The house at 6304 Beryl Road stank of charred wood. Broken glass still littered the lawn, ash drifting like unseasonal snow. Even days after the fire and from the safety of his car, the young man outside couldn’t suppress a shudder. Two people died in that blaze.
He hadn’t meant to stop here. It was perverse, worse than rubber-necking, as though he and his nice, clean car were mocking the scorched bones of the house. But, amateur psychic that he was, he couldn’t bring himself to leave. Not yet. Although he did roll up his windows, despite the Virginia heat. Woodsmoke wasn’t the only smell. A far more acrid stench radiated from the house, one that took him a minute to place. Once he did, his stomach turned. It was burnt hair.
And there was something else on that breeze, too, not an odor but a feeling — an undulating pulse, greedy and alien, that pressed against his car like a dark sea. That sensation told him the unexplained blaze was no accident. There was something very wrong with this place.
He wasn’t the only one who thought an evil presence caused the fire on Beryl Road, and soon the house would go down in history. In one of the first and only cases on public record, a ghost was blamed for murder.