REDEYES Sneaky Excerpt- Chapter Three

Read Chapters 1 and 2 on Wattpad for a limited time:


They followed him up the beach to a path bordered by palms, and stepped under the looming growth of bordering trees. Milly didn’t know the names of them all, but the smell of squashed greenery engulfed them as thickly as the heat.

‘Where are we, Professor Ratgrabber?’ Milly asked from the back of the line and he turned his cheek to her, never faltering in his lead of the funeral march.

‘Rahtgraber,’ he said, extending his vowels. ‘This island is built on a volcanic reef atoll. During your stay both sponsors and volunteers will have indelible assurance of security and safety.’

Perhaps he had a script hidden beneath that fine suit, unfortunately for him it was a journalist’s prerogative to ad-lib. ‘Thanks, but where is the island?’

‘We allow internet access,’ he said as though she hadn’t spoken. ‘We have communication abilities, of course. But we also discourage disclosure of the resort’s secure location. You understand, Miss. Threefold.’

She caught Tristen’s gaze before answering. ‘Think so, professor.’

Paddy’s brother had found the courage to ask his own questions now, the first being, ‘Where’s the toilet?’ The second, ‘Will we pass it soon?’

Paddy laughed so hard he shook. Trist just looked desperate until they emerged from the jungle. An obtuse square of a building sat amongst the foliage, and the industrial-sized stoicism seemed to reignite his zeal. To Milly the whole thing looked dilapidated.

‘Come, please,’ said their overqualified guide, and they entered the angular building through freshly wiped glass doors on stiff hinges that didn’t dare squeak. Inside it was too clean. It smelled of water and disinfectant and mops. The cushioning of light grey carpet absorbed their footsteps as they came to three doors, the kind with a horizontal push-to-escape bar and usually no handle on the other side which was comforting.

The professor brought them to a stop. ‘We will activate your neuro-chips without delay as I’m sure you are all excited to begin. Each volunteer and their sponsor go through their own door. There will be time for socialisation afterwards,’ he said, and stepped aside, flat eyes on her. He must be a starer. Some people never quite learnt how long to look at someone, whether they were checking out an ass or admiring a handbag.

Trist moved first, hands loose at his sides and lips pressed into a line. Milly waited, letting him be sure he wanted to keep walking, only then did she follow. The professor leaned in when she passed as though he was going to share something, but he simply leered with the small pupils of presumptuous, elderly curiosity.

She heard Trishy muttering something with the quiet speed of gossip, and comic book boy giggled. They’d noticed her spine.

She looked forward to the questions that would come later, everyone striving to be polite when all they really wanted was gruesome details. They’d begin with ‘how did it feel?’ and graduate to ‘can you turn around on the toilet to wipe your own backside or does someone else do that for you?’ but maybe put with some politically correct terminology. She looked forward to that.

On the other side it was bright as a dentist’s surgery. A male technician in sterile gloves and pale clothes sat beside a small table with a metallic syringe and a wad of cotton, his face had the same shape as a kidney bean.

Someone closed the door behind Milly and professor Rahtgraber strode past them to the Kidney Bean technician. ‘I will do these two. See if the others need you,’ he said in a grumbled aside and the technician fled without saying a word. He picked up the syringe and sat down on the high stool that rolled back on its wheels, but his spider thin legs were long enough to reach the ground.

At the other end of the room, another door opened and a man-boy with a quiff swaggered in holding a computer tablet. He didn’t look up from whatever he typed and the door slowly swung itself shut behind him. He didn’t seem to know they were there as he smiled at the screen and shifted his feet, leaning back against the closed door.

‘This is our chief technician,’ professor Rahtgraber said with untamed annoyance, biting his words out. ‘Introduce yourself.’

The man-boy laughed. ‘He means chief engineer, program designer, and all-round awesome guy,’ he said and finally lowered his computer. He looked them up and down with his tongue pressed into the side of his mouth, and raised his eyebrows. ‘Dr. Roddy Beamer, Phd, EngD, D.C.S.,’ he said, ‘and they’re my credentials, not my full name. You can just call me Lord.’ He grinned at Milly and came forward to extend a hand to her…


An Old Man's Amaryllis- Flash-Fiction based on true story

He stumbled over the lip of the greenhouse step, his swollen knee pounding with the rheumatoid ache he’d known for too long, too long.
He wanted to swear with the agony but his grandchildren sat in the house not far away, and they wouldn’t want to hear Grandad’s pain. There was a lot of pain recently, in his heart, his legs, his bones, it wouldn’t be long now, he knew.

Grandad’s wife knew. They’d discussed the end already, made sure he’d be ready, made sure the grandchildren would be ready. His wife wasn’t. His sweet wife with sagged cheeks that used to shine with the life they shared, she didn’t want him to end.

He was tired, though, even as he watered the drowsy plants in his greenhouse. He was tired of his hobbies and his weeping wounds that made him cry like a child with the discomfort. Once an adult, twice a child, his wife had said, and she was right. Except children didn’t have anything to leave behind.

None of them would come to water his plants after he’d popped his clogs, and that made him sadder than a grown man could explain. They were a token, small things that were inconsequential to everyone but him, and that made them important. Your own things are important because they are yours and no one else can care about them the way you would.

Still, his wife wasn’t inconsequential. His only son, his grandchildren, they were important, they were his and he’d cared for them. Who would do that after he’d gone?

Who would water his plants and make them grow?

Amaryllis grew through winter and flowered until summer. They didn’t need a lot of help, he could just pot them up in his own, lovingly nutritious blend of compost, and they’d survive without his green-fingered hand.

He picked up a plastic tub and pushed in the Amaryllis bulb, patting the dirt around it.

Inside the house, his family waited. They pretended to be alright with being left to grow alone, and he wished he could stay and help them, but some plants drown if you water them too attentively, some plants would wither under an eye too bright. He was a gardener and a Grandad; he would always love the things he’d seeded.

Without him, they’d bloom just fine.


This is a very short story I’ve written based on a beautiful surprise my recently deceased Grandfather left us. His greenhouses have fallen apart since he’s been gone, there’s overgrown weeds and rats and all sorts of collapses. It’s sad, but we found something still living, something he’d planted so long ago, back when he could stand. Pots of blooming Amaryllis survived the harsher months, and were rediscovered some days ago, much to my grandmother’s delight! She says it’s a miracle they’re alive, I think so too, but I also believe there was a bit of loving forethought on Grandad’s side. That’s where this short came from. The picture is one I took myself a few days ago, and they’re just as vivacious today.



An Old Man’s Amaryllis- Flash-Fiction based on true story


Morning – N. E. Skull

poetry by skull

Picture 86

The sound of waves crashing against the pier is strong in my memory,

Although I am sure the tide was out.

Perhaps it was the alcohol reeling inside my head

Seeping into my memory and pandering to the

Sentimentalist in me.

We lay there until dawn, determined not to leave

Until the cold set in.

The cloudless sky was a perfect canvas for the airplanes

And we made plans to be in one of them together someday,

The kinds of plans that never make it past the haze of wine.

We allowed ourselves the novelty of honesty,

Unaware of the sobriety of daybreak,

Confessing things we wouldn’t dare say

Over the breakfast table, if we ever got the chance

To share one.

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Book Review: The N Chronicles by John Murray Mckay



The N Chronicles by John Murray Mckay

Summary: In this science fiction fantasy by Wattpad author John Murray Mckay we’re plunged into a dirty and brutal post-apocalyptic world. Samantha Worthington Day is important. After a disaster with Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider, our universe tears itself apart and humanity does what it always has: goes to war. When creatures and demons break through our flimsy earthly barriers, life becomes a trial of survival, not comfort. Samantha is a Lightbringer in this world of Gronks, Pulse monsters, and dragons.

Samantha discovers her strange powers with the help of some prophetic monsters and mystically powerful tools meant only for her. There isn’t anything in the world worth saving, but Samantha endeavours to do so anyway, and with a gritty determination that turns out to be her greatest weapon in a final, yet Pyrrhic, melee.

The N Chronicles Season 1 is only the first in a long series, read it free on Wattpad:

Suggested if you like:

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Review: Each chapter is short, dramatic, and stuffed with enough action to make your eyeballs sweat. It’s not clear whether the cataloging of time-stamped experiences are in a diary format, but the informative first person narrative renders you a transfixed vegetable in the same way a good TV show turns its watchers into obsessed followers.

Ignore the odd spelling/grammar mistake, because John Murray Mckay’s whack-you-in-the-face-with-a-glowing-shield excitement more than makes up for it. The dark pain of everyday trauma is not for the gentle-hearted, and the language isn’t for younger readers, adults only I’m afraid, but if you’re in the mood for something that’s likely to give you a coronary with every desperate punch, this is for you.

John Murray Mckay has his own style, so be prepared for something different, and don’t forget to pack your sword, especially around chapter 45. You have been warned.

The ending is certain to enrage as we’re left with questions galore once Samantha is tossed into a pit (hell? We’re not sure) and meets a  robed character with a cryptic line of dialogue that begs to be pasted into Google Translate. And then we’re left with the set-up of the next installment rearing to go. It’s not really meant to be read without the rest of the series, so here’s John’s condensed  introduction to season 2:

“In a world gone terribly wrong, where the monsters of our deepest nightmares have come alive, one girl is on a journey to find sanctuary in America. These are the N Chronicles. Follow her journey across the United States with real-life GPS coordinates and experience true life locations with Samantha Worthington Day.”


The author and I had a quick chat about this particular work, here’s what he said:

1. Why did you connect the fictional apocalyptic catalyst in your novel with Geneva's LHC?

It’s about the fear of the unknown. We are pushing the very boundaries of space and science with the LHC. The thing is, we don’t know what is on the other side of the cliff face that we are going over. There is a very powerful them in my connection in that man is trying to reset the boundaries of science without taking the consequences into account. 

2. Why did you choose the first-person diary log format? 

A diary is a very intimate and personal experience. It’s a mark we leave behind for the next generations where they can experience our lives and mistakes through text. A diary can serve as a warning and inspiration to those who read it.

3. Was Samantha's discovery of heroic powers in such a dark time a metaphor from which we could learn? 

Yes, there is always hope and there is always light. Even in the darkest of times, we must hold on to that light and it will eventually lead us home.

4.How many seasons of The N Chronicles can we expect?

At least two more, I haven’t even started the story of Christina yet. So you can relax and be sure that for the next few years, well I am going to blow you away with my story.

5. What advice would you give to potential writers of post-apocalyptic thrillers?

Keep the soul. Once your story loses its heart and essence- then the emotional resonance will be lost on reader and they will abandon your book eventually. Make them care.

6. What projects do you have planned for the future?

Well I am thinking of a comedy book of Moonshiners moving into posh Los Angeles and causing chaos but it’s still in the concept phase and many years away from me even thinking of starting it. 


7 out of 10 for this brinnande skrift!


Joseph Conrad’s Chthonic Folly

A View from the Wheelhouse

Joseph Conrad started writing relatively late in life.   He  drew heavily from a long career as master mariner in the era of European, eastern expansion.

In A Personal Record he tells of the first impulse to write. Sitting idle in his room at Bessborough Gardens he remembers his initial encounter with the man who inspired his first novel, Almayer’s Folly.

Conrad was 1st mate on a cargo steamer going up a Malaysian river to deliver supplies to a remote outpost. On board was a pony which the Dutch trader, Almayer, has ordered from Bali:

  The importation of that Bali pony might have been part of some deep scheme, of some diplomatic plan, of some hopeful intrigue. With Almayer, one could never tell. He governed his conduct by considerations removed from the obvious, by incredible assumptions, which rendered his logic impenetrable to any reasonable person.

The same…

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Book Review: Bad Company by Wendy Nelson



Summary:  The paranormal horror Bad Company follows tenacious teen Eliza Taylor’s excommunication to her withered but secretive great, great (great, great?) aunt Celeste’s shop in Blackwater Missouri. Ordinary girl Eliza doesn’t just learn her lesson, she discovers a world of untapped sin and demonic contracture hidden behind the storefront facade.

Co-worker and roomie Dante is hot in all senses of the word, and Eliza finds him harder to befriend than cute guy Chase, who charms his way into her heart. Unfortunately for Chase, the Seven Deadly Sins are rife and free at the behest of demon Asher, and poor Chase swallows a heart-full of Lust.

Given that Eliza has trapped her violent and powerful aunt into the Monet painting(you really have to read it), it’s now Eliza’s duty to sort the sins from the souls. First on the list being Chase whom finds himself raging through women in pursuit of the object of  his desire- Eliza.

With reluctant(and mysteriously ancient) Dante’s aid, Eliza helps Chase at the cost of a full body tackle to the ground. We end Bad Company with a devilish bargain and a dramatic  reveal that’ll knock your socks across the room. Read here to find out:

Suggested if you like:


Review: This is a story about a previously ordinary girl with the deceit of demon deals on her shoulders. She meets dangerously attractive(and occasionally inhuman) young men on her journey to saving souls, hers included, with a shop-full of action to entertain.

Wendy Nelson’s heroine Eliza Taylor has enough sass to outwit a demon, literally. With hilariously endearing realism, Bad Company’s female lead invites the reader to laugh, cringe and cry along with her.

The concept of the Seven Deadly Sins tempting contracted souls should be enough to entice many superstitious or supernaturally-obsessed readers. The prospect of two daringly beautiful men might hook the rest. You can trust in Wendy Nelson’s serpentine plot to carry you off to heaven, and the feelings you’ll have for Dante and Chase will send you blushing all the way down to the Devil’s hot tub.

A must-read for teens with a hankering for the otherworldly.

About her novel, Wendy Nelson says,

BAD COMPANY is my Teen Paranormal Fiction that revolves around my fascination 
with the 7 Deadly Sins and Good vs. Evil. There is something altogether visceral
about the various sins human beings commit, but what if they were something we
knowingly bought? Could you resist even if it meant getting what you most desired 
in the world?

8 out of 10 for this brinnande skrift!

Literay Works and Services from Gemma Fisk



A quick note to let you all know the website is LIVE. Have a peek to see all free online books available from me. Also, the literary services are up and running so if you’re a budding writer in need of a little help, a critique, a review, editorial services(free for a promotional time only), and beta reading may be perfect for you!


Tack Tack!


#WriterWednesday – The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden


Evening friends, bloggers, readers and weirdos.

Technically this is no longer a #WriterWednesday post seeing as its now Thursday, however I started writing this yesterday and never had time to finish as Dallas was calling me (the programme, not the city) so I had to call it quits for the night. Maybe instead I should call it #WattpadWorship seeing as this is my second review this week for one of my wonderful Wattpad finds!

I’ve mentioned The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden before, as some of you may remember me talking about discovering this stunning novel on Wattpad a while ago and I was hooked from page one. Novels like TCG (as I like to cheekily abbreviate it, sorry Alys) and The Key to Erebus (reviewed earlier this week) make me feel honoured to be a part of something like Wattpad – a site so popular that even published authors…

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Review time! The Key To Erebus – Emma Leech


Afternoon friends, writers, readers and weirdos

Time for another rare review from yours truly, this time for another Wattpad devotee, Emma Leech and her fab novel The Key To Erebus.

The Key To Erebus was the first offering that I read from a fellow Wattpadder and also probably the first ever vampire/paranormal fiction I’ve read where the action is set in somewhere other than the UK or the U.S. I loved the backdrop of the Dordogne countryside and found it to be a refreshing break from the norm and one that immediately caught my attention. I mean, vampires and witches in the French countryside? Really? Yeah, why the hell not!

Immediately we are introduced to our main protagonist, Jehenne, somewhat a troubled girl, suffering from nightmarish visions of the future and around whom strange things tend to happen and strange ghostly figures tend to appear. After too many disagreements…

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Out The Window

She smiled at the sad man. He smoothed the front of his uniform and returned her smile with a pained frown when another, far fatter, D.O.G. officer motioned her forward. Bea liked to pretend it stood for Demented Octopus Guards, but Division Of Gender officers weren’t nearly as fun. No mingling, no touching, those were the laws, laws Ben pretended to uphold but abandoned for her.
She caught his gaze across the canteen, and pushed through the crowding of sterile, white jumpsuits with heads, aiming for the door ahead. Her heart fluttered like a caged bird as she eased open the door and slipped inside. A dark cupboard, little else, but it was a haven often known in the recent months, dirty as it was. She held her breath when the door clicked open, light pooling over her. A lanky effigy stood for a moment and then closed the world out behind him.
‘I could see you blushing from a mile away, Bea.’ She relaxed at the sound of his voice, filled with gravelly melancholy. ‘I know I’m attractive but maybe control yourself a little–’
She reached out in the dark and punched what she hoped was his arm. He grunted in muted pain. ‘I’ll try harder next time, Officer Bighead,’ she said.
‘Maybe try using that hand for something other than hitting me.’
He was sad again; she could hear the thickness in his throat. She drew her fingers under the starched fold of his shirt collar, and tucked her other hand in his back pocket. He pulled her to him with desperation and leant his forehead on hers.
‘When we first met—‘
‘We don’t have long, Ben.’
‘But do you remember?’
She sighed and exchanged a grip on his skinny backside for the slope of his tired shoulders, teasing the mournful intensity from his muscles. ‘You were crouching in here, your gun in your ear.’
‘And you said—‘
‘I didn’t say anything, I smacked it out of your hand and pulled you to your feet.’
‘That was the first time anyone had touched me for seven months.’
‘Look, maybe you get a narcissistic kick out of reliving your finest moments but it’s depressing.’ Her voice quavered embarrassingly. ‘Everything’s better now.’ He touched his dry lips to the top of her cheek, just shy of her eyelid.
‘Neither of us are better and you know it,’ he whispered. ‘We eat our own words every day and it kills me.’
She began to cry as he spoke. He knew and wiped the wetness from her hot face.
‘Anything. Tell me and I’ll do it,’ she said, and stared up at the shadowy hollows of his face. He didn’t answer and she worried that they’d both be missed soon.
‘There’s a train tonight, going somewhere, I don’t know where but the whole world can’t be like this. There has to be others who feel even through the division. I mean, New World my ass. If I want to do this…’ His breath was quick on her neck as he grasped the baggy fabric of her jumpsuit and pushed her against a set of shelves, his leg between hers. ‘Then I will. I promise that if you don’t leave with me then I’m going to do to you everything they lie to themselves about.’
‘If… If you believe that, then I’m all yours, Bennyboy.’ She felt him smile against her throat. ‘But right now we have to leave.’ He took her hand, pressed it to his chest for a long minute, and then let her go. They opened the door slowly, Ben first, and she hid behind. She thought she’d give him something to think about later on, and with an unassuming hand she reached out and grabbed his backside.
A redheaded woman gasped dramatically in offense, then screamed, and turned to scream in the direction of a D.O.G. who galloped in toward them without hesitation. Ben pulled on her hand and they ran for the stairs. The D.O.G., with eyes fixed on them, stumbled, only to be caught by another uniform as they swarmed. Bea’s hand was sweating in Ben’s as they climbed two steps at a time. They were already nearing the top floor when she heard heavy footsteps at her heels.
They turned a corner, hugging a wall painted with creamy skin tones, and panted in unison.
‘Isn’t it funny,’ she said. He didn’t look at her. ‘If I were a guy, we could share an apartment and they wouldn’t even blink.’ He only squeezed her hand in worry. He didn’t know this building like she did; he’d led them to a blocked off corridor, the only exit a long window in front. Men shouted for Ben and rattled the staircase with their tread. He looked at her pointedly. She shook her head. ‘No. You’re an idiot.’
‘There’s a ledge, we get to that and we can jump to the next building. It’s not far.’
She shook her head vehemently.
‘Do it, Bea, because God help me I’m not letting them take you away again.’
She paused, measured the way his eyebrows met in a sorrowful scowl, how straight his mouth was, and she touched his lips with her fingertips simply because she might never again. Even as her throat grew sore with suppressed emotion, she went to open the window, and put her foot on the sill. She was so focused on getting out to that ledge without falling, she didn’t notice that Ben hadn’t followed until she was safely precarious.
She stretched out her hand in invitation. He didn’t look at it, only at her.
‘This was your idea, come on!’ she cried. He reached over the sill, leaning out as if to take her help, but he held her gaze, and with a smile she so rarely saw, he kissed her hand. She was confused until he let go and slammed the window closed, trapping himself inside, locking her out. ‘No, Ben!’ She strained to see inside. Amidst a group of brawling D.O.Gs, a lofty man fought, drew back for another blow, and then found a gun to his ear. The window pane steamed with her protest, but she heard the shot and saw his blood.
She leant back on the ledge.
They forced the window open and shouted to her.
As Bea stood, they became quiet. She watched the white jumpsuits scurrying below. She should have let Ben do it himself all those months ago, she’d been selfish to inflict long-awaited touches, fearfully drawn breaths. They stuffed themselves through the window until none could move closer. They threatened her with the same gun.
‘If I were a man,’ she said quietly and a D.O.G. asked her to repeat herself. She grinned, eyes on the fall. ‘If I were a man, I would have done this a while ago.’


Dark Original


‘C’mon, Spense. Said you were gonna do it.’ The drunk girl beckoned him as she moved to deeper waters, her challenge bare as her body. She threw her half-empty bottle of unlabelled alcohol into the water beside her, the splash breaking the reflection of bright stars into frightened ripples on the lake surface. ‘I’ll cry if you leave me alone in here,’ she teased. Spenser didn’t want to suffer seeing puffy red eyes mar Isabella’s perfect face, not yet. He pulled his clothes off without hesitation and walked in until he and the pale-skinned beauty were nose to nose and the cold froze his toes.

Cerulean moonlight peppered her cheeks, her naked shoulders, and the swell of her breast, like restless snow. He moved his hands up her arms, brushed a drowned twist of blonde hair from her exposed collarbone, and caressed her neck with his fingers. He watched her lips, imagining them screaming at him, that she couldn’t stand his possessive obsessions.

‘Stop looking at me like that.’ She drew her arms up to cover her chest. ‘What- What’s your problem, Spense?’

‘You always loved this lake,’ he said. ‘You thought it was cleansing for the soul to be so alone.’ A cloud devoured the moon and the remaining illumination was from the headlights of his truck, it did horrible things for her complexion. For a moment she wasn’t Isabella, she was a dead woman; eye sockets sunken and skin little other than raw meat stretched across bone.

‘You’re beautiful, Isabella.’

‘What? My name’s… I’m not…’ She blinked slowly and his fingers tightened on her swan’s throat, taunting in its elegance. Her eyes widened and she made happy splashes that encouraged him to smile.

‘You’re beautiful, like–’ She smacked his strong arm playfully, gurgling like a silly girl. The powdery darkness cleared overhead, revealing a sky that never lowered its fulgid gaze. ‘Like the stars! Isabella, like the stars.’ Here came the tears, her bloating face ruddy. ‘Stars don’t go out.’ Fingernails stabbed into his shoulders, a tendril of blood slithered down his forearm; a vivid slash of colour to distil the murk-steeped jetty.

Isabella had bled last time, he’d done the letting. She hadn’t stayed on that occasion, or the next, but it wasn’t perfect before. This time, comrade nocturnus cooed for the silence his compressing fingers brought about. Her body arched as her dyed eyes rolled, a silent display of majestic loveliness. That was all he’d ever asked. Had he ever asked more of her than simple fairness? Was a Water lily not loved for its plumage? Then why?

‘Why do you let me do it? Every single time.’ Each word was punctuated with a brisk shake, golden hair quivering as it always did. He quietened, and basked in the glow of the moment’s excellence, because she was gone. Isabella was gone, limp limbs a testament.

But the girl was no more a star than he was the moon. ‘Stars don’t die.’ He dug his thumbs deeper until her skin yielded dripping, traitor mortality.

Releasing the girl’s body, her grimacing cadaver bobbed, spread-eagle.


‘You’re not Isabella.’ His voice was softer than the wind rustled grass that stood witness on the muddy banks. She’d liked his voice, his true beauty with dark mocha skin and hair black as a raven’s. He felt sick, how could he have thought the drugged runt, the young girl floating away, was his wife? He’d rather die than be seen with someone like that, die screeching and soiling himself as Isabella had.

No, she hadn’t. She was alive.

He would look further, past the bars and pubs and in the direction of the sunrise. It was too lonely out here, too many voices to be heard whispering sweet ‘wake up’s through the bushy foliage, bogging his mind down with the long nights. But, a swim was good for the heart, especially one ripe with unrest. A breast-stroke to shore was invigorating, though how he’d gotten there was a mystery.

Why was he naked?

Spenser tugged on his clothes over slippery wet skin, already thinking about going for a drive. He liked driving now, ever since… something. Amber tendrils of sun peeked and burned over the horizon’s hedging of trees, scalding his worry away. It was perfect, a perfect morning. He took a moment to watch the ball of fire, hands on his hips and the corner of his mouth up in a small smile, watching carefully as it rose from the dark. The orange soaked water was calmer now, save for ripples bouncing off a shining bare body.

He put a hand over his brow, shading his eyes as he squinted, trying to make out the other blobs in the water. A man on the opposite side, face up and eyes gauged; a pretty sight in all his glory. There was another! Spenser chuckled. A lady with an eternally optimistic grin and a yellow dress relaxed in his private lake. Another was little, quite little. Isabella didn’t mix with the dead, though; she wasn’t party to the stew that lapped at his boots.

He sniffed and turned to his truck, mumbling angrily as he turned the lights off. The battery was out of steam, his expedition would have to wait. Instead, he headed over to the log cabin at the lake edge. Pushing open the splintery door, he searched the small living room for the only thing that could take away the stench of death. He smiled just as wide as the yellow dress lady when he spotted her.Image

‘I’m here.’ He kissed her rotting, black cheek and her skin peeled at his touch, but it felt smooth and youthful to his lips. The corpse’s stink made his eyes water and his gorge rise.

‘Beautiful as ever, my Isabella.’