Excerpt The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows by David Chappuis & Michael Klinger

Monday, May 14, 2018
Title: Midnight's Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows
Author/s: David Chappuis & Michael Klinger
Series: Midnight's Edge (Book 1)
Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural/Occult/Mystery/LGTBQ
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC
Release Date: Oct 31 2015
Edition/Format: 1st Edition / Formats ~ eBook & Print

The title, Midnight’s Edge, comes from the time of night where the veil between the living and the dead disappears and, for a brief moment in time, the dead can return to the mortal world and live again. It is a story of a vile, evil man named Jeremy Wickcliff, whose wife, Lucy, arranged his death years ago to save the town from his wrath of destruction. In present time, he has been plotting from the spirit realm, a place of purgatory, to return to the mortal realm to seek revenge on those who wronged him and reclaim the life ripped away from him.

Purchase Links 
Midnight's Edge:The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows - Book 1

Chapter 1 

It would soon be Midnight’s Edge or ME as the witches call it, a time of the night when the veil between the living and dead disappears.

My name’s Shelly Hawkins-Wickcliff, and I live in the Wickcliff mansion, which sits on a hill overlooking the small town of Sleepy Meadows where I’ve lived for all of my 24 years.

I didn’t know much about ME, but Jeremy Wickcliff did. He was dead, but that didn’t stop him from reaching across the realms into the mortal world. You see, although he was gone, he found a way to get inside my head, to manipulate my thoughts and actions, to make my will his own. I’ve been hearing his voice cajoling me and taunting me for years and on this night, approaching ME, his plan to return to the mortal realm was about to become a reality. I didn’t fully understand how ME would factor into it, but to him it didn’t matter. To him, I was a pawn in his sick, twisted game.

On this night, I wandered in a daze through the shadowy hallway of the eerie mansion I inhabited. I had heard Jeremy’s voice in my head all day as usual, and as usual, he was just as cruel and heartless as ever. This night had been different; I had grown tired of the game. I was no longer able to fight him, no longer able to block out his voice. He had been with me every moment of every day for as long as I could remember. I was tired of the fight to banish him from my mind. I was losing the last grip on sanity that I had.

I was blinded by tears as I reached the staircase that led to the attic. As Jeremy’s voice commanded me to ascend the staircase, I wondered why he had wanted me to go there.  As I reached the top of the landing to the attic, I heard him call out to me.

“I know you’re in pain, and I know how to make it stop. Just be an obedient girl and do what I tell you.”

“I don’t understand any of this,” I said. “Why are you torturing me? Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

He chuckled. “Oh, it’s almost unbelievable how naïve you are. Do you think it was a coincidence that your perfect fairy tale life turned into a living nightmare? Oh no. I was responsible for it all, princess. I’ve used the powers bestowed upon me from the other side to pick your precious life apart piece by piece, taking away everything you loved until you were so broken that you were no longer able to resist my will.”

“Why me? Why did you target me?”

He ignored my question as he so often had. “Open the door and go inside.”

I grasped the knob of the attic door. Unable to stop myself, I opened it. The air was dusty, thick. I could hardly breathe.

He was right. Once beautiful and full of life, I was now meager and weak. I had lost all control of my body and mind, and it was all thanks to him. He’d made my life miserable. He’d convinced me that I was a burden to all that I loved and that my life was meaningless to the point where I started to believe him.

I put my head down recalling the events of the last five years. I thought about everything I had lost because of Jeremy. My husband, my sanity, my life. Even though I tried not to show it, I couldn’t control the flood of tears that blinded me. Jeremy knew that my losses had become too much to bear, and he knew he’d beaten me.

“You got what you wanted,” I said, scanning the room. “I’m broken. Are you happy now? Why don’t you just leave me alone?”

“Destroying your life was just for fun,” Jeremy said. “Watching you squirm, cry, and beg were just things I used to amuse myself until Midnight’s Edge was upon us, and I was finally able to return to life. That time is upon us, my dear, and soon you’ll understand my true motivation. You should be honored, you’re an essential part of my plan.”

“How? Tell me. Enough with the games. What are you going to do to me?”

“I’m going to help you. I told you I could make your pain stop. The pain of a lonely, empty, meaningless existence.”

I felt the warm tears on my cheeks, and my breath grew heavier. “It’s that way because of you and only you. If you can make it stop, then do it.”

“First there’s something you must do for me.”

I felt as if he were suffocating me; as if he were holding a pillow against my face as I slept. 

“I’m not going to do a thing for a sick bastard like you. Not anymore. The influence you had over me is broken. Do you hear me?”

He cackled. “I don’t believe that, and neither do you. I wouldn’t waste my last few precious breaths with a lie if I were you.”

I put my hand on my chest. “Last breaths? What do you mean?”

“I’m going to live again. You’re not.”

“You plan to kill me?”

“Not exactly. Think back to what I said to you earlier. Think back to what you said to your daddy dearest when you were in hysterics on the phone with him a while ago. You can remember.”

I tried desperately to block out his voice. “No. I won’t listen to this anymore.”

“You don’t have a choice. You never did. I’ll never stop tormenting you until I get what I want. You have to know that by now. Try to resist me if you want, but I promise you I won’t give you a moment’s peace. Now let’s get started. Look at what you’re holding in your hands.”

I glanced down at my hands realizing that I had been clutching a rope. His goal was finally clear to me. Jeremy hadn’t planned to kill me. He wanted me to kill myself. “I’m not going to die because of you. You may have taken everything else from me, but I won’t give you the satisfaction. I won’t take my life. I’ll never do it you sick son of a bitch. It doesn’t matter what you do to me.”

“You have two choices. You either do what I tell you to, or I’ll drive you even more insane. You won’t even know your name after I’m through with you. What kind of life is that?”

I realized that he was right. I’d known Jeremy was ruthless, but it was clear that his cruelty had no limits. I tried to be strong, to face him head on, but in the face of my death, I’d become just as scared as a little girl.

“I don’t want to die, Jeremy,” I said, wiping the tears from my face. “Please.”

He ignored me and continued to give commands. “Throw the rope over the beam above you.”


“You can pretend that you aren’t afraid, but I know you’re weak. You don’t have the will to resist me. If you did, I wouldn’t be inside your head now. Stop prolonging the inevitable and just do it, damn you.”

I clutched onto the rope tighter. “I have a family, a son. I’m not going to leave them.”

“They’re better off without a pathetic loser like you. You can’t even be a mother to your son, always pawning him off on your parents and the help.”

“That’s not true.”

“He’s not here with you now, is he?”

Freddy Wickcliff was my five-year-old son. I’d asked my parents if he could stay with them for a little while. I couldn’t tell them why. I couldn’t tell them that I couldn’t care for my son because a psychopath that was inside my head was driving me slowly insane. I hadn’t wanted Freddy to see me this way. I thanked God he hadn’t.

“That’s your fault, not mine,” I said. “It’s your fault that I’m like this. That I don’t have a normal life anymore.”

“Is that so? You can’t even take responsibility for your problems.  You’re a sad, pathetic waste. Everyone’s sick of always having to tiptoe around you, always covering for you.”

I wiped the tears from my cheeks. “Shut up!”

“You’d be doing everyone a favor if you put an end to this. If you truly loved them, you’d take the burden off.”

“You can’t control me anymore. I won’t let you.”

“Oh really? Look at what you’ve done.”

I looked around me. Without even realizing it, I’d fashioned a noose from the rope and threw it on the beam above where I stood. I’d also moved a chair underneath and stood on it.

“See?” he said. “You know I’m right. For your sake and for the sake of those you supposedly love, end this now.”

I stood there, finally defeated. Long soaked strands of my dark hair drenched with sweat and tears dangled in my face. I had thought that if my life were over, I’d never have to listen to him again. Maybe he was right; maybe my family was better off without me. Maybe I could find peace if I were dead, and so could they, no longer having to deal with my problems.

With no more will to fight, I slipped my head into the noose and took a deep breath.

“Good girl,” were the final words I heard as I stepped off the chair.

Within a few moments, everything went dark.

The darkness only lasted for an instant. I opened my eyes and couldn’t breathe. The noose around my neck was suffocating me. I clutched at the rope with both hands, frantically trying to break free, fumbling with it fruitlessly.

I realized that I only had a few precious moments before it would be too late, and Jeremy would get what he wanted. I couldn’t let that happen. I thought of my parents, brother, son, and everything I would leave behind if I were to go through with this. I knew I had to keep fighting for them even more than I did for myself.

With one last gasp of air and one last ounce of strength, I undid the knot and slid my head out of the noose.

I fell to the floor without a thump, which I thought odd. I gasped for air and clutched my throat. It took me a moment to get my breath back, but once I did, I felt a sense of relief that I’d never before felt. I was alive and so immensely grateful.

I got up quickly, surprised that I wasn’t hurt in the fall, thankful I hadn’t succeeded. More tears formed in my eyes. They were tears of joy, relief, and frustration for even considering Jeremy’s sick request. I didn’t want to waste time thinking about him. Instead, I wanted to focus on my son, whom I had almost left an orphan. He’d already lost his father, and I knew that I couldn’t allow him to lose me too.

I glanced around the room, chuckling triumphantly. “It didn’t work, Jeremy! Do you hear that? It didn’t work.”

Jeremy. Why hadn’t I heard his voice any longer? He hadn’t given me a moment’s peace before. I stood there wondering why he wasn’t goading me on anymore. Maybe it meant that I’d won. Maybe since my suicide had failed, I’d conquered him.

Maybe it was finally over.

I took in a deep breath, turned around and glanced up at the ceiling. My relief soon turned to horror when I saw that the noose I had fastened wasn’t empty at all.

There, still hanging from the rafters, was my body.

Midnight's Edge Series
All Links Go To AMAZON
Midnight's Edge: The Secrets of Sleepy Meadows  Book 1
Midnight's Edge: The Possession Book 2
Midnight's Edge: The Spirits of Sleepy Meadows Book 3
Midnight's Edge: The Revenge Book 4

About the Authors

David Chappuis was born in Waterloo, Iowa and grew up on a farm in Madrid, New York. He received a bachelor’s degree in English/Writing and Art/Studio from Potsdam College. He has made a living as a professional web designer and resides in southern Virginia.

Twitter  @davechappuis 

Michael Klinger was born in Niagara Falls, New York. He received an associate’s degree in human services from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in human services management from the University of Phoenix. He currently resides in southern Virginia.

Twitter @Mikeklinger80


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