Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Suspenseful Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

At last alone in his bed, Paul hugged Allison's pillow close. Breathing in her light scent that lingered on the fabric, he didn't want her to go either. His eyelids were heavy, but his thoughts were too active to rest. The bed felt vast, an oasis of loneliness, the house silent, still as death. The air was still heavy. A loud boom rocked the air, reverberating throughout the house and shaking the walls...
He walked through the long dark corridor. There was a strange mist that dampened his shirt so that it clung to his body. It was cold and his skin pebbled. He heard noise, a strange growling, that got louder as he walked through the narrow passageway downstairs, his back hugging the wall. He peered into the living room. The light had a strange glow that pulsed with a life of its own. He heard laughter, recognizing it at once to be Allison. He started to run toward the sound, but each time he felt he was close by, the sound came from a different room. He caught a glimpse of something in the living room, a shadow, hairy and foul, its wickedness a palatable thing. Allison hovered before him, her hair restored, blonde locks floating behind her, her cheek dimpled. Alabaster arms reached out to him; her lips moved, but he could not hear her voice. He ran recklessly toward her, his feet slipping, moving but getting nowhere. He was stuck. He gripped the carpet and tried to propel himself but couldn't gain any ground. He rolled toward a chair and crashed into it, taking it down along with a beautiful Waterford lamp. As the crystal shattered it broke into tiny shards of glittering glass. He got onto all fours, and mustering all his strength he leaped far, flying toward her. He realized out of the corner of is eye, something was catapulting toward him, a greasy ball of matted fur, huge and catlike. It collided with him. Powerful arms grabbed him, but his sweat drenched body slid painfully out of its vise-like embrace. The impact sent him crashing onto the living room floor. Allison floated away; her face turned toward him in a mute appear, the musty odor of something evil creating a wall of interference.
He came awake with a start, his heart beating wildly, sweat soaking his body. He got out of bed and ran to the hallway. The night was silent and all the kids were asleep. He rushed downstairs to see the living room. There was no sign of any struggle. The lamp was lit and whole; no glass carpeted the floor. No Allison. No freakishly big apish thing trying to rip him to shreds. He shook his head and went back upstairs. Acid bathed the back of his throat.
Reaching for the water by his bedside, he groaned at the pain, clasping his hand to his rib cage. His fingers came away red with blood. Three long tracks scored his skin. It looked as if a bear's claw had grazed the smooth skin of his side.
Shaken, he stumbled to the bathroom and examined his side. On closer look, it wasn't bad or really even that painful. It was just there. Paul stared at his white face trembling with fear, for his wife, his children, and himself.

A Haunting on Long Island

By Michael Phillip Cash

No matter what this author writes, you can be fairly certain that it will be unique, providing a storyline that will remain to be elusive to readers. And when it gets into the paranormal, you can expect to be scared, totally unsure what is actually happening. I was going along enjoying the suspense--but, have to say, the ending totally caught me in surprise... Don't you love when that happens!

Paul Russo is a very sympathetic main character. His wife died after a long bout from a brain tumor, but even as she was facing her last hours, Paul didn't want to let her go. They had known each other almost their entire lives, meeting and becoming close while still in diapers. There was never any question, except when Paul left for college and suggested that they should date others. Clearly that was not what Allison wanted and so their relationship had led to marriage--a happy marriage with three beautiful children. Allison was still very young when she was diagnosed and the entire family suffered along with her pain and suffering...

Paul's sister had taken the children during the funeral arrangements and for some time afterward. Now they were coming home; Paul was not ready...

"That's not dirt," Molly whispered.
"Look at the wishing well. That's not
direct," Her shocked eyes looked at him.
He peered closer to the picture. A white
haze surrounded the well. "Spooky"
was the word that came to mind. It was
thicker at the bottom and wispy toward
the top. It had the image of a person,
but a skeptic would have thought it
was a smudge on the lens. From the
group of pictures that were taken of the
facade, one had a caption put there
by the photographer, next to the
bedroom window: "I thought you said
the house was empty." It was written
underscored with lines.
"Oh my God, Paul, look at that window."
Molly pointed to the last bedroom,
the one overlooking the well.
He held his breath. No, no, no. It couldn't
be, he thought but he turned to Molly
and said, "Don't say it, just don't say it."
"But it's Allison," Molly whispered into
the shocked silence.
Jesse had been the first child that exhibited problems in being back...he confessed he'd smell his mother's perfume and he would miss her so much... Then he share his dream with his father. Once he'd shared it, though, he started to do better. His twin sister was more mature and was quick to help get things back to some semblance of normal... While his youngest was quite sure and open in sharing that their mother was still there...

"Dad," Sella touched his unshaven cheek with her grubby hands. "Mommy is here. I know it. Just ask her what to do and she'll tell you. You have to listen."

Afterward she'd shared that, he muttered, "If it was only that easy..."

Paul was a well-known real estate agent and his company had been willing to have him off until he was ready to come back, but he learned a relative had been given his parking space and he figured he'd better get back there...So, in the midst of getting the kids back to school, trying to prepare some decent meals for them and help them deal with their own sorrow, Paul didn't have much time... But the dreams didn't go away. The same one in various versions, but always the monster prevented him from saving Alison...
The bedroom. The master bedroom. It was the
crime scene; he had read the report on his
computer. He saw the dusty outline of the grand
furniture and wondered how well they were able
to clean it. He rubbed a small circle in the glass,
pressed his eye, and blinked.
"Oh my God!" Bile rose to burn his throat when
he saw the carnage inside. Guts and gore
splattered the room. Streaks of blood and holes
from the shotgun pellets peppered the white
walls. Bits of brain and decaying flesh
decomposed on the floor... He wondered if
Melissa knew it hadn't been cleaned yet.

Getting back to work did produce one salvation, a major house was to be sold and they had saved it for him. It was a very old home that was reputed to be haunted. The house had been named Stillwell  after the large well that still stood on the property and was supposed to have been the location of at least one death when the body was later found at the bottom... There was even, it was said, a family demon, which was supposed to guard against evil...??? Paul made his first stop at the house alone to figure out how to do his work. The first thing he saw was that a crime scene had not been cleaned, but then realized that it was a vision. He fell down the stairs and was sure he'd been pushed... The incidents continued until he actually was found in the bottom of the well!

Paul began to do research on the house so he could try to spotlight the value of the property instead of the deaths there. Readers will learn along with Paul, about the Loyalists--Supporters of the British and the happenings prior to the Revolutionary War... But the dominant issue was the murder of Hannah Andrews at Stillwell... and then finding her lover at the bottom of the well...

And, yes, the house was haunted, the ghost seen by more than just Paul! But why did the female ghost, whose name was Hannah Andrews, resemble Allison?!? 

Cash writes novels that move at a steady pace...taking readers just as far as the next action that is happening within the story. Be prepared for ghosts routinely part of the story--are they nightmares or actually happening, especially since Paul seems to be injured each time in some way...

I loved the ending--totally surprising--totally satisfying-- A wonderful conclusion for a family who had been greatly damaged by the loss of their wife and mother...Highly recommended...


Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres - Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. 

Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children. You can follow him @michaelpcash.

Connect with Michael on:
Facebook: facebook.com/michaelphillipcash
Twitter: twitter.com/michaelpcash
Web: www.michaelphillipcash.com
Email: michaelphillipcash@gmail.com

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