Tag Archives: Morgen


13 Nov

A GSP release from Author of the Week: Stephen DeBock.

Morgen by Stephen M. DeBock

Two months ago, college junior Lori Stark was found dead of unknown causes alongside the Appalachian Trail. Today, the police bring a beautiful girl to the grieving parents’ door. She appears around Lori’s age; is amnesiac from an as yet mysterious trauma; and her only link to her prior life consists of two words: Lori Stark.

Lori’s parents take the girl—whom they’ve named Morgen—into their home and eventually into their hearts. The arrangement is intended to be temporary, until her memory returns. But time and the girl’s near perfect nature draws the parents into her sphere, resulting in Morgen’s blinding them—and binding them—to her dark purpose.

When something seems too good to be true … it is.


It was obvious when Nate answered the bell that the policeman facing him was uncomfortable. The officer’s car was parked at the curb, even though the driveway leading to the single-car garage was vacant. At least the lights weren’t flashing. Flashing lights made Nate’s knees weak.

Standing next to the uniform, and a half step behind, was a young woman. A hooded gray sweatshirt hid her hair, and her head was lowered, as if her shoes fascinated her.

“Good morning, Professor Stark,” mumbled the cop. He was youngish, with blue eyes, apple cheeks, and sandy hair. He looked like he might have just graduated from the academy. “Sorry to disturb you. I know it’s early.”

“Not a problem,” Nate replied. “I’ve been up since five.” He gestured toward his sweats. “Jogging.” He glanced at the cop’s nametag. “Collins. I know you, don’t I?”

“Yes, sir, I was one of your German students about five years ago.”

“Uh . . . huh. I remember. And I’m sure that your knowledge of German makes you invaluable in your job.”

The officer returned the smile. “Not really, but it did help me get a bride.”

“You don’t say.”

The girl might as well have been invisible.

“Right after graduation I decided to backpack through Germany, staying in hostels. Your classes paid off when I got to Berlin.” He grinned. “See, I met a certain Fräulein there . . . and now she’s my schöne Frau.”

“Wunderbar.” Nate glanced at the girl. “I assume this young lady isn’t your bride?” Little Gray Riding Hood, he thought.

The girl tilted up her head. Her eyes, Nate observed, were startlingly green. She wore jeans that were as unkempt as her sweatshirt. The hair that peeked out from her hoodie was dark red.

“No, sir; sorry, got sidetracked there.”

Nate said to the girl, “Have we met, miss? Were you one of my students, too?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered, her eyes not quite making contact with his. Her voice was weak, almost a whimper. Tracks made by dried tears were evident in the smudges on her cheeks.

“Why don’t we go inside?” Nate said. “It’s only September, but already there’s a chill in the air.” He turned and called, “Ellen, company.”

Nate ushered them into a tidy kitchen and bid them sit at a circular table. His wife looked at her guests nervously.

“Is anything wrong?” Two months now, and she still grew apprehensive in the presence of the police.

Nate said no, introduced her to the officer, and then said, “I didn’t get your name, miss.”

The girl’s lips parted, as if she were about to speak. Then she simply shook her head.

“That’s what I need to talk to you about, Professor. She was picked up late last night wandering around the Criterion campus. She didn’t seem to know where she was or what she was doing there. Campus security brought her to the station. It’s like she’s got amnesia or something.”

Nate frowned. “Amnesia? Really?”

Ellen said, “Amnesia? This is beginning to sound like a scene from a penny dreadful.”

Collins continued: “We checked her out as well as we could; there’s no record of her fingerprints on any law enforcement files, which means she has no criminal record. We sent her photo to the missing persons database; again, no joy. Meanwhile, she doesn’t match anyone on the university’s student photo file either.”

Ellen said, “No evidence of physical trauma?”

“We took her to the hospital. The doc said there was no sign of sexual assault.” He looked at the girl, embarrassment in his face. “I’m really sorry to be talking about you like you weren’t here.”

She nodded, but said nothing.