SHADOW HOUSE follows two men who share a terrible secret that, through a quirk of fate, saved one, but damned the other. These seemingly unconnected lives begin interweaving between five-year-old PJ McAvoy, in 1920’s Massachusetts, and present-day family man, Aaron, when he purchases an antique toolbox. Through Aaron’s “visions” into PJ’s past, from the childhood injury that precipitates his paranormal ability to kill, through WWII combat years, every tragedy befalling PJ, or act of mayhem inflicted, he holds Aaron responsible.
To save his family from PJ’s vendetta, Aaron must learn the secret that binds them, and how to master his innate paranormal abilities. PJ’s plans, however, go beyond mere revenge, where his own death is not an obstacle, and Aaron’s demise will be but a footnote.
~ Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler. ~
PJ McAvoy was downright evil. It ran in his blood and grew stronger with every hacking chain-smoking breath. I’d bet if you could see inside his veins, those corpulent white blood cells would be attacking each other out of pure spite. But throughout his long life, no ailment hampered him. Fit and tough, he looked like a carpenter long before he became one; tall, lean to the point of gaunt, with gnarled fingers and calloused hands. He must have been born that way, because no one recalled ever having seen him
work for a living. His hollowed cheeks and protruding brow over eyes as black as nightmare shadows caused people to glance away. Anyone he chose would be touched in some way by this malevolence; a good mood turned spontaneously foul, or a confident soul doubted their will to live. If provoked, this dark purpose could work its way deep inside, gnawing at all the decent fiber of their being until it assimilated, turned putrid and they coughed up black blood, choking on rancid thoughts of disease and carnage heretofore alien to their pure and simple minds. He did these things for fun.However, he was a man and he grew old and died. He, like all, knew this was inevitable, and wasn’t overly concerned. But he did want to pass on his gift, his special talent, his will. He may not have known from where or why he had such a gift, but he knew what he could do with it. He had experimented his entire life, creating agony, strife and despair, with the same glee and joy as any evangelist would inspire within his own ego at the end of a sermon where thousands had wept at his enlightened words.
Not until very near the end of his life did he discover how this evil induction could be stored up in inanimate things. PJ wasn’t without a sense of humor. He could’ve done far more serious harm if he’d insinuated his will into a more obvious vehicle, but he wasn’t about carrying out some sort of master plan of destruction, no. He aimed for self-gratification; never mind that he’d be dead and wouldn’t receive a bit of it. The mere thought of his intentions sent him into uncontrollable giggles, then full force guffaws that had him wheezing for breath.
For most of the years of his life, PJ McAvoy was a damn good carpenter. The first things he gathered were his tools. He liked used tools, worn smooth to the radiant sheen of natural wood, luxurious to the touch, for they had character and a rich beauty, which later belied their intent. In short, for his purposes, they weren’t only good for their intended design, but they attracted the eye, which would be of paramount importance for his ultimate plan.
He made many things: tables, chairs, and bedsteads, to toys for tots. He made hundreds of things…and never sold any of them. Money held no allure to him, nor charity, but still he gave away his handiwork. The last creation he completed before Death dropped off his ticket to hell was a model house. On first look, one might mistake it for a rather large, refined, dollhouse. But it wasn’t. Weaving together centuries of styles crossed architectural boundaries in an alluring artifice, enticing one to peer into every window.
The design and construction weren’t its only particular attributes. Within those crafted walls, precise replicas of almost every piece of furniture McAvoy made filled every room. However, the uniqueness of the house transcended even its engrossing appearance and amenities. An all-encompassing, undefined gravity pulled viewers close to catch them up in examining all the minutiae for hours on end. For many ensnared in that magnetic force, varying degrees of ill health ensued—the more subtle of the maladies received—but for the unfortunate few, innocence lost in spirit and mind, was guaranteed. The connection between the house and the wretched happenings of those who had a look-see into the tiny windows was never realized. Fortunately, the building was donated to the state museum of architecture and sealed within an inert gas-filled glass case—for protection against touchy fingers—which also seemed to serve as an unintended condom against PJ’s transmission of depravity.
Having no traceable family and leaving no known will, all McAvoy’s possessions went to auction on a Sunday early in April. That fine spring morning, just crisp enough to brighten the heart after a harsh winter, brought people out for their first fling at buying unnecessary items before they had to give a huge portion of their earnings to Uncle Sam a week later.
This same clear-sky morning which heralded an eager start to summer, portended something much more when everything McAvoy had created; furniture, toys and handcrafted toolbox sold as one all-encompassing lot.
The hand that held aloft the winning bid…was mine.
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