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, before deciding what to do with his house. In the morning light, Margaret is drawn to a looming structure nearby: the Brandt mansion, where she finds Esther, the last surviving Brandt, frightened and alone inside the cavernous, decrepit building.
Terrorized by local children who throw rocks at her windows, Esther believes she hears dead family members walking the halls at night. 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 for help to the townspeople, only to find they have been ground to dust by Esther’s long-dead father and his long-closed mill.
Atop the hill behind the Brandt estate, a 21st century robber-baron has begun night flights from a reactivated World War II airfield, perfecting an airborne anti-satellite laser weapon, launching test flights that pass close to the Brandt mansion on their way to the skies over the North Atlantic.