Author Chuck Wendig (The accident book) has a new book on the shelves, but this one you’ll find in the Young Adults section. Why the transition from adult horror to the thrills and chills of young adults? Here’s what Wendig had to say about the switch to YA fiction.
In this one, the opening of the book, young Molly Grim shows up at the door of a brother she has never met, with her uncle and lawyer, Gordo, in tow, in order to claim the half of the inheritance of their deceased parents. She doesn’t know, the funeral business of which she thinks she has half? Is more than a regular funeral home. In fact, it’s a funeral home, morgue and cemetery – for monsters.
And then the monsters eat them all and everyone dies under a rain of viscera! Okay, not so much. After all, it’s a book for children. Which begs the question, why leave the sinister slaughterhouse of adult horror fiction to write a scary book for children? It turns out I have a child of my own, and every once in a while he would pick up one of my books and ask, “When can I read this?” And I would say, “When you’re 37.” Which seemed unfair. So I decided to write a book for children, in order to have something that my son could Actually read now without having to commit to years of therapy. So this is this book – Dust and sinister, a perfectly crazy and spooky horror novel for children and adults.
Now enjoy the first chapter of Dust and sinister.
- how i met my brother
âOUR FATHER IS DEAD AND I CAME TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF HIS ESTATE. “
The thirteen-year-old girl was looking across the table at the eighteen-year-old. Her hair was raven black, slicked back as if each strand had been plucked by hand and aligned like cooked spaghetti. His was a messy doodle of faded color, fiery red dipped in lavender. He wore patinated copper-colored satin pajamas, swimming with small cashmere; she wore a tattered gray T-shirt with an X made of teal lightning bolts, the symbol of her favorite Sovereign Super Universe superhero, Zap Girl. (She had refused to wear the Zap Girl mask at this meeting.) He was scowling. And sweats a little. She bared her teeth in a smile. Her lip was split open, as if someone had taken a pair of small scissors and cut them the same way you cut paper or cardboard – long healed but hard to miss. On her, a pale patch of scar marked her chin like a hyphen – that from a fall five years ago when she had tried (and tried, and has tried, and totally failed) to learn to skateboard.
They had a few things in common: porcelain skin, a scrutinizing gaze, a familiar V-shaped bump above the bridge of each nose that deepened as they looked at each other.
âI’m sorry,â the young man said, his voice cut off like a nail clipper, âwho are you again? “
She rolled her eyes. “I told you. I’m your sister.”
“Molly,” he said, repeating the name she gave him.
“And you are . . . ?”
The young girl looked at the young man, her brother, turn her gaze to the other man, the big boy sitting to her right. This man was a hunchbacked dude donned in a cheap blue suit. The shape of his body was that of hot dogs tied together and swaddled in deerskin. He passed a glove through a wave of thick blonde hair, saying:
âGordo. He gave the girl a thumbs up. âI am his lawyer.
“And my uncle,” the girl clarified. “Sorry. Our uncle.”
Against the back wall, a window air conditioner purred and clicked: tic tic tic tic, vmmmm.
The young man stiffened. âI don’t have an uncle. Or a sister.
“Bad news.” The girl grimaced. “You do.”
” And my father. . . “
âYes, he’s dead. “
The brother looked pissed off. As if he was trying to find out if he believed that and if he should care. “I guess I should ask how?” “
Molly shrugged. âLooking at his phone while crossing the street. The city bus arrived and …
She clapped her hands hard against each other. “Good night, Steve-o.”
âAh. I am . . . Sorry? For your loss.
Molly’s middle has tightened. I won’t be sad, I won’t be sad, I won’t be sad. Steve wasn’t worth being sad, she told herself. Instead, she hardened her jaw and said, “Don’t be.”
âAh. Good then. And so What is the purpose of this visit again?
“I thought you would never ask.” She lifted her index finger in the air and gave him a spin of the lasso. âI get half of it. The house, the property, the funeral. . . thing, uh, business, whatever. Half of all of it.
“Half,” repeated the young man. “Half of it all.”
âBingo, dingo. For money. I need money.
His lips tightened like a purse. “And why do you need money?”
âI have to pay for the costume school, and for that I need the money. The money that belongs to me by right.
Gordo jumped in: “But who’s, ahh, tangled in all that. “
The young man forced himself to smile thin and thin. âLet’s start over. It is early in the morning. My name is
Dustin Ashe. You are Molly …
“Dark. Molly Grim.
To the man: “And you are, ahhh, Gordo, his uncle.”
“Yeah.” The fat man nibbled at a vignette. “Your uncle too.”
“Could you explain How? ‘Or’ What exactly are we all related?
Molly glanced at Gordo. He gave her a big, loose, sagging shrug, so she took the wheel. âYour mother was Polly Ashe. She married Steven â Steve, Stevie, Steve â o â roonie â Grim. But Steve-o bailed out when you had what, like, five? Six?”
Restless, Dustin used the fingers of his right hand to pluck the fingers of his left hand – perhaps a kind of calming gesture. “Yes.”
“Do you remember our mother was pregnant with another child?”
His eyes roamed the room, even though Molly guessed he was really looking inside, at his own memories. “I do,” he said dryly. “But she… She never had the baby. She lost it. Under her breath, a panicked mumble,” I mean, I still have assumed. “
âWait,â he said. “No. No, you are …
” No just unlikely. “
He crossed his fingers and leaned forward. Doubt frowned. “Are you saying she abandoned you to him?” Myâ ourâ father? I gave him a newborn baby and left him “- Dustin ran his fingers across the table like a cheerful little man -” go away? “
âIt appears to be the case,â Gordo said, hissing.
Molly shrugged. “Who knows. Especially dad
was a real ass.
Steven Grim had rarely spoken of Molly’s mother, but when he did, he did so as a religious person might speak of an angel: someone of almost supernatural purity. Of course, to Molly, her motherâtheir mother, she supposed, was no better than any ordinary, lousy human. The lady was certainly moron enough to abandon her own daughter with the slacker Steve.
“What I to do know it, that’s it, âMolly continued. âHalf of it is mine. We will therefore have to find our way around. If you want, you can pay me the value in, like, cash money, and then I’ll be out of your hair. Or we can just sell the place …
The already pale Dustin turned paler. White like fireplace ash. âWe can’t sell this. It is-“
He swallowed everything he was about to say. “This was The mother’s place. You can’t â I can’tâwe I can not…
Molly shrugged. “No, no, that’s cool, you have to think about it.”
âHe has to think about it,â Gordo said. “We understand this.”
“We understand that, âMolly repeated. âUntil then, I’ll stay here. It’s a big house. There must be a spare bedroom.
Gordo chuckled. “Probably five guest rooms.
Dustin stood up so quickly that the chair behind him wobbled, then fell to the floor with a crash. This seemed to surprise him even more. He looked like a nervous bunny. Or maybe some sort of skunk? A very nervous polecat who wanted to pee.
“I need to see proof of that,” he said, resting his clenched fists on the table. Was he shaking a little? Molly thought he was.
Gordo was ready. He twirled his alligator skin towel, popped the two latches, and pulled out a folder. He randomly spun the paper inside and slid on the table, to wipe against Dustin’s knuckles. The young man looked at the paper, then returned to Molly, then back to the paper. His eyes passed between them probably a dozen times. As if he didn’t believe it. Because he probably didn’t.
Too bad. Sorry brother.
âYou can’t stay here. It’s not â I’m notâno. “Dustin looked like a robot about to bypass.
He continued, stammering as he spoke, “I – I can’t be responsible for her.” She is young. I – I’m not a caretaker. There is the school …
“It’s summer,” Molly corrected gently.
“And I don’t even know who his guardian is …
âShe’s emancipated,â Gordo said.
Molly nodded. “Yeah. Like, basically an adult.
“How? She’s too young.”
“Magic.” Gordo wiggled his fingers like a stage magician. At that, Dustin stiffened. “Legal magic,
In any event.”
âI’ll call my lawyer.
âAwesome,â Molly said, putting on a sad face that she thought was just an act. “It’s cool, super cool, that your first instinct after meeting your long lost sister is to call your lawyer.”
âAnd let me do more of the magic and predict the future,â Gordo said. “You’re going to call this lawyer, and this lawyer is going to tell you that I put you in a barrel over a waterfall, Dusty.”
âDustin. Not dusty.
âUh-huh. The point is, we are prepared to continue. Forget about Molly’s financial claim on this house, this property and this business. You refuse him a single bed? A place to rest your tired head? Phew. It’s not going to be good on the courts, Dusty.
âIt will be a huge disruption for you. Without speaking about . . . Dear. Lawyers, legal costs, loss of business. They might even be forced to send inspectors, to pass over this place with a fine comb, a black light, an attitude of no-stone-left-no turned over. I mean, double phew. All because you couldn’t give your little sister a place to stay while we sort out the fine details.
Something came out of Dustin then. Like the suddenly vanished soul of a dead pet. “Fine. Yes. There’s a_a bedroom upstairs. I can_ I can have it ready in a tiff. moment, I want to say. Just fair. . . give me a little.
With that, he turned from heel to toe and whirled out of the room.
âWell that was fun,â Molly said.
Dust and sinister is now available in bookstores, or get your copy here.