Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tuesday Tease - The Jack in the Green by Frazer Lee

We have a treat for horror fans in this week's Tuesday Tease, noted writer Frazer Lee provides an excerpt from his novel 'The Jack in the Green':

Click on image to purchase from Amazon

Novel, ebook/paperback Oct 2013
Copyright © 2013 Frazer Lee
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Tom's nightmare was always the same.

He was six years old again and it was Christmas Eve. Tom’s breath fogged up his bedroom window then disappeared like a ghost. He tried again, but no luck—the frost clinging to the outside of the windowpane refused to melt. He wished his parents would just go to bed. He’d been kneeling here on his bed, leaning on the windowsill for what seemed like an eternity. Then he heard footsteps on the stairs.

It was his mom, there to tuck Tom into bed. He laid rigidly still, breathing heavily with his arms by his side. He felt his mother’s shadow falling over him as she leaned in to kiss him softly on the head. He listened intently as she closed the door and went back downstairs to the living room. ‘Must be wrapping my presents right now,’ he thought, his ears conjuring sounds of foil paper and sticky tape.

This was the most crucial part of Christmas Eve for Tom—waiting for Mom and Dad to come to bed. Then he had to leave it for just long enough to make sure they were asleep, without nodding off himself and missing his chance.

Tom awoke with a jolt and shivered. His bedclothes had made a bid for freedom, leaving just his pyjamas to protect him. He grabbed his alarm clock, the luminous face teasing him with the time. Four o’clock am. Brilliant, he’d nodded off and been asleep for hours. But there was still time.

He swung his legs over the side of the bed, and ever so carefully, stood up. Without a sound, he crept over to the door. Careful now, this was where it could all go horribly wrong. One false move and he’d wake them up. He reached out for the door handle, his arm rehearsing the exact distance he could open the door before it creaked. Slowly, slowly, he pulled the door open, slipped sideways through the gap, grabbed the outside handle and closed the door behind him with the tiniest click.

Heart beating, Tom stood on the dark landing for a few seconds, catching his breath. Satisfied he hadn’t woken his folks, he padded gently across the landing towards the stairs. The soft, soundless carpet beneath his feet, he allowed his mind to wander a little. He began thinking of the prize that awaited him at the end of his mission, remembering how wonderful his presents had looked under the tree last year. They’d gleamed in their shiny wrapping paper like treasure, begging him to squeeze them. His pace quickened as he reached the foot of the stairs.

Downstairs was even chillier than his bedroom, cold seeping into the hallway through hidden nooks and crannies. Tom folded his arms around him, shivering, and snuck into the living room. It was pitch black inside. An acrid metallic smell filled the room. What had they been wrapping in here?

Only one way to find out, thought Tom as he edged his way around the perimeter of the room, feeling along the cabinet, then the wall. Finally, he felt the Christmas tree as he brushed against it. Baubles clinked icily as he located the power cord and followed it, crawling across the floor to the power socket in the corner. He felt the cold metal pins in his hand and turning the plug right side up, inserted it into the wall. Something wet dripped on his hand just as he pressed the switch. Something heavy, and slick, slid across his head.

Tom scrambled backwards in shock. Looking up, he saw the fairy lights twinkling. But they were red, not clear, as they had been earlier today and all last week since they’d decorated the tree. He stared, mouth agape, as he realised the lights weren’t red after all. Rather, it was what hung around them that gave them their crimson glow.

The Christmas tree was slicked with blood and covered in strands of flesh and hair. His mom’s hair. He could pick out his dad’s tattoo on a piece of bloodied skin that dangled above a bauble like a handkerchief; a mermaid rendered in fading blue ink on now-dead flesh. Drooping branches struggled beneath the weight of the innards scattered across them like red tinsel. Ruined organs steamed like butcher’s offal at the hot kiss of the lights. Eyeballs hung there like baubles. He could recognise some of the pieces; a section of intestine here, a tangle of veins there.

Tom scrambled to his feet. Nausea hit him and he vomited stomach bile onto the living room rug. Turning fearfully around, he saw his parents lying lifeless on the sofa like grotesque dolls. Their bodies had been torn apart. Flesh ravaged and ribcages exposed like the hulls of broken ships.

The room span and Tom sank to his knees, a dry scream dying in his throat.

Then he saw them. Red, burning eyes watching him from the dark black of the fireplace.

Watching him touch his presents.


Click here to purchase The Jack in the Green from Amazon

About the Author:

Bram Stoker Award® Finalist Frazer Lee's first novel 'The Lamplighters' is published by Samhain Horror, along with 'The Lucifer Glass' and 'The Jack in the Green'. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including the acclaimed Read By Dawn series.

Also a screenwriter and filmmaker, Frazer's screen credits include the award-winning short horror movies 'On Edge', 'Red Lines', 'Simone', and the critically acclaimed horror/thriller feature film (and movie novelization) 'Panic Button'.

Frazer resides with his family in leafy Buckinghamshire, England. When he's not getting lost in a forest he is working on new fiction and film projects.

Official website: www.frazerlee.com

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