Shudder Sample

                                                                       Colossians 3:13


        “Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone, forgive as the Lord forgave you.”






                      Chapter One


May 3rd, 1999




       Darkness surrounded 8-year-old Katie Hawthorne. The hairs on her arms stood up, both from fear and the cool temperature of the basement. She could feel the hot breath from her brother, Jay, puff on her face. His maniacal laughs sent shivers down her spine.


Katie’s body trembled as she tried to get out from the ropes that subdued her.

She gasped at the sound of her father’s blowtorch. She imagined the powerful blue flames rushing out of it, burning to crisp whatever it touched.

        The thick tape over her lips masked her screams, causing a humming noise to release instead.

 She’d frantically struggled to untie her bound hands and feet, but her shaky and sweaty hands were limiting.

The stony-hearted giggles from her 12-year-old brother came just as her tears met the gorilla tape over her mouth.

She couldn’t’ imagine the pain she was about to feel, and with blinded eyes, she hadn’t even known where to expect it.


“Katie? Jay?” She heard the loud glorious sound of her mother’s voice from upstairs.


Katie wanted to scream the thoughts in her mind.


"Yes! Please I’m in the basement mom! I’m in the basement with Jay alone. Come get me!"

As she heard her mother’s footsteps from the upstairs drawing closer, her heart danced inside her chest. Now her mother was finally going to understand. She was finally going to see what Jay did to Katie when they were alone.

Her saving day had finally come.

          The blindfold over her eyes prevented her from seeing anything in the room, but she could imagine the panic in her brother’s eyes at her mother’s voice. Marcie Hawthorne wasn’t due to be back for another hour.

 The torch shut off and she heard him scramble to put it back in her dad’s tool case.

She could hear her mother’s footsteps upstairs approaching the basement.

Her hands were free and so were her feet.


“I’ll kill you if you tell her,” Jay whispered before tearing off her mask.


His words were terrifying because she knew he meant it.

Knowing a quick rip would cause her to scream, he attempted to take the tape off her mouth slowly. When the knob turned, he’d swore under his breath.

Just as her mother opened the door, Jay faked laughter.


“My turn next okay? You’ve had your fun!”


Her mother’s steps down the creaking basement stairs come to a halt. Her eyes bounce from Katie’s to Jay’s. “What’s going on here?”

“We’re playing torture dungeon,” he answered playfully, “And Katie’s been playing victim too long.”


Her mother watched Katie’s helpless, sweaty, desperate expression, and the gray Gorilla tape that hid her lips. Initially, there was alarm in her eyes, but it faded when she looked back at Jay.


“Don’t be too rough with your sister,” She said after a moment of silence. “Games over. Come help me with the groceries.”



24 years later.



        The incident in the basement was one of the last memories Katie had of Jay. The following week, her mother and father had caught Jay in an unexplainable position. Left with no choice, the parent’s of the Hawthorne children had finally sent their oldest child away. His first destination was to his grandparent’s house, and when that didn’t work, a reform school, and then finally, a bible college.


She hadn’t seen her brother since she was eight. She’d received many letters from him over the decades though, and only a few had she actually read. They were meant only to stir up fear and paranoia in her, promising to get her back for causing him to be sent away. As much as she tried to put the threats deep within the back of her mind, they would still pop up every now and then; causing many sleepless nights, and provoking her to take every pill known to man to calm herself from fear and stress. She never knew when it would be her time, when her brother would finally come back to finish what he’d said he would.


She didn’t hate her brother. She didn’t despise him either. She was scared to death of him.

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