So far so good? Here’s another preview to whet your appetite.
Jordan sat on a bench overlooking the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline providing the perfect backdrop. The view never ceased to amaze her. The entire picturesque cluster of skyscrapers with their twinkling lights danced before her eyes, creating a vision of abstract paintings inside her head. She had done this every single night since leaving her lowly little town of Eureka, California, and she made it a point to watch the breaking of dawn in this particular spot every day. The vast vista of visual delights soothed her wretched soul. She had turned into a creature of habit, as well as a woman who was hell-bent on finding answers to her questions.
Her mind wandered back, remembering what she’d lost and what she hoped to gain. Jordan promised herself that she would stop at nothing to avenge her parents’ deaths and get revenge on the monster that had turned her life upside down, condemning her to this eternal hell.
She’d had a normal childhood, the only child of doting parents who viewed the outdoors as their backyard. Marceline and David had been avid campers, hikers, and whitewater enthusiasts, and they had brought up their daughter to be familiar with living outdoors. They often spent their entire weekends driving to the wilderness and exploring the forest. This was the lifestyle Jordan had known and embraced for as long as she could remember. Their rituals had gone through some changes when she went away to college, but her parents had made sure they made up for lost time when her schedule allowed her to get away. They’d had a perfect life, content with their lot and with no wish to obtain more than they needed. Who would have thought that the life they’d cherished would be taken from them without warning in such a vicious manner?
Jordan’s nightmare had begun when they were attacked by a lone entity in a forest not too far from their home. It was the camping trip that ended her life as she knew it. With all the planning done ahead of time, their three-hour drive had taken the family close to the North Klamath River, where they’d intended to raft over the next few days and to try fly-fishing for the very first time.
Jordan and her parents had been filled with excitement that this much-anticipated trip was underway at last. Their campground was about a hundred miles away from the nearest civilization, nestled in the northwest tip of the Siskiyou Mountain and providing the peaceful and serene environment they’d sought. The campground had been primitive and isolated, just as they preferred. Finding the campground deserted had been more than they’d hoped for, and Jordan had smiled at the thought of having her parents all to herself. The air was a little warm, which was uncharacteristic for California weather in April. It had been noon when they’d found their spot, and the promise of a glorious day had hung in the air.
“This is great, Jordan, don’t you think?” Marceline asked as they piled out of their old truck. Her mother had been beside herself with happiness.
“It is, Mom. I’m glad we got the chance to get away,” Jordan answered, walking to the rear of the truck to start the task of unloading. “Hey Dad, what do you want me to unload first?”
David was scanning the perimeter of the area, looking up at the trees and deliberating on the perfect spot to pitch their tent where they could maximize the use of the shade provided by the overgrown trees. “Jordan, baby, I’ll take care of the heavier gear, just grab the lighter bags and the portable stove. You and your mom can start dinner while I put up the tent,” David replied, jazzed about the location and the prospect of spending quality time with his two favorite women.
It took several hours to get everything in order, and by the time dinner was over, dusk had settled. They found themselves staring into the fading light while they lounged in front of the bonfire David had started.
It was a gorgeous evening. Jordan sighed as she sat next to her parents by the fire pit. It was a clear night. The stars and the moon were out, adding a little light to the otherwise pitch-black campground. The glow from the bonfire illuminated their campsite, giving it an eerie feel.
“You think it’s a good time to tell scary stories now? Just like we used to do when I was younger?” Jordan asked her father. David smiled and began to contort his face in a way that used to scare her when she was little and always ended with her in her parents’ bed when she couldn’t sleep. Jordan laughed at her father’s attempt to frighten her. “Dad, that’s not going to work anymore, but do tell a story.”
Marceline had her eyes closed while this banter was going on, just enjoying the moonlit night and the fresh air. “Ah, this is the life!” She breathed deep, inhaling the sweet air before releasing a contented exhale.
“It is, isn’t it?” David agreed, putting loving arms around his wife’s shoulder and drawing her close to him to plant a tender kiss on her forehead.
“Ah, you guys, cut that out!” Jordan teased. “Let’s start the scary story now,” she said, adjusting herself on her chair. “I’m waiting!”
Out of nowhere, without making the slightest sound, a figure emerged from the darkness. The silhouetted form appeared ominous in the illumination of the fire. He was a tall and gangly man, around his early thirties. He didn’t say a word, but the hunger in his eyes was unmistakable. His menacing expression made the hair on the back of Jordan’s neck rise. The eyes that looked at her were almost onyx black, intense, and filled with desire. She could tell, even in the dark, that she and her parents were in trouble. Without uttering a word, he leapt in David’s direction and picked him up by his jacket’s collar. A loud crack echoed in the silence of the night when he hurled her father against a tree, his body then slumping to the ground. The man next turned to Marceline, who bolted from her chair in David’s direction, crying in fear. With ease, the monster caught up with her and grabbed for her neck, yanking her back.
“Get away from me! What do you want from us? Do you need money or food? We have it. We could give it all to you. Just leave us alone, please!” Marceline begged, her gaze fixed on her beloved husband.
“I don’t want anything but this,” the man responded in a low voice, but his message was clear. Marceline was in trouble. He sank his face into her neck and tugged hard.
Jordan felt as if she was stuck in a bad dream. The man held her mother’s head between his hands, and without any sign of remorse, he twisted her neck until a crack sounded. Her limp body slid to the ground. Marceline made a gurgling sound before falling silent.
I’ll be posting the continuation of Chapter 2 on Friday. See you here then. Thanks for reading!
Click on the links below and purchase your copy!
Barnes and Noble-Paperback