In the Shadow of Porter's Hollow

In the Shadow of Porter's Hollow

by Yvonne Schuchart


Publisher Year of the Book

Published in Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction/Horror, Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Laura Evans is haunted by an unsettled past. But she is determined to risk whatever it takes to get to the bottom of a well-kept family secret. Because the skeletons in this closet are real, and someone, or something, doesn't want them revealed.

Sample Chapter


Thursday, September 1, 1960

Roberta Foster shivered as she stepped out of the local doctor's house on the night of that first disappearance. There was an unnatural frostiness to the air. She pulled her sweater tight, turned up the dirt road toward home--and stopped short. A barred owl hooted from a fork in the tree above her. Goosebumps raised the hairs on her arms. It was the third time in a week she'd heard that call. According to mountain folks, when you hear an owl hoot three times, death is coming for someone.

It was a long, solitary walk back over the mountain through Porter's Hollow. She scanned the inky woods and the road ahead. The moon shone big and bright, deepening the shadows along the path. Lord knows she had enough to think on, but it was hard to concentrate on such a night.

Robey was in quite a fix. She was in love with a local boy, Glen Allen Porter. He was tall and muscular, with dark hair, fair skin and soft grey eyes. And he understood how bad she wanted to get away from here. Kept telling Robey how much he loved her even though he went and married that . . . well, she was too much of a lady even to think the word.

Still, she should've been more careful. She knew better 'cause her own mother had done the same. But her momma hadn't lived long enough to raise her.

Aunt Hattie had taken her in when Momma died and she never asked anything. They lived in a white-washed, two-story clapboard on a few acres Hattie Perkins' husband left her when he passed. But they weren't well off, and they had no car so they walked pretty much everywhere. Which was why Robey found herself out on the road so late at night. The Doc saw her in his home after work for nothing more than a few dozen eggs, and some tobacco now and then.

She generally didn't mind walking, but this felt like a hair-raising, bone-chilling sort of night. All the same, Robey admired the silvery glow of the moon--right up until she spotted something white floating above the road straight ahead.

She shuddered as a tingle crawled up her spine and spread to cover her scalp. Robey drew her sweater close and cradled her swollen belly in both arms. The specter appeared to glide along the ground toward her. She caught her breath and froze. It glowed ghostly pale in the moonlight as it stopped just out of arms reach. Then it shook itself all over and sat down to look at her.

"Oh, Heaven's sake, it's just a puppy," she chided on a rush of exhaled breath. It comforted Robey to talk to her unborn child, made her feel like she wasn't alone in the eerie night.

The ghoslty mutt sat there and started at her, head cocked. It whined and dropped to the ground, chin on its paws. Then it stood back up, shook itself again and trotted off across the road. But it stopped on the other side to look back at her once more.

Robey sighed, "I know I shouldn't follow that thing." Yet after a moment's hesitation, she made to move toward it. She gave a light whistle and called, "Here boy, c'mon now, we won't hurtcha."

The little beast blinked and turned away. It scampered through the gully and down the pasture edge by the roadside where it scuttled under a fence. What happened next made Robey's limbs go heavy and drained the blood from her face. 

The ghostly pale creature passed under the wooden fence rail--and disappeared.

Robey stepped forward searching despite her fearful superstitions. She peered hard into the darkness as she bent down and felt the rail, the ground under it, the air around it, but there was no sign of the animal. And no bushes or groundhog holes for it to hide in. No explanation for its disappearance.

A moment later, Robey heard a high-pitched, agonized scream from somewhere not far up the hollow. She stood so abrupt-like she stumbled and fell backward. Landed so hard on her bottom on the graveled roadside, it drove the breath right out of her. Hands scraped stones as she attempted too late to catch herself.

In that same instant she felt a pop as a rush of warm fluid gushed out from between her legs. A sharp cry of fear and pain escaped her own mouth. Roberta Foster wasn't sure what she heard at the time. It all fused into one overwhelming experience as she went into labor, her sense of anxious dread almost as intense as the pain.

Yet a short few hours later, she delivered a normal, healthy baby girl.

But the disappearing little white dog had surely been an omen. Because, as Robey found out later, something unspeakable happened to someone else small, pale and defenseless that night. Something that would cast a long dark shadow over her own little girl's life forever. 


Excerpted from "In the Shadow of Porter's Hollow" by Yvonne Schuchart. Copyright © 2016 by Yvonne Schuchart. 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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Author Profile

Yvonne Schuchart

Yvonne Schuchart

Yvonne Schuchart is a writer who lives in South Central Pennsylvania. She holds an Associate Degree in Social Sciences and is a member of the Pennwriters organization. Yvonne has written feature stories for a local newspaper in York, Pa, and her articles and poetry have appeared in various publications. She is deeply intrigued by both human and animal behavior, the paranormal, spirituality vs. religion, and various historical accounts of these things. Reading, exploring nature, hiking in the woods and mountains and long motorcycle rides on warm, sunny days are her favorite past times. Yvonne is the mother of four adult children, and two adorable grandsons. Her nearest claim to fame is being born in the same hospital, the same year as Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles.

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