Into the Spell


After lecturing at USF in Tampa, Kim Bennett is pulled from her flight to San Francisco after the Mayor's daughter has been murdered. As Kim and FBI agent A.L. Hague attempt to solve the crime they are drawn into the dark world of hypnosis, paranormal, and the occult. The situation takes an unexpected turn when Kim discovers the similarity to the Son of Sam crime spree, and faced with the reality that they are dealing with a deranged hypnotist who speaks to the dead, Kim realizes that sometimes evil is all in your head!

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Chapter 1

Car accidents happen. That’s why they’re called accidents. It was eight-fifteen in the evening. Jennifer Bernstein lunged forward. Her white Camry was hit. She was seated in the driver’s seat. Hands clutching the steering wheel. She looked into the rear-view mirror. A car was backing up. It stopped. There was a man inside. He was alone. She stared at him. He stared back. She twisted to her right and popped open the glove compartment.
The parking garage of the Tampa Airport Marriott was dark. It limited her sight. Her fingers searched for the first pen she could grab. Opening a brown leather folder and ripping a piece of paper from the pad, the twenty-three year was thinking about her mother and how angry she would be.
Jennifer sat still for a moment, her heart fluttering. Her mind recalling what just happened. She reached for the door handle. Her fingers were slippery, sweaty. She opened the door and slide out.
A composed voice in her mind softly spoke. “Take a deep slow breath and …relax.”
The voice was not hers. She was puzzled, confused.  She stood silent and stared.
She saw a man. He was too far to have uttered the words. The stranger stood, still, quiet. Looking at her. He was tall and thin, with tanned skin and dark eyes. Mesmerizing. The eyes were powerful.
He was moving, walking toward her. Took a few seconds. He reached out with his fingers and touched her forearm.
“Are you alright?” the voice was confident.
Jennifer, surprised by his presence felt different. Something inside, inside her head. Controlling.
“I don't know,” she answered.
He looked into her eyes.
“I would like you to listen to my voice.”
She nodded.
He lifted her arm slightly.
Her eyes followed.
Removing his touch, her arm remained in place.
“Good, my words are comforting to you. You feel calm and …relaxed. The muscles in your neck and shoulders are…relaxing. Now take a deep slow breath and …relax.”
She took a slow breath.
Jennifer relaxed. Her body went limp. Hung as if supported by threads like a puppet. All anxieties from the car accident were removed.
He raised both his hands toward her face.
“It's remarkable how you resemble your mother.”
Jennifer's pulse raced. How did he know about my family, she thought.
“Tonight you are going to assist me with an endeavor, one that will give me great pleasure, one that will resolve deep discomfort in my heart.”
He paused and looking beyond her eyes, saw her soul.
Jennifer stood still. Couldn’t speak. Couldn’t move.
He studied her mind looking for something and knew he was close.
“Tell me what you are feeling?” he asked.
Jennifer Bernstein searched for answers. “I can't.” She forced out.
“I urge you to tell me what you feel,” he repeated.
She shook. Her body trembled. Something wasn’t right. Searching for a way out of this her thoughts darted between frustration and fear.
“I don't know,” she said.
The man’s jaw tightened.
“Then you provide no purpose.”
The man looked toward his vehicle and without saying a word. Jennifer understood his intentions. She started walking. He walked beside her, watching, studying, looking at her face.
They reached the trunk of his car. He opened it. Jennifer looked in. She lifted up a cold metal object with her right hand. In her mind she recognized the shape. Knew what it was. But couldn’t imagine why she was doing this. She held a pistol in her hand. She raised it up. Put the gun to her right temple.
Her eyes focused on his. Tears ran down her cheeks.
“Don't make me do this,” she whispered.
He smiled.
“You want to please me don't you?” He asked.
Jennifer nodded. She had no control.
In Jennifer's mind she was screaming “no, no,” but the only word to come out was yes. Her finger fumbled and found the trigger. Her finger was twitching, bouncing up and down on the metal. Her eyes shot open in terror. She realized what was happening.
The stranger’s voice was stern but urging, “Be calm, relaxed and confident.” Squinting his eyes, he tilted his head anticipating the brief moment of joy he was about to be given.
“Let me heighten your moment.”
When he spoke those words, Jennifer's mind went into slow motion. The muscles in her right fingers tensed. Sweat surfaced on her forehead. A force was pulling her finger against the cold metal of the trigger. She could feel it begin to move. She tried to resist but something prevented her. Something stronger. Something powerful. Something evil.
“When you are gone I'll see you on the other side.”
After he said that he felt pain. A tightening in his neck. Throbbing in his temples. He forced his fingers into his palm making a tight fist as the pain increased.
Jennifer's stomach heaved, felt heavy, hot. She couldn’t swallow. Felt herself gagging, choking. Her frozen arm held its position. The gun against her temple. There was a bang. Loud. Echoed. Sudden.
The stranger allowed her to see the bullet enter the chamber of the gun. Allowed her to see it explode into a brilliant amber color. The spiraling slug elongated as it moved through the barrel. Shot out like a rocket. A blue grey trail of warm smoke followed. A pink cloud erupted. Something flew out the other side of her head. Her body collapsed. Shut down. She dropped the gun. It hit the ground. She hit the ground. Make a thud noise. An ugly sound as her head smacked the pavement. Her face was wet, red. Blood spilt out. She lay still. Dying.
Titus picked up the gun. Watched her for a moment.
Absorbing the fleeting moments of her life, he watched her story unfold in his mind, he was lost in trace. The pounding in his head was like thunder. The blood drained from his face as an eerie feeling of loneliness took over. The coldness of her death resurfaced his haunting memories, murder. He walked away from the carnage. He stopped before entering his car. Looked back and uttered the words, ”devils work.”
With his pain gone, his mind clear. He got in and closed the car door.
The lonely sound of the wind blowing thorough the concrete pillars removed the residual stench of gunpowder from the building. He drove away, descending into the spell.