Paint the Silence. Horror book Chapter one preview. City of New Orleans.
Posted by Kevin Hunter
Paint the Silence
Book Preview Sample Chapter One
Young Adult Male Teens and Up
In the City of New Orleans, the French Quarter’s buildings, streets and architecture are prominent through Bourbon Street. It’s a place where voodoo, occult and psychic shops are on grand display competing for attention with the equally fun of the bars. Trailing over the swamps of the Bayou, the water is murky and thick with a sense of foreboding. Trees are tall and creepy, sprouting out of the water, in and out and over the marshlands looking like ghostly apparitions. Crocodiles crawl onto land as they trail after their prey. Not far off is a vast grey graveyard with the headstones in various shapes and sizes rising above ground. It’s typical to have lunches in the cemeteries in New Orleans. Immortal shadowy shapes rush past in the distance behind them. Huge mansions line the streets in a rich neighborhood in the Garden District. The mansions grow ghostly and barren the further away they are in the distance. One particular massive mansion structure looks as if it’s haunted. A dark spirit rests at the foot of it fading away into daylight. A rundown van drives into the parking lot of a huge recreational park. Robert King, a large fat ass in his late forties is at the wheel with an American Flag bandana on his head. He’s sporting sunglasses and looks like he came out of the Jerry Garcia era. He resembles the generic depiction of a white trash, whiskey and beer drinking hick. He hops out of the van leaving his rock music blaring loud into the air. He opens the sliding door of the van to allow the music full range. His dog leaps playfully towards him and races to the grass in the park. Robert whistles loud calling to him across the way. He notices a couple of Creole men sitting on top of a park table. One of them strums a guitar lazily. A young girl does a round off in the distance to the amusement of a friend while two teenage boys play Frisbee on the grass. A woman walks briskly pushing a stroller and her little boy glides next to her on a toy scooter. Robert dumps water out on the edge of the grass and returns to the back of the van through the opened sliding door. Something moves fast behind him prompting a shriek of birds to take flight from a nearby tree. He jumps and turns around, but there’s no one there. He grunts and spits, then turns back towards the van straightening crap and gear.
Out of nowhere….
He is knocked unconscious in the back of the head. He falls and slumps into part of the back of the van. The front of his body rests inside with the bottom half set outside.
Robert is on his back on a platform that is being lowered into a cave of blackness. He is screaming with agony and fear. Intense chirping of bats echo through the cave as they approach the victim. There are metal pipes, wooden clubs and table legs lying all over the dirt floor. Someone stands at the bottom to greet him as he reaches the floor. The man is unrecognizable in the shadows with a hideous sheet sewn mask resembling an altered version of a KKK clan member’s hood. He wears orange-brown overalls with a white muscle t-shirt underneath. His arms are muscular and the only thing visible. He holds an axe in his hand, but this is no ordinary axe. This one is made up of car parts. The blade is a brake disc rotor cut in half, sharpened and welded to a metal pipe. The faceless man moves at lightning speed towards Robert lifting the axe in the air and swinging it down hard. Robert screams as the axe comes crashing down on him, but just before it hits him – lightning strikes!
It’s a dark, windy night and the rain pelts down hard on a Louisiana highway. Headlights peer in the distance out of a racing car. A startling thunder booms and lightning flashes across the sky that reveal an ethereal shape for a split second. Inside the car is Ruston Bock, a handsome guy in his mid-thirties, who grasps the steering wheel tight and leans into the window. The rain cascades against the windshield like a giant shower curtain preventing him from seeing out of it. He squints trying to make out the road ahead with his girlfriend, Donna Seamus, in the passenger seat uneasy and irritated. She is a stunning young woman with blonde hair in her mid to late twenties who was voted “Most Beautiful in High School”. She was one of the popular girls then, but was prone to being arrogant about it. It was a trophy she never felt she had to earn and was instead handed to her. After High School, she felt lost when everyone scattered heading off to College or getting jobs. It was as if someone pulled the rug from underneath her. That was until she met Ruston.
She was lost on her way to her first class in College when she classically bumped into him and dropped her books. He was outside of a course he was teaching on forensic research and investigation. His handsome looks initially attracted her in along with the maturity and self confidence he carried with him. He is ten years older than her and she was done with the immaturity of the guys her own age. There only goal was getting in her pants which she didn’t seem to mind, but she started feeling pointless beyond her looks. Her insecurities about everything other than her external beauty sprouted out in several directions like an entangled vine.
Every now and then Ruston shows her another side of himself where he is anxious and appearing as a different person altogether. This anxiety rose over time due to the fact that he can communicate with the dead. This is a gift he is not particularly comfortable with, but since he has never been able to do anything about it he accepts it ungraciously as if to be a blister on the bottom of his foot that he is stuck with.
He was naturally attracted to Donna when he met her, but was on to her game and yet he didn’t mind. Nowadays he is constantly suspicious and distrustful of her after discovering she went on a blind date with someone when they were taking a break from one another. He did not know that it included seeing other people. She typically denied that it was anything and that her friends set it up. She only went along with it to be a good sport. Now whenever in Ruston’s presence she senses his skepticism and constant distrust as if she’s lugging around twenty pounds of guilt on her back.
The window fogs up as he frantically eyes around grabbing a cloth. He wipes down the window in front of him when Donna reaches for it so he can focus on the road, “Here, I’ve got it.” She wipes the window down and he puts his defrosters on high. They have had their share of problems, but he still manages to appreciate her small measure of assistance, “Thanks.” He appears troubled and concerned, “I can’t figure out why Trinity hasn’t called me back. It sounded urgent. I’m sure something was wrong.”
Donna rolls her eyes plopping the towel on the floor, “Yeah, but isn’t it always like that with her?”
Ruston is silent and not appreciative of Donna’s distaste over Trinity. He chalks it up to jealousy. Trinity is much older and confident than Donna is and that threatens her. He knows that Donna was a former snob in High School and now the remains have subsided revealing a constant bitterness. Whenever Donna had seen Ruston and Trinity together the animosity would run up her spine. They have a natural ease with one another that is beyond chummy. Both more or less finishing each other’s sentences and knowing what the other is going through without saying anything. Donna found herself tumbling far down off her High School pedestal where she commanded those halls. Now she realizes that nobody cares or is interested.
Lightning scatters across the horizon and thunder smacks down prompting them both to jolt. Ruston blanks out realizing his mind was somewhere else. His eyes fill with emotion of being let down again. He can never control that he feels every little bit of drama or emotion that happens around him. The lightning continues to flash on and off, followed by a thunder that makes a huge crashing boom. The lightning topples over the thunder revealing a crocodile opening his mouth wide and displaying his sharp teeth up close and in view. Donna screams while Ruston screams out, “Jesus!” He grabs hold of the steering wheel swerving frantically around the crocodile and skidding to a stop on the side of the road exasperated. The sky is black and the rain has grown increasingly out of control. They both sit fearful eyeing around for the crocodile menace. Donna is permeated in trepidation, “Where is it?”
They attempt to peer out of the window that fogs up again except for a small untouched part on the driver’s side window. The lightning flashes illuminating the crocodile with its mouth partly opened wide, inches from Ruston’s face on the other side of the glass forcing him to jump back. More thunder heightens their fear prompting Donna into another scream. Ruston wipes down the driver side window and peers out at the reptile, watching it as it crawls slowly away. He is wrecked with panic as he drops the towel on the floor again, “That’s right. Keep going.”
Donna slicks her hair back annoyed, “Ugh. God.” She’s wondering why she agreed to come on this trip with him. He’s only going to help out Trinity. Ruston pulls back out onto the road driving away cautiously.
They later approach the Garden District in the heart of New Orleans and the rain has stopped for the moment at least. Heavy winds blow grey clouds around and above the gravestones of every shape that fill out a hill that sandwiches the road. They drive past tumble weeds rolling along side the car and under a small billboard sign that displays a photo of a young woman that says, “Last seen on September 30th, wearing blue Levis and white shirt. Any information is welcome.” Ruston is concerned by it and receives impressions of what truly happened to her. Donna shakes her head, “That’s comforting.” She may act all high and mighty, but deep down her worst fears are being killed in a vile way.
They approach an historic old mansion right out of the 1800’s standing ominously into darkness. Branches sprout out of hundreds of trees and fill the sides and back of the property that seems to go for miles. Scattered broken tombstones peer out on one side in the distance. A short staircase leads up to the menace induced Victorian home where two dragon stones sit. Grey and green lit clouds swirl in the skies from behind it. Wind chimes clink around banging against each other rapidly. Black drapes cover most of the windows and some are tied to the sides as if gigantic eyes are gazing out. Ruston is hypnotized by it and doesn’t see the sharp ditch that pops his car tire. “Oh come on!”
Donna jolts from the thud then starts laughing, “I’m sorry, but what next?”
He pulls the car over to the side of the road and turns it off. They both look up ahead studying the mansion looming into the dark skies. He pulls out his cell phone and it beeps with ‘no service’, “That’s just sweet.”
The front door of the mansion swings open and a plump woman hustles to the bottom of the staircase. She is Isabelle Granger, an older round, unattractive woman in her fifties wearing a long black dress right out of the pioneer days who wobbles when she moves appearing eccentric. She has great purpose as if she were expecting them. This stuns Ruston and Donna as they watch the odd woman move towards them unsure if she is enemy or friend.
Ruston gets out of the car examining her curiously. Donna doesn’t move and is conceitedly turned off.
Isabelle reaches them, “Are you alright?” She races to the window where Donna sits and pats it with her hand. Donna is mortified by the visual of this woman’s peculiarity.
“It seems we’ve got a flat tire and no cell phone service.” Ruston flashes his phone towards her.
Isabelle eyes Donna again who puts on the fake social face and gets out of the car. “Hi. Do you have a phone we can use?”
“Oh dear, this nasty storm has cut off our phone line.” Isabelle explains.
Ruston looks around annoyed as the lightning begins to flash again. “Ah shit.”
The thunder lets out a huge drum roll as if the angels are preparing to play a major symphony.
Isabelle notices the sky churning into a black typhoon. “Looks like we’ve got Hurricane whoever her name is coming back. Why don’t you two come on inside. I’m Isabelle.”
Ruston and Donna look at each other hesitating, “Alright thank you. It seems we don’t have much of a choice. I’m Ruston and this is my girlfriend, Donna.”
“Nice to meet you two. Come on and follow me.” They trail her into the house avoiding the wind and the sudden drizzle. When Ruston walks in he immediately picks up on a sense of foreboding and stops.
“Is everything alright?” Isabelle asks.
“It’s fine.” He says not wanting to go into detail about himself. He and Donna look around the dim lit interior of the place. A pipe organ plays low in the background and gigantic chandeliers hang from each major room. The foyer leads to a grand staircase lit up by candles attached to the walls alongside it.
He is not terribly comfortable about being stuck at a strangers house that is not all that inviting. “Do you know how far it is into the French Quarter?” He doesn’t want to be trapped there longer than necessary. The purpose of the trip is to connect with Trinity and offer psychic assistance.
Isabelle grabs a Candelabra that is sitting on an antique table nearby. “Oh it’s a ways. We’re clear on the other side. You don’t want to go out now in this mess. We’ve got a spare room. You must stay here the night. I wouldn’t dream of sending you out in this storm. Besides, we’ve been known to entertain guests here from time to time.”
Ruston finds that hard to believe. Donna is nauseated mouthing the words: ‘Spend the night?’ The mansion is gloomy and desolate and not at all welcoming.
Ruston notices this and agrees, but there is no other alternative. “It seems we might not have a choice. I need to get that tire fixed.”
Isabelle wobbles over to the opened living room to the side of the foyer. “I’ll ask my son to fix it when he gets home. He’s real handy with those things.”
“I appreciate that if it’s no trouble.” Ruston is relieved that someone can fix the tire quickly and they can be on there way.
“No trouble at all. Come have a seat for a few minutes and then I’ll show you around the place.” Isabelle smiles and it gives them a chill. Donna doesn’t want to be there at all. Reluctantly they all move over to sit on the couch. Ruston is prickly eyeing the strange objects in the mansion. “Actually let me grab our suitcases.”
Donna doesn’t want to be left alone there for one minute and holds her purse to her chest defensive. “Hurry up sweetie!”
Isabelle assures her. “Come. Come. Have a seat.” She lights many of the cathedral like candles in the living room.
Donna sits as close to the furthest edge of one of the couches and sees two black cats sitting in the corner together. “You guys like black cats. How very Halloween.”
“We’ve had those pests for years.” She finishes the last candle as Ruston walks in setting the suitcases down.
“What do you guys do?” Isabelle probes into the two drifters.
Donna jumps all smiles. “Well, Ruston here knows the future.”
Ruston rolls his eyes at her with annoyance. “I’m here to assist the feds on several cases of missing people and some that have been murdered.”
Isabelle perks up, “I have been hearing about that on the news. All this murder business has got out of control. So you’re a psychic?”
Ruston is impatient that this topic has come up that he could kill Donna. “I prefer not to use that word. Makes me think of those deserted shops in alley ways with the neon sign on the door that says, ‘Psychic Reads’. I’m more of an investigative researcher. I rely on intuition with common sense. That sort of thing.”
“That sounds so fascinating” Isabelle interjects.
“It’s not. It’s more of a drag actually.” He says as a matter of fact.
“I would love to know more. I’m happy to have a real life psychic here.”
Ruston is unsure of why it’s not sinking in. “Investigative researcher.”
Isabelle rarely pays attention. “Since you two will be staying here tonight you must have dinner with the family. My husband will be thrilled to have some company.”
Donna would rather sleep in the car. “We really do need to be….”
“That would be great. We appreciate that.” Ruston interrupts Donna’s rudeness who scowls at him in irritation.
Isabelle stands up grabbing the Candelabra. “Come now. Let me show you to the guest room. You can get situated and come down when you’re ready. I’m sure you’ve had quite the night already having to drive in this mess.”
Donna nervously digs through her purse. “I forgot my phone in the car. I need to go get it.”
“There is no service in this area.” Ruston reminds her.
Donna slams back exasperated. “I would still like to have it.”
Ruston scoffs and follows Isabelle up the staircase.
Donna shouts. “Do you think I can have the keys?”
Ruston exhales put off reaching for his keys and slamming them in her hand.
He follows Isabelle back upstairs and they head down a long corridor with wallpaper that looks like a pattern of evil. Cobwebs cling in some corners of the hall. The mansion hasn’t been cleaned in some time and appears as if it were deserted up until this day. Old photographs of relatives long past adorn the walls. He notices that they all look dead. They reach a room at the end of the hall. Isabelle proceeds to open the door and stands at the doorframe. “Here you go. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll be downstairs.” She heads back down the creepy hall that appears to lead to some other world.
Ruston plops his suitcase on the bed and opens it. He pulls out a deck of Tarot cards and shuffles them as he breathes in and out until he’s fully relaxed. He repeats the words, “Show me this house. Show me this house.” He pulls the top two cards off the deck and flips them over one at a time. First he gets the “Tower” card which has a frightening image of a building tower blown to smithereens and a devil creature image being tossed from it. He interprets this to mean that his whole world is going to be crumbling down soon. When someone’s world or structure breaks apart its to pave the way for something better. The second card he pulls is the “Three of Cups” card with the image of three people in a circle cheering and raising their cups together. He knows the outcome in the end is going to be one of contentment and bliss, but only after his world is discombobulated. Noticing the three people in the card he gets the impression that its him and two others who are celebrating together, but he does not know who and for what. He wraps the deck back up not the least bit concerned allowing circumstances to unfold the way they are intended to.
He hears a rooster screech a deathly howl and catches the black drapes around an old elegant window which he swiftly proceeds to open. He peers out only able to see dead trees and the next rain fall segment splatter the window. A burst of lightning prompts him to take notice closer at an old cemetery way off in the background. Thunder cracks a bit followed by more lightning flashes. The lightning illuminates an old barn and Ruston takes deeper notice as he presses his face towards the window. He flips the light switch off in the room and looks outside the window alarmed. A dark human shadow moves past the barn like a giant insect from an old sci-fi picture dragging its foot in the mud. Ruston mumbles under his breath, “What the fuck?” When the lightening flashes again it illuminates a dead rooster in the shadows hand. A wolf howl pierces the nightfall outside prompting Ruston to pull back from the window on edge. He flips the light switch back on and soaks up what he just saw.
Donna races into the mansion foyer shaking off some of the rain. She jumps startled to find Isabelle standing there quiet in front of her. Donna grabs her heart and calms down aggravated. “You scared me.”
“I’m sorry dear.” Isabelle moves the Candelabra light in front of her face casting eerie shadows. “Let me show you where the room is.”
Donna is over it. “No, that’s okay I’ll find it.” She brushes past her.
“Right up the stairs. It’s down the hall and last door on your left.”
“Thanks.” Donna says charging up the stairs. She eyes the abnormality of the paintings and patterns in the hall briskly barging into the guest room upset. “God this place gives me the creeps! And what is up with that woman?”
“Relax were lucky we have somewhere to stay.”
“Yeah, it’s called Hell. Right after they kill us here. I can’t believe you said we would stay the night.”
“What did you want us to do exactly? Hitch hike in the mud for six hours? I doubt you’d make it to the end of the block.”
Donna is not amused and expects that Ruston is trying her patience and simply doesn’t care. He is at the end of his rope with his unhappy antagonistic union where there isn’t anything loving about it. Donna never cared all that much about romance, but went after Ruston because of his looks and the security he provides. She has never truly loved anyone but herself. It’s no use since its engrained in her to be worshipped and adored when she walks down a hall. When she had that power she abused it and turned her nose down towards those that were not like her. It was only after she moved into her twenties when she discovered it was all for nothing.
The howling sound of a wolf fills the air breaking Ruston’s focus on trivial matters. He tries to get a grip with what is happening in his surroundings. He receives repeated cues of violent activity, but cannot fathom how, where or why. The weather is so erratic that the rain lightens up to a stop again, but the sky grows more black with dread. “You know, you didn’t have to come.”
This bewilders Donna and snaps parts of her out of it. It’s more or less the cue she needs to make some sort of effort or this will be over. “I was doing my part of the loving girlfriend.”
He sneers thinking, ‘Loving? You could have fooled me.’
Outside a wolf appears racing through the trees with something in its mouth. He reaches a little horrid rundown cemetery and digs a big hole dropping a human arm into it, then covers it back up and races off disappearing into the jungle.
Isabelle is in the kitchen shuffling around with an apron around her waist. She opens up the oven and eyes a Turkey cooking at an unusually low temperature.
“Emma!” She cries out.
A plump African American woman moves next to her and with a Cajun accent: “What is it ma’am?”
“I just want you to know that we have guests tonight.”
Emma is confused. “Guests?”
“Oh yes. They are a lovely couple.”
“What will the master say?” Emma asks concerned.
“Oh he’ll be fine. The young man here is Ruston and he is a psychic!”
“A psychic! We don’t need anything like that here ma’am. We have too much of that here. The master will not approve.”
“Nonsense.” Isabelle grabs a Victorian antique white linen table cloth from the cupboard and throws it over the dining room table.
Emma dumps her hands in the dishes and dishwater shaking her head disapprovingly.
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Posted on February 5, 2013, in Dude Literature, Kevin Hunter Author Writer, Male Friendships, Men, Young Adults and tagged cemeteries in new orleans, huge mansions, New Orlean, Young Adult Books, Young Adult Male, Young Adult Teens. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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