Paranormal Keepers by Jen Naumann
Publication date: March 11th 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publication date: March 11th 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Everyone thinks Harper Young killed her boyfriend. No one will say it to her face, but the signs are everywhere.
It’s almost been a year since Gavin was torn from Harper’s arms and brutally murdered. The police wrote it off as a freak accident, deciding Harper’s strange testimony was given under duress. But she knows something unnatural was involved and refuses to stop looking until she finds his killer, even if it means her reputation as a senior is ruined. Even if it means there really are monsters living among us.
With the discovery of the mothmen, witches, vampires and all the creatures she always suspected were out there, Harper finds herself amidst a complex bundle of unseen heroes who call themselves “Keepers”, sworn to keep the secret of the paranormal creatures that walk this earth. As she tries to understand what’s so special about her that she’s able to break an old Keeper law, Harper has a baffling vision of kissing a mysterious guy before a blade is brought down on him. Before she can get a handle on her future, she becomes central to a battle between the questionable “heroes” and the evil she’s been training to fight, leaving her to wonder if there’s any way to change the fate that has been foretold before it’s too late.
Paranormal Keepers Review
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me in a way of an more grown up Harry Potter world. Now don't get me wrong, the similarities are scarce , just that the world of the Keepers who are basically police over the Paranormal's, the Creatures (fairies, vampire's, Mothmen, werewolves ect).The world of the school/village reminded me of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, and a little with Harper growing up thinking she was a regular human (till almost 18). That's really the only similarities I seen, and it was not a bad thing at all. It was great. I love the bit of magic and the spells and stuff.
There were many twist and turns I did not see coming, and took me by surprise, which is unusual as I normally see that sort of thing coming.
I liked Harper our main character ok, I did find the first part of the book a little dragged out, before entering the Paranormal world. But I do easily get bored if it's just "normal" stuff, though the first part with her boyfriend getting killed by something that is clearly paranormal was interesting.
I was shocked at some of the betrayals from certain people I did not see coming. I was also appalled at a certain part where Dexter's attitude was just awful. But won't say what. No spoiling it for you. What I stated so far is not anything the blurb won't tell you.
Though the idea of this magical/paranormal world is not a new one, the spin taken on this one was awesome.
One thing Harpers housemates do to her is just awful, I could not believe they would do that to her. Man, this girl just can't get a break from the 'mean girls' of the world.
I was surprised by the ending, but its left open to wait for the next book, which I sure hope will be out soon. I sure hate waiting, lol.
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a bit of magic and paranormal. Not heavy on romance or anything, just a sweet possibility I guess you could say.
5 out of 5 stars for me.
I received a copy of this book for my honest review.
Jen Naumann grew up in southern Minnesota as an addict of such flicks as Indiana Jones and The Goonies until she discovered John Hughes, and spent her high school days locked away writing love stories with a sci-fi twist. Married to a farmer in southern Minnesota, she tries to follow the madness of her four active children while balancing an imagination that never shuts down. As the author of CHEATING DEATH, SHYMERS, AND PARANORMAL KEEPERS, she writes stories with strong female leads who have a good sense of humor and tend to fall in love despite their better judgment. For more on Jen visit her website www.JenNaumann.net.
(Chapter One of Paranormal Keeers)
IT’S FUNNY HOW THINGS CAN CHANGE WITH the passing of time. Well maybe not so much things as people. And maybe not so much funny as just peculiar.
A year ago I would’ve been with my boyfriend Gavin, hanging with our friends while the guys played video games, or trying to find a place to fool around without being disturbed. I never missed any of Gavin’s games in all three seasons, and waited for him by our lockers between classes, sometimes just to steal a kiss. We spent every free moment together when he didn’t work or have practice, and nights I didn’t have dance class, which really didn’t leave us much extra time outside of school. Still we managed to be the kind of “it” couple everyone else found nauseating because we were that into each other.
But all of that was before the night that forever changed my life–before everyone decided I killed him.
No one will say it to my face, but it’s so obvious they think I actually murdered Gavin.
As if I would actually want to hurt the guy I was in love with. Still, I see it in their eyes, the way they avoid crossing my path as if I’ll snap and go after them next. I hear it in their accusatory whispers that fill the hallways as I pass by. The signs that I’m generally considered guilty are everywhere.
Although I’ve become better at ignoring the ridiculous rumors, they still have a way of festering, worming their way into my heart that’s already been shattered. Because I still miss Gavin, more and more every day. And I’d do anything to see him one last time.
It’s the reason I sit alone against his headstone as I’ve done a dozen times in the past year, anxiously waiting for the ghost of my dead boyfriend. I’ve researched anything and everything I could find on communicating with spirits, hopeful that if I made contact with Gavin, he could tell me what attacked him. I once tried using a Ouija board from the hippie store downtown, but the only strange thing that happened was a sporadic flicker of my bedroom lights.
The moon’s bright enough that I can make out the ordinary sights of the cemetery.
Granite of all different colors and shapes bearing the names of mothers and fathers missed by a list of grieving children, tall crosses and stone angels watching over those with particular religious beliefs, even an old crypt with the remains of some rich, local celebrity who died so long ago that no one knows much about him anymore. There’s a damp, sweet smell embedded in the air, still lingering from the brief rain shower earlier in the afternoon. Although I’m not really afraid, my breaths sound extraordinarily shallow, and I swear I can feel the dirt wheezing underneath me.
I don’t believe in the whole thought process behind cemeteries—a place to bury your dead loved ones under the ground where their bodies are left to rot and decay among the tree roots and bugs, only to stand over them while trying not to picture their exposed bones grinning up at you through six feet of dirt. It’s hard not to picture postmortem Gavin, his beautiful face marred by the thing that attacked him.
Times like this when my mind is free to roam, when I actually sit down to piece everything together, I can’t help but wonder if his death really was my fault.
The beginning of the end started like any other Saturday night since we started dating the summer before sophomore year. Gavin came by my house for carry-out pizza before we headed to our friend’s house. On the way there, he was unable to keep his hands or lips to himself.
Giggling, I tried to wrestle his hand out from underneath my shirt. “If you don’t pay attention to the road, we won’t have to worry how we’re going to talk your dad into giving you time off from the shop for Mexico. We won’t have to worry aboutanything.
Ever again. Seriously, Gav. Could you at least pretend you’re paying attention to the road?”
He flashed me a brilliant white smile that came from his mom’s insistence of using bleach strips. His sky-blue eyes were so alive in that moment, turning my insides to goo.
I’d do anything to see him light up like that again. “I can’t help myself. All I could think about all day was what I was going to do to you once we were alone.”
“Hmmm...I’m sure your dad was impressed with how focused you were.” I pulled his wandering hand across my shoulders, wiggling into his side and inhaling the musky scent of the cologne I gave him for his birthday. “Seriously, though, what if your dad won’t give you the time off? And what if you can’t come up with the money in time?
We’re buying our tickets soon. Will you please at least consider borrowing a little cash from my parents? You can always pay them back.”
“I’ll find a way,” he promised, kissing the side of my head. “Maybe I can sell some straw hats on the beach so my old man doesn’t think I’m going to spend the entire winter break being a bum.”
“But you aren’t going to be a bum,” I said, kissing his jaw and running my hand through his coarse, dirty-blond hair. “We’re going to lay out to work on our tans, take a sailboat out to work on your sailor skills, hide out in the cabana and let you work on me.”
Gavin hummed with my kisses as he parked behind the line of cars near Alec Porter’s driveway. “You don’t really think your dad’s going to let us spend that much time alone, do you?”
“Probably not,” I agreed, resting my head back on his arm. “I’m trying to get my mind off the fact that you still haven’t asked your dad. Sometimes I worry you’re putting it off because you don’t want to go.”
After shutting the pickup off, he turned to me, his gaze hard. “Harper, you know I’d do anything to spend time at your mom and dad’s timeshare with you. I mean, come on, it’s Mexico. And it’s you. Why wouldn’t I want to go? Why are you so worried about it?”
“I just...” I sighed, looking down at my feet. Gavin and I were so close I felt anxious knowing we may have to spend break apart. “Does it make me pathetic that I can’t stand the thought of spending two weeks without you?”
“Hey.” He nudged my chin until I was looking at him. A brilliant smile took over his lips. “I promise you, either way, I’m going to find a way to go. Even if it means breaking down and borrowing money from your parents. You’re stuck with me over break. In fact, you’re stuck with me for a really, reallylong time. Got it?”
He kissed me, wrapping one hand in my hair, the other trailing up the back of my tshirt before we were rudely interrupted by a bang on the window. I yelped, almost jumping into Gavin’s lap.
“Stop sucking face and get your asses inside!” Ricky Benson yelled with a shit-eating grin, his big nose pushed against the glass. “Everyone’s waiting for you!”
After letting out a quick chuckle, Gavin gave me one more short kiss, knowing Ricky wouldn’t leave us alone. “Let’s go.”
The two guys exchanged their usual combination of high-fives and pounded fists before Ricky draped his arm across my shoulders. He was much taller than my 5’9”
boyfriend, built more like an indestructible tank. And that night he reeked of cheap booze.
“Well hello there, Miss Young. You’re looking mighty fine. When are you going to be done with Mr. All-American here, and have a go with someone possessing higher than average intelligence?”
“Why, do you know someone like that?” I asked, lifting my eyebrows.
Gavin playfully punched Ricky in the arm. “Stop hitting on my girl.”
“Hey! It’s my duty to inform her she’s missing out on the offer of a lifetime!” Ricky turned back to me. “So you ready to get your freak on? Jess brought her Ouija board.”
“Seriously?” I guffawed, rolling my eyes to the star-filled sky. “Does this have something to do with the dog she ran over last week?” I was a bit unsettled by the general theory of a Ouija board. I had purposely avoided them for most of my life, worried that there really was something to it.
“What’s wrong, Young? Scared?” Ricky let out a bellowing laugh, leaving my side to open the front door.
Boisterous laughter and muffled music greeted us as soon as we stepped inside the one-story home. It was rather small and plain, decorated with garish wallpaper and furnishings still lingering from the 90s. Alec’s parents gave him free run of the basement that ran the entire length of the house, easily allowing for twenty of his best friends to hang out uninterrupted. We joined our friends already drinking from plastic cups, their animated conversations and loud laughter proof that they’d been at it long before we arrived.
Our host Alec stood among the group of juniors, eyes glossy with liquor, arm slung around my best friend’s shoulders to claim his property. I can’t believe there was a time I fell for the quarterback’s handsome looks and artificial charm, thinking Brooke had found herself a real prize when they started dating a few months after us.
Brooke squealed happily with our arrival, ducking under Alec’s hold to run across the room and hand me a cup filled with something awful smelling. I always felt unremarkable when in the presence of my flawlessly beautiful friend. With the kind of long, white blond hair others would die for surrounding a pixie-shaped face and enticing cornflower blue eyes, she was always turning heads. Her skinny jeans, pink button down and trendy riding boots were from one of our shopping trips together, back when we followed the unwritten rule that rich kids should be good friends by default of their economic status alone, even though we didn’t have a whole lot in common.
She grinned brightly at my boyfriend, fluttering her fake eyelashes. “What up, stud?”
She looped her arm around my neck. “You guys ready to invoke spirits of the dead?”
“Are we playing Candyland first?” I scowled around the room in search of Jessica and her satanic board. “Silvia Hinrichsen always brought one of those things out for our fifth grade slumber parties. Aren’t we a little old for that kiddie crap?”
“Says the non-believer,” Jessica answered, appearing behind me. When I spun around, her dark brown eyes flared with mischief. Her dark ponytail swayed as she shook her head. “I wouldn’t mess with things you know nothing about, Harper.”
Jessica stuck her fingers in her mouth to wolf-whistle, getting the attention of everyone in the room. “Okay, peeps! Now that the lovebirds have arrived, it’s time to start! Get over here, and turn off your phones!”
Everyone complied with her requests, although accompanied by a lot of snickering and grumbling. Jessica ran around the room in a flurry, turning off the music before lighting candles and a stick of incense. Once satisfied that everything was in place, she sat in front of the board with her legs crossed, eyes closed in meditation.
I claimed Gavin’s lap on an old recliner nearby. “Someone takes this shit seriously,” I whispered to him.
Brooke let out a high, exaggerated sigh. “Come on already, Jess! Let’s call some ghosts! I want to see if they can really climb backwards up the walls like they do in movies!” We all laughed along with her.
“First of all, you have to shut up,” Jessica snapped. Everyone fell silent with the deadly glare she flashed around the room. “Second of all, I need someone to sit here with me.” Her eyes darted over to me. “Harper, since you don’t believe in the power of the Ouija board, I think it should be you.”
The room erupted with a few “ooo”s and playful chants of my name. I stared back at her, unable to move. Everyone in the room knew Jessica was full of shit, eager to put on a good show to get attention. I didn’t want to come off as a coward, even though I was secretly freaked out.
“She’s just trying to scare you,” Gavin whispered in my ear. “Go show her up.”
I moved from his lap to join her, putting on a brave smile. I never thought in a million years that anything bad would come of it. I never imagined playing what I thought was a harmless game could trigger an avalanche of events that would end with my boyfriend’s death.
“Put your fingers on the pointer.” Jessica’s smile turned smug. She tended to be one bossy bitch. “I’ll ask the questions.”
Her eyes closed for a minute before they flipped back open, fixating on me. “Are there any spirits present?”
The pointer seemed to take forever to slide across the board before landing on
“yes”. When I looked back to Jessica, her eyes were as wide as someone who had just received an electrical shock.
“Oh, c’mon,” I whispered, snorting. “You totally did that.”
Her resolve didn’t fade with my accusation. She looked down on the board. “Are you a friendly spirit?”
The pointer circled around the word “yes” repeatedly.
The strong smell of the incense made my heart beat faster, its pounding filling my ears. I figured Jessica was moving the pointer, but she seemed uncharacteristically sincere. “Holy shit,” she muttered under her breath. “It’s never done that before.”
“It’s friendly, alright. Sounds like someone’s going to get laid!” one of the guys yelled out. The room erupted in more laughter.
“If you can’t take this seriously, leave,” Jessica told the others, the irritation in her voice elevated to dangerous levels. She focused on the board before closing her eyes.
“Spirit, can you move something to show us your presence?”
As we all sat there waiting for something to happen, my wild heartbeat raked my chest until it was difficult to breathe calmly. All at once there was a dull thud from somewhere in the basement. A few of the girls squealed, and I about jumped out of my skin.
“That was the water heater, people,” Alec told us. “It always kicks out like that.”
Brooke let out a drunken cackle.
Annoyed no one took her ritual seriously, Jessica pressed her lips together, glaring down on the board. “Spirit, who in this room will be the first to die?”
“Seriously?” Brooke asked, sounding as freaked as I was beginning to feel.
The temperature of the room plummeted like the flip of a switch. As I sat there rubbing my arms, trying to ignore the creepy sensation inching up my back, a slight breeze from the windowless room flittered past, blowing my hair around my shoulders.
Jessica’s eyes were still closed when the pointer moved from “yes” to the letter “G”.
With my heart galloping in my chest, I snapped my head back to where Gavin sat, shaking his head.
“Let me guess, Jess. It’s me?” He rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “We all know you’re controlling the board. Stop messing with Harper.”
The pointer moved once again under my fingers, faster this time. I looked over to find Jessica’s hands held up at her sides, her eyes bulging. “Ohmigod, do you feel it?”
Bile rose in my throat when I realized there was no way she could’ve manipulated the pointer. There was only one way it could’ve moved.
My eyes fell down to the board, finding the pointer resting on the letter “A”. It continued to move on its own will underneath my fingers, spelling out the rest of my boyfriend’s name. Squealing with surprise, I snapped my hands away before it reached the “N”. The pointer flung off the board as if thrown, smashing into Alec’s gaming system.
“What the hell?” Jessica asked, holding her hands to her mouth. “Why’d you do that?”
“I didn’t!” I insisted, jumping to my feet. “I didn’t do anything!”
The room fell silent, everyone’s ragged breaths sounding like a living being waiting to pounce. Looking around at each of my friends, their collective stunned faces scared me even more. We all knew something unnatural had happened. We were all too afraid to admit it out loud.
Gavin broke the silence with a deep chuckle, standing to fold me in his arms.
“Whatever, you guys. Jessica totally rigged it to do that. If we’re going to believe the stupid thing, then we better get to drinking before my time is up!”
“I would take this a little more seriously if I were you,” Jessica told him in a low voice.
I saw the raw fear behind her eyes when she glanced at me. Her lips were tight as she fled to the bathroom, leaving her demonic board behind.
Nervous, unsure chuckles from some of the guys followed. The music was turned back on, and everything returned to normal. Gavin kissed me before throwing me over his shoulder, whooping it up for our friends. For the rest of the night, no one mentioned the Ouija board or the freakish thing that had happened.
Little did we know, the clock had begun ticking.
THE NEXT MORNING AS I LAY IN BED, contemplating getting up or throwing the covers back over my head, I felt the temperature of the room plummet. A dark shape drifted across my room, followed by what sounded like urgent whispers. It lingered directly above me for a terrifying moment before disappearing. I couldn’t make myself move until my mom came in for my morning wakeup call.
The thing is, it wasn’t just that one time. A few days later, I was passing the park near our house when I swore I saw something covered in hair and walking on two feet coming at me. Just as I decided to take off in a dead run, it walked right through the playground equipment and was gone. Strange things I couldn’t explain began to happen on a daily basis—human-shaped shadows moving around me, dark figures lurking outside my bedroom window, strange noises in the middle of the night.
Sleep was lost to my paranoia when I started to believe I was catching glimpses of ghosts or monsters before they disappeared. I started to wonder what exactly happened the night we messed with Jessica’s Ouija board, and called her the next weekend to see if strange things were happening to her too.
“Are you saying you actually think there was something to it?” she asked with a stiff laugh. “I thought you said it was a kid’s game.” Her voice was bitter enough that I knew she would make a big deal out of it to our friends if I told her the truth, so I did my best to laugh it off and change the subject. Jessica thrived on drama, and I wasn’t about to fall into her trap.
After a football game that Friday in which Gavin scored two touchdowns, his triumphant smile disappeared when he found me waiting for him by the fence. “God, Harper, you look exhausted. Should I be worried?”
I felt like a lost little girl when he wrapped his big strong arms around me. I wanted to tell him of the whispers in my sleep, of things moving in the dark. It was beginning to feel like I was losing myself. But I didn’t know how much of it was my overactive imagination, and I definitely didn’t need him laughing at me. “Gav, do you think ghosts are real?”
“We’re back to that?” he asked with a light laugh. “You know Jessica somehow rigged that thing. If you’re so freaked out, why don’t you research that stuff online? I’ll bet you can find all sorts of proof that ghosts don’t exist. On that show where they hunt ghosts they’re always proving people are just letting their imaginations get the best of them. Maybe it would help if we watched it together sometime.”
I did as he suggested, finding more research that proved ghosts and other creatures do exist. And, to make things worse, more than one website indicated a gateway had been opened with the Ouija board. Whenever Gavin was gone at practice or work I’d read up on supernatural beings. Countless hours were spent in chat rooms with people who claimed to have a paranormal experience. I even communicated daily outside of the chatroom with someone who used the handle “Vhunter”.
I started to truly believe that I was catching shimmers of monsters, even though I couldn’t prove they were real, like how you know when someone is staring at you from behind, or how you know one of your favorite movies is missing from your collection, only you don't know exactly which one. Just like that creepy kid with a sixth sense, I was seeing dead people. And more.
I tracked anything and everything that sounded as if inhuman intervention could be involved. I kept each newspaper article that had a questionable resolution, and saved a zip drive of news broadcasts showing footage of crime scenes where something wasn’t right, from the uneasy look on the witnesses’ faces to the exasperated tick of the journalist’s lips. I felt empowered by every bit of oddity I could get my hands on, like the teen guy who completely vanished from his bedroom without a trace, or the mass break-ins to blood banks across the country.
At first Gavin thought my sudden interest in all things supernatural was some kind of cute stage. He’d play harmless jokes, like jumping out from behind couches and scraping his fingernails against my window after dark. It was fine when it was between the two of us, but it didn’t take long for his buddies to catch on. Word spread around school like wildfire. At the time, everyone laughed it off like it was some kind of quirky hobby. Now more than ever, I wish it had just been a hobby, and there wasn’t anything more to it.
After the homecoming dance that fall, once we had changed into comfy jeans and sweatshirts, we made our customary stop at the park before heading out for the after-dance kegger. We’d been to the heavily wooded park dozens of times, watching stars twinkle against the sky over our heads from the back of his pickup. It used to relax me to hear the familiar sound of crickets, and the occasional animals jostling fallen branches and leaves. The smell of campfires around us used to remind me of late night parties the summer before sophomore year when Gavin and I first started dating.
But that night, the wooded clearing around us felt alive, even though we were completely alone in our little section off the main road. There was something more to the twilight—something sinister. I never used to be afraid of the dark, not until I started to wonder if there was something in it I should be afraid of.
A small sliver of moonlight made the whites of Gavin’s eyes glow bright as he stared down on me. He dropped his lips, trailing them from my jawline to my ear before grinning. “Why are you so quiet? What’s going on?”
“Nothing,” I lied, running my hand across the tiny stubble on his face. Most people didn’t see the coarse blond hairs that grew in after a day or two, but they drove me crazy when we kissed, even giving my face a red rash a time or two. “Dude. I can’t believe your mom let you out of the house without shaving for the dance.”
He flipped around in the bed of the pickup truck, pinning me underneath him. “Don’t try to distract me. And don’t lie.” He brushed stray hairs from my face, grinning. “I know when something’s bothering you. You bite at your lip and get that faraway look. I mean it’s cute, but I know it means something. Spill, Harper.”
Letting out a slow breath, I set my hand on his loose t-shirt, wanting to feel the taught muscles underneath. Dating an athlete definitely had its advantages. “Remember that story about the girl in North Dakota who was attacked by something other than a human in her sleep, but they were never able to prove what it was?”
“Ah, so that’s what’s bothering you?” Gavin dipped his head to the tall oak trees behind us, his eyebrows wiggling. “Afraid of the monsters that might be out there watching us?”
“Stop,” I pleaded, giggling uneasily. “It’s just...now that I’ve heard so many stories like that, I can’t help but wonder what else might be out there. Don’t you ever wonder?”
Tenderness filled Gavin’s gaze as he stroked my cheek with his thumb. “Why are you so determined to prove there are monsters among us?”
“Can’t you feel it?” I asked, flickering my eyes to the unknown tension in the sky.
“There’s something else out there, waiting. I don’t know what they’re waiting for exactly, but they’re there. Ever since I touched Jessica’s Ouija board...I swear to you I’ve been seeing creatures, or ghosts, or something. You know, I’ve heard people only see things if they’re open to the idea of them. You’ll never see what’s really out there if you’ve already convinced yourself it doesn’t exist.”
With a low chuckle, he set his chin on his hand, his sharp nose and smooth lips lingering over me. “So if I start believing in Santa again, he’ll bring me a new X-Box for Christmas?”
I rolled my eyes. “Santa doesn’t exist.”
“But vampires do?” His eyes danced in amusement as they always did when we were on the subject. “I don’t get it. Why are you so obsessed with this stuff? You hate those chick flicks.”
I huffed, the idea of vampires being romantic and lovable irritating. “You’re right, I can’t stand them, but my belief in vampires has nothing to do with the movies.”
Okay, that’s not totally true. My online friend “Vhunter” saidThirty Days of Night best portrayed real vampires out in the wild. I shivered at the thought of running into one of those insane, blood-thirsty creatures.
“God, you’re crazy, but I love you,” Gavin whispered, pressing his lips to mine.
His hands grazed from my waist up, caressing my skin before settling on my face.
Excitement vibrated through me with his touch and expert kisses. I responded with my own persistence, savoring the way our mouths fit together, the way our tongues worked in sync the way they had so many times before. As my fingers twisted at the short curls on the back of his head, I was glad he skipped the hair appointment his mom made the day before.
My thoughts grew wild with how much I wanted more of him. I wasn’t sure if it was because his musky cologne was driving me absolutely crazy, because the excitement of the amazing night we already shared, or because my heart was pounding with such raw fervor that it felt as if it could explode.
One minute we were all alone, Gavin’s hands up my shirt, my lips trailing along his neck, and the next he flew off me and disappeared into the darkness.
His scream came out of the darkness somewhere on my left. Horrible raw, gut-wrenching sounds of torture. They streaked right down to the pit of my stomach, releasing an inherent fear unlike anything I had experienced before. I ran blindly to him, screaming his name, tears streaming down my cheeks. A cluster of white smoke tendrils appeared in the distance, curling around the tree trunks and growing like a cancerous weed before sucking inward and disappearing. Everything went silent.
My chest rose and fell hard. I ran to where the white haze had been.
He was no more than two hundred feet away, torn as if he had been mauled by a grizzly.
His beautiful eyes stared up into the starry sky, dull and lifeless.
My knees hit the soggy soil.
Staring up into the sky.
Never to blink again. I remember blood still oozing from his wounds as I numbly pressed my hand to his chest, praying for the murmur of a heartbeat that never came.
Blood oozed from between my fingers, saturating his shirt, saturating my hands, saturating the forest.
The police were summoned to the woods with my incoherent 9-1-1 call. Although they found Gavin lifeless in my arms, my sweatshirt and hands smeared with his blood, I still wasn’t ever considered a suspect. For weeks after that night I was repeatedly questioned on what happened, even though I didn’t have much to tell them and never thought of anything more to add. They basically wrote off every oddity I recited about that night, saying I was “in shock”. The details of his death were never released to the public at the request of his mom, and no one ever spoke of it again. Sometimes it feels as if the attack never even happened.
Call me crazy, because pretty much everyone does by now, but I know something inhuman killed Gavin. And I know there are sinister beings out there, hiding in the shadows, waiting to feed on humans or rip us to shreds, like the thing that murdered Gavin.
Whether anyone believes me or not, I know deep down that whatever took Gavin from me that night wasn’t human, and I won’t stop searching until I can prove it. By now it’s not only about clearing my name of Gavin’s demise, but finding actual proof that I’m right—that there are things in the dark to be afraid of.
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