Louis Creed is the main character of the story. He's a doctor, husband of Rachel Creed, and father of two children, daughter Ellen and son Gage. In the beginning of the story, his family moves from Chicago to Maine. Right next to their new house is a small highway road that has nothing but trucks driving through and they drive through day and all night. Many pets have been killed on that road, which is why nearby the family's house is also a pet cemetery built by children.
One day the family is having a picnic in the field between their house and the road, and the 2-years old Gage is flying a kite. He loses his grip and the kite gets away. Louis turns his back on him for a moment to face the rest of the family, and the boy starts to follow the kite towards the road. At this time, a high-speeding truck is driving closer. The father tries to catch the baby but fails. In the middle of the road, Gage picks up the kite string roll and gets hit by the truck.
Gage is buried normally, but Louis knows about an old indian burial ground beyond the children's pet cemetery, a ground that has the power to bring the dead back to life. He's been warned multiple times that the ground has gone sour, that the person that comes back is not the person you put up there. Grief-stricken, he buries his baby there anyway in hopes that it would be alright as he does it so soon after the death.
Already when he's digging his son up from the original grave, he's slightly insane by having witnessed the indian burial ground's power through his daughter's cat and by seeing his baby die a violent death in front of his eyes.
After being buried in the indian burial ground, a wendigo, a spirit creature that the indians believed could touch you and turn you into a cannibal, took over Gage's body and rose from the grave. It killed two people, including Gage's mother, before Louis found out that "his son" had come back. But Louis immediately learns that it didn't work, and confronts the wendigo. But he still keeps seeing his son in there, and it doesn't help that the wendigo speaks in Gage's voice, addresses him as "daddy" and at the moment when Louis is putting it back to sleep, (gives it a lethal injection), it cries like a real baby. Louis manages to go through it, but this is when he finally went completely insane.
As sfter "Gage" is gone, Louis burns down the house they're in, carries his wife's multilated body out of the burning house and heads once again towards the indian burial ground. He's certain that he waited too long with Gage, that this time it would work. The next night she comes back and Louis greets her with passionate love even though she's practically multilated and rotting. And, of course, come back wrong.