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Dane Marlowe returns to the old homestead where he was happy as a child. Too many drinks attempting to wash away too much grief have taken their toll on his life.

But maybe this will be his refuge, a place to combat the sorrows and get on with his life, to finish the book he is writing as therapy, a book no one will ever read.

Is Dane as abandoned as the old derelict house before him, or does Fate have other plans?

Chapter One

His grandfather's house was a corpse.

Its bleached bones of oak siding were surrounded by tall weeds so that it appeared to be an apparition on some deserted island.

Dane Marlowe felt a tug at his heart and something caught in his throat when he saw it. He shifted his motorcycle into neutral and turned off the ignition. The 350cc Yamaha spat and grunted, then ticked like a watch as the engine cooled and his weight on the seat made the leather creak like an old door opening on a spectral vault.

Dane's boot slipped onto the kickstand and he pushed downward until it touched the ground at an angle. He slid off the bike and removed his helmet, hung it on one of the rearview mirrors. His dark hair rippled in the slight breeze and his blue eyes squinted in the bright sun as he loosened the Bungee cords holding down the plastic milk crates on the rack behind the seat. The crate was full of groceries and two small butane tanks for his Coleman one-burner camp stove. He set the crate on the ground and slipped out of his backpack and carried it by one of the straps toward the house. The Bungee cords dangled like multicolored dead snakes from the bike rack.

The long grass sighed under his feet, stayed flattened behind him, creating a little path of sward. Grasshoppers took flight, rattling like winged castanets, only to disappear in the jungle of weeds as he passed. The grasses gave off a musty scent, dried wheat in a storm cellar or moldy bread left on a kitchen counter in a vacant apartment.

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