Trespass: A Tale of Mystery and Suspense Across Time (The Darkeningstone Book 1)

TRESPASS
A Tale of Mystery and Suspense Across Time
The Darkeningstone Book I
Mikey Campling

Booktrope Editions

Seattle WA 2015

Copyright 2013, 2015 Mikey Campling

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Attribution
— You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

Noncommercial
— You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

No Derivative Works
— You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

Inquiries about additional permissions should be directed to:
[email protected]

Cover Design by Greg Simanson

Edited by Geoff Wallace & Jason Whited

Previously self-published as
Trespass: The Darkeningstone,
2013

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to similarly named places or to persons living or deceased is unintentional.

Print ISBN 978-1-62015-726-8

EPUB ISBN 978-1-62015-748-0

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015904836

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Thank You for Reading
Trespass

Connect with the Author

Notes

Also by Mikey Campling

About the Author

More Great Reads from Booktrope

For Sue, Jake & Becky

As with all things.

In recognition of Mom, who always liked my stories and in memory of Dad, who was always there.

Chapter 1

2010

IT WAS
A SUNDAY
. My day with Dad. The one day in the week I saw him. That was what they’d agreed. It was supposed to be good, supposed to help me. But somehow it only sharpened the feeling of separation. I could never eat breakfast on a Sunday. I stayed in my room, watched cartoons meant for much younger kids, pretended I wasn’t waiting. And above all, I tried not to listen for the phone, tried not to dread it too much.

It didn’t work. And when the phone rang just minutes before Dad was meant to pick me up, I knew what was coming.

“Jake, I’m really sorry. I can’t make it today.”

“Aw, Dad. Not at all? Not even for ten minutes?”

I heard him sigh.

“No. Not at all. I’m so sorry. I’ve got this interview coming up tomorrow, and I’m just…I’m just not ready.”

“But we were going bowling. It was your idea.”

“Yes. Yes, I know. But…if I get this job it’ll change everything. It’ll mean more money. Then I can move out of this pokey flat and get somewhere better. You could have your own proper room. You could stay over. You could come for weekends, maybe a whole week.”

“But you’ve never taken me bowling before. Never.”

“Oh hell. Look—I’m really sorry. I just can’t. Not today. I’m up to my ears, otherwise I’d definitely…I’d…oh, what’s the use? But listen, I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

“But Dad…”

“Yes?”

“That’s what you said last week.”

* * *

Mum, as always, was furious.

“How could he do that? How could he?”

I looked at the floor, shrugged.

“He’s doing this deliberately. He knows I’m going out with…” She hesitated, gave me a sideways look. “He knows Joel’s taking me out today. Well if your Dad thinks I’m going to drop everything and cover for him, he’s got another think coming.”

I sat, pretended to listen, tried to tune her out. I picked at a tiny hole in the knee of my jeans, my good jeans. I made the threads fray, split apart; watched the hole grow. Mum didn’t even notice.

* * *

So instead of going bowling, I sat in the kitchen on my own. I ate a hastily defrosted lasagne, on my own. Stared at the greasy smears on the empty plate.

I tried phoning Matt—we often hung around together. But his family were going out to a pub for a slap-up Sunday lunch. I tried ringing a couple of other friends, but just got their voicemail. I couldn’t be bothered to leave messages. I went into the lounge, chucked myself down on the sofa and grabbed the remote. I watched trash TV until I started hurling insults at the presenters. “You know what?” I said. “If I didn’t know better, I’d reckon I was talking to myself again.” I smiled to myself, muttered, “I’ve really got to get out more.”

I took the public footpath that goes from the end of our road. As I walked I dragged my feet through the dusty gravel, watched the stones scatter. The dust stung my eyes, I could feel it in my nostrils, taste it in my mouth. I stopped walking and fished in my pocket for a tissue. I blew my nose, spat on the ground, the spit making dark splashes in the pale-grey dust. I rubbed my eyes, blinked. And that’s when something among the dusty stones caught the light.

I scanned the ground, and there it was again. I bent to look closer. It was just a stone—perhaps a little larger and darker than the rest. Nothing special, except that it was veined with bands of some sort of crystal—maybe quartz. Dad would know exactly what the crystal was. He’d be interested. He’d tell me all about it—there’d be no stopping him. I reached toward the stone, already imagining the conversation I’d have with Dad. But as I curled my fingers around it, I hesitated. Would Dad really be interested? Would he? Would he even listen to me? I stood up. “No,” I whispered. “He couldn’t care less.” I swallowed hard, sniffed. Bloody useless; everyone, everything. A complete waste of bloody time. I lashed out, kicked the stone, and sent it skittering along the path. I didn’t want the damn thing. I walked up to it, kicked it again, farther this time. But I could still see it, dark against the grey path. I jogged toward it, planted my left foot perfectly and swung my right with all my strength. My kick connected beautifully. The stone rose into the air, glinting in the light. I watched it bounce and skid along the path. I ran after it, determined to get it out of my sight. But the stone kept rolling. It tumbled across the path, slowed for a moment as it crossed the path’s edge, then rolled under the fence and was gone.

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.

Coming toward me, and already close, were three girls. My heart sank as I recognised them. They went to my school, but two years above me. Matt called them the KFC girls—partly because their names were Keisha, Felicia and Cass, and partly because it suited them. They ruled the roost, or thought they did. They were “popular.” But then, as Matt liked to say, so was the plague. And here they were, all in one bargain bucket. Wasn’t I the lucky one?

I won’t run
, I thought,
I won’t give them the satisfaction. Maybe they’ll just ignore me
. But no—they’d got their eyes on me. I was younger than them, and I was on my own. I was fair game. They knew it, and so did I.

“What you doing, jumping over?”

They snickered.

“Yeah, he’s trying to get away from us.”

“Poor boy, he’s shy.”

I said nothing. Curled my fingers into fists. Tight. Hands hanging at my side, heavy, useless. I shut my eyes for a second, but the wishes didn’t work. The ground did not swallow me up; a heavy object did not fall on the girls.

They swaggered closer, forming a semicircle around me. I automatically stepped back, felt the fence behind me. I was trapped. I lifted my chin, tried to look each of them in the eye. But their faces blurred, their names whirled in my mind. I couldn’t remember which one was which.

The tallest one spoke first. “So what about it then? You going in there? Going to go and play soldiers with the dynamite?”

I remembered then. She was Felicia, the mouthiest one. Cass was the one with all the makeup on—she kept getting into trouble about that at school. So the other girl was Keisha. I looked dumbly from one to the other. Keisha looked me up and down and shook her head, sucked her teeth.

Cass wiggled her eyebrows, said, “Yeah. You going to blow your fingers off like that other kid?”

That was too much for me. “What other kid?” I blurted the words out, surprised at the strength in my own voice.

As one, the girls raised their eyebrows, shifted their heads back, and pursed their lips. My cheeks burned. But I couldn’t stop myself. “What other kid? There was no other kid. It’s all just made up, just…crap.” I’d done it now. I’d gone too far.

Felicia held my gaze, narrowed her eyes. She didn’t like what she saw. I’d broken the rules. I wasn’t supposed to speak to them like that. Now she had to teach me a lesson, make me suffer. My eyes stung. I blinked, tried to stay stony faced, tried not to show the nerves eating away at my stomach. The other two looked at Felicia, waiting for her to decide what to do with me. I waited, stopped myself from biting my lip. Sweat pricked my forehead. I didn’t wipe it away.

And then Felicia laughed. I held my breath. The other girls shared a look, then took their cue, laughed along. I took a breath and almost joined in. Almost. But it was joyless laughter. And they hadn’t taken their hard eyes off me. Not for a second.

Felicia said, “Oh my god, girls. We’ve got a live one.”

“Yeah,” said Cass. “Real live wire.”

Keisha cackled. “That’s right. He don’t look like he’s got it in him.”

Felicia stopped laughing, shook her head and looked away. I thought that was it. I thought she’d had her fun, lost interest in me. The tightness in my stomach relaxed a little. But it wasn’t over yet.

Without warning, she turned, stepped close to me—too close. Suddenly her right hand was in front of my face. I flinched, followed her accusing finger as it pointed at my left eye, my right. Her voice was a harsh whisper. “But you listen to me, live wire. It don’t matter what you think, you don’t talk to us like that. You don’t disrespect us. ‘Cos if Cass says there was this kid who blew his fingers off, then there
was
, and you don’t get to say any different. That right, Cass?”

“Right. ‘Cos it was a mate of my brother’s what told me. And you know my brother, don’t you?”

It wasn’t a question. I nodded anyway.

Keisha didn’t want to be left out. “Unless you’re saying Cass’s brother’s a liar. Are you calling her brother a liar? Do you want us to tell him you called him a liar?”

My mouth wouldn’t work for a second. “No. That’s not…I mean…no. I didn’t mean that. I just thought it was, you know…an urban myth.” It sounded pathetic.

Felicia sniggered. “Looks like little live wire’s lost his spark.”

Keisha said, “Yeah.
Loose
wire more like.”

Felicia was suddenly all boredom and contempt. She sucked her teeth. “Yeah, more like
loser
. I should’ve known it. This one’s a waste of our time, girls. He’s not going anywhere, he’s not doing anything.”

Cass agreed. “Yeah. He’s doing nothing.” She sniggered. “And we thought he was going in there. Look at him. He couldn’t get over that fence, even if he did have the bottle.”

“Which he definitely does not,” Keisha added.

They studied me, utterly unimpressed. And waited.

A silence.

I looked at each of them in turn. What did they want from me? What could I do to make them leave me alone? “All right,” I said. “I’ll do it.” I swallowed, but it was too late to take the words back. “I’ll climb over.” The KFC girls didn’t speak, didn’t react. There was no way they were going to let me off the hook now. I blundered on. “I can do it,” I said. “It doesn’t bother me.” I turned to face the fence, stretched up. “See,” I said. “I can reach the top.” And it was almost true.

“Yeah, right,” Felicia said. “And that’s as far as it goes.”

“No,” I said. “Just you watch.” And I was doing it. Jumping, grabbing the top of the fence, hauling myself up. My feet slipped against the smooth surface. I grunted, willed myself upwards. One more heave, and I was there, at the top. I turned and sat on the narrow edge, facing my audience. I’d done it. I’d shown them. But what was going on? They weren’t even looking. They had their heads together, muttering. “Hey,” I said. “I told you I could. Easy.”

They looked up, as if surprised that I was still there. Keisha said, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Felicia just curled her lip.

Cass said, “What about…you know…” She cast me a dark look. “Shouldn’t we tell him?”

“What?” I said. “Tell me what?”

Keisha thought for a moment, tutted. “Listen,” she said. “See that old guy up there?” She angled her head back along the path. I twisted around to see, but the path curved out of sight.

“No one there,” I said. “You’re winding me up.”

But Keisha shook her head, genuinely exasperated. “Look,” she said. “Properly.”

I twisted farther, leaned forward as far as I dared. And that’s when he came around the bend in the path. The man was old. He had the usual brown overcoat, the flat cap, the walking stick. But he was no hunched dawdler. This man was tall, impressive. His shoulders were broad, his back straight. And he didn’t walk; he marched, swinging his walking stick, stabbing it into the ground as he went.

And beside him trotted a dog. The dog was…huge, but that isn’t the right word—it was
imposing.
It was part Alsatian, part wolf. Suddenly it stopped. It had seen us. It sidled away from its owner, clearly not on a lead. But so what? Surely the infamous KFC girls were not worried by one old man and his dog?

The old man looked to his dog, followed its gaze. He stood still, stared—first at the girls then at me. Even from a distance it was uncomfortable. I opened my mouth to say something, but the look on Keisha’s face stopped me. A shout—the old man calling his dog. I watched it dart to his side, where it stood, alert. The old man looked down at his dog, said something quietly. Then slowly, deliberately, he turned his attention back to me. “Oh my god,” I whispered. “He’s going to –” I didn’t get to finish. The old man cut me off, bellowed a single word: “Set!” He raised his stick, pointed it at me, jabbed it in the air. The dog launched forward. It didn’t bark, it didn’t swerve. It just pelted across the space between us, closing me down. And the old man set off after it, marching as fast as he could. And all the time he was shouting—furious, rambling. “I’ve got you,” he shouted. “I’ve got you this time!” What had I ever done to him? He must’ve made a mistake. “No,” I said. I shook my head. “No, not me.” But no one was listening to me. And no one cared that I didn’t deserve this.

Other books

Final del juego by Julio Cortázar
Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois, Brenda Clark
Love Always by Ann Beattie
Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe
On The Ropes by Cari Quinn
The Devil's Surrogate by Jennifer Jane Pope
Cosmic Rift by James Axler
The Stone Giant by James P. Blaylock