It Kills. . .
On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .
It Breeds. . .
In another part of town, a woman's backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What's clear is that they're hostile--and they're ravenous. . .
It Spreads. . .
With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can't help them; FEMA can't save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.
"Hunter Shea is the real deal.. . .intense." --Gord Rollo, author of Valley of the Scarecrow and Crimson
"Shea delves deep into the unknown. A thrill-ride of a read!" --Alexandra Holzer, author of Growing Up Haunted
Raves For Hunter Shea
Forest of Shadows
"A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won't soon forget." --Night Owl Reviews
"This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don't get much better than this." --Literal Remains
". . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!" --Horror Novel Reviews
"Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare." --Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows
Swamp Monster Massacre
"If you're craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!" --Horror Novel Reviews
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
THE MONTAUK MONSTER
By HUNTER SHEA
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Hunter Shea
All rights reserved.
Hal lowered his glasses so he could see through the yellowed face of the Islanders Stanley Cup Champs clock. It rested at an angle against the behemoth of a cash register that had been there since the bar opened in the '50s. Punching the keys required brute force but it was still functional and thicker than the walls in most bank vaults. He wiped his brow with the same rag he used to clean the bar top and with a tight grin turned to face the regulars.
"Last call for alcohol. Drink your beer and kindly get the hell outta here."
He was met with the usual groans, followed by the flicking of fivers his way for one last draft or shot of cheap whiskey. No one bought top-shelf at last call. Randy Jenks laid out a twenty-spot and asked for four Buds.
"I don't have all night to watch you drink yourself stupid," Hal barked while he poured a PBR for Richie Burnes.
"They're not all for me," Randy said. "Two for me, and two for Rosie. I promise, we'll be quick."
Rosie had been a staple at the Beach Comber since Reagan demanded that Gorbachev tear down that wall. She told everyone she was in her early forties, but her math was as fuzzy as her memory. If she was a day under sixty, Randy would eat Hal's tighty-whities. Tonight she wore a very revealing white blouse with wide pockets on each breast, neon hoop earrings and tight acid-washed jeans, trying to look twenty and forever stuck in 1986. She cocked an eyebrow at Randy, unable to hide her surprise at his generosity.
"Thank you, Randy baby," she slurred. Her lipstick had smeared onto her left cheek and her eyes were as glassy as a pair of fishbowls.
They clinked glasses and took long gulps.
I can't believe I'm doing this, Randy thought, fighting to keep the beer from fizzing back up his throat. I'm really about to hook up with Rosie. Jesus, she's older than Mom! He took a long look at her ample, though gravitationally challenged cleavage, and shook his mind clear of thoughts of his mother.
His ex-girlfriend Sherry had left him so long ago, he wasn't even sure if he would remember how to do it. Might as well take little Randy out of storage with Rosie in case the real thing came along. Practice makes perfect.
She leaned into him, hungrily sipping on her second beer. "You should come around more often. This place needs more handsome young men like you," she said, smiling and flicking a dyed-black lock of hair from her face.
"All that matters is that I'm here now. We should make the best of it."
She tottered on her stool. Randy slipped his hand around her waist to keep her from falling.
"And strong, too," she laughed.
"You have anything planned for the rest of the night?"
Rosie shook her head. "I was just gonna go home, watch a little TV Land and have a nightcap. You have something better in mind?"
Old Richie Burnes saw what was about to go down and winked at Randy. In a loud, drunken whisper he said, "You sure you're up for a Rosie-Go-Ride? You sleep with her, you've slept with half the guys in here."
Randy winced, waving him off.
Stay focused. You need to get laid—bad. Rosie is the patron saint of horny drunks. Maybe after this, the stick will magically disappear from up your ass.
He moved his hand up Rosie's back and asked, "You wanna go for a drive?"
He was more wrecked than he'd thought. Randy actually had to close an eye as he barreled down the Montauk Highway. At least it felt like he was barreling. He couldn't make out the numbers on the speedometer to tell. He'd always thought the one-eyed drunk-drive trick was a myth, but it somehow kept him on the road.
The stars were out in force and the heat of the July day had cooled into a perfect summer night. Salty air poured through the open windows.
"Where're we going?" Rosie said. She'd undone another button on her shirt and he could see the black lace of her bra.
"How about the beach?"
She ran a long, thin finger between her breasts. "A long walk, skinny dip, or—"
"Or works for me," he said, struggling to keep the car on the road.
He spotted the brown sign for Shadmoor State Park. It said NO ENTRANCE AFTER DARK. As an employee of the parks system, albeit as a groundskeeper and not one of the park rangers, Randy felt the warning need not apply to him. He turned down the gravel road, clipping the edge of his front tire on a large rock marker. Please don't be flat when we're done. The last thing he wanted to do was change a tire in his condition.
He drove up to a pair of grass-topped dunes, killed the engine and helped Rosie out of the car. She giggled when he accidentally brushed his hand along the side of her breast.
They could hear the crashing of the waves as they crested the small sand dune. The moon reflected off the Atlantic in a long, white skunk's stripe. Rosie let go of his hand and nimbly made her way down the dune, casting off clothes with each step.
"What were you, a ballerina?" he asked, catching his sneaker on her discarded shirt.
"Follow the leader," she sang.
In the moonlight, she looked half her age. He had to admit, she had a better body than most college girls. Had to be 100 percent genetics. Clean living was not Rosie's game.
You've gone this far.
Randy fell trying to extricate himself from his pants, but Rosie, still giggling, helped get them off. Her mouth enveloped little Randy like it was an air bag in a crippled plane.
Christ, she was good. He wove his fingers through her hair, pushing her down as far as she could go. He moaned, hungry for release. She pulled away and said, "You're ready."
Before he could ask what for, she straddled his hips and lowered herself onto him.
"I like it slow—at first," she said, dangling her breasts in his face.
"Rosie, you're incredible."
His hands grabbed the soft flesh of her hips. She ground her hips into him, leaning close, biting his neck.
Randy thought he heard soft footsteps. Rosie groaned huskily as she gyrated. If someone wanted to watch, let them. After a year of celibacy, he wasn't about to stop.
Rosie paused, sitting up straight.
"Did you hear that?"
Randy smiled. "I don't mind giving some late-night strollers a show if you don't."
"Not that, the other thing."
"What other thing?"
Something grumbled in the dark—low, long and threatening.
Randy's erection collapsed. He gently rolled Rosie off and looked for a stick or rock. If there was a dog nearby, it sounded royally pissed.
"Stay behind me," he whispered. She pressed herself into his bare back.
"Is it a wolf?" she asked.
"There aren't any wolves in Long Island. Probably a stray dog. Just be still, maybe it'll pass."
It was to their right, somewhere behind the clump of chest-high reeds. They swayed back and forth. Something skulked within them, moving closer.
Rosie whimpered. All Randy could find was a palmsized rock. He hefted it in his left hand, cocking his arm back.
"Please don't be a pit bull," he said under his breath.
Just aim for the nose. Give Rosie time to get to the car. You can do this.
The reeds parted as it turned the corner, a large, menacing shadow against the bright moonlight.
"What the fuck?"
The shadow edged closer, snarling.
Randy's mind reeled. What the hell is it?
The muscles in Randy's arm twitched. He tensed, holding the rock like he'd grip a fastball back in high school, two fingers over the top, the pad of his thumb underneath. He'd had a damn good arm then. Only one pitch allowed in this game.
Except this was no game.
"Rosie, run," he hissed through his teeth,
He started his forward motion, his arm uncoiling.
The shadow pounced with such dizzying speed, his arm was torn free from the elbow before he could complete the throw. The rock remained in his hand, fingertips white with pressure, as the limb dropped to the sand. Another slash, and Randy's throat disappeared in a flash of gore. He flopped back, his severed arteries showering a paralyzed Rosie until she was crimson.
Rosie's scream was swallowed by the tumbling surf.
Officer Gray Dalton sat in his patrol car catching up on paperwork. He kept one earbud in his ear, listening to an audiobook. It was Hemingway's Garden of Eden, about a newlywed couple and the woman who came between them during their honeymoon. He wished this was the required reading back in high school. Threesomes were more interesting than fishing to a teen boy.
He'd never been much of a student, something he was trying to make right, one audiobook at a time.
It was a nice, quiet night and the car's AC was on high enough to give him goose bumps. He poured a cup of coffee from his thermos while fingering the long scar along his jawline. It was an odd yet comforting habit of his, touching the raised, damaged flesh, courtesy of his attempt to climb into the sea lion pit at the Bronx Zoo when he was seven. It reminded him of being young and dumb and invincible, all the things he had to put aside to become a man. He could never grow a proper beard because of that scar. Girls liked it, especially if he embellished the story of how it came to be.
When he'd first joined the Suffolk County Police, he thought he'd never get used to the midnight shift. Now, two years later, he couldn't imagine working a day shift. He loved his territory, covering Montauk, Amagansett and East Hampton. Small towns, small problems. He may have grown up in a war zone in the Bronx, but he had no desire to police one.
He rolled the window down a bit. He'd parked in a lot behind one of the old motels on the Atlantic Ocean side so he could breathe in some ocean air. It was the smell of trips to Jones Beach when he was a kid. On the small stretch of road, five motels sat side by side, jockeying for tourists to come for the view. Cuts in the six-foot sand barrier allowed easy access to the beach.
Opening the window farther, he lit up a cigarette, savoring the marriage of the smoke with his coffee. He watched the foggy tendrils as they were pulled by the breeze like cotton candy.
No sooner had he put his clipboard down and closed his eyes when his radio squawked to life.
"One-eleven, respond to two possible 14-A's at Shadmoor State Park beach."
His eyes snapped open and he threw his clipboard onto the empty passenger seat.
"One-eleven, I'm close by and en route. 10-4."
He flicked his lights on and hit the gas, the back end of the car swerving in the sand as he sped out of the lot.
Two 14-A's was not good. It meant there were bodies on the beach. No other information was forthcoming. God knew what he was racing into.
He floored it through Montauk's deserted Main Street, spying the gazebo in the plaza to his left. Just eight hours ago, he'd sat there finishing off an ice cream cone, killing time before his shift started. Now he could feel that cone sitting in his gut like a lead ball.
As he veered into Shadmoor State Park, he turned on the driver's-side spotlight, easing up as he wound down to the beach. An empty beater sat at the edge of the beach. He shined his light into the Chevy's interior and the surrounding area. It was clear, at least as far as he could see for the moment. He radioed in that he was on scene and about to go on foot.
Stepping cautiously to the dune, he was overcome by the smell of ammonia and blood and something so foul, so alien, he had no words to give it justice. He clicked his flashlight on, keeping his other hand on the butt of his gun.
The stench made him gag. Could have been a couple of floaters that exploded as they dried out. He'd heard it was a smell that would haunt a man until his dying day. Sooner or later, being a cop surrounded by the ocean and the Long Island Sound, he was bound to come across one. Tonight looked like the night.
"Okay, Gray, just follow your nose."
He thought of that bird on the cereal box and how its nose always led it to a bowl of something that was more colored sugar than actual food.
Not going to find anything like that this time, he thought.
Sand shifted under his feet as if it were trying to prevent him from seeing something that could never be unseen. He stumbled but managed to stay upright. He saw the whitecaps of the incoming waves as he crested the dune.
He swept his flashlight's beam to the left, then the right, scanning the immediate area.
It settled on the bottom of a pale foot poking out from behind a smaller dune.
The wind blew from that direction, making his eyes water.
Might as well get this over with.
He scrabbled down the dune. He was still on high alert, but he moved quicker. As he stepped around the dune, he looked down and saw that the foot wasn't attached to a leg.
In fact, the leg, or parts of what could have been several legs, were scattered around the recessed part of the beach like a trail of chum.
"Jesus frigging Christ."
The ammonia smell was so bad, he had to turn away. It was as if two people—he could see two blood-soaked heads—had swallowed a grenade. Snaking coils of steam rose from the more substantial parts.
An acid-tinged burp clawed up his throat and he backpedaled. No way was he going to lose it all over a crime scene.
He grabbed his walkie and called in to dispatch. "Dispatch, this is one-eleven. Be advised, both 14-A's are confirmed. I need a boss and a bus, ASAP."
This was definitely worth getting his sergeant out of bed. He hoped the ambulance came equipped with plenty of jars.CHAPTER 2
When the call was made to Sergeant Dennis Campos's house, his wife, Adelle, had to shake him hard several times to wake him. It had been a perfect, deep, dreamless sleep, a true rarity. He fumbled with the CPAP mask, yanking it over his face. The dull, droning machine continued to hiss, pumping out air into the comforter.
"What's the problem?" he huffed, the phone to his ear, his throat raw. Calls in the dead of night were few and far between. It had to be bad if one of his officers had dispatch put a call in to him.
Adelle leaned close, trying to hear through the phone's receiver.
He listened to the code and the few bare details that were available at the moment. Nodding, he said, "I'll be there in ten."
Tripping on the CPAP hose, he kicked the apparatus to the side and slipped on his uniform pants that he'd slung over the back of a chair.
"Is everything all right?" Adelle asked, putting on her robe. She knew the drill. Coffee would be on and in a thermos by the time he hit the front door.
Dennis sighed. "One of my officers responded to a report of a couple of bodies on the beach. I hate floaters and bloaters." He went into the bathroom and pocketed a small jar of vapor rub. He'd smear a little on his upper lip when he got there. It worked wonders for keeping the stench at bay. In the old days, when he'd started out in uniform in Brooklyn, they would light up cigars to mask any strong odors. There were plenty of two-cigar days back then.
Now, thanks to the sleep apnea and the weight problem that defied diets and workouts, Adelle would have his head if he came home smelling like cigars. Plus, he was pretty sure it was illegal to smoke anywhere now except five miles offshore.
As always, Adelle met him at the door with his thermos and a kiss. "Be careful, Dennis. I love you."
"Love you, too. If I'm home for breakfast, I'll pick up some bagels."
"Whole grain for both of us."
Dennis got into his car asking himself how life had turned to the point where he had to choke down that wholegrain crap as a reward for serving, protecting, and standing around dead bodies. His mood darkened the closer he got to the crime scene.
By the time Sergeant Campos pulled into the beach's lot, he had to stop in back of several squad cars, both Montauk and Suffolk County PD, two ambulances and a fire truck. He weaved through the cars, his belly smudging the squad-car doors. More lights and vehicles pulled up behind him. He spotted Officer Gray Dalton standing between a pair of dunes.
"This your call?" he asked.
Dalton nodded. "Sorry, Sarge, but I thought this is something you should see for yourself."
They stepped under the yellow crime scene tape.
Dalton stopped him before they turned the corner. "It's real bad."
"Floaters always are," Campos said, taking out his vapor rub.
"These aren't floaters, at least not as far as I can tell. There's a chance they washed up and someone got at them after, but"—he paused—"well, you'll see."
Officials moved about the beach, setting up a pair of portable lights. They clicked on, throwing harsh light on the scene around the bend.
Campos rounded the dune and felt his muscles lock. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph."
It looked like something out of a war movie. His first thought was that whoever was scattered about the sand and reeds had stepped on a land mine, like the IEDs those terrorist assholes used in Afghanistan and Iraq. He could make out some of the large parts—a leg here, blown off at the knee, the lower part of an arm, the heads—though there wasn't much to identify them. And to the left, was that a breast? "What the hell happened here?"
"Someone walking along the beach called it in. It was like this when I got here," Dalton said.
"Where's the person who reported it?"
"We don't know. It was an anonymous call."
Excerpted from THE MONTAUK MONSTER by HUNTER SHEA. Copyright © 2014 Hunter Shea. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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