Haunted by the death of her husband and only child, Elinor Gentry’s recurring nightmares have left her exhausted. She’s crippled by debt, and only the remnants of her former life surround her, things she can’t bear to sell, and wouldn’t make much profit from if she did. Then, for no apparent reason, the nightmares transform into pleasant dreams. Dreams that lead her to take back control of her life.
A string of horrific and unexplained suicides–and an unnerving discovery about Elinor herself—lead her best friend to seek help from the one person who has seen all this before, and things begin to spiral out of control. Hazel Messinger knows that Elinor’s newly found wellbeing is not what it seems, and Hazel’s not about to let the demon inside remain there permanently.
Marnie looked around for any larger windows but they were all the same. “I’m sure Elinor keeps a spare front door key in the kitchen. In one of the drawers. I’ll go and check.” She scurried into the hall.
And stopped, halted by the chill.
What was that? A faint, whooshing sound. Where from? Her palms were sweating. Her breath coming in short, shallow pants. She couldn’t delay. She must find that key. To the left of her was the living room and to the right, past the stairs, the kitchen.
Straight ahead was the front door. Maybe she would be in luck, and Elinor would have only locked the Yale. She hurried down the short hall and tried it. She lucked out. Locked with the mortise, just as she’d guessed.
Marnie turned back to see something creeping down the stairs, black and amorphous, serpentine in its movements.
She froze, horrified. Heard a scream. Hers.
She rushed into the kitchen and at the side door saw another mortise lock, with no key.
The thing on the stairs must be closing in on her. She wouldn’t be able to get past it to the conservatory. Pray God Elinor kept all her spare keys together.
Marnie frantically rummaged through drawers filled with tablecloths and tea towels, heedless as they spilled onto the floor. Hearing the swishing sound draw near, she fumbled through the cutlery drawer. On one side of the cutlery tray lay a bunch of three similar keys, all for mortise locks. “Lucky,” she murmured. The side door was closest. She could open that and call to Hazel from there.
But by then, Hazel was banging on that door.
Yelling something Marnie couldn’t make out. Behind her, the whooshing sound was almost on her.
She dashed to the door and jammed key after key into the lock with shaking fingers. The third key worked, and Marnie turned the handle, wrenched it open and was met with a white-faced Hazel on the doorstep. But she wasn’t looking at Marnie.
By the angle of her head, Hazel was looking into the house. “Marnie, get out here. And whatever you do, don’t turn round.”
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