More than twenty years ago, Jonathon's father was swallowed up by the Home Wood for more than a day and came back badly injured. Now, for the first time, Jonathon must venture into the woods himself. What he finds there is beyond anyone's imagination.
Where could she be?
Morning sun streamed over him through the mullioned panes as he sat folded into his bedroom bay window. Jonathon felt turned to stone. The eyes of his favourite baseball and hockey players stared down on him from posters that papered his walls. Photographs of his parents and grandfather sat on his dresser. He saw none of them. His mind's eye snagged on the image of his mother, smiling at him, hugging, teasing him until the space between his ribs that held his heart smouldered.
Why hasn't she called?
A movement in the lane beneath his window caught his attention. His dad, work pack slung over his shoulder, moved quickly, as if he was late for work at their James Farm Produce store in the village of Dunston Mills. But when he glanced up at his son's window, his face wrenched with an emotion that chilled the heat in Jonathon's chest. The sight of that bleak expression yanked Jon back to the phone call his dad had made at breakfast time.
Jonathon had been sitting with Gramp at the table in the large farmhouse kitchen, but they could still hear his father's voice in the hall.
"Hi Debbie...uh...could I please speak to Sarah?...Oh, she isn't...She didn't? She did what?!" The receiver hit the cradle with a bang and he'd seemed to stumble as he came around the corner into the kitchen.
"David? How is Sarah?" Gramp Matthew's deep bass voice rumbled like thunder.
"Dammit, Dad, I don't know!" The unexpected roar of his reply startled them all.
Seeing the expression on his father's face just before he veered from the lane and into the Home Wood brought Jonathon to his feet. He slipped on his windbreaker, grabbed his backpack and raced down the stairs.
"Jon? Where are you off to?" Gramp's tone slowd his step. Jonathon thought quickly.
"Just going to Michael's."
"Michael on the next concession?"
Jonathon nodded his head, unwilling to double the lie out loud.
Excerpted from "Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice" by Julie Whitley. Copyright © 0 by Julie Whitley. 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.
Julie Whitley is a retired nurse who lives with her husband and mother in Southern Ontario. Julie is the proud mother of daughter, Jennifer and enthralled new grandmother of her grandson, Hamish. Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice is her debut novel and represents a labour of love over twenty years in the making.
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