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Authors: Taylor V. Donovan

Heatstroke (extended version)

BOOK: Heatstroke (extended version)
11.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Taylor V. Donovan
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2013 by Taylor V. Donovan
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Published by Taylor V. Donovan
New York, New York
Visit http://


Cover Art by L.C. Chase
This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is
illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon


Taylor V. Donovan Heatstroke


conviction, fines and/or imprisonment.
This eBook cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this eBook can be shared or
reproduced without the express permission of the publisher.


At twenty-one years old, Richard Lewis Bancroft was on the fast track to fame and fortune. An
award-winning start on the Broadway stage led him to the silver screens of Hollywood, where his
star began to rise, and his heart fell hard for professional baseball sensation, Manuel Guzman. But
there was no script for living out loud with the man of his dreams in the world of 1964.!
Then Richard disappeared without a trace.!
Forty years later, Michael Spencer discovered a journal in his grandmother's attic that would change his life forever, and quite possibly, solve the mysterious disappearance of Richard Lewis Bancroft.!
Chapter One
Michael Spencer wiped his nose with the back of his hand and waited a few seconds, making sure


the most recent sneeze attack was under control before he opened a box and started going through


its contents. He wasn't surprised when he found nothing but ties, belts, shoes, some sports shirts


with awfully wide lapels, and a lot of dust. He put the box away and grabbed another from what


looked like a pile of at least a hundred, neatly stacked against the far wall of the attic. This time he


found ancient women's gowns and gloves under a thick layer of dust.


"Are you okay?" His best friend's voice reached him from the phone he was holding between his


cheek and shoulder.


"The dust is killing me."


"Did you find anything?"


"Not yet, Charlie."


"Where are you looking now?"


"Some old dresser." Michael closed one drawer and opened the next, hoping he would find


something he could use.


"Please, don't tell me you're touching your granny's vintage unmentionables." "Of course not." Michael moved said unmentionables and other articles of clothing to the side


to make sure nothing was underneath. "Why would she keep old underwear up here anyway?"


touching them."


Michael chuckled at the mix of horror and disgust in his best friend's voice. He could never fool


Charlie. "So what if I am?"


"You're a freak."


"I'm a freak?" Michael moved from the dresser to the box that was on top of it. "Should I


remind you of that time you were making out with a blowup doll in the middle of the school's


football field at three o'clock in the morning?"


"That was once, and I was highly intoxicated."


Michael chuckled again. Intoxicated or not, too-horny-for-his-own-good Charlie would never live


down getting caught fondling the male blowup doll the rest of their friends had given Michael as a


gag gift on his sixteenth birthday.


"Find anything?"


"Nope." Michael closed the box and looked around the room, trying to figure out where to look




"You looked in her bedroom, right? What about under her mattress? Old people like to hide their


shit under the mattress."


"First place I checked." And only for good measure, as somehow Michael had known he wouldn't


find anything there. He started opening boxes randomly, growing more impatient with every passing




"You should've let me come to the lake with you," Charlie said for the hundredth time. "I could


be helping you."


He couldn't answer right away, as yet another sneeze attack left him with itchy, teary eyes, a throbbing head, and a running nose. The dust was killing him for real, but Michael refused to give


up. He'd been waiting for an opportunity to search this house for almost two years and wasn't about


to let some dirt and snot stop him from doing so.


"You know I would've killed someone just to have you here with me, but Mom's still in a snit


after Paul's phone call. She says I'll be grounded until I leave for college." Michael wiped his face


with his T-shirt and looked around the attic, wishing everything was labeled and he didn't have to


sort through fifty years of boxed junk. He wasn't entirely sure what he was looking for, but he


hoped he would find something that either confirmed or denied his suspicions, preferably well


before his family came back home.


He sneezed again.


Michael disliked dust almost as much as he disliked visiting Grandma Elizabeth. Her place,


located on Lake Tahoe, was so far from their house in California it took forever and three weeks to


get to it. And if that wasn't bad enough, they had to deal with her attitude to boot. His grandma was


a recluse and seemed to resent her own family's sporadic visits. She didn't bother to hide the fact


that she preferred to be alone either. Bitterness surrounded her, and it was almost suffocating to be


around her.


Grandma had never been a happy person. None of his recollections from when he was a kid


included tender hugs or homemade chocolate chip cookies baked especially for him. In fact, the


older he got, the colder her demeanor toward him was. There were never cute birthday cards or long


talks about happier times in her life. But Michael clearly remembered her slapping him in his face for


touching her things and forbidding him from going near this very same attic the one time he'd


ventured inside and opened a few trunks.


To Michael, it had been nothing but an innocent game of treasure hunt, but now that he was


older, he could see that Grandma had reacted as if he had uncovered the family's darkest secret. He was nine then, and hadn't uncovered anything, but now he was determined. He would find whatever


Grandma was hiding.


"Dude, you'll be eighteen in like, a month," Charlie pointed out. "She can't ground you."


"I dare you to say that to my mother."


The dust was so bad that all of a sudden Michael found himself needing a reminder of why he


was there, risking both his lungs and the wrath of his grandma.


He wiped his face again and very carefully pulled the picture he'd been carrying with him for the


past two years out of his jeans pocket. It was black and white and not an original, as he had printed


it out from the Internet. But it was clear enough that he could see the striking resemblance between


himself and the young man posing in front of the 20
Century Fox Studios logo some forty-five


years ago.


The man in the picture was an actor named Richard Bancroft and had become an obsession to


Michael the moment he started suspecting who he could be. Since then he'd printed out everything


he could find on the guy. He had also purchased his movies online and watched episodes of the T.V.


shows he'd been on hundreds of times on the Internet. And all the time Michael had been


impatiently waiting for the chance to get to his Grandma's house and take a look at the things she


guarded like a Doberman would his favorite bone.


He folded the picture and put it back in his pocket before going through a few more boxes, his


impatience growing as quickly as the minutes were passing. There didn't seem to be anything but old


clothes and shoes, and he was running out of time. After another sneeze attack it occurred to


Michael that heavier things such as documents and photo albums would be under everything else.


He moved the boxes from the top of the pile out of his way and opened a few of the ones from the


bottom. There had to be something inside at least one of them that would answer his questions


once and for all. "But you're an adult now," Charlie said. "She doesn't have a say anymore."


"I'm not an adult just yet, and she says she can do whatever she wants, especially when I




"That's so much BS," Charlie complained. "You weren't misbehaving. You're a teenager, and your


hormones are all over the place. She can't expect you not to take care of that. I mean, what are you


supposed to do? Jerk off all the time?"




"And to not let us hang out for an entire month because you had your hands all over some boy's


bits is just plain wrong. Your mother is evil, dude."


"You know what's evil? This damned attic!" Michael sneezed. "I'll never be able to find anything."


"You gotta take it easy and concentrate," Charlie rushed to say. "You've been waiting to get in


there like, forever, right?"


More like forever and a day, but who the hell was counting?


The first time Michael suspected there could be some skeletons in his grandma's closet, he was


only fifteen years old and away at a very exclusive boarding school in New Jersey. Academic elitists


that they were, his parents decided they'd jumpstart his extremely well planned Ivy League education


the moment he turned twelve by sending him to a school literally down the road from Princeton


University. It was also about three thousand miles away from their home in Silicon Valley, California.


Michael knew he'd been sent to that particular school because it had a rigorous academic reputation


and the best science program in the country. Luckily for him it also had supportive teachers, an


inclusive policy, and a rich arts program. He had loved it.


It was during his third year at Worthington Academy that he got involved in the drama club. He


loved the stage, the lights, and the costumes, but more than the acting, it was all the aspects of the


production that really fascinated him. Helping things move along backstage made him happy, and he wished for nothing else.


He got it anyway.


During his fourth year at Worthington, he landed one of the male lead roles in the school's


revival of
Café Au Lait
, a very popular Broadway musical. The director of their drama club swore


Michael was a dead ringer for Richard Bancroft, the young actor that had made the character of


Bernard Collins famous in the early 1960s. He demanded that Michael take on the role; no buts, no




Truth was Michael hadn't made a big deal out of looking like some famous dude from years ago,


but his flippant attitude changed a few months later when he traveled home during the school's


holiday break.


For reasons he couldn't remember, Grandma Elizabeth happened to be staying with his parents


at the time, and she lost her shit when Michael mentioned his theater director thought he looked just


like this Richard guy. She had screamed that Michael didn't look anything like that perverted actor


and demanded from his father that he put a stop to that theater nonsense. She also said his father


shouldn't allow him to have anything to do with acting, because that world was one of pure evil and


sin. She had then looked at Michael and forbidden him from ever speaking that man's name again,


just like she'd forbidden him from going into the attic all those years ago.


Michael's curiosity had been so piqued by his grandma's extreme reaction that he had started


looking online for information on Richard Bancroft the moment he got back to school. There had


to be a reason why his grandma had looked like she'd seen a ghost the moment he mentioned the


actor's name.


He wiped his nose and looked around again. "There's shit all over the place!" he complained to
BOOK: Heatstroke (extended version)
11.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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