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Some believe Bedford, Maine, is cursed. Its bloody past, endless rain, and the decay of its downtown portend a hopeless future. With the death of its paper mill, Bedford's unemployed residents soon find themselves with far too much time to dwell on thoughts of Susan Marley. Once the local beauty, she's now the local whore. Silently prowling the muddy streets, she watches eerily from the shadows, waiting for . . . something. And haunting the sleep of everyone in town with monstrous visions of violence and horror.
Those who are able will leave Bedford before the darkness fully ascends. But those who are trapped here—from Susan Marley's long-suffering mother and younger sister to her guilt-ridden, alcoholic ex-lover to the destitute and faithless with nowhere else to go—will soon know the fullest and most terrible meaning of nightmare.
the smartest thing he’d ever done in his not-so-smart life. “Crazy bitch,” Montie said, nodding at Susan. “Dreamed about her last night. Swear to God it felt like it was really happening. My wife thinks she’s the devil.” Right now, Susan was swaying to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “I Like the Way You Walk.” Her hands were clasped around the hick’s shoulders. She wore a long, sopping wet spring dress that showed off her headlights. Paul made a motion to stand. Danny caught his wrist. “Leave it alone. You
brain had gone too soft to comprehend English. “Talk about it now.” She sighed. “I don’t know what to say.” He took a deep breath, had a quick retort, but bit it back. She looked so frail. She always looked so frail. He could never say a goddamn thing to her because she always looked like she might break. “I was worried about you today. I don’t know why. I was afraid something might have happened. Did anything happen?” This concern took him by surprise, and all he could do was shake his
loved me.” “What?” Mary asked, her voice soft and crooning. “Who wouldn’t love you?” “Bobby. It’s my fault.” “No. No, baby. You didn’t do anything.” “I wish I was dead. I wish it was me instead.” Mary lifted Liz’s chin. “Maybe you can stay with Bobby tonight. I’m not feeling myself. I don’t think it’s good for you.” “Go?” “Until the rain is over.” “I can’t leave you.” Mary shook her head. “It’s best.” “But it’s not right here, Mom. Nothing about it is right.” Mary let go. “You can stay
drunk,” Danny continued. And Thomas understood that if he did not help, that at some point they all might be forced to leave. That their trailers really might topple in the mud. Still, Thomas hesitated. “Please,” Danny said. “Yeah, I’ll help.” Thomas packed some things. Then he joined Danny and the two of them talked Kate into coming. “Here,” Thomas said, showing her the bottle of Smirnoff vodka he’d taken from his freezer, “I brought this for you. A present. Danny’ll let you take it to the
eyes. “Better.” The next day, the last day before she would start the second grade, Susan went to the park instead of the woods. There were no scary ladies in the park, just kids who filled their buckets with sand. But the park got boring. She was bad at the seesaw because she always forgot that if she got off at the bottom, someone else fell. She hung upside down on the monkey bars for at least five minutes, but all the blood rushed to her face and she was afraid she might explode. Pop! Her