We are beyond excited to be part of the Darkness Series extra special blog tour. The tour has an added dimension, as you visit each blog you will have a short prequel to Claire’s Darkness series.
♥ Author ♥
C.S. Duffy writes psychological suspense thrillers with a healthy dose of black humour. Her background is in film and TV. She has several projects in development in Sweden and the UK and her other writing has appeared in Elle Canada and The Guardian. She is the author of Life is Swede, a thriller that was originally written as a blog – leading several readers to contact Swedish news agencies asking them why they hadn’t reported the murder that features in the blog. She is the author of Dark of Night and Just Before Dawn, a thriller series set in Glasgow which was selected for a Spotlight slot at this year’s Bloody Scotland.
Find Claire at:
♥ Chapter Four ♥
He liked the scratchy noise that the chalk made on the pavement. He shouldn’t really be able to hear it over the din of traffic rumbling by, the people shouting and wind howling, but he could. He had always been able to do things that other people couldn’t.
He drew the arc of the woman’s arm high above her head. There was a pile of bin bags next to the bus stop that were in his way so he shoved them into the road. A car forced to swerve honked angrily, but he was so engrossed in drawing her graceful fingers that he had forgotten all about the bin bags.
The pavement was icy cold and his fingers were numb, but he loved how the chalk melted into the wet tarmac, making her soft and fuzzy like a ghost. He knew what ghosts looked like. He had seen so many, drifting through the darkness, whispering in his ear, teasing him, taunting him, inviting him to join them.
But he didn’t need to join them: he already was a ghost. He had always been a ghost. He existed amongst life, but never within.
He could pretend, when he needed to, to be a real person. He was an excellent pretender. He was so good at pretending he didn’t even need to hide. He existed in plain view. Anyone could see him. But none of them looked.
That was why he needed the dancers.
The dancers saw him.
He had sat with every one of them afterwards. It was an enormous risk, but it was worth it. Once he had even stayed until he heard the bark of a dog nearby at dawn. He had slipped into the shadows seconds before the dog walker spotted her and began to scream. He had heard that delicious scream ring in his ears for weeks afterwards.
Sometimes he wished he could keep a dancer, but there was no point: she never knew him until it was too late. Now, as he knelt on the freezing pavement, his knees raw and soaking, fingers filthy and cold, the sharp stench from the pile of rubbish assaulting him, he felt a warm glow at the memory of all those hours alone with his girls. The craving to for the next one was growing, tugging insistently at the edges of his consciousness. He closed his eyes, feeling that sweet anticipation flood through him.
It wouldn’t be long now, he reassured himself. He finished the drawing and sat back on his heels to admire it. He hadn’t quite got her hair right, he thought in frustration as he gazed at her. There was no brown chalk, and he attempted to improvise by mixing pink and blue and green in the hopes it would turn the chocolate of her neat bob, but the colours stubbornly refused to mingle properly and she looked like a punk rocker.
The thought made him smile. He could picture her with streaks of pink and blue in her hair. It would suit her. He bet she had done that as a teenager, sneaking out past her parents with a woolly hat pulled low over her hair. Maybe he would get one of those sprays from the chemists for when it was her turn, display her as he had drawn her. But even as the thought made him smile, he realised it was too risky. The chemist might read about her in the paper, might remember him buying it — it wasn’t worth it.
He would just have to imagine. He was good at that, he thought, as a bus passed by, spraying a muddy puddle all over him and the dancing girl. Imagining was what he did best.
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