GENRE: YA mystery with romantic elements
Tara raced over the leaf strewn path dirt through the woods, aching sobs leading her down to the lake.
A gentle breeze blew ripples over the water, while the colors of the setting sun merged in a violent kaleidoscope. Orange to deep red. Blood red. Like the water around Beth’s mangled body on a fall afternoon ten years ago. Aunt June’s keening had mingled with hushed whispers and staccato commands, the whine of the ambulance in the background.
Today, Aunt June’s sobs rose and fell, undisturbed by the birds and small animals frequenting the woods. She kneeled on the rocks, her fingers threading through the water. As though caressing the tresses of her murdered daughter.
Tara’s chest tightened into a vise. Drawing her jacket tight against the November chill, she hunkered down next to her aunt and slipped her arm around her shaking shoulders, averting her gaze from the murky water. If she looked closely, she could still see long, blonde hair tangled in the dirt, the pale, freckled face smashed in.
It had been ten years, but they’d never found the murderer, the monster who’d beat to death a nine-year-old. And lately, her aunt had been slipping further and further from reality.
“Shhh, Aunt. Let’s go back home. It’s getting cold.”
Shadowed grey eyes turned to her and widened. “Beth? My Beth?”
Tara bit her trembling lip. “No, it’s Tara. Come, let’s get you back.”