FOREST OF SHADOWS
Sixteen-year-old Leah Roberts knows Bigfoot is real. She’s been watching three of them in the wilderness behind her home for years. When the Sasquatch bring a new family member out of the woods, it’s not another furry giant. It’s a human boy.
Suddenly Leah’s not sure this is a secret she should keep. The boy has no memory of his past, but Leah can’t shake the feeling of familiarity when she’s with him. Entranced, she enters a world where the line between human and animal is blurred, where she can forget about her family and their tragic past.
But in one catastrophic moment, the truth is revealed and everything changes.
The boy isn’t who she thought he was. Her family isn’t who she believes they are, and when everything falls apart, Leah realizes she is far from the only one who’s been keeping secrets as big as the legends themselves.
The first traces of indigo line the sky when I hear them call through my open bedroom window. Distant whoops echo through the forest, growing closer by the minute.
Ignoring the glowing 4:30 on my clock radio, I slip out of bed and slide socked feet down the faded wooden floor of our old farmhouse, knowing from experience which creaky boards to avoid. Dad’s voice enters my head, as if in anticipation of my actions.
Cardinal Rule One: Don’t lie. God will know and I will, too.
Cardinal Rule Two: Don’t go into the woods. Ever.
There’s no excuse for what I’m about to do, and breaking several house rules will be the least of my problems if I get caught.
Down the stairs and into the kitchen, I grab a plastic grocery sack and fill it up with apples from the bowl on the counter. As I reach for the flashlight, a throat clears. Turning ever so slowly, I see my father sitting at the dining table, just on the other side of the closed glass doors separating it from the kitchen. In the dim lamplight, I didn’t even notice him sitting there, peering down at paperwork spread in front of him, both hands threaded through his sandy blond hair.
He hasn’t seen me. Not yet.
Dad reaches for his white coffee mug. One glance up is all it will take. My hand could reach for the flashlight drawer or the doorknob, but there’s no time for both.