Howdy everyone! This is something a little different from the usual author interviews, mainly because I have a few tour stops coming up with Dark Mind Book Tours, and I’ve been busy with family and writing. So…because I also like to write a little bit of horror on the side, but don’t have anywhere enough to publish it into a volume yet, I thought I would post it up on here for you all to read! Today’s story is one I wrote quite a few years ago, but have dug it up just for the purpose of letting you guys have a read of it. So bear in mind that I haven’t edited this much, it was really more of an exercise when I was starting out, but I thought it would be fun to show it. Enjoy!
Hold Me Close
Hazel Grainger had the perfect life. The perfect friends, the perfect job, the perfect car, and most importantly, the perfect man.
Until she came into their lives.
It had all started a few months ago, when Craig decided he wanted to change jobs. There was nothing wrong with his job down at the garage, but he wanted more money. More prospects. So he found himself a little job working in an office in town. Where she was his boss.
At first, Hazel was overjoyed that he had a new job. She began to plan things; things for both of them. Holidays away, new car, new furniture, children…oh, how she had planned the children! They would have his soft dark hair, and her sparkling green eyes, their noses dotted with freckles.
Then she began to worry. Craig began to spend more and more time at the office. He kept telling her it was overtime, but she never saw any extra pay from this ‘overtime’. So one night, she decided to go and meet him from work.
Hazel swung open the main door into Craig’s department. The security guard had let her in, after recognising her from a few visits before. She looked around herself, scanning the clean white desks in their small booths. A fluorescent light buzzed above her head, making her look up for a second.
A giggle sounded from a far-off door, at the end of the room. Hazel’s stomach did a strange flip-over, and her heartbeat began to race. She ignored it, not sure why she would feel so strange from a giggle, but then she heard Craig murmuring. Another laugh.
Hazel froze. No, it can’t be that…he wouldn’t do that to me…
The blood ran from her body, leaving her icy cold, as she paced quickly across the room. The nylon carpet created static beneath her flat shoes, making a soft crackling sound. Her open coat flapped and bounced off the sides of the booths as she sped past.
Upon opening the single wooden door from whence the noise had come, Hazel was sure her heartbeat stopped. Her eyes met Craig’s with horror, both of them saying nothing as she stared at him entwined upon his desk with Jane, his boss. That moment slowed completely, melting into a Salvador Dali painting, dripping across their lives together.
She spun on her heel, slamming the door closed, running from the room. Hazel briefly thought she heard shouts from the door behind her, calling her name, but she ignored them. She even ignored the friendly security guard as he asked if she was alright, as she raced past, her eyes so full and blurry with tears she almost slammed into the swinging doors.
The cool night air met her with a slap; her thoughts alternating between braking down in floods of tears in the car park, or go back upstairs and rip Jane’s throat out in front of her cheating bastard of a husband. Her hands trembling, she fumbled in her handbag for her keys, as she heard the doors behind her swing out with a squeaking sound.
“Hazel! Let me explain, I-“
“GET THE FUCK OFF ME, CRAIG! I’m not interested in anything you’ve got to say!” Hazel furiously threw his arms off her, where he had tried to hold her. She turned around and slapped him, hard, in the face. He stepped back slightly, a hand flying to his now red cheek, to rub it. His eyes were full of emotion-probably mainly self-pity, Hazel thought to herself.
Finally finding her keys, she marched over to the car, throwing the door open. Craig ran over and grabbed the edges of the door, trying to stop her closing it. He had tears running down his face now, and she paused to hear what he would say.
“I’m…I’m so sorry, Hazel. I don’t know what I was thinking.” He choked back another sob.
Hazel’s eyes roamed over to the building’s main doors again, where the blonde bitch herself was stood, watching them. “Tell it to her.” she hissed, slamming the door shut so quickly that Craig barely had time to remove his fingers. Hazel backed the car up, the tyres squealing in protest, and sped home, her eyes still clouded with tears.
It had been a week since Hazel had found out. Craig had announced he was leaving her for Jane.
“Craig, how can you leave me for her? What has she got that’s so great?” Hazel screamed like a banshee, throwing his clothes at him. Craig calmly leaned down and picked the shirt up, stuffing it into his duffel bag. “TELL ME!”
Craig shook his head sadly, but his gaze never left the floor. Pathetic worm, Hazel thought to herself. “It wasn’t like that, Hazel. I…just fell in love with someone else. I never meant to hurt you.”
“You never meant to hurt me. You never meant to HURT ME?!” Hazel’s voice rose again, hands on hips, her body boiling with rage. “If you don’t want to hurt someone, you leave them, and then find someone else. You don’t leave them to find out you are fucking someone else by going TO YOUR WORKPLACE! AAAH!” She turned and picked up a vase, sending it hurtling towards Craig. He turned his head away as it smashed into several pieces against the wall, but not before a piece of it flew into his forehead, leaving a line of red liquid seeping to the surface.
He put his fingers tentatively to his forehead, his eyes widening in horror as he inspected it a second later. Craig looked back up at Hazel, his face white and drawn. “You’re crazy.” he whispered, backing out of the room hurriedly, taking his duffel with him.
Hazel fumed at that. “Oh, I’m crazy! What do you expect, you bastard?” She moved around the bed, stamping her way through the room, following him into the living room. Everything looked the same in there, making it so much more surreal this was happening. The two white sofas against the white walls, the large LCD television, the modern artwork, everything. He was already at the door, just about to walk outside, when he turned and looked one last time at Hazel, who was shaking with anger.
“I want an explanation, Craig.”
Craig thought for a second, then shrugged. “I’m…sorry, Hazel. That’s all I can say. I’m an arsehole.”
It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t good enough. Hazel snapped.
“I won’t have it any more Craig! You are not walking out that door!”
The young man, dark brown eyes dulled by pain, turned to look at the irate red-headed woman he had called his wife for the last five years. He sighed, and got a better hold on his blue duffel bag, swallowing nervously. “Yes, I am, Hazel. I’m not in love with you anymore. I didn’t mean to find someone else, but…it happened. I’m sorry. I hope you can be happy one day too.”
He turned again to go out the door, still feeling the burning eyes of Hazel on his back. Trembling, she spun around behind her, and picked up the antique shotgun above their mantelpiece. Craig had been given it by his Grandfather, and they always kept it loaded, just in case. She aimed it, the heavy weight of it good in her hands.
“Stop there Craig. Come back in the house, and we’ll forget all this happened. I mean it. This is your last chance. Go, and I’ll shoot you.” She pointed it at his back, closing one eye slowly as she spoke.
Craig sighed, and turned around. “Please, you would never shoo-” His words got cut off as he saw the gun in her hands. He dropped his bag on the soft white carpet, as his eyes widened in shock. “Okay, now don’t do anything silly Hazel.”
“Are you going to stay?”
Craig muttered under his breath, and shook his head. “Of course I’m not going to stay just because you point that at me Hazel-”
He never finished his words. A shot hit him in the stomach, and he collapsed to the ground, wheezing and clutching at himself.
Hazel stood for a moment, mouth wide open in horror at what she had done, the gun slowly slipping from her grasp. Trembling, she ran over to where he lay, and dropped down next to him, burning her knees on the carpet, now turning red from his blood soaking into it.
“Oh my God, Craig, I am so sorry! Don’t worry, we’re going to get you some help, you’re going to be fine! Oh my God, I didn’t mean to…” Her words ended in a high-pitched sob as she reached for the phone, hands shaking…
Craig lay in the bed, resting his head on the pillows. A gentle breeze floated in from the open window, lifting the curtains either side, making them dance. Birdsong drifted in, their sweet cries making the room seem even more relaxed. Hazel walked in, carrying a hot breakfast on a tray. She smiled at him, lovingly. Carefully, she lowered the tray onto the bedside table next to him, and sat on the bed. He moved his head to look at her, his eyes tired-looking.
Hazel picked up his hand, and raised it to her mouth to kiss it. “I’m so glad they let you out of the hospital, darling. It’s better that you’re back at home where I can look after you.” She paused, and bit her lip. “You know I’m sorry, don’t you? I never meant to shoot you. “
Craig gave a quick nod. Hazel smiled, broadly.
“I’m so glad. We will never fight again. Let’s just put this behind us, and forget it ever happened. We’ll never mention it again.” She patted his hand.
Slowly, Craig moved down the pillow a little bit. Hazel looked at him, and stroked his face.
“I think you should have a rest for a while.” She put a hand to his mouth before he had a chance to protest. “Ah, ah,ah. The doctor said you have to have loads of rest, no arguing, okay? I want you to get well as soon as possible.”
Tenderly, she fluffed his pillows up behind his head, and pulled the sheet up.
“Sweet dreams sweetheart.” She kissed his forehead gently, and smiled at him. Craig smiled back.
Downstairs, she sighed, and placed the empty tray on the kitchen top. Holding her breath for a minute, she burst into tears. She slid onto the floor, and sobbed, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand, her red hair getting mixed in with the salty drips down her face.
After about ten minutes, she stopped and took a deep, shaky breath in. “Don’t be so silly.” She muttered to herself. “He’s back home; he’s going to be okay. You don’t have to cry now.”
Suddenly, the phone rang shrilly, cutting into the silence in the kitchen. Frowning, Hazel pushed herself off the tiled floor, and stared at the phone.
“Who could that be? I’m not expecting any calls.”
She reached out for the phone, and held it to her ear, a worried look on her face.
“Oh, hi. It’s um….it’s June.”
June. The ‘other woman’. Hazel’s face clouded over.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing, ringing here?”
“I just wanted to talk about Craig, I’m so-”
“If you ever ring here again, I’ll get the police on you, understand? Craig is nothing to do with you, and he never will be.”
Breathing hard, Hazel slammed the phone down into its cradle.
How DARE that woman ring here! she thought to herself. Composing herself, she straightened her hair, and took in a deep breath.
Never mind. Lets not let that bitch ruin our day.
Hazel smiled to herself, and began running the water into the bowl to wash some pots. She looked up out of the window, and closed her eyes to enjoy the warm rays of sun on her face, streaming through the glass.
When she went up later that night with his dinner, Craig was still asleep.
Giggling, she quietly placed the dinner tray down next to him, and gently began shaking him awake.
“Come on gorgeous, time for dinner. You can’t sleep the whole time!”
She propped his pillows up as his eyes slowly opened. Hazel leaned over, and kissed him tenderly.
“Would you like the telly on sweetheart?” Moving quietly, Hazel paced across the room, and switched the television on. The screen flickered into life, colours lighting up the screen as the room was filled with sudden noise.
The phone rang from the hallway, adding to the loudness.
“My goodness, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all day! I’ll just go and see who that is.” Craig smiled at her as she walked out of the room.
Shaking her head, and looking at her watch, she picked the phone up from its hook.
“Hello? Hazel Grainger speaking.”
“Hello, Mrs Grainger? This is Mike, from Craig’s work? I was just ringing to see if you had heard from him yet?”
“Um…no, not yet Mike. I’m afraid I still don’t know where he is. I’m sure you can understand I don’t care that much, of course.”
“Okay, Hazel, I understand…I’m so sorry for what he did to you with June.”
Hazel’s face froze at the mention of June’s name again, and a lump caught in her throat.
“Er…thank you, Mike. I’ll be sure to let you know if he gets in touch with me. Bye.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it-.”
Hazel rolled her eyes, thinking if one more person apologised to her, she was going to gouge someone’s eyes out. “Look, Mike forget it. I’ll call you, okay? Bye.”
Still smiling, Hazel put the phone back; and walked slowly back into the bedroom. She looked, lovingly, at the corpse of her dead husband, neatly tucked into the double bed they had once shared, a fake grin forced onto his cold lips, his eyelids propped open by force.
“They still think you’re just missing, darling, isn’t that funny?” Hazel began to giggle, her giggle turning into a high-pitched laugh that racked her body. She leaned against the doorway, still laughing to herself, staring at his cold body. After a few seconds, her laughter died away, and she straightened herself up, that strange smile still on her lips.
“There, I don’t think we’ll be bothered again tonight.” She lowered the light switch, and walked around to her side of the bed, raising herself onto it, and sitting down next to Craig’s body.
“I love you gorgeous.”
His head fell sideways slightly, rolling onto her shoulder, the smile still plastered onto his face.
She turned her face and kissed the top of his head.
“We have each other Craig, that’s all we need.”……