A high school “American Psycho.”
SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.
SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.
Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.
The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
He is also a psychopath.
A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.
As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.
And that someone will pay with their life.
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Leslie followed him along the shoreline until they came to a rusted iron gate with a No Trespassing sign secured to it. Decorated with crosses and swirls, the sign marked the entrance to The Abbey grounds. Stepping through the open gate, she peered up at the imposing structure.
Two spires of white limestone, shaped like the tip of a sword, cut into the blue sky. The structure of red brick and limestone, the front windows and doors secured with loose scraps of plywood, sat in the middle of a field of high grass. The squat stone building of cloisters behind The Abbey remained intact. The Benedictine monks who had run the seminary school demolished the dormitories, refectory, and library after the site had been abandoned.
“Some place, huh?” Derek let go of her hand and trudged his way across the high grass.
Leslie’s apprehension bloomed in her chest. The grounds, unkempt after years of neglect, were a hodgepodge of weeds, overgrown trees, and green vines. On the way across the thigh-high grass, they passed a beautiful triple-tiered fountain with an angel on top, raising her arms to the heavens—a silent witness to the past.
How do people come here at night?
“You ever wonder why those priests just up and left it?” she asked, uncomfortable with the eerie quiet. Even the birds had stopped singing. “I know everyone in town says they got a better offer from the seminary in New Orleans, but it seems funny a bunch of people abandoned the place for no reason.”
“They left because it’s a wreck.” Derek parted a thick pile of tall grass with his shoe. “My mom told me it was falling apart when she was a kid, and the Archdiocese didn’t have the money to fix it. So they packed up the seminary school, the priests, and all the staff and shipped them to New Orleans.”
“Seems a shame, though. I read once that the structure dates back to the early 1800s when the Devereaux family built it as a private church.” Leslie eyed the frame of the empty belfry atop one of the square-shaped towers. “You’d think they’d want to save it.”
Derek nudged her with his elbow. “Maybe the ghost drove the priests away.”
Beau’s tale had been in the back of her head the whole time, but Derek’s comment spooked the crap out of her. “By ghost, do you mean the lady in white?”
“Yep.” He scanned the land around them. “They say she wears a glistening white cloak and wanders the priests’ cells. She only appears when the moon is full or during storms.”
The thought of being alone in such a disturbing place terrified her. “Have you ever seen the ghost?”
Derek searched the thick foliage ahead of them. “Nah. I’ve come here a few times with Mark and Andrew to hang out, but we’ve never seen anything.”
Granite steps rose out of the high grass as they drew near the entrance.
Leslie kicked herself for letting him talk her into coming to the remote location. “What about the wild dogs? Have you seen them around The Abbey?”
“Not to worry, baby. I’ll protect you from ghosts, wild dogs, and Beau Devereaux.” He climbed the granite steps, encouraging her to join him. “But I have to draw the line at your mother. There’s no way I’m taking her on in a fight.”
On the porch, beneath the cracked and chipped stone arch over the front doors, she waited while Derek wrestled with the plywood covering the entrance. She scanned the landscape, searching for any hint of trouble. But despite the creep factor, the lush green trees encircling them did have a soothing effect. Leslie breathed in the fresh pine scent and mossy aroma of the tall grass. Then a fly zipped past her face.
She spun around to the source of the noise. Derek had pushed one of the large pieces of plywood securing the door out of the way, leaving a nice sized gap to crawl through.
“How did you do that?”
Derek held the plywood to the side for her. “The loose boards have been rigged to open easily. Found out about it the first time I came out here with Mark.”
Leslie dipped her head and looked through the doorway. “You sure it’s safe?”
His smile won over her fears.
“Baby. I wouldn’t bring you here if it wasn’t.”