For Jonathon, the Home Wood that border his grandfather’s farm has always been a source of mystery and dread. Strange half-heard rumours passed among aunts, uncles and cousins never quite add up.
More than twenty years ago, his father—when he was Jonathon’s age—was swallowed up by the Home Wood for more than a day and came back badly injured. That was when his grandfather forbade any family member from venturing back there.
And so when from his bedroom window one morning, Jonathon sees his father once again cross into the Home Wood, he knows something is very wrong. Deceiving his grandfather, Jonathon sets out after his father and makes his way, for the first time in his life, into the woods.
What he finds there is beyond even his wildest imagination.
Do I want to be dinner? Cripes, what kind of question is that?
Jonathon passed an assessing glance over what held Pugg fast. The world, at that moment, consisted of Pugg’s alarmed face and an intricate trap the size of a bus woven between the branches of the tree. Jonathon’s heart thudded against his breast bone. He drew in a breath and began to slash at the sticky web. He struggled to maintain a determined focus as he sawed with all his strength on the hater-sized strand of the web that kept the warrior captive. Jonathon blocked out Pugg’s tension and the hissing, clicking sound from the higher branches. Clicking? it sounded like giant castanets. he cut harder. With a grunt he was through. Another down. he moved to the next while trying to stay clear of the sticky strands himself.
The clicking grew closer. Jonathon avoided looking at Pugg’s face and continued to hack until he had made a hole large enough for Pugg to drop through. the boy grabbed one of the warrior’s legs to guide him. He pulled hard but Pugg didn’t move.
Jon looked up. The web had stuck under one of Pugg’s arms. The warrior’s eyes were hug and black, pupils fulled dilated, as he cast a quick glance down at Jonathon. Jon followed the direction of Pugg’s stare. Two enormous hairy legs pushed aside the leafy branches above him and revealed the clicking’s source.
The razor fangs and mandibles of a black spider smacking together in ravenous anticipation, red eyes aglow.
The beast was the size of a bull elephant.
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Julie Whitley is a retired nurse who lives with her husband and mother in what was a small village, now incorporated into a city. She is the mother of a beautiful daughter and grandmother of two grandsons, with whom she loves to spend all her spare time. As well as writing, Julie is an artist, painting in oils and watercolour. Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice is her first novel and represents a labour of love over twenty years in the making.
The sequel, The Stalker, will be ready for launch soon.