Amazon US & UK Best Seller
RATED TOP HORROR-THRILLER 2012
In the Vein of THE SIXTH SENSE, SHUTTER ISLAND & THE BUTTERFLY EFFECTCHAPTER ONE BELOW
WISHBONE II is Coming Soon!
At the age of nine, growing up in the French countryside, Julien Grenier witnessed the brutal murder of his grandfather. Now, at forty-five, he continues to be plagued by horrific nightmares and reenactments of that tragic event.
Living a successful though austere lifestyle on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Julien has recreated himself, building emotional walls that even his young
wife cannot penetrate.
Though somewhat moody, Julien is a good man with a heart of gold, and a great sense of loyalty and responsibility; enabling his wife, Rachael, to turn a blind eye to his tightly-kept secrets.
Rachael is thirty-two years old; an art dealer and playful free spirit, but after a home invasion assault leaves her emotionally unstable and destroys their care-free and content world, they relocate to a safer environment with the hope of a fresh start.
Kings Hollow is a quaint town, nestled in the serene Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. At first, their new home appears to be the miracle they prayed for, until a traditional children’s game begins to destroy their bliss; Rachael is no longer herself and Julien is experiencing a string of bad luck and unfortunate accidents.
At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Sarah, a part-time caretaker on the property.
Can Julien and Rachael escape the nightmare of Kings Hollow…or is this just Wishful thinking?
“If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.”
Crouching on a sun-bleached step, Julien delicately stroked a caterpillar with a crisp blade of grass. Its hairy length curled in a tight spiral then rolled haphazardly off the edge of the weathered blue porch. Behind him, the familiar clacking of his paternal grandfather’s pipe clipping the old man’s teeth was reassurance to Julien that he was not alone. Aromatic puffs of apple-laced smoke filled the warm evening air, delicious to the nine-year-old’s senses. Not so much as a subtle breeze reached the porch tonight; the French countryside was still and heavy with humidity.
Julien stared at the now motionless insect, clutching itself with its one-hundred legs, and just when he began to worry he might have killed the green creature, it allowed itself to uncoil and return on its journey. Satisfied he had done no harm, Julien glanced back at Papi, his hazel eyes clouded by cataracts and transfixed on something off in the distance beyond some grazing cows. Although Julien knew immediately what it would be, he followed his grandfather’s gaze, craning his neck and nearly losing his footing, just as the caterpillar had. He grabbed his toes for balance, rocked forward, knocked himself in the chin with his knees, and crushed his fingertips beneath his weight.
“OW!” he shrieked, shaking his hand wildly in an attempt to rid the pain.
Barreling through the trees at the edge of Grand-père’s dairy farm, his unmistakable lumbering swagger as recognizable as his burly frame, appeared the figure of Julien’s father. On most nights Papi would watch, refusing to take his eyes off Jérome, who would drunkenly pass them by and make his way up the curving path. It would seem they were invisible to him as he mumbled bitterly beneath his breath and headed directly for the shed out back beside the old barn. Jérome chose to hide away there, pretending they did not exist, as he risked drinking himself to a slow death. Most of the time Julien would witness Papi contain his fury with the patience of a Saint, but now and then the old man’s deep disappointment in his grown son would cause his emotions to overflow like a swollen river sending him after Jérome with an uncontainable need.
Julien could sense it deep within…tonight would be one of those nights.
Watching his father approach, Julien could not help but envy the man’s physique. The ex-pugilist managed to retain a fighter’s body despite years of drink and self-abuse. Regardless of youthful optimism, Julien knew he would never have a build like Jérome. His grand-mère reminded him often he had not been blessed with the initial nourishment of mother’s milk, as his mother had died while giving birth to him. According to Grand-mère, this tragic fact rendered him slightly small for his age. In fact, Grand-mère believed his lack of breast milk was to blame for just about everything; why he caught cold each winter, why he failed an occasional math test, why he broke his arm falling from the roof last summer, and even, why his hair had a tendency to stick up in one spot at the back of his head. Nevertheless, Julien understood he would always be the smallest in the Grenier bloodline. Even Papi, at age seventy-three, was a powerful man only slightly less burly than Jérome and with hands capable of playfully cupping Julien’s face entirely in one, swallowing him up with a teasing calloused grip. He was a hard-working man with snow-white hair, thick as sheep’s wool, and skin tanned brown as seasoned leather, except for the thin, white creased wrinkles, visible only when the old man’s face relaxed during sleep. Jérome was a carbon copy of his father, magnified by twenty-eight fewer years.
The shed door slammed. Again, Julien looked back at Papi and watched him empty his pipe, tapping it twice against the tin of an old rusted coffee can. Propelled by anger and frustration, Papi silently got to his feet. Without taking his gaze off the horizon, he stepped over Julien and down to the grass.
Julien hopped down behind him.
“Non, Papi…” he warned in a whisper.
His grandfather ignored him and continued on the path toward the old shed.
Julien hurried back up on the porch, darted to the far end and peered around the side of the house. He waited until his grandfather was a safe distance away before leaping over the wood rail to land on the plush grass below. Squatting, he scurried to a stack of aluminum milk barrels halfway between the house and the shed. He crawled as close as he could to allow himself a fair view; though, careful not to reveal he was there. It had been several months since their last confrontation and Julien wondered how the exact same routine, night after night, could at times be less forgivable to his grandfather. While on other nights, Papi could continue smoking his pipe, watching, but controlling his urge to confront his son. The last account had ended with an irate Jérome disappearing into the trees and missing for several nights. When he returned, Papi said nothing, once again exhibiting self-control. Jérome also pretended nothing had happened, resuming his usual routine of stumbling home at dusk, appearing through the trees with a half-consumed bottle of bourbon. Although Jérome rarely spoke to Julien, he found comfort in knowing his father was out there in the dark shed each night.
Julien glanced back toward the house wanting to be sure his grandmother was not heading in his direction, ready to drag him from the scene. He turned back quickly, startled by Papi pounding on Jérome’s door. Suddenly, the door flew open, slamming against the barn with a loud crack of its brittle wood. Jérome stepped up close to his father, arrogantly taking a swig of bourbon only inches from the old man’s face. Julien could hear Papi’s intonation, but could not decipher his words. It didn’t matter; they were always the same.
His grandfather held his ground refusing to back away. He shook his head and pointed in the direction of the house. Julien ducked deeper behind his camouflage before cautiously peering out again. Something felt different about the scene tonight. His father was more aggressive and less impaired. He was not holding the door frame to steady himself as he usually would. He wasn’t sloppy on his feet, or yelling incoherently, as he always had. Instead, he took slow, purposeful steps, forcing the old man to step back. Julien could not put his finger on it, but tonight his father was an unfamiliar and unpredictable force. Riddled with anxiety, he now wished he could hear their words. He looked for a closer place to hide and watch, nearer to them; though, only open space remained. Before he could turn his attention back to the men, a scuffle erupted.
Jérome clutched his father’s throat with one enormous palm; the old man stumbled backward, his arms flailing wildly as they both fell to the ground. Still clutching his throat, Jérome began pounding his father’s head against the hardened earth. Julien could not believe his eyes. He scrambled to his feet, running at them, screaming, pleading for Jérome to stop. He launched himself at the girth which was his father’s back, beating him with child-size fists and going completely unnoticed. Frantic, Julien scanned the area; an ax, a rock, and there on the ground beside them, the half-empty bottle of bourbon resting on its side, just as Jérome had dropped it. Julien’s hand gripped the glass vessel by its neck. He brought it up high above his head spilling the remaining liquid over his hair and face. Julien felt the sensation of everything moving in slow motion as, with all of his might, he swung the bottle downward through the air, landing it against the back of his father’s skull.
A deafening silence fell over the farm, all but the hollow sound of the tumbling, undamaged bottle, empty and rolling away over dry, pebbled, dirt. Jérome dropped with a thud over his father’s lifeless body. Julien couldn’t see a thing, his eyes burning from a mixture of spilled alcohol and tears. He rubbed at his eyes, blinking and trying to see. Too quickly, Jérome was up again. Julien could hear him coming closer, the smell of bourbon on his warm, huffing breath. His father, now close, cast a shadow over him. Julien blindly backed away. He could hear his grandmother’s screams far off in the distance.
She is coming to help, he thought.
Then, with a vice grip, Jérome grabbed hold of his son’s right bicep, forcing the child up on his toes. Sightless and trapped, Julien froze; his arms fell to his sides in submission. Jérome drew his elbow far back and with a fist meant to knock out a prizefighter, he delivered one crushing blow to his son’s diminutive face. The sound of crushing bone was the last thing Julien would remember.
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