The Prisoner of Hell Gate: A Novel
Dana I. Wolff
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
FOUR DECADES AFTER TYPHOID MARY WENT TO HER GRAVE, FIVE CURIOUS GRADUATE STUDENTS STRUGGLE TO ESCAPE ALIVE FROM THE ABANDONED ISLAND THAT ONCE IMPRISONED HER. CONTAGION DOESN’T DIE. IT JUST WAITS.
In the Hell Gate section of New York’s East River lie the sad islands where, for centuries, people locked away what they most feared: the contagious, the disfigured, the addicted, the criminally insane.
Here infection slowly consumed the stricken. Here a desperate ship captain ran his doomed steamship aground and watched flames devour 1,500 souls. Here George A. Soper imprisoned the infamous Typhoid Mary after she spread sickness and death in Manhattan’s most privileged quarters.
George’s great-granddaughter, Karalee, and her fellow graduate students in public health know that story. But as they poke in and out of the macabre hospital rooms of abandoned North Brother Island―bantering, taking pictures, recalling history―they are missing something: Hidden evil watches over them―and plots against them.
When death visits Hell Gate, it comes to stay.
As darkness falls, the students find themselves marooned―their casual trespass having unleashed a chain of horrific events beyond anyone’s imagination.
Disease lurks among the eerie ruins where Typhoid Mary once lived and breathed. Ravenous flies swarm puddles of blood. Rot and decay cling to human skin. And spiteful ghosts haunt the living and undead.
Soon five students of history will learn more than they ever wanted to know about New York’s foul underbelly: the meaning of spine-tingling cries down the corridor, of mysterious fires, of disfiguring murder, and of an avenging presence so sinister they’d rather risk their lives than face the terror of one more night.
says. “These guys are graduate students and I’m one of their professors.” “We should introduce ourselves,” Estela says. They tell her their names. No handshakes. Karalee again suppresses a gag at the smell of the woman, forces it out of her mind. The woman doesn’t share her name, and no one presses. Karalee feels like a drunk who has stumbled into the wrong hotel room only to watch the occupants sit up startled in bed. She may not be far from the truth on that. Gravid silence follows, and the
get them down. Not move them an inch. They’d been fixed to the decks and cabin walls with wire and sealed over with paint. Flammable paint. Heat blistering their necks and faces, no one could manage the effort required to free them boats. Defeated by flame and fatigue, they abandoned the effort.” “Minimal fire laws.” Josh nods his head. “That was seven years before the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.” The woman stares with her mismatched eyes. “In my experience, laws exist to protect them in power,
window, looking out. He is contemplative, not panicked. She wants to tell him to return to bed, but though they share a cot, they’re not really sleeping together, so the impulse seems out of place. In any case, she remains frozen with fatigue. Her heavy eyelids close fast again, and the cries that undulate outside, now almost familiar, tempt her back to sleep like the notes of a deranged lullaby. * * * A DAMP CHILL reaches Karalee, and she clenches into a tighter ball to fend it off.
empty eye sockets. Karalee pats the bare chest, runs her hand over the smooth skin. Though cool, it feels so firm and vibrant, so ready to be engaged, so human. How can all prospect of movement have departed? When she looks up again, they have all separated. Josh paces the beach, rubbing his eyes. Chick stands aside, coursing his fingers through his hair, as if working up the courage to pull it out in clumps. Estela, still on the rocks, has crawled toward the water and lies with her face buried
across the way. When lightning strikes the bent rod atop the old foghorn tower, she grunts aloud, thinking maybe Mathilde will hear her—Mathilde, whose hatred burns so hot and strident. Next to it, Mary’s bitterness throbs like a dull ache. No less intense, only of a different texture. She leaves the building and walks down to the pebbly shore, follows it along as the rain starts to fall in fat drops, hissing through tree leaves. The island has the shape of an amoeba. She traces its outline