She applied the Page 69 Test to Esperanza and reported the following:
A little background first. Tess and Ian know from the start that there is something mysterious and not quite right about Esperanza and about how they got to the city. The residents are edgy, terrified of the thick fog that often rolls through the city. When they tell the hotel manager about how they were pursued by a group of men who seemed to materialize from the fog, he laughs nervously and says they’re just “crazies.” But on page 69, when they’re under attack by something unseen, they begin to realize they are up against the legendary brujos, the ghosts that not only haunt Esperanza, but seize its people so that they can experience all the sensory pleasures of physical life.Visit Trish J. MacGregor's website and blog.
A great clanking and clattering erupted in the bedroom and spread quickly to the rest of the cottage, echoing, vibrating against the walls. Then this, too, stopped, and a silence so profound and strange gripped the building that he and Tess strained to hear anything at all.Through this scene and the rest of the chapter, the brujo legend becomes quite personal for Tess and Ian. They decide to leave the city, any way they can. But how do you escape from a city at 13,200 feet above sea level, on a day when no cabs are running, when you aren’t even sure where the closest city and airport are?
They finally tore away the tape, Ian picked up the poker, opened the door slightly. He didn’t hear or sense anything and opened the door all the way. As he and Tess stepped into the bedroom, she flicked the wall switch to her left, turning on a floor lamp.
The room was empty, but something now covered the window – and it wasn’t fog. It seemed to be some kind of metal shutter. “It’s like an aluminum hurricane shutter,” Tess said, coming up behind him. “Electrically controlled. And since it probably didn’t shut on its own, it must be remotely controlled.”
“So Granger or someone else knew the cottage was under attack.”
“It looks that way. This is what they do in prisons. At night. Or when someone has escaped. Lockdown. Fuck this. They can’t lock us in here.”
She made a beeline for the bedroom door. Ian turned the lock, raised the window, ran his hand along the bottom edge. Air tight. No sign of fog. He couldn’t even feel the chill of the night air. Impressive. And undoubtedly expensive. Was every building on the grounds equipped with shutters like this?
When he emerged from the bedroom, the kitchen and living room blazed with lights, and Tess was pounding her fists against the shutter across the front door. “Hey, we’re trapped in here, I didn’t sign up for this shit!”
Ian realized these shutters had also closed off the skylights, every window, the rear door to the back porch, even the pet door Whiskers and Nomad used. They apparently were prisoners. He marched over to the fridge, threw open the door and determined, in a quick glance, what might make a good breakfast. Mushroom omelets with cheese. A side dish of sliced mangos. Mugs of rich Ecuadorian coffee. He found celery and tomatoes and chopped with a kind of vengeance. He whipped four eggs with a frantic rhythmic, a drumbeat for war. Slammed the knife through a brick of cheese, chop chop, chop chop. The preparation of food became his weapon, his defense.
Tess ran into the kitchen. “What’re you doing? We need to get the hell out of here.”
“Out of here? Where the hell is here? We don’t have any idea where we are in respect to any other point in this country.”
Then an assault began and it sounded as if the hounds of hell had been turned loose. The rooms echoed with the clamor, a battering storm like hail or rocks pounding the shutters as something fought to get in.
Page 69 is where the truth about Esperanza and the protagonists’ plight begins to unfold. But I hope you start on page one!
Writers Read: Trish J. MacGregor.
Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.