Samuel Sattin has written a young adult novel that's right over the plate for pop culture fans, described as a hybrid of The Goonies and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Set in the Pacific Northwest, it features three teenagers and–you guessed it–something dark and possibly occult under the foundations of their high school. The Silent End weaves together the personal elements from the lives of the characters with a more horror-based whole to make the story both "genre-bending" and meaningful for readers.
According to the publishers, our three characters are "dragged into a frightening web of conspiracy, dream-logic, and death. From living trucks and mirror-dwelling psychopaths to hellish entities who lurk behind friendly faces, Eberstark, Lexi, and Gus find themselves battling to save not just themselves but the soul of their backwater town".
We've been given two excerpts from the book to reveal today, including the first section (from Chapter 5) when the main character, Eberstark, sees a monster in the woods for the first time.
The second section (from Chapter 7) features the three main characters, three teenage friends, all headed back to the clearing in the woods, this time with a truck, with the idea being to move and hide the monster.
And here's our excerpt:
Excerpt from The Silent End by Samuel Sattin
"This way." She motioned us forward with the knife.
She moved aside a tall pine bush and disappeared into a thicket. Gus and I followed.
"I wonder what she found," I whispered.
"I honestly don't want to know," said Gus.
We eventually emerged into a small clearing. The smell of recently burned wood tickled my nostrils. I put my hand on a trunk to stabilize myself as I moved into the open and felt that the surface was warm. No, not warm. Hot. I removed my hand partly in reflex and saw that the bark had been charred nearly black. The front portion of the trunk had been blown to shreds along with the front half of the crown. The same thing was true for all the rest of the trees that surrounded the clearing. It appeared as if a near perfect circle of death had incinerated all inside its radius, filling the span with a fire so contained it hadn't spread. This must have been where the explosion hit last night. In the middle of the clearing, which had also been scorched to ash, Lexi had stopped next to what appeared to be a massive, black rock. It looked cold, was more than five feet tall and eight long. As I eased toward it, legs trembling, Lexi bent toward the ground. She pressed her ear against the object's surface.
"It's still breathing," she said as she sat down in the mud. It was then that I saw that the rock was not a rock at all.
# # #
A heavy branch swatted at the right side window, and I shrieked.
"Need you drive like a maniac?" Gus growled as Lexi took the shepherd down an incline with punishing speed and smacked it into the earth. The shocks creaked but held, and she flipped hair from her eye.
Lexi only revved the engine louder. "He could be dead already. Can't waste time."
"Lexi, we don't even know what the hell he is," said Gus. "or whether we can keep it—let's call it it okay?—from dying. I mean, I feel like I'm losing my mind. My parents are probably at the Sherriff 's office already… What is it now, 8:30? Oh for fuck's sake, I'm not even going to be able to finish up next Tuesday's Chem homework."
"Something tells me you'll survive."
Gus turned to me. "I can't believe you're condoning this. It's not like we don't have enough going on already, and you promised me that you'd keep your head straight. We agreed we'd concentrate on two things: school and—"
"Sword Star," I said. "Yes, I know."
"So what are we doing out here? What do you think three Myers High students are going to do about some hellbeast in the woods?"
Lexi slammed on the brakes before a tree, and my forehead hit the rear-view mirror. Gus's head narrowly missed the dash.
"Look," said Lexi. "You can bitch and moan all you want when you get home, but in the Shepherd, you keep it the fuck down."
"Sorry." I rubbed my nose.
"I just don't understand why you're doing this," said Gus.
"Gus," Lexi said a little hoarsely. "I know this is going to sound crazy. But I…I saw something."
"The monster," I said. "I know. We saw it too."
"Fuck, Eberstark. I mean that I saw something else. Not just the…what are we calling it? Monster? Alien?"
"Demon?" said Gus.
"I didn't just see it…I saw something in its eyes."
Lexi paused for a second as if waiting for us to understand. But when we didn't, she continued on.
"I was with it all night. Wondering what I should do. When you find something that crazy, you either run away screaming or start making decisions. So I put my hand on its wrist for a second—not only to see what the skin felt like but to check for a pulse."
"Well," said Gus. "Did you find one?"
"I don't know if you could call it a pulse. It was more like a chorus of pulses. Like hundreds of little fists, banging against walls. I know, it doesn't make much sense. And who knows if it even has a heart? But when I touched its wrist, it opened its eyes and stared right at me. It didn't seem like it could move its body, but I was scared. Those things…they looked hateful. Like they wanted to murder me. Either that or like they thought I was going to murder it. I backed away. I thought it was going to try and tear my head off or something. Which who knows, it might have wanted to. But from where I was, I sat on the ground, and we just looked at each for a few minutes. Genuinely just looked at each other. Then, its eyes closed again."
"So that's what you saw?" Gus said, less than interested.
"Let me finish, okay?"
Lexi thumbed her cigarette butt through a crack in the window, tossed another into her mouth, and pushed down on the car lighter.
"I don't know how to explain it any way other than this," she said. "But it was like it…recognized me."
"Recognized you?" I asked.
"That's ridiculous," said Gus, turning around to glance at me.
"Is it?" she growled. "I thought about what to do for a while. Where I should go." The car lighter clicked, and she held the glowing coils to the new cigarette. "I decided that you two were my…best option."
"How kind of you," Gus said. "Most of the time, it's like you're our ghost friend. I think tonight was the second time I'd even seen your house. And now you're saying we're you're 'best option?' I don't know…seems desperate to me."
"Gus," I said.
Lexi hammered the accelerator. Gus gasped. She veered right, and we drove down a steep incline. I could see that in her right open eye was a glimmering wetness. Maybe it was just from the smoke although her voice sounded strained.
"I have a hard time trusting people."
"But you trust monsters?" Gus said.
"A monster hasn't hurt me yet." Lexi frowned a little. Not her normal frown but something darker. Something she didn't want us to see.
# # #
Excerpt from The Silent End © 2015 by Samuel Sattin. Used by permission of the publisher, Ragnarok Publications.
Make sure to look out for Samuel Sattin at Long Beach Comic Con, where he will be a guest. Sattin is also hosting a sweepstakes for the book right here.
Here's some information about LBCC:
Enjoy an exciting weekend full of exceptional guests and exhibitors, and engaging panels, at Long Beach Comic Con, Saturday, September 12 from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday, September 13 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Long Beach Convention Center. The show opens to advance ticket holders both days at 9:30 AM. Tickets are available now through the website: www.longbeachcomiccon.com.