By Andrew Cull
You didn’t realise, but I was in your house when you got home. I hid under the bed. Yeah, actually under the bed. Like some kind of monster.
I was still there when you went to sleep that night.
But, I’m not the monster, you are. And I’m sure you would have killed me if you’d found me there. I wasn’t prepared. I was terrified. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t armed. Not then.
I stood over you while you slept. I thought of ending it right there. But, even if I could, I’d never have the answers if I did. So, I climbed out the basement window. Same way I’d climbed in. Quiet as I could be. The whole time I expected you to catch at my feet, drag me screaming back into the darkness. Finish me, the way you finished my Doug.
After the police had left. After they’d told me they didn’t have any evidence to proceed, I think I went out of my mind. Something inside me snapped. I was standing outside your house before I knew what I was doing again.
I broke in through the basement window. I told you that, didn’t I? I thought maybe I’d find the answers myself. Like you’d have them just sitting there in plain sight waiting for me! I searched your drawers. I didn’t know what I was looking for.
I used a torch to check the basement. I looked for blood. I knew there’d been blood, hadn’t there?
Doug had thought you were cute. The way you looked at his mom across the diner that night back in June. A single mum and her son, out for a burger. He thought you were lonely. That maybe we’d go for a date. You seemed nice.
Months later, when he said he’d seen you around the neighbourhood, I just guessed you must live nearby. I hadn’t really given it much thought.
Truth was, I had bigger problems. They were cutting staff at the plant. Money was tight and getting tighter. I’d fallen off the wagon for the first time in five years.
Two days after Doug was gone, I screamed myself awake. My sheets were soaked. Alcohol sweats and panic. I couldn’t breathe. The pieces had fallen into place. My mind had worked them until they’d fit. Until I had the answer I’d desperately been grasping for: that night, in the diner, it wasn’t me you were looking at, was it?
It wasn’t hard to track you down. The police led me right to your house. I mean that literally. I followed the detectives from my house to yours.
Did you plan to snatch Doug? Was it something you thought about? Or was it a spur of the moment thing? You couldn’t control yourself any longer?
I started following you everywhere you went. To the store, a bar, to your work and back. I tried to keep my distance. If you didn’t catch me, you’d lead me to the truth eventually.
I sat outside your house in my car. The “Mom-machine” Doug used to call it. I told him, that when he was old enough to drive, it would become “The Doug-machine” too. Okay, that was another six years off, but that’d give me just about enough time to save for a spoiler to put on the back for him. He thought that was hilarious. Or some of those decal stickers. Maybe a Batman symbol. We’d laughed all the way to school about that. Now, I sat in my car and wept.
I watched you eating, watching TV like nothing had happened, nothing had changed in your life. When you drew your curtains, I got out of the car, pressed against the glass, tried to listen. When a car pulled in across the street, and its headlights swept across your house, I was sure they’d seen me. I ran into your backyard. I expected to hear voices, maybe shouting. For the police to be called. At least to see you at the window, looking out.
No one came.
Sitting there, curled into the dark. I realised no one was ever going to come. That there was only me, the only one who knew the truth. In that moment, I knew what I had to do.
Doug had played Little League baseball. He wasn’t much of a pitcher, but he could swing a bat with the best of them. For his tenth birthday, I’d saved up and bought him a Louisville Slugger. It was a beautiful bat, solid maple, maybe a bit heavy for him, but he loved it. He spent hours out in the yard blasting imaginary pitches into orbit.
I packed Doug’s bat, finished the bottle of Jack I kept in the car. I thought about wearing a mask. No. I wanted you to see my face. I found some rope in the garage.
I waited until you’d be asleep. Then snuck around to the back of your house, to the basement window. I eased open the window. It happened in the basement, didn’t it?
I found you asleep in a chair in the lounge. I almost walked straight past you as I made for the stairs. I stopped, frozen. Did you hear me? Your eyes blinked open as a swung the bat.
They haven’t opened since. I tied you up just in case.
I came for answers. To make sense of it all. I just want you to tell me why.
Why did you push him? You’d been drinking, I know that. You were angry. But why? Why did you push him down the basement stairs? What sort of mother does that?
He hit his head. There was so much blood. You’re a monster! You hear me? You are!
Open your eyes and tell me! Tell me, and I’ll finish this quickly. Tell me what I need to hear! A story I can live with! Please tell me, and maybe I’ll be able to sleep again.
Tell me, and there can be one less monster in the world.
Just not this one.
Andrew Cull is an award-winning horror writer and director. He’s the author of the acclaimed story collection Bones. His debut novel Remains is out now.
Please visit Andrew’s Official website: http://www.andrewcull.com/
Andrew’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAndrewCull/
Andrew’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewcull
Andrew’s Amazon Author page can be found here
Grief is a black house.
How far would you go? What horrors would you endure if it meant you might see the son you thought you’d lost forever?
Driven to a breakdown by the brutal murder of her young son, Lucy Campbell had locked herself away, fallen deep inside herself, become a ghost haunting room 23b of the William Tuke Psychiatric Hospital.
There she’d remained, until the whispering pulled her back, until she found herself once more sitting in her car, calling to the son she had lost, staring into the black panes of the now abandoned house where Alex had died.
Tonight, someone is watching her back.
‘Bones’ brings together four chilling ghost stories by award-winning writer-director Andrew Cull. Four monsters collected in paperback for the first time.
‘Did You Forget About Me?’
“He had written to me a month or so before he died. I’d ignored the letter the same way I’d ignored all the others.”
When Cam Miller returns to the town he grew up in he’s heading to clear his estranged father’s farmhouse. He’s also returning to the house he fled 23 years before. There, among the nicotine-stained keepsakes and remnants of a broken life, he’ll come face to face with a horror that has waited all those years for his return.
“It’s you he wants.”
‘Hope and Walker’
“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”
Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…
When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.
“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.” It hadn’t stopped me.
That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice-cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.
It began with the offerings…
‘Knock and You Will See Me’
“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”
When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.
“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”
‘Bones’ Four Stories. Four Monsters.