The House That Jack BuiltWillow Rose
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
JACK RYDER #3
1. March 1986
2. March 1986
3. March 1986
4. May 2015
5. Cuba 1959
6. May 2015
7. May 2015
8. May 2015
9. May 2015
10. May 2015
11. May 2015
12. Cuba 1969
13. May 2015
14. May 2015
15. May 2015
16. May 2015
17. May 2015
18. May 2015
19. May 2015
20. May 2015
21. Florida 1969
22. May 2015
23. May 2015
24. May 2015
25. May 2015
26. May 2015
27. May 2015
28. Cuba, April 1st, 1980
29. May 2015
30. May 2015
31. May 2015
32. May 2015
33. Cuba, April 1980
34. May 2015
35. May 2015
36. May 2015
37. May 2015
38. April 1980
39. May 2015
40. May 2015
41. May 2015
42. May 2015
43. May 2015
44. May 2015
45. May 2015
46. Cuba, April 1980
47. May 2015
48. May 2015
49. May 2015
50. May 2015
51. May 2015
52. May 2015
53. May 2015
54. Cuba, April 1980
55. May 2015
56. May 2015
57. May 2015
58. May 2015
59. May 2015
60. May 2015
61. Cuba, April 1980
62. May 2015
63. May 2015
64. May 2015
65. May 2015
66. May 2015
67. May 2015
68. May 2015
69. May 2015
70. May 2015
71. May 2015
72. May 2015
73. May 2015
74. May 2015
75. May 2015
76. May 2015
77. April 1980
78. April 1980
79. May 2015
80. May 2015
81. May 2015
82. May 2015
About the Author
Books by the Author
What Hurts the Most
1. September 2015
2. September 2015
3. September 2015
4. September 2015
5. September 2015
6. February 1977
7. September 2015
8. September 2015
9. September 2015
10. April 1977
11. September 2015
12. September 2015
13. September 2015
14. September 2015
15. September 2015
16. September 2015
17. April 1977
18. September 2015
19. September 2015
20. February 1992
21. September 2015
22. September 2015
23. May 1977
24. September 2015
25. September 2015
26. September 2015
27. May 1977
28. September 2015
29. September 2015
30. March 1992
31. September 2015
32. September 2015
33. February 1978
34. September 2015
35. March 1992
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Copyright Willow Rose 2015
Published by Jan Sigetty Boeje
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Jan Sigetty Boeje
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sigettys Cover Design
Special thanks to my editor Janell Parque
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This is the house that Jack built, y'all. Remember this house.
~ Aretha Franklin 1968
THERE WAS A ROOM THAT WAS FILLED WITH LOVE
“I’m scared a monster will come and take me, Mommy.”
Carrie Kingston looked at her seven-year old son with a smile filled with love. It was the same every night when tucking Scott in for the night. He was afraid of the dark, of monsters in the closets or under the bed. The child had a vivid imagination. Sometimes that was a good thing, an excellent thing, his teacher in first grade told them, but just not when going to bed.
Scott suffered a lot from nightmares and almost every night he would wake up, walk down the hallway and climb into Carrie’s bed. It was getting tiresome for Carrie and Scott’s father, Jim, since they had to get up and get to work in the morning, and with Scott in the bed, they never slept that well. Carrie was okay with it for the most part. To be perfectly honest, she loved sleeping with her beloved son, but Jim couldn’t stand it.
“It’ll be fine,” Carrie said and kissed her son’s forehead, then stroked his red hair gently. How she adored those light blue eyes. Carrie had always wanted a son. She had always imagined having a baby boy. So, when she got pregnant the first time, she was certain it was a boy. It had to be. She was so sure she had bought only boy’s clothing and boy’s toys. What a disappointment it had been when Joanne came along. It had devastated Carrie, and for years they kept trying to have another child, but without success. Finally, when Joanne was six years old, Carrie had gotten her lifelong wish fulfilled. A little boy. A little adorable baby boy just like the one Carrie had seen in her dreams. And her love for him was so big she could hardly contain it. Carrie didn’t mind admitting that Scott was the greatest love of her life. She loved him even more than she loved Joanne, even more than she loved her husband. Even more than she loved herself.
Scott stared at his mother, then at the door to the closet. “Are you sure? I thought I saw something just before.”
Carrie chuckled. She tucked the blanket tightly around Scott to make him feel safer. Her mother had told her that’s what she used to do when Carrie was afraid of monsters as a child.
“I’m very sure. Remember, monsters aren’t real.”
“They are to me,” Scott said. “Very real. I see them every night, Mommy. They look at me through the window.”
Carrie looked at the window. They had left it open because the AC was acting up again. It hadn’t been able to cool the rooms down, especially not Scott’s bedroom, for a week now. Carrie knew they n
eeded to get it fixed, but she also knew they couldn’t afford to have it done right now. Not when they had to have the truck fixed as well, and that was more important, since without the truck Jim couldn’t get to work. He needed it. Besides, it was still early spring, so the heat hadn’t gotten ahold of them just yet. There was a cooler breeze at night to cool them down. But it wouldn’t last long. Soon, they would have to have that AC fixed or it would be unbearable. Living in Florida, you couldn’t get by without the AC. It wasn’t like Ohio, where Carrie was from originally. This was very different.
“Can we close it, Mom?” Scott asked with fear in his pretty blue eyes.
Carrie shook her head. “I don’t think that would be very smart. It will be unbearable in here. You need the air to cool you down.”
“But the monsters, Mom. They can crawl through the window.”
Carrie sighed again. It was hot in Scott’s room and she felt how clammy her son’s hands were.
“The screen will stop them,” she tried.
“No, it won’t, Mommy.”
Carrie shook her head. She was getting tired of this. “Stop with the monsters, Scott. There’s no such thing.”
“No buts. They don’t exist. They’re not real. It’s all in your mind,” she said, stroking her son’s cheek. “Now, go to sleep. You have a big day tomorrow, remember?”
Scott’s face lit up. “The play,” he said. He had been looking forward to doing the school play for weeks now. Scott loved the stage more than anyone else. He had landed the lead in the play because he was a natural on the stage and had received much praise from his teacher. It wasn’t something that happened often.
“I can’t wait,” Scott said and closed his eyes. After a few seconds, he opened them again. “Could you close the door to the closet?”
Carrie got up from the edge of Scott’s bed and walked to the closet door and closed it.
“There. Are you happy? No monsters can come in that way.”
Scott nodded. A gust of wind came through the open window and grabbed the curtain. Scott gasped.
“It’s just the wind,” Carrie said. “Now, go to sleep.”
Scott nodded and smiled. “Could you leave a light on, please?”
“If that makes you feel better,” Carrie said, and turned on the small lamp in the corner of the room.
“It will. Thank you, Mommy.”
Carrie smiled and kissed her son’s forehead once again. “Now, sleep tight. There’s nothing to be afraid of. This room is filled with nothing but love, and the Bible says love conquers all,” she said and left the room.
It was the light that caught his eye and drew him closer. It was shining from the window into the front yard and lit up the night. He had been watching it for several nights in a row. It was always the same. The window was left open and the light shone through the thin curtains.
It was like it was luring him in, telling him to come closer.
So, he did. With his heart pounding in his chest, he walked to the house and peeked in the window through the screen…just like he had done the night before and the night before that.
And just like the other nights, the boy was lying in his bed, sound asleep. He watched the boy for a little while and enjoyed how innocent he looked. It was breathtaking. The man had always been so amazed at how a little boy like that could seem so harmless, so blameless, when they were anything but that.
Just sleeping like he hasn’t a care in the world. Doesn’t have the faintest idea of the evil lurking right outside his window. But, guess what, little friend? Evil is everywhere. Even in the ones you trust the most.
The boy moaned in his sleep and kicked off his blue blanket. He was feeling hot. His skin was glistering.
There was a rustle from a bush and the man turned to look, but didn’t see anything. There wasn’t a car in the street. It was all so quiet. He loved the nights. In the nights you could roam free; in the nights, no one watched.
The nights are more alive and more richly colored than the day.
The man thought about the quote by Van Gogh, which had been written on the walls in a toilet booth. He had memorized it because that was exactly how he felt. Come to think of it, that was how he had always felt. Even as a child, he would often wake up at night and stay up for hours. He liked the quietness of the house when everyone else was asleep. As a child, he would go to his brother’s room and look at him while he was asleep. He would just stand there and imagine hurting him. He would grab a pillow and pretend to put it over his head and just hold it down till he didn’t move anymore. Smother him like Caligula did to Tiberius to succeed him as a Roman Emperor. Stories like that had always fascinated the man. He had devoured everything about the Roman Empire they had taught him in school as a child.
The boy mumbled in his sleep now, and the man turned to look at him again. He turned to the side and groaned. His giraffe toy fell to the floor. The boy didn’t notice.
The man looked at him and tilted his head to better see. He was smiling in his sleep now. Seeing him smile made the man lose it. He couldn’t hold himself back any longer. He grabbed the screen and pulled it off the window, then he pulled the window up to make it completely open, and climbed inside the bedroom. He walked to the bed and leaned in over the little boy. Then he stroked him gently across the cheek.
“Having a nice dream, are we?” he whispered. “Enjoy. It’ll be your last.”
The sound of his voice close to his ear made the boy open his eyes. As he spotted the man, he opened his mouth in order to scream, but the man forced his hand over it and covered his nose as well. The small body tossed and turned underneath him. The boy’s wild eyes stared at him in desperation. He held on to him till he passed out, then he let go. He waited a few seconds to make sure he was breathing before he lifted him up and carried him out the window and put the screen back on, before he carried the boy to his car.
He started the engine and took one last glance at the window where the light was still shining. He chuckled, thinking how ironic it was that the nightlight was supposed to keep the monsters away.
“Scott? It’s time to get up!”
Carrie walked inside her son’s room and found the bed empty. She walked to the bed, then to the closet, and checked if Scott was in there getting dressed. But it was also empty.
The bathroom. He’s probably in the bathroom. Of course. He’s nervous about today and has been up for a long time. Now his stomach is acting up like it always does when he is nervous.
Carrie chuckled then walked to the bathroom door and knocked. “Honey? Are you in there?”
There was no answer. “Scott? Are you okay?”
When there still was no answer, Carrie opened the door that she had always instructed her son to not lock. Her heart dropped as she realized the bathroom was empty. She looked in the shower, just to be sure, but knew in her heart that Scott would never take a shower voluntarily.
Carrie’s voice was starting to tremble. She didn’t like this. Unease was spreading through her body like wildfire.
Where is my son?
Carrie walked through the hallway into Joanne’s room.
“I’m up, Mom. You don’t have to check on me,” she snarled.
“I wasn’t checking on you, Joanne,” she said to her always-angry teenage daughter. “I’m looking for Scott. Have you seen him?”
“He’s not in here,” she said. “The midget probably hid somewhere. He’s so childish. What a dork.”
Carrie chuckled. Of course that was just it. Scott loved to play hide and go seek, especially when they were in a hurry.
“Now go, Mom. I have to get ready for school,” Joanne said.
Carrie shook her head and scoffed. Teenage-girls these days. They were so vain and spent such a long time getting ready. When had that happened? It was just the tim
es, she tried to explain to Jim, who didn’t understand anything of his daughter’s constant obsession with her own appearance. She was madly in love with Rob Lowe and wanted to look like Demi Moore and sing like that awful Madonna. When you had just turned thirteen like Joanne that was all there was.
“When I was her age, I worked from early in the morning,” Jim would say. “At this time of day, I had fed the cows and the chickens and cleaned out the stables before I rode my bike three miles to get to school. And I didn’t even have breakfast first.”
Those were his stories, and they would grow more and more impressive each time he told them.
Jim was sitting in the kitchen with his coffee when Carrie came out to him. He grunted behind the newspaper.
“Have you seen Scott?” Carrie asked.
“No,” Jim answered.
“I think he might be playing hide and go seek with me, and I don’t have time for it this morning.”
Jim looked at his watch. “Speaking of time,” he said. “I gotta go. I’m late for the bus.”
Carrie kissed Jim on the cheek, gave him his lunch, and watched as he rushed out the front door. She felt bad that he had to take the bus to work, but she needed the car to buy groceries and had to go to work all the way in Rockledge. She needed it more than him today.
We’ve got to get that truck fixed.
When he was gone, Carrie continued the search for her son.
“Scott, come on out now!” she yelled. “I give up. You win.”
Still, she was met only by silence.
“I don’t have time for this. Don’t let me get angry with you.”
When he still didn’t show himself, Carrie started to pour cereal in his bowl, thinking maybe his hunger would lure him out. Joanne came out in the kitchen, grabbed some cereal for herself, and started to eat.
“I don’t think he’s here,” Carrie said anxiously. “He never hides for this long.”
Joanne shrugged. “Maybe he already went to school?”
Carrie lit up. “The play. Of course, that’s it. He must have been so excited he couldn’t wait for the rest of us to wake up. He probably rode his bike to school or something.”
“His bike is still in the driveway,” Joanne said, glancing out the window.