The Window in the Ground by Steve Stred
If you follow a path through the trees, read the rules (always twice) on the sign post, go up a hill and across a grassy clearing, that secret will reveal itself.
You see, for hundreds of years, this seemingly normal town has done its part, kept the balance.
But on this day, a rule will be broken.
You might have heard the rumors shared in whispers.
You may have been told about someone who’d seen it with their own eyes.
But now, on this day, you’ll join us.
You’ll come for a car ride and we’ll park.
Then we’ll walk along a path, read some rules (always twice), and go up a hill and arrive at a clearing.
Across the grass, you’ll see just what the town’s been hiding, protecting for centuries.
Then you’ll feel a pull.
And we’ll make our way over to it.
Over to the window in the ground.
“I looked at the mound and could see that a light was shining up from the under, from inside the window. Something was happening below.”
Wow I have to say this is by far the best thing Steve Stred has ever written and the standard of his work was already really high!
Previously the last thing I'd read by Steve Stred was The One That Knows No Fear released through Demain Publishing which I loved, it had all the amazing elements for a great horror tale but also packed a real emotional punch.
The Window in the Ground is equally powerful. It begins with a small American town with a dark secret that is only revealed once the townsfolk reach 18. Unfortunately for our protagonist he is initiated into the secret way before his time which has dire consequences.
The suspense in this story is absolutely insane. I was warned by fellow friend and writer, Theresa Braun, that once you start reading it you want be able to put it down, and she was absolutely right. As the story progressed I was desperate to see the window in the ground but also screaming at the characters to stay away from it.
I don't want to spoil the experience for those who've yet to read it but I'll say the story is so gripping and genuinely terrifying!