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  • Published: 25 June 2024
  • ISBN: 9780857506696
  • Imprint: Bantam
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $34.99

We Used to Live Here

Extract

They’d rung the doorbell unannounced on a chilly Friday night.

The strangers on Eve Palmer’s doorstep seemed harmless enough. Yet Eve, ever cautious, peered through the blinds and debated whether to open the door. It was a family of five, middle-class, wrapped in sturdy winter jackets. The parents were in their early forties, Eve guessed. A tall father with broad shoulders and a square jaw. A petite blond mother with cold blue eyes and a silver cross necklace. Between them, three kids lined up by height—one girl, two boys. All in all, they seemed the kind of brood that would cap a Sunday-morning sermon with brunch at Applebee’s. Eve was more than a little familiar with this crowd.

Concluding they were no serious threat, she opened the door.

“Hello miss.” The father smiled. “Sorry to bother you so late. I just—I grew up in this house . . .”

“Oh, uh, wow,” said Eve.

“We were passing through, wanted to stop by.”

Was he expecting her to invite them inside? That was just about the last thing Eve wanted to do. Her girlfriend, Charlie, would be home any minute now—they had a whole evening planned: eating leftover chicken and playing drunken Scrabble. A family of strangers wandering around didn’t exactly fit that agenda—

“My dad grew up here,” the daughter declared with pride. She was clearly the youngest—no more than seven years old. Clutching a bright green pen and a Blue’s Clues notebook.

“He just told her that,” one of the preteen brothers snorted. This one was tall for his age, with cold blue eyes and platinum-blond hair just like his mother.

The father ignored the chatter and continued. “I know this is completely out of the blue—but I was hoping to give the kids a quick tour? Show them where their dad grew up.”

Eve hesitated. “Inside the house?”

“Just a quick look around,” the father said. “Only if it’s not a problem. We’d need maybe ten, fifteen minutes. Tops.”

Eve stared past him, considering the request.

The surrounding forest echoed with creaks and groans as a slow mountain breeze swept across the yard and brushed over her face. It was a cold night—the type of chill that sunk into your skin, lay dormant for a while, then started scraping against your bones like chalkboard fingernails. Winter was out there, lurking around in the shadows, but the first snow had yet to fall.

It was then that something, or rather the lack of something, caught Eve’s attention. There was no vehicle. Nothing by the old crooked shed at the edge of the woods. Nothing by the alcove where the frosted lawn met the gravel.

She looked down the long winding driveway. Nothing. This was more than a little strange, especially considering the cold and the fact that they were in the middle of nowhere. A bizarre image flashed through her mind: the family, hand in hand, wandering out of the darkening trees.

"Where's your car?" Eve asked.


We Used to Live Here Marcus Kliewer

The Turn of the Key meets Parasite in this eerily haunting debut and Reddit hit—soon to be a Netflix original movie starring Blake Lively—about two homeowners whose lives are turned upside down when the house’s previous residents unexpectedly visit.

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