On Sunday, I revealed a brand-new project titled The Painting, which is the first novella in a planned creepy suspense series of three for launch in 2013.
I promised a preview of the book, so here you go. All I ask for in return is that you share this post with somebody you think might enjoy it. If they enjoy it, they’re more than welcome to click here to pick up a copy and continue reading.
He knew they were still watching him.
“Donny, you’re going to have to come out of there.” Banging at the door, muffled voices.
He knew they were still watching him because he felt their gaze. He felt it from inside his body—their eyes examining every inch of his being.
But there was more than trees. The figures. There were definitely figures. He’d seen them and he knew what they were now. He knew where they came from and what it all meant.
Watching… waiting… waiting for somebody else to come along.
He pulled his head from under the quilt as he heard knocking at the door.
“Donny, you’re gonna have to come out of there at some point,” she shouted.
He wanted to shout back. He wanted to jump out of the bed and run back to her, but he was completely frozen.
Would they see the figures too? Or was it just him?
Was it all over?
As he elevated himself from the bed, he tried not to look at the painting—not even in his mind’s eye. He still felt their gazes burning through the sheets and engulfing his body.
He knew they were still there.
He could still hear the creeping of their slender feet squelching across the marshy grass. Their little hands tap, tap, tapping the thin air.
“Donny, come on.”
She couldn’t hear them. Only he could hear them. Only he was special enough.
Pitter-patter up the stairs.
No. They weren’t there, not anymore. It was over. It was over.
They sang a song sometimes—a quiet song. It was hard to make out, but he heard the whispers and calls. It was sort of like a nursery rhyme—a coming home. Something his mother might have hummed to him as she moved back on forth on her rocking chair.
The cracking of a floorboard.
Pitter-patter of little feet up the stairs.
“Donny, I know you’re in there, and I know you’re scared, but you just need to get out of there or we’re gonna have to get you out of there ourselves.”
Sara. She’d found him. She’d come back for him. She was going to take him home and then all of this would be over.
But they were watching.
He pulled his head back under the quilt like he used to do when he was a little boy hiding from the monsters under the bed.
Resist them, resist them.
He heard a deeper voice outside the room, then a cough and a sigh. “We’re going to knock the door down, mate,” the man’s voice said.
More mumbling. He couldn’t knock the door down. Knocking the door down would let them in and then they’d see them too and they would take them away. They’d take Sara away.
But he couldn’t get up from under the quilt. They would be watching from the painting. They always watched from the painting. He kept still as his body shook against the dusty white sheets. A little bit of his foot was exposed at the end of the bed but he had to keep it still—the coldness growing closer and tickling its way up his ankles.
He squeezed his eyes together. The singing started. He heard it inside him, like headphones wired into his skull. The humming. No words—just beautiful, bright music.
He had to stop them. He had to stop them, warn them, and get them out of here.
He threw the quilt out of his face as the door crashed again and the light cut through the darkness of the room, stinging his eyes. He waved his hands towards them. “Get… get out, just go. You can’t be here, they’re watching—”
“Donny, it’s okay. It’s me,” the man said. He held his hands up in front of him like a perpetrator caught by the police.
“It’s the painting. They’re watching, and, and—”
“Donny, there’s nothing on the painting. Nothing on it. See? Look at it. There’s nothing there.”
Donny tilted his head towards it. The bronzing frame, the autumn leaves—
No. They’d be there. He couldn’t go back. He couldn’t risk going back. Manny Bates ended up here and she never got back. He couldn’t risk being another Manny Bates.
“Just look at it, Don,” Sara said, pointing her finger at it. “There’s nothing there.”
He squeezed his eyes together. Just check. Just check, then you’ll know. He turned his shaking head to the painting and almost immediately swung his gaze away.
The six trees. The forest. The grey sky. And the figures.
The six, hooded figures.
He felt their presence in the room as he smiled and shook his head. The cold crept up his flesh as Sara’s face grew ever more distant.
“See, there’s nothing there,” Sara said, her voice little more than a mumble as Donny drifted away into the darkness.
And that’s all for now, folks! Hope you’ve enjoyed this little preview of The Painting. If you have, then feel free to continue reading by picking up a copy here.
Have a great week. It’s my first exam of 2013 on Friday so wish me luck!