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Authors: Robert Cote

Tags: #young adult, #witchcraft, #outofbody experience, #horror, #paranormal, #suspense, #serial killer, #thriller, #supernatural

Malice

BOOK: Malice
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Malice
Malice

By

Griffin Hayes

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011 Griffin Hayes

Cover design by Kit Foster

Smashwords Edition

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

To L.B.C, B.J., J.C., C.C. for always believing and to Ishani for everything.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

Writing is a lonely business, but no one produces a book without some kind of help along the way. First, I’d like to thank Diana Cox for the great proofreading and to my editor, John Payne, who’s either a saint or a superhero, I’m not sure which. A shout out to the very professional and talented Kit Foster for the great cover and finally, a warm thank you to Medical Examiner, Amy Burrows-Beckham MD, for her time and expertise on blunt force trauma. Any inaccuracies in depicting severe head wounds are mine and mine alone.

 

 

 

Also by Griffin Hayes

 

 

Novellas

Bird of Prey

 

Short Stories

The Grip

The Second Coming

 

And Coming Soon

Nocturnal a novel

Part I

 

 

Man ... cannot learn to forget,

but hangs on the past: however

far or fast he runs, that

chain runs with him.

Frederich Nietzsche

Chapter 1

 

 

The stranger grinned and his sunken cheeks made his face look like a skull.

“Go on, Lysander,” his father, Glenn, scolded. “Shake the man’s hand.”

Lysander Shore’s family hadn’t been in Millingham longer than a week, but he was sure somehow he had met this man somewhere before. Maybe filling bags at the grocery store or delivering mail down the street? This was going to torture him the whole day.

Lysander stuffed his lunch into his knapsack and then slowly held out his hand. The cold palm that slid into his a second later made Lysander’s stomach turn. His father must have noticed the discomfort on Lysander’s face, because Glenn’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment. At least for once it wasn’t about Lysander’s black nail polish or matching combat boots.

“You’ll have to excuse the mess,” Glenn said, clearing a place on the couch where the stranger could sit. “We’re still getting settled.”

A pin on the lapel of the man’s suit jacket read “Peter Hume” and below that “Zellermann’s.” He was probably an insurance guy, Lysander thought, here about the fire that had destroyed their old house in Hayward.

 

The two men spoke about how the house was a complete write-off, his father running through a list of things that were destroyed, when Peter Hume peered up at Lysander. The odd glint in his eye instantly made Lysander uneasy.

“Do you have any pictures?” Hume asked Glenn. “So we can take inventory of what you lost.”

“Yeah,” Glenn said, looking at his watch. “You need those now? I gotta leave for work.”

Hume smiled apologetically. “I’m afraid so.”

Glenn sighed, as he always did when asked to do something menial but necessary, and headed for the kitchen. “You want something to drink?”

“Earl Grey would be nice.”

“That’s the only tea we have,” Glenn said robotically. He seemed dazed. Or was he hypnotized? Lysander couldn’t tell which.

Hume’s eyes were shining. “Legend has it an old Chinese man gave Lord Grey the recipe for saving his son’s life, if you believe that sort of thing.”

His father shrugged and disappeared into the kitchen.

Now Lysander and Peter Hume were alone and the air in the room seemed to drop ten degrees. Slowly, the smile disappeared from Hume’s face.

“You were warned not to come here,” Hume said, his voice gravelly, almost hoarse. Lysander peered down at Hume’s scalp and saw the man’s translucent flesh squeezing the plates of his skull together.

Lysander’s breath caught in his throat.

“He knows, Lysander.” Hume’s voice was more forceful. Desperate. “Knows you’re here. He knew the minute you arrived. Felt you crossing the town line, just like I did ...”

Lysander’s mouth was frozen open in a mix of confusion and disbelief.

And then, Lysander knew where he had seen this man before. It was Hume’s hollow face that had been glaring back at him from the old weathered placard that greeted visitors on their way into town. And etched below him in crooked red letters had been the words:

STAY AWAY

But at the time Lysander was sure his mind had been playing tricks on him, because when he passed that same weathered sign on the town line days later, everything had changed. Even Hume’s face was gone. In its place was a beaming, happy-looking family.

WELCOME TO MILLINGHAM!

A tiny impression appeared in Hume’s forehead, and from it a thick drop of blood rolled down his face. The man’s sockets were receding into the back of his head. A noise came from the kitchen and Hume’s cavernous eyes darted over Lysander’s shoulder. The fear bubbling in his voice was palpable. “He hasn’t found me,” Hume whispered. “Not yet. But you. You, he’ll know right away.”

Lysander tried to say something, anything, but all that came was a moan.

Run Lysander! Turn your ass around and RUN!

“He could be any one of them,” Hume croaked. “They all look so innocent, don’t they? With their little white houses and their hybrid SUVs. Hard to imagine there’s a monster coiled somewhere in all that.” Hume’s eyes—black bottomless chasms now—rose to meet Lysander’s, and when he did the expression on his face fell flat. “You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? You haven’t remembered yet.”

Lysander felt the muscles in his chest knot with fear.

“He’s come to finish it, Lysander.” The structure of his face was coming undone. Blood flowed freely from his forehead. Into his mouth. Drenching the dark fabric of his suit and the upholstery of the couch. Lysander could see bits of splintered bone and flaps of dangling flesh. It looked like someone had redecorated his face with a tire iron. “That’s why he’s here. To finish it …”

Lysander staggered back and nearly tripped over a moving box filled with old books. Glenn reached out a hand and caught him. He was holding a cup of tea. A photo album was wedged under his armpit. “Mr. Hume?”

Hume’s face rose. Tight and skull-like, but nothing like the monstrosity from a moment before.

Glenn was handing Hume his Earl Grey when he turned to Lysander. “You better hurry or you’re going to be late for school. It’s already a quarter past.”

The alarm in his father’s voice rattled him. Lysander snatched his school bag off the floor, shoved his lunch back inside and left the room as fast as he could.

“I wasn’t really expecting you till tonight,” he heard his father tell Hume as he sped away, “so I hope we can make this fast.”

Lysander was trying to steady his hand over the front door handle when Hume replied.

“Keeping you safe and sound, that’s our motto at Zellermann’s.”

It was on the long walk to school that Lysander tried to make sense of what he had just seen. The whole thing seemed to happen so fast. Hell, he wasn’t sure he’d even closed the door behind him.

Whenever Lysander closed his eyes, that’s when he’d see the stranger’s face dissolving all over again.

He’s come to finish it
, was what that creepy bastard had said.

Who was the
he
Hume had been talking about? Lysander wondered uneasily. More than that, Lysander wanted to know what he had meant by finish it?

One thing was certain, there had been a serious look of desperation on Hume’s face before it began to look like raw hamburger meat. No, more than desperation. Hume was scared shitless.

That made two of them.

Chapter 2

 

 

A heavy rain had swept over Millingham the night before, leaving the roads slick and shiny. The sky was low and thick with heavy gray clouds that threatened to open up at any moment. Samantha Crow stared out the police car window. She loved the stillness, the clean feeling after a rain, the way the air smelled soggy.

A steady clicking sounded from the car dashboard. Her father, Steven Crow, the city’s sheriff, made a lazy left-hand turn.

“People driving slow this morning,” her father said. He fancied a white handlebar mustache—a carryover from his hero, Wyatt Earp. “Good thing, ‘cause it’s slippery out there and we need to get you to school. Couldn’t afford to be pulling anyone over, now could I?” He winked at her, twitching a matching white bushy eyebrow, and she smiled weakly in return.

“You’re gonna have to think about a graduation dress, you know,” he said.

Samantha remained silent, eyes closed.

“You know, I asked your mother to prom. I don’t think I was her first choice, though.” He laughed, the way older people often laughed at the humorless things they said. “Had her eye on a boy named Billy Dobbins. But I never gave up, Sam. Went out and bought myself a nice new suit.”

Samantha’s blackened lips began to tighten.

Her father combed his mustache with the flat tips of his fingers. “She was a good woman, your mother.” He glanced over and caught her change of expression. “I’m just thinking that with the way you dress. What do they call it? Goth? I just wouldn’t be surprised if some nice boy might pass you up.”

“I’m not a Goth.” Her laugh bore a threatening edge. “And what’s wrong with the way I dress?” She crossed her arms, glaring straight ahead.

BOOK: Malice
13.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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