Outraged when The Post Gazette overlooks him for a promotion, 43-year-old Sportswriter Christian Kane quits the Paper and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods. He pens The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating story revolving around the dead twelve-year-old girl who was laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone in 1863. His book climbs the Best Seller lists; then Hollywood adapts it into a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous; but then! Does an enraged Rachel become more than a figment of the writer’s imagination and rise from her grave, seeking revenge on him for slandering her name?
Read an excerpt below
Living in Western Pennsylvania all my life, I’ve been an avid Whitetail hunter since old enough to tote a rifle, which is also about as long as I’ve had a fondness for word games and literature.
While hunting one year, I actually did stumble upon a weathered tombstone in the middle of the woods.
While waiting patiently for that big buck to cross my path, I had plenty of time to ponder the dead girl's fate, which I was then driven to write.
Eerily enough, this is the premise of The Legend of Rachel Petersen, my first novel published in 2012, which I recently revised.
A newly retired transformer repairman, I refer to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Pittsburgh, as home.
My wife Becky and I share our abode with two retrievers - Piper, and Remmy.
Audiobook available at Apple Books
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Excerpt from "The Legend of Rachel Petersen
He popped his head out of the
hole and looked beyond the heaping piles of freshly dug dirt, making certain
there were no intruders hiding in the bushes, waiting to rob him of his find.
Satisfied there weren’t any, he reached down and grabbed the lid. Rusted solid,
the tiny hinges creaked loudly as he tugged. He yanked harder and harder until
Then... Wooosh! A gigantic gale
force wind blasted up and out from the coffin, violently ripping the lid from
his hand. The plank door pinned his legs against the earthen side of the grave.
Using his arms, he shielded his face as the tornado strength winds blew
straight up past him. His hair was blown straight on end. The tree limbs above
him thrashed and whipped wildly as the colossal, continuous gust of wind ripped
through the leaves. Dust, dirt, and stones, tore at his arms and face as they
were hurled from the hole. The rush of the air howled loudly with an eerie,
awful sound, as though a thousand people were screaming at once. Thaddeus
grimaced as the forceful wind would not allow him to catch his breath.
As fast as the howling wind had erupted
from the coffin, it abruptly stopped. Then the lid slammed shut with a loud
whack. The branches bounced and swayed to a peaceful rest as Thaddeus,
trembling, cautiously began to wipe the dirt from his face and arms.
Being more cautious on his
second attempt, he slowly lifted the lid while peeking over it through squinted
eyes. No howling gust of wind greeted him as the mummified remains of the once
very pretty and young Rachel Petersen, laid to rest in a plain floral print
dress, came into view. A thin layer of dust covered her and everything else
inside the tiny coffin.
But how could that be? After
that violent windstorm, which just moments ago blasted forth from the coffin,
no dust would have remained. That was just another curiosity that never crossed
Staring back at him were two
large empty eye sockets in a tiny skull, which rested on a satin pillow. Her
facial skin, once having a flawless peaches and cream complexion, was now
brown, deeply gouged with wrinkles, and drawn tight, exposing her baby teeth.
Her nose was reduced to two narrow slits. Red hair, parted in the middle,
covered her forehead before coming to rest in curls on her shoulders.
The bones and joints in her
hands and arms were clearly visible. Her skin-tight hands lay folded on her
chest, clutching a rosary. An artifact!
“She looks like a dried-out prune with red hair,” Thaddeus thought to himself. Then
his pulse pounded faster and louder in his ears when he spotted the holy prayer
He stared wide-eyed at the white
beaded rosary that had a tiny silver crucifix attached, then the corners of his
lips curled into a sly smile as he congratulated himself on the find, “I knew
there would be something of value buried with her.”
Slowly he reached down for the treasure. “One more inch and it’s mine.”
Then he quickly jerked his hand
back when Seth’s warning echoed through his mind, “Do you want someone like her to haunt you for the rest of your life?”
“Nonsense,” he reasoned to
himself with a chuckle. “Ha! What does Seth know?”
Then his subconscious haunted
him, “What about your dream? The curse in hieroglyphics?”
He answered himself out loud!
“That’s nonsense too! Take the treasure and cover her back up!”
Nervously, he wiped the beads of
sweat running down his brow; again, he reached for the holy rosary very slowly
while staring at her ghastly, withered face. And those two empty eye sockets
staring back! He was expecting her to move, or worse yet, holler, “Grave robber,” and grab at him with her
boney hands. Nevertheless, he desired that rosary so badly, he was willing to
take that risk.
Thaddeus delicately grasped the
tiny cross. Firmly, but with a gentle touch, the young archaeologist raised it
two inches until all the slack was out of the chain. Now taut, it would not
come away from the corpse any further; the remaining beads of the rosary had
been intertwined around those hideous looking hands.
Keeping a vigilant watch on her
hollow eyes, he tugged a bit harder on the rosary. He did not see when the army
of huge, dark orange centipedes scurried out from under her hands. Quickly, one
after another, thousands of the ugly bugs crawled out from their hiding spot
and ran up the chain. They raced across his hand and up his arm. “Oh!” Thaddeus
hollered as he let go of the cross and flung his hand back.
Thousands more continued to pour
out from their hiding spot, climbing over his shoes, up his pants, up his legs,
under his shirt. “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
Moreover, they stunk. Like
battery acid mixed with used motor oil and ammonia.
A part of his dream flashed
through his mind, “Within these walls lie
the remains of Rachel Petersen. Cursed will be all those who dare enter.”
In one bound, he jumped the four
feet out of the grave. The hideous bugs poured out of the hole and chased him
down. Chills ran the entire length of his spine as he danced about, flailing
his arms, trying to shake the repulsive insects off as more and more covered
He ripped his shirt off and used
it to swat the creepy crawlers off his back, chest, shoulders, and stomach.
They were in his hair; he shook his head. One was halfway in his ear when he
pulled it out. He kicked his feet into the air while grabbing and shaking his
pant legs; he stomped on the vile and relentless hunnerd leggers that did fall to the ground. The ones he missed,
turned and came after him again.
For ten awfully long minutes,
they kept up their never-ending assault.
While jumping up and down, he
tripped over the shovel’s handle and fell face first over the freshly dug dirt
pile back into the grave, landing three inches from Rachel’s mummified face; he
swore he saw Rachel smile at him! ...