Excerpt!

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Hey friends! Today is a little bit of a cop out, because I’m off getting my COVID vaccine, and it was an incredibly stressful week, so I’m tired. This is part of the project I started in November when I tried to do NaNoWriMo, but I couldn’t finish this year. The working title is “Grind.” I really like the start of it, so I hope to finish it some day. I also realized I write a lot of murder, so I’m a smidge concerned about me, but I’m sure I’m ok.


October 2015

Ben Carrington sat at his desk, shoving pencils through a Styrofoam cup. All in all, it’d been a quiet day in Stanhaven, Indiana, and at most Ben had been forced to go out to settle a dispute over a goose getting into a neighbor’s cabbages.

He was just grateful it wasn’t summer anymore and the kids were back in school, instead of racing on the FM roads. Those were his least favorite calls, because either he had to either be the bad guy and ruin their summer fun, or they were all gone by the time he got to the site. Either way, he lost.

This wasn’t what he’d intended when he joined the force.

In all honesty, Ben didn’t even know what he expected when he joined in a quiet, sleepy town. A murder every day? Bank robberies every hour? That was ridiculous. If he were honest with himself, he was just biding his time until he could try to get on in Indianapolis.

Sure, there was that whole mess that happened at the Sloan homestead, but that was ancient history, practically. This town was too superstitious about it, though. Families had tried to live in that house, but no one stayed for long. Now it sat empty and abandoned, waiting to be bought up by a developer soon, most likely. The owner, Carl Sloan, was the grandson of a member of the family.

Nasty business, what happened. One morning, a girl named Hannah Jessup found almost the entire Sloan family dead, slaughtered in their beds. They’d been killed with an axe, but no one knew who’d done it. The strangest thing was Hannah dropped a cake she’d taken over, and someone had walked through the cake. It seemed the murderer had still been there, but did Hannah see them, or were they hiding until she left? Hannah claimed until the day she died she never saw anyone. That wasn’t a very long time, though, since she sadly went to live in an asylum. She was never the same after finding the Sloans dead.

Carl’s grandfather, Gregory, hadn’t been home when the murders occurred. He was in college in Bloomington, studying to become a doctor. He had to give that up when he inherited a farm and all sorts of problems his father had left him. There were debts and angry debtors lining up outside Gregory’s door, and the poor man was never rid of them. Somehow, the family managed to keep a stranglehold on the property, though Ben didn’t know what good it would do now, since the place was falling apart.

Ben himself had a connection to the case—his grandfather was Michael Jessup, one of Hannah’s brothers. Grandpa Michael refused to ever talk about that time, and he’d been grounded once or twice growing up for trying to get him to talk.

The case was never solved, and at the rate things were going, it never would be. After 114 years, neither the sheriff’s office or his police department were too inclined to try and solve it, and really, what was the point? Everyone involved was dead already. Maybe it would bring some solace to Carl, but that was about it. They had more important things to worry about, like the local teenagers breaking into the Sloan homestead now it was closer to Halloween and there were urban legends the place was haunted.

Ben’s dispatch radio buzzed to life, startling him, causing him to knock over the pencil and cup tower he’d been building.

“Officer Carrington, we have a 10-94 on FM 3945. Repeat, a 10-94 on FM 3945.”

He sighed. Those damn kids were out racing again.

“10-4, I’m on it. Out.”

He picked up his keys and headed to the cruiser. At least this would be a bit more exciting than a goose versus a cabbage.

Ben flicked on his kitchen light and tossed his mail on the table. He opened his fridge and pulled out a root beer, taking a sip before flipping through the mail. Junk, junk, bill, card from Great Aunt Louise, junk…an envelope with no name on it. Probably junk, but he knew he should open it anyway. He opened the card from Great Aunt Louise first, an early birthday card and check. She really was nice. He stuck the check in his wallet so he could deposit it at the bank tomorrow. He opened the bill, even though he knew what it was for. He tossed it aside to the junk mail pile.

That just left the strange envelope. He was probably thinking too much about it, but something seemed off. The envelope was typed on a typewriter, which wouldn’t be that strange, except who used a typewriter anymore?

He opened the envelope and pulled out the paper inside.

You never solved their murders.
You never brought them justice.
Good.
It’s going to happen again, and again, and again until you catch us.
We just won’t wait over a hundred years to do it.
I am the avenging angel.
You’ve been warned.


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