Chapter 1

                                                                       Baxter Falls, Connecticut


            Daniel sat motionlessly, frozen in time. Paralyzed by fear, with no apparent danger in sight; his eyes darted from side to side. The neighborhood was so strange; yet so familiar. Two faceless people occupied the front seat. The sedan slowly accelerated across the intersection. A thunderous explosion reverberated throughout the quaint suburb. The unmistakable noise of metal bending; that familiar sound of a beer can being twisted and crushed at a frat party. Daniel’s seatbelt unbuckled, he tried to move, but his attempts were futile as the car spun out of control. The putrid smell of rubber engulfed the sedan, his eyes watered. He started gagging. Thud! The sudden impact left the car contorted around a telephone pole. Shards of glass ricocheted. Both occupants were violently thrust forward. Blood everywhere. He felt a warmness oozing down his face. In the distance, a child screamed. The driver’s head implanted on the steering wheel. The din slowly faded.

            Jolted awake by the annoying sound of his alarm, Daniel hit several buttons. In total frustration, he knocked it on the floor. Bewildered he sat up in bed and assessed his surroundings. He yanked the cord. Daniel took several deep breaths trying to calm himself. His chest pounded like a bass drum. Just another nightmare.

            He had stayed at this house for a month and still hadn’t gotten used to it. It’s his old bedroom. The sun, rising, cast shadows in the room. Various posters caught his eye. He fixated on the iconic Farrah Fawcett poster, clad in a red bathing suit, flashing her big smile. Daniel found that one in the garage a cherished memento from his father’s youth. A few of his posters with tattered edges and yellow tape were withstanding the test of time. The room was an archive of his adolescence. His grandfather hadn’t changed a thing.

            Finally, calm he collected his thoughts for the day. He entered the kitchen where the beeping of the coffee machine signaled the completion of brewing. The smell aroused his senses. His taste buds salivated in anticipation of his first cup. He poured himself a mug. He liked his coffee simple—black.

            Daniel sat on the couch and turned on the television. It blasted loudly, startling him. Lowering the volume, he chuckled. His grandfather refused to acknowledge his hearing loss. He flipped through the mail and noticed a letter from an attorney’s office, Benjamin, Benjamin, and Franklin, Esq. He put it aside to read later.

            Was Gramps awake? He gently turned the knob of his bedroom door. The small TV set in the corner transmitted an eerie glow throughout the room. Hearing the loud bellow of his snoring, he thought of how old his grandfather had suddenly become. He closed the door.

            His pants were getting a little snug around the waist. He knew he had gained weight a direct result of bad eating habits and long working hours.  He returned to the bathroom, reached down to get his razor to get rid of the three-day stubble. Who was he trying to impress? He put the blade back down and opted for his toothbrush.

He headed to the kitchen and wrote his grandfather a quick note explaining he will be there to make dinner and left his cell phone number.

Daniel looked through the kitchen window and saw the sky aglow with the promise of another beautiful day. On the way out, he stopped in the living room and lovingly touched the picture of his parents. Ever since he moved in with Gramps, this had been a daily ritual. This day is different. It was the twenty-seventh anniversary of their death.