When Charlie’s girlfriend, Marisol, dies in the same forest her dad did, there’s one major difference: Marisol comes back. Charlie is desperate for answers, if she can keep Marisol’s killers—and Marisol’s new, insatiable hunger—at bay long enough to find them.
I didn’t expect to spend the last day of school parked outside a dead guy’s house. Mom’s car broke down. Again. Someday, she’ll fix the battery, but cars were Dad’s thing, not hers, so today I have to pick her up from her client’s place. Unfortunately, she’s a death doula and the dead are never rushed, so there’s no way to know how long she’ll be.
The cracked leather of the steering wheel is hot against my forehead. I’d planned to spend the afternoon in the woods, in search of evidence of what happened to Dad. Since no one else is out there looking anymore, and my internet searches are a dead end, the woods are all that’s left.
Any other year I’d be spending the golden hours snapping pictures of Lou, because he’s so pretty when the light hits him through the trees. He knows it, too, but that narcissism only serves to make him more beautiful.
I text Mom How long can burial prep possibly take? and then out of the habit I’ve developed in the past month, I dial my voicemail.
You have one saved message. My thumb automatically brushes the button to listen to it. “Hi Charlie, it’s dad.” Tears instantly fill my eyes and I blink hard, twice, trying not to let them fall. As if a grown man’s gruff, raspy voice in my phone could be anyone else. “I uh, I’ll pick you up after school, because your mom’s car is down again, okay?”