Genre: YA Thriller
Word count: 60,000
For seventeen-year old Tara, her cousin’s death is nothing but a memory, albeit a painful one. Until the day she returns from school to find Beth’s name scrawled across the bedroom wall and her aunt wandering the woods searching for her daughter.
With her delusional aunt insisting Beth is alive, Tara digs for clues related to the decade-old cold case and stumbles upon a missing diary. In its pages, her cousin detailed a murder plot. And Tara realizes the dead body in the stream was supposed to be hers, not Beth’s. Furthermore, she can’t remember any of the events described in the diary.
Then a girl bearing an uncanny resemblance to Beth moves in next door and, one by one, people begin to die. After a near fatal attack on her life, Tara realizes her cousin hasn’t given up. Ten years later, she still wants Tara dead.
To survive, Tara must find the real reason behind Beth’s death. But, seeking the truth in the diary’s pages and her own repressed memories could mean unearthing secrets about herself and her family, secrets left buried for a reason. Like her mother’s insanity and the darkness she fears she inherited.
Survival could come at the cost of Tara’s sanity.
Ten years since my cousin’s death, and we were nowhere near closure. I averted my gaze from the woods and opened my gate, dreading the grief I’d see on my aunt’s face and the shadows in her faded blue eyes.
Once on the front porch, I waited for the sound of the double locks and the safety chain being opened, as always a sure sign my aunt had been lurking by the window and had spotted me. I’d gotten used to it. Like biking home straight from school because I knew she had me timed to the second.
But the door remained shut, without the usual clicking and rattling. I reached for the knob. It turned under my touch and the door swung open. I frowned. She wouldn’t leave it open.
My voice cut through the silence in the living room, my gaze darting to the chipped rocking chair in the corner, her favorite spot in the house. Her shawl lay crumpled on the floor by the window, next to a tangled roll of pink knitting yarn.
I placed them on the seat, skirted the sofa, and peeked into the empty kitchen. She wouldn’t leave the house. Not without me.
“Aunt June?” I peered up the narrow stairs. “Are you there?”
A floorboard creaked upstairs. The faded carpeting muffled the sound of my sneakers as I took the steps two at a time to the second floor landing. And saw what was on my bedroom wall.