She watched as an older gentleman appeared from out of seemingly nowhere. Tall and gaunt, his back was crooked into a permanent arc, reminding Gera of a life-sized question mark. The top of his head was completely bald, fringed by a band of unruly white fuzz. Swimming in waves of wrinkles, even the pigment of his skin had faded away. His features suggested he was, in part, of African descent, but his skin was now pale and thin.
“Good evening to you,” he said, his voice surprisingly strong. “Welcome to The Dove Hotel. We’re about to embark on a journey into the spirit world. What you may see or hear isn’t for the faint of heart. If you have any doubts, any fears, please say so now.”
A low murmur rippled through the crowd, but no one moved aside.
“Very well. My name is Leo, and I will be your spirit guide this evening. Please, follow me.”
There was something compelling about his voice. The way it reverberated within his chest drew people to him, made them listen. The weight of that rumble settled deep, giving him an inexplicable air of credibility.
Gera fell into line behind the others. It crossed her mind that they all followed him blindly, like lambs to slaughter, but she shook the unwanted thought away.
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