Today I have an excerpt of horror thriller The Shadow Man.
The Shadow Man
What if the memories of your childhood were a lie?
One Dream was all it took and all the memories of thirty years before started to flood back.
Not the idyllic coming of age summer down by the lake that they remembered. But dreams of death and of fear and of the burnings.
Dreams of the Shadow Man.
Will they finally face what had happened to them that summer?
Can they finally confront him once and for all?
The Shadow Man is the terrifying and utterly spine tingling new horror from the author of The Hand of Angel, perfect for fans of Alex North, CJ Tudor and Stephen Chbosky.
I LAY IN THE darkness. Cocooned. Cushioned by my mattress, enveloped by the softness of my duvet. I tried to change position, but my arms were pinned to my sides. Panicking, I tried to sit up, but I was held in place. I opened my eyes and stared at the moon above, shining brightly in the clear night sky. I wasn’t in my bed at all but rather in a shallow grave, the hole just wide enough to fit, covered in soil to keep me in place, with just my head exposed. In my nose and throat was the acrid stench of mud and shit and decay and death, which became increasingly overpowering so that I almost gagged. And then something crawled over me. Something big, something insectoid or reptilian, yet human all the same.
I started to sing a nursery rhyme, something I knew would protect me, something we’d sung when we were afraid and thought it would come to get us. I sang it through a dry mouth and chattering teeth, stifling sobs at the end of each line.
It crawled across the bodies of the others lying beside me, then it was above me, on top of me, holding itself up on its arms like a lover. The sigh of its rotten breath was one of despair. It hung over me, eyes staring deep into my soul, scouring back through every past life, my heart hammering in my chest, threatening to break through. The sickly stench grew as its face neared mine, about to deliver whatever killing blow it would use to drag me to hell.
I sat upright in bed, stifling a cry, taking a big deep breath instead. I was drenched in sweat. I got up, dumping my soaking pyjamas in the washing basket and getting a fresh t-shirt from the airing cupboard. At least I hadn’t woken Nick or the kids.
This was the fourth night running I’d had the dream and I needed a good night’s sleep, ready for a long drive tomorrow.
Funny how it still felt like that after all these years. But now it seemed very different, like it was a whole different place. Now the dreams were back.
‘Philippa Henstridge.’ I pushed the hands-free button on the steering wheel.
‘We’ve gotta do something about the Kettering account.’
‘Morning to you too, Giles. Why isn’t your number coming up on my phone?’
‘Because I’m in the office, of course,’ replied Giles, sounding flustered. I imagined him in his round, wire-framed glasses, denim shirt and corduroy jacket.
‘Oh okay, sure.’
‘They’ve been on this morning, wanting you and only you, except you appear to be not here.’
‘Yeah. Jan knows. Family emergency.’
‘You haven’t got any family.’
‘Extended family emergency, then. Bit of a strange one, really. Will explain all when I get back. I need to take a couple of days.’
‘A couple of days – what do I tell Kettering? They’re going fucking schitz.’
‘What do you tell them, or what’d you like to tell them?’
‘Don’t be flippant.’
‘If I couldn’t be flippant, I might as well be dead. Tell them Maxine and Dave are taking a specialist pass over the file, giving the campaign a further polish above and beyond what I’ve done. We’ll get it to them midweek next. In fact, tell them this is part of a brand-new platinum service we’ve been developing the last few months and we’re piloting it with them at no extra charge.’
‘I can’t believe you.’
‘I’m bloody good, aren’t I?’
If only I was.
Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales, UK. He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for THE HAND OF AN ANGEL came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.
Mark’s new novel, The Shadow Man is a terrifying horror thriller imagining what would happen if you found out the memories of your childhood were untrue, and that something sinister was lurking behind the facade of your life. Could you face what had happened back then? Could you face The Shadow Man.
Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story.