The Kellars — David and Jenna and their young son Miles — have moved into a house left to them by Jenna’s late father. Miles is not yet comfortable in his new bedroom, where something disturbs his sleep one night. …
Miles propped himself up on both arms in bed, in the dark, wide awake. He was not sure what had awakened him, but he had the impression someone had come into his bedroom.
The wind blew outside and sent a spatter of rain against the windowpane. Miles could hear the distant surf crashing against the rocks at the foot of the cliff behind the house. His bed was against the wall across from the door, and there were two bare windows just above it. The ivy on the outside wall of the house whispered secretly every time the wind blew. Maybe that was it — the strange new sounds of the night had awakened him, sounds it would take awhile to get used to, that was all. And the room was new, the bed, everything. Even the things he had brought with him from Redding took on new shapes in the dark — the toy dinosaurs on the shelves, the stuffed King Kong huddled in the corner, the lamp and books crouching on the desk.
But something was not right. He could feel it.
“Come on, be a good puppy.” The whispered voice was rough, and it came from within Miles’s bedroom. “C’mon over here and be a good puppy.”
Miles made a small, strangled sound in his throat, just before it closed. His elbows locked at his sides and he was paralyzed by fear. His eyes moved to the spot in the room from which the voice had come — over by the shelf with the dinosaurs on it, but low, near the floor. Miles’s eyes dropped and he saw a figure in the dark — round shoulders and a large oddly-shaped head. The figure rose slowly up out of the floor, a black shape within the darkness, out of reach of the hallway nightlight’s glow. Arms took shape at the round sides of the fat figure as it rose, large and hulking.
“Gitcher butt over here, y’fuckin’ puppy.”
Miles was not aware of the exact moment when he was finally able to scream, he only knew he was screaming.
“Ray Garton’s The Loveliest Dead eases the reader into what is easily the most mature, heartfelt, and unflinchingly disturbing novel of his career. The unspeakable horror that lies at the center of Dead’s mosaic-like mystery is the darkest nightmare of every parent, only in Garton’s hands, the revelation of this nightmare is only the beginning. A powerful, terrifying, unforgettable achievement. Ray Garton is back and he will shake your soul’s foundation with this one.”
— Gary A. Braunbeck, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of To Each Their Darkness and In Silent Graves
The Loveliest Dead: