Sharp Objects meets The Secret History. Ava Montgomery is on the run, from her ex and a dark past eager to pull her back. But when her troubled teen becomes obsessed with an infamous murder in a forest that "eats children," Ava must confront her own role in the forest's violent history before her daughter becomes its next prey.
The dead boy lay in the glade for three days. Glazed eyes open wide, face tilted skyward. Adam Albright was a senior at Wildwood High School, ready to graduate with the rest of us that spring. His parents buried him in the suit he was to wear, class ring glittering gold on his finger.
We all knew he was there, long before they carried his body out of the forest. Limbs cold and rigid, a hole in his chest open to expose the flesh and bone below. Dried blood streaked his skin mud-red and white flowers circled his brow, as proud as a crown. For three days, we had ventured into the forest to visit his body and leave offerings like small apologies.
We wore black to his funeral mass, gathering close like shadows in the church pews. Before they interred his body, we tossed flowers across the lid of his casket like some kind of bright shroud.
We never said anything.
Part One: Visitations
Wildwood Forest still cuts through the suburb over a decade later—trees growing too close together in the steep ravine, casting shadows so deep and so dark that I shiver and roll up my window. Nothing has changed.
“What’s wrong?” Marjorie asks. I pick at a half-healed scab on my wrist, teasing its raw edges. I can hear the whispers already as the wound re-opens.