Trespass: A Tale of Mystery and Suspense Across Time by Mikey Campling
Series: The Darkeningstone #1
Published by Booktrope on April 24, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
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Three stories, separated by five thousand years, united by one deadly secret:
Somewhere, sometime, the stone is waiting.
Trespass combines gritty, edgy modern-day action with a thrilling adventure across time.
Discovered over 5,000 years ago, the Darkeningstone affects everyone who finds it. Jake was too smart to believe the rumours about Scaderstone Pit, but now he's in more danger than he could ever have imagined.
In 1939, as World War II looms, the lives of two men will be changed forever.
Over 5,000 years ago, a hermit will keep the stone a secret. But someone is watching him - someone with murder in his heart.
When it finds you, what will you see when you look into The Darkeningstone?
From Chapter 1
I stood, looking stupidly at the fence, getting my breath back. The anger drained away, left me empty. Maybe I should’ve taken the stone after all. Perhaps Dad would’ve been interested. Maybe I should’ve given him that chance. But it was too late now. The stone was gone for good. The fence was close-boarded and maybe two metres high. And beyond it was Scaderstone Pit—the old quarry. There was no way I was going in there just to get a stupid lump of rock.
For a moment, the stupid stories about the quarry ran through my mind: the rumours of deadly toxic waste, dumped in the dead of night; the urban myth of the small boy who’d picked up a stick of discarded dynamite, only to have it blow up in his hand. I snorted. The truth would be much less exciting—it usually was. There would be weeds, an old mattress and a supermarket trolley. Still, the place held my thoughts for a moment. The fence was so solid, so forbidding. I wonder, I thought, what’s it really like in there?
Then I smiled, shook my head. A load of rubbish—in every sense of the word. I turned to go. And that was when I realised I was no longer alone on the path.
From Chapter 2
WAECCAN WAS OLD—unnaturally so, some said. He slept an old man’s fitful sleep, riddled with disconnected dreams, muddled with distant memories. But tonight it is not his dreams that disturb him, but something real—something alive, something close.
Waeccan snapped awake, lurched upright, called out into the darkness. “Who’s there? Father? Is
Waeccan shivered. What had woken him? What had he heard? He shook his head to rouse himself, dispel the confusion of waking. It didn’t help. He was drained, couldn’t think properly, hadn’t been able to for days—not since…
His father’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “No, my son. Don’t think of that. Don’t let fear steal your thoughts.”
“No, Father.” But he had heard something. Something nearby. Whispering or rustling, like someone wading through dead leaves.
“Hold your breath, Waeccan, listen.”
Silence. If he could hear it again, he could identify it. An animal perhaps; the pounce of a night hunter, the scrabbling of its prey. He’d often heard these sounds on nights as still as this. So why was he so afraid?
The answer pushed itself to the front of Waeccan’s weary mind—it was him; the stranger, the intruder, the sinister interloper who’d slipped secretly into Waeccan’s world. It was no use denying it. Waeccan shuddered. Who was the intruder, and why had he come to torment him? Waeccan did not know, but one thing he had discovered—the intruder was inhumanly stealthy. He could easily have crept close, could even have stolen into his hut as he slept. Waeccan rubbed his eyes, scanned anxiously for any sign of trespass. Moonlight shone through the hut’s doorway, threw mischievous shadows onto the stone walls. There was nothing out of place. But that proved nothing, gave no comfort. What should he do?
“Father? Father, I…”
“Shh, Waeccan. Listen again. Close your eyes. Focus your senses, as I taught you. Listen.”
Waeccan tried. Despite his fear he closed his eyes, let his breathing slow and allowed the ambience of his familiar world to wash over him, flow through him. There was nothing. All was as it should be. Waeccan opened his eyes. Whatever had woken him was no longer nearby. Or so he hoped.
BURLIC BARELY NOTICED the sounds of the village fading into the distance as he strode into the night. He thought only of Waeccan. And revenge.
Ahead, the path led into the forest. Into darkness. Into wind-creaked branches and shifting shadows. Into the lair of the spirits, the Shades. This is their time, Burlic thought. This is their forest. He should stop, turn back. He stumbled, tripping over his feet, but he did not slow his pace.
“Just you wait, Waeccan,” he muttered. “You can’t stop me with your trickery now.”
Next to the path, a broad oak stood solid, unmoved by the breeze. And yet its shadow stirred. Burlic did not see. He blundered ahead, noticed nothing. Soon, it would be too late.
Beneath the tree, a man watched, waited. Clumsy and careless, he thought. This shouldn’t be too difficult after all. He readied himself. Waited. He had been waiting for a long time. Now he could hear Burlic’s every breath. He tensed. His moment had almost come. A heartbeat. And then he pounced.
There was barely a whisper of rushing air as he launched himself at Burlic. Even so, Burlic managed to turn to face the danger, his hand flashed to his knife, his knees bent, ready to fight. But it was not enough. Someone was on him, and Burlic was down, flat on his back, the breath crushed from his body. His assailant loomed above him, his weight pressing him down, pinning his arms to his sides. Burlic gritted his teeth, sucked in a breath and strained to free his arms. But it was no use. There was no escape.
WAECCAN OFTEN SAW wondrous things while kneeling at the Darkeningstone. Every day in the chill, damp predawn air, he ignored the pain in his knees and his back and concentrated fiercely on the bright lines of colour trapped within the deep, black stone. Each day he went into a trance, forgot the pit, forgot his father, forgot his loneliness and his pain. He was frail from too many years with not enough food and too much hard work. He couldn’t keep his body steady for long. And as he wavered gently to and fro, it seemed that the lights danced and spun, twirling into dizzying patterns, shifting into shapes: people, animals, strange creatures. Sometimes, his tired eyelids drifted down, and then…and then the visions were glorious. There was no one to watch, no one to shake him awake. This was his daily routine, his life.
But now his routine was turned upside down. Now, it wasn’t dawn but dusk as Waeccan climbed the stairway. Now, instead of knowing peace, his mind burned with unanswered questions. “The Shades will show me what to do,” he muttered. “My father will send me a sign.” The words gave him strength, drove him onwards, upwards. He must reach the top. “Not much farther,” he said.
The blood rushed, hissed in his ears, mingled with his father’s voice: “Don’t stop now,” it whispered. “If you stop, you’ll give up. Don’t fail me. Don’t stop now.”
Waeccan dare not pause to catch his breath. He climbed on, forcing himself upwards, ignoring the pain in his legs, his back. But there was a price, each step steeper than the last, each breath a battle. Sweat ran from his wrinkled brow, but he didn’t have time to wipe it away. His legs ached as though they’d been torn apart. He’d worked hard all day, and then, as he’d waited by his hut, he’d been so anxious he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink. Waeccan shook his head. The ground shifted, swayed beneath his feet. He fought for balance, took another step. He couldn’t see properly, the world blurred, lost its colour. Stumbling, he climbed onto the next step. His chest tightened. He gasped, fought for breath—he must not stop.
Matt bit his lip and shook his head.
“If we sit tight and keep quiet, they won’t come up here. They probably won’t even find the steps.”
“Why not?” Matt said. “You did.”
“But only because Cally—the girl—only because she told me where to go.”
Matt covered his face with his hands. “Oh my god,” he muttered.
I sat very still, listening. A breeze in the treetops, a rustle in the undergrowth behind us, but nothing from the quarry floor. Maybe it would be all right. We hadn’t left a trail to follow or any other clues—had we? Oh no. “Matt,” I whispered. “What did you do with those tools?”
Matt winced. “I…I don’t know. I think I put them back down on the stone slab.” Matt closed his eyes for a second. “Yes,” he said. “I put them back where we found them—on the top. Why?”
I shook my head. “You idiot,” I said. “If they come up here, they’ll see them. Then they’ll come over here and see us.”
Matt swallowed hard. “I’ll get them,” he said.
I put my hand on his arm, shook my head. “No. Stay down.”
I cut him off. “Matt,” I said. “Stay down. I’ll get them. I brought you in here. Don’t blame yourself, blame me.” I uncurled myself. It had to be now. If I waited, I’d lose my nerve. I knelt up, peered over the edge of the stone. There was no sign of anyone. I’d do anything, I thought, give anything, if only we could get out of here unscathed. I should’ve known that wasn’t going to happen.
The tools were on top of the stone platform, but they were on the far side and at the far end—out of reach. If I lay on the stone and stretched across I could probably grab them. But lying down on that stone—the last time I’d done that it had scared the hell out of me. Maybe I could sneak out from behind the bank and go around the other side. Could I make it in time?
A whistle. Another in reply. They were nearer now. Much nearer. I strained to hear through the noise of the wind in the trees. There was another sound. Regular. Closer. Yes. The sound of someone walking through the undergrowth—someone moving carefully, trying to be silent but not quite managing it; someone just below us; someone near the steps that ran up to the ledge.
Voices, low, muttering. That meant there were at least two of them nearby. I couldn’t make out any words at first, and then it came—the one thing I’d been dreading.