Psychological Thriller; Supernatural Suspense; Horror
Date Published: August 21, 2018 (Second Edition with new cover)
* International & National Bestseller (200,000+ copies sold worldwide)
* Top 100 Paid Best Seller on Amazon
* #4 in Amazon Top 100 Paid Best Sellers Overall
* Top 100 Bestseller in Thrillers, Suspense, Horror, Paranormal, Occult, Ghosts
* #1 Horror, #1 Occult, #1 Ghosts
YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO MAKE A DECISION: Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die. Choose!
Sadie O'Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control. After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor, she nearly goes insane. It isn't just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It's the guilt. Sadie is the only person who knows what the kidnapper looks like. And she can't tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in “little bloody pieces.”
When Sadie's unfaithful husband stumbles across her drawing of the kidnapper, he sets into play a series of horrific events that sends her hurtling over the edge. Sadie's descent into alcoholism leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son--a man known only as...The Fog.
***CHILDREN OF THE FOG has a unique tie-in to Tardif`s newest thriller, SUBMERGED.
Sadie's woeful gaze drifted around the living room. Paper plates were piled everywhere. They had somehow gone astray and hadn't made it into the garbage can that she had so thoughtfully provided next to the dining room table. Plastic cups, some half full of pop, were on every table and counter space. There were more cups than there had been kids.
"Ugh," Leah said behind her.
Sadie followed her friend's gaze.
A chocolate cake smear—so dark it almost looked like dried blood—stretched across the kitchen wall, three feet from the ground, a small handprint at the end.
"Your house is a disaster," Leah said unnecessarily.
Sadie sighed. "Well, at least it's quiet."
Sam had gone upstairs to his room, tired from all the excitement and junk food. The last time she had seen him, he was lying on his bed.
"He's probably asleep," Leah said, reading her thoughts.
Sadie gulped down her ice tea, then set to work on the kitchen, while Leah looked after the living room. After an hour had passed, all that was left to do was run the vacuum over the carpets and turn on the dishwasher.
"All done," Leah said, wiping a bead of sweat from her brow.
"Thanks. I can handle what's left."
As Sadie watched Leah climb into her car, a part of her wanted to holler, 'Come back!'
"You're being silly," she muttered.
Sadie closed the door and slid the deadbolt into place. Then she locked up the rest of the house, set the alarm for the night and went upstairs to check on Sam.
When she opened the door to his room, she smiled. Sam was stretched out across his bed. On top of the blankets. A soft snore issued from his half-opened mouth. He had passed out from exhaustion, his face covered with chocolate cake, white, black and blue icing, and an orange pop mustache.
"Happy birthday, little man," she whispered, tucking an extra blanket around him.
She closed the door and headed downstairs to wait for Philip.
* * *
Sadie was abruptly roused from a deep sleep. She jerked to a sitting position, inhaling deeply, and looked at the space beside her. It was unoccupied, the blanket still tucked under the pillow. She had waited for Philip downstairs for hours. Eventually, she had given up and gone to bed.
She peered at the bedroom clock. It was half past midnight. She'd only been asleep for about forty-five minutes. In the murky shadows of the room, she felt a foreign presence, a movement of air that was so subtle it could have been her own breath.
She squinted at the window. It was closed.
Somewhere in the house a floorboard creaked.
Philip must be home.
Tossing the blankets aside, she slid from the bed and walked to the door. Remembering the brick thrown through Sam's window, she froze. Her stomach fluttered as she imagined a gang of teen hoodlums breaking into the house.
But the alarm would go off, silly.
Still, she pressed an ear to the door and strained to listen.
At first, there was silence. Then another creak.
"Philip," she mumbled.
She was about to open the door when she heard an unfamiliar ticking sound. Had Philip bought a clock for the hall?
She listened again.
Tick… tick, tick.
Whatever it was, it was coming closer.
Her heart began to pound a maniacal rhythm and her breath quickened. When a shadow passed underneath the door, she held her breath. Her heart thumped almost painfully in her chest.
Then the shadow was gone.
Cautiously, she opened the door. Just a crack.
The hall was empty.
And no ticking.
Maybe I dreamt it.
With a tremulous laugh, she flung open the door, a show of false bravado. Maybe Philip was working in his office. Maybe he'd gone to check on Sam.
She walked down the hall and stopped in front of Sam's room. Her toes tingled as a draft teased her feet. She shivered, then opened the door.
The window that Philip had replaced gaped open—black and hungry—like a mouth waiting to be fed. The curtains flapped in the night wind, two tongues lashing out.
She frowned. Philip hadn't left the window open. He'd gone to work early, without a word to either of them. And Sam couldn't have opened it. He wasn't tall enough.
Did I leave it open?
She crossed the room, barely looking at the mound in the bed. She reached for the window and tugged it shut. The lock clicked into place, the sharp sound shattering the stillness.
Then she glanced at the bed.
Sam hadn't even stirred. But then again, he never did. He was almost comatose when he slept and nothing could wake him early, short of a sonic boom.
She tiptoed to the bed and touched his hair. Then, closing her eyes, she leaned down, kissed his warm forehead and breathed in his sweet child scent. He smelled of chocolate and sunshine.
"Snug as a bug," she whispered.
She stepped back, her foot connecting with something soft and furry. Reaching down, she fumbled in the dark until she found the stuffed toy dog that Philip had given Sam the night before. She moved quietly toward the closet, inched the door open and tossed the toy inside. Then she stepped out into the hall, shutting the bedroom door behind her.
Her gaze flitted to the far end of the hallway, where shadows danced between silk trees that stood in the alcove. Beside the trees—two-thirds up the wall—was a small oval window, and through it, a full moon was visible. It hung in the cloudless sky, a pearlescent pendant on invisible string.
It was a beautiful night, one that was meant to be shared.
Loneliness filled her, but she shrugged it off and plodded down to the kitchen to get a glass of juice. Five minutes later, she went back upstairs, with every intention of crawling into bed and ignoring the fact that Philip hadn't even bothered to call on the night of their son's birthday party.
As she passed Sam's door, a flicker of light beneath it caught her eye. Then she heard a soft thud. Sam must have fallen out of bed again. He had done that on two other occasions. Usually he woke up screaming.
She opened the door and sucked in a breath as her gaze was captured by something that made no sense at all.
The window was open again.
She blinked. "What the—?"
Moonlight streamed through the window, illuminating the bed. It was empty.
She reached for the light switch.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
At the sound of a stranger's hoarse whisper in her son's bedroom, she did the most natural thing.
She flicked on the light.
About the Author
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author published by various publishers. Some of her most popular novels have been translated into foreign languages. She is best known for CHILDREN OF THE FOG (over 200,000 copies sold worldwide) and WHALE SONG.
When people ask her what she does, Cheryl likes to say, “I kill people off for a living!” You can imagine the looks she gets. Sometimes she’ll add, "Fictitiously, of course. I'm a suspense author." Sometimes she won't say anything else.
Inspired by Stephen King, Dean Koontz and others, Cheryl strives to create stories that feel real, characters you’ll love or hate, and a pace that will keep you reading.
In 2014, she penned her first “Qwickie” (novella) for Imajin Books™ new imprint, Imajin Qwickies™. E.Y.E. of the Scorpion is the first in her E.Y.E. Spy Mystery series.
Residing in West Kelowna, BC, Canada, Cheryl is now working on her next thriller.
Booklist raves, “Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border.”