Yes, the days fall into weeks as I pursue my quest of publishing my next novel. I am working on another ten-minute thriller, however, in the meantime, I would like to share a little piece of the novel with you. I hope you enjoy the read and feel compelled to send me some feedback.
(The name is yet to be revealed)
Through the dark, a figure carved its way through the powerful white beams creating a giant shadow on the house’s wall. It was her husband. He’d seen the car arrive through an upstairs window, given her time, and then made his way down to greet her.
‘You okay sweetheart?’ he asked opening her driver-side door. She turned her weary face at his. He softly added, ‘I was just wondering why it was taking so long for you to come up. It’s not like you to dawdle.’
‘Oh, don’t mind me. It has just been a tumultuous couple of weeks, Lomax.’ Chelsea hauled herself out and into a hug. ‘Everything will be alright, once I’ve put my feet up.’
He cupped her face with his hands, kissing her square on the lips. ‘Sure! Welcome home, babe. I’ll bet it gets exhausting, carrying that gun around all day!’ She grinned at his joke.
Chelsea flicked off the headlights, shut the door, and squeezed the key’s button emitting that squeaking sound as the doors locked. Arm in arm they wandered up the drive and passed straight through the front door. He’d left it ajar, allowing a steady stream of background music to fill their ears. She had a stack of manila folders tucked under her free arm with her handbag over her shoulder.
‘So then,’ asked Lomax, smoothly closing the door. ‘I don’t suppose you want to fly out to Tahiti, for dinner tonight, then?’ A sheepish expression followed.
It had already surpassed 8:00 pm. Her brow furrowed, from the effort of raising tired lids. ‘Very funny — but they still have me. I have a few things here, to look over. Then an early night. That okay?’
‘Of course,’ he winked, not being able to resist another jest. ‘First a cop… then a wife!’
Chelsea crinkled her nose and poked out her tongue. ‘Somebody’s got to keep this city safe from the impropriety of lawyers and solicitors.’ They laughed. She kicked off her shoes. ‘Did you feed O and H and my babies?’
‘Your fishes… your responsibility sweetie!’
Chelsea sauntered down the spiral staircase — her hand sliding all the way down the curved bannister. Like always, she skipped away from the second-bottom step. Across the room, a tiny colourful shoal seemed to recognize her arrival; swimming over to meet her in the robust tank’s corner. Their eagerness, at her presence, and the anticipation of supper was obvious. At once, there seemed a noticeable increase in the speed of wagging tails and flapping fins. This quiet fishy conversation brought a smile to her face. More delicious black worms for you!
Afterwards, Chelsea removed the constrictive ribbon used to restrain her hair in business-like fashion all day. She freshened up, later re-joining her man upstairs. They dined at the coffee table, over some small talk, before she settled into the paperwork and Lomax withdrew to his own leisurely pursuit.
Their house’s fourth bedroom had been set up as an art studio. It was within the confines of these four walls that Lomax pursued his passion of recent years — sketching, painting and sculpture. He had a natural flair with his hands, which had quickly and easily adopted the skills of using a brush, charcoal, pencil, canvas, paper, clay, and pallet knife. He had all the various tools required, to paint etch and carve. Chelsea had kindly bought him all the necessaries for his birthday, three years ago, as a fair exchange for the cost, time, and effort she had associated with her pets.
She had her clowns… He had his masterpieces.
She’d frequently marvelled at his developing skills when admiring the small art collection, now dressing the studio’s walls and standing atop their pedestals. Her favourite piece was the beautiful life-size bust of her which he had painstakingly made from a solid chunk of beige polymer clay. A vinaigrette-style poem about her was engraved on its pedestal before the piece was fired. At this stage, none were on display throughout the rest of their home, with Lomax not believing them to be of a standard high enough. His perfectionist defiance irritating her at times. ” Just wait till I get good at it!” he would say.
By 10:30 pm, he’d sidled alongside her chair. A persistent annoying fly had buzzed around Chelsea’s near-empty coffee cup, spoiling her concentration. For over an hour, the irksome pest had become her evening sidekick. She’d finally tired of the minuscule creature and taken a swipe at it. She missed the fly but connected solidly with her mug, leaving a disastrous puddle of spilt coffee. This event terminated her interest in the murder case she was skimming over. The couple called it quits by 10:45 pm, crashing instantly to sleep. As the night progressed, Chelsea’s psychologically active juices began to flow again. The surreal dreamscape, unfolding inside her mind, was one she’d not experienced before. The story itself she knew, but not as a fantasy…
It felt, around late winter of 1978. A determined gentleman in his forties stood outside for several minutes, in the brisk August air. Standing beside him, jittered a young blonde woman of twenty-two years. A thin layer of dew still remained visible on the front lawn — its thick olive weave beautifully punctuated by sumptuous azalea and rose gardens. The chilly morning’s freshness converted their breath to a vapour, as each took turns in synchronized exhalations. Both stared inquisitively, at the front door’s robust oak boards, hanging tightly secured by solid but heavily tarnished metal hinges. Neither spoke at this point, as the home’s daunting enormity stole their thoughts. A second thought thief, was the peculiar fusty smell, wafting from the many chimneys scattered atop its roof pitches. The woman tucked her gloved hands deep into the lapels of her coat, rubbing nervously on her upper arms, before glancing over her shoulder. She had momentarily been distracted by a noisy passing car, roughly one-hundred metres away, down the twisty driveway. The man continued his earnest surveillance of the building’s extremities, taking careful note of the tightness, by which all the windows were secured. These large windows were covered on the inside by heavy non-matching curtains.
‘That would seem to make sense though,’ he was quietly muttering to himself, ‘given the current temperature.’
Strangely, no birds were gathered in the bedraggled but plentiful trees dotted around the sprawling garden. This bathed the house in a veil of silence, adding enhanced eeriness to their current predicament. She was crouching down, to keep warm. The woman’s head returned, to make eye contact with him, easing a hopeful smile back into her forlorn appearance. Still, she found trouble forming words.
They had experienced no problem in locating the place — despite neither having been near this district before. The address scrawled on a piece of paper, remained clutched in his left hand, which fidgeted about in his lumber jacket’s furry pocket. She had given it to him earlier on, when they met at his house, far across town.
‘Come on Isabella, he’s waiting for us,’ he encouraged. ‘We can’t wait out here forever. Nothing will happen… unless we make it happen.’
She stared earthward, exhaling a huge stream of mist which spread as it reached the lawn’s tufts of shaggy mixed clumps. A minute darkened patch appeared, where the frost slightly melted. Isabella’s head nodded. ‘I know Mr Carlington, but I am scared for some reason. Now that we’re here.’
From his pocket, he produced a semi-automatic pistol. ‘I will not let anything happen to you.’ The man raised his finger past her hair, pointing to a distant hill, beyond the house. ‘Take a look at that. It might relax your emotions a little.’
The young woman’s eyes followed the length of his arm, to capture an uplifting view. Through the woven leafless branches, of a nearby colossal tree, she witnessed the setting moon. Its yellowy spherical mass seemed exaggerated in size, through the moist morning air — divulging a hazy broken picture of the satellite’s surface craters. The sun had all but risen on the opposing side of the horizon. This left a pinkish hew on top of the cloud-veil, generously draping its way, between the ageing tree and ancient moon. The cloud’s odd formation stepped in tousled layers, as if it were, a pink waterfall. This tranquil picture painted a sanctuary. Too early for shadows. Too serene for disapproval, and far too peaceful, to harbour an unpleasant scene.
One moment later, a solitary owl’s out-stretched wings found the tree’s convenience — landing the hunter, just off-centre. His feathery outline formed a gallant silhouette, as the wingspan tucked neatly in behind, allowing the hefty bird’s perfect balance to freeze into position. Two large round eyes affronted his huge head. The wily nocturnal appeared hell-bent on making his presence felt. After all, this was his hunting ground and they were intruding on him. For the owl, it was rather late, in his stalking-window. He stared back towards Isabella without blinking. Then, in a moment of stealth, the predator silently dropped on an unsuspecting rodent below, grasping it firmly in its talons, and leaving as swiftly and quietly as it had arrived…
‘Not something you see every day, is it gal?’ voiced the man’s calming reassurance.
Her returning expression bore a pair of compressed lips. She beat the back of her right hand into the left’s gloved palm, confidently uttering, ‘Let’s go in, Mr Carlington!’
‘I’ve told you many times before, missy — for heaven’s sakes. It is time you called me Xav. After all, Isabella, soon you are going to become my daughter-in-law. Now, how about it?’ He reassured her by placing his arm around her waist, to guide them back to the entrance.
‘Sure thing,’ she replied — eyebrows taking a dive. I’ll try to get used to it… but somehow it feels peculiar.’
This young Isabella was, in fact, Chelsea’s mother. This man was Senior Detective Xavier Carlington, father of her fiancé, John. Xavier tried the handle — not even locked. He felt the presence of something gruesome, behind the door, and took a lasting stare into her eyes. He raised the gun to his earlobe — finger twitching its trigger. They entered the premises, without knocking on the unsecured front door, and tiptoed through. Suddenly, less than a handful of paces into the foyer was a confrontation with the unimaginable. Through the mysterious eyes of the dream, Chelsea could see it also, as large as life itself. Isabella let out a gut-curdling scream…
Deveare burst wide awake and sat bolt upright in bed. A smattering of vague awareness stained across her face. With blood racing, she panted through her fingers which had found her lips. ‘Jesus Christ!’