Monday, January 12, 2015

Prologue to Unthinkable Games

Just popping in to give you all a late Christmas gift!

I hope you enjoy it!

PS. Please excuse the spacing! :)

Unthinkable Games 
       M. Kelley
Available Feb 6th

 Beckett Rand loses his heart to a Littlemoon….

                  One Hundred Years Ago

This was his dream come true.
He finally had his hands on the story of a lifetime. After years of looking for that money maker, here it was. Despite what people thought, it wasn’t easy being a writer. In this day and age, the only thing worth writing about was the oncoming wars.
The papers were filled with it.
Frankly, it bored him to tears.
What he wanted was a story that would be his and his alone. He wanted to make history with something so spectacular that he would make his mark on the world.
He wanted his one big shot at fame.
While he was beginning to doubt that he could pull that off as a writer, he knew this opportunity might finally be his big break. When he saw the house and did the research, it potentially offered him the fame that he wanted. This could be his storyline. So, he went for it.
Yes, it was a pricy investment. On his meager salary, working as a hack at the paper, it was going to make living tough, but he would manage.
The house was now his.
The history here was astounding, and from the minute he heard about it, it drew him in.
Who didn't want to be a part of history?
He certainly did.
Before he could even let the ink dry on the papers, he was on his way to the big time. No more would he struggle to catch the attention of an editor.
He was going to become a prize winning writer. His next attempt would blow up, making him a sensation. The paper would beg him to headline. The world would be talking about him as the riches poured in.
Yes, he wanted the gold, but the glory meant more. If he could succeed in this one little quest, all the while documenting it, he knew he would be legend.
This was going to be one hell of a treasure hunt, and the world would know and love Ralph Clarence before it was over. He was going to put himself out there.
His name would be on everyone’s lips.
In fact, before he knew it, they’d be naming cities after him. The other big shot papers in New York would want him to come there and work.
He’d be big time!
He laughed, trying to rein it in.
Okay, maybe that was putting the cart before the horse on this one, but still Ralph couldn’t help himself. There was no way that he wouldn’t be the one they all talked about.
He knew it.
Glancing outside, Ralph knew it was time to get his night started. Dusk was falling on his third week in the mansion. He really couldn’t believe it was his. The gold was important, but so was the act of putting down roots.
This historically troublesome house was his.
Story or not--he was home.
As he found the first treasure at the beginning of his hunt, his heart began racing. Ralph was one step closer to getting what he wanted.
As soon as it was in his hand, he wrote about it in great detail. He couldn’t miss a single thing as he got ready to continue his hunt for the gold and the Pulitzer.
Then, something odd happened.
He became suspicious that someone would come in and steal his clue. 
So, like any good paranoid writer, he hid it again.
Oh, he wouldn’t leave his future out for the world to see. He’d make sure it was safe. While he wrote about it in his journal, he didn't name the location.
He refused.
It didn't feel right.
What if someone stole his journal, and then took the keys to the kingdom?
No, he absolutely couldn’t let that happen. Instead, he went to great lengths to hide it.
Not back where he found it… No.
That would be too risky.
Instead, he placed it somewhere safe. Who would look for a centuries old treasure in plain sight?
No one.
That was the point.
So, Ralph hid it and continued on with the search. With each day he became more and more concerned. While the first treasure was easy to find, the clue left with it wasn’t all that simple to figure out.
Whoever hid these little bastards did a good job. It was beyond frustrating, but Ralph wasn’t about to give up.
Not now.
Not ever.
His notoriety was riding on this.
What it came down to was finding this treasure, getting his infamy in history, and maybe scoring a few dames along the way. What woman wouldn’t want to cuddle up to a successful writer and treasure hunter?
This was a part of the glory that he’d never even considered before. He’d be rich, have a great place, and a slew of sexy women who would vie for his attention.
Yeah, in all honesty, he liked that part best.
No longer would the ladies look at him like he was some odd bird. Instead, they would whisper his name with awe and trepidation just like he deserved.
Yeah, it was going to be amazing.
As he crept through the house, he searched every nook and cranny looking for that elusive next piece to the puzzle.
Ralph was getting pissed. While he didn't mind the game, he was getting irritated with the time it was consuming. He was running out of funds.
He needed that gold.
Then came the anger.
The man who sold him the house said it was here, but what if he lied? Granted, he did his research on the legend of Christabel, but he didn't go too deep.
He assumed.
Maybe that was a huge mistake.
What he needed now was to head back to the room where he slept and regroup. There was no need to work himself into a tizzy. Maybe he needed a little nap to refresh his mind. Tonight was going to be a long one, as he scoured the house for the next clue.
Yeah, he’d take a break.
Even while he rationalized the down time, his gut was twisted up in anger.  
Ralph was beginning to suspect that he had been conned. He was out of money, and if he wanted to survive and get his future in line, he needed to find the gold soon.
This was a lot more difficult than he originally thought it was going to be. Maybe he’d been a little arrogant.
Back in his room, Ralph stripped down and slid beneath the cool sheets. As he lay there, the shadows danced across the wall from the setting sun and the nearby swamp.
He needed to stop thinking about the gold.
Ralph was becoming obsessed.
Already, the fear and nerves began weighing heavily on him. Yeah, he was beginning to think he’d really screwed up.
In the morning, he’d write a letter to his sister, letting her know where he was and what he’d done. She’d always been good at talking him off the ledge when he’d done something impulsive. Surely, she’d do the same once more.
Closing his eyes, he allowed the worries to pull him under. Once sleep came, so did more shadows.
Only, they weren’t from the water and moonlight.
They were from the evil which lurked there.
As Ralph snored, sawing wood, the darkness crept closer until it was upon him.
The jealousy, animosity, and hate was there…watching him.
It was time.
With one swing, life ended.
With the second blow, the blood splattered, coating the sheets with the life that once flowed through Ralph Clarence.  
Oh, he wouldn’t get to be famous.
Not for finding a treasure.
He might get his notoriety eventually--once the truth came out. History would repeat itself, and Ralph would just be one more person who lost their lives thanks to the gold.
He’d failed.
His journey was over.
From here on out, there would need to be another person to seek the riches of the dead. That person would eventually show up, and it would begin all over again.
This time, they would succeed in finding the treasure. Time would only tell as the lure of power drew them in. For now, the darkness would wait.
Be patient.  
Wiping blood from the gloves, the evil crept back into the wall to plan the dead man’s grave.
Once safely behind it, the details were handled.

Ralph was a failure.
It was on to the next potential treasure hunter.

Someone would solve this.

It was only a matter of time.

                        *    *    *

Ninety Five Years Ago

He was a lucky man.
At least, that’s what everyone always told him. In his life, Tennessee Woodrow had a knack for finding things. If he had lost his watch, he’d not only find it, but three other things too.
He was destined to take care of this, one way or another.
When he’d seen the place, he had to laugh.
It was like something out of a creepy old movie. The creaking old house, with its winding hallways, was a thing of beauty.
He was an aficionado of the odd.
Tennessee loved the scary black and white films that filled his youth. Now, he was living one.
Growing up, he loved reading books and hearing the tales of so many before him. While his mother thought him foolish for wasting his time with them, he didn't care.
He knew he was destined for greatness.
Look at his luck!
He was barely twenty five, and he’d inherited this great house from his uncle. When the man went missing, the lawyers came and gave him the place.
Now that he was of an age to appreciate it, he would put his mark on it. Since his uncle had paid in full, it was now his, and he would make the most of it.
Granted, it needed some work, but he didn't mind. This would catch the ladies, and maybe, if he was lucky, he could use it to start working on his movie career. These swamps would be the best place to make a film.
In fact, he had a horror movie planned. When he told his mother about it, she actually blanched.
That meant he was onto something.
He knew it.
On the day he arrived, there was a man with a box waiting for him. Inside it were all of his uncle’s possessions. The man, whatever his name was, said that was all they had left of his uncle. He even teased him with the rumors of what happened in the house.
It piqued his interest.
When the man smiled wickedly, giving him the box, Tennessee knew there was something important happening in the grand old house.
He could feel it.
Inside the house, he tore through the box of ‘treasures’, and what he found made his heart skip. Inside were indeed some gems.
There was a map.
A journal.
It appeared to be the ramblings of his missing uncle. While the rest were clothes and other crap he didn't want, the map and journal had gotten his attention.
They only added to the mystery, and he was all about that. While he never thought his flaky uncle would leave him anything cool, he did.
He left him a mystery.
Tennessee couldn’t wait to dig in and try to solve it. Maybe in the process, he’d be able to find his uncle for his mom. His disappearance was tearing her up, and while he didn't really like the man, he loved the woman who gave him life.
He’d figure this all out for her.
Well, maybe.
Inside the sprawling mansion, he began his search. Using the man’s book, he was pretty sure that this would be a piece of cake.
After all, how hard could it be?
His uncle was a fanciful flake, always touting his dreams and crazy stories.
After reading his journal, it was hard to believe that he’d found the first object. In fact, Tennessee was beginning to believe his uncle had lied in his journal, or used a hell of a lot of creative license.
Yeah, that had to be it.
That stupid old book was nowhere to be found, and he was getting angry.
Heading to the office, or what was once someone’s work space, he took a seat in the chair and looked around.
If he was his uncle, where would he stuff a dusty old book?
It had to be in this room.
As he scanned all the shelves, he sought that one title that was written in the note and his journal.
After three hours of dusty searching, he gave up.
“Damn it, Uncle Ralph!” he muttered.
This felt like a waste of time.
“How am I supposed to fund my movie career playing in this old dump?” he asked, sitting back down. “I’ve wasted almost two weeks digging in the dust.”
Closing his eyes, he started thinking back to the man he called family. He wouldn’t have hid the book in the office.
He would have kept it close.
Just as he opened his eyes, there was a creak. Spinning in the chair, he was faced with the glinting blade of a knife.
As it plunged toward his chest, he screamed.
The howl echoed out the window and across the swamp. Yet no one came to save Tennessee. He was on his own.  
Lying there, he was forced to listen.
The crickets chirped.
The owls hooted.
The killer left him for dead. On the floor, the young man bled out, life leaving him.
All he could think about were how his wild dreams were abandoning him.
It was all over.
Life was finished.

Yes, Tennessee wanted to make a scary movie, but there was no way he saw this coming.

The house stole it all away.  

Tennessee realized something very important. His uncle didn't go missing.
The house killed him.
Like Ralph, he, too, was now dead.

                        *    *    *

Present Day

It had to be here.
Somewhere in this run down estate was a fortune, and he was going to find it.
No matter how long it took, Jeffery Lamont was going to be victorious. No longer would he be the dreamer in his family.
He was going beyond that and becoming the one who would be the most successful.
No longer would his brother stare down his nose at him. Instead, he’d be the one they came to for money. When a business failed, or his sister needed cash, he would be their money man. 

Because he’d found it.
All he had to do was locate the damn treasure.
It was here.
It had to be.  
When he bought the house, the helpful man swore that it was somewhere in the house. Well, by God, he was going to find it! Come hell or high water, he wasn’t leaving until he had that money in the bank.
He couldn’t.
He’d conned his brother into paying for this ‘investment’. Now, he needed to pay him back and be on his merry way. Screw him and his condescending attitude.
Jeffery was tired of being the family screw up.
He was sick of how he always failed.
Why couldn’t they see that he was the dreamer?
Once he heard about this house, he knew it was his destiny. With a name like ‘The Killing House’, how could it not be? It piqued his interest and called to him.
This was going to be fun.
Thankfully, he had managed to outbid the other buyers and it was all his.
Yeah, he was super smart.
Armed with the map, he began his search that first day. When that turned up nothing, Jeffery made sure to cover all his bases. He moseyed into town and did the research needed to dig up anything else he could find to make this job that much easier.
That was when he hit pay dirt.
Now, it would be so much easier, especially with their help…
He hoped so.
Still, he was wandering through the house trying to find the next object. The first had been a real bitch to locate, and in the end, he’d come across it accidentally. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be, and that made him nervous.
Was the map useless?
Was the journal bunk?
He couldn’t let it get him down. He was going to be a legend. If anyone asked, he’d say the first clue was found thanks to his excellent sleuthing skills.
Of course they’d buy it when he was rolling in the gold.
Jeffery laughed at the visual in his mind.
Yeah, he’d be the man.
Picking up the map, he decided not to waste anymore time. Already, it had been two weeks of screwing around. Money and time was a wasting. For now, he’d concentrate on the second object and not stop until he had it.
He was one step closer to being filthy rich.
Jeffery could taste it now.
As he headed down the hall, he was confused.
Something wasn’t right.
He’d been a Boy Scout, and yet he couldn’t follow a simple piece of paper.
Then, it hit him.
The map didn't coincide with the layout of the building. It was off. Everything was changed!
Flipping it around, he tried going the other way. Again, that didn't work.
Well, shit!
This sucked!
The man promised him that it was the way to find the treasure. He’d sworn to heaven and back that it was going to be the sure fire route to getting rich. That’s the only reason he paid all that money for this run down haunted shithole. If not for the money, he had no ties to this hellish town.
It was a swamp.
A hole.
Now, he was angry.
Heading back to his room, he stormed around trying to figure out what he needed to do. At this rate, he’d be wearing more marks in the carpeting.
In the back of his mind, he wanted to stay and continue, but he knew that he needed to do the right thing.
Already, guilt was building.
He’d lied to his family.
He’d practically stolen his brother’s money.
Yeah, he screwed up.
Picking up the phone, he called the man who contacted him. As he waited for his voicemail to kick in, he prepared to tear him a new one.
“Hey, man! I don’t know what shit you’re pulling, but this map is bogus! I want my money back. You can’t find jack in this house. This was a scam, and if you don’t call me right back, I’m calling the cops!”
He hung up the phone and slammed it down on the desk in his bedroom.
He was furious.
This had pissed him off so much, that he didn't hear the slide of stone. If he did, Jeffery would have felt so much more than just anger.
There would be fear.
Oh, and don’t forget so much alarm.
Instead, while he was lost in his thoughts and rage, more than guilt was coming his way.
Death loomed.
As the shadow crept closer, the heavy pipe was swung, making contact with the back of Jeffery Lamont’s head.
The sickening crunch of bone filled the air. Then, there was the scent of pennies. The coppery tinted smell was there.
The killer watched as Jeffery Lamont crashed to the floor.
Evil was once more victorious as the unconscious man’s body was pulled toward the balcony. There was no need to bury him.
Beneath the balcony sat his watery grave.
The green murk sparkled in the moonlight, giving off an eerie glow.
“You failed, Jeffery. That’s a shame. I thought you’d do a much better job than this. I had hope in you.”

With that, he was heaved over the edge and to his final resting place.
“RIP. I have work to do. You need to be replaced.”
With that, one more victim was claimed to the house that swallowed lives and souls.

“Can no one find this for me?”

Creeping back into the shadows, it was left unanswered.

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