“Blessed is the beast that knows its purpose.”
Something has begun to creep in from the woods at night … something that stalks a young girl along deserted streets
An excerpt from WOOD:
Towns and cities grow in spurts, sometimes encroaching upon places better left alone, areas that through a sort of negative geography remain neither forest nor park, neither rural nor urban. No proper designations exist. Unnamed and unclaimed, such regions appear on no map. They never have. Perhaps always they seemed too insignificant: half a lot, a strip of woodland, an acre of bog. Dead space. Easily overlooked or deliberately ignored. As though, all along, people knew … or at least suspected.
Yet such places exist everywhere. In every village. Every suburb. Ask any child. They form the terrain of all the darkest fairytales, the landscape of nightmares.
Alleyways through the worst sections of town inevitably empty into overgrown fields, scruffy and menacing and strewn with rubbish. Bad places. Dwellings on these outskirts slouch toward bitter soil. Boards splinter. Bricks crumble into gravel. So many futile walls loom, intermittent with tilting fences of all variety, a plethora of barricades (as though residents sincerely believed it could be kept at bay). Behind cinderblock barriers, chains rattle as dogs howl out their rage and fear. It is not wilderness that creeps up against these blighted neighborhoods.
Perhaps someday mankind will invent a term for that which seeps in, someday when the cities have decayed and the suburbs have withered and the bad places have inherited the earth. Perhaps, at last, the survivors will know Hell when they see it..
Just reading the excerpt above from Robert Dunbar’s mesmerizing new novella, should let you know how good this novella is and how great a writer Robert Dunbar is.
Simply put, in my opinion, this one of the best openings to a story I have ever read. It sets the tone, mood and atmosphere of what’s to come, but does not fully prepare you for the journey that Robert is going to lead you on.
A young girl, thrown aside, caught up in the broken machine of government intervention. Her only connection to the outside world is her grandmother, who she has not heard from and cannot contact. She is worried and escapes from the juvenile facility that holds her and begins a lonely, desperate journey into darkness and discovery. Along the way she finds another desperate, lonely soul that shuns the world to live in his own emptiness. Together they fight against something in the night, something that should not be.
A monster stalks the streets of their town, a creature slowly growing, becoming stronger and stronger, not yet realizing its full potential…and it is hungry.
“Wood” is a bleak tale of those living on the outskirts of “normal” society, if you can call what today’s society has become normal. Yet, it is also a hopeful tale, in that disparate souls, from different backgrounds can come together for a common good in the face of something truly monstrous.
“Wood” is poetic, it is unnerving, and it will stick with you long after you finish it. The dark streets of your neighborhood will never seem the same. Was that just the wind? What was that noise behind me? “Wood” will make you ask these questions as your walking home some dark night, hoping that when you turn to look behind you, your worst nightmare won’t be upon you.
If you have not yet read anything by Robert Dunbar you are doing yourself a disservice. “Wood” is his latest dark literary masterpiece and it shows what a master storyteller at the peak of his powers is capable of doing. I give it my highest recommendation.