Collecting Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 1
Collecting Death: Haunted Collection Series Book 1
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The eyes of a cuddly child’s toy glow with demonic fire…
Exhausted from an academic conference, mild-mannered historian Victor Daniels wants nothing more than to return to his loving wife. But when he finally arrives home, he finds only tragedy and heartbreak. His wife has been brutally murdered. And the only clue is a blood-soaked stuffed toy, with a sinister gleam in its eye…
Overcome with rage and guilt, Victor teams up with a paranormal expert to track down the origins of the strange toy. And together they discover a tangled web of haunted collectibles and bloodshed, all pointing towards one man—Stefan Korzh…
A tragic childhood and a mansion filled with haunted antiques have driven Stefan mad. Each cursed item in his ancestral home carries a legacy of terror and death. Now, he seeks to unleash his family’s haunted collection upon the world, spreading chaos and fear.
Time is running out, and Victor is the only one who can stop this madman’s diabolical game. But how far will Victor go to find justice for his wife?
And will he make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of countless others?
Chapter 4: Home Again
Victor’s heart raced, and he shuddered. He ground his teeth together, clenched his jaw, and followed the cobblestone walkway to the front steps. His legs trembled as he climbed the cement stairs and his hands shook as he got out his house key. Three times it took him to fit the key into the deadbolt and let himself in.
He stood completely still in the doorway, imagining that he could smell the gas from the oven.
Victor remembered his first conversation with Doctor Zhang and the man’s reluctance to speak about how Erin had killed herself.
Herself and the two cats.
Like Sylvia Plath, Zhang had told him. Erin had blown out the pilot light and turned on the gas in the oven. Then she had put her head in it, inhaling the deadly fumes until she died. The gas had spread through the house, killing the cats in the upper bedroom where they slept on the bed.
The neighbors had smelled gas and called the utility company and fire department. Erin had been dead for almost a day before the gas had been turned off and the fire fighters had found her body.
Her body, Victor thought, shuddering at the image.
She was still in the morgue, at Zis Sweeney Funeral Home in Nashua, New Hampshire where her family was from. Her parents had contacted the Home, and they were waiting for Victor to be recovered enough to attend the wake and funeral.
The most terrifying aspect of Erin’s death was the lack of a reason. She hadn’t left a note. Nor had she ever even expressed a morbid interest in suicide. It had never been a subject of conversation between them. She had been happy in her job, working as a librarian, collecting her books and items people told her were haunted.
Victor shuffled the rest of the way into the house and shut the door behind him. He didn’t bother to lock it as he let the suitcase fall to the floor. As though of their own accord, his feet carried him into the kitchen. Dirty dishes were on the counter. The trash stank. Above the sink, the leaves of the spider plant drooped for need of water. The door to the oven was open, his chair dragged close to it.
An image of her sitting on his chair, her body bent in half, and her head stuffed deep into the confines of the oven.
Victor staggered forward, jerked the chair out, and sat down, the wood shaking beneath him. He closed his eyes and pressed his hands against them. Each breath was painful as if a heavy weight had been dropped onto his chest. He dragged air in through his nose and between his teeth, fighting back despair.
Finally, after several minutes, he regained his composure and straightened up.
He opened his eyes, and they locked onto something strange.
An old toy bear sat upright in the center of the table. The fur was thin in some spots, the arms and legs stiff. It looked old, the sun glowing in its dull glass eyes.
Victor straightened up.
It wasn’t the sun he saw in the toy’s eyes.
It couldn’t be.
The shades were drawn in the kitchen. What little light there was came in through the door that led to the game room, and that was behind the bear.
Victor sat back, and as he did so, the toy’s eyes followed him.
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