Read an Excerpt From Nick Medina’s Indian Burial Ground

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We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Indian Burial Ground by Nick Medina, a mythological horror novel available now from Berkley.

All Noemi Broussard wanted was a fresh start. With a new boyfriend who actually treats her right and a plan to move from the reservation she grew up on—just like her beloved Uncle Louie before her—things are finally looking up for Noemi. Until the news of her boyfriend’s apparent suicide brings her world crumbling down.

But the facts about Roddy’s death just don’t add up, and Noemi isn’t the only one who suspects that something menacing might be lurking within their tribal lands.

After over a decade away, Uncle Louie has returned to the reservation, bringing with him a past full of secrets, horror, and what might be the key to determining Roddy’s true cause of death. Together, Noemi and Louie set out to find answers… but as they get closer to the truth, Noemi begins to wonder whether it might be best for some secrets to remain buried.


Prologue

She couldn’t feel her feet. Not her knees or her hips either. Running like a Thoroughbred in a race, no one would know that she’d been limping just thirty minutes earlier, from her front door to her Jeep, favoring her left ankle, swollen and plum purple.

Maximus bore the blame for her sprain. If the damn dog hadn’t snatched her phone from her hand, she wouldn’t have chased him yesterday in the yard, and she wouldn’t have rolled her ankle on the knot of wood—probably chewed up by old Maximus himself—hidden in the grass. Pain had made her grimace with each tender step thereafter, but now, despite the force of her wide, rapid strides driving her feet hard against the asphalt, she didn’t feel any pain at all.

Just worry and dread.

He might still be alive, she thought. Please, let him be alive.

It couldn’t have taken her more than a minute to run down the road to the Grand Nacre Casino and Resort, which was glittering in the light of the descending sun. She would have called for help from the Jeep if she could have found her phone. It’d been in the cupholder beside her when she’d set off for work, earlier than usual because the bum ankle would slow her down—thanks again, Maximus—but after she’d swerved the Jeep to the left in a desperate Hail‑Mary‑hold‑tight at‑ tempt to avoid the inevitable, the cupholder was empty, the Jeep was on its side, and the man she’d tried not to hit was partially wrapped around the base of the tree trunk that’d prevented him from flying into the woods that bordered the road.

Sounds from the impact remained within her. Taylor Swift singing “Anti‑Hero,” silent now. The deafening crash of the Jeep. The report of the man’s ribs meeting metal. The sickening crack of his skull against glass. Its top down, she’d clung to the Jeep’s steering wheel as the vehicle, toppling in slow motion, rolled onto its side like her ankle on that knot of wood.

Call an ambulance, she’d shrieked at Caleb Guidry, ragged nails between his teeth, at the security station just beyond the casino’s sliding glass doors.

What’s wrong, Lena? A piece of nail shot from his mouth. Used to her flirty smiles as she enticed high rollers to her blackjack table through the swing shift hours, he’d never seen her so worked up before.

She’d shouted other things at him in response

… Man…

Hit him

… Up the road

HURRY!

before turning right around and pounding the pavement again.

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Indian Burial Ground

Indian Burial Ground

Nick Medina

Please don’t be dead. She wondered if Caleb had summoned the ambulance yet. The resort had medics on‑site. It wouldn’t take them long to arrive.

I’m alive, had been her first thought after the toppled Jeep touched down, relief and disbelief swelling within her. Her fingers made quick work of disengaging the seat belt that had kept her head from cracking against the ground, an old commercial surfacing in her mind.

This is your brain on drugs.

But it was only half an oxy she’d taken, for the pain in her ankle, and it’d worn off by the time she’d left for work.

Having retched on the road’s shoulder upon spying the unmoving man, she’d been too terrified to scurry toward the trees to see if he still had a pulse. The blood was what kept her at bay, spreading through his clothes, his hair.

His heart must have been beating, she thought hopefully as she returned to the Jeep, lying like a murdered elephant in the road. He wouldn’t be bleeding if his heart wasn’t beating.

Feeling the sprint’s toll on her neglected cardiovascular system, she slowed to a brisk walk, wheezing all the way. Even when she took Maximus to the park, he did all the running while she stood station‑ ary, throwing sticks and balls for him to fetch.

“Please,” she gasped, then, “Why? WHY?” as she tried to make sense of what the man had done, her ears searching for sirens. Still, they didn’t come.

Feeling wavy inside, as if her skin were a sack filled with water, she wanted to collapse like the Jeep. Maybe then someone would come along and do the things she couldn’t, like put pressure on an open wound or start mouth‑to‑mouth resuscitation.

His back was broken, his spine curved the wrong way around the tree trunk. Just seeing it again in her mind’s eye made her stomach judder. She spat on the road, which was littered with shattered glass, amber bits of a broken side marker, her handbag, empty and half‑full water bottles that she’d habitually tossed into the passenger side foot‑ well, the Starbucks cup that had held her Salted Caramel Cream Cold Brew—ordered only minutes earlier—and the cherry‑blast‑scented Little Trees air freshener that had somehow come loose from the rear‑ view mirror. Still, there was no sign of her phone. And still, she saw no ambulance on the horizon.

Dizzy and defeated, she staggered to the shoulder, then screamed and leaped back toward the middle of the road—much the way the man had seemingly leaped in front of the Jeep—at the sigh of a coyote, half the size of Maximus yet far more fearsome, standing over the man’s body. Head low, ears up, mouth open, glistening red teeth on display, the canine growled.

Its muzzle was matted with blood.

Excerpted from Indian Burial Ground by Nick Medina Copyright © 2024 by Nick Medina. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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