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Flesh by Laura Bickle - Book Tour + Giveaway

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“Devil’s Fingers”

Red fingers reaching up from
Earth in fall
In a nest of dead leaves.
It’s just a mushroom,
They say.
It’s a fungus,
They say.
Leave it alone,
They say.
But I didn’t listen.

Walking in the woods at night
I see those red fingers
Pushing aside the leaves
Beneath the dead oak tree
Reaching for stars.

And I bend to touch that hand

It’s damp, cold.
(It’s a fungus, they say)
I wrap my fingers around it
And pull
Expecting the fungus to be uprooted
But I pull
And pull
And an arm reaches up, following the hand.

I know
I should leave now
I should run
(Leave it alone, they say)
I pull
Up to earth
The body attached to the hand
Glistening in the light.

It’s man,
(I think, for his eyes are dark as a new moon
And his skin is like the flesh of a red spotted salamander)
Climbing up, gasping.
He thanks me for freeing him
From the grip of the underworld.
And he says
He will grant me a wish.

In my fascination
And in my terror
I ask only to be allowed to return home
He laughs
A sound like rain in a gutter
And tells me to go.
I run
All the way home
To hide in my bed with the covers pulled to my ears.

I never saw him again.
And I wonder
If I spent that wish wisely,
That wish
Offered by the Devil’s fingers.

Laura Bickle

Genre: YA Horror

Date of Publication: September 19, 2017

ISBN: 9781537857992
ASIN: B074XBJ697

Number of pages: 307
Word Count: 76,573

Cover Artist: Danielle Fine

Book Description:

The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.

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“Amanda, I…Oh.”

don’t know what else to say. My brain just shuts down.

is wearing the sheet, wound around her like a toga. It trails behind her bare
feet, sort of like a painting about Greek goddesses I’ve seen in art books.
She’s leaning over another body stored in the cooler unit on a cart. Her back
is to me, and I can only see her pale skin and her burgundy-black hair

turns at the sound of my voice, seeming only to hear me for the first time. Her
face is covered in dark blood. In her hand, she’s holding a big chunk of purple
flesh. Her eyes are half-closed. The autopsy incision on the elderly body below
her has been ripped open, and I’m pretty sure that what she’s holding is a

hungry…” she murmurs.

retreat until my back presses against the cold door. A whimper escapes my lips,
and I drop the laundry basket with a sharp crack of plastic on the tile floor.
This has to be a dream. A screwed-up anxiety dream that I’ll wake up from any
moment now…

black eyes snap open. She stares at the chunk of flesh in her hand. “I…Agh…What’s
going on?”

waddles over to her and begins to beg. Bile rises in my throat. “That’s Mrs.
Canner,” I manage to answer. “She’s seventy-two and died of surgery
complications for varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis, I think. I don’t
remember.” I’m babbling, trying to keep the bile down.

drops the lung with a wet splat. The dog scrambles to it and begins scarfing it
down. Her hands are trembling. She presses them to her temples. “I don’t
understand. I don’t understand.”

nudge the laundry basket closer to her with my foot. “I brought you some
clothes. And, um. Food. You should get dressed.”

think I should be afraid. I think I really ought to be. But Amanda seems
genuinely confused. She reaches for the clothes I’ve brought her. To be polite,
I know that I should really look away. But I can’t move. I am not turning my
back on her. My heart pounds, and I struggle to take deep, uneven breaths.

unwinds the sheet and slips into my clothes. Though I avert my eyes, I see that
her shoulder and side are still torn open. But my mother hasn’t begun the
autopsy yet, so there is no Y-incision across her chest and abdomen.

you remember what happened to you?” I manage to ask. I congratulate myself for
having a rational thought. Woot.

voice is halting, and her brow wrinkles as she struggles to button my jeans. “I
remember…something was chasing me. Jesus, it hurt…” Her hand comes up to her
neck, and she seems to remember, fingering the edges of the wound. “Am I in a
hospital?” she asks again.

suck in a breath. “No. You’re at my house.” It’s not a lie. Not really.

scans the room, as if registering the sight of the cadavers. “You’re the girl
whose parents run the funeral home. The Ghoul Girl.”

gonna be okay,” I tell her.

am I here?” Her breath makes ghosts in the cold air.

Sheriff found you, alongside the road.” That’s true also, even if not the whole
truth. “I think we should get you upstairs, so you can talk to my parents…”

shakes her head, and her dark hair slaps across her face. “No. I…Oh my god. I’m
here because…somebody thought I was dead?”

swallow hard. “Yeah.” 

About the Author:

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.

More information about Laura’s work can be found at:

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