The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer Read Online (FREE)
The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer read full novel online for free here.
Thirty years ago
Jack Nash decides, at midnight on a Wednesday in the dead of summer in Los Angeles, that his daughter Hazel is ready for The Story.
He was six years old when his father first told him The Story. That’s Hazel’s age now—exactly six—and she’s wide awake, forever asking why and what: Why does she need to go to sleep? What are dreams? Why do people die? What happens after people die?
“You’ll know when it happens,” Jack tells her.
Six is the appropriate age, Jack thinks.
Five years old was too young. Five is how old his son Skip was when Jack told him The Story and it hadn’t stuck, didn’t seem to make any impression whatsoever. Which got Jack wondering: How old do you have to be to retain an event for the rest of your life?
That was the thing about memory: After a certain point, you just knew something. How you came to know it didn’t matter.
“Okay, here we go,” Jack says. “But promise me you won’t let it scare you.”
Hazel sits up on an elbow. “I won’t be scared,” she says solemnly. Jack knows it’s true: Nothing scares Hazel. Not when she can learn something. She’s the kind of child who would burn her right thumb on a hot stove, then come back the next day and burn her left in order to compare.
In an odd way, it made Jack proud. Hazel’s brother Skip wouldn’t touch the stove in the first place, always so cautious of everything. But Hazel was willing to give up a little skin for adventure.
“It begins with a mystery, a riddle,” Jack says, and he can hear his father’s voice, his father’s words, so clearly. Dad’s been gone five years now, but the memory of his last days is so vivid, it could have been thirty minutes ago. “If you figure the riddle out, you can stay up all night. If you can’t, you need to go to sleep. Deal?”
“Deal,” Hazel says.
“Close your eyes while I tell it to you,” Jack says, slipping into The Voice, the same one his own dad used to use, the one Jack now uses on his TV show, where every week he explores the world’s most famous conspiracies: Who killed JFK? Why did FDR have a secret fraternity known as The Room? Or his favorite during sweeps: Outside of every Freemason meeting, there’s a chair known as the Tyler’s Chair; what are its true origins and secrets?
It’s a show Hazel isn’t allowed to watch. Jack’s wife Claire worries the show will give Hazel bad dreams. But Jack knows that Hazel revels in nightmares, just like Jack used to: Something chasing you in your sleep was always far more interesting than fields of cotton candy.
“This story begins a hundred and fifty years ago, with a farmer,” Jack says as Hazel leans farther forward on her elbow. “The farmer woke up early one morning to tend his fields, and a few yards from his house, he found a young man on the ground, frozen to death.”