Below is a short teaser sharing the opening pages before readers dive into the first chapter of the novel. It’s not a prologue as the full scene actually happens later in the book. It’s just a quick flash-forward on what you can expect to occur at some point.
If only we could prevent the consequences of fate for one moment in time…
“Stop interrogating me. I’m not going to say anything different,” a panic-stricken voice shrieked after begging for the third time to leave for the hospital. “There was so much blood.”
“We’re almost done. Tell me again exactly what you recall happening,” said Detective Benton, a twenty-something police officer coaxing his anxious witness to deliver another account of the incident. They’d been vying for control of the conversation outside the entrance to one of the cabins at Crestwood Resort and Lodge for at least twenty minutes. “From the beginning, please.”
“Fine!” A pair of raised, shaky hands pounded the chilled air in aggravation. “Everything was quiet before I left the cabin. It was cold, and the fire was almost out. I’d been gone less than ten minutes gathering some logs. When I came back inside, everyone was shouting. I ran upstairs to check on them.”
“And what did you see?” The cold and emotionless detective was unwilling to reveal what his partner had already discovered—one person was dead, and another looked extremely unstable at last check.
“He held a knife to her throat. His eyes were paranoid-looking, and he demanded to know what was in the envelope.”
Benton analyzed the frightened facial expressions and nervous mannerisms of his witness. Heavy breathing. Widely glazing eyes. Quivering fingers tapping the hood of the squad car. “We’re searching for that particular piece of evidence right now. It appears to be missing.” His normally accurate intuition told him not to trust everything he’d heard. “Then what did you do?”
“I signaled the others to find an opportunity to stop him, but they were just as shocked at everything going on. When I called out to get his attention, she slammed on his foot with such force the vibration traveled all the way across the room. But he still didn’t let go. I had to save her. He was gonna kill her.”
The detective scribbled more notes on his pad without looking up. Procedure dictated he fully documented everything before leaving the scene of a crime. “Keep going.”
“Once he started slashing the knife, I knew I only had one chance left. He used her as a shield to stop anyone from coming after him, but I dove for his waist hoping to knock him down amongst the chaos. I never expected him to yank her backward so viciously.”
“And did you reach them?”
“No, I couldn’t get close enough. She screamed and tried to break free, desperate to protect herself from whatever else he’d planned. That’s when he tripped on the ottoman and lost his grip. I don’t think they knew how close the window was.”
“But you couldn’t stop them from tumbling?” The detective leaned closer filling with curiosity over the murky fog descending upon his witness in those last few moments.
“That view from the window was magical when I first walked into the cabin. Now I can’t stop thinking about them crashing through the glass. It’s still shattering inside my head piece by piece in slow motion. I couldn’t prevent them from falling off the ledge. I wasn’t strong enough to hold on… please just let me go to her.” Tears poured from the eyes of an inconsolable witness too terrified by the bone-chilling silence haunting the entranceway’s dirt road to continue speaking.
“I understand. Just one final question.” Detective Benton nodded with unsympathetic eyes as he flipped the page on his yellowed steno pad. “Please explain why one of the victims kept repeating ‘Where are you hiding my daughter?’ when I first arrived at the cabin.”