Ridgewood returns to her Talbot Trilogy with the same flash and flair that we’ve come to know from the series. Her action packed and larger than life scenes came to life before my eyes. The intricate narrative creates a unique and one of a kind feel while the plot kept me on my toes. At the same time, Ridgewood does a fantastic job of jogging your memory with respect to past events, but never rehashing past novels.
I loved coming back to these characters that I`m getting to know so well. I love some and have a love/hate relationship with others. The unique dynamics combined with everyone’s one of a kind, in your face personalities creates a cast that readers won’t soon forget.
This exciting conclusion to Ridgewood’s trilogy definitely kept me hooked. I love how she wrapped everything up nicely, without presenting readers with a pretty little bow. The sense of continuity was great. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you so, so much for the positive feedback, Jonel! I sincerely appreciate it, and I’m extremely happy you enjoyed my book.
You can find out what all the fuss is for by visiting my publisher, Melange Books, or finding the Talbot Trilogy on Amazon, in Chapters, B&N, Smashwords, or Lulu.
Similar in structure to Wind and Shadow, the story in Blood and Fire takes place over three days in mid-November. Sometimes, while I was writing or rereading, I was thinking of particular songs in the background of the scenes. Although I’ve lost my original list, the songs I’ve picked out below are those that best fit the movement of the plot and development of the characters. It was tempting to copy songs I used in the playlist for the first book, but that would be cheating . . .
However . . .
Given that I am still mad about losing my first list, this one still open to interpretation and change. It stands for now, and may be adapted further over the next few days (or weeks, or, you know . . . whenever).
I hope you enjoy!
Shadows: The Talbot Trilogy Playlist 2
Enya, “Orinoco Flow”
Neverending White Lights, “Theme from The Blood and the Life Eternal”
U2, “Mysterious Ways”
Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Christmastime is Here (Instrumental)”
Taylor Swift, “Safe and Sound”
Taylor Swift, “Safe and Sound”
Muse, “Unnatural Selection”
Three Days Grace, “Animal I Have Become”
Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Motley Crue, “Home Sweet Home”
Remik’s Cube, “Opportunity”
Linkin Park, “Points of Authority”
Nelly, “Hot In Here”
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Tove Lo, “Talking Body”
Pitbull, “Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera)” or Daft Punk, “Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)”
Rupert Holmes, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”
Avicii, “Hey Brother”
Black Lab, “Learn to Crawl”
Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s Get It Started”
Rick Howland, “Parallel Lives”
Broken Bells, “The High Road”
Classified, “3 Foot Tall”
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, “White Rabbit”
Rick Howland, “Two Doctors”
Jenn Grant, “Parachutes”
The Kinks, “A Well Respected Man”
George Thorogood & The Destroyers, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”
Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Florence + The Machine, “Kiss With a Fist”
Reilly, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or Celine Dion, “I Drove All Night”
Reilly, “Good King Wenceslas”
The Doors, “Strange Days”
Kardinal Offishall, “Numba 1 (Tide Is High)” or My Chemical Romance, “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”
Gerard McMann, “Cry Little Sister”
Tim Cappello, “I Still Believe”
Lou Gramm, “Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys)”
Nickelback, “Burn It to the Ground”
Queen, “We Will Rock You”
Spoon, “Got Nuffin”
Miranda Lambert, “Run Daddy Run (feat. Pistol Annies)”
Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun”
Plain White T’s, “Welcome to Mystery” or Three Days Grace, “Never Too Late”
Three Days Grace, “Never Too Late”
The Calling, “Wherever You Will Go” or Demi Lovato, “Warrior”
Crooked Fingers, “Luisa Bones”
Maroon 5, “Come Away to the Water” (feat. Rozzi Crane)
You’re invited to sink your teeth (or fangs) into this selection from my upcoming novel, the third and final instalment in the Talbot Trilogy, a paranormal romance / urban fantasy that’s not for the faint of heart.
First, the blurb . . .
Lovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?
And now, the excerpt:
He swiveled her stretcher around and rolled her into another room nearby, connected by a sliding door. Here, she saw a massive bed covered in white silk sheets, fur rugs and tables covered with candles. There was even a mirror on the ceiling. She recoiled, tugging feverishly and uselessly against her bonds.
Instead of taking her to the bed as she feared, he pulled again to the right, and stopped her in front of a bank of six small flatscreen TVs. The views changed every ten seconds or so, until he tapped a few keys on a small black keyboard. Then, each TV focused on the hospital lobby, where Grant and Malcolm sat glaring at each other below the hidden camera.
“I have eyes and ears all over this hospital, Rayvin,” he told her seriously. “I knew you were here the minute you showed up. I honestly kept expecting Grant to figure it out and come charging down here, but guess what? The wolf-man’s got a stuffy nose!” Jason snorted and pressed another few buttons.
The lower right flatscreen changed to a time-stamped view of the lobby, reversing its recording until Charlotte, Marcy, and Siobhan were walking backward into the room and facing the men. Here, Jason paused the video. He drew up a black leather office chair and sat in it, his arms folded.
“Where do you suppose they were going, Ray?” He mused, tilting his head back and forth. “You don’t think Malcolm de Sade, the dethroned and disillusioned, spilled a little secret to your band of allies, do you? Something about the Talbot Classic Theatre?”
Rayvin pulled so hard at one of the cuffs that she felt her skin chafing under its padding.
“I don’t know why you all think I’m so stupid. I know, Rayvin. I know about the vampire hunters from that stupidly named Society. S.H.I.P.—really? That makes no sense at all.” He got up and walked around the viewing screens. She heard a refrigerator door open, and when he came back around, he was sucking on a bag of plasma like it was a slushie.
Her stomach clamped at the sight, which made a little more of her own blood leak out and the after-pains surge once more.
“You’re really very tempting, you know. The smell of fresh blood is driving me nuts. You don’t mind if I eat in front of you, right?” He flopped back into his chair, clicking buttons again. The camera zoomed into the women’s faces, frozen on the screen. “You’re now wondering how I know about all this. Don’t worry, in a few minutes you’ll find out. I have a very reliable source.”
“So they’re walking into a trap, aren’t they?” Rayvin found her voice at last. “The Classic. You have people waiting for them there, don’t you?” It was really more of a statement than a question, but Jason nodded slowly in answer, still sucking on his snack.
She wanted to tell him something brave. She wanted to defy him, announcing that Marcy, Siobhan, and Charlotte wouldn’t fall for it, that they’d sense their enemies before the trap was sprung. Grant would sense her peril at any moment and come to her rescue. But the words dried up in her throat, and her eyes welled with tears. She turned her face away, willing herself to get back in control.
“Okay, I think that’s it.”
She heard Jason toss the empty plastic bag into a wastebasket. He turned her stretcher once more, so quickly it made her dizzy again, and pushed her back past the fish tank and his nurse shark, all the way to the hallway.
“I’m tired, Rayvin. You’ve got me up past my bedtime. I interrupted my sleep to play host for you, but I need to go back to dreamland for a bit. Thank god for the short days of winter, eh?” He chuckled, whisking her down another hallway. This one was lined with cinderblocks and unpainted wooden and steel doors. “I’ve watched enough movies to know what mistakes to avoid as the villain, but at the same time, I understand why the dastardly fiend needs to draw out the moment rather than ending it quickly. There’s so much pleasure in just relishing satisfaction, you know? So I’ve got my cameras ready, because I’m really exhausted and I can’t keep my eyes open much longer.”
He brought her to a stop next to a door marked “Boiler Room”.
And then he pulled a knife out of his pocket.
“It’s been more than ten years, Rayvin, since you paralyzed me and left me to rot in my chair.” Jason leaned over until his face was even with hers. He whipped off his patch to let her see the whole of his ruined eye. “And a couple of weeks ago, your boyfriend maimed me for the remainder of my after-life. So I’m thinking Code of Hammurabi. Remember, from Intro to Law?”
He shifted her body with one hand, reached under the blankets with his knife, and forced it deeply into her lower back. She shuddered and shrieked, the pain in her womb eclipsed by the agony of her muscles and tissue shredding. He sawed back and forth, cutting at her spine. She arched her back, trying to get away, screaming.
Something inside her gave way, snapping apart, and then for the second time in four hours, she blacked out.
Want to know more about the Talbot Trilogy? Follow the links below!
Stalked by a cruel and relentless vampire, Charlotte is on the run. Fleeing the city, the powers of magick her only protection, she couldn’t afford to fall for the hot modern prospector Pike Mahonen. Can she avoid temptation in a small town, to keep them both safe?
Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wanted to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn’t count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot…or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.
Grant Michaels, police officer. He thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger…but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire, imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts). His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambitionon a small, sleepy town…
What chance does one witch have against five vampires? Alone, not much. But Rayvin’s allies are gathering… The battle between good and evil supernatural forces heats up in the long, cold November nights of the former mining town. But how will Rayvin’s motley crew of spellcasters and shapeshifters cope when they discover the threat they face is even greater than they imagined?
Stay tuned for the Book Three: Crystal and Wand cover reveal, release date, launch party, and celebratory giveaways!
“Spellbound at Midnight” by Isabelle Kane & Audrey Tremaine — In the sultry Big Easy, Viole Godin is hired to restore Magnolia Place, an antebellum mansion which is crumbling under a mysterious curse. Marie Verret and her dangerously attractive grandson, Lucien, believe Viole is the key to ending the curse one magical Halloween night.
“Room 1309.5” by John M. Mecom — Inspired by the works of Poe and Stephen King, Room 1309.5 is a story of revenge and despair. It is the author’s first story to be published and received honorable mention in the Fifth Annual Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards.
“Mansion of Nightmares” by Walt Trizna — A mysterious mansion, long abandoned, harbors a past that claims those who enter. Then one day, by a stroke of luck, an intruder survives and uncovers its secret.
“Ghost Taxi” by Joanna Foreman — A man drowns heading for freedom in America, but his ghost is trapped. Washed up on the beach, the ghost is an illegal alien, not allowed to cross the street into Miami. A homeless man and a vacationing tourist search for his wife so the ghost can possess her.
“Uncle Vernon” by Jenny Twist — There’s something very peculiar about Uncle Vernon. Nobody knows what he does in the cellar. But he’s quite harmless, really. Isn’t he?
“Half Seen, Half Hidden” by John Steiner — Nine dead. One missing. No suspects and no leads. What happened in the cabin outside Wilson Wyoming? Where and who is Mason Oliver? Deep within ourselves rests a greater mystery. Half Seen, Half Hidden traces the last three days of Mason Oliver and nine hitchhikers. Offering them shelter, Mason takes them to a secluded cabin. There they all sense the others aren’t quite the strangers they seemed, and that they hold something extraordinary in common.
“Telltale Signs” by Tori L Ridgewood — Don’t stay in the Dark Lake Museum after sunset! But Kate Elliot has a deadline to meet. Working overtime, she realizes she’s not alone in the creepy old mansion…
“The Origin of Fear” by Tara Fox Hall — Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham’s Landing — an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths — to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.
Excerpt from “The Origin of Fear” by Tara Fox Hall:
“You’ll have fun, I promise,” Nikki said, her eyes sparkling.
“This isn’t a trip to an amusement park,” Daryl replied curtly, leaning back in his chair. “We aren’t a bunch of teenagers out for a thrill. When I say no alcohol, I mean it.”
“Speak for yourself,” Sam said, laughing. “Sure, you’re going for some kind of research for your thesis, but the rest of us are going because we think it’s exciting.” He signaled the waitress. “Check, please.”
“I’m not sure,” Marie said uneasily, rooting in her purse. “Breaking into a house sounds like a bad idea to me.”
“If they’d let us go there legally, we wouldn’t need to break in,” Daryl said irritably.
“Like you told us, there have been some deaths out there,” Sam said with a shrug of his shoulders. “It makes sense the owners don’t want to risk any trouble for a little cash.”
Daryl scowled. “Even that damn old man who runs the docks refuses to cooperate. I offered him a hundred dollars. He turned me down cold.”
“You shouldn’t blame him,” Marie said defensively. “He’s just doing his job.”
Daryl grumbled something, then took the bill from the waitress.
“We’re going to have a blast,” Nikki said excitedly, throwing her money down. “The best part is that it’ll be close to Halloween.”
“We can’t do it that night,” Daryl warned. “They’ve got extra security on Halloween, because of past pranks. Police patrol in a boat on weekends regularly, or so the dock man informed me. It has to be a weeknight.”
Nikki laughed. “Everyone wants to visit a haunted house on Halloween, especially a real one.”
“Police have no sense of humor,” Sam muttered. “We can’t get caught, kids. If we do, we’re not going to get off with a warning.”
“I told you, I can get a boat,” Marie interjected. “My brother’s got one he’ll loan me. It’s small, but it has a motor and can fit four. The bigger problem is the currents around Cairn Isle. We have to be careful—”
“Cairn Isle?” Nikki laughed again. “Is that its real name?”
“That’s what the locals call it, because of all the deaths,” Marie said defensively. “But that’s not its real name.”
“What is its real name?” Nikki asked.
“Latham’s Landing,” Daryl said with relish, letting the name roll over his tongue. “It’s going to be crucial to my paper on the origin of fear for my psychology of mind class. With luck, I’m hoping to turn it into a dissertation.”
“How did you ever hear of it?” Sam asked. “I never have.”
“It’s not something the locals advertise,” Daryl replied. “They’re closemouthed about it, these farmers, and they don’t like strangers. Even the historical society that owns the house doesn’t promote it. Their website had almost nothing—”
“What did it have?” Sam asked, interested.
“Just that a man named Hans Latham got rich in the ship business, and that he built this home when he retired.”
“So why go there?” Sam persisted.
“Because it’s a focal point for so much intense fear,” Daryl explained. “Though the local sites didn’t have much to say, the haunted house sites had a ton on this place. Compared to the factories and monasteries those ghost hunters visit, this is the mother lode in term of attributed deaths—”
“Attributed deaths?” Marie said, arching her brows. “Real people have died out there. I know one personally: my cousins’ first girlfriend and her brother. They just wanted to have a look by boat before joining up with some friends on the beach to the west. Instead they capsized and drowned.”
“I didn’t mean that the fear wasn’t warranted, or that the deaths weren’t real,” Daryl replied hastily. “I’m almost out of money, Marie, and I’ve got to graduate this spring. I need a thrilling and controversial paper if I’m going to get a good job offer. I don’t want to have to go back in the Army for another tour. Latham’s Landing is also relatively close by, which is good for my limited funds.”
“I guess we’re not going to stay at the bed and breakfast,” Nikki interjected.
“We can’t,” Daryl replied. “We can’t question any of the locals, or go to the exhibit the bed and breakfast has, not yet. If we stay there, we’ll arouse suspicion.”
“Then what’s the plan?” Sam said.
Daryl looked at each of them in turn. “First, we’re going to the island, to take pictures of everything, and gather data relative to the deaths for which I have documentation. Marie will get us a boat, and we’ll meet two weeks from now on the shore of the nature preserve. That’s October twenty-seventh, at dusk.” He got to his feet. “We can question the locals and do the dry research later.” Daryl strode out, the others following.
“So long as there’s no wet research,” Marie mumbled worriedly, as she hurried after them.
And… Her latest! (At one time, we’d say “Hot off the presses…”)
JUST SHADOWS Anthology Post
From the murky depths of a summer lake to the echoing halls of an insane asylum, evil lies in wait for victims. Innocents might escape by a hair’s breath, if they’re lucky. Then again, they might not. The shadows are waiting. Dare you step into the darkness and be judged?
Dawn was just breaking, fog rising off the small stream in misty tendrils that wafted through the forest glade The forest was dark and deep, still mostly silent, inky blackness. From time to time, rustling sounds issued from thickets, but it was the small rustling of rabbits and grouse, not the prey most men were after today. Suddenly, there came a sharp shriek of a scream owl, startling the man crouched waiting in the tree stand high above.
“They’re just shadows,” Lenny said under his breath to himself, shifting his weight. “How long you been huntin’ these woods? You know better.”
He looked down the barrel, checking the sight one more time. You couldn’t be too careful. It was easy to knock the sight off getting up into the tree stand. God knew, he wasn’t getting any younger. Still, for a man his age, Lenny was pretty limber. Smiling, he settled back, scanning the forest floor. The first day of hunting season was the best day of his year.
“Fucking amateurs,” Lenny said angrily hours later. “Assholes!”
The morning had been beautiful, the day creeping in quickly, illuminating the shadows. Like clockwork, a beautiful buck had come right to the stream to drink. Lenny had been squeezing the trigger when a rifle crack had shattered the moment, the buck bolting out of his sights, its flank bloodied. Lenny had cursed, then climbed down the wooden ladder quickly. The crackling of dead limbs coming his way was testament that the stupid ass who’d shot his buck was giving chase. Lenny reached the forest floor in time to stop the young punk in his tracks
“What are you, an idiot?” he’s shouted at the boy. “You can’t use a rifle on deer.”
“Who’s going to stop me, old man?” the punk said with a sneer. “There’s no DEC anywhere around here today. They’re all up there on the state land. It’s party time—”
“You get out of here before I drill your ass where you stand,” Lenny growled harshly. “This is my land. I pay the taxes on it, not you. Get out of here now.”
The punk glared back, but when Lenny’s eyes remained hard and unwavering, the punk’s gaze slid away, then lowered. “I know I hit the animal. I need to track it—”
“You winged him, is all,” Lenny interrupted, gripping his shotgun. “He’ll be fine. But you won’t be if you don’t shut up and get gone. Now.”
The kid turned and walked away, muttering under his breath. Lenny watched him until the boy was gone, then let his shoulders slump in relief. You could never tell these days if a kid was going to snap and start shooting, or if he’d been taught to respect his elders. A lot of men Lenny’s age had found the former true in recent years. It was a relief he’d been right this time.
But that hadn’t been the worst part; that had come later. Lenny had climbed back up into the stand, had lunch, then waited the rest of the afternoon without seeing a goddamned thing. Just as dark was falling, another deer came up, again a buck. Trailing him was a doe. Lenny got into position, and then suddenly, the bark of a dog shattered the stillness, making the two deer turn as one and flee.
Lenny cursed again. That damn neighbor of his, out walking her dogs. Didn’t she know today was the first day of hunting season? Yes, she did—there was her bright orange hat and vest. Christ, she even had orange vests on the dogs. He stayed silent, waiting for her to pass.
He’d waited until the shadows were thick, hoping for another chance, but no deer had come. Pissed off and dejected, Lenny began to reluctantly climb down. This was his first opening day in years that he had noting to show for his efforts. Now dusk was closing on full dark. Damn it, I should have left earlier…
There was a snap as the ladder rung he was holding onto gave way. The ground rushed up to meet him before he could yell.
Blinking his eyes, Lenny sat up, trying to ignore his throbbing head. Damn ladder. He was lucky the gun hadn’t gone off; he’d forgotten to safety it before starting to descend the ladder. At least there was a shiver of moon, just enough to illuminate the woods around him weakly. But the thickets and bushes were black as pitch, just shadows with no form.
He hadn’t fallen far, but he’d cracked his head good. The rest of him was just fine. With a groan, he got to his feet, feeling in his pockets for a flashlight. His wife Hera would be worried about him. She’d been telling him for years to get himself one of those new cell phones, complaining that when he was out hunting she had no way to contact him. He hadn’t listened, of course. The last thing he wanted was to have his hunting disturbed. Now she was going to bend his ear every chance she got, after hearing about this. Grumbling, he clicked the safety on, switched on the flashlight, and began walking slowly back to where his truck was parked.
There was a rustling in the thicket ahead. Lenny turned, curious. Maybe it was a deer? Wouldn’t that be funny, he thought sarcastically; a deer coming in so close now, when it was too late to shoot. He aimed his flashlight beam into the thicket, but the weak light wouldn’t penetrate the shadows. All it did was illuminate two eyes shining back at him.
There was a deer in there staring at him. Had to be. Well, there was no point in scaring it. Lenny began to back away slowly.
The eyes held on him, motionless, then very slowly rose in the shadow, until they were level with his height. Then they kept rising up, until they were near eight feet in the air. Again they held still, staring back at him.
Lenny’s skin crawled as he stared back, frozen in his tracks. Even a deer rearing on its hind legs wouldn’t be that tall. This had to be a bear, and the biggest goddamn one he’d ever seen.
The eyes moved in the darkness toward him, leaves rustling with each deliberate footstep.
A bear wouldn’t do that, Lenny thought, backing away. A bear couldn’t walk that far on its hind legs.
The eyes suddenly darted forward, twigs and branches in the thing’s path snapping. Lenny turned and ran, the fast crackling of broken branches coming right behind him.
With every step, he expected to be clubbed by a huge paw, or hear an enraged roar. Instead, the crackling noises just kept pace right behind him. Terrified, he refused to turn, unwilling to face those tall eyes again. But as his breathing turned ragged and his strength failed, Lenny knew he had to. He’d never outrun the thing. He had only one shot, and he’d better make it a hell of a good one.
Panting, Lenny swung around to face the thing, bringing the gun barrel up level as he clicked off the safety. He gaped, then lowered the weapon. The eyes were gone.
He stood still for a moment, fighting to control his breathing, to hear any close noises over the sound of his own racing heart.
There was the hoot of an owl. Nothing else broke the silent night.
Lenny retreated to his car, nervously scanning his surroundings all the way, his gun at the ready. He was badly startled by a raccoon en route, and just managed not to pull the trigger in reflex. When Lenny reached the edge of the woods and his car, he climbed in and shut the door as fast as he could, breathing a huge sigh of relief as he hit the lock button.
God, what had that thing been? Did I imagine seeing it? Maybe the eyes being that tall had been a trick of the light, a raccoon or some other animal climbing up a tree…
He could figure that out later. All he wanted to do was go home.
Lenny started the car, relieved all over again when the engine turned over easily. He put it in gear, then glanced up, letting out an instant yell.
There in his headlights was the punk from this morning. He was staring at Lenny with dead eyes. Part of his neck was missing, blackish dried blood and tissue clumped at the raw edges of the gaping wound.
This couldn’t be happening!
The kid smiled, baring human teeth coated with more of that blackish-red blood. Then he began to raise the gun still held in his hands.
Lenny put the car in gear, then stomped on the gas. The car shot forward, knocking the kid off his feet, the car lurching as it rolled over him. Lenny gunned the engine again, cursing at the slow passage of the car through the high grass of the field.
Damn it, why is this taking so long?
The car made it to the bottom of the steep incline that led up to the main road. Suddenly, the back tires spun, and the car shuddered.
Lenny eased off the gas, then tried again, gunning the engine. The wheels spun, the engine loud in his ears.
Damn it! Lenny thought. The underside of the car had to be stuck on something sticking up out of the ground, maybe the remnant of a fence, or some barbwire, maybe even a stump. He was just digging a hole, giving the car more gas. He’d have to get out and see if he could lever it off.
Lenny grabbed the flashlight, opened the car door, and got out, scanning around for eyes with the beam. Nothing gleamed back in the darkness. Relieved, he shone the flashlight at the car, gaped, and then swore as he inspected his vehicle from all sides.
All four tires were flat. That asshole kid had done it, before that thing in the woods had killed him. There was no way he would get up that incline with one flat tire, much less four.
A rustling sounded in the darkness. Lenny brought his flashlight up, aiming it at the approaching noises. Two familiar eyes gleamed back at him from high in the darkness at the forest’s edge. More horrifying, two more pairs suddenly sprang to life on either side of the eyes, all of them staring at him.