As that thought took form in her mind, Sarah found herself struck by a feeling of such abrupt and intense foreboding that it was as if a black void had opened directly in front of her. In that instant of dislocation, as she fought to maintain her equilibrium and keep from tumbling headfirst into the pit of darkness, a voice seemed to shout directly into her right ear.
Excerpted from Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan Copyright © 1998 by Lois Duncan. Excerpted by permission of Laurel Leaf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
"Guilty as charged!" it bellowed. "Away to Gallows Hill!"
"No!" Sarah heard herself whimper. "I didn't really mean it!"
"Poor little Betty," another voice said more gently. "The child is too frightened to remember. "
Betty does remember, and she's sorry! She never should have done it!
For an instant the chasm gaped wider, and then the illusion was gone as if it had never been. With a gasp of relief, Sarah found herself safe again in the living room, where the only activity was on the television screen and the only voice was Kyra's, tinny and tiny at the other end of the phone line.
"You didn't mean what?" it was asking. "Does that mean you've changed your mind?"
"Yes," Sarah said. "I guess so. But for Rosemary's sake, not yours. I couldn't care less how 'cool' you think Eric Garrett is."
She replaced the receiver in slow motion and sat down on the sofa, feeling as if she had served a short stint in the Twilight Zone. Whatever had caused her to have such a bizarre hallucination? Gallows Hill, she thought, what a horrible name! Why did it seem so familiar, as did the name Betty? Had she read or heard about something like this on television?
"That's what I get for not eating," she told herself shakily. "Low blood sugar can make people dizzy and disoriented."
It was not until she was standing at the microwave, watching the plate of lasagna rotate behind the glass, that she fully realized what she had agreed to.
What have I let myself in for? she thought with dismay.
Like it or not, she had committed to playing a fortune-teller.