Beneath Still Waters
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USA Today Bestselling author Stacey Joy Netzel presents...
An old legend tells of a beautiful witch unjustly persecuted who became a ghost bent on revenge...
The danger lies in not believing.
On a sorority camping trip in the Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park, Becca scoffs at the story of the Ghost of Still Waters, despite the convictions of her fellow campers, Liz and Shane. When Liz challenges her to summon the witch’s spirit, will Becca’s disbelief seal her fate?
“There’s this place along the river where the surface of the water is so still you’d swear you’re looking at glass,” Johnny began in a low, quiet voice. “But the currents beneath the surface are wicked fast.”
The ominous fact was underscored by the sound of rushing water tumbling over the rocks and boulders of the riverbed barely twenty yards from their campsite. Becca never would’ve admitted it out loud, but a shiver shimmied up her spine.
Megan’s manicured nails clutched Johnny’s shirt. “This river?”
“This very river,” he confirmed. Clearly happy to have her plastered against him, he tightened his hold and grinned at his teammate. “Go ahead. You tell the story better.”
Ted set the flashlight aside before sitting up straighter, rubbing his hands together in delight. “All right, here we go.”
It didn’t take a genius to figure out this was a play the two had run more than a few times. Megan was practically in Johnny’s lap, and beside Becca, Liz leaned forward in eager anticipation. Her breasts were ready to pop free from her bra—an enticing view not lost on Ted, Johnny, or Shane.
After a glance down at her own green T-shirt, Becca gave a mental sigh. Sure, the color went well with her red hair, but the modest neckline did nothing to show off what she considered a decent figure—size six jeans and a generous C-cup. Maybe if she started dressing more like Liz, or even Megan with her shoulder-baring halter-top and low-rise jeans, guys wouldn’t overlook her more often than not. Or use her as a bet.
“Back in the eighteen hundreds, there was a young witch who lived in these mountains. In fact... ” Ted paused and looked around. “What remains of her cabin isn’t too far from here.”
Megan gave a little moan, as if the long-dead woman would suddenly appear right behind her.
“The townspeople were all scared of her, but since she kept to herself mostly, they left her alone. Then one day—”
“Does this witch have a name? And why were they scared of her?” Becca fired off the questions as Megan glanced uneasily over Johnny’s shoulder.
“Shh,” Liz said with annoyance.
“The legend warns against speaking her name.”
“Don’t encourage him,” Shane added.
“Why not?” The fearful question came from Megan.
“She practiced black magic,” Ted explained. “They say if you speak her name, it could awaken her spirit.”
The fire popped, throwing a shower of sparks skyward. Becca noticed Megan and Liz both jerk in reaction, as if the witch had sent a sign.
She didn’t believe there was an ounce of truth to the story. “You guys probably don’t even know it.”
Ted met her gaze with a solemn nod.
“Are you chicken?” she challenged him and Shane. Now she was starting to have fun.
“Some things are better left unspoken,” Shane warned.
“Just tell us.”
Despite Liz’s urging, Ted hesitated. Becca guessed it was part of their presentation.
“Her name is... ”
“Don’t say it,” Shane breathed, closing his eyes. “Please don’t say—”
A burst of rustling leaves preceded a loud clatter in the forest behind them. Megan let out an ear-piercing scream.
- Stacey Joy Netzel, May 2013
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