The following excerpt is unedited and subject to change.
Sam set off the automated lights in the foyer as he opened the front door. As he stepped inside, he was hit by the faint scent of his mother’s chicken noodle soup come and gone; she had fed herself and his step-father before the stepped out for the night to attend whatever the fundraiser of the week was. Even his baby brother was gone, off to spend the night at his best friend’s house.
“Peace and quiet.” For the first time in longer than he could remember, he had the house to himself. And after walking out on Ava, alone was exactly what he needed.
He kicked off his shoes and ran upstairs to the bathroom across the hall from his room. At first his plan was shower and sleep until he realized he had not taken a bath since his mother stopped by Mr. Bubbles in the fourth grade and decided a soak was in order.
As the tub filled, he went to his room, dropped his stuff and grabbed his robe of the back of his door. He stopped in front of his bookshelf and debated which book to read before deciding on Mireille Chester’s Angered Seasons. Book in hand, he went back across the hall, hung his robe on the hook and slipped into the steaming bubbled water.
Once settled, and easily devoured every word about the yellow-eyed zombie creatures and end-of-the-world-type weather that threatened strong, sexy Gabby and her makeshift family of the unluckiest Canadians in history. Sam quickly became attached to trouble Max and the overwhelming desire to hold and protect the boy. He also vowed to track down Mrs. Chester should anything happen to his favorite character.
As he tore through the pages, totally absorbed in the apocalyptic tale, he barely noticed the creaking coming from the stairs. He looked into the hallway and wondered if his parents or brother were home and if he should reconsider bathing with the door wide open. He waited anxiously to see who stepped into view and when no one did he assumed it was just the house settling.
As death inched closer for Gabby and company, more creaking drew Sam’s attention back to the hallway. He was not sure if it was the book, the empty house or his stressful post-break up evening but the noises were beginning to creep him out. He dropped the book to the floor and pulled himself to his feet.
“Hu… hello? He asked as he reached for a towel and wrapped it around his waist. “Anyone there? Mom? Dad?” He stepped out of the tub and inched his way to the hallway. “Hello?” He leaned put the door and looked around. “Um, hello?”
He noticed something at the end of the hallway, something hiding just beyond where the bathroom light could reach. A cold fear gripped him as the something slowly came into focus; someone, dressed in shiny black material with sliver running through it, stood stone still, staring at him, at least, Sam thought they did; their face was entirely covered by a BDSM-type mask.
They moved towards him.
“Fuck!” He pushed off the door frame, ran toward the stairs but slipped on the hardwood floor and hit the ground with a painful thump. He scrambled to his hands and knees and crawled back into the bathroom. As he slammed the door shut, he felt the towel ripped off him. He braced himself against the door while he fumbled to lock it.
The door shook and he slid away from it. He looked around, scared to not have anywhere to run and nothing to defend himself. The stranger began slamming something heavy against the door and Sam was sure they would break through and in no time. He searched frantically, his mind a mess and his head pounding, and prayed for anyone to help him.
“The window!” He jumped up, leaned over the tub and threw it open. He climbed across as fast as he could as the water made it a slippery ascent. He had half his body out the window when the door exploded and was not quick enough to pull the rest of him through as hands gripped his ankles and yanked him back inside. He head collided with the edge of the tub and the last thing he saw before darkness took him was that zippered black mask.
One year ago, Rylan Sinclair watched as his world collapsed. Since then, he has struggled to come to terms with the savage attack he suffered at the hands of the psychopath who murdered his mother before his eyes. Every night, his dreams go back to the real life nightmare that changed everything.
And now, there's someone who wants to finish what started that fateful night...
In the small town of Cliff's End, there is a blood thirsty murder on the loose and Rylan is the last name on that killer's list.
Can Rylan survive another brutal lunatic? Will anyone survive the massacre that threatens to flood the streets of his small hometown with the blood of innocents?
Can lost innocence ever be reclaimed?