"11 or 12 stars would be apropos! Well-written, enticing, and captivating, this story will run chills upyour spine-not the least because the situations it presents are entirely potential and plausible! The protagonists' coping with changed loved ones will tear yourheart strings!"-Mallory Anne-Marie Forbes, Mallory Heart Reviews
From the Inside Flap
The place appeared haunted. Tomas had lived on the cusp of the village since he was a boy, and he'd never seen it so deserted. Snow mounded in front of shop entrances and, in some places, blew inside of busted street displays. The liquor store and the bakery both appeared to have been looted, as well as the small supermarket in the middle of the town.
The streamers from the Solstice festival were down, flailing on the snow-covered road like wounded snakes. As he eased the Rover closer to the intersection in front of the library and the public gymnasium, the vehicle lost traction and listed sideways, then found its course again. The headlights sprayed the road, and Tomas spotted something hanging from a darkened streetlamp.
A man, frozen and naked, danced on his tiptoes over the surface of the snow. A holiday streamer was wrapped tightly around his thick neck. His skin reflected the headlights; he was shiny, as if he'd been dipped in pale blue plastic. His bloated stomach folded over his genitals. Reflexively, Tomas slammed on the brakes, sending the vehicle into a true slide.
Leila gasped, but fortunately, not loud enough to wake Christopher.
"Oh, God," Melanie whispered.
Tomas clenched the steering wheel, cranking it savagely, but the Rover didn't respond quickly enough. The car plowed into the body of the dead man, sending him crashing into the windshield, his face pressing comically against the glass for one terrible moment before the body fell to the side, vanishing from sight.
The Rover came to a halt in the middle of the street, and Tomas sat behind the wheel a moment, his heart pounding and his hands trembling. He took a deep breath. "That was Frank Swensen."
"Who?" Leila croaked.
Christopher said, "I have to go to the bathroom, Daddy."
Tomas peered at his son through the rearview mirror. "Hang in there, buddy. I'll find a place in a few minutes. Okay?"
Tomas pressed the gas, and the Rover rolled on. He winced as the body of Frank Swensen, public accountant and acquaintance for three decades, thudded against the front bumper. He glanced in the mirror once again, hoping Christopher wouldn't see. Thankfully, Melanie had taken his small hands in hers. She began singing a Mother Goose rhyme, dramatically forgetting her lines to allow Christopher to fill in. Tomas caught her eye in the mirror and winked. She smiled back, as warm as always, but there was terror in her eyes.
Tomas wondered if everyone he'd ever known outside his small, precious family was dead. Were he, Leila, Melanie, and Christopher the only people left alive? It wasn't plausible, of course. Many people were very likely the same as he and his family had been for the better part of a week--waiting in the safety of their increasingly cold and foodless homes, afraid of what was out there in the unending night.