From the introduction:
Welcome to the small town of Surrey, Massachusetts. It’s a little community with less than 3000 people. Most people leave the town for college and never return. Surrey’s lasting population is made up of everyone else—those who never left.
It’s the fall of 1987, a beautiful time of year in Surrey. The leaves change color, and the air has a little nip on it. This year feels a bit colder than usual, though. The adults seem to recall a similar chill gripping the town when they were kids, but they don’t remember much else about back then.
Children have returned to school. Some, however, seem to have disappeared and the most unsettling part is that the town seems to not even notice. Every day, another child or two disappear. Families become distraught. Then, within a day or two, they seem to just go on with their lives, forgetting they even had a child.
The disappearances seem to have begun about the time that the annual Harvest Fair began. The farmers bring their crops to the fair, which has all sorts of enticements: candy, rides, sideshows, clowns, and more. Children have claimed to see a circus ringmaster on the outskirts of town. Adults don’t pay any attention to these rumors, considering them figments of the kids’ imaginations.
You’ve seen him, though. He calls himself Metzger. He wears a long-tailed jacket, pantaloons, and a top hat. His words are welcoming, yet he fills you with fear.
“Fall is harvest time,” he barks, “and you reap what you sow, kid.” You reap what you sow.