A month ago, Margaret Haart’s husband left her for a college girl. A week ago, her father died in a car crash near his coastal Maine home. She has come to retrieve his dog and belongings, and stepped into a war for this strange little town’s soul.
Revenge is a destroying fire.
In the morning light Margaret is drawn to a looming structure nearby: a decrepit mansion, where she finds Esther Brandt living alone, terrorized by local children and thinking she hears dead family members walking the halls at night. Esther is the last surviving member of her once-great family. She doesn’t use electric lights, telephone or television because she believes herself to be an EMF hypersensitive, one who suffers pain in the presence of electromagnetic fields. And, she tells Margaret, she is under nightly attack by searing radiation of an unknown source.
Horrified by the old woman’s mental state and plight, Margaret turns to the townspeople, only to find they have been ground to dust by Esther’s long-dead father and his long-closed mill. The only person stepping up to help is Ruth, a brassy school teacher and the only local who came to Margaret’s father’s wake. Esther may be crazed, Ruth tells Margaret, but she is not crazy.
Atop the hill behind the Brandt estate, a 21st century robber-baron has begun night flights from a reactivated World War II airfield. High Ground Technologies is rushing to perfect an airborne laser weapon, launching test flights almost directly over the Brandt mansion on their way out to the skies above the North Atlantic.