The Lost Girls of Willowbrook Read Online Ellen Marie Wiseman

Categories Genre: Romance, Suspense, Thriller Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 136
Estimated words: 126898 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 634(@200wpm)___ 508(@250wpm)___ 423(@300wpm)
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Willowbrook State School is the infamous Staten Island, New York, mental institution that shocked a nation when exposed in the 1970s as a dumping ground for unwanted children. A gripping narrative of social injustice, survival, and a young woman determined to find her sister.

Sage Winters always knew her sister was a little different even though they were identical twins. They loved the same things and shared a deep understanding, but Rosemary—awake to every emotion, easily moved to joy or tears—seemed to need more protection from the world.
Six years after Rosemary’s death from pneumonia, Sage, now sixteen, still misses her deeply. Their mother perished in a car crash, and Sage’s stepfather, Alan, resents being burdened by a responsibility he never wanted. Yet despite living as near strangers in their Staten Island apartment, Sage is stunned to discover that Alan has kept a shocking secret: Rosemary didn’t die. She was committed to Willowbrook State School and has lingered there until just a few days ago, when she went missing.
Sage knows little about Willowbrook. It’s always been a place shrouded by rumor and mystery. A place local parents threaten to send misbehaving kids. With no idea what to expect, Sage secretly sets out for Willowbrook, determined to find Rosemary. What she learns, once she steps through its doors and is mistakenly believed to be her sister, will change her life in ways she never could imagined…

Full Book:

CHAPTER 1

Staten Island bus station

December 1971

People still search the woods for the remains of lost children.

Sixteen-year-old Sage Winters picked up the bus tokens with shaking fingers and stepped away from the station window, her friends’ haunting words playing over and over in her mind like a creepy childhood rhyme. It wasn’t the first time she’d heard the warning—everyone who lived on Staten Island understood the need to keep their eyes on the ground when they entered the woods—but the more she thought about Heather and Dawn repeating those words the previous night, the angrier she grew. Why would they say something so awful instead of trying to comfort her? Why would they dredge up old rumors about Satanic rituals being held below the abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium instead of offering to help her find out what had happened to Rosemary? Sure, they’d been drinking, and deep down they were probably scared too, but this was serious. Her twin sister was missing. It didn’t mean she was dead. It didn’t mean that the urban legend they’d grown up hearing was true. “Cropsey” was nothing more than a scary story parents told their children to frighten them into behaving and staying close to home. And Rosemary was a patient at Willowbrook State School—she wasn’t out wandering the streets, where a homicidal madman could pick her up. Doctors and nurses and teachers were taking care of her, making sure she was being properly fed, protected, kept clean, and taught basic skills. At least that’s what Sage’s stepfather, Alan, had told her last night, when he finally admitted Rosemary was alive.

Shivering at the memory of learning the truth about her twin, Sage shoved the bus tokens into her jacket pocket, then dug in her purse for her pack of Kools. She needed a cigarette so bad she could taste it. And a Pepsi too, but the damn soda machine was out of order. On top of everything else, she was totally hung over. Her head was pounding, her mouth tasted like sandpaper, and her thoughts jumbled together in a thick haze. Feeling this shitty made her even more anxious, but she had no one to blame but herself. She must have been an idiot to think drinking six amaretto sours and ten shots of peppermint schnapps was the best way to deal with the shock of finding out Rosemary had been committed to a mental institution.

Still rummaging through her purse for her cigarettes, she crossed the grimy waiting area, hurrying past the rows of blue plastic chairs as she made her way toward the exit. Considering the weather, it probably would have been a better idea to stay inside the station to smoke, but the place smelled like a urinal, and she didn’t want to miss the bus to Willowbrook. The sooner she got on it, the less chance she’d have to change her mind.

But something kept getting stuck under her mood ring, hindering her search through her purse. She stopped. Had she forgotten to put her fake ID back in her wallet after leaving the bar last night? When she pulled her hand out and saw what it was, she swore under her breath. One corner of an empty condom wrapper had caught beneath the ring’s stone, and now it hung from her hand like a banner. She pulled the wrapper free, went over to trash bin, and chucked it in the garbage. Still cursing, she dug the rest of the six-pack out of her purse and threw them away too, not caring who saw. One thing was for sure: Her next boyfriend would be man enough to buy his own damn condoms. Thinking about Noah, tears burned her eyes. If she hadn’t caught him making out with that bitch Yvette the other day, he could have gone to Willowbrook with her. Instead, he was probably still in bed, enjoying the final days of Christmas vacation and dreaming about seeing her later. Well, he was in for a surprise. She’d slipped a letter under his door, telling him never to call her again. Because if there was one thing she wouldn’t tolerate, it was a cheating boyfriend. It didn’t matter that he and Yvette had “only” been kissing—cheating was cheating. And she’d vowed a long time ago that she’d never waste a minute of her life with someone like her late mother, who was always unfaithful to her father, no matter how heartbroken she was.


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