Evan O’Conner isn’t a normal child. His father’s alcoholism and mother’s abuse drives him to concoct a plan to rid his life of them permanently. The night is fraught with a horrendous storm, thunder and lightning as the beast inside him is born. Even in her death his mother won’t leave. She haunts his subconscious as he attempts over and over to kill her.
Evan meets his match when Officer Burkhalder enters the picture. One of her closest friends and his family fall victim to violent deaths during the worst hurricane Billows Hollow has ever seen. With only a sketch she learns the identity of the perpetrator and digs into his life, pries into his past – hunting him. Will she stop him? Or will somebody else?
Barnes and Noble
Evan entered a wooden shed filled with yard equipment, tools and deck furniture the owners wanted locked away when the winds kicked and howled. He edged against the wall, sliding his body through a narrow gap between folded lawn chairs and cushions.
Evan leaned his bulky torso against the slats, turned sideways and peered through the dirt caked window with binoculars at the surrounding neighborhood. A Ford Explorer parked several paces up the road caught his attention, someone sat inside it. He adjusted the binoculars and the driver’s auburn mane flooded his vision. When she reached towards something in the back seat he recognized her oval face and slender nose. “Carrot Top Cop,” he whispered. His first thought, she’d traded in her Billows Hollow badge for Fradenton but her casual T-shirt said otherwise. For the next couple hours he observed and waited. His mind curious, why is she here?
When she crept out of the vehicle he used the opportunity to sneak towards it, pulling a black baseball cap over his head. The passenger side door unlocked, he opened it, studying the contents laying across the seat. A map, the street marked with a red X, and his family’s address scribbled next to the X. Beneath the map lay a sketch and a red pen. Without picking up the sketch he stared into the familiar face, his face. His mind zoomed backwards in time, attempting to piece together what evidence she might have. He shaved his body, used a condom, and kept hold of his knife. He left the girl alive. Did she talk? Impossible. She was too young. Then he remembered the girl from the bar. He left her alive too. He cringed at his immature mistakes. Impressed with Carrot Top Cop’s skills, he needed a good adversary.
Burkhalder’s open soda filled the space of the driver’s seat cup holder. Evan dipped his hand into his front pocket, pulling out a small bottle. He squeezed three drops from the bottle into her drink. The crunching of footsteps walking towards the car startled him out of his thoughts. He eased the door closed and slid downward
against the side of the SUV as Burkhalder hopped back into the driver’s seat. Then he edged his way around the vehicle, stopping by the passenger side back tire. His blade nestled between the waistband of his pants and his back. Evan needed to be sure she couldn’t follow him, his sleeping serum wouldn’t work fast enough. He jammed the tip of his blade into her tire and twisted. His heart threatening to jump out of his chest. Sweat beaded on his forehead as anger roiled inside him. He crouch-walked towards the closest bushes and used the oleanders for cover. Parting the pink flowers, he peered towards her vehicle, and regained control of his anger. His plans for the family ruined. He ran through the ungated yards until he came upon his nondescript silver CRV.
He pulled his hat off and tossed it into the back seat as he drove, glimpsing a flash of red in his rear-view. Evan sniggered, knowing the more energy she exerted the faster her heart pumped forcing the drugs to circulate through her body at a quicker rate.
The bushes behind her SUV rustled, catching her attention. She grabbed her soda, gulping it down, her eyes fixated on the bush. Something glistened behind it, then a burst of black cloth. She readied her gun. Whoever it was ran through the yard. She cocked the door open, pushed her back against the vehicle, holding her gun with both hands towards the sky and slid alongside it. Her eyes darting from side to side. She jumped around the bush - empty. The cranking of an engine resonated inside her eardrums.
A squall passed overhead, blowing tree branches and leaves, obscuring her vision. A small silver car pulled away from the road. At the sight, her legs pounded the earth, trying to get the plate number. Blinking through the heavy downpour, she attempted to read the license plate CL or CI, her vision blurred before she could read it. She bent forward, rested her hands on her knees, attempting to catch her breath. She lifted her head, still panting, her head dizzy. The trees and houses swirled through her mind and she collapsed to the ground. Rain pounding her body, small tree limbs whipping through the air.
Elle Klass is the author of mystery, suspense, and contemporary
fiction. Her works include As Snow Falls, Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy, and the Baby Girl series. Her work Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy is a Reader’s Favorite Fiction-Paranormal Finalist in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Awards. She is a night-owl where her imagination feeds off shadows, and creaks in the attic. Visit her website at https://elleklass.weebly.com.
Read Elle's interview with Whobeda, who has a guest spot in the novel when she does Evan's Natal Chart.
A short lady with a bob strolled out of Ms. Renard’s room. Eilida looked at Sage, smiles plastered across their faces. “Our turn!” voiced a giddy Sage.
Eilida took Sage’s hand and they marched into the room like two schoolgirls. No crystal balls or tarot cards, instead a full figured Patrice, her fiery hair curled just above her shoulders. But they weren’t there to see a gypsy and have their palms read.
“Ms. Renard. It’s so wonderful to meet you. I follow your stuff.” As the words dropped from her mouth she felt stupid. Follow, she’s going to think I’m a stalker.
Eilida and Sage talked with Patrice a few minutes. Her round figure reminded Eilida of her mother, warm red hair and confidence further eased Eilida’s nervous stomach. Once she had their dates, times and places of birth, she typed everything in and the computer generated their charts. Eilida’s flew off the printer first. Ms. Renard looked from it to Eilida then slid it to the side as she studied Sage’s. She laid it in front of them and explained the position of the planets and their meanings. Sage’s horoscope was filled with happiness, longevity, and success.
When it came time for Eilida’s, she laid the natal chart on the table facing Eilida and sucked in her breath. Eilida’s eyes went directly to the blue triangle in the center.
“We call this blue triangle a yod or the finger of god.”
“What does it mean?”
“A fated life, but let’s get through all of it before you decide what that means. This blue line ties Pluto in the 3rd house to the Sun in the eighth house. This implies that you crave powerful experiences and are attracted to the unfathomable. You commonly hide your interests, except from your closest friends and family. Uranus and Neptune in the fourth house indicate your home life, growing up may have been unstable in some way. You may be searching for an ideal home. The darkness in your eyes reveals the truth in these words.”
“I love my family but I’ve always felt like an outsider except with my grandmother, umm… until she passed. Sage feels more like family than my parents sometimes.”
Patrice’s bubbling personality spilled over. “At your age, most of us feel that way.”
Eilida’s anxiety eased again as Patrice continued.
“Mercury in Taurus and in the 8th house show you tend to be very methodical and have an interest in investigating the supernatural.”
Eilida’s lips curled into a smile. Her interest in Astrology centered on her interest in the “otherworldly”
“Pluto in Scorpio, the twelve year group you’re both part of, loves mystery and the macabre.”
Both girls chuckled, they lived off zombie and suspense flicks.
Patrice smiled, then her face grew stoic. “There is something in your past, maybe a natural disaster that changed the course of your life. It might be related in some way to the death of your grandmother.”
Zombie-like, Eilida lifted her chart from the table and stood to leave. The dragonflies morphed into dragons breathing fire into her innards, aching to get free. As Eilida exited the door the chatter and
noise in the convention center quieted as her mind focused on something in your past. What could possibly be in her past? Her parents were the most “normal” people she’d ever met and she had a picture perfect childhood, no siblings, everything she needed and most of what she wanted. Her parents and grandmother spoiled her. Yet a feeling she didn’t quite belong always lingered in the back of her mind, followed by a sinking feeling of dread in her belly.
She turned and took a step back into the room, asking another question. “Is all the bad stuff in my past? Does my future look better?”
“Here’s my card, feel free to call.” Eilida noted her solemn expression.
Eilida lay in bed tossing and turning all night. Her mind a flutter of curiosity and fear, replaying Patrice’s words over and over, ‘a fated life… there is something in your past’. Her fascination of mystery drove her imagination. The man in her nightmares flashed in static against her fleshy brain. Light glittered from her pile of clothes on the floor. Her pendant! She reached down and clutched the pendant, cradling it in her hand. Peace bathed her body and she fell into a restful sleep.
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