TITLE: Cast A Cold Eye
A NOVELLA by Derryl Murphy & William Shunn
PUBLICATION DATE: December 2009
COVER ART: Steve Leary
PRINT RUN: Unsigned
INTRODUCTION: Charles De Lint
1921. Rural Nebraska. In a region devastated by Spanish flu, where not a single life has gone unscathed by tragedy, 15-year-old Luke Bryant has lost more than most. Orphaned, Luke toils as a farmhand for his strict uncle and aunt, barely recalling a world not gray, deadening, and oppressive. Worse, he can't so much as visit the graves of his parents without the statues in the cemetery opening their stony eyes and watching his every move.
Enter Annabelle Tupper, itinerant spirit photographer. Half-blinded by the chemicals of her trade, she travels the countryside in pursuit of the ghost of her dead husband. When a local pastor arranges for Annabelle to take on the boy as an apprentice, both find their every belief turned upside-down. For Annabelle, eking out a bare living while trying not to be run out of town as a charlatan, Luke represents a power she can only dream of. But for Luke—reluctant, resentful, and increasingly violent—the older woman stands for every nightmare that haunts his waking hours.
As more and more restless spirits converge on the unblinking eye of Annabelle's camera, Luke's only hope for peace will be to confront the most terrifying specters of all—the ones he carries inside.