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Published by Bloodhound Books
4th October 2022
Psychological thriller/suspense

The Pact

- Chapter 1 -

Ele, Epping Forest - 15 days and counting


Is that really you?

          Facebook was just the best, wasn’t it? You know, sometimes Ele wanted to write back: No, it’s not me, so bog off! There were times when she wondered why she’d even set up an account. Work-related, a necessary evil and most definitely not for social contact. But this time, she saw the name. He had to be joking. After all these years? Michael. Michael Storm. Not Mike, or Mickey, or Mick.

          ‘You wouldn’t call one of the greatest archangels, Mickey, now would you?’ he’d said.

          ‘It’s got a ring to it,’ Ele had said. She could never work out if he was being ironic, comparing himself to the most beautiful of God’s creatures. Or if he believed it. Believed his own hype. She wouldn’t put it past him. And he was so beautiful.

          ‘Bastard!’ It was as if she’d suddenly stuffed a handful of bird’s eye chillies into her mouth, cheeks burning, eyes watering but not crying. No, never crying. She felt as though the room had filled with sand up to her chin, ready to smother. Breathe now. Breathe.

          Ele leant back into her computer chair, her fingers tweaking a long twine of chestnut-hued hair free from where she’d scraped it back into a ponytail. Why now? Jesus wept!

          ‘Fuck you, Michael Storm.’

          Ele got up from the desk to make a mug of tea, leaving the friend request sitting there, sort of pulsing at her.

          Is that really you?

          Filling the kettle, Ele threw a tea bag into her mug and opened the fridge door. Don’t cry. Never cry over him. It was strange. By the time she came to make her cup of tea, the milk in the bottle in her hand was warm and the kettle had cooled. Ele shook herself. Cobwebs filled her head; tiny spider legs tickling inside her skull, cocooning her thoughts. How much time had she lost? Ten minutes? An hour? More? Please, God, not this again. Not now.

          Closing the fridge door slowly, she reached for a tin on the side. Salted caramel cake. Not bothering to take it out, she pushed her hand into the soft sponge and sticky icing, stuffing more and more into her mouth until it became hard to swallow and there were only crumbs and smears of cream left.

          Head pounding with pain, Ele glanced at the computer, but the screen had gone dark. She knew the message was still there. What should she do? Who could she talk to? Mum and Dad? No, they’d take it the wrong way. Maria? Hell no. Hadn’t she learnt her lesson yet?

15 days and counting until all hell breaks loose… A get-together reveals dark secrets that
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