*Barnes & Noble Best Horror Books of 2017 Pick*
*Runner-up for the American Library Association's Horror Book of 2017*
"One of the most enthralling novels I've read in the last ten years. Dubeau is a force to be reckoned with." ―Jerry Smith, Fangoria Magazine and Blumhouse.com
"This is the page-turner you’ve been looking for." ―Barnes & Noble
The village of Saint-Ferdinand has all the trappings of a quiet life: farmhouses stretching from one main street, a small police precinct, a few diners and cafés, and a grocery store. Though if an out-of-towner stopped in, they would notice one unusual thing―a cemetery far too large and much too full for such a small town, lined with the victims of the Saint-Ferdinand Killer, who has eluded police for nearly two decades. It’s not until after Inspector Stephen Crowley finally catches the killer that the town discovers even darker forces are at play.
When a dark spirit reveals itself to Venus McKenzie, one of Saint-Ferdinand's teenage residents, she learns that this creature's power has a long history with her town―and that the serial murders merely scratch the surface of a past burdened by evil secrets.
Regrets are the instruments by which we learn. We tend not to repeat those things we regret. A remorse, I think, is a much deeper thing. I tend not to dwell on regrets. For all the pain they’ve caused me, they have allowed me to grow and become a better man, sometimes despite myself. I regret how I treated my first love, but it taught me how to better live with my wife. I regret not working very hard in school, but now I know to apply myself in my work. I feel bad about the things I regret, but I wouldn’t take a single one back.
My remorses however, I would do anything to go back and prevent the circumstances that brought those to life, and they are many.
The worst however came at a young age. I was too much of a child to know better, but that doesn’t take away from the pain I’ve caused, lives I’ve destroyed and the hardships I’ve endured.
It was during my last summer in Saint-Ferdinand. Not my very last summer, but the last one I’d spend before heading off to boarding school. Back then, our little village was nothing more than a handful of farms and a general store. We had to leave town for anything fancier. It was no big deal however. In those days, what we couldn’t grow, we’d just make ourselves.
The whole ordeal started innocently enough. It was early summer, maybe spring, any warm day with the sun high in the sky is summer to a child like I was that day.
My friend Jonathan and I had gone deep into the forest. Woods that hadn’t been seen by human eyes in years, decades, perhaps ever. The purest of virgin forests. We’d play games back then, often roping the Richards twins into joining us. We’d do as most kids do; play cops and robbers, or was it cowboys and indians? We’d build forts and occasionally go fishing or frog catching. Children playing childish games.
One such passtime that we always reserved for when we were deep in uncharted territory however, was hide and go seek. We would come up with endless variants of this game, but a favorite by far we called "freeze’. As long as the seeker was looking at you, you were ’frozen’ and could not run away. If the seeker touched you, you were caught.
All was fun and games until that one day, when we were further into the woods then we had ever been, that’s where we found ’him’.
We were playing explorers that day. We’d brought bottles filled with water, which we called canteens, and bags with some bread that we called rations.
’He’ was sitting on a moss covered stone in a clearing. At first, we didn’t notice him. His green skin glowed gloriously like the sun shining through leaves at noon. He was as immobile as he was naked, smiling peacefully, his face turned towards the hot summer sun.
"Hey!" I remember calling. "What are you doing here? Where are your clothes?"
Slowly and only after a moment, he opened his night-black eyes to look at me. His smile broadened on his noseless face, as if he were glad to see me.
"I’ve always been here." he answered without moving his lips.
As a child, I didn’t take...