Book 1 in the Deschembine trilogy.
Among the local hippies and squatters of Brattleboro, Vermont, Sally Wildfire is on the run, hiding from her cruel, relentless family. She finds unexpected love with Rob, a bristly young man freshly awoken to alien sensations and ancestral memories of a long-forgotten realm…setting them both on a collision course with a brutal rite of passage, as the Wildfire family leaves a trail of mangled corpses on the road to Brattleboro.
Rob stopped in the middle of the living room and stared at the coffee table. Amidst the papers and decorative trinkets, something shimmered black. Cautiously he walked towards it. Had that been there a moment ago? Somehow he knew it didn’t belong to his enemies, and it definitely hadn’t belonged to the people they’d killed for this house. It was pair of large knives, encased in hard scabbards, strapped together by a thin black leather belt. The handles were wrapped in black cloth, capped in little silver knobs stamped in a symbol he recognized.
He still felt the blaze, felt its hunger, but it had narrowed, leaving his brain less frenzied, like it had found a straighter path to its calling. He put his pocketknife back in his jeans. Then respectfully, almost cautiously, he lifted these two new knives by the scabbards, felt his new sense of purpose intensify.
Then he knew the truth, erasing all notion or memory of ignorance. They’re mine. They’re here because I made them come.
Headlights spilled through trees outside. Pressed to the wall by the window, he peered out sideways. The night looked brighter, though there were no more stars than before. It was a taxicab pulling in. The lights weren’t on inside, so he couldn’t see the passengers. That didn’t matter. He already had all the sense of them he needed. His hand curled around one of the knives. The scabbard gave good sturdy resistance, and the blade slid free with a singing hiss. The metal was black, and Rob could tell it wasn’t paint. He couldn’t say what kind of metal it was, was pretty sure he’d never seen it before. The blade stretched the length of a small machete, the lower half notched with saw teeth, the upper half curving, sharper than a razor. He drew the other knife and set the scabbards down reverently. Then he walked out into the center of the room, hands finding the proper grip of their new extensions...which is exactly what they felt like.