Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1)




Seductively entertaining…I’m convinced that it has some secret ingredient (like the sauce on a Big Mac or the coffee beans at Starbucks) that makes it immediately addictive.” – Bitsy Bling Books


I don’t think, short of being completely ridiculous, I can encourage you more strongly to read this series. It has quickly moved to the top of my favorites list.” – The Bookish Babes


A ghost hunting adventure with original characters guaranteed to please!” – Romancing the Darkside


Loved it, loved it, loved it. I can’t say it enough. I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Perry Palomino.” – Pretty Opinionated


Halle’s first-person narrative is written in a breezy fashion that instantly made me feel like I could hang out with her protagonist.” - Forever Young Adult


Perry and Dex are two charismatic and slightly crazy characters that carry you in kicking and screaming along for the ride.” – Naughty Between the Stacks











Published by Metal Blonde Books at Amazon Kindle
Copyright 2011 by Karina Halle





Third edition published by Metal Blonde Books March 2012


Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2011 by Karina Halle
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.


Edited by Robert Helle


Cover design by Bret Taylor


Stock by E - Dina


Metal Blonde Books
P.O. Box 845
Point Roberts, WA
98281 USA


For more information about the series
and author visit:


Digital edition by: GoPublished




For my parents, Tuuli & Sven





Title Page






Chapter One


Chapter Two


Chapter Three


Chapter Four


Chapter Five


Chapter Six


Chapter Seven


Chapter Eight


Chapter Nine


Chapter Ten


Chapter Eleven


Chapter Twelve


Chapter Thirteen


Chapter Fourteen


Chapter Fifteen


Chapter Sixteen


Chapter Seventeen


Chapter Eighteen





I stood in a round, white room with only a porthole-shaped window to break up the monotony. The view outside was nothing more than an inky void. The smell of tidal pools and rotting kelp seeped in through the cracks where the silicone had crumbled away. I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. But I knew something had summoned me.

I spun around, suddenly conscious of a door, and saw a saffron-colored glow spilling out from underneath the doorframe, mildly illuminating the stark walls. Chilled air flowed in with the light and tickled the tops of my bare feet. The blue nail polish on my toe was chipped, making it look like I had half a toenail. This caught my attention more than the cold hardwood floor and the rough splinters beneath.

The lights went out. The door whooshed open, almost soundlessly, and a huge rush of arctic wind battered my body, whipping my nightgown around me like a pink, polyester flag.

The floorboards creaked. I felt the weight of some unknown mass travel along the length of them to my feet. I couldn’t move and I wasn’t sure I wanted to.

The lights from outside the room came on again, illuminating the air abrasively. My eyes stung. A pounding sound filled my ears. I covered them with my hands until I realized it came from my very heart.

In the doorway I saw a silhouette of a man.

My heart, and the pounding, stopped. The man came for me, a mass of unfathomable malevolence. I screamed and screamed until the black depths of his silhouette was all I could see. I fell into him, fell into the darkness, in one never-ending cry.


A pair of hands grabbed my arms and pulled me up. They shook me until the darkness behind my eyes bled out into a blinding white.

And suddenly, I was in my bedroom lying underneath a smorgasbord of tangled sheets with my sister Ada peering over me. Her forehead furrowed with concern, making her look years older than fifteen.

She let go of my arms and stepped back.

“You scared the
out of me, Perry,” she grumbled.

I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around my room at the concert posters on the walls and stacks of vinyl and CDs in the corner, taking comfort in their familiarity. My rarely touched electric guitar rested haphazardly against the window seat, a pleasing contrast to my stuffed animal collection.

I eyed my alarm clock. Two minutes until it blared uncontrollably. The observation was hazy, like I was not quite in my body yet.

“Well?” Ada said, crossing her arms. She was still in her pajamas, but her heavy-handed makeup was meticulously applied.

“Well what?” I repeated.

“Um, hello! Any explanation why your screams made me put down my mascara in mid-stroke and come rushing in here?”

“You have good hearing?”


Her voice bordered on a shrill hissy fit. Ada was always a degree or two away from full-on teenage angst.

“Well, I don’t know. I had a bad dream. Or something…”

It was a dream now, wasn’t it? My memory was disintegrating into bits and pieces, and the more I tried to recall it, the more I came up blank. But that feeling, that horrible feeling of dread still clung to the recesses of my mind like sticky cobwebs. Even the bright autumn sunshine that shone through my window wasn’t cleaning it up.

“Or something,” Ada scoffed. “It sounded like you were being murdered, you know. You’re lucky Mom didn’t hear you.”

She peered at me closer, inspecting my face for signs of mental illness. She did that often.

I rolled my eyes and got out of bed, feeling self-conscious with my thunder thighs rolling beneath my long Bad Religion T-shirt that doubled as a nightgown. Ada was as thin as a rail, but in the most envious way possible. She got the wholesome, toothsome Swedish good looks from my mother’s side of the family. Smooth skin, bright eyes, naturally blonde hair that she bleached (for some reason) and a long, lean build.

As my own luck would have it, I got my dad’s Italian side. Short (I’m 5’2”) with thick dark hair and big gray/blue eyes that acted as a mood ring (so I’ve been told). I’ve got a curvy build…at least that’s what I say when I feel like being nice to myself. In reality, I used to be about sixty pounds heavier, but despite the weight loss, it’s not enough. The fact is, I’m always blaming everything on those last fifteen pounds.

I walked over to the mirror and searched my face for blazing signs of craziness. I looked like crap but often did in the morning before my five cups of coffee kicked in.


My alarm went off. Ada and I nearly jumped out of our skin.

She held her hand to her chest as I ran over and whacked the alarm off. I gave her a quick look.

“I’m OK, Ada. It was just a dream. I don’t even remember what it was about anymore.”

She cocked her penciled brow at me. “Okaaaay. But if I get called out of school because you were in an ‘accident,’ again, I’ll be very upset.”

She turned and left the room. I let out a snort.
No you wouldn’t,
I thought.
You would love any excuse to get out of school.

And frankly, I would have loved any excuse to get out of work. I sighed deeply. I felt a tinge of bizarre sadness now that the excitement of the dream was over. The terror that had pumped through my veins faded quickly in the morning light.

I got ready for the day and left the house, making my way to my motorbike that rested in the driveway. At least my mode of transportation was still exciting.

I know, I know. A motorbike. I’ve heard it all: It’s dangerous, I’ll die, I’ll look like a douchebag. It’s all true, but I wouldn’t trade in Put-Put for anything in the world.

Put-Put wasn’t a big bike like a Harley (I’m not
kind of a douchebag) but a black 2004 Fireblade. I thought it was the bee’s knees. Sleek and quick as hell. I wasn’t a reckless driver, though, and most of the time I stayed at the same speed as all the other vehicles on the road. Until there’s a traffic jam, and then I’ll overtake everyone on the shoulder, yelling “Later, Bitchez!” through my helmet as I pass.

I got Put-Put four years ago for my eighteenth birthday. I was going through my “stuntwoman” phase, when I thought becoming a professional stuntwoman would be more exciting and lucrative than a career in advertising. After motorbike lessons, a year of karate, a few skydiving sessions, and weekends spent at the firing range learning how to use a gun, I abandoned ship and ended up getting a communications degree. Not that being a stuntwoman wasn’t for me, but I honestly lost interest. My mother calls me wishy-washy. I just think I’m delightfully impulsive.

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