The Book Gazette is proud to host an exceprt today from YA supernatural horror novel “The One You Feed”. Without further delay, here is the excerpt!
Toby quickly shrugged off his jacket and dropped it to the floor, then climbed onto the windowsill. He steadied himself, getting a good grip on the outside of the frame, then leaned his body outside the window and stood up, all the while trying not to look down.
About two feet above his head was a copper gutter that ran the length of the house, a choice Mr. Bennett had possibly made to give his cabin a more rustic, historical appearance. Toby was just glad it looked sturdy. He reached up with one arm, pushing off his toes, and gave the gutter a good tug. It held. Determined not to let doubt set in, he hurriedly crouched down and took a deep breath.
Leaping up and to his right, Toby grabbed the gutter and pulled. Using his body’s momentum, he swung his right leg onto the roof’s slate shingles. It landed and stuck, but only for a moment. The shingle below his sneaker suddenly gave way, and the next thing Toby knew, he was swinging back past the window.
“Toby!” he heard Rachel call out from inside.
He held tight as his momentum swung him to his left. His upper arms burning, he frantically kicked his left foot onto the shingles. Everything stayed put this time. Grunting and panting with the effort, Toby strained to pull himself up over the gutter and then rolled onto the roof.
Seeing that Toby had found his way safety, Rachel turned away from the window briefly to watch Bruce cautiously approach Nate and poke the werewolf with the barrel of his shotgun.
“Think I killed the bastard,” Rachel heard him mumble.
Her eyes moved to the creature. The intense prickling she felt spreading throughout her body, which she’d come to recognize as some sort of werewolf sixth sense, told her something different. Things in this room were about to take a turn for the worse. She wanted out of there before they did. Rachel spun around and stepped up onto the windowsill.
“Hey,” Bruce called out, getting her to glance back. “I said I think I killed the bast—”
The werewolf jerked its head up and chomped down on the plant owner’s upper right arm. Then, in the blink of an eye, it tore the limb clear off. Tossing the bloody appendage aside, the beast knocked its stunned victim to the floor and completed its assault by splitting open Bruce’s chest with its five-inch claws.
Lifting her other foot onto the windowsill, Rachel frantically reached into the air. Not feeling any hands grabbing hers, she looked up for Toby, but he was nowhere to be found.
His head and shoulders suddenly emerged, and he quickly stretched an arm toward her. “C’mon. Grab my hand.”
Rachel reached up again, and Toby grasped her wrist. She wrapped both of her hands around his and held on tight. Glancing back inside the room, she saw Nate gnawing on Bruce’s head like it was a chew toy. The creature peered up to notice her hanging outside the window, and they locked eyes. She felt like bait dangling there, and apparently looked like it too. Having polished off its original target, the werewolf released the slaughtered Mr. Bennett and took a step toward her.
“Grab the gutter,” Toby grunted. “You need to pull too.”
Rachel looked up to see he was starting to slide off the roof. She quickly let go with one of her hands and grasped the copper gutter, straining to lift herself as Toby pulled her up by her other arm. Her torso had just cleared the roof’s edge when she heard the werewolf’s heavy paws trotting across the study’s hardwood floor.
It was coming for her.
A sudden explosion of knotty pine paneling, wood window framing, and Owens Corning showered Rachel as the werewolf broke through the window and part of the second-story wall. As she was hoisted upward, she caught a glimpse of the creature through all the debris, seeing it snap at her heels and just barely miss. Then she saw the sky as Toby grabbed her by the belt and rolled her over his body and onto the roof.
“It was going to kill me,” Rachel said between jagged gasps. “Whoever that thing is, it was definitely going to—”
“I know.” Toby’s pulse roared in his ears as he lay next to the freshly made crater in the lodge’s roof and second-story wall. According to Bimisi Chochopi, the Shaman hadn’t attacked Rachel because she wasn’t among his sworn enemies. Nate and Willard didn’t appear to have the same ability to discriminate. At least Toby hoped that was the case. Otherwise, one of his best friends had just knowingly tried to bite Rachel and him in half.
The One You Feed
Author: James Drummond
Genre: YA Horror
Like most kids who grew up in the small Oregon town of Silver Falls, Toby Hoffman had heard all the scary stories about the monsters living in the neighboring woods of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Now a teenager, he knows the stories are made up to keep the town’s children from wandering where they aren’t wanted.
Then his best friend, Nate, wakes up covered in blood in the reservation woods, with no recollection of whose blood it is or where it came from. When even more brutal attacks follow, Toby can’t help but wonder if one of the fables he was told as a child might be true. With the help of Rachel, a determined Native American girl who has moved off the reservation and into the house next door, he begins searching for an explanation for the recent carnage. He also develops feelings for his new neighbor, which are put to the test when he and Rachel discover that her uncle may be responsible for the emergence of a legendary monster that does in fact exist.
To make matters worse, there’s evidence that Nate was turned by the beast, and that he has every intention of holding onto his extraordinary new creature capabilities no matter the cost. In order to save Silver Falls from a true scary story, Toby will have to face off against forces he doesn’t fully understand – and his closest friend.
James is the author of The One You Feed and Something Wiccan – the first two books of the Out of the Dark series. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his girlfriend Angela and two cats named Tim and Ruby. During the day James is a Senior Instructional Designer for an e-learning development company, where he writes activities and scenarios to educate learners on a wide array of topics—from fast food to PTSD therapies. A Graphics Designer at the company, Wojtek Batko, designs the covers for James’ books.