Here’s another sample for your #SampleSunday pleasure. This is from my latest book, Gothica. Gothica is a paranormal thriller in the Fringe Killer series. For the curious, here’s the description:
A killer from the past manages to escape the bonds of time and redefines “horror” for Jamie Davenport. In this new entry to the “fringe-killer” series, Gothica, Detective Davenport finds herself dealing with horror brought to life from the past. This time the killer is terrorizing the same building that held him prison – decades ago. The building now serves as a club for the darker denizens of Louisville…and a breeding ground for the emotions needed to bring evil back to Gothica.
Weaving elements of both the horror and the thriller genres together, Gothica tells the tale of the past and the present as they collide in the darkest recesses of a club built upon suffering and sorrow. Jamie Davenport and Skip Abrahm are tossed into a world of gothic delights and horror as another Fringe Killer is brought to life.
MANY WOULD have thought Gothica to be empty after what had happened the previous Friday. But for this crowd, the fear of death ironically made them relish life. Some costumed themselves in their own interpretations of what had happened, fake blood pouring from their mouths. One had taken the time to glue shards of glass all over a black pirate shirt. Others were sporting shirts with “I ate the ice” logos. It was a morbid celebration of near-death that brought a new level of excitement to the club. It also brought a profound closeness to the group.
This air of excitement was heightened by the live music. The local Goth favorite 9voltRevolt had just started their opening set. The keyboardist, 13Bats, was sustaining an organ-pedal chord that would have made Bach proud. The bass player began a thunderous four-four arpeggio that seemed to consist entirely of non-harmonic tones. The guitarist joined in the experimentation with a clunking power chord that lay as gracefully as it could against the bass line.
As they toyed with their instruments, the crowd was moving like a field of black wheat in a hot summer breeze. Hands were lifted, sporting either drinks or flaming lighters.
Gothica was having its busiest night to date. The threat of death was obviously good for business.
There was a small crowd gathering at one of the tables next to the main bar. They were the older members of the Goth crowd. They were sharing their delight that none of the “elders” had managed to get severely hurt from last week’s incident.
“I just can’t believe the one night I am responsible and don’t drink anything, everyone is knifed in the gut!” Malady was laughing at herself.
“I can’t believe you actually thought you were being responsible that night.” Evil John teased.
Malady grabbed John by the shirt and yanked him so their noses were barely touching. For a second, it looked like Evil John was going to feel the painful end of Malady’s love. Instead, she forced her lips on his and put her tongue inside his mouth.
Everyone was laughing and enjoying the electricity of the night. It was everywhere. The music had picked up its pace and fervor. The dance floor was now a mass of seismic activity. The pounding of the drums and bass was enhanced by the thump of jackboots and platform heels.
Spookee timed his entrance perfectly. As the music rose to a fever-pitch, he waltzed in unseen. There had been a growing distaste for his presence at the club after the last few incidents, and with good reason.
Tonight, Spookee had planned only one encounter. He had read during the week, on the Gothica on-line bulletin board, that some clone named Degauss had been attempting to spread lies about everyone’s favorite drag queen-wannabe (as he put it) —Spookee. The lies amounted to a paltry mishandling of the facts. They were lies, nonetheless. And for that, Degauss would pay.
Spookee wasn’t a big fan of the less-than-subtle when it came to vengeance. This time, however, there was no masking his ire. But, he had to wait for the perfect moment. When Spookee found his way through the crowd and into the main room, he saw Degauss sitting at a table with the ancient ones. It was early, and there was plenty of time for retribution. ‘Enjoy the chase,’ Spookee thought to himself. He went to the bar and silently ordered a Crypt Keeper, a Gothica favorite blend of coffee and vodka.
In the darkness swirled echoes and dust. There was a death-rattle breath that rose and fell. As the inhalation came, there was a static rise to the air which lit the singular light bulb like a lightening bug hovering for a mate.
The breath came deeper, and the light burned hotter.
The dust in the center of the room continued to swirl as the breathing became heavier. As the breath exhaled, it began to take on a more vocal quality.
“Heeeeerrrrrrrre” the rasping sound fell as the light dimmed.
At the top of the stairs, a faint click was heard as the door was unlocked. The door to the upper room creaked open, and Apoptygma’s O Fortuna remix spilled down the stairs.
The rasping breathing rose and fell to the tempo of the music. Fog from the dance floor seeped down into the cooler air of the basement to dance across the dirty floor. The glow of the light grew brighter still with each ghostly breath.
The final strains of O Fortuna were overtaken by the sounds of the 9voltRevolt singer announcing their return to the floor. The masses above roared with approval.