This should have gone live a week ago, but who reads blogs on the day before Thanksgiving? Four weeks ago, Shannon gave us the spooky beginnings of Sully’s tale, and Michael and Amanda pushed our heroine farther from safety. Into the darkness.
They’ve left the answers to the questions in my hands. What was in the box? What pursues Sully into the night? Who is offering her salvation?
Read on, friends, and find out.
The Jaguar wasn’t built for the road it met at the end of the ramp. Sully bumped along a half mile of broken asphalt and mud road through deep evergreen forest. She kept her eyes ahead. Behind lay madness, that much was clear.
Ahead, through a mist which lay, thick and creeping, along the forest floor, the soft pale light beckoned.
Sully felt silence pressing against the outside of the car. This silence had weight. She imagined it with hands to press against the glass and steel, but the vision brought on another bout of nausea. She swiped her clammy hands on her jeans and steered the car around the worst of the potholes.
She’d awoken drenched in sweat and tears in the hotel bed, two time zones from home, from an endless dream-loop of pursuit — prey to an unseen, all-seeing predator. Like a night-blind animal, she’d obeyed a primal instinct to flee the evil that was the box without stopping to consider that the box had chosen her.
That whatever the box contained had called to her from its table in the little shop.
She’d abandoned her laptop, the case of books from her publisher, her itinerary. Her purse.
Now, with the blackness and the vertigo threatening to send her off the dirt track and the soft white glow filling the space around her, Sully slowed the car. As the engine settled into an idling purr, she did consider: she’d removed the box from Noah’s Ark, kept it close, and allowed it to chase her far from anything resembling safety.
She blinked as her editor approached her from out of the mist.
She got out of the car without thinking. The silence was absolute save for her voice. “Karen?”
“You found me.” Karen smiled gently. “I didn’t know if you’d be able to see the signs. I didn’t know if you’d trust them.”
A nervous giggle bubbled up Sully’s throat. “I almost didn’t. I feel like I’m going crazy, Kay.”
“You were only supposed to be on a short signing tour.” Karen shook her head like a disappointed teacher.
The cold crept up her back at Karen’s words. Sully’s rational mind screamed against the unbearable lack of forest sounds, night sounds, any evidence of reality. Her muscles turned to water as Karen’s face began to fall away from her form. What emerged wasn’t so much a monster as an absence of humanity.
“I’m afraid it’s going to be so much longer.”
Sully crumpled, whimpering when her editor’s voice hissed from the lipless void.
“I needed a storyteller, someone with the imagination to bring me to life, to bring the things I desire to pass. Someone just like you, Yvonne Sullivan.”
The presence filled the light around her, and when it spoke again, it was with her own voice, echoing in her mind as the light faded and the blackness enveloped her.
“What darkness we shall write together, Sully.”