Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my upcoming novel, Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge. I hope you enjoy it.
“Silence fell. Shadows and passageways suddenly seemed a lot more threatening, as though they might genuinely contain spectres or demons. Although he was hot from trying to force his way out, Tim began to shiver at the thought that the house could be haunted. No, that was ridiculous. There were no such things as ghosts. The Beast was nothing more than a myth.
Tim refused to accept that he was trapped, and began to look for other ways out. He searched the ground floor thoroughly, opening all the doors that weren’t locked and trying to break through the boards that were nailed onto the window frames. He found a couple of wooden poles and tried to smash through with those, but they simply broke in two, having succumbed to damp and decay. The rooms were mostly empty, with creaking exposed floorboards. Some had foul smelling carpets, and the odd piece of furniture. There were even a few old books scattered on the floor of one.
Despite all attempts to break out, Tim remained trapped. He tried the front and back door several times, but no amount of pounding and yelling did any good. He had yet to look upstairs, but didn’t want to risk climbing the rotten looking staircase. The idea that he might really have to spend the night in this place horrified him. He thought about how worried Rob would be once he was late for dinner, and his parents’ annoyance at the inconvenience he would end up putting them to. He imagined them irritably contacting the police and a search taking place.
That was when the roaring started.
It began as a low-pitched, muffled but loud growl. Tim realised in alarm that it was the same sound he thought he had heard when he cycled past the abandoned house earlier. What could it be? The house wasn’t really haunted, surely? Perhaps some kind of animal had got trapped inside. But what kind of animal made a noise like that? It couldn’t be the Beast. It couldn’t be…
Tim listened again, and the growling became louder. He then heard a great muffled crash, as though something had been pushed over. The muffled growling then became muffled roaring, as though the animal was in pain. The sounds were vicious, savage and froze Tim’s blood. For someone who didn’t believe in ghosts, Tim was on the verge of becoming a believer, as he couldn’t think of any rational explanation for what he was hearing. Were the stories of the Beast actually true?”
Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge will be available for download on the 30th March from Amazon, Smashwords and various other outlets.
Print copies will be availble to order from Lulu.com from the 6th April.