Paperback & ebook, 143 Pages
April 6, 2021 by Burns and Lea Books
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
February 4, 2019 by Burns and Lea Books
Life for Patient 29 is full of medicated day dreams of a life outside the walls of Soothing Hills Asylum. But fantasies are not all that consume her. A monster roams the halls of the sanitarium she reluctantly calls home and three girls have been found dead. The dead girls share one common thread . . . each was 29’s cell mate. As the investigation gets under way, she retreats into her mind, listening to the voices that call to her. She is endowed with the cursed gift of perception. Through it, she hears messages carried upon the notes of music, discerns words hidden among the strokes of paintings, and minds pleadings for help from the corn field outside.
Could the key to the murders lie within 29’s broken mind? Mason, an orderly, does not see 29 as a lunatic and as his belief in her grows so does her self-confidence. The possibility of one day leaving the asylum seems less and less like a fantasy. But the monster has other plans for her. Leaving will not be so easy, at least not while she is alive.
About the Author
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“Another piece of pie, madam?” The footman stoops, his eyebrows deferentially making a request of Jules.
“No, thank you, Mansfield. I am already bulging like a perfectly stuffed holiday goose. If I continue such indulgences, I shall not fit into my wedding dress.”
Maeve, who has been unusually quiet throughout the meal, adds, “Jules, zere is still so much to be done. You and Jonathon really must finish ze arrangements. I have done as much as I can, but many decisions require your signatures.”
She sets down her wine glass to peer over it at Jules.
Jules gives me a significant, singular flick of the eye, but I comprehend its meaning.
We have told Maeve nothing of the new developments in the corn. About the possibility that Jules’s mother, Maeve’s once best friend, may somehow be trapped inside it.
About… the creature. The… banshee. I bite my lip. The girl. If she is, indeed, a girl.
Jules meets my eye again for a tick of the clock before her stare darts back to Maeve.
I try to communicate, Restraint, show restraint, Jules, with my glare, but my gut wrenches as her face sets in determination.
Once the juggernaut that is Jules is on its rail, we are all in for a nonstop, careening ride of personality.
We are done for.
She waits, albeit badly, her index digit tapping manically on the wooden table, for the final servant to disappear. Maeve stands, her delicate hands smoothing the front of her bodice, awaiting our move to the parlor for after-dinner port.
Jules clears her throat. “Maeve, my darling. There have been many… developments.”
Jules reaches across the table and grasps her hand, urging her back to her seat.
Maeve’s dark eyebrows cinch together.
“Een what way?” Her French accent heightens with her vexation.
“If you see… a girl in the corn, under no circumstances should you permit her entry to the house.”
Vexation gives way to horror as her fingers flutter up to encircle the flush at her throat. “What girl? Whatever are you talking about, ma chère?”
Under the table, my boot connects with Jules’s shin. Her eyelashes bat with the pain, but her expression remains placid.
Sometimes Jules is oblivious to others’ feelings. Like father.
Maeve has been ill. Ever since she learned I was alive, and not dead as she had been deceived into believing, her health has steadily declined. I cannot help but feel the sadness, churning behind her eyes, is due to the fact that she feels responsible for my childhood spent in Soothing Hills Asylum. I clear my throat, vaulting daggers at Jules. Stop, I mouth.
Finally noticing Maeve’s white-as-parchment coloring, she relents. “Never you mind, we shall discuss it later.”
Maeve seems all too happy to ignore her words. To deny all unpleasantness.
A bitter little voice whispers, Perhaps that is how you were so easily forgotten.
I grind my teeth together and shove the voice back into the vault of my mind, where such morbid, self-wallowing thoughts are stowed.
Maeve brightens. “Do come into ze parlor, mes chéries. I have swatches of fabric, and…” Their feminine prattle fades away, and I follow them, not seeing, not hearing.
What I do see, through the nearby window, is the cornfield. Dying, darkening stalks waving in the night wind like a horde of blackened hands.