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Authors: Gregg Olsen

Tags: #Paranormal, #Fantasy, #Young Adult, #Mystery, #Thriller, #Crime

Envy

BOOK: Envy
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SPLINTER
NEW YORK

An Imprint of Sterling Publishing
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

www.sterlingpublishing.com

SPLINTER and the distinctive Splinter logo are trademarks of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

© 2011 by Gregg Olsen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

ISBN 978-1-4027-8957-1 (print format)

ISBN 978-1-4027-9009-6 (ebook)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available

For information about custom editions, special sales, and premium and corporate purchases, please contact Sterling Special Sales at 800-805-5489 or [email protected].

Some of the terms in this book may be trademarks or registered trademarks. Use of such terms does not imply any association with or endorsement by such trademark owners and no association or endorsement is intended or should be inferred. This book is not authorized by, and neither the author nor the publisher is affiliated with, the owners of the trademarks referred to in the book.

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

For Rebecca, who is neither Vicky nor Cristina,
but her own amazing person. —G.O.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

SOME OF THIS STORY is completely true. And some of it isn’t. Like truth, evil comes in all sorts of flavors. Some bitter. Some deceptively sweet. Sometimes it comes with a heavy price. While most people don’t invite evil into their lives, the dirty little secret is that an invitation isn’t necessary. Locked doors don’t matter. Neither do fancy security systems. Evil is kind of amazing when you think about it. She knows how to get inside.

—Gregg Olsen

Contents

Author’s Note

chapter 1

chapter 2

chapter 3

chapter 4

chapter 5

chapter 6

chapter 7

chapter 8

chapter 9

chapter 10

chapter 11

chapter 12

chapter 13

chapter 14

chapter 15

chapter 16

chapter 17

chapter 18

chapter 19

chapter 20

chapter 21

chapter 22

chapter 23

chapter 24

chapter 25

chapter 26

chapter 27

chapter 28

chapter 29

chapter 30

chapter 31

chapter 32

chapter 33

chapter 34

chapter 35

chapter 36

chapter 37

chapter 38

chapter 39

chapter 40

chapter 41

chapter 42

chapter 43

chapter 44

chapter 45

chapter 46

chapter 47

chapter 48

chapter 49

Postmortem

Truth In Fiction

Acknowledgments

Sneak Peek!

chapter 1

WATER GUSHED OUT OF THE CORRODED FAUCET into the chipped, porcelain tub, pooling at the bottom with a few tangled strands of long, brown hair. The water was easily 120 degrees—so hot that Katelyn Berkley could hardly stand to dip her painted green toenails into it. The scalding water instantly turned her pale skin mottled shades of crimson. Perched on the edge of the tub with her right leg dangling in the water, Katelyn smiled. It was a hurt that felt good.

At fifteen, Katelyn knew something about hurt.

Promises had been made … and broken. Things change. People let you down—even those closest to you. Promises, she realized, were very, very hard to keep.

As a blast of icy air blew in from her open bedroom window, the silver razor blade next to the half-empty bottle of Tea Tree shampoo glinted, beckoning her. Katelyn fantasized about taking control of the situation—of her pitiful excuse for a life—the only way she could.

She looked in the full-length mirror across the room. The glass was starting to fog as the steam billowed from the tub’s rippling surface, but she could see that her eyes were red. There wasn’t enough Smashbox on earth to cover the splotches that came with her tears.

“Merry Christmas, loser,” she said.

She pulled inside of herself, into that place where there was only a little relief.

The bathtub was nearly full. Steaming.
Just waiting.

Katelyn had no idea that, not far away, someone else was doing the exact same thing—just waiting for the right time to make a move.

As fresh tears rolled down her cheeks, Katelyn took off the rest of her clothes, threw them on the floor, and plunged herself into the tub.

DOWNSTAIRS, HER MOTHER, SANDRA, stood in the kitchen and poked at the congealing remains of a prime rib roast. She yanked at her blue sweater as she pulled it tighter on her shoulders and fumed. She was cold and mad. Mad and cold. She searched her kitchen counters for the espresso maker.

Where is it?

Sandra had a bottle of Bacardi spiced rum at the ready and a small pitcher of eggnog that she wanted to foam. It would be the last time she took a drink for the rest of the year. The promise was a feeble one, like many of Sandra’s. There was only a week left until the New Year. All night Sandra had been watching the bottle’s amber liquid drop like the thermometer outside the frost-etched window—single paned because the Berkleys’ was a historic home and could not be altered.

Last drink. Promise. Where is that machine?

Her parents, Nancy and Paul, had finally left after their holiday visit, and Sandra needed the calming effect of the alcohol. They always dropped a bomb at every social occasion, and the one they had offered up earlier that evening was a doozy, even by their standards. They’d rescinded their promise to fund Katelyn’s college expenses, a promise made when their granddaughter was born. That night at dinner, Nancy had let it slip that they were no longer in the position to do so.

“Sandra, my kitchen counters were Corian, for goodness sake. I deserved granite. And, well, one thing led to another. A $10,000 remodel, you know, kind of ballooned into that $100,000 new wing. I really do love it. I know you will too.”

Katelyn, suddenly in need of better grades, stellar athleticism, or richer parents, had left the table in tears and mouthed to her mother behind her grandmother’s back, “I hate her.”

“Me too, Katie,” Sandra had said.

“What?” Nancy asked.

“Just telling Katelyn I love her too.”

Sandra had acted as though everything was fine, the way that moms sometimes do. But inside she seethed. Her husband, Harper, had left just after dinner to check on a faulty freezer at the Timberline restaurant they owned next door.

Every single day, even on Christmas, Harper has to find a reason to go to work.

“Katelyn?” she called up the narrow wooden staircase that led to the second-floor bedrooms. “Have you seen the espresso machine?”

There was no answer.

Sandra returned to her outdated, worn-out kitchen and downed two fingers of spiced rum from a Disneyland shot glass. She screwed on the bottle cap, pretending she hadn’t had a drink. After all, it was almost like medicine.

To steady my nerves. Yes, that’s it.

Katelyn had been taking the espresso machine upstairs to make Americanos the week before Christmas. Sandra had scolded her for that.

“It isn’t sanitary, Katie. We don’t bring food upstairs.”

Katelyn had rolled her eyes at her mother. “Only a restaurant owner would call milk and sugar ‘food,’ Mom.”

“That isn’t the point.”

“Yeah. I get it,” Katelyn said, feeling it unnecessary to point out that she’d been forced to have a food worker’s permit since she was nine and could recite safe temperatures for meat, poultry, milk, and vegetables in her sleep.

The lights flickered and the breakers in the kitchen popped.

Another reason to hate this old house, even if it does have an extra upstairs bathroom.

Sandra started up the darkened stairs and made her way down the hallway. She could hear the sound of water running.

She called out to Katelyn and knocked on her bedroom door.

No answer.

Sandra twisted the knob and, at once, a wall of icy air blasted her face. Katelyn had left the window open. The lights were out too. Sandra flipped the switch up and down more times than she needed to, to prove the obvious. The room stayed dark.

Lights from the neighbor’s house next door spilled onto the wooden floor.

Sandra gripped the sill and pulled the window closed, shaking her head at her daughter’s escalating carelessness. It had to be forty degrees in that room. It would take all night to warm it up. She wondered how any teenager managed to survive to adulthood.

“Katelyn Melissa, you’re going to catch a cold!”

Sandra walked past the unmade bed—the one that looked good only on Sundays when she changed the sheets. Katelyn’s jeans and black Penney’s top—a Marc Jacobs knockoff—were heaped on the floor.

What a colossal mess.

The bathroom door was open a sliver and Sandra, still freezing, pushed it aside. Aromatherapy candles flickered.

“What are you thinking?” she asked, her tone harsh and demanding. Katelyn wasn’t thinking at all.

The fifteen-year-old was slumped over the edge of the old clawfoot tub, her eyes tiny shards of broken glass, her expression void of anything. Her long, wet hair dripped onto the floor.

Instinct took over and Sandra lunged in the direction of her daughter, slipping on the wet floor and falling. As she reached for the rim of the tub, she yelled, “I could have broken my neck! What’s going on with you?”

No answer, to a very stupid question.

Sandra, her heart racing and the rum now gnawing at the walls of her stomach, tried to steady herself in the candlelight. She tasted blood.
Her own.
She’d cut her lip when she’d fallen, and several red drops trickled to the floor. She felt tears, fear, and panic as she looked at Katelyn in the faint candlelight. Her
lifeless
daughter. It was so very hard to see with the lights out. Katelyn’s dark-brown hair, highlighted by a home kit, hung limp, curling over the edge of the tub. One arm was askew, as if flailing at something unseen.

The other was hidden in the sudsy water.

“Katie. Katie. Katie!” With each repetition of her daughter’s name, Sandra’s voice grew louder. By the third utterance, it was a scream that probably could be heard all over Port Gamble.

Katelyn Melissa Berkley, just fifteen, was dead.

“It can’t be,” Sandra said, tears now streaming down her face. She was woozy. Sick. Scared. She wanted to call for Harper, but she knew he was gone. She was alone in the house where the unthinkable had occurred. She slipped again as she pulled at Katelyn’s shoulders, white where the cold air had cooled them, pinkish in the still hot bathwater. Two-tone. Like a strawberry dipped in white chocolate.

BOOK: Envy
8.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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