For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her.
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On an Appalachian Mountain ridge, young Vernon Ray Davis hears the rattling of a snare drum deep inside a caveknown as "The Jangling Hole", and the wind carries a whispered name. According to legend, the Hole is home to a group of Civil War soldiers buried by a long-ago avalanche. On the eve of an annual Civil War reenactment, the town of Titusville prepares for a mock battle. But inside the Hole, disturbed spirits are rising from their slumber, and one of them is heading home.