Nobody goes into the old quarry. Nobody. Until today.
Here's a sample from the book:
WAECCAN WAS OLD—unnaturally so, some said. He slept an old man’s fitful sleep, riddled with disconnected dreams, muddled with distant memories. But tonight it is not his dreams that disturb him, but something real—something alive, something close.
Waeccan snapped awake, lurched upright, called out into the darkness. “Who’s there? Father? Is it you?”
Waeccan shivered. What had woken him? What had he heard? He shook his head to rouse himself, dispel the confusion of waking. It didn’t help. He was drained, couldn’t think properly, hadn’t been able to for days—not since…
His father’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “No, my son. Don’t think of that. Don’t let fear steal your thoughts.”
“No, Father.” But he had heard something. Something nearby. Whispering or rustling, like someone wading through dead leaves.
“Hold your breath, Waeccan, listen.”
Silence. If he could hear it again, he could identify it. An animal perhaps; the pounce of a night hunter, the scrabbling of its prey. He’d often heard these sounds on nights as still as this. So why was he so afraid?
The answer pushed itself to the front of Waeccan’s weary mind—it was him; the stranger, the intruder, the sinister interloper who’d slipped secretly into Waeccan’s world. It was no use denying it. Waeccan shuddered. Who was the intruder, and why had he come to torment him? Waeccan did not know, but one thing he had discovered—the intruder was inhumanly stealthy. He could easily have crept close, could even have stolen into his hut as he slept. Waeccan rubbed his eyes, scanned anxiously for any sign of trespass. Moonlight shone through the hut’s doorway, threw mischievous shadows onto the stone walls. There was nothing out of place. But that proved nothing, gave no comfort. What should he do?
“Father? Father, I…”
“Shh, Waeccan. Listen again. Close your eyes. Focus your senses, as I taught you. Listen.”
Waeccan tried. Despite his fear he closed his eyes, let his breathing slow and allowed the ambience of his familiar world to wash over him, flow through him. There was nothing. All was as it should be. Waeccan opened his eyes. Whatever had woken him was no longer nearby. Or so he hoped.
Waeccan shuffled around on his bedding, turned to face the doorway. As he moved, his glance fell on his father’s bed. He didn’t like to look at it; its emptiness saddened him, even though it had been empty for more years than he could remember. He looked away, peered through the doorway and into the darkness outside.
“Better not to dwell on it,” he muttered to himself. Otherwise the lonely seasons would stretch out in his mind, become an endless succession of desolate winters.
“At least I have your words, Father,” he said. “For when I need you the most.”
“It is my gift to you, Waeccan, my bequest from the Shade World.”
“Thank you, Father.” And Waeccan was grateful. It went some way to make up for his loss. “Father,” he said, then hesitated. He’d learned that Cleofan’s Shade came and went of its own free will. It gave advice when it wanted to, but he couldn’t command it, he couldn’t question it too closely. Waeccan pursed his lips. He needed help. He would take the chance. “Father, someone has come here—an intruder. I do not know who or why. I know he hides. I know he watches me. But I don’t know what to do.”