A trilogy by Samuel Zewe
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A trilogy spanning one hundred and seventy years, Thompson’s Creek, reveals Samuel Zewe’s mastery of storytelling. With its finely tuned cast of characters, and keenly crafted tale of horror, treachery and vengeance, Zewe's second novel has invited comparison to the works of King, Coonts, and Koontz.
Set in coastal Texas, Thompson’s Creek, contrasts the lives of two friends, Alex Pendleton and Timothy Davenport. Fifteen year old, Alex, an only child, has only one real wish, and that is not to become his father. He’s had to live in the shadows of his fathers’ dashed hopes and dreams – His passion for photography has given him a much needed respite from family life at home and he’s spent many a day in the woods south of town alone. Alex, unlike his best friend, Tim, was not endowed with height or bulging biceps, but he was blessed with above average intelligence and an eagerness to help others, especially his friends. Timothy, the son of the current mayor of Seaside, and direct descendant of the town’s founder, is a tall, athletic and very rambunctious fifteen year old excited about the coming school year and his chance to play for Seaside High School’s Varsity Football Team. He is equally eager to make the most of the last few days of summer vacation and spend some quality time down in Coco Woods, fishing and hanging out with his longtime friend. What Tim and Alex witness there begins this tale and launches a history lesson – Beneath the blue skies and warm gulf breezes lies a stormy past that stretches from the town’s harrowing beginnings to present day, and the ultimate confrontation with evil, propelling Alex on a journey to discover the man he is and the person he was meant to be.
A spattering of gray clouds rolled in off the gulf, streaking across the azure sky and breaking up the otherwise clear blue canopy hanging like a soft security blanket over Coco Woods. An undeveloped and uninhabited patch of forest nestled along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico; Coco Woods is part of the incorporated land belonging to a sleepy little town known as Seaside, Texas. Coco Woods acted like a buffer zone, protecting the town and its inhabitants from hurricanes and tropical storms, a far too common and largely ignored part of life along the Texas coast.
From its earliest beginnings, Coco Woods was a thriving ecosystem, teeming with abundant animal and plant life that has remained virtually unchanged since man first stepped upon its soil. Throughout the centuries, flora and fauna alike have worked diligently to mend the damage man has wrought upon its soil, growing anew what was hewn with axe, covering over bare ground left in the wake of his passing.
Soaring high above the trees covering Coco Woods, a lone hawk glided along on the warm salt air pushing in from the gulf. With razor sharp eyes the hawk scanned the woods below for its first morning meal. The thermal current that carried this lone hunter mingled with the steam rising off the forest floor to create a low fog-like mist that hung over much of the woods south of town.
Beneath the mist and the thick canopy of trees, the forest was abuzz with the sounds of the forest-dwelling animals scurrying about in search of their next meal. The trees rustled in the warm gentle breeze as squirrels leapt from branch to branch in search of acorns and other nuts to fill their cheeks.
The soft gurgling sounds of water rushing toward the bay was intermittently disturbed by the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of the water to snag an insect that had ventured too close to the river’s surface. Splitting the forest neatly in two, as well as the town to its north, Thompson’s Creek ran for nearly seventy miles before terminating at the gulf. Fed by three large lakes to the north, which were in turn fed by a branch of the Colorado River, Thompson’s Creek had an endless supply of water upon which vast animal life lived and thrived in the woods south of the town of Seaside.
Almost everyone in Seaside knew the story surrounding the naming of the river, and, in fact, much of the history surrounding the founding of their fair little hamlet. The town itself had grown out of circumstances almost legendary in Texas, and every year the townspeople celebrated its founding as well as its growth.
But something was different about this particular day. As though having been in hibernation and finally waking from a long sleep, something evil stirred in the woods outside of town. Sensing the approaching danger, animals of the forest stopped and lifted their tiny heads to sniff anxiously at the air. Those that were able chattered a nervous warning to their offspring. Together they turned and scurried away into the surrounding brush, seeking a suitable spot to wait out the strange presence that had invaded their peaceful domain.
There were no humans present in Coco Woods that day, neither to witness the sudden change in the animals nor to feel the malevolent presence that had driven them into hiding. No one felt the temperature drop thirty degrees as something evil and menacing rolled through the forest, covering the ground in a death shroud turning everything it touched black.