Title: OF THE TREES
Author: E.M. Fitch
Pub. Date: February 28, 2017
Format: Paperback, eBook
Cassie and Laney fancy themselves amateur ghost hunters. When a carnival comes to town, Cassie embraces the chance to try something new.
Carnival workers watch the girls with a collective gaze that ignites in Laney a dark and dangerous fascination, leaving Cassie unnerved.
It’s not just their age or the unsettling way they stare. There is something in the shifting of their skin and the way their features seem to change in the shadows.
Cassie can’s shake this sickening feeling that there’s more to the carnival than meets the eye.
When townspeople suddenly start dying and bloody warnings appear around town, Cassie is lured into a nightmare where trees whisper and strange, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods she once hunted for ghosts with her best friend.
Then Laney goes missing, and only Cassie can get her back. But the creatures of the trees aren’t simply going to hand Laney over to Cassie without getting something in return.
Laney had secluded herself at the edge of the party with Corey. Cassie still felt uneasy around him, though it was obvious Laney adored him. He seemed to really like her, as well. The intensity continued to bother Cassie.
Like the boy who was now across the clearing. They stared, searching, and Laney got lost in Corey’s eyes the way Cassie felt pinned by his friend. Where Cassie found it unsettling, Laney seemed only hooked, connected in a way Cassie had never seen her before.
Cassie continued her slow trek around the outside of the group, her thoughts becoming hazy and disconnected. She only had the one drink, and it normally didn’t affect her so strongly, but tonight she felt intoxicated, woozy, and uncoordinated. The people around her started to pair off. Small groups still laughed around the fire, but couples began stealing away into the woods, becoming evident only by the breathy giggles and soft rustlings in the dark. She just saw Laney, backing slowly into the forest, Corey trailing, her hand pulling him along. Her face was lit in the orange glow of the dancing flames, her smile bright, and then she was swallowed by the darkness of the trees. Cassie blinked, searching the spot her best friend had just disappeared from, watching the bramble for any signs of distress. It felt silly, she knew, to be so convinced that something was off. It was paranoia, most likely a result of the alcohol, but she couldn’t shake it. Her thoughts were uncoordinated and heavy, and it wasn’t helping.
Cassie’s foot caught on a low branch, one of the many that intruded in the shallow bowl of the clearing. Her reflexes were too slow to right herself. She pitched forward into a tree, her hands scraping against the bark. She jumped when warm hands landed on her waist, righting her.
“You,” she breathed, turning and finding the boy with the intense eyes staring inches from her face.
E.M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.
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