Sometimes Things Break From the St. Isidore Collection: Coming Soon!
Back to St. Isidore today! I am working on a new book in the St. Isidore Collection, Sometimes Things Break. Not only is it a return to St. Isidore, which I never really left, all of my fiction books take place in this community; this book is a return to the supernatural and paranormal world of The Suicide Forest.
I am still writing Sometimes Things Break, but I thought you'd like an advance look at what should be the next book in the St. Isidore Collection.
Tim knew Megan had been afraid to go into the basement of the house for three weeks, ever since the day she and her husband, Buck, moved into her uncle’s home to do some upscale dog sitting.
That knowledge made his grooming of Megan even more exciting. Tim pumped up her confidence day by day mixing in some nighttime terror dreams all of which made the door to the basement, which had been left locked tight by her Uncle John, all that much more enticing.
Buck told her to stay away. He warned her there had to be some reason that her uncle had told her not to go into the basement. Buck tried.
“You are just silly,” Megan said.
“I am realistic. This is your uncle’s house, not yours, not ours. You need to respect his wishes.”
“God, you are such a fixed thinking person.”
“I am a what? And, when did you start taking the Lord’s name in vain?”
“You are a ‘fixed thinker,’ as opposed to a ‘growth thinker.’ It means you have no imagination, no stomach for risk.”
“That is ridiculous. Why do you have to label everything?”
“You label things — which are concepts and ideas, not things — for the same reason you put a label on soup cans. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know what you were getting until you opened the can. I would think someone like you would never want to open anything that wasn’t labeled.”
Her point made, Megan went outside for a cigarette leaving Buck to wonder when she started smoking again.
Moving into her uncle’s home had been a Godsend. She and Buck were living on their last dime, both buried under college loans, both wondering how they would ever be able to pay next month’s rent.
Their landlord hadn’t made it any easier. Rents were going through the ceiling in St. Isidore.
“Thanks to gentrification,” as Buck put it, “and no-cause evictions, landlords are tripling the rent and throwing people out on the sidewalk when they can’t pay.”
It didn’t matter if their payments had been perfect, anyone who couldn’t afford to pay three or even four times more, with notice of less than a week, would find themselves among the homeless.
When her uncle asked Megan and Buck to dog sit while he spent August in Europe, they jumped at the opportunity. Or better put, Megan leaped at the chance. Buck went along for the ride.
It was the same when Megan decided to quit her job and open her own business.
After graduating from St. Isidore University with a master's degree in social work, Megan discovered quickly that government work paid squat. So she hung out her own shingle, as her father would have said.
In the twenty-first century, hanging out one’s shingle meant building one’s website or having it made for you. Frugality being the better part of discretion for a young woman with $100,000 of college loan debt, Megan chose the latter. She created her own website. She tacked up flyers in the supermarket.
And the clients poured into the house. Women of all ages came to her for advice and direction.
They followed Megan to her uncle’s home, and the loft office she created on the third floor of the Victorian “monstrosity,” as Buck had labeled it.
Everything was going so well. Buck and Megan fit right into the neighborhood. Megan could see the two of them growing old like this, walking the dogs under the hundred-year-old trees, talking to people on the sidewalk, watching the sun rise and then set over the Suicide Forest.
But something was missing. Megan wanted to get into the basement of her uncle's house.
The first day they were in the house without Uncle John, she wanted to open the door. Something cold as ice stopped her. It filled her veins and ran through her body from her toes to her nose. It was like a brain freeze from too much ice cream.
She couldn’t do it. She could not open the basement door. Buck kidded her about it when he found Megan sensually running her fingertips over the antique wood.
“Hey, when you get done with that, I have an idea of where you can put your fingers next,” Buck came up behind her and whispered in Megan’s ear.
There was a time when Megan would have automatically reached behind her and returned the passion. That day, she did not.
It was that moment her life changed.
Going into the basement became her life’s quest, her passion. Day after day she tried.
Megan would wake up in the middle of the night, walk down the wooden staircase from the master bedroom to the living room, pad over the wood floors in her bare feet, wearing only panties and a tee-shirt. She would get so close to that fucking door as Megan called it in her thoughts. But Megan just could not do it. She could not open the basement door.
Megan even dreamt about it. She saw herself opening the door, going down the stairs, and being overwhelmed by the most incredible sexual orgasm. It was like a wet dream for a woman in her late twenties who was a college graduate with a master’s degree.
Good God, did I just cum? Megan thought when she woke up with a start and realized her fingers were in her panties and they were soaking wet.
She would lay awake breathing heavy, trying not to bother Buck, but at the same time wanting to wake him and jump his bone. God, it was so good, she thought, lying on her side, rubbing her bottom with one hand, her breasts with the other.
There was one night when she woke up from one of her basement sex dreams and did jump Buck’s bone. Megan ripped his cock out of his boxers, took it in her mouth, sucked him hard, and jumped on his pole before Buck had a chance wake up.
In the morning, he told Megan about an incredible sex dream he had. Said he even came and Megan laughed to herself.
She knew it was all related to that fucking basement. There was sex down there. Megan could feel it every time she walked into the kitchen and got close to the door.
She wanted to go downstairs. Megan had to break through the fear. She wanted it so bad.
It felt like what Megan had needed her whole life but didn’t know it until she and Buck moved into her uncle’s house, was on the other side of that door.
She had tried to talk to Buck about it, but he only laughed. He could not understand why she felt an urge to go into the basement. Cement walls, a ceiling made of 2X4s and a dirt floor.
“I can’t imagine there is anything down there you need or want,” he said.
After that, Megan wanted to go downstairs if only to wipe the smirk off his bearded face. But she also knew there was more down there, much more.
She shouldn’t have been surprised by his attitude. Megan had always been the adventurous one in their relationship. Buck had always been the coward.
It was Megan who decided they could take a chance when she had forgotten to take her birth control pill. She dared Buck to climb into the ceiling over the St. Isidore High School gym and pee on the basketball court. She decided they would make love for the very first time under the trees in the Suicide Forest
But Megan had been scared to death to go into the basement of the house at 999 Fountain Street. The house itself thrilled her. It was one of the massive, three-story gingerbread-style homes from a Victorian nightmare in St. Isidore’s exclusive Heritage Hill neighborhood.
None of the houses that were built by the leaders of St. Isidore’s business community in the 1850s and rehabilitated, renovated and flipped by the town’s upper middle class of the 1990s sold for less than $500,000. And that was huge money in this small city that was left rusted by the Great Recession that erased St. Isidore’s connection to the auto industry.
None of the Heritage Hill houses looked the same. Each designed and constructed one at a time, the houses reflected the owner’s personality and his pride of ownership.
When Megan’s uncle asked her if she and Buck could spend August dog sitting — the three pit bulls they would be charged with caring for, he promised, were loving creatures — she jumped at the chance to move out of their one-bedroom apartment.
If there was a risk, Megan wanted to take it. If she heard even a weak knock of opportunity at the door, Megan opened it.
“He has pit bulls? You must be kidding,” Buck said when she broke the news. “Those things are killers.”
“Oh my God,” Megan said. “What are you so worried about? They are puppies, baby dogs.”
“Babies that will grow into killers. That’s what pit bulls do. They kill.”
“Everything you want…”
“What? Everything I want? What are you talking about? They will kill everything I want? Why would I want to kill anything?” said Buck. “Spare me the dogma. No pun intended. And when was it you met the dogs?”
“I went over there to check out the house and see the dogs. It’s a beautiful house. The dogs are great. All we have to do is babysit them, take care of the house, and we make an easy $10,000. What is your problem?”
Megan won the argument in the end, just like she always did. The only time Buck won was when she gave in, and even then it was her idea.
“So didn’t he win after all,” her reflection in the bathroom mirror said.
It was another conversation with the reflection in her bathroom mirror that gave Megan the courage to finally do it.
"You know you have to do it," the voice said.
Megan undressed. She stripped down to her t-shirt and panties.
Megan opened the door.
That's the first chapter of the next book in the St. Isidore Collection, Sometimes Things Break.
I'll be back with more in a few days.
Mary Eileen Sullivan was just looking for love. But when she was disappointed, she killed. The bodies were stuffed in the cellar below the Coffee Shoppe. How long would it be until they were found? A cop is on the case, an undercover state police detective. But will he be just one more lover in a long line of disappointments for Mary Eileen...
Find out in The Coffee Shoppe Killer: Inspired by a ShockingTrue Crime Story, available wherever books are sold, including the Crime Stories Bookstore.