Daughter of Hounds
Caitlin R. Kiernan
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They are the Children of the Cuckoo. Stolen from their cribs and concealed in shadows to be raised by ghouls, they are now changelings in service to the creatures who rule the world Below and despise the world Above. Any human contact is strictly forbidden and punishment is swift and severe for those who disobey.
Raised by her widower father, Emmie Silvey has a precocious personality and striking yellow eyes that have left her a solitary child. But that changes when two women enter her life-one who stalks her, one who haunts her dreams- both insisting that her entire life is a lie and warning her of an encroaching darkness.
the cold and into the stuffy, crowded warmth of the convenience store. The air stinks of disinfectant and bad coffee, and something about the shadowless white wash of the fluorescent lights hurts Soldier’s eyes even more than the sun, even though she’s wearing a cheap pair of sunglasses Odd Willie picked up for her in Uxbridge. Her confrontation with Ballou and the fire thing beneath Woonsocket has left her half blind and headachy, and she squints behind the black plastic lenses, squinting
tales. Maybe science fiction would be better.” “I was just thinking about it, that’s all. Go ahead. Read me some more, please.” Sadie blinks and rubs her eyes, and suddenly Emmie misses her father, misses her own room in her own house, and she almost asks Sadie if they can call Deacon, because he’s always up late, but Sadie’s already started reading the book again. “Then all in one moment there was a rending of the blue wall (like a curtain being torn) and a terrible white light from beyond
back at her, and she puts her good arm around Emmie and hugs her tightly. “I think she’s tired. Thanks, but maybe some other time.” Emmie buries her face in her stepmother’s lap, hiding from the wind and the hungry trees and Theodore Roosevelt. “I’m sorry,” she sobs. “I’m sorry, Sadie. I’m sorry—” “Pumpkin, there’s nothing for you to be sorry about,” Sadie says and begins stroking her hair. “Hunter thought it might be fun, that’s all. No one’s upset with you.” But then Emmie hears the squeal
Soldier, I don’t even remember what I was saying. What’s the difference? We do what we’re told, like good little henchmen, no matter what’s on the other end. Into the Valley of Death rode the six fucking hundred, et cetera, et cetera.” “Whatever you say,” Saben mumbles, meaning Soldier or Odd Willie or the both of them at once. Willie Lothrop rubs at his nose. “Bad fucking mojo up there,” he says. “That’s what Patience Bacon says. Said that place was rotten to the core before the mills and the
crooked fence, revealing the patchwork of headstones and less modest monuments to the dead and departed that crown the hill. Markers to signal mortal loss, and the way down to George Ballou. “Fuck me,” Odd Willie says and spits on the road. “Don’t you forget,” Soldier tells him, still watching the tall trees surrounding Oak Hill Cemetery. “When the time comes, she’s mine. Any of the rest of these assholes, you can take your fucking pick. But she’s mine.” “I love it when you talk like Clint