The next Guest Writer Spot goes to Horror Writer, Steven Chapman.
I've been following Steven for some time now: home from work, back from the pub etc, but he's always been too drunk to notice! I jest, I'm not a stalker, but Steven's creative juices could probably turn what I've just said into something horrific.
His writing of Horror is second to none, which is probably helped by the fact that he's always been a lover of the genre, his father and gran are both avid horror fans and some of his favourite writers are: Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon, Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Laws, to name a few.
Steven has had work appear in numerous anthologies and he's currently working on a novel called "Blind".
I'm sure you'll be more than entertained with the story he has written for this GW spot. Without further ado...
Bump In The Night.
“Cut it out, Harry!”
He lowered the torch; grotesque gargoyle features were replaced with icy blue eyes and a smirk.
“It’s only a bit of fun, Louise.”
She scowled at him. “You won’t think it’s funny when you have to follow me to the toilet all night.”
Harry sighed. “I’ll check the fuses.”
He started towards the kitchen, the torch cutting a path through the darkness.
Louise charged after him. “Don’t leave me on my own.”
She threw herself into him, almost knocking him off his feet. Harry felt like he should scold her, but he actually enjoyed it when she got like this. He wasn’t a sadist, nothing like that; he just revelled in playing protector.
He wasn’t much good at anything else.
Harry had worked in the same dead-end job for years, he couldn’t remember the last time his bank balance had been above zero, and he rarely got out of the house. But there was one thing he was particularly good at – making Louise feel safe.
“Do we have to go down there?”
“I’ll protect you.”
She whimpered. Harry smiled, turning his head so she wouldn’t see his reaction.
He opened the door and frowned when he didn’t hear the familiar creak.
Shit, I fixed the bloody thing last week.
An ominous creak would be just the ticket right about now. Married for twenty-two years the only way to get her into bed anymore was to try and scare her senseless first. It was the only way to make her look at him like he was a real man.
For the last year or so Harry had stockpiled an extensive collection of horror films, which he used to try and get his wife into bed at least once a fortnight. The video-nasties would never fail to turn Louise into a nervous, but horny, wreck. He had learnt quickly to only buy films which were insidious in nature. Too much too soon and Louise would insist they stopped watching. Harry grinned. He wouldn’t need the help of a DVD tonight.
Unlike the door the stairs didn’t disappoint. Each one let out an enthusiastic squeal as they made their way down into the dark; the gloom offering the perfect setting for his plans of love.
Or at the very least, lust.
No, that wasn’t right. He did love her, it was just…life had become boring. Playing this game with Louise was the only time he felt alive.
Harry reached the fuse box and began to click the switches off and on, one by one.
“Jesus, what was that?”
Harry jumped, more from the slap on his back than his wife’s scream.
“I saw something,” she said.
Harry shone his torch into the clutter.
“Rats,” he suggested.
“No. Something bigger.”
She gave him a look only a wife could.
“What’s bigger than a rat?” He asked.
She paused before answering “A human.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said, but the words came out as a whisper.
He inched forward.
The sound of his own voice, so forced yet so timid, cracked him up.
“There’s no one here,” he laughed.
“I saw something,” Louise insisted.
“I’m sure you did, the shadows are jumping all over the place.”
Harry returned his attention to the fuse box and fluorescent lights pinged to life.
Louise was still scrutinising her surroundings.
“Honestly love, it was just shadows.”
She walked away. “Fine, I’m going to bed.”
Harry sighed, watched her disappear up the stairs.
He stood there for a moment, trying to figure out if there was any way to turn the situation to his advantage, but there was no arguing with her when she got like this.
Might as well put this day out of its misery.
In the bedroom, Harry stripped off his clothes and turned off the lights. He jumped into bed but avoided touching Louise. He didn’t want to incur any further wrath.
She mumbled as the mattress sunk under his weight.
Jesus, she’s asleep already.
Harry picked up his reading light and book, pulled out the bookmark and flattened the novel against his pillow then…
…woke up with the pages stuck to his cheek. Blinking sleep from his eyes he turned off the torch. He was about to roll over and go back to sleep when he heard a noise downstairs. More than likely it was just the house settling but his mind flitted back to the events a few hours ago.
I’m falling for my own bloody mind games.
He turned over his pillow and buried his face in the cool material.
He heard the noise again. Shit.
“Love, wake up.”
“I think there’s someone downstairs.”
That got her attention.
She sat bolt upright, clutching the covers and exposing Harry to the darkness.
“Are you serious?”
While straining his ears, Harry pulled for his share of the duvet.
Louise let out a muffled shriek as a smashing sound echoed up the stairs.
“Call the police”
“Hang on,” Harry replied, jumping out of bed and padding barefoot to the wardrobe.
“Don’t you dare.”
“Just to scare them off,” he gasped, stretching to reach the hidden lock-box.
He brought the box to the bed and retrieved the key from his bedside drawer. By the time he had unlocked it, Louise was holding the phone receiver to her ear and tapping the switch hook.
“Oh God, its dead.”
Harry had suspected as much.
“Don’t leave this room, no matter what you hear. In fact push that dresser against the door when I leave.”
“I can’t move that.”
“Then use your imagination, just stay quiet.”
“I can’t move that.”
“Then use your imagination, just stay quiet.”
Before she could argue Harry slipped into the hallway. He waited for Louise to barricade the door.
Satisfied she was safe; he made his way downstairs, his heart thudding in his chest.
Even with a loaded weapon he couldn’t muster up the courage he needed. Harry had never fired the gun, never trained with it. He didn’t see the point. All he had to do was point and shoot, how hard could it be? He had only bought the damn thing to complete his protector image.
He decided caution was getting him nowhere. In the pitch black he was just as likely to blow off his own foot as he was to shoot the intruder. He flicked on the downstairs landing light and waited for his eyes to adjust before moving on. A quick glance told him the living room was empty.
He turned and kicked open the door to the kitchen, almost starting to enjoy himself. Reaching inside he quickly flicked on the light. What he saw put a stop to his fun.
Every cupboard was open, contents strewn about the room. Crockery littered every surface. Harry gasped as he saw the dining chairs, stacked intricately on the table, balanced with abnormal skill.
In the centre of the floor, cutlery had been arranged to form two simple words; six letters that chilled Harry’s blood.
His stomach felt like he had just back flipped off a twelve-story building. Every fibre of his being told him to heed the words and leave the house, but he couldn’t bear to see Louise’s face if he took the coward’s route.
Then he saw the door.
The entrance to the basement wide open, a trail of knives pointing like arrows pleading with him to descend.
I’ll just take a quick look, just to make sure its not kids messing about.
Harry shivered as he entered the cool basement; the cold concrete floor stung his bare feet.
He kept his finger off the trigger. He had no intention of shooting anybody. Anyway, what good would a gun be against…
Harry closed his eyes and tried to shoo the thoughts away, then realised what he was doing and snapped them open again. Inching backwards he decided retreat might be his best option.
The lights went out and the door slammed shut.
Harry swore as he tripped trying to clamber blindly back up the stairs. The gun fell from his hands and clattered down the steps.
He clawed at the door but something was holding it shut. A soft moan sounded behind him.
Footsteps scraped against the floor.
Harry snapped his head around to face the voice, “Get the fuck away from me.”
The door rattled furiously and he jumped back in surprise almost losing his footing.
An idea sparked in his head – the gun! Where the fuck was the gun?
Somewhere down there, in the darkness.
The steep stairs and Harry’s fragile state resulted in a hasty descent, mostly on his backside.
The approaching footsteps mingled with the sound of Harry’s palms slapping at concrete in search of the weapon.
His fingers brushed against smooth metal. It took a moment to orientate the weapon in his hand but he had it. A wave of comfort washed over him.
“Yooou will diieee,” said the voice.
Harry fired into the darkness.
The roar was deafening, it actually caused Harry physical pain. He dropped the gun and clamped his hands against his ears.
A scream blasted away the last shreds of his bravery.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God.” Harry crawled forward, no destination in mind.
His hand slipped in something wet. Searching in front of him he found a solid object. It seemed to be breathing.
Oh my god, it’s a person.
He stood, stepped around the figure and found the fuse box. His fingers danced over the switches and the lights came back on.
Harry looked up from his blood stained hands and saw the spectre laying on the floor gasping for breath.
“Oh Jesus, Ryan?” Harry said, recognising the boy from next door.
Ryan Farrow, fourteen years old.
No, no, no.
“Harry, what’s going on down there?”
Harry looked up and saw Louise standing on the staircase.
“Call an ambulance.”
She continued down the stairs. “What happened?”
Harry checked for a pulse.
“It’s too late, he’s…dead.”
“Are you sure?”
Harry could have swung for her. “Yes!”
“Thank God for that, for a second there I thought you might fuck this up as well.”
Louise ignored him; she checked Ryan’s pulse for herself. Satisfied, she made her way over to where Harry had dropped the gun.
“Here, you’ll need this.”
“I’ve waited so long for this moment.” A sneer of disgust contaminated her once beautiful face.
She put the weapon down next to him when he didn’t take it.
“Pick up the gun, there’s still one bullet left.”
Harry tried to stand but fell back to the floor.
“Well?” Louise asked.
“I don’t…” Harry managed to sit up.
“You just killed a kid, Harry.”
“Why are you…what is this?”
“I guess I can tell you now,” Louise paused, savouring the moment. “Ryan here jumped at the chance to help me out, you know? He thought it was a hilarious idea for a prank. Obviously he didn’t know how big of a part he’d actually play.”
“You? You did this?”
“No, Harry, that’s the beauty of it.” She smiled. “You did it. Your gun, your fingerprints, your guilt. I don’t even have to lie! You actually shot him.”
“Why? Why? Because I hate you, you son of a bitch. I can’t stand you and I can’t remember a time when I ever did. You’re useless, pathetic, you don’t deserve to live.”
She leant over him. “You’ve made me feel physically sick for as long as I can remember. But I was comfortable. Imagine that! Comfortable with the paltry lifestyle you gave me. I wasn’t about to give that up for a messy divorce and half of jack shit.”
“We killed someone; we have to call the police.”
“They’re on their way, that gunshot was enough to wake the whole street. In fact you probably don’t have much time left.”
“To kill yourself.”
Harry’s eyes widened.
“Think about it, you have a shit job; no money; the only way you can get me into bed is to spook me. Did you ever consider I was just fucking you because I was horny? Jesus, all you had to do was ask, Harry.”
She kicked the gun closer to him.
“Pick it up and put us all out of your misery. You don’t really have a choice, they’re almost here.”
The faint hint of sirens wafted through the air vents.
He picked up the weapon.
“One bullet, so don’t get any smart ideas; you don’t want the police to find you with two unexplainable bodies.”
He began to cry.
“For fucks sake, Harry you don’t have a choice! Do something right for once in your life!”
The police were banging on the door; they’d be inside within seconds.
“You’re right,” he said, wiping away the tears, “I don’t have a choice.”
Harry raised the weapon, squeezed the trigger and ended his life.
At that moment two policemen charged down the stairs, guns held out in front of them.
“Down on the ground now!”
Harry dropped the weapon and lay down. He stared into his wife’s dead eyes. The bullet had left a small hole in the centre of her forehead; she hadn’t had time to react before she died.
The look of disgust was still plastered across her face.
His life was over.
Steven Chapman is a horror and thriller author, who has been abusing the English language since 1984. He enjoys nothing more than a good blood-curdling tale and spends far too much of his time reading, watching or writing horror. Most days he just sits inside polishing his chainsaw and praying for the Zombocalypse.
For more information on Steven and his work, please visit his blog at http://stevenchapmanwriter.blogspot.com