Authors: Leo Bonanno
Post Office Box 692
Argyle, TX 76226
For the Amazon Kindle
The Hunt Chronicles:
2012 by Leonardo Bonanno, Jr.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any
form without written consent from the author except by a reviewer who may quote
brief passages in a review.
Cover Art by Peter-Design.Blogspot.com
This is a work of fiction.
All names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s
imagination and are used fictitiously. Any
to any other names, characters, places and/or incidents (real or fictional) is
thanks to Jason, Jamie and Shirley for keeping me laughing
thanks to Earl
thanks to Carol
, who is the best at what she
1……………Houseguests and Homicide
families are all alike;
unhappy family is
unhappy in its own way.
My name is Reevan
Hunt, and someone has poisoned my sister.
I whispered. She looked like hell. Her face was whiter than the
sheets of her hospital bed. Every wrinkle and pore and crow’s foot was
visible. Her hair had the slightest wisp of gray. The woman I was
leaning over was not the same woman I had seen only four months earlier at
Christmas. The woman in that bed could have passed for my mother, and I
was fifty-three years old.
“Can you hear me,
?” I asked. Her eyes were shut, and her
chest rose and fell slowly. Suddenly, her right eye popped open, looking
tired, confused and ever so slightly pissed off.
“Who wants to
know?” She muttered slowly, but loudly.
Reevan!” I proclaimed, smiling. I bent forward to kiss her…I never
saw it coming. Red-hot pain seared my left cheek as I caught a glimpse of
“What was that
for?” I cried.
“Your sister of over
fifty years is on her deathbed and it takes you two days to get to her
hand rose and swung again, but
I was ready. I caught it and held it by the wrist.
even been turned down yet, so you can’t be laying in it now, can you?”
“I was poisoned,
! My stomach was burning and
churning…I couldn’t breathe…it was…”
“What?” She asked.
All of a sudden, I was finding it very hard to restrain my sister’s arm.
She was shaking with the power and fury only two types of women possess:
big sisters and psychotics.
alone for over three decades could make anyone a little bitter, and I was no
exception, but only recently had my attitude changed from middle-aged pessimism
to spiteful sarcasm. Madeline Hunt was the last person on Earth who ever
took either from me.
People don’t die from expired milk or left-out
grew still. She
stopped shaking and just stared right into my eyes. Whatever she was
searching for she must have found, because she smiled a little then. A
poorly made imitation frown appeared.
“It was a chicken
sandwich from the diner,” she said, then added “and that waiter has never liked
We laughed until our
sides hurt that afternoon.
the next day. She asked me to stick around in Connecticut for a while
just until she was fully recuperated. Dr.
suggested I stay as well, claiming that I looked like I needed a vacation
anyway. I took
advice and I’ve hated
him ever since.
Connecticut wasn’t the talk of the country, and it wouldn’t have been my first
choice for a vacation spot, but I did manage to occupy myself with some of the
most interesting people in town.
The McCune family
lived on an estate so expansive it had its own zip code. Wilson McCune’s
town car had a license plate trimmed with gold. The license plate itself
were only three people ahead of Wilson McCune in line at the DMV the day it
opened; Sheriff Bell, Judge Doyle and Father Nolan.
Wilson McCune’s wife
had passed on three years before
death at the hands of a chicken sandwich. She was sixty-six years old,
and I don’t mind saying that the age was a little too close for my
comfort. McCune and his three children, Cheryl, Donald and Richard,
resided on the property dubbed McCune Hall by the plaque at the end of the
driveway and The McCune Mansion by the neighborhood children.
Gardeners, a butler,
drivers and other numerous staff were permitted to reside somewhere on the
property, whether it be the guest homes by the stables or the tiny cottages
furthest away from the front gate. Only three McCune staffers actually
called the walls of McCune Hall their home for these three had to be able to jump
’ wishes at all hours of the day and
night. They were the butler Thomas Freely, the cook Nona Bronson, and the
head maid Madeline Hunt. My room was next to hers.
“Reevan Hunt, how
the hell are you?” Wilson McCune’s voice emanated out onto the
grounds. As it faded, I heard the gate at the end of the driveway slam
home. A scary image popped into my head just then…
The voice bellowed
out of a seventy-two year old mouth. The mouth was full of teeth so white
they could have been mistaken for Chiclets™. I noticed something looked
off, and then discovered it.
Those teeth look
I thought to myself.
Seventy-two and his teeth are
still hanging in there!
There was a nudge in my right side. I
turned and saw
, her eyes wide and
scolding. “Yes, they’re his,” she muttered, quickly looking down at my
shoes. I looked at her with a raised brow that asked
the hell would you know?
As if reading my mind, she muttered again
“I’ve helped him brush them.” My stomach made an odd croaking
sound. I turned to Wilson and smeared a hearty grin across my face.
My eyes winced as they caught the dusk sunbeams bouncing off Wilson’s motorized
“Excuse me, young
man,” I schmoozed with a phony English accent, “but where can one find Master
“Shake a man’s hand
first, kiss his behind once you’re in his house!” He laughed. I
walked forward and took the man’s hand. I don’t remember the last
time I shook a little girl’s hand, but I imagine it felt the way McCune’s
handshake did. I, on the other hand, was expecting a little more
resistance and began to crush the man’s fingers.
These hands can’t lift a glass of water unless I’ve got a
pulley rigged up!” He burst into laughter again. He lifted his arms
up slowly and clapped his hands together with amusement. It was like
watching a slow motion replay.
“Wilson, I’m sorry
about Clara. She was a damn nice lady.”
“Cancer is a respecter
of no one; you remember that.” He turned to
and smiled. “Madeline! Is working for me so miserable you’d rather
be in the hospital than come in on Mondays?”
“I’m feeling fine,
thanks,” she said, laughing. “Hello, Thomas.” The statuesque Thomas
Freely was standing behind Wilson, his hands at his side.
“Madeline,” he said
curtly nodding. “We’ve missed you.”
announced, “let’s go inside. My joints are aching and that means those
April clouds are about ready to tear open. Grab Mr. Hunt’s bag and we’ll
all have a bite to eat.” An uneasy look swept over his face. His
wheelchair whizzed around and started for the doorway. “The children are
waiting inside,” he called back as he disappeared beyond his threshold and into
The dining room
table was long and elegant. Paintings and mirrors hung on the walls while
a crystal chandelier loomed overhead. The table itself was neither
“standard” nor “
,” but one of “buffet
size.” It was covered with a meat spread large enough to feed a small
country. Nona, a
pudgy woman, had
apparently been preparing for my visit and
return ever since
called Thomas from the
hospital the day before.
The kitchen was
adjacent to the dining room. A wall did separate the two, but it had a
doorway and a serving window cut out like at a fast-food drive through.
Nona placed a platter of shrimp on the counter in the window, and Thomas
instinctively snatched it and started for the table.
declined her boss’s invitation, he insisted, and she
eventually caved in. He sat at the end of the table, able to peer into
the kitchen if need be, I suppose.
to his right and me to his left. Three more chairs stood around the
table, empty. Just as I reached for my glass of water, the chairs’ owners
The three human
beings were nowhere near ‘children’ anymore. Wilson McCune was seventy-two,
and Clara would have been sixty-nine. Their ‘children’ could have
children of their own.
there, Mr. Hunt!”
“So nice to see you!”
Cheryl McCune was thin, tall and in her mid-to-late forties. Her once
long blond hair was thinning and was now the color of faded corn. Her
eyes were carrying a lot of baggage, but her smile was bright as ever and could
still fill a room.
around the table to greet me while her brothers bent to kiss
sixty then. She’d been working for the
for almost thirty years. When Clara passed on, we all knew what would
stepped in as Replacement Mom,
though the promotion didn’t include a raise.
She’s always been a mother
to these kids
a deep bitter little voice said in my head, but I pushed it
away. I rose and hugged Cheryl eagerly, then held her at arm’s length to
absorb that beautiful smile.
When I let Cheryl
go, I saw Donald waiting, hand outstretched. I grabbed it and pumped
twice. Donald was only thirty-eight, I believe, and then it was my turn
to get an achy hand. “How are
, Mr. H.?”
“Oh fine, Don, just
fine. How’s the restaurant?”
“Could be better,
but there is always a slump this time of year. Too much rain in this
damned state. Come summer, the place will be overflowing with the usual
business and we’ll be back in the black.” As if the clouds themselves
heard Donald’s comment, a thunder rumbled somewhere in the distance.
Wilson McCune’s achy joints should be on the weather channel.
“Good to hear,” I
said. I wondered how any McCune of Wellington could ever slip out of the
black as far as a checking account was concerned, especially Donald. He
was the oldest son and heir to a piece of his father’s Texas-sized
fortune. He owned a restaurant that was supposedly in a prime location,
he eats for free and God knew he wasn’t paying Daddy any rent.
Donald walked past
me and pulled up the chair beside mine. Cheryl was already sitting next
. A tap on the shoulder brought my
eyes and attention to my side once more, and I was face to face with Richard
McCune. “Richard!” I hollered.
He shouted back. I hugged the man who was
twenty years my junior. He was also the favorite of
and I… had been since the first time we met him. Richard was the youngest
and, guessing by the way his family treated him, the least expected. His
mother was in her thirties when Richard was born. To a McCune, that was
prime age for business meetings and brunches, fancy galas, afternoon teas and
trips to exotic ports. Richard was raised as an unexpected and somewhat
unwanted blessing until Madeline Hunt joined the staff and took over.
Richard sat opposite
his father at the other end of the table. I looked across to
just as Thomas laid her plate before her. She
looked very uncomfortable, like her chair was made of cacti and
porcupines. She stayed that way through the entire meal, obviously not
enjoying being served by someone who would be her co-worker again the next
day. On the other hand, I had no problem being fed with the McCune silver
spoon. I looked to my right at Wilson. He had a rather large piece
of meat on his fork and it was apparently outweighing the strength in his
arm. He grabbed his right wrist with his left hand and managed to guide
into the tunnel. What I witnessed
next suggested Wilson McCune traded in his silver spoon for a rusty pitchfork.
Watching food go
into Wilson McCune’s mouth was like watching a planet get sucked into a black
hole only to be ripped to shreds by ravenous white meteors. It wasn’t
just viciousness I noticed, no, but speed and strength. He tore through
meat and veggies at dinner, shredded breadsticks and cookies during dessert,
and even crushed ice-cubes from his glass when his drink had finally
That man is as weak as a kitten
my little voice
except for that mouth. If I were to reach across his plate
to grab the salt, I’d pull back a nub.