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Will Ryerson seeks a new life at a university in North Carolina, but he and the people he meets there find that they cannot get away from a web of violence, terror, and death
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F. Paul Wilson, the New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack novels, lives in Wall, New Jersey.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Mr. Veilleur could feel the approaching summer storm in his bones as he sat in a shady corner of St. Ann’s cemetery in Bayside. He had the place to himself. In fact, he seemed to have most of the five boroughs to himself. Labor Day weekend. And a hot one. Anyone who could afford to had fled upstate or to the Long Island beaches. The rest were inside, slumped before their air conditioners. Even the homeless were off the streets, crouched in the relative cool of the subways.
The sun poured liquid fire through the hazy midday sky. Not a cloud in sight. But here in the shade of this leaning oak, Mr. Veilleur knew the weather was going to change soon, could read it from the worsening ache in his knees, hips, and back.
Other things were going to change as well. Everything, perhaps. And all for the worse.
He had been making sporadic trips to this corner of the cemetery since he’d first sensed the wrongness here. That had been on a snowy winter night many years ago. It had taken him a while, but he’d finally located the spot.
A grave, which was perfectly natural, this being a cemetery. This grave was not like the others, however. This one had no marker. But something else made this grave special: Nothing would grow over it.
Through the years Mr. Veilleur had seen the cemetery’s gardeners try to seed it, sod it, even plant it with various ground covers like periwinkle, pachysandra, and ivy. They took root well all around, but nothing survived in the four-foot oblong patch over the grave.
Of course, they didn’t know it was a grave. Only Mr. Veilleur and the one who had dug the hole knew that. And surely one other.
Mr. Veilleur did not come here often. Travel was not easy for him, even to another part of the city he had called home since the end of World War Two. Gone were the days when he walked where he wished, fearing no one. Now his eyes were bad; his back was stiff and canted forward; he leaned on a cane when he walked, and he walked slowly. He had an old man’s body and he had to take appropriate precautions.
Age had not dampened his curiosity, however. He didn’t know who had dug the grave, or who was in it. But whoever lay down there below the dirt and rocks had been touched by the enemy ... the Otherness.
The enemy had been growing steadily stronger for more than two decades now. But growing carefully, staying hidden. Good thing too, for he had no one to oppose him. But he did not know that. He was waiting. For what? A sign? A particular event? Perhaps the one buried below was part of the answer. Perhaps the occupant had nothing to do with the enemy’s quiescence.
No matter—as long as the enemy remained inactive. For the longer the enemy delayed, the closer Mr. Veilleur would be to reaching the end of his days. And then he would be spared witnessing the chaotic horrors to come. His Heir would shoulder that burden.
A shadow fell across him and a sudden gust of wind chilled the perspiration that coated his skin. He looked up. Clouds were moving in, obscuring the sun. Time to go.
He stood and stared one last time at the bare dirt over the unmarked grave. He knew he would be back again. And again. Too many questions about this grave and its occupant. He sensed unfinished business here.
Because the grave’s occupant did not rest easy. Did not, in fact, rest at all.
Mr. Veilleur turned and made his unsteady way out of St. Ann’s cemetery. It would be good to get back to the cool apartment and get his feet up and have a glass of iced tea. He tried to believe that his wife had missed him during his absence, but with her mind the way it was, Magda probably hadn’t even realized he was gone.
Copyright © 2005, 2011 by F. Paul Wilson
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Book Description Dark Harvest Books, 1991. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M091316559X