Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford
English | 2020 | Horror > Fantasy | ePUB | 3.3 MB
Out of Body is a dark fantasy thriller from multi-award-winning author Jeffrey Ford.
A small-town librarian witnesses a murder at his local deli, and what had been routine sleep paralysis begins to transform into something far more disturbing. The trauma of holding a dying girl in his arms drives him out of his own body. The town he knows so well is suddenly revealed to him from a whole new perspective. Secrets are everywhere and demons fester behind closed doors.
Worst of all, he discovers a serial killer who has been preying on the area for over a century, one capable of traveling with him through his dreams.
OWEN SAT WITH A cup of coffee at the kitchen table and stared out the glass door that offered a view of his tiny backyard. It was surrounded at its boundary by tall fir trees, and, at its center, there was a bird feeder hanging on a shepherd’s crook, leaning easterly in the wind and wet mud. The sparrows swarmed what was left of the seed he’d put out two days earlier. While his visitors fluttered and pecked, his thoughts were of Sleeping Beauty, virulent thorns, and a turreted castle in the distance. She was dressed in azure robes, he noted, like the Virgin Mary, and her trailing golden hair had stars in it. In the background, there was a night sky with a crescent moon and stars of its own.
The scene Owen envisioned was painted on the wall of the children’s section at the local library where he was and had been the head and only librarian for the past ten years. The painting, nearly as old as the one-story stucco building that held it, had seen better days. In the last five years the picture had become “ill,” and it was said by those who tend to the upkeep of murals that the paint was in structural peril. He had a professional in to assess the damage, and the fellow told him what it would cost to restore it. Thousands more than the library budget. Its particular illness was a kind of paint separation that began with cracks and advanced into the curling away and dropping off of paint chips. Like a plague, the problem was spreading, creeping up Sleeping Beauty’s neck toward her serene face.
He continuously pondered how he might raise the money but knew full well that in two years, his library on the back road, nestled at the edge of the forest next to the train tracks, would be closed. Five local, small-town libraries would be gathered into one larger one, sharing a budget and a new location. Owen’s place had been built in 1948 and served the small suburban town since then. He went as a child and was enchanted by the mural above the children’s books, as was his father. For the past twenty years the town had kept the library operating out of a sense of nostalgia more than anything else.
There were regular customers, mostly retirees, who came for books and to sit in the afternoon quiet and stare out the plate glass window on the adult side. It offered the view of a field of weeds, then a tree line of tall oaks, and, not quite obscured by the shadow of the forest, abandoned train tracks. In the evenings, in autumn, just before he’d lock up, deer would appear in the field. The town of Westwend, on the edge of the pine barrens, moved at a radically slow pace.