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Authors: Sarah Kernochan

Jane Was Here

BOOK: Jane Was Here
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Sarah Kernochan’s Previous Work:
Dry Hustle




Sarah Kernochan
JANE WAS HERE. Copyright © 2011 by Sarah Kernochan. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or by any information and restoral system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume any responsibility for, third party websites or their content.
Grey Swan Press
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are prod-ucts of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, or locals or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
100% acid-free paper
Printed in the United States
Cover designed by Norman Moore
Cover photograph by Phoebe Lapine
100% acid-free paper
Printed in the United States
Kernochan, Sarah.
Jane was here/Sarah Kernochan-1st ed.
     p. cm.
1. Mystery-Fiction. 2. Reincarnation-Fiction. 3. Title.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2010941987
eBook ISBN: 978-0-615-49061-8
0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
eBook published by
Page of Wands Press, Inc.
To my parents,
Jack and Adelaide Kernochan
I’ll be seeing you.
Part One
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Part Two
Part Three
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
he night is pale, humid, with a few begrimed clouds. The moon has hung around so long it’s ignored, unremarkable as a thumb-tack. On this July night, the girl soon to be known as Jane enters the village of Graynier.
It has grown since she was here last, though that was too long ago for her to remember. Back then there were only a few hundred people in Graynier.
It had never been one of those quaint New England hamlets, with neat white clapboard houses, town hall and Presbyterian church presiding over a cozy green, a registry spanning back to the Puritans.
Graynier came into being because of the glass factory. Built in 1828 at the foot of Putman Hill, it harnessed the gush of Ponusuck Creek for its great wheel. Workers arrived; their houses sprang up on haphazard dirt lanes. The factory owner’s mansion went up. His progeny built a cluster of modest Victorians to face the wooded hills, turning their backs on the working-class neighborhoods, repudiating community. The workers’ progeny established shops and took up the better professions, valiantly trying to confer an air of prosperity on the village…But Graynier was built on glass, and everyone felt that impermanence underfoot.
The factory no longer exists.
She remembers so very little, she cannot comment to herself how this and that have changed since the old days. Yet it was her home, this much she knows. That certainty produces in her a wild joy, thrashing like a bird against the curtain of fatigue sweeping over her body.
She wants to know everything, all, and at once.
Better that she does not: too soon for her to know the appalling events of the past. And the future she is rushing toward, sweeping the town’s inhabitants along with her in a frightful flood of justice, is also obscured—as it should be.
Some of the people who were present for what happened all those years ago still live here. The one who pushed her from the womb. The one who carried her on his shoulders. The one who taught her arithmetic. The one who kissed her first. The one who fell in love with her. The one she loved instead.
And the one who killed her.
That one is somewhere here: a small life that shimmers and pulses in the night—or so Heaven must see it, for, in spite of that terrible deed, all life is sacred. But her killer would have no more idea of that than a mole snuffling about its starless underworld.
And Heaven would have her be ignorant as well, as she walks into the village of Graynier, in the valley between two hills, under a vapid moon.
t 3 a.m. Hoyt Eddy wakes up in his truck. The Shicker Shack’s neon sign is shut off; his pickup is the only vehicle left in the bar’s parking lot.
Mosquitoes bob and weave inside the cab as he scratches the bites on his arms. Maybe they took one too many hits off his over-bourboned blood. He twists to peer through the rear window into the truck bed. Sure enough, his dog Pete is gone, bored with waiting for him to sleep off the night’s booze-a-thon.
Hoyt whistles. Pete catapults out of a dumpster, shaking off pizza crusts and wet coffee filters from ruptured garbage bags. He jumps into the pickup bed while Hoyt starts the engine.
Might as well stay up the rest of the night, Hoyt decides, pulling onto Route 404: have a glass of that Malbec he stole from Jack Meltzer’s wine cellar, read the 1893 pocket edition of Byron’s poems he bought for twenty-five cents at the First Methodist Book Fair. He likes the tiny print and age-dappled pages of the worthless volumes that sometimes turn up at church sales, especially oddities like nineteenth century treatises on angling, or housework. He has an entire wall he has read of books like these, and another wall he intends to read.
Jack and Audrey Meltzer are arriving in two weeks to enjoy their dream house. As their caretaker (Hoyt Eddy Property Management, LLC), Hoyt is responsible for making sure everything is as it should be. That means he will have to rescue the place from ten months of neglect. He has to start work early in the morning.
He will spend the week preparing the estate: cleaning gutters, poisoning ants, roaches and the mice that have gnawed through the home theater cables. He will bomb wasp nests he’s left untended to grow as big as basketballs; he’ll repair cracked windows and punctured screens; bring in migrant workers from the motel (paying them a meager wage from the outrageous amount he charges the Meltzers for lawn care, using the name of a fictitious high-end nursery) to mow, trim, and weed. He will skim snakes from the pool; tie rags around burst pipes; dump copper sulfate into the lake to destroy the carpet of green algae which has vividly claimed it, and in the process kill whatever fish haven’t mutated since the last time he threw chemicals their way. All must appear shipshape.
BOOK: Jane Was Here
7.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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