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The Killer Within- - -On Hold

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Sanya Rutherford inherits an apartment building from her uncle, and it couldn’t have come at a better time in her life. But things turn out to be more than she's bargained for when a killer from the past resurfaces. Can she stop this threat and the ruin of her family before it's too late?

Horror / Thriller
Age Rating:

I - A Hint of What’s to Come

Faster. He has to go faster.

Norman flies down the hall, stumbling only on a loose piece of tattered burgundy carpet. His struggles loosen the shoe on his right foot, and he debates for a split second before deciding to abandon the brown leather loafer. He can always buy another shoe. Right now, the thing chasing him almost has the upper hand.

Mere moments pass that seem to stretch on for an eternity. As he rounds the corner, victory is within his reach. If he can just make it to his office—the doorway will at least provide the start of the protection he needs. For the millionth time, he is regretting his choice to check on that tenant himself.

“Great fucking idea, Norm.”

Passing the fire extinguisher mounted to the wall signals he’s in the homestretch. Just a few more feet and...

“Not. So. Fast.”

A voice hisses in his ear as a dark form materializes out of nowhere. His once bright hope is dimming before his eyes. He is too late. Already he can feel the icy tendrils of its power piercing through the thick layers of clothing he has on. Suddenly, his feet leave the floor, and his body is being turned against his will. Bloodshot eyes tinged with a vivid yet unsettling orange hue fix on him wickedly.


The sound of his name being screeched is like someone drawing jagged fingernails painfully down his spine. Usually uttered in a much more pleasant way, it now fills his ears with a shrill ring.

What is this thing?

Why are they doing this?

Norman has never done anything to have such wrath showered on him. His brain searches through years of experience, hoping a logical reason for this happening will jump out at him. To yank him firmly back into the present—his head is forcefully slammed into the wall. Only one word comes out of his parched lips...


Whatever or whoever this is sneers down, contemplating just how much knowledge to impart. Honestly, it won’t matter because he won’t be surviving the night. He doesn’t know that, though. With one crooked, gaunt finger—the spirit marks a path down his chest. How will he look once his innards are pulled out? The thought of this gruesome display thrills the tortured soul holding Norman captive. For a moment, the simple question is discarded in favor of imagining all the different ways his body could be torn to bits.

In a bold move, he repeats his question. Demanding answers raises his voice and angers the creature. Frustration replaces the previous thrill as the hall lights flicker in a hypnotic rhythm. All joy gone; the end nears. Hands frame both sides of Norman’s head, then grip his face. Violent shakes agonize his entire body. The aftermath leaves him sweating, but he has his answer. Sorrow mixed with fright coats his features.

“No, no, it can’t be. You’re dead. This...”

The entity cuts him off with a swift movement of its hand. All that remains in the hall now are the gurgling sounds of his suffering, followed by a hideous cackle.

This is only the beginning...


Sanya stands over the casket of her only uncle. One arm is linked with her older brother, Brent, while the other hangs limply at her side. Tears streak her cheeks while the minister finishes the few remaining words. Audrey, the oldest Rutherford sibling, is the first to drop a rose on top of their now at peace loved one. Wiping her eyes with a crumpled tissue—she follows the line to pay her respects.


She can’t bring herself to whisper the nickname she had for him. Those bittersweet memories breach the surface for a moment before she quietly tucks them away. The rest of this day won’t be easy to get through if she doesn’t. While they all offer the gravesite one last look, gloom sets in. As if the weather senses the mood—rain patters the cemetery, slicking the grass under their feet.

Later in the week, everyone has been contacted for the reading of their uncle’s will. Norman didn’t have many earthly possessions, but what he did have, he chose to share with the last of his kin. The nieces and nephews of his only brother were the people he cherished most.

Small, treasured objects are given to the two oldest Rutherfords. Emotion wells up in Chuck, who is usually the stony-faced, stern brother when he opens his small box. Familiar faces of his favorite baseball players appear beneath the layer of newspaper. Audrey is still processing this whole ordeal, so Evalyn and Eric go next. More practical than the others—these two receive stocks, bonds, and investments Norman made. After their turn, Malcolm shuffles uncomfortably against the far wall. He’s always been the loner of the group. The lawyer presents him with a single envelope. Reading the letter, he frowns.

“I don’t understand. What is this?”

A key is produced from inside the envelope. Norman rarely used this particular item, but he knew one nephew would appreciate it. He has gifted his fellow car aficionado with the 1972 Plymouth Barracuda he lovingly restored with his own brother before he died. Growing up, Malcolm would find ways to worm his way into the garage while the pair worked on it. When the lawyer finishes his explanation, the solitary man was stunned.

“Mal, are you okay?”

Sanya reaches for him in sympathy.

“I can’t do this.”

Without another word, he rushes from the room. She wants to go after him, but a strict look from Audrey settles her in the worn chair. Brent and she are the only ones left now. Sanya is handed a file folder at the same time her brother is given a tiny felt box. Scanning the contents briefly, it becomes clear that her uncle has willed his apartment complex in the city to the youngest Rutherford. Carelessly, the other sibling has pocketed the box, not bothering to spare it any further attention. He has a feeling he already knows what it is.

Closing her own box, Audrey peers over at Sanya with a question on her lips.

“What is it?”

“Yeah, what did you get?”

Evalyn’s curious eyes land on her after echoing her sister’s sentiment. Chuck and Eric turn to her as well. Everyone clearly wants to know. Why couldn’t they bother Brent? He got something too. Although it probably is nowhere near as big of a deal as getting an entire apartment building.

“He...um gave me Witmer Park.”

Several gasps follow her admission. The structure waiting for her deep in the city is where Norman spent his last years. Sanya had visited him twice when she first moved nearby, but after her lousy boyfriend Joel broke up with her, she lost all fondness for the downtown area. She had since been parking herself on Eric’s couch, so this offered the perfect solution.

Brent pats her on the back as he gets to his feet. They all leave to grab some rest before heading to their homes. Sanya has other plans in mind and will need to pack up her meager belongings at Eric’s first. If she was going to get used to being the new owner of Witmer, then she should start right away. Her mind wanders while she walks. A lot of things need her attention, but the tiny box holding space in her brother’s pocket has not been forgotten.

“Any idea what that is?”


She gestures toward his side and that same vacant look crosses his face before it quickly disappears.

“Pretty sure it’s Harriet’s engagement ring.”

Her steps stop and the two of them lag behind the rest of the group. Maybe his situation was the bigger deal.

Norman had only ever loved one woman. He bought a ring in hopes she would say yes. Days before he could go through with it though, Harriet was in a fatal work accident. Her death wounded their uncle beyond repair. It’s not really surprising that he would encourage his nephew to take the step he missed out on. Wait...does this mean he’s going to propose to his girlfriend with it soon? There are so many questions she wants to ask. Every single one of them dies on her tongue when he scowls at her.

“We can talk about it later, Ya-Ya. Let’s go.”


Bags packed, Sanya hitches a ride to Witmer Park Apartments. Eric’s friendly neighbor waves once all her stuff is safely inside the lobby. A tremor of excitement hurtles through her as she looks up at the front of the building.

“This is it.”

If she only knew...

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Further Recommendations

Debra: Haven’t read all of it yet. I’m enjoying reading it so far. I’m hoping for a good ending unlike the last different 2 books I read! Well read all of and it continues… I’ll definitely continue with this series!!!

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