Hawthorn Inn (The Catalyst Series: Book #1)
Jack Erikson doesn't have great expectations when his mother moves them to an old decrepit inn in a town just as musty, but he's unprepared for the oddities that start springing out of the rotten woodwork. New friends introduce him to legends and rumors that have swirled around the inn since time-immemorial, and he finds plenty of proof to believe them as strange noises and twisted shadows stalk the halls.
Worst of all, his estranged grandfather has invited himself to join them at the inn. Creepy doesn't begin to describe that black-cloaked gentleman with the pale skin and weird, ever-constant glasses. Old secrets, mysterious sealed-up rooms and creeping shadows abound as Jack tries to manage his new life at Hawthorn Inn.
Hawthorn Inn is the first in a five novel horror/supernatural thriller series featuring Jack Erikson, a normal teenager with not-so-normal secrets.
“You damn crazy driver!” the woman screamed as she toppled to the hard ground in a heap of dress and purse.
The small, sleepy town of Sanctuary was awoken with a start at her yelling as the people on the street turned to look at the scene. One of their oldest and most prominent members was struggling to her feet after the near miss with a black car that was even now speeding away. Her name was Gertrude Grover, lately of the ground and now in a foul mood.
“Damn tourists!” she hollered as she shook her fist at her would-be assassin.
The long, black, nineteen thirties-era Mercedes Benz seemed unaware of her presence as it sped off down the long road leading through the center of town. Gertrude, past her prime by a few years but still full of spirit, was livid with anger as a few of the onlookers laughed aloud. Most, though, seeing that she was okay, went back to their errands and chores. The residents of the quiet town nestled against the foothills Appalachian Mountain range were too practical to stop their work and sooth the woman’s injured pride.
“Of all the insolence,” Gertrude muttered as she brushed herself off. She’d fallen against the side of the paved street, and now her clothes were now covered in a thin layer of light brown earth. “Damn tourists think they can run over anyone if they feel like it,” she grumbled to herself as she moved with a quick step onto the sidewalk. Gertrude’s small brown eyes showed a shrewdness denoting a stern gruffness beneath her withered exterior.
“That’s an interesting color of dress, Gerty,” an old acquaintance laughed from where she sat on the porch’s bench in front of the general store. “Trying it out for this fall?” She cackled at her own joke.
“You know perfectly well what happened, Amelia,” Gertrude scolded as she took her usual spot beside her old friend. Every afternoon on many fall days they’d sat and talked about the good old days and how much their small town had changed. That’s where she’d been heading before the near-miss with the car. “I damn well nearly got killed and here you all are laughing at me,” she pouted as she crossed her arms over her chest.
Amelia was about Gertrude’s age and height, but their personalities were like day and night. Her soft blue eyes showed a natural humor complimented by a love of the long life she’d led. Her patience was unbelievable and her laughter infectious. Even her old friend’s gruff attitude was no match for her teasing attentions as Gertrude’s frown softened, though not by much.
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad,” Amelia replied as she put a comforting hand over her friend’s shoulders. “After all, you’re not dead,” she pointed out.
“Well, some days I’m not sure that’s such a good thing,” her friend moodily argued as she pushed her friend’s hand away. She opened her mouth to spout more depressing words, but her eyes suddenly widened as she leaned forward in her chair and blinked against the gaze of the twilight sun. Her gaze followed the homicidal car. “They didn’t stop,” Gerty spoke in a whispered awe as she looked down the street.
“Well, they missed you, didn’t they?” Amelia joked with a hearty guffaw.
“Not that, you idiot!” her friend snapped as she pointed at the cloud of dust that followed the fast vehicle.
“They’ve gone towards the inn!”
Hawthorn Inn stood atop a hill of hewn rocks which overlooked the small community. It had been built during the town’s founding, and once boasted famous visitors and a lucrative business. Over the last half century, however, the inn had fallen on hard times and now stood devoid of life. The town had been trying to acquire ownership in the hopes of making it into a museum, but the previous owners had demanded more money than the community could pull together.
“My God, they have,” Amelia marveled as her head whipped to the side and her jaw dropped open. “Then do you know who they are, Gerty?” she asked as she turned back to her friend. “You were on the committee to try to buy it.”
Gertrude opened her mouth to comment and then promptly shut it hard enough to hear her false teeth clatter together. She scowled as she leaned back in her chair.
“No, I don’t,” she sulked. “We didn’t know anyone else was looking at it.”The door opened and Ferris walked back in and went over to Prince Willem. “Would you like anything to drink, Sir?” he asked.
“Oh, yes, thank you,” replied Willem. “I’ll have a root beer, please.”