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Book Excerpt: The Whisper Man


There is so much I want to tell you, but we’ve always found it hard to talk to each other, haven’t we?

So I’ll have to write to you instead.

I remember when Rebecca and I first brought you home from the hospital. It was dark and it was snowing, and I’d never driven so carefully in my life. You were two days old and strapped in a carrier in the backseat, Rebecca dozing beside you, and every now and then I’d look in the rear- view mirror to check that you were safe.

Because you know what, Jake? I was absolutely fucking terrified. I grew up as an only child, completely unused to babies, and there I was, responsible for one of my own. You were so impossibly small and vulnerable, and I so unprepared, that it seemed ludicrous they’d allowed you out of the hospital with me. From the very beginning, we didn’t fit. Rebecca held you easily and naturally, as though she’d been born to you rather than the other way around. Whereas I always felt awkward, scared of this fragile weight in my arms, unable to tell what you wanted when you cried. I didn’t understand you at all. That never changed.

When you were a little older, Rebecca told me it was because you and I were so alike, but I don’t know if that’s true. I hope it isn’t. I’d have al- ways wanted better for you than that.

But regardless, we can’t talk to each other, which means I’ll have to try to write all this down instead. The truth about everything that happened in Featherbank.

Mister Night. The boy in the floor. The butterflies. The little girl with the strange dress.

And the Whisper Man, of course.

It’s not going to be easy, and I need to start with an apology. Because over the years I’ve told you many times that there’s no such thing as monsters.

I’m sorry that I lied.

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