Down The River

The Belle Âme Chronicles | Book #1

SYNOPSIS

The Washingtons are the artistic, hippie family that everyone knows and side-eyes. Holed up in their own private compound, affectionately christened “Belle Âme”, the Washingtons keep to themselves until they choose to put on a new performance for the public.

But their hand in a murder one-year-prior weighs heavily on the minds of Blythe and Nathalian Washington. The fragile mental state of Nathalian’s younger brother, Edwin, and the constant chaos brewing around their teenaged daughters do nothing to quell their nerves. And with the three-year anniversary of the disappearance of Blythe’s cousin Georgia on the horizon, the Washingtons feel themselves slowly becoming unhinged.

When signs start to point to Georgia’s return, Blythe and Nathalian team up to try to uncover the truth, without also revealing the details of their darkest secrets.

PROLOGUE

Blythe turned her head slightly as Nathalian shoved the corpse into the deep, muddy hole between them. The corpse landed with a sickening thud at the bottom, arms spread akimbo.
“It’s done,” Nathalian muttered, more to himself than to anyone else.
Blythe looked up at Nathalian, the rain plastering her bangs to her cheeks. “He’s in a bloody hole,” she said. “It’s not done.”
Nathalian nodded his head. “It is. Just gotta toss the dirt back in.” He bent down and reached behind him, grabbing two shovels off the muddy ground. He handed one to Blythe. “Start scooping.”
Blythe grabbed the shovel while looking at Nathalian questionably. “Are we sure this was the right guy?” she asked. “Are we absolutely positive?”
“It doesn’t really matter now, does it?” Nathalian shoved his shovel into the soft mud and scooped a hunk into the grave. “But really. It was him.”
The sound of vomit echoed through the woods from a few feet away. Blythe rolled her eyes as she scooped the dirt. “Edwin, y’know, we could be done with this a lot quicker if you’d come help us!”
Edwin gripped the trunk of the tree tightly with his left hand, using his right to wipe the splooge from his mouth. His eyes were wide and distant, his expression still one of horror. He focused on the pile of vomit at his feet, watching it wash away into small streams as the downpour intensified.
“He’s not going to help…” Nathalian muttered.
“I know…”
Nathalian and Blythe continued to shovel mud into the grave in silence, the rainfall drowning out the sounds of everything around them. After some time, once the body was fully covered by dirt, Edwin made his way over, standing slightly behind Blythe as his eyes bore into the shallow grave.
“You know this isn’t going to bring her back, right?” he said, hardly more than a whisper.
Blythe looked back at Edwin for a few seconds and then turned back around. “I know,” she said, gripping the shovel tighter in her hands, “but at least here’s a start.”