In the dying town of Thornton, Texas, in the summer of 1962, five teenage boys have their fates forever entwined. Though all friends, their home lives are disturbingly different. Eddie has an abusive father, while Andy is the child of a single mother with debts too high for money alone to pay. They decide to right what they consider wrong in their lives.
A long forgotten Ouija board in a deserted barn becomes their answer. Together, they call upon a spirit but could never have expected the appearance of Mr. Charon, a demon who comes to haunt their small town with the help of his evil pets. Terror is unleashed upon Thornton, and although Eddie and Andy are to blame, their friends agree to help.
Mr. Charon has been released, and somehow, the boys must find a way to send him back to Hell and end the horror that has overtaken their fellow townsfolk. Good and evil collide as they fight not only for their own lives, but also for the souls of the entire community. Too late, the five boys have learned that where demons roam, no one is safe.
Young Adult Novel…
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Friday, June 1, 1962
Except for the half-gone ear and tail, at a distance Mrs. Barrick’s old tomcat could easily be mistaken for one of the many bobcats roaming the piney woods of East Texas. It was far larger than most cats, had all of the right colors, and as every pet in town had discovered, a disposition as mean.
The tom prowled the area, proving his rule, smugly walking atop fences, always remaining out of reach of the snapping jaws of frenzied dogs. Age had taught it patience and on this morning it lay sprawled along a tree limb like a jungle leopard waiting for its next prey. When one appeared, the tom went on the chase; alert, agile, and merciless.
The jerky stop and go travels of the field mouse crossing the yard caught the predator’s eyes. With one leap the cat was out of the tree and on the ground, stalking the mouse with eyes focused, head hung low, and legs ready to catapult its body forward.
Sensing death’s presence, the mouse drew still. It looked left, right, and bolted toward the loose tin sheets of a nearby barn.
When the mouse broke into a run, so did the big cat, trying to overtake its prey before it escaped into the dilapidated building. The distance between them closed but not swiftly enough. The mouse shot through a black gap and vanished as the old tom’s paws pounded the ground behind him, its sharp claws raking the dirt each time.
Try as it may the cat couldn’t squeeze through the gap. But the hunt wasn’t over. The tom prowled the barn’s perimeter until he found another opening in the tin sheets.
Sunlight shone through cracks in the barn’s wall and filled the interior with faint, slender beams of light that caught specks of dust floating through the dead air like ghosts. The tomcat was an experienced ratter. It knew to find a vantage point and wait. The mouse would betray itself.
The aged barn was a tomb of long forgotten relics. Scanning the shadows, always vigilant, the old cat rested atop a rusted tractor, its head swiveling to listen for the least sound and to sniff the air for the scent of the mouse’s fear.
The mouse squeaked in pain, faint yet enough for the tom to track. Avoiding beams of sunlight, the cat crept past water-stained cardboard boxes; pieces of farm machinery, and a car cloaked in years of thick dust and spider webs. When the cat reached the northern corner of the barn, the cries of the mouse hushed. The tom sniffed the floor and the air again. The scent of the mouse was strong.
Ready to attack, he crept around weathered boards and tattered tarps set deliberately to conceal the corner. Convulsing in spasms, the mouse lay on its side, next to a black steamer trunk lost in time. Once, twice, the mouse thrashed its legs and tail, and drew still.
Muscles tightened like coiled springs, the tomcat sprang forward, landing with claws digging deep to pin the mouse to the wood floor. But the mouse was dead. Raising its paw, the cat watched.
The cat rose and circled the body, wary of any tricks the mouse might try. As the cat walked between the mouse and the steamer trunk, its ribs brushed the trunk’s metal sides.
Scorching agony skewered the cat, making it scream, twist about, furiously hiss, and strike out as if it were under attack. The tomcat felt itself being lifted and flung through the air. It crashed against the barn’s tin wall with a loud boom. Falling to the floor, the cat clawed at an invisible foe and fought for its life.
The piercing pain stopped. The tom jumped clear, landing and leaping from machinery to boxes, fleeing as if a pack of starving wolves were giving chase. When a sunlit gap in the tin siding appeared, the old cat never slowed. He smashed head long into it, pushing and squeezing his body through until free of the barn.
At a full run, half way across the yard, the tom stumbled and rolled into the dirt. Once, twice, Mrs. Barrick’s tomcat thrashed its legs and drew still.