After two amazing stops at Chicks That Read on Monday and Bookthing yesterday, it is now my privilege to host Piatkus’s Creepy Book Crawl. Todays installment is by the excellent Tim O’Rourke. Tomorrow it’s the turn of Opinionated Cupcakes.
Once you have all five letters, remember to head back to Piatkus and enter their giveaway. Good Luck and Happy Halloween!!
ROOM 3 Tim O’Rourke
With the quivering of my hand, the candlelight flickers, casting shadows that stretch long and dark along the corridor. The shadows seem to almost take on a life of their own as they twist and contort over the walls. I turn. There is a second door to my left. The brass dome of the handle winks at me in the glow of my light as if beckoning forward – telling me that no more horrors await me on the other side. Slowly, I take hold of the handle and push.
The door opens – just a fraction. Just enough for me to see the wall of darkness on the other side. The candlelight does nothing to penetrate it. I look back over my shoulder – the shadows are still writhing along the wall. Coming inch by inch closer until, taking the form of a giant hand, the shadow lunges from the wall, pushing me into the room.
The door slams closed, nearly puffing out my candle. The sound of the door rattling in its ancient frame sounds like chattering teeth in the darkness. But there is another noise. More subtle. Like a scratching – a tearing – coming from the corner of the room.
I don’t want to go forward. But I know those shadows have seeped beneath and around the edges of the door and are pushing me forward. Pushing me towards the corner of the room. Towards that sound. With mouth and throat dust-dry, I inch forward. The darkness that is so stifling and suffocating seems to draw back, as if even it is fearful of what hides in the corner of the room.
I bite my lower lip and draw a shallow breath on seeing the body slumped against the wall like a drunk. But she is no drunk. She is old, wearing the clothes of a housekeeper. Her face is lined, her eyes blank, rolled back into their sunken sockets. Her puckered mouth is open; false teeth come free like she is wearing a lopsided grin. The old woman’s hands are in her lap, liver spotted and knotted like twigs. Her apron suddenly shifts – moves. A sudden gasp of breath? Perhaps she is alive after all? But no. It is the apron that moves. It is from beneath her clothes that I can hear the sound of scratching – tearing . . . gnawing.
I reach out and like a nurse pulling back a bandage from an infected wound, I lift the apron and her dress. The cat glances up at me. Its eyes shine like chinks of glass in the candlelight. The creature is as emaciated as the old woman. I can count its ribs, shining through its mottled coat of bristling black fur. It hisses at me. I stagger backwards, one hand to my mouth, the other holding the candle that illuminates the grotesque tableau before me. There is more than one cat with its head buried deep into the old woman’s abdomen. And now that the apron has been pulled back, the sound is deafening.
The half-starved cats glance up. A sea of sparkling eyes stare back out of the darkness at me, long whiskers glistening crimson in the light of the flame. Screeching, they spring away into the darkness, the slick looking intestines of the old woman forming the letter ‘ A ’ in her lap. I drop the candle and biting my fist to cork the scream that threatens in the back of my throat, I yank open the door and stumble back into the corridor on the other side.
PREVIOUS STOPS ON THE TOUR
Day 1, 27th October: Chicks That Read has the first installment of the story from Christopher Rice and to collect your first letter!
Day 2, 28th October (Yesterday): Bookthing has the second installment of the story from Kate Ellis and to collect your second letter!
Day 3, 29th October (Today): Click through to Book Mood Reviews to read the third installment of the story from Tim O’Rourke and to collect your third letter!
Day 4th, 30th October (Tomorrow): Head on over to Opinionated Cupcakes to read the fourth installment of the story from Kristen Callihan and to collect your fourth letter!
Day 5th, 31st October: And finally go to Fiction Fascination to read the fifth installment of the story from Darynda Jones and to collect your fifth and final letter!
Note: This promotion is being run by Piatkus.