Irish legend is full of the tales of children taken under the hill, never to return.
The thing that isn’t whispered is: maybe it would be worse if they came back.
In a present-day Australian town, as in so many other towns, a girl disappeared without a trace. The unusual part is that she was later found by a local farmer, wandering in a field. After the happy family reunion, everyone expects the family to be delighted, for everything to go back to normal. But where was little Madrigal for the three years she was missing? What terrible things might’ve been done to her? Her mother develops an increasing conviction that something is wrong; that her daughter isn’t ‘the same’ since her mysterious return.
Is this a delusion brought on by the prolonged stress of the situation; a psychosis fated to lead to tragedy? Or is something actually ‘off’ about the girl?
This fantasy/horror tale is a strong offering from one of my favorite contemporary authors.