A woman starts a new life and finds scraps of paper hidden in her new house from children who disappeared thirty years before with their mother. Can she unravel the mystery of what happened to them?
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Abigail Sutton’s beloved husband walks out one night, doesn’t return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It’s made her sympathetic to the missing and their families.
Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna’s younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.
But in renovating the house Abigail finds scraps of paper hidden behind baseboards and tucked beneath the porch that hint the three could have been victims of foul play.
Then she finds their graves hidden in the woods behind the house and with the help of eccentric townspeople and ex-homicide detective, Frank Lester, she discovers the three were murdered. Then she and Frank try to uncover who killed them and why…but in the process awaken the ire of the murderer. ***
“I promise, Frank. Good night.” She hung up, put the letters away, took the wooden stick from the closet, and went to bed, Snowball at her heels. The house was shaking and the rain was a steady roar coming down. Every few seconds the house lit up from the lightning. It felt so good to be home, warm, dry and safe.
She dreamed she was walking in the woods behind her house through the storm and her nightgown wasn’t getting wet. Her hair flew wildly about her head and her hands came up to push the strands away from her face so she could see. Limbs tumbled around and past her and the lightning illuminated her way. Her feet were taking her somewhere she didn’t know. She heard childish laughter and when she looked over her shoulder there were two children dancing around her in the rain, their flaxen hair a corona around their small heads, their eyes sapphires in the dark. Their feet were bare and clothes translucent. Beautiful fairy children. Jenny and Christopher.
She followed them through the night woods to the tree house as the thunder rocked the ground. The children ran to her, their grasp soft as a cloud; their touch made her smile. They were like her own children she’d come to know them so well. Their eyes were melancholy and happy all at once.
“Watch and remember,” they spoke together. Lightning spiraled down from the churning ebony sky, through the branches, and hit the ground around the tree house. The girl ran to the base of the tree, dug around in the muddy dirt, snatched up a glass jar and showed it to Abigail as the rain cascaded around her. She smiled a ghostly smile. In the jar there were pieces of paper. The girl’s form wavered in the misty air and evaporated. The glass jar fell and burst into a hundred pieces of glass and the scraps of paper rose into the wet night and fluttered off like rain birds.
Christopher put something tiny and lumpy into her hand, smiled and vanished into his grave again. When she looked she saw one of his tiny green dinosaur toys lying in her palm. She closed her eyes for a moment, two.
When Abigail opened them she was in her bed and it was morning. No storm, no rain. The sun was bright above. She got up, made coffee and drank a fast cup; dressed, pulled boots on and headed into the wet woods. She had no trouble finding the tree house in the daylight. Lightning had struck and it was split down the center. She’d brought a shovel and begun to dig where her dream Jenny had dug. It took a while, but she found a buried jar with the missing diary pages in it. Hurrying home, she washed the jar off and opened it over the kitchen sink.
Inside there were the missing pages covering the last two weeks from the diary and a tiny green toy dinosaur. She read the pages. ***