BOOK DETAILS

Abigail Dare

Abigail Dare

by Jon Etheredge

ISBN: 9781461043492

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Romance/Paranormal, Literature & Fiction/Literary, Romance

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Book Description

The need to go home is as unyielding as steel, more important to the human spirit than flesh and bone, more powerful than life itself. Abigail Dare is not your ordinary ghost story.

Sample Chapter

CHAPTER 1

 

When Myra Luckworth discovered the old house was on the market, she almost jumped out of her wheelchair.  It had been two years since Abbie wandered off and died.  Two years of listening to the nurses at the Regency go on and on about that crazy old woman as if she were some kind of saint.  Idiots!  Oh, she had such delicious plans for this house! 

Myra was a resident at Regency Nursing, just as Abbie had been when she was alive.  She chose to live at the Regency because she liked it better than the other nursing homes, and because she was vile and despite her money, nowhere else would take her. 

Her taxi parked in front of the Dare house at exactly noon.  The driver pulled Myra’s wheelchair from the trunk, unfolded it and helped her slide over.  The realtor, Besse Mervis, tipped him five dollars to stick around and help push the chair. 

 “Shall we go in?” she asked the group.

“No need,” Myra said. “Tell me about the foundation.  What’s underneath?” 

Besse hesitated, so Myra impatiently rephrased the question.  “Well is it steel beam or stone or wood or what?  What’s holding the place up?” 

“Oh, the foundation!  Now, keep in mind I haven’t actually been under the house,” Besse chortled, “but I do know that the fireplace sits on top of a natural boulder, and the house itself is set atop hand-hewn and individually set oak beams.  The walls have oak studs throughout…”

“I didn’t ask about the damn studs.  How much asbestos?”

“Asbestos?  Let me see,” Besse flipped through her inspection report.  “No, there’s no mention of asbestos.”

“Good.  That means it’ll be cheaper to burn it down,” Myra said.  “More fun, too.”

Burn it? Burn it down?  Did I hear you right?”

“Damn straight.  I’m gonna set fire to it and get my dozer man to shove the ashes into a trench.”

“But why?  It’s such a beautiful old house.”

“It sure is.  Let’s go look around inside while we still can.  Then I’ll talk your price down twenty percent and write you out a check.”  She stabbed at the front door with a knobby finger, signaling the taxi driver to pull her up the stairs.

There was plenty of room inside the hallway to turn the wheelchair around without hitting anything.  Just inside and on the left, a pair of glass-paned double French doors stood open, forming a cavernous passageway into the living room.  As the cabbie pushed her through, Myra noticed a change in the air. 

The walls were freshly painted, but her nose picked up something else, something from long ago.  “What is that odor?” she asked the realtor.

Besse sniffed the air and shrugged.  “What odor, Miss Luckworth?”

 “I don’t know, it’s so faint, it’s…it’s maple.  I smell maple!”  She twisted in her chair and faced the kitchen.  The aroma was stronger from that direction.  “It’s coming from over there.”  She pointed toward the kitchen door, and when the taxi driver was slow to obey she gripped the hand rims and rolled the wheels herself, advancing through the dining room and into the kitchen.

It was a grand old kitchen.  From deep inside Myra, happy memories woke up and spilled out in a torrent of words.  “When I was a little girl, my family vacationed in Vermont and we always had griddle cakes on Saturday morning.  Not pancakes.  We didn’t call them pancakes, not my family!  We filled up on griddle cakes.”  She paused to breathe, sighing from the effort of remembering so much.  “Griddle cakes, with lots of fresh, hot maple syrup!”

Besse was talking on and on, gesturing at a brick hearth, pointing at a cabinet.  Myra didn’t hear a word.  The kitchen had swallowed Myra with its promise of happier times.  She could practically hear the metallic clink and tink of forks and knives and plates and coffee cups filled with orange juice.  The odor of maple was stronger in the kitchen, as though someone had recently spilled syrup on the griddle. 

It was an old, burned-in smell, an odor she had gladly forgotten, a sharp caramel scent digging at her nose, itching inside and telling her that something was wrong.  Bad wrong.

She could hear the recriminations echoing off the walls, accusing, biting. You don’t put syrup on griddle cakes until they’re OFF the GRIDDLE!  What’s WRONG with you girl?  What were you THINKING about?

The scent changed slightly, deepening with a gray hint of pancakes left to cook far too long, the smoke burning her eyes as her parents shouted hate words at each other.  She wanted to leave the kitchen, now!  Her chest pounded with the shame of running away but she couldn’t stop the smell and she couldn’t stop the voices and she couldn’t stop.

Myra rolled herself back into the dining room.  The smell had grown worse out here – oppressive, sticky and thick.  Her head ached and she burped, surprising herself with the smell of blackened maple syrup. 

Unable to stand the burnt stench, she held her breath and retreated, rolling into the living room. The smell of burning syrup was far heavier than before.  It stuck to her clothes and her hands, and clung to her hair.

Memories of a breakfast long ago, that morning in Vermont when she last saw her father, filled her eyes with maple-flavored tears that made it impossible to find the way out.  Myra was suddenly lost and alone and trapped.  Little burbling yips escaped from her throat and then she gave up and wept freely, as though she were eight years old again.

She saw the real estate woman in slow motion, running clumsily to her side.  Besse’s lips were moving with urgent intent but Myra could only hear her own snuffling groans and deafening heartbeat.

She felt a hard push as the taxi driver hurried her chair through the French doors and down the front steps.  The realtor led the way out, walking backwards and mouthing reassurances that Myra couldn’t hear.

The old woman felt the wheelchair touch down solidly at the bottom of the steps, inhaled the cool November air deeply and groaned.   Her mouth opened and closed, like a fish on a riverbank.  But with each breath, spasms of grief stole away her words.  Myra was orphaned and abandoned, alone in the world and yet, a heartbeat later, not alone. 

Warmth fell across her left ear, softly tickling her skin with a breathless whisper, a woman’s whisper, familiar and gentle and sarcastic.

 

Bon appetìt.”

Excerpted from "Abigail Dare" by Jon Etheredge. Copyright © 0 by Jon Etheredge. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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