When she initially heard the sound of the two men entering the house, she had suspected it was her ex-boyfriend, Benson, and one of his rowdy football buddies. But when the shorter man, the one with the scarred face, started ransacking her father’s sun-room study—something Benson and his friends never would have done, Ellyce ran for her father’s closet as quickly and as quietly as she could, and hid.
For over a month, she’d been keeping up appearances at school, and then at night, spending all her time trying to understand her father’s cryptic notes. But his clues didn’t make any sense. And neither did the cash or the key. She had no idea what a song about him and Vanessa had to do with returning to the beginning. Or what they had to do with finding some guy named, Derek. How do you find someone you’ve never heard of—whose last name you don’t know? What book or website do you go to for that information?
Thomas Jensen, or Red Walker, as he was known in the literary world, was a novelist—a simple writer, he would say. And Ellyce grew up listening to his stories about ancient prophecies, conspiracy theories, and all other sorts of supernatural phenomenon. And while she and Thomas may have shared the same address, they rarely shared the same views of the world. The stories Thomas told were fables—mere fantasies for people who needed a crutch or a coping mechanism to deal with the harsh realities of real life. But, Ellyce hadn’t been one of those people. She didn’t have a harsh reality—not really, anyway.
Yes, it was true that her mother had walked out on them when she was four. And yes, it was also true that Sydney Parker and her shallow friends had continually reminded her of that fact every day since fifth grade. But leaving them was Vanessa’s issue, not hers.
The scent of the man, orange peel and cassia leaves, wafted through her father’s bedroom and pushed into the space she occupied, snapping her back to reality. Through the cracked door, she watched the man slide his fingertips across her dad’s pillow and down the side of his bed, coming to a stop at the foot of the bed—directly across from where she was kneeling.
Thanks for stopping! You can see the complete cover March 20th. So, be sure to join us that day and come back tomorrow for the last installment from Chapter 1.
See you then! ♥
*Cover graphic from Pexels via Pixabay