Please enjoy this excerpt from Reunion, my latest supernatural thriller
"Reunion tackles a controversial subject with dramatic insight and grace." - Scott Nicholson, author of The Red Church
"When I started reading Reunion I was shocked by the quality of writing. Natural dialogue, good flow, interesting story, and efficient prose—it's all in there! This book draws you in quickly and doesn't let go." - Neal Hock, Bookhound's Den
Twenty years after surviving a school shooting, Tanner Khan and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion. Although they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray, the troubled teen who killed many of their classmates.
Once inside the old school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears and put the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare? Find out in this groundbreaking suspense thriller that is frightening and powerfully moving.
Crescent Falls, Idaho 7:30 a.m.
David Ray stood in front of his mirror, dressed to kill. I look good, he thought, like the real deal, like a real killer. He narrowed his eyes, grit his teeth and unfolded his checklist. Sharp blades of black hair dangled in front of his face, covering the brownish rings that encircled his eyes. He peered at his scribbled writing and read the list as he felt his insides tense with hatred.
This is it, he thought. No room for mistakes.
David had learned over time that life needed to be carefully navigated to avoid pain. He had come to the conclusion that the only way to control his life was by controlling the lives around him. The list helped him stay on track. He paced back and forth, quietly going over the details of his plans as his adrenalin increased.
He slouched down at his desk, clenched his hair as it draped over his eyes and pondered how the neglect and abuse he’d suffered had snuffed the music from his soul. David longed for old, familiar melodies to bring him comfort and laughter, but found only the clamoring sound of an off-tempo dirge. Although he tried to arrange the chords and time signatures in a way that was intelligible to his ear, he stepped out of time, his notes were flat, and those around him cringed and laughed. He was humiliated and he hated them for it.
He glanced at a picture on the desk of his mother holding his hand as a young child. It stood in a bright red clay frame; a misshapen art project from the fourth grade. Neither of them looked happy, and a lot had happened over the past eight years. Smiles were a rare commodity in their household. He turned the picture face down and stood up.
David walked to his small window. He pushed the roll-up blind to the side, peeked through the glass and watched the fog sinking into the sage-covered valley to the east. He observed the sun stretch its arms over the rocky hilltops to wake the ponderosa pines and heard the mountain bluebirds singing in the distance. For the last time, he witnessed the river in the valley, flowing downward in search of rapids and lower ground. He stared into the gorge with cold and unfeeling eyes. The sight reminded him of the time when Bill, his stepfather, had taken him down there and let him shoot his shotgun just for fun. David knew the activity was meant to keep him silent, a form of hush money.
Peering through the dirty glass, he thought about his plan to finally get even with everyone who’d taunted and bullied him. Today was the day they’d finally get what they had coming to them. Today the world would sit up and take notice of David Ray. Those kids and their families would be sorry. Now they’d know some of his misery. They could kiss goodbye their happy days of Mom’s cookies, home-cooked meals, and playing ball with Dad.
A sliver of sunlight struck his eyes. David squinted and released the window blind. He preferred the darkness.
At 7:41 a.m., Tanner Khan climbed onto the yellow school bus, walked down the aisle greeting kids around him, and then took his usual seat by the window. As the bus continued to fill up, the tranquility of the early morning hours escalated to the clamoring roar of cracking voices. Tanner pressed his face to the window and breathed, creating a foggy circle that came and went with each breath. He drew a smile with his index finger.
The bus stopped, and Tanner’s best friend Kenny climbed on and waved at Tanner. Kenny traipsed down the aisle, lugging a large duffle bag filled with books. He was skinny and stood six feet tall. Tanner was six inches shorter and far less developed. Both were seniors. Tanner had a baby face with blonde hair. Kenny had brown curly hair with a square jaw line and strong green eyes. As always, Tanner took note of Kenny’s cool look of confidence.
“Hey, Tan. What’s going on?” said Kenny. He sat down and plopped his bag into his lap.
“Not much. Did you finish the physics assignment?”
“Me too.” Tanner looked back outside.
“You okay?” asked Kenny.
Tanner shrugged his shoulders. “I guess. I just have a weird feeling.”
“A weird feeling? What’s that mean?”
Tanner felt Kenny shift his weight and turn in his direction.
“Not sure. I mean, I’m having a bad hair day as usual and my jeans are too short, but that’s not it.”
“So what is it then?”
Tanner wiped the damp smiley face off the window and said, “I don’t know.”