”

“That’s sad. I guess if there is an afterlife, then that’s not going to be perfect either. Well that’s depressing. To go from one imperfect life to another…” Celia thrusts her glass towards me and I raise mine obligingly. A clear, hollow ring fills the air as glass touches glass.

“Here’s to a better life beyond,” she adds dully.

“Sometimes they do manage to make contact,” I try my best to sound matter-of-fact. “I’ve experienced it myself.”

Celia turns to look at me, studying my face. “Yes, but is it real, Holly?”

“It’s real to me when it happens. You don’t have to be a medium to see spirits. Cara says I’m getting help from the other side, from my grandmother. So there are things they can do.” I don’t know what I’m trying to say exactly, or whether I’m only trying to give Celia some hope. A part of me, buried deep inside, seems to want to open up. I know there is something beyond death and perhaps it’s about time I faced up to that fact.

“But, Holly, the things you’ve seen have scared you. They haven’t comforted you; quite the opposite. How sad is that?” Celia doesn’t look upset, merely resigned.

“I know. Why can’t I see or sense my grandmother? That would be a good experience, surely? Will and I did some research and one book we came across said everyone is born with a natural psychic ability. Cara said much the same. As we grow we learn to dismiss it and question it in such a way that eventually we lose the ability to ‘see’. In some people it’s activated, their abilities are much stronger or they have decided to learn how to use the gift they have been given. An important part of that is learning how to protect yourself. The trouble is I don’t want to get more involved. If I learn more, then I’m worried that I will be encouraging what’s out there to see me as receptive. How awful if it never went away.”

“It might all end here. You weren’t the only one affected by Bisley Rise so it must have been strong. I know you were upset and it really spooked you, but gradually you’ll let it go and things will return to normal.” Celia tries to sound reassuring.

“I wish it were that simple,” I sigh, but my words sound fraught.

“What do you mean?” Celia asks.

“I thought Bisley Rise was the first time. I’m not so sure now.” She looks at me, puzzled. “I’ve been going through my portfolio of writing. It spans almost ten years; I started writing poetry and short stories when I was a teenager. Bits and pieces, but I always enjoyed it. It was my way of relaxing and I’ve had a few things published over the years. I went back through some of my earlier writing yesterday. Let me show you something I found.” I run upstairs to the bedroom and pull a folded piece of A4 paper from the pale yellow box file on the desk next to the bed. I unfold the paper as I walk back into the sitting room.

“Listen to this. It’s something I wrote when I was just sixteen years old. It was a shock when I found it the other day.”

The Uninvited

I can see the breeze

Rustling through the branches

Laden with leaves

That should be basking in the sunshine

But not today

I hear that sad howling

Through the corridor

Next to my room

The eerie sound makes me feel alone

And sadly afraid

For what might walk

Fretful and angry

Encouraged by the chill

And the high-pitched whine

Barely audible

But unmistakable

There is a shadow

I saw it move, hover

As a wisp of smoke

Clearing before my eyes

And I move my head

To check the swaying trees

Beyond the window

Which now seem strangely calm

I know you are there

I’ve seen you before

But I bow my head

And continue reading my book

Afraid to acknowledge

Scared to see more

I had the conversation once

Told a friend what I had seen

Suffered the pitying glance

Dismissive smile

Because you are never there

When I’m not alone

Your message is for me

But I’m too afraid

To listen or respond

Please

Just leave me alone

Celia exhales slowly and loudly, letting it sink in and then takes a long, slow sip from her wine glass.

“Perhaps it wasn’t your own experience that inspired the poem, it might be based on a story or incident you read about perhaps?”

“No, it was a way of voicing what was hidden away deep inside of me. Things I couldn’t talk about, although I did try to confide in a friend once. I guess I’ve spent years pushing this away and ignoring things. Bisley Rise frightened me because for the first time ever it was so strong I couldn’t ignore it. If I hadn’t then had that awful experience in the basement of the pin mill, I would still be trying to convince myself it was an isolated experience. I know that isn’t true and I suppose I’m trying to face up to what’s been happening for a long time now.”

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  • Linn B Halton

    Thanks so much, Linda and Caleb, for featuring Never Alone. Venture Galleries is going from strength to strength!

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