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Decades of Terror Await…

The Remaking is filled with all the things that occupy our darkest nightmares.

the remaking cover and excerpt

When the residents of Pilot’s Creek burned Ella Louise to death, they thought they were protecting the town. But that fateful day in 1931 sealed their fates as Ella Louise’s young daughter, Jessica, threw herself on the flames too.

The town and its people have found themselves trapped in a horrific loop—every 20 years, mayhem breaks out. You may find that terror around a campfire… or at the set of a 1970s horror film inspired by Jessica… or in the meta remake of that 1970s film as the terrifying experiences of its star become horror legend. One thing is for sure: There’s a curse in this town, and it’s not going to let go easily.

Clay McLeod Chapman’s chilling novel takes the best of true crime and horror to yield a spine-chilling read. We’re thrilled to be including The Remaking in our December/January Creepy Crate!

Read on for an excerpt of The Remaking, and subscribe to Creepy Crate for your chance to receive a copy!




The Remaking

By Clay McLeod Chapman

Wayne and his co-conspirators buried poor little Jessica in a steel-reinforced coffin. They laid her body to rest right there, in our very own Pilot’s Creek Cemetery, along with the rest of the dead from our town. After they lowered her coffin into the ground, they filled it with concrete. Three whole bags’ worth. And they poured gravel over the top of her hardened sepulcher.

But those boys didn’t stop there, did they? No—they went ahead and erected a metal fence out of interconnected crosses. Over a hundred crucifixes, arm-in-arm with one another, surrounding her resting place.

To keep Jessica in the ground.

To contain the ghost of the Little Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek.

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Her grave is all that’s left of this story. Their cottage is gone.

Nobody knows for sure where it stood.

See this patch of soil where we’re sitting? The grass won’t grow. Trees won’t grow. Nothing will grow here now. Not in this tainted soil. I reckon this is where Jessica and Ella Louise last held on to each other. Where their bodies burned. Nothing but scorched earth.

You ever hear of that fungus that killed upwards of sixteen thousand trees back in 1935? Whole forest was nothing but gnarled skeletons in every direction. Dead chestnut trees as far as the eyes could see. The wood wasn’t even good enough for lumber. Rotten all the way through.

What do you think did that?

Wasn’t some fungus.

That was Ella Louise. Her body’s buried in these woods still, somewhere. Out here. Her blood soured the earth. Made the trees sick. What was left of her body broke down, seeping into the soil, until those roots sucked her up and choked. Took ten whole years to replenish these woods. Another five for anything to grow. The chestnuts and Eastern pines have finally come back—but still nothing grows on this very spot where we’re sitting now.

If you ask me, those two aren’t done.

Not with this town.

You can chalk it up to fate, if you feel like it, but everybody knows about Harold Smith’s car wreck. How Jeremy Hawthorne died in a freak accident while restocking his shop late one night. How Tom Watkins asphyxiated after inhaling too much of his own laughing gas, his pants puddled around his ankles. How Bill Pendleton’s body was riddled with all kinds of cancer, every last cell blackened to a crisp.

And Wayne? Well, everybody knows Wayne Reynolds took his own life not long after what he and his friends had done. Brought a double-barreled shotgun up to his mouth, wrapping his lips around the muzzle. There’s no way of saying for sure, but folks believe the last word he uttered before pulling the trigger wasn’t a word at all, but a name . . .


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I hear her in my dreams. Hear her calling for me. Pleading with me. Begging for us all to save them, spare her mother, make it stop, make the flames stop.

But none of us did. None of us did a damn thing. We let them burn out there that night.

We all let it happen.

The whole town.

I visited Jessica’s grave. Once. Years back, when I was just a kid. Dumbest goddamn thing I’d ever done in my whole life. But you got to understand—you’ve got to believe me when I tell you—all that time, sixteen years up to that point, Jessica had been calling for me.

Whispering to me. Come to me, she’d say. Come to me.

I had to see her.

Just once. Just to know if I was really hearing her voice or if I was going out of my mind.

the remaking excerpt
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  • Photo Credit: Marko Horvat / Unsplash

I snuck out of my parents’ house in the middle of the night and slipped off to the cemetery. I hadn’t considered the time, but when it reached four minutes after midnight . . .

I saw her.

Jessica. Waltzing along her grave in circles. She wandered as far as her crucifix-fence would allow. Never stepped outside it. The hem of her handstitched dress was still scorched in a ring of ash, while the rest of her dress was blinding white. Fresh cotton.

When she saw me—and she most certainly did see me—she smiled. That grin filled my chest with cold. My lungs locked up. I felt like I was drowning.

She reached out to me. Held out her hand.

Help me, she said.

I took a step closer. Lifted my arm.

Help me . . .   

I stopped. There couldn’t be more than a few inches between our fingers.    

Help . . .    

I couldn’t move. Couldn’t take another step, no matter how loud her voice grew in my skull. 

Help . . .    

I stepped back. Away from her. Her smile withered. That was when I saw Jessica for what she really was. What she’d become, out there, under the ground, after all that time.

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Her blackened bones.

Her charred lips.

Those mossy teeth.

They say little Jessica is still searching for her mother. Until they’re reunited, her soul won’t be at peace. She wanders about her grave, just waiting for someone to take her hand.

To let her out.

There it is. Four minutes past midnight. You can set your watch to it. Jessica and Ella Louise Ford breathed their last at this very moment, twenty years ago to the day.

A good ghost story gets told . . . and retold. It’s in the telling where the tale takes on a life of its own.

Can you hear them? The trees? All those pines at your back, bristling in the breeze. You can nearly feel the pine needles against your neck, can’t you? Piercing your skin. The branches will reach out. Grab you. Pull you away from the campfire and drag you back into the shadows.

You’ll become a story, too. We all become ghost stories one day.

A good ghost story gets told . . . and retold. It’s in the telling where the tale takes on a life of its own. A ghost story grows. It exists on the breath of those who tell it.

This one will live beyond me.

And you.

It’ll live beyond all of us. This whole town. As long as there’s someone around to tell it. 

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