There are many mysterious and evil things lurking on Oakwood Island. Things so strange that the locals are left wondering if their small coastal community will ever be the same. The police are concerned when Maggie, the local waitress, shows up at their doorstep cold, weak and frail, after having escaped a kidnapper that she describes as a monster. Her strange symptoms of a mysterious illness that seems to be growing stronger baffles her nurses and doctor. What happened to her?
A few local residents hold some of the answers, but will they be able to save their neighbours, and better yet, do they want to? What is watching them as they try to hide? The residents are all part of a much bigger mystery than they realize.
The island holds many secrets, but will they come out in time to save them all? Caught between the past and the present, good and evil both find their place on the island, but which will prevail and at what cost?
|Publisher:||Artemesia Publishing, LLC NC|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||954 KB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Oakwood Island Ferry Boat
The old man stood alone at the front of the ferry, his long grey hair snagging the edges of his old brown hat. The crosswinds of the bay here were strong, smack in the middle of the expanse of water between Bayview (the mainland) and Oakwood Island, where the ferry was heading. Jack Whitefeather’s eyes, thin slits among his dark wrinkles, watched the island approach ever so slowly from a distance. His nostrils filled with the salt water fragrance that had been a part of him since birth. Having grown up on the island, Jack felt a sense of peace come over him as his home approached.
From above came a cawing sound. Jack raised his eyes but had to close them for a moment, the bright and hot sun burning a temporary blackness in his sight. He raised a hand to his forehead and now able to focus better, he spotted the large black winged bird. It flew in circles above the ferry a few times, before swooping down and landing on the ledge of the ferry right in front of Jack.
“Nice to see ya again, you ol’ squawker!”
The crow’s head cocked to face Jack, his black eyes looking at him for a few moments before turning its gaze to the island once more. Jack buttoned up his faded red shirt, the winds getting stronger still. Leaning forward as his fingers made their way up to the last two buttons, he whispered to the bird.
“Have I missed much while I was away?” The bird just stood still, its shiny black feathers flicking in the wind. It readjusted itself on the railing every few minutes, the wind nearly making it lose its grip and being toppled over. Jack chuckled and moved his gaze out to the view before him. The eastern side of the island was now clearly in sight. From this distance, the church steeple shone bright against the green of the many oak and willow trees that covered the land.
The island was mainly populated on this side, all the way up to the northern most part of the island, where the old lighthouse still stood watch and warned boats coming in from international waters of its presence. Several homes, a school, a restaurant and stores, a police station, and a small four storey hospital, which also contained a psychiatric wing named after the doctor whom established it, comprised the main elements that were part of the eastern side of the island. On the west and south sides, due to the dangerously high cliffs and severe high winds, this part of the island had not been developed much, shy for a few remote homes and cottages for those seeking solitude and privacy.
The island, spanning only 59 kilometres long and at its maximum width of 18 kilometres, was small yet held so much in terms of its community. The residents of Oakwood Island were very close-knit. They held an appreciation for tradition and family and through every hardship they were faced with, they always came together as a community. Jack, even as an outcast and loner (by choice) felt welcomed and accepted. The year-round population, a mere 1633 residents, had not fluctuated much over the last few decades, until this past year that is. Jack’s gaze turned downward and his head followed. Something had to be done soon, this he knew. He had to find a way to protect his homeland from the forces that were at work here over the last year.
The sound of someone approaching the deck made the crow flutter its wings a few times before it took off, flying into the salty damp air of the bay. Jack watched him fly off before turning to see who had startled them both out of their reverie, entranced by the memories that the island seemed to be beckoning them with.
Jack saw a man struggling to put on his sports coat, the wind catching the sleeves and making it very hard to accomplish such a simple task of getting dressed.
“Enough wind to knock over the best of sailors, ain’t it?” Jack called out with a grin.
The man, finally having managed to put on his coat, looked up at Jack and chuckled. Jack recognized the detective at once and felt a twinge of worry, knowing the only reason why he would be heading towards the island was because something (or someone) else had been found.
“Yes sir, although I doubt any sailors would be wearing a suit and tie!” The man in the suit came closer and stood a few feet away from Jack, buttoning up his jacket.
“You’re Detective Burke, aren’t you?” Jack stood with his hands in the pockets of his old blue jeans, swaying with each blow the wind sent his way.
“I certainly am. I guess it’s no surprise anymore to see me heading to Oakwood. I’ve seen you around on my earlier visits. Are you from the island or just a visitor?” The detective seemed very at ease with talking to him, so Jack took full advantage of the situation to try to get some information from him, to see if there had been any progress or leads in the weeks he’d been gone.
“Yup. I grew up here. My father was born and raised on the island, and he met my mother on the mainland. She was a native and grew up on a reserve over there. But one visit here was all it took for her to fall in love with the land and the sea. They settled down here and this is where they raised me. Well where my mother raised me. My father passed away when I was but a youngling.”
Detective Burke took out a pack of Peter Jackson menthol cigarettes and offered one to Jack before going on. “Sorry to hear that. Couldn’t have been easy losing your father so young.”
Jack shook his head no to the smoke, and pulled his hands out of his pockets. He placed his thumbs in his belt loops, where Burke now noticed were a handful of feathers on one side, entwined with a leather strap and some beading.
“No, wasn’t easy, but we managed. This is home to me and always will be. I love my spot deep in the woods where I can be at one with nature. I can’t say I’m too proud of the place lately though, with all the killings. No doubt that’s why you’re heading over there again?” Jack nodded his head in the direction of the island, much closer now. Detective Burke lit his cigarette with a Zippo lighter and took a long drag, exhaling loudly before he answered.
“I can’t say too much about it. One because I’m not supposed to and second, I just don’t have any answers yet. Maybe you can answer a few questions for me…off the record?”
Jack looked at the island and then at Detective Burke. He didn’t like setting himself up for trouble, but he knew that if he didn’t answer his questions, he’d rouse suspicion instead of being of help. The last thing he wanted was to delay the work being done on capturing whatever – or whoever – was responsible for the gruesome killings that had taken place over the last year.
“Sure. Ask away, sir.”
The detective paused their conversation by holding up his index finger, cigarette smoke circling his fingers and hand. He reached down into his pants pocket and pulled out his cell phone. After a few moments of searching for something on the device, he turned it over and showed Jack a picture on the screen.
“Have you ever seen tracks like these?”
Jack leaned in closer and squinted to see the picture against the glaring sunlight on the screen. The picture on the screen was of an animal track, no doubt, made in mud and what appeared to be a slimy substance. They looked like canine prints but only one thing seemed off to Jack. Whatever made these tracks seemed to only have two legs.
“I can’t say that I have. I know there have been animal remains found on the island. Are you thinking whatever made these tracks is what was found dead?”
The detective looked at Jack with curiosity, seemingly trying to read Jack’s reaction rather than his response. He took one last drag of his smoke, flicked it over the railing, into the bay and went on.
“I don’t think it was. We only found parts of animals and of several different species. Whatever made these tracks is quite probably still out there, and more than likely what is causing the body count. We did find some human remains mixed in with the animal ones. But there was so little left we couldn’t identify who they belonged to. We suspect a possible case of rabies or some other form of predatory animal that made its way to the island…somehow…”
The detective put the phone away in his pocket and shrugged.
“You said you live out in the woods, Jack. Maybe you can do me a favour and keep an eye out for either fresh tracks or animals that aren’t acting like they normally would?”
Jack nodded his head once before replying.
“I can do that. No problem.”
“Whatever it is, let’s just hope we can find it before it strikes again,” Burke trailed off as he turned to look at the island, very close now.
Jack nodded in agreement. He took off his hat, smoothed his long grey hair and put the hat back on his head. He pondered if he should mention the fact that he had once spotted a creature that may have made these tracks, but he knew that would lead to more questioning; questions that he wasn’t sure how to answer quite yet.
There came a loud voice from the speakers above the two men.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are approaching Oakwood Island and will be ready to dock in approximately fifteen minutes. Please return to your vehicles and prepare to disembark. Thank you for traveling with Bayview Ferry Services and have a great day.”
Jack and Detective Burke turned towards the narrow door and headed down to the lower deck. Just as they arrived at the landing, the detective turned to Jack and put out his business card.
“Thanks for the chat. If anything comes to mind or if you notice anything out of the ordinary, come see me at the police station. I should be here for at least three days.”
Jack took the card and shook Burke’s hand, his tanned, leathery skin smooth against the detective’s rough grip.
“Will do,” Jack replied, tucking the card in his breast pocket.
With this, the detective turned to the left side of the three rows of cars parked on the ferry’s lower deck. Jack continued on straight down the middle row, until he reached his old red Ford truck. He got in the driver’s seat and buckled up. Thoughts of the animal he had spotted one night while bringing in wood at his cabin came to mind. It had been dark and for the first few minutes, he had questioned if someone was on his property. Rustling bushes wasn’t uncommon where he lived, right in the middle of the island. The woods were deep and animals were often spotted there.
That night however, he had sensed he was being watched before he ever heard the noise. Perhaps it was paranoia, but Jack knew better. His instincts held much power, and his mother had taught him to listen to them from a very young age. That night he had grown rattled, worried about what was lurking in the darkness, which was very uncommon to Jack. He had always been connected with nature and the animals that lived in it. He heard nothing more from outside and so he’d gone to bed shaken but convinced he was safe inside.
The ferry docked at Oakwood Island within a few minutes. Jack drove off the ramp and onto the land he called home. Rolling down his window, he felt the fresh sea air. Warmer here, and not as strong as on the ferry boat, it came in with a salty odour that filled up the truck. Jack felt himself at ease. Turning onto the main road, he noticed his feathered friend circling above the dock. He looked high above the coastline and waved to the crow.
“Let’s go see if we can get some answers, my friend.”
Now Meet Pierre C Arseneault of Mysterious Ink!
1) How old were you when you read your first nightmare inducing book? Did it cause you to have nightmares?
Pierre: I’ve never had a book induced nightmare, ever. The only book I ever read that made me squirm a little was Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. One scene in the book was hard to read and made me squirm due to what he was describing in pretty gory detail. But with that said, no nightmares for this guy.
2) When did you fall in love with this genre?
Pierre: I’ve always loved the mysterious. It doesn’t matter the genre for me as long as you make it mysterious. With that said, horror or supernatural and suspense make great bedfellows with mystery.
3) Who in this book do you feel you’re most like and why?
Pierre: I don’t see much of myself in the characters in this book. They’re all fictional but if I had to name one then perhaps Burke as he is sarcastic at the wrong times just like I tend to be.
4) Has any book or movie scared you yet?
Pierre: When it comes to movies sure, but not enough to make me fear the boogie man. Some movies are just too well made. Also there’s the boo factor in them as well. Where they set scenes to make you soil your trousers, but I’ve never read a book yet that has had the same effect. Not that they’re not well written, but I just can’t get past the words on the page and am usually too engrossed in knowing what comes next to worry about getting scared. The only thing that scares me is that as a species, we condone violence but find ourselves entertained by it. That is scary.
5) I find your writing is much like the infamous and very successful Stephen King and you say he’s a favourite of yours so I wonder: What is your favourite Stephen King book?
Pierre: I have two favorite books which makes this an interesting question. First, my all-time favorite story is The Green Mile. The tale and how it unfolds is sheer master storytelling. And the movie adaptation was so incredibly well done by some talented people that it helped catapult actors into stardom. Actors like Sam Rockwell and Michael Clarke Duncan’s careers were made by those roles created by King. My second favorite book is at the top of this list, not just for the amazing grand story that it is but the experience it was to the read it. This was a book that as I was reading it, I would get home from work the first thing I would do is sit on the stoop and read a few pages. Under The Dome has a large cast of fantastic characters who all have their own struggles under the one thing that plagues them all. One of the best page turners I’ve ever read and a really inspiring book to a would-be writer like myself.
6) How do you write collaboratively – do you each write in sections and mash it together or do you pick up where the other gets stuck? Have you ever had any dramatic creative differences in this book or any others you’ve worked on together?
Pierre: Collaborations are probably different for everybody that attempts them. Angella and I work well together, however after publishing six short stories and one novel together, I feel that we’ve not yet found our groove at this time and I think we never truly will. I say this because, depending on the project, depending on what said groove requires. For instance, not all the stories started the same way. Some started with a seed of an idea that came from myself or Angella and then were developed. Each story is a bit different on how they came to be. Some tales I wrote the bulk of the dialogue, others I merely helped plot it out. One thing’s for sure is that in our collaborations, what you’re reading is usually written into story form by Angella as she is a much better word crafter than I. But with all that said, Oakwood Island is a different beast on its own as it was not written like the rest of our collaborations. The setting of Oakwood Island and some of its inhabitants like Maggie, Ryan, Norah and Amy, Nancy and Robert and more were all created by Angella before I ever took the ferry and made it to the island. Once I was there though I was enthralled. To this day, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Angella and create the rest of the characters and turn three short stories into the novel that it is now. This was an amazing adventure and I hope to go back to Oakwood Island with Angella sometime in the future.
7) What’s next for both of you?
Pierre: I will let Angella divulge her works and pursuits but as for me, I’ve started what I hope to be my first solo novel and it’s a bit of a departure from what I’ve written so far. A murder mystery that is a bit light hearted. How can a tale of murder be light hearted, you’re wondering? Bear with me and I will hopefully share it with you once it’s done. With that said, that is one project. I’m also putting together a multi-authored anthology and with the stories that I’ve got coming, I will finally have enough to complete the manuscript. This will be a fascinating project as it will feature short stories from many writers, including myself and Angella; although those will not be collaborations but solo written stories. As for works together, we have many ideas in the bank but both of us are doing some solo works at this time. But we do plan to work together again. That’s just way too much fun not to, not to mention the reward of sharing accomplishments with a great friend.
8) If Oakwood Island was made into a theme park which character would you play or would you prefer to be a spectator or not go at all?
Pierre: I’d want to live there. Just for a while though as I have other places that I must see as well. But if I had to be a character I think I’d want to be Jack for one day. Just for one day. Although I’m tempted to say I’d also like to be the thing with the teeth that eats people. But we’ll leave it at that so I don’t give too much away.
9) Of all the animals mentioned in this book- crows, moose, werewolves, humans – which animal is your favourite?
10) Is there anything more you’d like to add?
Angella: Yes, a huge THANK YOU, to you, for having us on your blog once more. To your readers, for taking the time to learn more about us. To our readers (new and seasoned) for their support and for following us on this road and for reading our stories. We will have our official Oakwood Island Book Launch on Saturday October 8th from 1PM to 3PM, at the Moncton Public Library. For more information, contact me at Angella@MysteriousInk.ca or by visiting our Facebook page or website (www.mysteriousink.ca).
Pierre: I always wanted to tell stories, though as a movie buff I always assumed that if I ever did it would be in the movies somehow. But now having discovered that I love writing, more than my other passions I want to continue to tell stories. Whether they be in collaboration or on my own. And I hope that I get to continue sharing them with the readers who take a chance on my works. Also I hope I get to collaborate with Angella on many-many more works. We already have a lot of ideas brewing or noted for future works and so stay tuned.
Thanks for reading,