- N. N. Light
Birdwatcher by @AnnGreyson2 is a KU Bookish Event pick #horror #paranormal #ku #giveaway
Author: Ann Greyson
Genre: Horror fiction, Thriller/Crime fiction, Ghost fiction, Paranormal fiction
Gillian and Lance Wincoff travel from Watchung, New Jersey to spend a week in a cabin in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, an idyllic setting in the Poconos. It’s the perfect vacation with their 12-year-old daughter, Abby, an avid birdwatcher. When Abby suddenly disappears from the cabin, Monroe County Sheriff Andy Kirkman and his team of deputies begin the search.
There are no signs of Abby, the facts in this case are hard to find. With the election approaching, Detective Philip Silverwood from the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department inherits the case. Despite Sheriff Kirkman’s impending retirement, he is willing to do whatever it takes to find out what happened to Abby.
The sad truth is, Abby fell victim to serial killer Joey Marks. Her spirit is restless, unable to cross over, and she begins to haunt the cabin, where her body was buried. Complications arise when Gail comes to that cabin to write her first novel, Murder in the Poconos, because murder is only part of the story.
BIRDWATCHER – CHAPTER 38
The detective set his coffee into the drink holder and skittered away from his thoughts. He got out of his car and immediately studied the area around the cabin. Tipped his head slightly, listened intently, and tried to think like the perp. The killer in waiting would have sought out spots to watch the cabin without being seen, in all probability behind a tree, and there were lots of them.
Next, the detective walked through the woods in the direction he thought Abigail Wincoff might have chosen to go. Then he stopped at the location where the binoculars belonging to Abby had been found, took out his notepad, and started making some notes.
The cabin on Wagon Trail Road was the last place he wanted to visit. To get there, he took the simplest route, thinking the perp would have taken a short cut. He also believed the perp had washed Abigail Wincoff’s blood off himself in the kitchen sink. The forensics team couldn’t find any traces of a struggle. There was no blood, nothing to indicate that she’d been harmed in the cabin. There was nothing that proved that she had been in there. They also examined the ground around the cabin as well as the land around it, but nothing had been found.
From the forest’s edge he had a clear view of the cabin. The first thing he noticed about the cabin was that it had an empty air. He stopped to survey the surroundings and took a deep breath. There was no smell of decaying flesh from the area. But there was an eerie silence in the surrounding woods. That was until he heard the flutter of wings above his head. A crow swooped out of the trees and flew to the roof of the cabin. It tilted its head to one side and looked at him.
“Caw, caw, caw.”
“Shhh!” Silverwood hissed at the crow.
By the time he’d made a full circle around the cabin, examining the ground for good measure, the crow was no longer on the roof. Based on his observations, he could see that everything was as it should be. So, it was reasonable for the detective to believe that Abigail Wincoff was killed and buried somewhere else. He pulled out his notepad from his inner jacket pocket and jotted down some notes.
Turning to head back into the woods, he heard running footsteps and a little girl’s giggle. He darted a glance in the direction of the sounds and saw what looked like a girl in a white dress, resembling Abigail Wincoff’s description.
“Abby,” the detective called out from the distance. “Abigail Wincoff.”
The running figure of a girl stopped and wrenched her head in his direction. He could sort of see her marble white face. The pupils of her eyes were black and staring. In her hand she was clutching a doll. She was trembling violently.
“I’m Detective Philip Silverwood, Pocono Mountain Regional PD,” he said. “Are you Abigail Wincoff?”
He needed to ask. Somewhere deep in his subconscious he wanted her to be there. And he wasn’t surprised by that revelation. He wished he could find Abigail. But he was certain in his gut that she was dead. And he didn’t want her to be dead.
Who was he looking at?
A loud piercing caw with a deep shrill startled him. Silverwood turned his head toward the sound. He then looked back at the little girl. The crow was right where the little girl had been standing, staring at him. Then, suddenly, the crow flew off languidly without a second look in his direction.
Before he could walk over there, he caught a glimpse of the girl running in another part of the woods. The detective started running after her. But after rounding some trees, he lost sight of her and found himself staring directly at the cabin off Sellersville Drive, where his Tahoe was parked in the driveway.
A moment later, he heard whispering behind him. A trill of giggles. Turning to look in every possible direction, the little girl was nowhere to be seen.
The detective faced the woods and called out, “Abigail Wincoff.”
As the detective stood at the edge of the woods, panting, trying to catch his breath, his mind was trying to understand what had just happened. Did he really see a little girl? Abigail Wincoff?
His eyes studied the area before he speculated aloud, “Her bare feet would’ve left footprints in the dirt. Nothing. There aren’t any footprints.”
His stomach growled. And he concluded that mere coffee wasn’t enough for this morning. Perhaps too much caffeine on an empty stomach caused him to hallucinate. And he felt foolish for chasing after a ghost. Not a real ghost, but a ghost in his mind’s eye. Had to be. He was a very logical man, and he couldn’t come up with any other explanation.
As the detective climbed into his Tahoe and pulled out of the driveway, it was no longer relevant to him whether he saw something or not. He just wanted to forget the incident ever happened.
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For all horror geeks, Birdwatcher is a haunting ghost story with more than a touch of darkness, elements of thriller and horror sure to entertain, and a sequel planned for release in 2024.
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Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs November 15 – November 24, 2022. Winner will be drawn on November 25, 2022.
Ann Greyson is the author of the novels “Birdwatcher,” “Gotham Kitty,” “The Lonely Vampire;” And her debut zombie apocalyptic story “Never-DEAD,” that came with a devouring response and largely outsold her other novels, has a re-release planned for December 2022 to commemorate its 3rd anniversary. All four of her novels have been garnished with awards from Author Shout, LitPick, Literary Titan, Firebird, TCK and the Wishing Shelf. Other writing credits include occasional book reviews for the Amazon and Goodreads websites.
She has worked as an actress on various platforms from television to theater, appearing in many book trailers, and on television, such as in the programs: “i Citizen,” “SpaceWoman Light-years Apart,” “Birdwatcher,” “The Lonely Vampire,” “The Out World,” and “puRR.” She sings and acts in the music videos: “Shine,” “O Christmas Tree,” “House of the Rising Sun,” “Motherless Child,” and “Buffalo Gals.”
She has an Associate of Arts degree in English from Howard Community College. Member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and the Alpha Alpha Sigma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
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