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She didn't want to jump. She had three beautiful little girls, and she loved her husband. So why, when she peered out of the window into this gale force wind, did she feel like she wanted to fly into the air, into the heart of the storm?
The storm was calling to her, it seemed. She could hear something outside, underneath the thunder and lightening, another layer of sound.
It was familiar somehow. What was it? She had to know; she was driven to find out.
She flung open the window and crawled precariously onto the window ledge, slick with rain. What did she hear? Locusts? Cicadas?
No. It was whispers. Children whispering.
She couldn't make out what they were saying. She cocked her head to the side and leaned toward the sound. Her foot slid off the ledge and she caught herself, clawing at the sides of the old wooden windowpane.
Her heart hammering wildly in her chest, she felt dizzy as she looked down into the storm. It looked as if a tempest had appeared directly below the window under her hazardous perch. A black whirlwind spun round and round, making her sick as she watched its progress.
She felt as if she wanted to jump, and her foot left the ledge; when somewhere in the back of her mind, her father's Scottish brogue cautioned her. She replaced her foot.
"Anna," she heard whispered, "help us. We are lost. Please help." She lifted her foot again.
"I must help," she said matter-of factly into the wind. She bent her knees and prepared to leap, when she heard the decibel of the whispers increase and become more fervent. It seemed as if an unseen hand were pulling her toward the center of the black,whirling circle. She held her breath, and...
"Momma, what are you doing?"
She placed her foot down and turned around on the sill, slipping as she did so. Her daughter grabbed her hand and helped her down.
"The whispers, they were calling me," she said stupidly, still feeling as if her mind were thick with fog.
"You mean the children's voices? I hear them every time it rains."
Ten Years Ago
November 14, 1994 Eleven p.m.
Rhinebeck, New York
The hospital sliding doors opened and the gurney rushed through, precariously missing a corner in the EMTs haste to reach the M.D. on call.
"Vitals?" demanded Chris Calhoun, the lead paramedic.
"B.P. is sixty over thirty. We're losing him, Chris."
The patient had been found at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. His body had been retracted from his demolished car by the 'Jaws of Life.'
Chris began accounting the patient's status to the nurse who had run out of the sliding doors of the hospital to meet them, he rapid fired his report as he had been trained. "Head trauma, with possible spinal cord injury. We will need a neurology and an orthopedic resident, his tibia is a comminuted fracture as well on the right."
Chris Calhoun hovered over his patient's head and whispered, "Come on, buddy, hang in there."
November 14, 1994
Raena sat at her desk with her head in her hands, pouring over the paper due the following morning. She heard a sound outside ... one not familiar in this seaside neighborhood.
"Are those birds at this hour of night? Those aren't gulls..." she whispered to the dark.
She rose and walked to the window, sucking in her breath at the sight on her front lawn. A murder of crows were distributed all over the moonlit yard, squawking and pecking at one another.
"Something is wrong..." she said as a black, ominous feeling, almost palpable descended on her heart.
She startled with the ringing of the phone and her heart began to beat wildly. Running full tilt, she leaped over the ottoman and ripped receiver off its cradle.
"What's wrong?" she said into the receiver.
Sobbing on the other end--uncontrollable sobbing met her ears.
"Bella? Bella, honey, what is it?"
Her seventeen-year-old sister attempted to speak, but it comes out as, "RRRRRaaaeee!!"
"Bella, get a hold of yourself! What has happened! Where is Rachael? Put her on the phone. It's not the baby, is it?"
Posted October 6, 2006
A Circle of Crows is the debut book for Brynn Chapman and she gives us a dark tale of missing children. In writing, we are often encouraged to distill our books to two movie titles - called the ¿High Concept¿. At a writers convention you have a very limited window to snag and agent¿s or editor¿s attention. I generally dislike this summing up a novel by defining your work with a couple movie titles. A book should be special, unique. However, now and then, this high concept does pop into my mind when I am trying to review a book. Chapman is a writer who is evocative in this Frank Laloggia¿s Lady in White meets M. Night Shyamalan¿s The Village. For once, high concept is dead on target. As in Lady in White, there are children missing from a small rural area, but Chapman quickly moves the mystery into the mysterious with the hypnotic writing that evokes Shyamalan¿s touch of Hitchockian horror, with her showing great promise as a author. Children of the sleepy town of Rhinebeck are missing. Since the turn of the century, they have vanished. One minute they are there, next they are gone. No evidence to say what happened to them. The Four Season Inn is own by three sisters, though only two remain. The third sister is one of the missing children of Rhinebeck. When she was thirteen, she disappeared while her family slept. Odd things are now happening to the remaining twin sisters. When it rains there are whispers, like children calling. Then the crows begin to circle the old inn, foretelling of a dark menace that must be stopped. The riddle of where the children have vanished centers on the Inn. In a spiraling tale that keeps the tension palpable from page one and never lets up, Chapman evokes the tension of The Village and the small town family love so wonderfully summon by Laloggia in Lady in White, giving this tale the cohesive power that binds the sisters with the strength to face what is unimaginable. A very welcome addition on my keeper shelf. ~ Deborah Macgillivray, author of A Restless Knight posted May 12, 2006, The Best ReviewsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.