Lies Truth, Truth Lies
Author:Uc Amalu Jr

    ChapterOneKristin Maddow pointed to the white Victorian styled mansionsurrounded by massive trees on the left side of the car in WhiteVillage, New Hampshire." That's the one, Mr. Grant! I want tobuy that house right there!" she declared confidently in herhigh- pitched voice. Grant stopped his car directly in front of thehouse. He looked at his clipboard, this was only house twelve, he hadanother twenty-eight houses on the market that he needed to sell!"Ms. Maddow, you seem so sure of your choice! Don't you want to lookat-"?" Here's the money," said Kristin, cutting himoff abruptly. Then she handed him a check for 500,000 dollars."Is it enough?" She pulled out her blue checkbook again, just incase. Edward Grant, the town's best realtor, had never met a moredetermined buyer than Kristin Maddow. Kristin's long blonde hair waswavy around her shoulders, not curly. Her bright green eyes gleamedlike emeralds with excitement as she looked at the house again.Grant's brown eyes surveyed her thin, pale face, checking to see ifshe was playing him. He saw no signs, much to his dismay, butcomplete happiness as she looked at the house. He took the check andsighed with amusement as he got out of the car. Kristin followed him;her short white skirt, and a black and white rose designed topgleamed in the warm sunlight. Kristin's silver purse clung to hersmall, but firm wrist. Mr. Grant looked extremely professional in hisgray suit. His brown hair was thinning and had some gray spots. Butall things considered, he was somewhat attractive for a late sixty-year old. Kristin was as tall as Mr. Grant in her silver two-inchheels; otherwise Mr. Grant would have been taller than her.She wasabsolutely entranced at the houses' beauty. It had so much detail inthe columns that were holding up the wide and gorgeous balcony.Kristin has majored in graphic design in college, and she lovedanything that had to do with design. The mansion wasn't that big, butit wasn't too small either. It was just perfect for a thirty-fiveyear old woman who wanted to get away from all of her family problemsin New York. Kristin wasn't really paying attention to anything thatEdward Grant was saying as they walked up the stone walkway to thehouse. Her mind was completely focused on the house. " It's sopretty. Mom would just love visiting me here when Dad and her havetheir fights," thought Kristin, " I wonder if Ben would letme do my work from here instead of driving all the way toPortsmouth?" Kristin was sure that the house could have Internetaccess, that way she could do her commercial and billboard designswhenever she felt like it. Mr. Grant's voice caught her attentionthen." Ms. Maddow? Were you listening to me?" he asked, hiscalming voice had an edge of annoyance in it now." No. I'msorry. I was so... distracted by the beauty of the house. Could yourepeat what you've said?"Mr. Grant sighed, fully annoyed nowthough he tried not to show it." I was explaining that thishouse was originally built in 1952, after a fire burned the originalhouse down a couple of months earlier. Mr. and Mrs. William Clarkoriginally owned it. Mrs. Clark was young; actually they both werevery young. They both were only seventeen when they got married. As Iwas saying, Mrs. Clark, Sarah was her name, died in a freak accidentafter falling from the cliff right there", Mr. Grant pointedthrough a forest of trees behind the house." You walk two milesnorth and then there's the cliff. Down below it, is a raging riverthat empties into the ocean after, oh about twelve miles,"Mr.Grant reached the doorstep at the same time Kristin did. He openedthe black and gold door for her. Inside the house was a beautifulblack -ironed staircase that curled around itself till it reached thesecond floor. Then to the left of the staircase was a hallway thathad a blood red carpet that contrasted to the black walls. Thehallway had about four, five doors on either wall. To the right was aroom with red walls. Several big black bookcases lined up on thewalls. The room also had matching red loveseats and a mahoganyantique desk in the corner. Kristin eagerly ran to the antique desk,her heels clicking on the wooden floor in the room. Mr. Grantfollowed her with a little less enthusiasm." Do you like it?""It's so beautiful! How could anyone not love it?" gushed Kristinwith a smile." I know someone who couldn't," growled avoice. Kristin and Mr. Grant turned to be face to face with an oldman. He had on an old baseball cap, a torn up t-shirt, and jeans. Forshoes he had on sneakers. The old man had hypnotic gray eyes and ascowl on his wrinkled face." Bill, I thought I told you that Iwas coming with a client, and that you should stay out of it untilthey made their decision about the house," said Mr. Grant,calmly but commandingly." Yeah, well I bet you didn't tell hereverything Eddy, did ya?" said the old man, Bill with a knowinglook in his eyes. Kristin felt out of place in between thisconversation. The two men gave each other glaring looks. Then the oldman looked at Kristin for what it seemed like the first time."Well, well, well where are my manners? I'm Bill Beckingfield, at yourservice if you are going to buy this house that is!"Kristinstepped towards him and put out her delicate, small hand."Kristin Maddow, and yes, I am going to buy this house".Willshook her hand with his somewhat dirty one and then stepped back. Hesmiled at her, with his remaining teeth." You're going to buythis house even after what Eddy here told you about this house! Thattakes some mighty fine courage Miss Maddow. But don't worry, I'llprotect you from that sicko any day!!"Mr. Grant cleared histhroat, warning Bill to stop.Kristin looked back and forth betweenBill and Edward, confused. " I evidently missed somethingimportant while Ed was talking", she thought to herself, wishingthat she had been paying attention now. Edward excused himself, tookKristin by the arm and led her into the foyer with the staircase.Bill laughed softly and left using the front door. The house wasquiet with Bill gone now. Kristin had been enjoying looking at thehuge crystal chandelier that hung from the high ceiling, when Edwardstarted talking." Now what I was trying to tell you earlier wasthat when Mrs. Clark died so did her daughter, Jennifer, and hersister, Madeline in a fire that burned down the whole house. Thegardener for that time thought that he saw someone throw a match intothe house seconds before it caught on fire. But it was never proventhat anyone was there. That's why the whole town thinks that there isa serial killer on the loose that's a descendant of whoever killedSarah Clark in 1936. It has always been thought of as a coincidencewhenever someone buys this house-", he sighed, trying to find away to put this gently without scaring her. Edward fumbled with hisbriefcase as he tried to form the right words." There have beenmany... deaths that have happened for women who have bought thishouse, Miss Maddow. Now whether it's a coincidence or not, I havebeen asked by the police department to inform anyone about this whois interested in this house."Kristin stared at him, her eyessearching for any sign of a stupid practical joke. None whatsoever."But why just this house? Don't you think that it's strange that thesemurders are happening at this one house?" asked Kristinlogically." I agree it is quite strange Miss Maddow, but Iassure you we now have full security around the house. We also havethe police number programmed into every phone if you press the numberone. We can also program that into your cell phone if you chose tobuy the house," said Grant.He had felt nervous about this housefrom the first time it got put on the market in 1964. William Clarkhad finally moved from the house after he had rebuilt it. Some say hewent to England, others say he went to Rhode Island, where Sarahloved to go when she was alive. But there had been strange murdercases that involved the women that bought this house. Very strangecases. That's why the state asked Bill Beckingfield to be the house'sgardener and to be on watch for anyone suspicious. But even withBill, the murders still kept happening. Granted, most of the peoplewho bought the house were old ladies who had gotten enough retirementmoney and had lived in White Village all their lives. Some of themeven remembered Sarah Clark; they claimed that they needed to livehere because it would help them remember anything that happened thatnight. They were convinced that someone murdered her and that personwas at the party that night, but it was never proven. Grant trulybelieved that they all were crazy, but even he felt bad when he foundout that they had died under mysterious circumstances.Bill really wastrying his best, but he was 80 and he wasn't that fast or stronganymore. When they first hired him, he was a fit forty-seven yearold, with a remarkable resemblance to William Clark. But he deniedany family relation, and some guys at work had even checked it outfor themselves. But he was right; there was no relation between them.Kristin cleared her throat now, to get Grant's attention." I'msorry Ms. Maddow, I was the one who was distracted this time,"he apologized. Kristin flashed him a white set of teeth." It'sfine, Edward. I just have one question for you,""Certainly, what is it?" asked Grant, praying for it not to behow many people have died in this house. He did not want to answerthat question. He; himself had lost count at twenty." Was the500,000 enough for the first payment?"Grant looked up, taken bycomplete surprise." Yes, it was enough," he half whispered.Kristin Maddow smiled at him again, completely unaware or ignorant tothe consequences of the choice she just made. As Grant and Kristingot in the car, Grant felt an overwhelming sick feeling pass throughhim as he put the lease forms in his suitcase. He knew he shouldn'thave let her signed the papers without telling her the last part ofthe story. The part about the skeletons the others had found in thewalls of the mansion. And that the others had also been put in thewalls and had been gruesomely discovered one day by Bill. And heshould have told her that the killer was real, not some phony kidtrying to play jokes.Grant knew he should have told her that, but forsome terrible reason he decided against it. Edward Grant then startedup the car, dropped off Kristin at her hotel, and prayed that shewould stay alive while living in that horribly messed uphouse....Kristin moved into her new home the following Tuesday. Shebrought all of her stuff from her apartment in New York and loaded itall up into her Toyota Explorer. It took her a while to drive fromNew York to New Hampshire, but she managed to make it. Kristin'smother, Jane had wanted to come and help her, but she had gotten sickthe day before Kristin had left, so she didn't come. Edward Grant hadtold Kristin that he would send some moving company's men to comehelp her unload everything. And when Kristin pulled up to thedriveway that Tuesday afternoon, there were 8 men standing outside of3 big moving trucks talking. As soon as Kristin stopped the car,grabbed her Vera Bradley tote bag, her box of books, and got out, sheformally introduced herself." Well, hi! Um, I'm Kristin and areyou the guys who are supposed to help me unpack everything?"Oneof the men winked at her and said;" Yessiree!! Well aren't youpretty? But why in God's name did you buy this house lady?" Hisbrown hair was cut short, and he had muddy brown eyes, and amustache." I liked this house," replied Kristin uneasily."I didn't realize that so many people have lived in this house andnever... left? "The man smiled at her." Don't worry Miss.We'll all make sure that your furniture is in the perfect position soyou can beat up any intruders that come by,"Kristin smiledwarily at him as she made her way up the stone walkway.She thenpointed back to her car, which she had left unlocked." Okayboys, all my stuff is in there. I would like my sofa in the room withred walls, and my mirror can go in the hallway with the red carpet,"she said as she ascended up the porch steps. She opened the door withher key. " My key to my own home", she thought as shewalked inside. " I haven't lived by myself since Alex walked outon me". Alex had been Kristin's fiancé. Until the day of theirwedding he left her standing at the altar. She had been crushed whenhe had said that he only wanted to get up on her and that he reallyhad never loved her, in front of her whole family. That had happenedfour weeks ago. That was why she had been looking for a house thatwas far, far away from boyfriends who are jerks. Kristin inhaleddeeply the smell of the house. It smelled like pine trees. Shedropped the box right next to the door, and took everything in. Thechandelier's crystals looked like they held some sort of secrets deepwithin the cuts of the crystal. The ironed staircase beckoned herwith a warning. The circular, tall windows in the back, looking outinto the forest of trees and the cliff, opened up the room, and letin the warm sun. Kristin, oddly, felt right at home in this place.She felt a connection between her and this house ever since she sawit from a distance, in Mr. Grant's car. Something in here called toher, whether for the better or worse she'll never truly know until ithappens. Kristin checked her cell phone when it suddenly vibrated inthe pocket of her skinny jeans." Hello?"" Kristin?Honey, you have horrible reception up there in those mountains!!! Canyou hear me??? Is this darn thing even working?" yelled Jane,her mother.Kristin sighed. Her mother hated any technology; it hadbeen such a hassle to even convince her that she should have a cellphone, never-mind buy one." Mom? I can hear you fine. Why areyou calling me? No offense, but I'm kinda busy unpacking andrearranging my stuff, Mom,"There was a long pause. Kristin couldjust picture her Mom's long, curly blonde hair shaking as she thoughtof something to say. Her deep ocean blue eyes in thought. Her redlips trying to form happy words to hide her disappointment."Mom? Mom, listen I'm sorry. It's just I really love this house and Ireally want to go explore it,"Kristin wasn't sure that explorewas the right word, but it was the first word that popped into herhead that fit." Oh. I see, Kristin. I guess I was feeling a bitlonely honey, you know what I'm talking about. Don't you, sweetie?"Jane's voice broke a little at the end. Kristin gave a long sigh.They were fighting again. And this time Mom didn't have Kristin'ssister, Heidi, to talk to because she had died in a car crash 7months ago. Mom was still getting over it. But so was everyone in thefamily." Mom I'm sorry. Really I am. You know what, I'll callyou tonight after the movers have left. How does that sound Mom?"Kristin tried to sound enthusiastic. Her mom sniffled slightly on theother end." Alright."Kristin smiled, even though her momcouldn't see it." Okay then. See you later!"" Kristin!Wait!" called Mom." What?"" I love yousweetie,"Kristin felt a pang of guilt in her heart. She pausedbefore answering." I love you too, Mom."With that Janeended the call, satisfied and brave enough to face her always-angryhusband. Kristin on the other hand, felt worse than ever.She ascendedup the staircase, her tote in one hand, and the box in the other.Upstairs the staircase extended up one more level, but on the secondfloor, there was a corridor on the left side, and on the right wasKristin's bedroom. The doors were gold with black roses for handles.She gently turned the rose, and the door opened, revealing a rosepink colored canopy bed. The canopy was light pink, but the sheetswere white and rose pink. The pillows were a stark white color. Therewas a rectangular gold-framed window facing the cliff's direction. Tothe right of the bed, there was an ornate make-up desk and mirror,and a bathroom. Kristin set the box of books down on the nightstandnext to the bed and looked around, shocked. Then she flopped down onthe bed with glee. " I have got to be in a movie or some prankreality TV. Show!" she thought with disbelief. " No,Kristin, this is real, get a grip," she told herself with somemental force. She could hear the movers downstairs carrying her couchto the room with red walls and the books. She told herself to get upof her ass and get down there and help them. " Who knowsKristin," she told herself as she got up. "Maybe one ofthem is single?"Chapter TwoJane Maddow was thinking about herdaughter, Kristin, when her husband, Kevin came barging in to thekitchen. In his rage, he knocked over Jane's purse on the granitecountertop. Jane looked up, startled and calmly put her things backin her purse without talking to Kevin." JANE!!!" he yelledas he slammed an envelope on the table." Where's the damn moneyto pay for all this crap??"Jane looked at her husband sharply.His hair was fully gray, his green eyes filled with anger andalcohol. His prickly mustache used to comfort her, but now it didn'tcomfort her at all. Nothing Kevin ever did ever comforted heranymore. In his old age, Kevin Maddow had lost his unique charm andsmile that had made Jane like him in the first place in college. NowKevin had a scowl on his face at all times, and a beer bottle in oneof his hands. Jane Maddow was only 52, but Kevin was now 61 and itwas starting to take a toll on their marriage. It all started 7months ago when their eldest daughter, Heidi went to Las Vegas andcame back married. She swore that it was legal and that she wasmoving in with this alleged husband. But on the day she was supposedto meet him, he bailed on her. Heidi had been crushed. And one nightshe went out drinking and got into a fatal car crash, whether it wason purpose or not, they didn't know. That sparked some tensionbetween Kevin and Jane. Then four weeks ago, Kristin had her fiancébail on her at her wedding. Jane was somewhat surprised when Kristinhad called her and said that she had found a house in New Hampshireshe was buying. Jane didn't really like the thought of Kristin beinga few states away from her, especially now. She didn't mind it whenHeidi was in a different state, but she had always bonded a littlemore with Kristin than Heidi....Kevin's scream of outrage brought herback to the present situation at hand." I don't know what youwant me to do about this, Kevin?" said Jane annoyed. " Ididn't think we were behind on our bills,"Kevin mumbledsomething under his breath." I'm sure not! You never think aboutanything, Jane! I'm the only one with brains around here," hedeclared in his husky voice. Jane thought of several good comebacksfor that statement, but resisted saying any out loud." I'm sureyou are, Kevin," replied Jane with as much sarcasm as she couldspeak with without Kevin even noticing." You can bet to hell Iam!" said Kevin proudly.Jane suppressed a snicker. Kevin thenpointed to the envelope." You can pay for that one, and the nextone too!!"" Fine," said Jane evenly. Kevin left thekitchen with a grunt of pain as he slipped on the wet tiled floor. Hewaved Jane away when she tried to help him to his feet." Geesh,Jane I may be old, but I'm not that old. Now get off me!!"Hethen left, and all was quiet. Jane was glad that this hadn't ended upin a huge escalated fight, and that she didn't end up getting scaredof Kevin and calling her daughter for comfort. She was very relievedthat a fight was avoided. Then Jane picked up the morning paper thatwas on the wooden kitchen table and began to read it, waitinganxiously until nightfall when Kristin would call her from thathellhole called New Hampshire. She came across an article thatreadWhite Village Murders- New Owner Moves into The Clark Mansion-How Long Will She Have?Jane almost dropped the paper. She quicklyscanned the article, and to her fears found her daughters name nextto the words- owner of Clark Mansion. She read the rest of thearticle, in horror. The article told Jane about everything, the oldladies, the skeletons, and worse of all, the serial killer that wasin White Village, New Hampshire.Chapter ThreeAt six o'clock Kristinwas lying down on her couch in her new home, completely exhausted.She had helped the workers place her things among the spaciousmansion. She had also gotten one of their phone numbers in theprocess. Kristin had changed out of her short sleeved green top andhad put a light blue long sleeved top. Kristin had almost drifted offto sleep, until she realized that she had to call her mother. She hadnearly jumped off the couch, when Bill had stepped into the room."Hello Ms. Maddow! Wide awake are we now?" said Bill with alight-hearted chuckle. Kristin tried hard to smile at the old man,but in truth he kind of freaked her out. Bill smiled suspiciously ather." I was just going to call my Mom, and I almost forgot.""Is she worried about you? Is she one of those overprotective mothers?No offense if she is, but I can't stand mothers who are like that.""Oh," Kristin laughed in spite of herself, " Not really. Imean, she kind of is overprotective, but in a good way."Kristin'smind ventured back to the time that she had left for college and hermom had made a checklist of all things she should have packed. It wasa bit overboard, but Kristin appreciated it. Somewhat...Bill had nowbegun to dust the bookshelves and the antique desk. Kristin satsilently while he worked, trying to think of something to say."So, Bill, how long have you worked here for?" she askedsimply.Bill turned around to face her." Too long to rememberclearly, Ms. Maddow," he said with a funny look on his face. Hehad a far-away look in his eyes, like he was remembering somethingtragic, or upsetting that had happened." I have lived in thistown for a while, Miss. I've seen things that you couldn't possiblyimagine in your dizziest daydreams. Terrible things have happened inthis town!"Kristin leaned forward, interested." Like whatMr. Beckingfield?"Bill sat down on the couch, his dirt-incrustedboots leaving dirt on her nice black carpet. His gray eyes seemed tochange into a lighter shade of gray while he spoke." There weregrisly murders that happened in this house. It was very frightening.And, I thought I- I mean I didn't know that-, and I don't really wantto talk about it now, if you don't mind Ms. Maddow," he saidsuddenly. He looked out into the darkness of the night through thewindow, a strange expression on his face. " Poor man,"thought Kristin, "He must have had some gruesome encounters withthose corpses that had been murdered here."" It's alright,Bill. Is it alright if I call you, Bill?"The old mansmiled."Absolutely, Ms. Maddow," he said with a nod as hegot up off the couch, and left the room. Kristin was then, left toher thoughts and the peace and quiet of her new home. Kristinreluctantly picked up her cell phone, that she had left on theantique table, and turned it on. She was surprised to find that shehad 5 missed calls. There were all from her mother. " Oh, crap,"said Kristin out-loud as she dialed her mother's phone number. Anumber of possibilities ran through her head. She could have fallendown the stairs, or had been shot. She ran her hand through her thinhair, a nervous habit by now. She waited, anxiously as the phonerang, and rang. Finally her mother picked up." Kristin!!!! Whyweren't you answering your phone???? I read this article in the paperand- honey you're in danger!" Her mom stopped talking then."Mom, what are you talking about?" Kristin was slightly annoyedat her for calling her five times just because a news-article saidshe was in some sort of danger. " Didn't you read the papertoday? Oh, honey there was this article about your house and- did youknow that murders were committed in your house?" Her mom's voicewas on the urge of absolute panic." Yes, mom. I did," saidKristin with an exasperated sigh." Now, honey I know you likeliving in the middle of nowhere, but if that killer comes foryou-"Kristin cut her off abruptly." Mom what are youtalking about? What killer?"Her mom paused for a few seconds onthe other end of the line." Uh- well I, honey your father's homeand, well you know how he can be when he comes home from work. I'llcall you later tonight to explain since you obviously have no ideawhat you've gotten yourself into".Kristin heard a click, and theline went dead....Kristin had been exceedingly on edge since herMom’s phone call last night. Her Mom had called, like she said shewould and had told Kristin the appalling news. She had been shockedof course. A serial killer here up in the mountains? And who wasafter her, maybe not Kristin specifically, but was after someone!Kristin had been scared straight. She hadn’t left the house; shejust stayed up in her room thinking. Why would someone try and killher?Kristin had been pondering over that for a whole day now. Billhad gone out on a vacation, he was required to have one every month.So Kristin was alone in her big mansion. She had to admit that herhouse was a bit scary at night now that she knew the truth. Murders?She had really thought that Mr. Grant had been joking with her. Shethought that that had been some folk legend that everyone in the towntalked about to newcomers. You know like Bigfoot or the Loch NessMonster. Kristin had thought that he was just playing a fun, friendlyjoke on her. But she was wrong. This was no joke. There really hadbeen murders committed in this house.Kristin sat upright on her bed.Murders? The feeling of dread sank in, and she lowered herself backdown onto the bed. The rose pink sheets felt soft to her touch,relaxing almost. Her mind wandered to Heidi.Her sister.Her deadsister.Kristin had been distraught when she had got the phone callfrom her Mother saying that Heidi had died. Kristin could rememberexactly where she was when she got the news. That happened a lot whensomething bad happened; most people remember where they were when ithappened.Kristin remembered that she was baking in her kitchen at herold apartment. The wood panels of the walls, the old stove thatwouldn’t work, and the many disorganized cabinets filled withvarious things came back to with perfect clarity. Then she had gottenthe phone call. Kristin remembered that she had dropped the pan;spilling its contents everywhere and then she had started to sob.Justremembering Heidi’s death brought tears to Kristin’s eyes. Shestarted to cry when suddenly her door sprang open. Kristin jumpedback in fright. She had become so jumpy since her mom’s phone call.The person who had opened her door wasEdward Grant.Kristin, startled,tried to smile at Edward Grant, but she was too disheveled.“ I’msorry, did I scare you?” asked Grant as he admired her room.Kristinnodded, and then slowly got up from her bed to greet him.“ Well,Kristin I’d say you’re doing just fine here aren’t you?” saidGrant as he gave her a friendly smile. She weakly smiled back,thinking about the newspaper article that had said how long she hadto live.“ Mr. Grant, something has come up that I must ask youabout,” replied Kristin as she fixed her hair with her hands. Thewarm sun filled the room, but it did not make Kristin feel anybetter. Edward Grant faced her, his brown eyes gleaming withsuspicion. He looked around the room nervously.“ Yes, Ms.Maddow?”Kristin sighed.“ Well, it’s this house. You see, my momcalled last night and she told me some frightening news,” saidKristin.Edward Grant nodded slowly; he had read yesterday’s paperwith a sick feeling in stomach that Kristin would find out about thecorpses and the murders. Grant waved her thoughts away with asweeping gesture towards outside.“ Ms. Maddow I think we shouldcontinue this discussion outside, if you don’t mind,” he saidwith false innocence.Kristin bit her lip, knowing that he was hidingsomething. Kristin didn’t meet Edward’s eyes, she was thinking.Instead she quickly glanced at herself in the make up mirror besideher desk. Her hair was, perfect, flowing down her back without anyfrizz. Her green eyes shone brightly in the sunlight. Her white dresscaptured her beauty and framed her thin silhouette. Her black heelsadded a touch of sexiness. She looked perfect, beautiful even.Theonly thing wrong was her expression.It was filled with fear.Kristintried to get her expression to be happy, but she couldn’t. Sherearranged her flawless face to be smooth and expressionless. But shecould still feel that the fear was still on her face.“ Sure, Mr.Grant,” replied Kristin as she leaded the way out of bedroom. Shefelt an odd presence as she left the room, like someone or somethingwas watching her.Grant closed the door after her, not wanting to tellher about the corpse that was buried in the wall of her bedroom. Theone that he had just seen that was buried into the wall. The one withthe incredibly scarred face, with cuts and scars all over her.The onethat had been the pervious owner of the Clark Mansion.ChapterFourKristin was officially creeped out. Mr. Grant had brought herinto the woods without any explanation whatsoever. They were nowstanding by a river, which was right below a looming, and dangerouslyhigh cliff. The cliff was beautiful, but high and rocky. The forestthat was back a ways was scary, even though it was day-time, it stillfreaked Kristin out. The looming, tall trees casted shadows allaround, and the dark green grass went on for miles and seemed to goon forever.Kristin's short, white dress kept the breeze from gettingher chilled. The white ruffled top of the dress with a black jacketwas comfortable. Kristin looked out at the trees and hoped that theywould not be walking anymore, if she had known that she would haveworn flats instead of her heels.Kristin turned her attention awayfrom the forest and concentrated on Mr. Grant. He was staring at theriver's waters with a unusual expression on his face.Fear.Kristincould not think of one thing that would cause Mr. Grant to have fearon his face, except for one thing.The killer.A million thoughtsrushed through Kristin's head about the killer. He could be hereright now, or he could have killed Mom or Dad, or worse. Maybe thekiller in White Village was the man that bailed on Heidi. ButKristin's judgement quickly took over, and she calmly thought aboutthe rational possibilities." Maybe Mr. Grant wants me to move,so that I won't get hurt," thought Kristin as she gazed at theriver. The water was, without a doubt, pretty and eye-catching. Thewater was flowing rapidly around the rocks that were embedded intothe shore. But there was something more to it. Kristin just couldn'tplace her finger on it, but there was something more to that riverthan what met the eye. Kristin was still staring at the clear, bluewaters until Edward Grant spoke." Ms. Maddow, it has come to myattention that you now know about the killer. And that the person isvery much alive and here," he started nervously.Kristin's eyesleft the water to bore into Mr. Grant's soul.He could have told herthat the killer was ALIVE or better yet, in White Village? Kristin'sopinion of Mr. Grant changed drastically right then and there. He wasa threat to her, even if he had been the one to sell her the house.He was still a threat." Yes, I have found that out, Mr. Grant. Iwould have appreciated it if you could have told me that it was not afolk legend and that the killer was real!" Kristin's voiceseemed to be shriller than normal. It was filled with dislike and abit of fear. She immediately wondered if Bill would have told herabout the killer, or would he had kept a vow of silence until herdeath.Mr. Grant's eyes seemed apologetic, but Kristin knew that shecould not trust him anymore. He lied to her about a murderer, howcould she trust him ever again!Mr. Grant cleared his throat, andfixed his red tie. His black suit made him look like someone fromWhite Collar, Kristin observed. Kristin looked at the water again,puzzled by it's mysteries." Mr. Grant, didn't you say thatsomeone got killed here?" said Kristin desperate to change thesubject. She didn't want to argue with him today, she was stillshaken from the truth.Mr. Grant looked surprised at the question.Henever got asked that by anyone, but that's because most of thetownspeople already know what happened to Sarah Clark. And most ofthem would rather not bring it up. Folklorees and ghost stories havefilled their minds over the last few years due to some kids pranksthat have involved the ghost of Sarah Clark. And now everyone in thetown had been obsessed with the murder, and the news of the killerand Kristin Maddow had only brought more attention to the case.Edward Grant and his son, Michael Grant, who partially owns GrantRealtors with him, have been getting phone calls about the ClarkMansion everyday wondering if the new owner had died yet. Most of thepeople who called had been crazy, lonely people who swore that theywere there when Sarah died. But Michael and Edward didn't believe aword any one said about the murder.Mr. Grant got his head out of histhoughts and focused on the question. He turned his gaze back to thewater." Yes, I told Mrs. Clark was supposedly murdered here,remember in that story,' reminded Grant with a shaky laugh. "Rememberwhen I told you that the killer might have been looking for revenge,no wait, I never said that!" Grant reminded himself that. Hedidn't tell her about the killer. He hadn't wanted to." Mr.Grant, I remember the story. I was just wondering if there was like,some sort of memorial for her. You know like a statue or something?"said Kristin, her eyes still glued to the water. She looked up athim, a smile forming on her face for some odd reason.Mr. Grantfidgeted with his coat, it was getting quite chilly. It was almostfour o'clock, and the sun would be setting in about an hour. Grantonly had an hour to warn her about the killer." Yes, actually.It's right over there," said Mr. Grant as he walked over to amagnificent willow tree. The tree seemed old, but in a good way. It'sbranches swayed gently in the wind, and the trunk stood tall andproud. Kristin walked over, mesmerized by the exotic tree." Ithought that willows didn't grow in New Hampshire," whisperedKristin softly as she touched the leaves. She was strangelyfascinated with the old tree.Mr. Grant shook his head. " Theydon't. Mr. Clark had it specifically planted here in memory of hiswife,"Mr. Grant was still talking, but Kristin wasn't payingattention. She was too caught up in something peculiar that she hadseen carved into the tree's trunk. Kristin moved some branches out ofher way, and peered down to get a closer look at the strangecarvings, when Mr. Grant grabbed her arm, causing her to jump.Kristinwhirled around, mostly scared by Mr, Grant's strong hand that grippedher shoulder just so." Mr. Grant, I'm sorry I jumped. You scaredme!" said Kristin as she adjusted her skirt and fixed her hair.She looked up at him, smiling.But Mr. Grant was not smiling.In facthe looked quite, serious and scary.Kristin gulped. She casuallyglanced back at the forest, wondering that if the need be, she couldrun away from him. It was about a two mile run, and Kristin wasn'tused to that. In New York, she took a cab everywhere except when shehad to walk to work. Kristin looked back at Mr. Grant, his expressionhad changed just so.Kristin could feel the panic settle in her face.Why was it that she always attracted the weirdos or the runaways?"Now, Kristin," started Mr. Grant as he stepped towards her. Hewas already very close to her, but now there was just enough space inbetween them that she would have no choice to pay attention to him.And that's how Edward Grant wanted it." I need to tell yousomething very serious about this killer," said Mr.Grant.Kristin didn't want to hear what he wanted to say, all shewanted to do was leave.Now....Kristin had been left alone by herselfin the woods. And she was still shaking. Mr. Grant’s speech to herabout the killer had been… terrifying. She couldn’t have imagineda worse fate than being killed by the killer. The things that Mr.Grant had said! And it didn’t help that he just left her there inthe woods. Kristin was annoyed the most at that. He could have takenher home.But now Kristin was alone in the dark, and eerie woods nearher house. The once comforting and intriguing river was now freakingher out. The trees seemed to taunt her that something bad was goingto happen. Kristine didn’t feel to good about being alone.So, shetook out her cell phone and shone the light in front of her path.Shewas still near the willow tree. Kristin shone the light on the tree,hoping to figure out which way to go.But instead she found somethingrather curious.Carved into the tree were words that had NOT beenthere when she was talking with Mr., Grant earlier. Kristin couldfeel her stomach drop as she read the words.K.M. YOU’RE NEXTAbranch suddenly snapped.Kristin automatically twirled around to seeif anyone was there. The light from her phone was dimming, andKristin knew she had to get out of there. But still nothing was outthere.Except for a book that was lying on the ground.Kristin,curious, picked it up.The cover was black and had a name carved intoit in beautiful calligraphy:Sarah Clark.On the book’s cover was apost it that said:READ THIS AND YOU’LL FIND OUT WHOM THE REALKILLER IS.Kristin was stunned. Was the killer trying to help her, orwas this someone else?Unsure of who sent her the book, Kristin ranthrough the trees with the book and her phone, hoping to make itbefore someone saw her.When Kristin got to the house, the lights wereon. The lights, Kristin remembered, were not on when she left thehouse. She had made sure to turn them off. Kristin slowly made herway to the front door.She opened it, expecting a psycho man to stabher with a knife.But to her surprise, her friend, Annie, greeted her.Kristin blinked a few times before she registered what washappening.“ SURPRISE Kristin!” shouted Annie as she smiled at herbest friend.Kristin smiled meekly.“ Hi, Annie. What are you, uh,what are you doing here?” asked Kristin as she stepped into herhouse. Annie’s brown hair was wavy around her shoulders, and herbrown eyes glimmered with excitement.“ I came to see you, ofcourse! What kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t see you inyour new house?” trilled Annie as she helped Kristin with hercoat.“ What were you doing outside at this time of night anyways,Kristin?’ asked Annie as she fixed her red blouse and blackskirt.Kristin knew that she would have to lie to Annie. Annie couldnot know about this serial killer. She would blab it to everyone inKristin’s office at work.Kristin loved Annie as a friend, butstopped telling her things after she had told Kristin’s Mother thatKristin was hooking up with guys in New York when she wastwenty-five. Kristin and Annie were partners at work, they bothdesigned billboards and posters for different companies. Kristin andAnnie got along really well, even though Annie was slightly youngerthan her. Annie was thirty-two and Kristin was thirty-five.Kristinwas glad to be in her own home, safe and sound. But something wasbugging her about that message on the tree. Annie was talking rapidlyabout something.Kristin tuned in to listen.“ And we could have adecorating party, or we could have a party to celebrate your newhome? What do you think of that?”Annie turned her head to look atKristin.Kristin looked at her, completely out of it.“ Hm? SorryAnn, wasn’t listening?” she said as she sat down on the sofa. Sheput the book down under some scrap newspapers. Kristin found her homevery comfortable, except now. She couldn’t stop picturing someonecreeping into her house and hurting her. And with Bill on hisvacation, no one was here to protect her. That brought a thought intoKristin’s mind.“ Annie,” started Kristin before Annie couldeven get a word out. “ How did you get in here?”Annie’s facewent animated and excited. With absolutely no lines or wrinkles oranything on her face, Annie was a looker. She always looked stunning,even if she didn’t mean to.“ Well that’s the other surprise Iwas trying to tell you about that you weren’t listening about, Yourcaretaker, Bill, let me in. I didn’t realize that you got pamperedon!”“ Bill’s back?” exclaimed Kristin. Annie nodded. Kristinrealized that her statement had sounded harsh, but she was onlysurprised.As if on cue, Bill appeared in the living room. Hisbaseball cap was on, and his dirty sneakers. His blue shirt and jeanslooked new.“ Ms. Maddow, Ms. Rutherford,” he said politely. Annieblushed, no one had ever called her Ms, Rutherford so nicely before.“Bill? You’re back so soon! I mean not that I’m not glad to seeyou, I was just surprised that you were here,” rambled Kristinfoolishly. Bill smiled at her.“ Ah, well there’s something abouta blizzard in Boston so my vacation was cut short. But from what I’mhearing, I’d figure you’d want me back here. Isn’t that right,Ms. Maddow?” Bill gave her an “ I know” look that bore into hersoul and made her feel uncomfortable.Kristin swallowed hernervousness, and stared straight back at him.“ Yes. That’s right,Bill. I do need you around,” she said truthfully.Annie was nowsitting on the couch next to Kristin, completely oblivious, whetherit was intentional or not. Bill then gave her one last look, and thenleft.Kristin’s eyes wandered around the room, seeing shadows thatshe knew were parts of her imagination. Her fear of the killer wasslowly creeping into her mind. But Kristin willed herself to make theshadows disappear. Finally Kristin’s eyes landed back onAnnie.Annie had picked up the black book and was now flipping throughit.Kristin practically jumped up, and snatched it from her.Annielooked up, startled.“ Was that yours? I’m sorry; it looked like abook that I had checked out a couple of weeks ago in the library. Ithought it was the same one. But it’s not.”Kristin mumbledsomething unintelligibly.“ Yes it’s mine. Sorry Ann, it’s just…fragile. I don’t want you to damage it,” lied Kristin as shetucked it under the pillow of the couch. Annie looked at Kristin witha weird look on her face, but she let whatever thought crossed hermind go. Then they started a conversation about the new house. Anniesaid that they should have a party, and Kristin rolled her eyes indread....“ So, it’s getting late. I should be getting back to myhotel before the crazy drunks all come out,” said Annie after aheated conversion about work.“ Hm. Guess so,” said Kristin as shelooked at the clock. It was now midnight. They had managed to talkfor four hours without getting bored. Kristin was glad that Annie hadnot brought up the book in any of the conversations. But Kristin knewthat she had wanted to.Annie got up from the couch to grab her Coachhandbag. Kristin sat up straight on the couch, fumbling quietly withthe strange book. Kristin was glad that Annie had come to see her,but wished that she had come another day. And why she came in themiddle of the night was a mystery to Kristin as well.They hadsuccessfully bitched about everyone who works at their office. It hadbeen relieving. Then they had talked about their parents, friends,the both currently single status that they both had, and the house.Annie told Kristin that there was this cute college kid that was nowworking in their office, but he had a girlfriend. And Kristin didn’treally agree with the thought of running around with a college kid.She’d prefer someone close to her age, that’s single.Anniefinally found her Coach handbag and her coat. Kristin got up from thecouch, and straightened out her already straight, slimming dress.Annie smiled as she put on her bright red coat.“ Oh, Kris! I’llmiss you so much in New York! But this gives me an excuse to comevisit you more often,” said Annie as she hugged Kristin.Kristinwarmly hugged her back. Lately she felt like she had been cut offfrom civilization and she was glad that she got some social time withAnnie. For a little while anyways.After their hug, Annie opened thedoor and disappeared into the night.Finally, Kristin was alone. Assoon as she saw Annie’s Sudan leave, she grabbed the book and madeher way up the black-ironed staircase to her room.The soft pink colorof her room greeted her with familiarity and comfort. She quicklythrew her heels onto the floor, and sat down on her bed. She lookedover the book again. It seemed very old, but interesting. Kristin,annoyed with the Post It, threw it away in her white trash bin.Sheopened the book.The first page was a note:This diary belongs to Mrs.Sarah Clark or Ms. Sarah Teller, 1936.Hm, thought Kristin, this wasthe year she died. That brought on loads of suggestions to mind. Wasthe killer’s identity really in here?Suddenly, as if on cue, thelights went off in the house. Kristin screamed and dropped thebook.Then Kristin heard slow, steady footsteps coming closer andcloser to her door.Chapter FiveKristin didn’t move, actually shecouldn’t move. Her whole body had literally gone numb from shock.So, she sat there on her bed, as the footsteps grew louder.Kristinwas shaking with fear. Her instincts were screaming at her to run forher life.But then, the lights came back on.The person in the room wasBill.Kristin couldn’t have been more embarrassed. Here was Bill,and she thought that it was the killer. She should have known thatBill would have been the one to be in the house. After all, he wasthe caretaker. Kristin breathed a sigh of relief as Bill gave her acurious look.“ Did I scare ya, Ms. Maddow?” he asked as hechecked the lights.Kristin nodded several times. Bill chuckled.“You ever had anyone live with ya before Ms. Maddow” asked Bill.Kristin thought about that for a while. She really hadn’t. Alex hadmostly been at work, and so had Kristin.“ Not really, Bill,” saidKristin as she sat up, and got up from the covers of her bed.Billgave her a, I figured, look.“ Well it seems it’s alright now.Bloody storm came by surprise. I bet half the town is out of power,”muttered Bill to himself.“ Bill?’ called out Kristin after athought crossed her mind.He turned.“Yes.”Suddenly Kristin feltnervous, she had no idea why but she did.“ What do you know aboutSarah Clark?”The question obviously threw Bill. His expression wasone of complete shock, and regret?“ Well, uh, Ms. Maddow, I knowthat she was a very fine lady who committed suicide in 1936.”Suicide?Kristin had been told that it was murder.“ Bill, I thought Mr.Grant said it was murder? Not suicide,” said Kristin. She feltconfused.“ Ha, Grant said that! He would. That scoundrel will tellyou anything to keep you from knowing the truth,” laughed Billdarkly.Kristin was even more confused.“ The truth?” she repeatedwith interest.Bill nodded slowly.“ Edward Grant comes from a darkfamily. They have been known to be involved in some serious crimes,and he’s a realtor! But anyway, it was a suicide. From what I knowshe jumped off of that cliff because she was desperately in love withthat gardener that they had. But she knew that she could never fullylove him, so she jumped. I also heard another version that herhusband found about their relationship, and threatened to kill thegardener, but Sarah took her own life for his.”Kristin thought thatthat was incredibly sad. To die for love.Kristin noddedthoughtfully.“ Thank you, Bill,” she said implying that shewanted to be left alone.Bill took the hint and left.Then Kristineagerly opened up Sarah’s diary:The second page read:Dear Diary,November 4th 1936I remembered when Mother told me that William Clarkwould make a fine husband for me, and not to worry today. But still,I did worry. What if he was grotesque or unloving? What would I dowith my life then? But I am happy now. William is a handsome andgenerous man. I am very lucky. I must go, my daughter, Jennifer iscalling.The next entry was three months after that.Dear Diary,January 21st 1936William took me to the cliff today. I must say, itreally is beautiful. But the beauty was short-lived because Williamimmediately started pestering me about my parent’s money again.Ever since they had died, he had been pestering me for the money.Since I am the first born heir, I get all of their money. And I mustsay, it is so much. But William wants it more than he will tell me.But I know that he will understand that this is my money, and I’mto do with it as I please. Jennifer is such a beautiful six year old.I’m so blessed to have her as my child. She is exactly like me, inlooks. We both have golden hair, and blue eyes. My sister, Madelinehas the same blue eyes but she has our Father’s brown hair. She isstaying with us, my sister. She is such a pleasure company to keep. Iam so glad that she is here. The light is dimming, so I must put thisdown.That was all that Kristin read before her eyes started toflutter closed. She put the book down on the floor, and tried to fallasleep.But she was haunted by what Bill had said to her. “ Badfamily?’ All Kristin could think of was homicides and murders. Butwhat did bad family mean?Kristin’s thoughts traveled to thepossibilities of what Bill had said. He had said that Mr. Grant wasobviously dangerous, but what else?Then Kristin thought of somethingin absolute dread.Was Bill suggesting that Mr. Edward Grant is thekiller?...Kristin had at all cost been avoiding Mr. Grant for thewhole weekend. She had managed to avoid his phone calls, which waspretty hard since he had called her everyday. Kristin knew that itwasn’t polite, but she needed time to think. Bill’s message hadsunk into her head, and now she couldn’t stop cringing every timesomeone mentioned Mr. Grant’s name.It was now Tuesday, March 10th.Kristin had been living in her house for a week now, and she stillhadn’t looked around the town. So that was Kristin’s plan for thewhole day.Kristin drove all around town, searching for a Star Bucks,or a Vera Bradley Store. But, strangely, there was none of either insight.Disappointed, Kristin walked into a shop that said: Rudy’sCoffee Shop, and prayed to God that they had a cappuccino. Kristintouched the old wooden door lightly, as if it would break. It opened,and the sweet smell of coffee swirled around her nose. Kristin smiledas she found an empty seat next to the window. She stared, bored, outof the window watching the cars pass by.“ This is verydisappointing,” thought Kristin as she looked around the streets. “Not a mall in sight in this town.”Kristin turned her attention backto the shop. The shop’s wooden walls, red curtains, and crowdedtables, made Kristin feel uncomfortable. The shop was tiny, and thatdid not comfort her displeasure. The shop reminded Kristin of a logcabin, and Kristin was not one for the outdoors. Kristin didn’tcare that she was living in New Hampshire now; it was a law to have aStar Bucks in your town right?Impatient, and running low on energy,Kristin resumed staring out the window. Suddenly a waiter came overto her, and tapped her on the shoulder. Kristin jumped, and turned tolook at him. He was about twenty, brown hair, brown eyes, tall aswell. He was without a doubt cute, but out of her league. Somethingabout him was compelling and interesting. She smiled at him, wishingthat she were twenty again.“ Hi,” he said. “ What can I get youtoday?”Not even thinking about it, Kristin replied, “ Acappuccino, please.”The guy gave her a look, and fiddled with hispaper.“ We don’t have that,” he said, obviously confused.Kristin groaned, annoyed that outdoors people had never had acappuccino.“ Then a coffee,” snapped Kristin. The guy mumbledsomething and then left.Kristin then pulled out her purse, and set iton the table. She reached in it, and pulled out the diary. Kristinhad been too jittery from Bill’s accusation to read the diary, soshe hadn’t since. Kristin opened it and began reading.Dear Diary,January 30th 1936Madeline has become increasingly useful to me. Shehas watched Jennifer countless times over the few days she has beenhere, which I am grateful of. William wants to go to Rhode Island,just him and I. But I do not agree with that. I do not want to benear him at all now. He has gotten, how do I word this, Scary. He hassaid unimaginable things that have shaken me to my very core. Ihonestly do not know what to do. I have spoken to Madeline about thisseveral times, but she says it is because of the alcohol. I ambeginning to believe that it really is. What else would explain hisbehavior? So that seems to be the most reasonable answer at thispoint. Oh Diary, why must I endure such trifles? Am I cursed? No,even I know I am not cursed. But something about Will is scaring me.Today we were in the garden, and the gardener had the nerve to callme Sarah, instead of Mrs. Clark. William was outraged that he hadsuch nerve, but I thought it was sweet.He is a sweet boy, with thatbrown hair with eyes to match. He is strong too, but he is vulnerableas all children are. Jennifer gets along fine with him. Diary, I havesuch a bad feeling about William. Tomorrow I will visit Doctor HenryGrant, and see if he can help me.Kristin was annoyed when the waiteralmost tripped over her Coach bag; which was on the floor. She waseven more annoyed when the waiter put her coffee right next to herbook, spilling some of it on the fragile pages. Kristin snatched thediary, and tried to get the coffee off of it with her jean jacket.“I’m so sorry, Miss,” sputtered the waiter. Kristin didn’t feellike being nice today, so she just glared at him. She was pretty surethat he cringed at her stare.After he cleaned up the mess, he leftKristin to herself, after much glaring on her part. “ Doctor HenryGrant,” mused Kristin as she sipped on her coffee. “ I’ll lookhim up as soon as I get home.” Kristin looked at her mug, which wassteaming hot. It was white, but it had a familiar saying on it.Themug’s inscription was;White Village, New Hampshire. Home of theInfamous and Deadly Clark Mansion.Enter it if you dare!Kristinthought that the inscription was cute, but it was the picture thatintrigued her the most. The picture was of the Clark Mansion, but thewillow tree that was near the river was in front of the house. Thewillow had something engraved in it; Sarah’s death wasn’t anaccident. Come find out what happened.Kristin mulled over the twodifferent opinions she had gotten about Sarah’s death. One saidthat it was murder, the other suicide. Well, which one was right?Kristin could only think of one way to answer that question, go tothe local library and find out herself. But first, Kristin wanted tofinish her coffee. Kristin stared out the window, and sipped on hercoffee.The town itself was small; only 300 people lived there. Butthey had lots of those homemade, self-sufficient stores that Kristinand her friends used to call, Consignment Shops, back in New York.Here in White Village, everyone knew everyone. It was quite creepy,at least Kristin thought it was. Back in New York, no one on thestreets even knew who she was, nevertheless knew that she had justmoved here. No one in New York had time to know who his or herneighbors were, Kristin didn’t even know who her neighbor was inNew York. She didn’t really like the thought of knowing herneighbors, what if they were weird?Finally Kristin finished hercoffee, and got ready to leave for the library when a voice startledher.“ Sarah Clark huh?”Kristin whirled around, and shut the diaryclosed. The voice belonged to her waiter. Kristin tried to keep theannoyance out of her face.“ Yes, “ she replied testy.“ You knowshe’s famous around here. Her house isn’t that far from here.Some chick bought it a week ago. My Dad sold her the house. He saysshe’s real pretty, but real stupid to buy that house,” said thekid with a laugh.Kristin wasn’t amused. She bit her lip, andrearranged her face to look composed.“ Yes well, that stupid chickwould be me, actually,” said Kristin with a sharp edge to hervoice.The kid’s face dropped.“ Really?” he asked with shock.Kristin nodded. The kid ran his hands through his tousled brownhair.“ Oh man, you must think I’m such an ass,” he said, as helooked her over. Kristin felt self-conscious, and fidgeted with herjean jacket. Her white heels were bothering her feet, and her blackskirt was an appropriate length. Lastly she had thrown on a white topwith ruffles. Kristin could tell that he thought she looked like somesort of zebra.“ What’s your name?” asked Kristin as she put thediary into her Coach bag.“ Michael, Michael Grant,” hestuttered.Kristin nodded.“ I’m Kristin,” she said as she got upto leave. She was halfway to the door when Michael stopped her.“Hey wait. Um, I’m really sorry for that stupid comment about you. Iwas just trying to be social.”“ Social? You call insulting peoplebeing social?” snapped Kristin.Michael nodded sheepishly.“ Idon’t get out much. My dad has been home-schooling me sincekindergarten, and I work for his business. This is my first real jobactually,” he said, beaming with pride.Kristin rolled her eyes.“You really think I’m stupid don’t you?” she said as she pushedby him to get to the door.“ Actually I’m serious,” repliedMichael.Kristin whirled around again.“ You poor thing,” she saidpitifully. “ Where’s the library in this town?” she asked asshe looked around the crowded streets. She couldn’t see anybuilding that would resemble a library.“ Actually it’s right nextto my house. If you can wait five minutes I can lead the way in mycar,” offered Michael. Kristin chewed on her bottom lip, thinkingabout it.“ Fine, but no funny business! And no more insultingcomments!”Michael laughed at her, and she sat back down.He leanedtowards her.“ How about another coffee?” he asked sweetly.Kristincouldn’t help but smile.“ Just don’t spill it again, and maybeI’ll tip you,” she said with a laugh.“ Fine, but you have totell me all about your book on Sarah Clark, and your house. I heardthat there are ghosts, and strange things in that house.”Kristinfelt her stomach drop, but she hid her fear with a smile.“ Oh yes,”she said.“ Strange things happen in my house.”Chapter SixMichaelwas almost done cleaning up the shop, and Kristin was getting a bitimpatient. She had wanted to leave ten minutes ago, but had beenpersuaded to stay since she didn’t know where the library was. Theshop was now almost empty, except for Kristin, Michael, and themanager who’s name was Rudy.Rudy had gone out of his way to greetKristin, and had happily told her the whole history of the town,starting from 1647. It would have been more fun to watch paint dry.It had taken up only six minutes, but that was enough. Then Rudy hadleft Kristin alone, and she began to second think taking up onMichael’s offer. “ Is it really safe to have him lead the way tothe library,” thought Kristin. “ He could take me to an oldabandoned warehouse for all I could know!”Finally Michael was donewith cleaning.“ You ready?” he asked, chipper.Kristin groaned abit.“ Always was,” she replied tartly. Kristin had woken up in abad mood and it had lingered in her. She hated being sour and mean,but she needed to be. She was too irritated to be happy.Michael ledthe way to his car, and Kristin followed.She looked around at thestreets filled with happy, carefree people and immediately wasenvious. She had a serial killer to worry about that might just beher realtor! Kristin felt chilled by the blast of cold, and crispwind that went through her jean jacket, and she shivered. Michaelnoticed.“ You cold?” he said as he walked along the sidewalk,close to the edge. Kristin could barely see him because of the sun’sglare, but she put her hand over her face to help.“ Freezing,”she replied as she shivered again. “ How do you people live withall of this…cold?”Michael smiled. “ You need to like it here toreally appreciate living here, and that includes the weather.”Kristinwasn’t impressed, event though she thought that Michael Grant wassweet, she still had her doubts. She still had her doubts aboutEdward Grant as well.“ Okay so here’s my car, and you can justfollow me,” said Michael as he opened the door to his redtruck.Kristin’s car, a blue Toyota Explorer, was convenientlyparked right next to his truck. She got into the car, and blasted anyradio station she had on to try and distract herself. Then shefollowed Michael along a winding long road that looked deserted.Kristin had to admit she had a bad feeling about this, but she neededto get to the library.After about seven minutes on the road, theystopped at a granite building with Roman columns in the front and ahuge archway that was covered with vines.“ Now this,” thoughtKristin as she got out of the car, “ This is a library.”Thebuilding was moderately big, with arched glass windows along eachwall and everything was beautiful. Kristin couldn’t help but be inawe.“ Pretty cool, huh?” said Michael as he snuck up on her,causing her to jump back in fright. He laughed and made his way pasther to the wooden doorway. Kristin followed after a moment with herCoach bag in her hand.The inside of the library was gorgeous, and notto mention warm. The carousel lamps were placed along the walls,along with regular lights. The silver granite brought a sense ofcomfort, and the wooden shelves were packed with an array ofbooks.Michael came over to her after she had stood there in awe for amoment.“ Hey,” he said, “ I’m going to go look at some filesfor my Dad. Nyila’s over there, and she’ll help you.” Hepointed to a slim, young woman that was working at the front desk.Then he just disappeared without another word.“ Okay,” saidKristin, more to herself than to Michael, as she sauntered over toNyila. Kristin felt a bit intimidated by her looks, but she knew thatthis was the library, what players would go looking here? Nyilalooked up from her massive stack of papers scattered all over hergranite desk.“ Hello, how can I help you?” she asked confidently.Her gray eyes glanced at Kristin’s face, and seemed to takesomething into account.“ Hi, I’m looking for any books on SarahClark or the Clark family,” Kristin answered. Nyila bit her lip,obviously thinking. Kristin gave her the once over glance, andassessed that she had to be at least twenty-nine or less. Her thickmane of black hair was un-frizzed, and was shiny. Kristin enviedNyila’s small lips, and her cute white laced top with a blackskirt.Finally Nyila’s face lit up.“ I have just the book,” sheexclaimed as she made her way from behind the desk and startedwalking to the Non-Fiction section of the library. Kristin trudgedalong, still feeling annoyed. Nyila led her to the back section ofthe Non-Fiction area near a corner.While Nyila was looking for thebook, Kristin looked around the huge library. The wooden shelves werefilled to the brim with books. “ Geesh, even thought this is asmall town, they still have lots of books,” thought Kristin as shepeered at the shelves. The library was so huge, and it smelled likebooks, which had an indescribable smell but everyone knew what bookssmelled like. In a word, the library was…cozy. If a library couldbe cozy…“ Aha!” exclaimed Nyila, “ I found it!”Kristin’seyes flickered back to Nyila’s face. Nyila held in her hands ablack book that looked just like Sarah’s diary.Kristin could feelthe blood drain from her face as she looked at the book.Nyila handedit to her, unaware of her frightened expression.“ So this book is acopy of Sarah Clark’s diary which was made by her husband, William.He said that he made it to keep her memory alive, even though somespeculate that he wanted everyone to believe that nothing bad wasgoing on between them. But nevertheless it got published, and soldover 20 million copies. It’s kinda of what she wrote but with inputfrom her husband claiming what is false or true. It’s verydifferent from most memorial books, but then again the Clarks werevery unusual,” she said with an edge to her voice.Kristin couldfeel herself relax, so her diary was the real thing.“ Okay then,thank you very much,’ she said as she turned back to start walkingto the front desk.“ Wait,” called out Nyila. Kristin turned andNyila motioned for her to come closer. Kristin walked back towardsher, and glanced at herself in the huge glass window that was behindNyila, and was bringing in streams of sunlight to the dark library.She breathed a sigh of relief; she didn’t look frightened at all.“If you want to know more about Sarah Clark, well, my grandfather wasthe gardener that attended to the Clark’s mansion when Sarah died,”said Nyila quietly. Kristin could tell that Nyila was anxious andnervous about telling her this.“ Actually,” started Kristinbefore Nyila could get another word out, “ That would be fantasticif you could.”Nyila seemed a bit startled and surprised at herreaction.“ Really?” she inquired.K

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