CORALINE x HIDE AND SEEKER. Leo’s Rule of Survival is to bury everything: his anger, his fear, even his alcoholic father’s car keys. But when shadows pull his family into an underground labyrinth, Leo realizes his "rules" created actual monsters. Now Leo must dig up the truth about everything he's hidden, including from himself, or his family will stay buried forever.
The little nerfherder had taken it too far this time.
Leo’s heart echoed in his ears as he burst out of his front door, eyes flicking every which way. The late June sun baked the back of his neck and sweat soaked the collar of his t-shirt. When he had agreed to play Hide and Seek with his little brother, Noah, he hadn’t signed up for thirty minutes of dashing around the house, imagining all manner of horrible things that could happen.
Every second without a glimpse of velcro sneakers or rumpled t-shirt squeezed Leo’s lungs a little tighter. Nobody melted into the shadows under the porch steps or disappeared into the void under a bed like Noah.
Most people thought Leo’s sleepy street wasn’t dangerous. But he knew better. Noah could be hurt. Or lost. It had happened before. So Leo had to be more than an older brother. More like a big-brother plus.
He inhaled a gulp of soupy air to steady himself. He was overreacting. Noah was somewhere. Except he had been all over the house, the yard, even behind the green utility box down the street. Nothing.
Relax! Noah wasn’t gone; he was hiding.
Panic threatened to choke him. A fleeting black smudge moved at the corner of his eye, making his stomach flip. Leo whipped his head around.
No shadow. No Noah, either.