The Haunting at Cliff House

Press: Starburst Digital Rights International inc. (September 30, 2011)
Author Name:Bradford, Karleen

From the Author

While driving through Wales on one of our children's school breaks we passed a gloomy old house, sitting high on a cliff. 
It was pouring rain.
The roof of the house shone blackly, the waves crashed against the rocks far below.
As far as we could tell the house was absolutely deserted.
"I have to write a ghost story about that house," I decided.
So I did.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Karleen Bradford was born in Ontario and lived in Canada until she was nine years old. 
She moved with her parents to Argentina, but returned to Canada to attend university.
Later she married a Foreign Service Officer, and they and their three children have lived in Colombia and Brazil, the United States, England and the Philippines.
Karleen has written over a dozen books and several short stories.
One of her novels, THERE WILL BE WOLVES, won the 1993 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award and was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books of 1996.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"What an incredible place," Mr. 
Evans said.
"It looks like a museum!" "Like a haunted museum," Alison said, then wished she hadn't.
Her voice echoed in the empty hall and seemed to die there.
"Come on.
Let's explore." Her father was off and up the stairs, two at a time.
She followed him reluctantly.
At the top she paused.
She was in a dark, panelled hall with rooms off both sides.
She could hear her father banging around in one of them, calling her to come and look at the view, but she stayed where she was.
There was something wrong.
Something felt wrong.
Alison stood, her head tilted to one side as if listening.
Had she heard a voice calling her name? Impossible.
And yet...She wished her father would be quiet for a moment.
Again! A shiver ran down her spine and suddenly she felt cold.
She looked at the closed door of the room in front of her.
At that moment she felt sure someone was in there.
Calling her.
Her father burst out of the room down at the end.
"There's a desk in there--would you believe it? A huge old desk! They must have known a writer was coming to live here." Then he bounded past her back towards the stairs.
"I'm going to do down and see if I can get a fire going somewhere," he announced.
"Take the chill off a bit.
It's cold--even if it is supposed to be summer." Alison paid hardly any attention to him.
She was staring at the door, almost as if she expected it to open by itself.
Not really wanting to, but unable to stop herself, she crossed the hall and put her hand on the knob.
She stood for another moment, listening again.
Slowly she turned the knob and pushed the door open.
The room was big, with a window on the far side looking out over the ocean.
It was almost dark now, and the corners were filled with shadows.
Alison stepped in.
The door swung shut behind her and she jumped, startled, as it slammed.
For a moment she almost panicked, but she caught herself.
It's the uneven floors, she thought.
They're tilty.
Old houses are often tilty.
Doors swing open and shut all the time.
The room was unnaturally quiet.
Alison realized that for the first time since they'd got out of the taxi she couldn't hear the noise of the sea.
She walked over to the window and looked out, as if to reassure herself that it was still there.
Of course it was.
In the darkening evening she could see the white caps of the waves as they dashed towards the cliff on which the house sat.
A few seagulls and kittiwakes were still wheeling and circling far out above the angry water.
Rain had begun to spatter at the windowpane, and suddenly the wind came up.
An unexpected blast shook the glass violently, shattering the silence.
As if sound everywhere had been turned on again, the roar of the waves, too, invaded the room.
Just then Alison had the distinct impression that someone was watching her.
She turned around quickly, expecting to see her father, but no one was there.
"Dad?" The word faded away as if it had never been spoken.
The room was still empty.
She looked around at the shadows.
For the first time she realized that all the furniture was shrouded in white dust covers.
Indistinct shapes gleamed faintly in the dusk.
The feeling that something was wrong came over her again, even more strongly than before.
And something else as well.
It feels as if it's waiting, she thought.
As if this whole room is gathered around me, waiting.
And then, out of the darkness, she heard a voice.
Alison! Her name echoed in the room.
It hadn't been spoken aloud.
She was certain of that.
But she had heard it.
She had! Alison ran for the door and out into the hall.
Slamming it herself this time, she darted across the hall and leaned against the wall, gasping, staring at the closed door.
Someone was in there.
Someone who knew her name! Even as she thought it, she heard the voice again, whispering in her mind.
You must come back, Alison.
You must!

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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