Anne Michaud’s Hunter’s Trap



Seventeen-year-old Dayton Mulligan is stuck looking after his little brother Jeremy when their father goes off on his annual hunting trip. But when Dad’s last phone call ends in a shotgun blast, it’s enough to send both boys out into a blizzard to search for him.

Caught in the killer weather, Dayton and Jeremy take refuge in an abandoned hunting cabin, which isn’t as empty as it first seems. A ghost inhabits its walls and promises to reveal the truth behind their father’s disappearance, but the brothers doubt their host’s sincerity as the spirit demonstrates its hatred for anyone who trespasses on its land.

Far from the safety of civilization, Dayton must swallow his fears, fight for himself and for his family before it’s too late and Hunter’s Trap claims them all, forever.



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She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.

She who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since. Now, novels bearing her name are seeing the world, one title after the other.

She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.

She blogs

She tweets @annecmichaud

She Facebook

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“Shhhh…” Dayton whispered to his brother, and Jeremy hid his mouth behind his scarf, eyes so big they ate his face.

Mumblings, vestiges of a fight. Not one but two voices came from above, and neither of them their father’s. “You have responsibilities, son,” a man said. “You can’t just leave me and never come back. We are family, we share the same blood.”

“I want none of it,” the other answered, sounding younger. “I hate you, I always hated you.” Stumps and clunks came from the first floor.

A trickle of sweat made its way down Dayton’s neck. His mind was racing as to why neither of these men had answered his calls, why they’d remained hidden until now, and how long it would be before they called the forest rangers on the brothers.

“Remember where the front door is?” Dayton spoke so low, Jeremy kept his eyes on his brother’s lips. “When I say go, you run, ‘kay?” After a quick nod from Jeremy, Dayton held his breath and climbed the steps as silently as possible.

Above their heads, footsteps creaked on the floor­boards so heavily that dust fell from between the planks. Dayton’s blood froze, unsure if his body reacted to the danger of being discovered or to how he found it hard to breathe in this airless basement. The fight started again, but fainter, from the back of the cabin.

The younger man screamed, “I took care of it, it’s more than you ever did.”

The second barked, “You shot him in the back, like the coward that you are.” Distorted but discernible, each word sent electric shocks down Dayton’s back.

The first added, his voice peaking, “That’s what he deserved. Just you watch what I do to the next trespass­ers.” Dayton and Jeremy were the unwanted, the strang­ers, the people that didn’t belong there. “They can hear us,” said the last man.

A gunshot exploded so close and loud, Dayton crouched down, bringing Jeremy down with him. Dayton stayed strong against the awkward hug, feeling his broth­er’s nose and opened mouth against his thick clothes, reaching his skin and bones with the same horror. No holes broke the door, untouched as they left it minutes before.

Dayton climbed a step, then another, always making sure Jeremy stayed close behind. Grabbing his knife, Dayton shook fear out of his mind, and twisted the knob. The door whined. He stopped pushing, swallowing bile down.

“Who asked for help, Dayt?” Jeremy asked, his ques­tion a tremble. “Was it them? Do they want us to go help them?” he sounded about ready to cry, again.

“I don’t know, but let’s not find out. Can you still hear them?” Dayton searched the dark hall and the open space before him, both empty. “In the room.” He pointed with the tip of his blade toward the first door, the locked one, where the two men must have been hiding and still were. But they’d come out, Dayton had seen the floorboards move, and crack and leak dust.

But right now, he didn’t see or hear them: he felt their presence, as if they were waiting for the brothers to show themselves. As if they were facing him but he was blind; as if they were screaming at him but he was deaf. All that fresh air must have gone to his head, making him dizzy and hallucinating.

Another shot echoed and Dayton grabbed Jeremy’s hand and pulled him to the front door. “Go!” Dayton speeded to the bright light coming from the window on the door, but his brother slowed him down.

“Our stuff!” Jeremy cried out, pointing to the opened backpack by the fire.

“Shit!” Dayton raced back and bent over to grab the opened backpack, but in his haste, its contents spilled to the four corners of the room: the flashlight, the food, the extra clothes he’d made Jeremy roll tight like cigars. “Leave it,” he screamed, dropping the bag altogether when a shadow moved toward them, faster than the blink of an eye.

The knob’s cold metal chilled Dayton’s cuts as he pulled the door and faced the accumulated snow. With Jeremy right behind him, Dayton stumbled down the porch, not looking back. The cabin’s warmth left behind, the cold blizzard hit them in full force.

Dayton expected another gunshot, maybe two, this time aimed at him and Jeremy. He could almost smell the gunpowder, feel the pain in his chest as the bullet rippled through his flesh. He could almost hear the ringing of the shot. He waited for it, as he pushed deeper into the fury of snow and wind, but it never came.


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About Barbara Custer

Author of: Twilight Healer Steel Rose Life Raft: Earth City of Brotherly Death Close Liaisons Infinite Sight When Blood Reigns Infinite Sight Publisher / Editor of Night to Dawn Books & Magazine
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