Zeb, the Carter family patriarch, is a hard, callous man. He runs his thriving sawmill, farm and family with an iron fist. When he commits an incredible act of cruelty, he ignorantly brings a terrible curse down upon all his kin. Martha Thompsons’ prophecy proves true as the family falls into ruin, and the women pay the price.
Almost a century after Zeb’s death, a Carter daughter is born with notable yet uncanny gifts. It will be up to Shyanne to unearth a long buried family secret and set an old wrong back to rights. Will she find a way to lift the curse and banish the accursed wraith that haunts her? If she fails, she risks losing her own little girl to the dark entity forever.
A small North Carolina community, where everyone knows everyone sets the perfect stage for this suspenseful drama. Rich in history and southern culture, The Wraith of Carter’s Mill harkens back to a time when life was simpler, and superstition was part of everyday living.
Dancing With Chance
Mercy fastened the buttons of her blouse while Boyd languished on the soft pile of scattered wheat straw in the corner, watching her. The warm glow of the lamplight reflecting off her loose, long wavy blonde hair as it cascaded to her waist created an illusion of innocence, perfection. She looks just like an angel he thought as he admired her the way he often did in these moments following their intimacy. He loved to look at her, loved doing things with her, but he had no delusions about her imperfection, her lack of innocence. That was what made these moments so fascinating to him. No matter how many times they did this, he was always stunned by the way, she looked like something so opposite of her true self.
His brother Mark warned, “Mercy Carter’s dangerous. She’s like a big gulp of moonshine, hot and burnin’ like fire on the way down but soothin’ and good feelin’ once you get passed the bite. By then it’s too late ‘cause you’re drunk.” Boyd was intoxicated by her, of that he had no doubt, but he did not love her. Being with Mercy was an adventure, and it did not hurt matters that she was both beautiful and dangerous. There was not a lot of adventuring a young man his age could do in Carter’s Mill.
Her clothes situated, Mercy ran her fingers through her hair, fishing out errant pieces of straw.
“You’re sure nobody saw you sneak out of the house?” Boyd asked for the second time that night.
Mercy Carter rolled her eyes and wheeled to face him. “Yes, I’m sure. Patience woke up as I was leavin’ but I just told her I was goin’ to the privy. Stop worryin’ so much. Besides, like I told you, this is the last time anyway.”
Boyd swiftly reached up, grabbing her hand; he pulled her back down on the straw with him. He kissed her clumsily and said, “It don’t have to be you know. Nobody ever comes down here at night, nobody knows about us and what we do here.”
Annoyed, Mercy pulled away and Boyd fell back in the straw. She angrily brushed the straw from her skirt and pushed her arm through the sleeve of her coat. “It doesn’t have to be the last time, but it is the last time.”
Boyd groaned, he was growing weary of Mercy’s games. If it was true this time, it was probably for the best. He had plans to propose to Lora Grisham on Christmas day anyway. Boyd tried hard not to think about Lora when he was with Mercy. The girl he loved was as chaste as fresh fallen snow and he intended to keep her that way until their wedding night. The ring he ordered form Montgomery Ward arrived the week before so all he needed to do now was wait for the big day.
His trysts with Mercy satisfied a baser need, a side of himself that Lora had never nor would ever see. Lora would be his wife, the mother of his babies and keeper of his house. He would be kind to her, patient with her and would protect her for a lifetime. Yes, this has to end.
Finished buttoning her coat, Mercy glared down at him irritably, hands on hips. “Well? Are you goin’ to walk me to the edge of the woods or are you gonna lie there and let me go by myself?”
Boyd sighed, rose and fastened his pants. Reaching for his coat he said, “Of course I’ll walk you through the woods Mercy. Why do you have to talk to me like that? You always act like you’re mad at me or somethin’ afterward. ”
Mercy huffed with frustration, “Oh stop bein’ a baby Boyd! You know I gotta get home before Mama gets up!”
Boyd opened the smokehouse door slightly; peeking out to make sure no one was about before stepping through the doorway. Satisfied they were still alone, he turned to Mercy. “Kill that lantern, the moon is almost full, we can see fine without it.”
Mercy joined him outside and handed him the dark lantern to carry. As they had done many nights before, they made their way in silence. The path that led through Carter’s woods and into Mercy’s back yard was long. The loud snap of a twig stopped them both short.
“What was that?” whispered Mercy.
Boyd scanned the edge of the woods nervously, “Probably just a coon or something,” he assured her.
They took a few more steps and heard the noise again. Mercy grabbed Boyd’s arm nervously, her heart pounding in her ears. “Somebody is coming,” Mercy whispered frantically.
“Sshhh,” Boyd hissed as he listened closely, standing a still as possible. Hanging onto Boyd’s arm, Mercy was about to squeeze off the circulation. Boyd shook her off it and continued to listen. The footsteps were clearer now, there was nowhere to hide. Running would just draw more attention; all he could do was wait for the source of the noise to come out into the open.
Boyd was overcome with relief when a stranger stepped out into the clearing. He let out a long breath, realizing that he had been holding it. He was a mountain of a man, tall and broad. He wore no hat. His long black hair, divided neatly into two braids, draped neatly across his shoulders and down his barrel chest. The coat he wore was covered with so many patches it was impossible to determine its color. The knees of his pants were the same. His arms were laden with deadfall of various sizes. The huge bundle looked tiny in his arms. Boyd had never seen this man before, which meant the man would not know either of them.
“Hold up there! Who goes there?” Boyd’s voice boomed with as much authority as he could muster.
The man started and stopped, surprised to see them. “My name is Samson, Jake Samson. I’m just passing through. I’ll be leavin’ in the mornin’.”
“You fixin’ to build you a fire? You plan to spend the night?” Boyd asked.
“I am. Snared a rabbit, gonna cook it and eat it. Sleep a couple of hours then I’ll be on my way.” Jake answered.
“Yeah well, it’s probably for the best if you just keep passin’. This here is Carter land and you got no business here.” Boyd said.
Mercy clung to Boyd’s arm for dear life. Hiding half her face behind him, she peered out at the stranger. “Let’s go Boyd,” she whispered loudly through clenched teeth.
The stranger, undaunted by Boyd’s warning, asked, “Are you the Carter what owns this land?”
Mercy’s mouth fell open in shock. She felt Boyd pull himself up as tall as he would go. He stammered, “No… but I work for Mr. Carter and if he finds you here in the mornin’, he’ll have plenty to say about it, you can be sure ‘bout that.”
The stranger walked closer and casually dropped his load. The dead rabbit swayed from a string on his belt. “Well, he’s not likely to find me here come mornin’, I’ll be movin’ on at daybreak,” Samson answered without looking up from the task of breaking off twigs for kindling.
Mercy whispered nervously, “Leave him be Boyd, let’s go.”
Boyd, unwilling to walk away without having the last word, found his nerve and stated sternly, “I’m sure Mr. Carter ain’t gonna take too kindly to you huntin’ on his property neither.”
Samson pulled the dead rabbit free of his belt. “Ain’t huntin’ on his land. Caught this rabbit in a snare I set at last night’s camp.” The stranger, obviously not unsettled by Boyd in the least, stared back.
“Well, you just see that you’re gone by morning,” Boyd warned.
The stranger did not respond, nor did he concede the warning, but he pulled the hide from the rabbit without taking his eyes from Boyd’s. Mercy, still crouched behind Boyd, pushed him back toward the path. “Let’s go,” she hissed.
Boyd pulled his eyes from the stranger and led Mercy to the path as quickly as he could without running. Finally, out of the stranger’s sight, he shook Mercy free of his arm once more. “Let go of me! God, you were squeezin’ the life out of my arm back there. Since when are you scared of anybody? What’s the matter with you?”
Bumping into the stranger had unnerved them both. It was a close call. He did not mean to snap at Mercy so harshly, but he knew that had one of the Carter boys caught him out here with their sister, there would have been hell to pay. She is right, we can’t do this anymore.
After reaching a safe distance from the stranger, Mercy asked, “What if he tells? What if he tells somebody he saw us out here? What if he knows what we were doing in the smokehouse?”
“So what if he knows? I doubt he got a good look at you anyhow the way you were hiding behind my arm. Who’s he gone tell? I didn’t give him my name and he doesn’t know either one of us. He’ll be gone before the sun comes up.” Boyd answered.
Mercy took a deep breath and calmed herself. Boyd was right; her nerves were just on edge from all this sneakin’ out at night. She had said it before but she meant it this time, this would be her last night with Boyd Smith.
K.C. Finn of Reader’s Favorite
…The Wraith of Carter’s Mill, is very much a family-saga style tale of births, marriages and deaths through the generations.
…when supernatural and suspenseful moments occur, readers are swept away in their seeming realism.
…There is great authenticity in the historical atmosphere and attention to detail that author C. Evenfall gives to the stories.
Michelle Randall of Reader’s Favorite
…C. Evenfall mixes a ghost story, and a story of revenge and betrayal all together with a family saga that sees five generations of Carters deal with the dark man.
…compelling…pulled me along the whole way.
Kathleen B. (Independent proofreader & copy-editor. Worked for your publisher imKY to proofread WCMx. Comments from Kathleen were unprompted and unpaid.)
This is a story that cannot be put down easily.
Evenfall is a true storyteller with great depth.
...extremely engaging style with wonderful character development, which is also stealthily revealed.
C. Evenfall grew up in a small fishing village in Eastern North Carolina. The area was rich with history, ghost stories and unexplained phenomenon; all fodder for the vivid imaginings of a young girl. She began “collecting” stories at a young age.
At aged six, C. Evenfall experienced the paranormal firsthand and has been seeking answers ever since. Her fascination with the unexplainable and her love for old family ghost stories inspired her to write a collection of novellas. Each inspired by the experiences passed down through her family for generations.
C. Evenfall resides on the Carolina Coast with her husband, a self-proclaimed skeptic. She loves him anyway and the two complement each other perfectly.