Excerpt: Cassie cringed at each bump along Tree Branch Trail. Gravel crunched underneath the truck’s tires, yet somehow the dilapidated vehicle withstood the beating. Squished between her best friend Mary and the door, Cassie tensed and tried not to hit anything or anyone as the truck vaulted over another pothole. She wished she had a seat belt on, but with two seat belts and four people in the front seat, it wasn’t happening. They should’ve taken her car, but it never would’ve made it on this backcountry road. Why didn’t they stick with the plan and not come out here anyway?
“How do you like your first off-roading adventure, Cassie?” Denise asked with the harsh laugh of a smoker while shifting her plump hips between her boyfriend James and her sister Mary.
“It’s great,” Cassie said without enthusiasm and with a whole truckload of sarcasm. The vehicle ran over a monstrous rut, and her head knocked against the window. She sucked in air through her teeth. Checking for a bump, she glanced over to Mary. Although three years younger and still in high school, Mary was Cassie’s best friend and confidante. Cassie had missed her most since she moved to Missouri for college. She leaned close to Mary’s ear. “I think we should’ve stayed and watched a different movie.”
“Me too,” Mary whispered back.
James slammed on the brakes, and the truck fishtailed to a stop.
Cassie pressed her hand against the glove compartment. Dashboard lights illuminated Mary’s grimace and her white knuckles from clutching the seat belt so hard.
“What’s out there?” Cassie peered ahead.
Title: Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection
Author: Cherie Reich
Genre: Paranormal Horror/Thriller
Release Date: April 16, 2015
Cover Art: Amygdala Design
Book Description: A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.
Disappearances every ten or so years make little impact on the small town of New Haven, Virginia. Hikers get lost. Hunters lose the trail. Even when a body is discovered, the inhabitants’ memories last about as long as the newspaper articles.
No one connects the cases. No one notices the disappearances go back beyond Civil War times. No one believes a legendary monster roams the forests in Southwestern Virginia.
I don’t either until the truck breaks down on an old mountain trail. Cell phones won’t work in this neck of the woods. It’s amazing how much a person can see by starlight alone. So what if we can’t feel our fingers or toes as we hike toward the main road. How many more miles left to go?
Hear that noise?
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