Title: Hemlock Pond
Genre and Age Group: young adult, adult
Author: Alan Nayes
Release date: 8/22/12
Event dates: 9/13-10/4
Book Description: Megan Parker and her young son move into an old farmhouse with a haunted pond on the property. But they find there is more living in the pond than only fish and turtles. Far more…
Megan soon discovers the dark curse of Hemlock Pond will touch her family in ways she never could have imagined
At the corner where the trees jutted into the pasture, her light beam picked up a dark shape on the ground beside a clump of wilted buffalo grass.
Mighty sat crouched on his haunches, pasting his dull malevolent gaze her way.
“Get out of the way,” Megan snapped, resisting the urge to actually kick the animal. The very idea shocked her and she told herself it was the fear of losing her only child that made her think such a cruel thing.
She stepped around the tomcat and heard it snarl—gravelly and harsh—and immediately she thought of the dirt she’d seen caked in the cat’s mouth.
“Clean your teeth, Mighty,” she muttered in disgust, just as her beam illuminated three small silhouettes near the hemlocks by the pond.
“Zach!” Megan shouted.
One of the figures turned and waved. He definitely wasn’t sleepwalking. The other pair—two girls—stood still.
“I’m coming, Mommy.”
She could see Zach reach out to one of the girls, before running her way.
Megan should have felt an overwhelming sense of relief, but something about the two other children repulsed her—not unlike Mighty did—and she experienced a profound chill in the dead center of her chest. For a moment, she lost her breath, and worried she might be suffering a heart condition; then her lungs began working again. Only stress and fear, she tried to assure herself. She aimed the flashlight, ignoring the shaking in her hands. The beam passed over Zach and settled flush on the two girls. There was no doubt, these were the same pair she’d seen on Three Trestle Bridge. Definitely not an illusion tonight. What had the deputy said, no one seen wandering along
because they’d walked into our back pasture.
More clearly now, she could see their clothing. Dressed alike as twins, both children’s dresses clung moist and stringy against their frail, thin bodies. Though dull and drab, the cotton fabric appeared it might have been a pretty ocean blue or even turquoise at some time in the past, and Megan could see remnants of tattered muddy lace trimming attached to the hemline which hung limply past their knobby knees. The light beam highlighted worn wool bonnets that covered their heads down to the tops of their ears. Straggly locks of listless hair lay plastered against their pale faces, so thin the strands could have been painted on with a finger brush. She thought of the clumps of hair she’d seen rising out of the muddy swirl in Hemlock Pond and experienced an ill-defined wave of terror. It was the same dirty-blond color! With macabre shock, she also realized both girls were barefoot. Absolutely nothing covered their tiny feet.
“You must be freezing,” she heard herself murmur, though inside she felt anything but sorrow. Only an intangible fear of the unknown.
I’ve seen them before. Clara Moorer’s old photograph.
The girls’ skin on their stick-thin arms looked as transparent and flimsy as wet tissue paper and she imagined she could visualize tendons and muscles and sinew overlying their bones.
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