Click here to read the previous chapter
Click here for a recap of the previous chapter
Deborah had been helping to clean up the church when the unwelcome eyes returned.
And with them that horrible feeling of ants racing across the nape of her neck.
She cursed under her breath in spite of being in the house of God.
She glanced around and could see no one, but then she saw a face at one of the stained glass windows.
Though it was distorted by the coloured glass, it was undoubtedly the face of her husband.
By the time she’d turned round the face was gone.
She ran outside, face flushed, heart beginning to race.
Already she felt that sickening lurching sensation that started in the pit of her stomach and spread through her entire body.
She scoured the churchyard, eyes flicking from hiding place to hiding place.
There was no one there.
She threw her hands to her head and began to pull her hair a little; a coping mechanism she’d invented over the last few days.
‘Am I losing my mind?’ she hissed.
‘Everything ok?’ Preacher Kelly called over from his spot polishing the marble headstones.
He looked partly concerned, but a flicker of amusement also showed in his expression.
‘I’m fine,’ she said, trying to conceal her anger and confusion.
She went back inside and poured herself a large glass of wine.
She spent the rest of the day in bed, doing her best to chill out and forget what was happening.
A bottle and a half of Serenity’s house red later, she succumbed to sleep.
She awoke with a shiver running through her, as though an icy finger had ran down her spine.
Her brain was pulsating in her skull.
Her mouth was drier than a camel’s arsehole.
She checked her watch.
A few minutes past midnight.
Last she’d known it had been four pm.
At least you’ve had an unbroken sleep.
She tried to get back to sleep, but that horrific feeling of being watched persisted.
It was so bad that she didn’t dare turn over from looking at the door, even though she was ridiculously uncomfortable.
Icicles glided through her veins, seemingly freezing her to the spot.
Finally, the alcohol kicked in again and, in spite of her fear, her eyelids began to droop.
Although her body fought it, she fell back to sleep.
Her eyes flickered open and she found she was facing the wall, in spite of her best efforts to remain looking at the door.
Her flesh crept as eyes crawled over her.
There was definitely someone watching her, she’d never been so convinced of anything in all of her life.
She was too scared to turn over and face whatever was in the room with her.
Her heart had begun to thud in her ears, sickening her with its intensity.
‘Be brave. Find out what’s going on here,’ she muttered to herself.
She willed herself to turn over, denying the terror that was doing its utmost to petrify her.
A figure stepped out of sight.
She didn’t need to see it for longer than the half a blink that she did to know who it was.
It had been her husband, there was not a single doubt in her mind.
Wayne had only been there for a second; he must have sensed she was turning round.
Then he’d ducked out of the bedroom, thinking he’d done it without being spotted.
Or maybe he wanted you to see him, she thought with a shudder.
‘What do you want?’ she cried out, her voice breaking.
Silence greeted her cry.
She stood on unsteady legs.
Necked the glass of water on her nightstand, even though it was a few days old.
The stale taste did little to help her churning stomach.
A grim reminder of the last time she’d been this hungover popped up into her head.
It struck her as a terrible coincidence.
She shut off that line of thought.
This can’t possibly end as badly as that, she thought and refused to think about it further.
She picked up the gun she’d taken from her dad’s drawer all those years ago.
It was as if the weapon had remembered all the terror and dismay of the last time she’d held it in such a situation.
It was like a tap had been turned on as memories of the night she’d been abducted flooded into her mind.
Her legs shook as she stepped out of the room, fully intending to tear the house apart looking for her husband’s ghost or whatever the hell it was.
The corridor outside her bedroom was clear, likewise the bathroom.
The urge to piss hit her but she fought it as time was of the essence here.
She went out onto the corridor outside the living quarters she’d shared with Wayne.
‘What do you want?’ she implored the empty corridor.
Her fist banged on the wooden panelling on the wall to her left.
She moved along the wall, banging her fists against it in frustration.
‘What do you want?’ she hissed, her cries punctuated by another slam of her fists.
‘What the fuck do you want?’ she screamed, tears streaming down her face.
Her fists continued to batter on the walls as she moved along the corridor.
She hurled the paintings and photo frames from the walls, venting the fury and confusion and fear she felt.
She bounced off the wall a couple more times, then slammed her back hard into it, slumping down into a crouch.
As she did so, there was a dry click and she fell back half an inch.
She turned, her ears straining for further sounds.
Her bulging eyes landed on the panel, now set half an inch back from where it should have been.
She put her hands on it and slid it to the left, revealing an old wooden door.
Her heart thudded in her ears.
She gulped deeply.
Panic threatened to drown out all semblance of rational thought.
‘What the fuck is going on?’ she muttered.
Curiosity was a magnet pulling her towards the door, in spite of the severe sense of apprehension it inspired in her.
A huge part of her wanted nothing to do with the door and whatever it hid.
The same part screamed at her to flee Serenity; don’t even pack, just get the fuck out and don’t ever look back.
But already her hand was turning the handle, pushing the door open, welcoming whatever horror awaited behind it into her life.
She moved into the darkness of the corridor.
The floor in here was the same lino pattern as in the rooms downstairs; a vague black crucifix shape on a dirty white background.
The walls were lined with the same brown glossed wood, until about shoulder height.
Except they were in disrepair, a polar opposite to the rest of Serenity – especially its gleaming, gold-capped church.
There was another door ahead of her, this one slightly ajar.
It too was a shitty brown like the wood panelling on the walls.
The light switch was one of those round black plastic ones that only ever seemed to appear in churches.
A small amount of light came from the room in front of her, seeming to beckon her in.
In spite of her severe sense of foreboding, she found she was powerless to resist its pull.
The floor suddenly dropped away.
She scowled at the thought of going down the dank, barely-lit concrete stairs, but had to satisfy her curiosity.
She jumped when she saw a figure to her right as she passed through the doorway into the hidden basement room.
To her relief it turned out to be a coat stand.
There were two coats on it.
She recognised them as being the same style of suit jackets that Wayne always wore.
There was a bookcase to the left of it, with three dozen bibles on it.
There didn’t seem to even be a speck of dust in the little room.
A door was immediately to the left of the bookcase.
At the far end of the room was a desk, a writing pad laid out on it, a pen perfectly perpendicular to the top of the pad, which itself was running parallel to the edge of the table.
Wayne’s OCD was preserved like a time capsule right there in front of her.
Casting a shadow onto the pad of paper – which, it seemed, was a diary from the quick glance she had at the cover – was a perfectly polished statue of the Virgin Mary.
A gleaming string of rosary beads had been hung carefully from the statue’s clasped hands.
At the statue’s feet was a photo frame, the silver gilding round the edge faded with time, but clearly well cared for.
While she stared in bemusement at the photo in the frame, the door to her right creaked open.
Before she could raise the gun, before she could even turn around, the unseen occupant of the secret room had covered the distance between them.
A hard chop to the wrist removed the gun from her hand.
To her terror and dismay, an iron grip began to crush her windpipe.
‘Out in the corridor you asked me what I wanted,’ a familiar voice hissed. ‘Well, what I want is for you to regain your backbone and take vengeance on those who murdered my brother.’
Deborah’s brow furrowed. ‘Brother?’ she gurgled beneath the fingers that were squeezing the life out of her. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘That little heathen killed Wayne. I watched him run out of here, covered in his blood.’
‘What the fuck are you talking about? Who are you?’ she asked.
The hand released its grip on her throat and let her slump to the floor.
She blinked back the tears and found herself looking up into the face of her husband.
Only it was slightly different, when she looked closely.
The eyes were darker, meaner, if that were possible.
‘Hello, Deborah, I’m Simon, Wayne’s twin brother,’ the apparition she’d been so certain was her husband’s ghost said.
Next chapter is here