This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“I don’t see why I have to stay here Mom, I really don’t!”
David O’Leary sulked behind his mother as they walked up the path to the overgrown yard. Jane looked back at her eighteen-year-old son and frowned, stopping to smooth out his wild hair. David wiggled, trying to get his mother to stop.
“You listen here! This is only for a few days while I visit your father.” Jane said, frowning as she continued to try and pet down her son’s hair. “Should have brought a hairbrush… I can’t leave you with your grandmother like this!”
“My hairs fine, Mom, geez… why can’t I just come with you? I wanna see Dad too y’know!” David said, looking off towards the forested area flanking the old house in front of him.
“I’ve already explained this to you, your father is working at a government installation, and he can only have one guest. And after the party you threw when I left you at home, there’s no way we’re taking that chance again. Your grandmother is a really nice woman, and she would love to spend some time with you.”
David bowed his head, smiling softly as he remembered what he’d gotten Rebecca Wilkerson to do that night, allowing his mother to try and arrange his black mop of hair to her liking while he reminisced. “If she’s so nice, why is it we never see her?”
“Well, she lives all the way out here in the country… and she doesn’t really like visitors, so to speak. But your father and I know for a fact that she wants to see you.” Jane smiled, pushing back David’s bangs to look at his blue eyes.
“How do you know?” David asked not wanting to admit he was a little bit scared of being alone with his father’s mother, a supposed old biddy of a woman with a family business in the small town of Alice Grove. He really wasn’t looking forward to spending time with her as the freshman term had just started and he needed to crack down on his Biology homework if he wanted to get ahead in his first semester of college.
“I called her of course! We spoke for a while and when I asked if she could look after you, she seemed overjoyed at the thought. I imagine she has a fresh plate of cookies waiting for you, just out of the stove.”
David stood there, arms crossed; thinking over what this time with his older relative could possibly hold other than disappointment. He sighed and turned back towards the car, walking towards it.
“Let me grab my backpack and suitcase then,” David grumbled. Lanky arms and legs with long black hair, David was a thin young man with nearly perfect eyesight and a penchant for playing the guitar just well enough to woo the ladies. Grabbing his backpack and suitcase, he carried them all up the steps as his mother rapped her knuckles on the door.
“That’s the spirit, you’ll have a great time here, I promise,” Jane said, either missing her son’s defeated attitude or ignoring it.
Setting the suitcase on the ground, David looked at the building with a critical eye, brushing his bangs from his eyes as he studied the old wooden boards and aged shingles sliding off the roof. The front of the building was covered by blue-wood and red-brick, with a walkway winding through six-foot-high hedges leading to the stoop. Looking up, he smiled when he caught sight of the rolling fields behind the house. Maybe he could get some people together for a football game?
“Guess I better make the most of it,” David said before he noticed something very strange in the second story window.
From a darkened room, he saw a stately woman staring down at him, her hands folded in front of her as she gazed down an aristocratic nose, her hair tied back in a graying bun. Her dress was a deep red, with a rose sitting nestled in her hair. Heavy lines on her face made her seem older than she seemed to act, her posture more akin to a startled cat then a welcoming grandmother.
David swallowed the lump in his throat, his eyes never leaving the woman. He waved weakly with the hand holding onto the loop of his backpack, only to have her incline her head in greeting. David smiled slightly… maybe she wouldn’t be so bad after all?
Hearing laughter from behind the hedges, he bent down to pick up his suitcase and walked around the hedges to be greeted by the sight of his mother laughing with a small bell-shaped woman with silver hair pulled into a bun, glasses perched on the end of her nose and an ugly red sweater practically blinding him. The women stopped laughing when they noticed David, the older one adjusting her glasses to look David over.
“Oh my, you’re right! He does take after his father!” The old woman said, nudging Jane with an elbow. “But I see your eyes and chin on that face, very handsome.”
“Oh, um… thanks?” David said, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
“Oh, where are my manners, David, this is your Grandmother Anne,” Jane said, motioning toward the plump woman, who clasped her knotty hands together and smiled. “She’ll be watching over you until I’m back in town on Monday. You have plenty of homework to do so you shouldn’t be bothering her too much.”
“Oh, nonsense Jane, he won’t bother me at all! I might have him help me with some chores around the house, seeing how long it’s been since I had a strong back and a man’s strength to do the heavy lifting.” Grandma said with a laugh, walking forward to scoop David into an awkward hug. He dropped his suitcase and looped his arm around his grandmother to hug her better, smiling as he inhaled the scent of cherries and chocolate.
“Now, you’ll be staying with me for the next three days while your mother joins your father at the conference in Austin,” Grandma said, backing out of the hug a few inches, looking up at him. “I think we’ll get along well enough, don’t you?”
“Yeah, Grandma,” David agreed, thinking on the woman he’d seen in the window. Was that her sister or something? “
Looking back up, David felt his heart begin to race when the stately woman from before was now gone, vanished from his line of sight. Shivering as a cold wind blew past him, David marched up to the front of the house just in time for Jane to pull him into a one-armed hug. She looked up into David’s eyes and sighed. “You will behave, won’t you, David?”
“Of course,” He said, trying to act indignant and failing miserably. “I have more work than I can handle to get into any kind of trouble on the side.”
“So long as you can spare some time to help me with a few chores and to test my recipes, I’ll leave you to your studies,” Grandma said as she bustled back to the front door, which was slightly ajar and filtering out motes of dust into the afternoon light.
David smiled at that, imagining the plump woman pumping him full of sweets and treats throughout his stay.
“Now Anne, he isn’t to eat too much. We have him on a vegetarian diet at home. Will that be okay with you here?” Jane asked.
Grandma waved away the concern. “Baked potatoes and corn on the cob, I got it. I have more recipes from my mother than I care to admit that will put some meat on his bones and stay vegetarian for you.”
Any response Jane had was cut off as something deep within the house crashed followed by a long and mournful groan.
rachelrainford6: This probably has to be one of the best books I've read on here. I read it quite quickly and I'll have to say the story took a turn towards the end that I did not see coming. The topic discussed in this book such as life really gave me a new insight and I realize that it is taken for granted.
matrixmark: I thought that the introduction to this was relly well written and structurally sound in its presentation.The introduction to the cabin in the woods was good too. To me, it felt like a Blair Witch of yesteryear, but the things which you added in about the mutilated boys were certainly something n...
BFIrving: A first rate story and well crafted, the blend of horror and action worked very well indeed and had me turning page after page. When not actually reading it, I found myself thinking about it which is always a good sign.There are quite a few grammatical and spell-checker errors but nothing anothe...
Barbara Zavela: Do you know the song, 'Imagine' by John Lennon?If you had a chance for a world like the one described in that song, would you grab it with both hands or turn away and reject it.This story pulls you in from the beginning with well-written scenarios. The author offers you the opportunity to bring y...
Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...
Althea Kerr: This is a tale that is all too familiar to South African readers having lived through a war era on our borders and beyond. It is obviously autobiographical as the mind under duress is so detailed and real. It has fantastic suspense if a bit disjointed - perhaps that is the fear and loneliness com...
lopezmariana97: I loved everything about this book. I read it in a weekend because it was so hard to put down. I real liked that it wasn't a typical demon story and that It didn't involve vampires. I pictured the cast for this book if it ever becomes a movie. 100% love
Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...