The Streak

I’ve been going on for weeks now about this horror story I’m working on but I haven’t yet given you any real details on the book. So, now I’m going to tell you what this story is all about.

Matthew Hague is a horror author. His first book was very successful but since then his career has stalled. His publisher is going to drop him if he doesn’t produce a book that actually sells. What’s worse is that the publisher has a particular book in mind - a ghost story. If Matthew refuses to write the book the publisher will cut ties with him and his career will effectively be over. To help him get into the right zone his agent sends him on a writing retreat in the secluded village of Hoo St Werburgh.

Katy recently inherited a huge house in the village which she renovated and opened as a writing retreat. She’s always wanted to be a writer herself but never managed to knuckle down and write a book. She hopes that by opening a retreat she will finally find the motivation.

When Matthew arrives at the house things get worse. His best friend, Warwick, a more successful author, has also booked himself on the retreat, and he’s brought his new girlfriend, Carly. Carly has caused a rift between the two friends. Matthew fell in love with Carly but after they finally spent the night together Carly then decided to be with Warwick. Feeling betrayed Matthew closed himself off from both of them and hasn’t seen either for months.

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To make matters worse still, a psychotic killer has targetted the house as the next venue for his deranged game. The game exists entirely in his own head. He targets a house and has to kill everyone within it, using only the items inside the house. If anybody manages to escape then they win, if he kills them he wins. He’s on a winning streak of 14-0. Hoo St Werburgh is his biggest game yet. With 7 people in the house it will be the biggest challenge yet.

He arrives at the house and takes residence in the cellar. From his lair he learns about his new prey and when the time finally comes he strikes. He takes the occupents prisoner and begins a series of twisted games designed to torture his captives, both physically and mentally. Matthew and the others have to find a way to escape the property before the game ends and they all die.

I’m still undecided on a title, but I’m leaning towards The Streak at the moment. I’ll figure it out by the time I’ve finished writing which won’t be long now. I estimate a couple of weeks. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

I wrote a truly depraved scene today. I’ve written some pretty horrible scenes in the past, but I’m pretty sure this one tops the lot. When I finished the writing session I sat back and thought about the scene I’d constructed and I thought about deleting it. I thought it was too much. When I wrote the outline for the story it didn’t have anything this ghastly in it. But when I was writing these dispicable things came naturally. I lost myself in the scene and the words flowed out of me so easily. I don’t always write swith such ease. Sometimes I sit for ages stewing over each word in a sentence, wondering if my character’s actions seem right. But this 2,000 word scene just fell out of me. When I considered whether or not it felt right for the character the answer was yes. So I’ll be leaving it in. I think there will be more nastiness to come too. Already scenes of a hideous nature are coming alive in my mind. I really found something in this psychotic maniac that I didn’t realise was there before. He is so much more intersting now, as is the story.

Looking back at the outline it reads like a typical gorey, slasher horror. It’s not that any more. It’s psychlogical, it’s disturbing, and it’s horrific. This story has evolved so much since I started writing it. It started out as a ghost story, then it became a gorey, home invasion, slasher story, and now it’s… Well it’s still gorey, and it’s still a home invasion, but it’s less a slasher and more twisted and sinister. The killer figures out what’s going on the heads of his victims and he uses it to pull them apart and play with them. He loves to reduce people to nothing, and humliate and degrade them. It’s what he lives for.

I worry sometimes when I write truly horrific things. I worry because whatever I write people think the thoughts and beliefs of a character all come from myself. People have told me in the past that they think I am Eddie Lancaster, Nickolas Blackwood and others. I don’t mind those comparisons because they’re largely harmless, and there is some truth in the Eddie one. But I do not want people reading my horror works and thinking that I’m like those characters, because I’m really not, and the sick things that go on in the stories I write are not perversions of my own psyche. I base thigns on research, and people I’ve met. I’ve read a lot of reviews of Richard Laymon’s works, which contain a lot of rape, and subsequently people have decided this must mean that he was obessed with rape, and they judge him based on this.

I suppose that if the same disturbing subjects popped up in all of my books, like rape does in Laymon’s, then people could be forgiven for thinking those things were going on in my head. But that is not the case. The things happening in this horror novel have not appeared in any of my other books, nor do I think they will turn up again in other works not connected to this one. So I won’t let fear of perception stifle this story. I will write it how I feel it should be written. And if when I read it in the redraft, it turns out to be too heinous then nobody else shall ever read it, and it can stay tucked away in the draw of stories that never see the light of day. Or maybe I’ll burn it and scatter the ashes so it can never come back.

Do you think there should be limits to horror? Are there some things that you think just shouldn't make it on to the page? Let me know in the comments.

Intrusion Sample

Jenny knew she had to move. If she sat there any longer then the man who had intruded in her home and attacked her family would get her. He might already know where she was. He could be waiting out in the hallway for her to step out. And when she did…

She didn’t want to think about that. She’d already seen the intruder’s handiwork on her dad. If he’d managed to get her mum and sister too… She closed her eyes as the shudder ran through her. Drops of water leaked through her tightly clenched eyelids and ran down her trembling face. Taking a deep breath, she told herself that it was going to be alright. She just had to leave the room, run across the hall, out of the house, and into her car outside. Once she was safely in her car she’d be able to drive into town and get help. 

But she was sure that she was the only one left. She hadn’t heard anything for so long. Not since the sound of her sister’s screams had filled the house. Her whole family was already dead which meant the intruder could focus solely on her. Escape was impossible. No! She told herself. That kind of thinking would definitely get her killed. 

‘Move or die,’ she whispered to herself. She got moving. On shaking limbs, she turned around and grabbed the door handle. She edged the wood out of its frame slowly. Only the tiniest of creaks sounded, surely not enough to give her away. She peered out through the gap into the hallway and nearly screamed. Her sister, Abigail, was lying against the far wall, one arm was strewn away from her lifeless body, the other hung over her stomach. One eye peeked out from behind her messy brown hair, the other was gone. That whole side of her face had been pulverized into a mash of blood and bone, covered with sticky clumps of matted hair. Discarded on the carpet next to her was their father’s tennis trophy. Once it had been glistening gold, now it was bent and bloody. Her sister’s screams hadn’t sounded that close. That meant the killer had left the body and the trophy there for her to see. He must be nearby. Waiting. 

Taking in several shaking breaths and holding back vomit, Jenny tore her eyes from her sister and looked towards the stairs. That end of the room was all clear. She looked the other way, also clear. The killer was nowhere in sight. Next to the front door stood the bowl of keys, exactly where they’d always been. Her key was in there. Unless it had been taken. There was only one way to find out. 

Jenny pulled herself to her feet, relieved to find that her legs had not abandoned her just yet. She pulled open the door fully and edged out into the hallway, being sure not to look again at her sister’s corpse. She clamped a hand over her mouth to hold in any involuntary sounds and crept on tip-toes across the carpeted floor. Tip-toes weren’t really needed on such a thick carpet, but she was going to take every precaution. She reached the unit on the far side of the room and thanked whatever deity was on her side that her car keys were still in the bowl. She plucked them up, the metal making a small clink on the china bowl. Then she froze. 

A single thud sounded behind her. the thud of a foot falling on the stairs behind her. She wrapped her fingers tightly around the keys. Her arm was shaking so violently she was sure she would drop them. 

‘Jennifer,’ he sang softly across the hall. ‘Where are you going, Jennifer? We’re not done yet are we?’ She could hear his steps as he descended the stairs. She turned her head to look over her shoulder and saw the 8-inch chef’s knife in his blood-stained hand. She didn’t need to see any more. She grabbed the handle on the front door, twisted and pulled. It didn’t budge. Her heart hammered away in her chest as she stared stupidly at the door, trying to figure out why it wouldn’t open. 

‘Oh dear,’ said the intruder, and she imagined him shaking his head at her. ‘Having a bit of trouble? Oh, the things I’m going to do to you, Jennifer.’ He reached the bottom of the stairs. 

The security lock! She reached up and turned the small security lock and heard the bolts slide out of their holes. She tried the handle again and this time the door swung inwards easily. She could see her car clearly in the moonlight just yards away. 

‘Jennifer, no!’ the intruder shouted.

‘Fuck you,’ she spat the words over her shoulder and ran out into the night. She didn’t feel the chilly winter cold on her bare arms. She didn’t feel the gravel cutting into the soles of her bare feet. All she felt was the exhilarating adrenaline coursing through her veins as she neared her car. She pressed the button in her hand and her car lights flashed twice as the doors unlocked. She could hear him pursuing her, his boots treading into the gravel. He wasn’t running. She reached the car and saw why, coming to a standstill to take in her discovery. He’d slashed all four tires. They sat sluggishly and deflated beneath the car. Like the air from the tires, her last dregs of hope escaped her and she stood flattened on the driveway. 

Fuck it, she thought. Even with flat tires she’d be able to use the car to get away from him. It was worth a try either way. She stepped forward and grabbed the door handle, pulling the car door open. His hand slammed into her back shoving her forward into the door, slamming it closed again. Before she could react his hand was in her hair, pulling her head back. 

‘No!’ she screamed as loud as she could. Praying that somebody would be nearby. But she knew it was hopeless. Her parents had chosen a house in the middle of nowhere because they liked solitude. Nobody was going to hear her. Nobody was going to help her. She wriggled in his grip, but he was too strong. He thrust her head forwards, smashing her face into the car window which shattered under the impact. She was momentarily silent. Her mind had gone blank, occupied by pain. Warm moisture oozed over her face as she struggled to regain control of her mind. Then she was flung down on to the floor, the tiny pieces of gravel scraping her skin like claws. 

He looked down at her. She couldn’t see much of him in the darkness. The moonlight shone behind him turning his short body into little more than a silhouette. The knife glinted in his hand. 

‘Let’s get you back inside,’ he said. He stepped forward and she flung her leg up. Her foot found his balls. They felt squidgy on top of her toes as she forced them up as far as she could, hoping she would crush them. He howled in pain, batting her foot away with one hand. She saw his face twisted in rage. That was the last thing she saw as he swung the knife down, burying it in her gut. A small cry escaped her lips and that was all she could muster. 

The pain in the intruder’s genitals faded at the same time as the life flickered out in Jennifer’s eyes. He let out an irritated sigh as he looked down on her lifeless form. He hadn’t been ready to end the game yet. His own temper had ruined his fun. Still, it hardly mattered. In a few nights, a new game would begin and he already had the location set. There was a beautiful large house in the secluded village of Hoo St Werburgh. He didn’t bother retrieving the knife from the dead girl as he walked away from the house, which contained a further three corpses. A new game meant new weapons. Those were the rules of his game and it was a game he was very good at. 

‘Fourteen to nothing,’ he said to himself as he stepped off the driveway and disappeared into the darkness. 

2019 Projects

After thinking about it over the last few weeks, I’ve decided on 3 main projects this year. I’d like to do more than 3, but we’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to commit to doing things that I can’t deliver, like I have done in the past. Be warned there are spoilers from Dead Warlock if you read on.

  1. Horror Story

    This is my first horror project since the short stories I wrote back in 2015. This will be a home invasion novel. An author goes on a writing retreat in a secluded village, where he hopes to escape from his best friend who is now in a relationship with the girl he’s in love with, as well finding the inspiration to write a book that will rescue his almost dead career. Unfortunately, his best friend is also an author and he goes on the retreat too. And he takes his girlfriend. To make matters even worse the house they are all staying in is targeted by a sadistic serial killer.

  2. New Urban Fantasy

    This will be a novel set in a completely new universe. New characters, new setting, new rules. I’m really looking forward to this project becasue I love creating things from scratch. I haven’t come up with many of the details for this project yet. The main characer is called Jacob, he doesn’t yet have a surname. He’s either a wizard, or a necromancer. He’s a bit of a snob and likes to think he’s quite classy. Like Eddie, he’s not a hero, and is more out for himself than anyone else. That’s all I’ve really got to share about that one right now.

  3. Arcane Inc. 6

    The Arcane Inc. series was suposed to be finished, but I’ve reaslied in order to bring Eddie back there needs to be one more book to bridge the gap between the old series and the new. So I guess it’s kind of a middle book. Eddie is dead, and with him Arcane Inc. died too. This book will be about where he ended up after his death. Eddie knows there is a spirit realm, or a realm of the dead, he’s communicated with enough ghosts in the past, but he doesn’t know much about the afterlife. That’s going to change when he finds himself in the underworld, ruled over by Lucifer. And Lucifer is very keen to meet Eddie Lancaster. A bit of clarification, Eddie is not in hell. In this story Lucifer reigns over all the dead lands. Lucifer decides whether Eddie can go to the place of punishment, or the place of bliss. But Lucifer wants something from Eddie first.

    These are all very early ideas and it’s all open to change. The story might not work, in which case I’ll scrap it. If it turns out Eddie’s story is finished, then the Arcane Universe will find itself a new leading character to take the reins from the late Eddie Lancaster. I have a good feeling about it though. And hopefully there will be more Shirley in this one!

  4. Warlock In Hiding

    I know I said there were 3 projects, but this one isn’t a major one. This is a prequel novella that I’m working on. This will tell the story of where Eddie was before he came to Maidstone, before he set up Arcane Inc. and how he came to set it up. Rachel will be mentioned in it, but I’m not planning on having her appear. This book will be given free to everybody subscribed to my newsletter. So make sure you’re signed up to get a copy.

Let me know what you think of these projects. Which are you most excited for? Is there anything you’re not too keen on? Let me know in the comments.

A Change of Direction

I didn’t like how my horror novel was turning out so I’ve changed it. I really liked the characters, and the relationships they had with each other. I really liked the house I’d created for the setting. But the ghosts didn’t work. It felt horribly forced when I was writing it. I felt like I was writing garbage. And then there was the rape thing, which initially seemed okay, but the more I wrote it the less I liked it.

I was going to just scrap the whole thing but I really liked the characters, and I wanted their story to get written. I had a think about the whole thing and decided I wanted to write home invasion/slasher horror. Out went the ghosts, and with them the rape element. I wrote a little bit about the killer and knew that I was onto something much better. This villain was intriguing, whilst also being horribly unpleasant. He was fun to write. And he fitted into the story. He worked.

So, the story has changed. Same charcaters, same house, same village, different villain, different story. I’ll share the prologue soon, once I’m happy enough to post it. I need to write up an outline and then get to work on the first draft.