Forests of the Fae: Devlin's Door

Forests of the Fae: Devlin's Door

by K Kibbee


Publisher Incorgnito Publishing Press

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Horror, Teens/Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Thirteen-year-old Anne is sent to spend the summer with her dreadful relatives in a small Washington state town, where she learns of an abandoned town full of old Victorian homes hidden in the woods nearby.

Her sadistic cousin Lexie feeds Anne’s curiosity and leads her to the mysterious town in the woods, where Anne is goaded by her cousin and friends to enter one of the abandoned homes, alone, and is locked inside.

While searching for a way out, Anne stumbles through a hole in the floor and unknowingly falls into an ominous, ghost-filled mystery.

Sample Chapter

The rain had stopped, and as the clouds parted a bright orange sun burst from its hiding place. The rays shone in through the railcar’s window and lit Jeremy’s eyes as he spoke. “We should be coming up on it soon,” he told her, “You’ll see the peaks of the houses way back there in the forest.” He pointed at a hill in the distance, where Anne saw only unending green. “No one lives there. The houses are all falling apart and the forest has grown right into ‘em.”

Anne stared hard at the flock of trees Jeremy had called her attention to, willing a sliver of rooftop to appear. He studied her, still smiling, and continued. “People used to live there, of course…back in the old days. Used to be a really nice place with all those big, fancy houses.” He joined her line of sight as the hillside came nearer their view. “But then one day they just all up and vanished.”

“Vanished?” Anne could not tear her eyes from the greenbelt.

“Yup, vanished.”


“Hey, isn’t that you?” Jeremy asked.

“What? Who?” Anne was still staring at the nearing hillside. She imagined dozens of peaks emerging from the trees like iceberg caps with empty bellies hidden beneath the waves of green. “Did you say something?”

When she finally paused to look at him, Anne found Jeremy had risen and was unlatching the wide ivory bin mounted over their seats. “Your stop. It’s coming up,” he said.

“Oh! Crap!” Anne joined him, fishing her lavender backpack and an old tweed suitcase from the bin before he lofted his own bags back in. The suitcase belonged to her father and she felt a pang of sadness rip through her as she gripped its handle. She’d never been separated from her parents for longer than a day or two. Three months without them would be unbearable.

Jeremy latched the overhead compartment closed and resumed his place by the window. As Anne gathered her things and pondered a proper farewell, he began gyrating in his seat like popping corn. “There! Right there!” he called, pointing wildly out the window. “I can see one of them!”

Anne abandoned her bags and rushed to his side. “Really? Where?” She gawked at the vast forest as if expecting a fireworks display to begin. “I don’t see it. Am I looking where I’m supposed to?”

“Ha ha, gotchya!” Jeremy was clutching his quaking belly, his pointer finger now aimed squarely at her. “Oh man, you should’a seen your face. I totally got you!”

Her face twisted in a knot as Anne steadied herself against the bench opposite his and the train lurched to a stop. “Goodbye, Jeremy,” she said with a short little snarl, returning to her luggage. She marched down the aisle way and out of his sight, but she could still hear him laughing.

A large wooden sign at the head of the terminal read “Welcome to Woodland,” but as Anne stepped off the train and met the three sour faces of her relatives, she felt anything but welcome.

Anne’s uncle, Pat, was dressed head to toe in camo and a foot-long beard covered the better part of his chest. It fell in a furry pool onto his beer belly, where it parted like the Red Sea. “Get on over here, girl, and gimme those bags,” he called.

Anne forced a smile and made up the distance between them at a slow pace. Her aunt, Claudia, studied her approach with a noticeable sneer. “Just look at you,” she greeted, bugging her blue-shadowed eyes, “All growed up and travelin’ across the country in style.”

“I don’t know that I’d call it style,” Anne admitted, handing her bags off to Pat. “Or cross country.” Her aunt embraced her in an awkward hug that smelled of cigarette smoke.

“Well, go on,” Claudia encouraged, already releasing her niece. “Hug your cousin.”

Anne’s cousin Lexie was standing behind her father, attention fixed on the iPhone in her palm. It had a neon pink case with rubber rabbit ears, and as she tapped it over and over again with her thumb, its little ears quaked. “Hey Lexie,” Anne greeted, walking towards her with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate on the Green Mile.

Lexie lifted her head as if it were very heavy. Her eyes stayed glued to the phone. “Oh yeah, hey.”

“Dammit, Lexie! Put down the damn phone and hug your cousin!” Anne could feel warm breath tickling the back of her neck when Claudia spoke, as though a fuming bull was looming just over her shoulder. Somehow that contempt infected Lexie, who seemed a willing host. She screwed her mouth into a snarl and stalked towards Anne, squeezing her without as much as a word. As they parted, her pale blue eyes lingered and she smiled far too sweetly.

It was a short walk to the car but Anne kept a distance from her relatives such as she would have from strangers. Her uncle’s SUV smelled of chewing tobacco and the floorboards were caked with dried mud. Trapped in the backseat with her cousin, Anne directed her full attention outside, studying the downtown storefronts as they passed. Though they lived “in the sticks” (or so her uncle said), the town of Woodland was small, and they’d reached the tan rambler in under ten minutes. The house was dim and unkempt. It felt neglected, as if its hearth and heart had gone cold for lack of tending.

“You’ll be bunkin’ with Lex,” Pat explained, pointing towards a door at the end of the entry hall where a NO TRESPASSING sign hung beside a pink and purple plaque that read ‘Lexie’s Room.’

“Great,” Lexie moaned as she passed them and continued down the hall. Anne followed with heavy footsteps, cursing her parents all the way. Nearing Lexie’s room she spied a gruesome skull leering at her from the ‘O’ in the NO TRESPASSING mandate. It had a veiny eyeball popping from its left socket and a snake twisting from its right. Anne stepped past it with a degree of caution, but as she made a move to cross the threshold, Lexie’s arm blocked her path. “Okay, kid,” Lexie began, “If you’re gonna stay in my room, there’s gonna be rules. You see all this stuff?” Lexie fanned her hand wide past heaps of clothes, a teetering tower of CDs, peeling posters, and an unmade bed. “All this stuff is MINE. And that means you keep your snotty little paws off it. No looky, no touchy. Got it?”

Anne nodded.

Lexie had one hand on her hip and she wagged her head as she went on. “And while we’re at it, let’s add no talkie to that list. It’s not my fault your stupid parents dumped you here, and I’m not gonna babysit you and have you ruining my summer.”

“I’m not a baby, ya know.” Anne’s face flushed. “You’re what, two years older than me?”

Once, on an episode of Wild Kingdom, Anne had seen a lioness watch as a hyena stole the dinner it had taken her a full hour to catch. The same eyes that had burrowed through that weak little hyena stared back at her now. “It’ll be three next month,” Lexie growled. “Assuming I let you live that long.”

Claudia appeared behind Anne just as she was bracing for an attack. “Well, you don’t look like you’ve done much settling in. Guess you’ll have to do it after dinner. Pizza is nuked and on the table.”

Pizza had never sounded quite so inviting. Anne trailed close behind her aunt without a second look at Lexie.

Gathered around the oak dining table, Anne examined the shriveled olives on her pizza and wondered how old they were. “So, what kinda mischief you lookin’ to get up to this summer?” her uncle asked just as she’d begun scraping them off.

“Errr, ummm…I dunno.”

“Well, there’s all sorts around here.” Pat’s eyes twinkled as Anne met them. “Good fishin’ down on the river and there’s a swimming hole not a stone’s throw from our back pasture.”

“Oh Patty, girls don’t care nothin’ about that,” Claudia interjected. Her open mouth was bursting and Anne recoiled as a pepperoni slice shone through her teeth like an eclipsed moon. “She’d probably rather head out shoppin’ with Lexie and her crowd.”

Lexie was sneering as Anne chanced a look at her. “Oh no, that’s okay. I’m not a big shopper,” Anne stumbled behind a forced smile.

“See Claude, she’s the outdoorsy type!” Tiny flecks of Parmesan cheese peppered Pat’s beard and fell like snow as he spoke.

Anne imagined herself drowning in camouflage and hunkered beside him in a hunter’s blind. “Well, maybe not that outdoorsy,” she piped.

Claudia had swallowed her mouthful, but as she spoke an olive chunk wedged between her two front teeth. “So you’re not gonna shop and you’re not gonna fish. What are you gonna get up to? Can’t have you sulking around the house all summer!”

Anne wracked her brain. “Well, umm…there was this kid on the train and he was telling me about a town close to here that sounded pretty neat. I might like to check that out. That is, if it exists. I’m not really sure if he was pulling my leg or not. He was kind of a jerk.”

Pat drained his Budweiser bottle and leveled his eyes at Anne. “And what town was that?”

“You talkin’ about Kalama?” Claudia asked, her lined eyebrows arching into perfect crescents.

“I’m not really sure,” Anne confessed. “He never said a name. I think maybe he called it Nowhere Town.”

Pat set his bottle down with a thud. “Oh no, that’s no place you’d wanna visit. That’s no place for a young girl, or anyone with half a mind for that matter.”

“Damn straight.” Claudia had freed the olive and now fixed all of her attentions squarely upon Anne. “I don’t want you goin’ around that town at all this summer. You got me?”

Anne dumbly nodded, her mind contesting her head.

“Oh jeez. What’s the big deal?” Lexie was staring at her lap. The light from her cell phone screen shone upwards, casting her like a jack-o-lantern. “Ooooh, boo…the big, scary Nowhere Town. Everybody hide! It’s gonna getchya!” She snickered, never raising her head.

Across the table Pat was tearing another slice of pizza from the pie. “The town ain’t whatchya got to worry about. It’s all the bums and felons that camp out there. They’ve been squattin’ in those old, abandoned houses for years now. Place is a filthy, dangerous mess and chock fulla fellas that mean nothin’ but harm to some dumb girl wanderin’ around out there.” He took a massive bite and glanced at his empty beer bottle with a look of longing.

“And I ain’t gonna be the one to call your folks and tell ‘em to come pick you up in pieces!” Claudia announced, snatching the last piece of pepperoni from the greasy cardboard Dominos box just as Pat was eyeing it.

“Oh my God, you guys are so friggin’ paranoid!” Lexie exclaimed. Finally interested enough to give the conversation her full attention, she set her darkened phone on the table and took a swig of diet cola. “You make it sound like the boogeyman lives out there or something!” She rolled her eyes and looked straight at Anne. “They’re just tryin’ to scare you.”

“We’re trying to keep her from getting chopped up into teeny bits!” Claudia grumbled.

“What-ev.” Lexie shot back, briefly locking eyes with Anne. “I think it’s kinda cool that she’s into that stuff.” For a moment, it seemed a connection was made, though Lexie soon scooped up her phone and redirected her attention there. Anne’s gaze lingered, perhaps hungry for a long-relished taste of something she’d only had teasers of over the years. She studied Lexie’s honey-blonde highlights and porcelain skin; the way that her pretty, pink lips pouted as she passed over words on the screen. It wasn’t until later on that evening in her bedroom that Lexie revealed she’d been reading a text from her friend Brittany, who had decided to head to her father’s house in New York for the summer.

“I’m totally bummed,” she whimpered, drawing a pink-and-white polka-dot pajama top over her head. “We were supposed to hang out this summer.”

Anne looked out the open door, down the hallway into the bathroom and wondered if Lexie would think her prudish if she ducked out to change in private. “Yeah, that sucks.” When Anne turned back to feign a potty break, Lexie had her phone in-hand yet again.

“Oh cool!” Lexie’s eyes lit as she looked up. “We’re all gonna hang out tomorrow. Big send off before Brittany leaves.”

Anne smiled, glancing at her PJs. “Neat.” She snagged them and turned to make her way towards the bathroom.

“Hey, you wanna come with us?”

Play it cool, Anne. Play it cool. “Yeah, sure.” Anne spun around and eagerly returned to Lexie’s bedside as if she were taking a seat at the popular kids’ lunch table. Squeezing her eyes tightly closed, she shed her t-shirt and replaced it with the pajama top.

“Cool.” Lexie plugged her phone into its charger and collapsed onto the bed. “Best part is, we’re headed to Nowhere Town.”


Excerpted from "Forests of the Fae: Devlin's Door" by K Kibbee. Copyright © 2016 by K Kibbee. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

K Kibbee

K Kibbee

K. (Kristine) Kibbee is a Pacific Northwest writer with a fascination for all things literary. Kristine’s passion for creative writing began in her early youth and led her to the doors of Washington State University, where she earned a degree in Humanities, with a focus in Professional Writing. Kristine followed her scholarly pursuit of writing with published works in The Vancougar, The Salal Review Literary Review, Just Frenchies magazine, and S/Tick Literary Review. She is presently a regular columnist for Terrier Group magazine.

View full Profile of K Kibbee

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