From Andrew Neiderman comes a haunting tale of a son's terrifying legacy.... Surrogate Child Fifteen-year-old Solomon Stern was the perfect teenager: an ideal student, an outstanding athlete, and a valued friend. But when Solomon ended his life with a hangman's noose, he shattered every dream that Joe and Martha Stern held dear. His legacy: guilt to a father who didn't know his own son...despair to a mother who loved him too well. The foster child was a second chance for the Sterns -- Jonathan, a boy of Solomon's age, intelligent and charming. But there were other similarities between Jonathan and the dead son. Disturbing similarities. And there was also something different about Jonathan...something chilling. Something deadly.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Andrew Neiderman is the author of numerous novels of suspense and terror, including The Dark, In Double Jeopardy, and The Devil's Advocate -- which was made into a major motion picture by Warner Bros. and starred Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. Mr. Neiderman lives in Palm Springs, California, with his wife, Diane.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Martha Stern stood by the front door of her house and stared out through the small panel windows at the quiet, country back road beside which they had built their modest three-bedroom two-story home a little more than sixteen years ago, one year after Solomon had been born. Joe and she had picked the lot out years before they could afford to build their own home.
She recalled how during their first two years of marriage they often drove down Old Creek Road and stopped by this location. They played a game with their imaginations then. In the springtime, they would get out of the car and walk through their imaginary house, calling out the locations, pretending to do things in different rooms. They even had a picnic lunch in what they dreamed would be their kitchen. The back window would look out to the west, and if the window was big enough, they could sit at the kitchen table and watch the sun set behind the soft, rolling blue-ridge mountains that shaped the horizon.
When it came down to the actual construction, though, the window didn't turn out to be as big as they would have liked. Reality had a way of pinching and squeezing dreams. Costs had to be considered, and in order to meet the limits of their mortgage, a great many of their original plans were modified.
Despite that, those early days lingered in Martha's memory like a beautiful old tune in a fragile music box. Sometimes, for no reasons she could see, it would start playing, and the images, the sounds, the laughter, and the blue skies would flow. She could close her eyes and sit back and be twenty again.
The long silences that often fell between her and Joe now didn't exist then. They were always at each other in little ways, touching, kissing, talking excitedly. Even if there was a silence between them, it was a different kind of silence. They looked at each other with longing and exchanged thoughts with their eyes.
Perhaps the worst part of being without Solomon a little over a year, she thought, was the silences. The emptiness and the void had quickly slipped into the spaces once filled with Solomon's laughter and talk, even his tears. This silence spread like a cancer and infected every aspect of their lives. They caught it as they would catch a cold, and the conversations that had once linked Joe and her together dwindled until they practically disappeared. Monosyllabic words replaced whole sentences. Without Solomon to talk about and ask about, they stared at each other like patients in a mental ward, both bankrupt of thoughts, their minds filled with echoes.
It was no wonder, then, that she looked forward with such eagerness to the arrival of Jonathan. It would be so good to hear another voice in the house, to hear someone else's footsteps besides hers and Joe's, to be concerned with someone else's needs and wants, and to drive the silences away. The decision to take in a child about Solomon's age was not an easy one. They both recognized that there would be pain. She saw that Joe was visibly afraid of it, and she realized he was not just afraid because of her. He was afraid because of himself.
"It's going to be hard, starting again," he said. "I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I'll be good for such a kid. He's got his own problems to deal with, much less mine, too."
"We'll help each other," she told him. "It won't be easy, I'm not saying it will be easy, but it will be good for us and for him. You'll see. Trust me."
And so they began their search for a foster child. It was her idea that the child be similar in age and appearance to Solomon. Joe wasn't for that. He said it would be too painful because it would stimulate memories.
"And comparisons. You won't be able to help making them, and you could be very disappointed. You might even take out your disappointment on the child."
"I would never do that."
"Sometimes...often, we do things we can't help," he said. Even though he said it with a tone of sadness, it also carried a note of warning.
Nevertheless, she persisted until he gave in, and they went to the agency. Mrs. Posner, the woman in charge, was surprisingly sympathetic and apparently saw nothing unusual in their request, not that she had had any like it before. She made a point of saying that. Joe thought she was sympathetic because she was desperate to find homes for foster children under her care, but Martha thought her sympathy was drawn from a well of common feeling, since she was a wife and mother herself.
It took time before they found Jonathan. They were presented with a number of other boys who were about Solomon's age, but there was always something about those others that made Martha hesitate. Joe didn't understand her reasons for rejecting one or the other, but he didn't pursue it. At this point there was a sameness to all teenagers for him.
But as soon as Martha set eyes on Jonathan, she knew she had found the boy she wanted in her house, the boy she wanted to sleep in Solomon's room and wear Solomon's clothes and use Solomon's things. It was instinctive; she couldn't explain it.
Joe didn't see what she saw -- at least, not at first -- but later he admitted he sensed resemblances. Once again he warned her that this might not be good for any of them, but by this time she was committed to the child.
Now she stood by the doorway and awaited Jonathan's arrival. The agency was delivering him. She was sorry that Joe couldn't be home when Jonathan first arrived, but he couldn't get out of his assignments. He was the chief IBM repairman for an area nearly seventy-five miles across, and today he was needed to service some word processors at an insurance agency forty miles away. There was no way to get out of it.
When she complained, he said, "It isn't the same as being there when you gave birth. I know it would be better if I could be there, but I'll have plenty of time to get to know him, and he'll have plenty of time to get to know me."
She was disappointed that he didn't have the same intensity about the boy as she had, but then, in a strange way she was happy about it. It was almost as if she didn't want to share the pleasure the way she had shared the pleasure of Solomon. Sometimes she resented the fact that Joe loved Solomon as much as she did. Maybe that was just the possessiveness of motherhood, she thought, but in any case, it was there, the feeling existed, and she couldn't help it.
Martha stepped to the side when the agency car drove into their driveway. She was anxious to see Jonathan's expression when he first set eyes on the house, but she didn't want to appear obvious about doing it. She made up her mind she wouldn't be obvious about anything. She remembered Joe's warnings. In no way would she intimidate this child. She could frighten or discourage him if she did, and that would ruin everything.
She pulled a corner of the curtain back and peered out at the car, confident that neither Mr. Frankel nor Jonathan could see her doing so. Jonathan stopped as soon as he emerged from the vehicle. She saw that he carried a small suitcase. It reminded her of the time Solomon insisted on having his own little suitcase when they took that motor trip to Toronto. How cute he looked carting it about...a little man dressed in his sport jacket and slacks. Everyone fell in love with him no matter where they went.
They could fall in love with Jonathan, too, she thought. At fifteen he was already five feet eight inches tall. He had the same thick, light brown hair with a natural wave, and like Solomon, Jonathan had a medium build, but with broad shoulders and a narrow waist. He would grow into a handsome and physically impressive man, just the way Solomon would have if he hadn't -- she couldn't say it, much less think it.
She saw the way Jonathan squinted at the house, scrutinizing it carefully, almost scientifically analyzing, w
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Orbit, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. This book is in good condition but will show signs of previous ownership. Please expect some creasing to the spine and/or minor damage to the cover. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1948393
Book Description Orbit, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Acceptable. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. The book is perfectly readable and fit for use, although it shows signs of previous ownership. The spine is likely creased and the cover scuffed or slightly torn. Textbooks will typically have an amount of underlining and/or highlighting, as well as notes. If this book is over 5 years old, then please expect the pages to be yellowing or to have age spots. Bookseller Inventory # CHL1957967
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR004104468
Book Description Legend, 1989. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: Good. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. covers creased. Bookseller Inventory # C00406
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # FPS0099621002G