When seventeen-year-old Hailey’s multi-racial, single parent family migrate to the tiny rural town of Corpus, Georgia (population 700), she would rather have moved anywhere but there.
That is, until she spots him. Mysterious definitely, perhaps even supernatural. Where Hailey is awe-struck by the young man of her dreams, her little brother, Mason, sees a soulless creature of the night, a half-man who may be responsible for a series of grisly murders across the southern gothic town.
Antwan Zeddman, the town’s first African-American Sheriff, must enforce a curfew in Corpus to ensure the safety of the townsfolk. He must contend with sightings of hellish winged beasts and investigate the slaying of an innocent young couple traveling through town. There is a growing sense of racial unrest. Hailey will find herself caught between her family, the residents of Corpus, and the vampire she’s falling in love with.
The Grateful Boys is an otherworldly Young Adult novel which explores the challenges of growing up mixed raced in the southern states of America, and the troubles of a young woman coming of age in a town full of danger and temptation.
“Welcome to Corpus. A Quaint Town with Country Charm. Speed Limit 45.”
A man and his wife had just driven seven hours from Orange, Virginia. They made their way through the Carolinas, North and South, and finally hit their destination state, the professed buckle of the Bible Belt— the great Peach State of Georgia. It would take another ninety minutes before they finally crossed that “Welcome to Corpus” sign.
“Never heard of a Corpus, Georgia,” the wife said.
“Nor have I,” her husband responded through yawns, his hands on the wheel.
“How much longer until we reach Savannah?”
“Bout thirty-forty miles, I reckon. The drive through this tiny little dump shouldn’t take long.”
“I swear I don’t recall seeing it on the GPS,” his wife said spuriously.
“Nor have I,” he repeated.
It was dark out now. Very dark. After five minutes riding through Corpus, Georgia, the paved road itself seemed to have vanished in favor of a dirt stretch. But it wasn’t the dirt road that bothered them, it was the blanket of fog that covered everything around them. Their sights were limited only to the view allowed by the headlights.
“Dammit, I can’t see a thing. Never been in a town so foggy,” the man said as he clutched the steering wheel and leaned in.
“Nor have I,” his wife shot back ironically.
Another wheel clutching mile or so went by until the husband told his wife to turn the damned GPS back on.
“Are you lost?” she asked as she turned her phone on.
“Just wonna confirm we’re going in the right direction. To hell with these detours.”
There it was, the luck of the draw. The moment her GPS turned on, the engine of their beat-up old Volvo sputtered to a climatic end.
“Oh, not now. What did you do!?” she asked.
“Me? It was your idea to make the drive when we could have flown,” he mumbled.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me. Get out and do something!”
The wife quickly snapped her head to side. She went wide-eyed upon hearing a loud horrific screech from outside their vehicle. Her husband could see her trembling.
“It’s nothing,” he said as he opened his driver door, slammed it shut, and lumbered toward the front of the car. Up went the hood and down went his head.
“So what is it?” the wife signed as she rolled down her passenger window.
“Might not be the engine. Might be the carburetor,” he said as he closed the hood after a quick inspection. “Either way, call Triple A. I don’t wonna be out here all ni–”
Before he could finish his sentence, a dark winged figure swooped upon him. His wife screamed as the black shadowy demonic figure slammed him onto the hood of the car. The wife’s deafening screams matched the screech of the demon as it pulled her now bloodied husband into the dark of night. His screaming stopped as he faded out of sight and into the fog.
Panicked. Sweating. Fearful. The wife rolled her up window at once, fumbled for her phone, dropped it under her feet, and fumbled for it again. With a panic attack on the rise, she dialed three numbers on her phone.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“SOMETHING JUST GOT MY HUSBAND! SOMETHING IN THE FOG! WHERE’S HE AT? WHERE’S HE AT?” she screamed.
“Ma’am, calm down. Tell us your location and we’ll have assistance respond to your emergency as soon as possible.” “Corpus, Georgia. Our car stopped. Something got him! Oh God! Something got him!” she screamed through tears. Nerves frayed. She couldn’t quite understand what else the operator was asking her.
A giant thud was accompanied by an immediately dent made upon the roof of her car. “It’s back!” she screamed into the phone.
“Don’t end the call, ma’am. Help is on the way,” the operator responded.
But there would be no help for the couple that drove seven hours from Orange, Virginia and intended to make a pilgrimage to Savannah, Georgia. The unintended stop they made in the tiny town of Corpus would be their last.
The operator asked the wife if she was still on the line. Before she could answer, her window was shattered into a million pieces. A hooked arm as black as the night itself, that could only be described as belonging to no human on earth, swooped into the car and impaled the wife. And everything went black.