Parkton is a dangerous town, full of dark secrets, and 14-year old Byron James finds himself stranded there. To make matters worse, his two new friends – his only friends – turn out to be class rejects with an unhealthy interest in monsters. They want to discover the truth to the infamous monster house at number 809 Jacob Street, and Byron is soon caught up in their game.
Joey Blue is an old bluesman who fell into his songs and couldn’t find his way out again. Now he’s one of the Gutterbreed, a slinking shifting shadow haunting the town’s too-numerous alleys. When an old dead friend comes begging for help, Joey’s world is torn apart. He is forced to stare down the man he has become in order to rescue the man he once was – and there is only one place he can do that.
The house on Jacob Street calls to them all, but what will they find when they open its door?
Excerpt from 809 Jacob Street by Marty Young
“Barstool eyes, in a dark-lit bar,” he sang as he walked, and that helped hold him steady in his tilting world.
As he drew breath and sang some more, the wind carried a voice to him and Joe stopped. He cocked his head, listening. It had been so faint he wondered if he had been mistaken. He waited a moment longer, but the wind had died down and not even the tall grass growing next to the road swayed.
“C’mon, old man,” he mumbled into his beard. “Keep it on. Don’t be gettin’ all spooked already. You ain’t hardly got anywhere.”
He pushed on, noticing the tips of surrounding trees were moving again.
Ahead, a figure emerged onto the road and this time Joey did stop. His heart fluttered before he took in the stance and realized it wasn’t Gremlin. That knowledge didn’t settle him any, though. It was a still an urchin, standing there, watching him.
The lilting lullaby of the scotch swelled as if feasting off his renewed terror. His hand holding the bag squeezed the straps tighter. There was a full bottle within his reach. All he had to do was –
“This is the dark-lit bar,” Joey whispered, reminding himself of where he was.
“Hello Joe,” The figure ahead of him said. Long hair, the color of the streets, hung down over his face.
The words terrified him. Instinctively, he put his arms about his duffel bag and held it close to his chest. Although he knew they surrounded him, he hadn’t met another urchin since Gremlin. They’d only ever been shadows on the edge of his vision.
“You’re well caught up in it, an’ you’re gonna drown soon enough.”
“Who are you?” Joey’s voice wobbled.
The fella shrugged as if the question meant little. The jersey he wore was full of holes and had long trails of wool at his sleeves and waist. His trousers were stained. His shoes didn’t match. The man’s right eye twitched.
“Ain’t no lifeboats left but us, Joe,” the man said, his head shaking and his eye continuing to twitch. The effect was disorientating.
The wind spiraled up in a sudden gust that flapped Joey’s long coat. Grit-laden air stung his eyes and the figure up the road blurred.
In that gusting wind were voices, harsh indecipherable whispers, a chorus growing into a cacophony.
Joey staggered under the assault; laughter bit his cheeks, words tugged at his hair while tone and timbre tore his clothes.
The demonic audience brought home the truth of what he was attempting. This was hell, come to him at the start of his mission. This was what he was up against. He, a dusty cowboy long to the bottle, his six-shooters rusted and empty. He was a drunk and wouldn’t have been able to shoot straight even with real guns and bullets.
He went to turn and run but a vision of those invisible voices coming after him the moment he did, loping along on the wind, their arms and claws taking him down with ease and tearing apart his flesh to find his soul, stopped him.
He tried to sing his song but his voice failed him. As the wind whipped him, he tried again, and this time the words spilled forth in a gust to match the forces about him; “Juked up wails of a juke box cries to drown the despair that seeps from his soul!”
The words had an immediate effect; the wind ceased and those vile voices screaming for his death went mute.
The desire to flee lessened enough for him to drag in a huge breath. Joey wiped his eyes and squinted ahead of him at the urchin on the road.
“Solitude soul,” Joey said, licking his lips. He took courage from his strengthening voice. “A man with no name.”
The silhouette ahead of him moved. It was a subtle movement, like the fella was shifting his weight onto the other foot.
Joey pressed a hand to his mouth. He felt like screaming. He cast a glance about him, but when he looked back, what he saw made his mouth fall open.
The urchin was gone.