Monday, June 16, 2014

The Cistern



It isn’t always what’s in the dark that you should be afraid of…
When Chrys asks her brother, Spencer, for help to clean a foreclosed house for the bank, neither expects their lives to be on the line.  It’s supposed to be a simple Sunday; take pictures…clean out the house…collect the cash.  Chrys and Spencer are plunged into a fight for their lives when the house reveals unspeakable horrors. 
…sometimes things in the light are even more deadly.


“Ah, Chrys.”

The hairs on her arms felt electrified at just the way her brother said her name.  He was already moving forward.

Spencer felt drawn to walk around these inside walls.  There had to be a door or something.  There had to be a reason for them to be there.  He said, “This is a concrete room.  The walls don’t go up.”


“They don’t go all the way to the ceiling.”

“What?  Why?”

The light from Spencer’s cellphone didn’t reach around the corner as he moved toward it.  Shadows were cast and danced.  Why was there a room like this inside the house?  Every horror movie popped through his head.  Pennywise the Clown liked basements.  Zombies often got locked in them.  Freddie Kruger.  Jason.  In his head he saw all of them turning the corner from the far side or maybe crawling along the top of it waiting for the next time he looked up.
“What are you doing?”  Chrys pointed the flashlight on her brother.  
He jumped.  The phone almost fell from his hand.

“You shouldn’t go over there, Spence.  We should just go.”  All of her courage had instantly left.  The only feeling she had at that moment was that they should get out of there.  “I’ve taken pictures.  We should just go.”   Her brother was in the grey shadows and she stood under the light bulb.  She realized her body was trembling.  She looked back toward the family room at the stairs.  All she heard was the fan blowing and turning.  She should have locked the front door.  Somebody could be coming down those stairs right now and they wouldn’t know it. They would be trapped.
“There’s a ladder.”  Spencer stood at the far corner.  The short wall made a ninety degree turn.  It was indeed a square room right underneath the kitchen.

“Spence, come back.”  Chrys watched him disappear around the corner.  She looked out to the family room again. Her head spun to look at the tiny window high on the wall and covered on the outside by the tall grass.  Could someone be watching?  She knew her thoughts and fears were irrational.
“I’m just going to see what’s on top.”

“Forget it.  I have enough pictures.”  She wanted to get out of there.

The closer he got to the ladder, made of rough-cut two by fours, the more Spencer smelled something foul.  It wasn’t that bad from where he stood.  Was this a compost thing?  Something in his head said he had to continue.  He grabbed the top of the ladder and pulled himself up with his phone leading the way.  The dark shadows covered everything behind him.  The phone sent light over the top.  All that was up there was a small skimming net with a metal handle. There was also a square block nailed to a larger square on the top just a foot in front of him.
He took another step up.  Spencer said, “There’s a trap door up here.”

“Shit.  If I give you the camera can you get pictures?”  Chrys forgot about her fears and followed the path her brother had taken.
Spencer grabbed hold of the block and jerked upward on the trap door.  The whole square jumped out of the hole. The foul stench was instantly stronger.  The smell encircled him like a cloud rising from the cube.  It was a mixture of rotting meat and garbage.  If it was a compost then it shouldn’t still smell after a year of sitting there.  Did people really have composts in their houses?  If they did, did they make them with cinderblock walls?  How would they get the stuff out?  He couldn’t see right down through the open hole.  At the angle he was looking all he saw was his light shining off something.  He had to get a better look.

“I think there’s water in there.”

“What?”  Chrys checked behind her.  There was nothing there.  Her stomach churned.  The hairs on her arms still stood up.  Her breaths came quickly.  She turned the corner and pointed the light.  There was the ladder her brother had talked about.  She brought the light up until she saw Spencer’s hiking boots.  “Why don’t you come down?”

“In a second.”  He pulled himself forward.  He had to know how much water was inside this concrete box.  This tomb, he thought.  He put his cellphone flashlight in his palm and reached inside.  There was something in the water. His eyes went wide.  Spencer saw the hands appear out of the black.  Fingers encircled his wrist.  The phone fell from his grasp.  His weight slipped forward. There was nothing in front of his eyes but darkness.

“Spencer?  Fuck, Spencer.”

About Author

Lorne Oliver's greatest joys are his daughter and son. Watching them grow and become young adults is an adventure in itself.
His writing journey started when he was 10 and the school librarian challenged him to publish something and come back to her. The first time he had something published in an anthology she was there at the book launch.

In the past few years Lorne has lived in several areas of Canada.  All of this as fueled the ideas and the world of Spencer and Chrys.

Lorne shares his life with long time partner and wife, Brandi. She challenges him constantly.

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Lorne is an incredibly talented writer. The protective nature for Chrys and Spencer filled my heart from the first page (before you even met them). The murder/mystery genre has always scared me and Lorne didn't fail to further heighten that fear. I cursed a few times at the brother/sister duo for going into places they shouldn't, for opening doors they shouldn't, hell, for not looking in the shadows. My heart raced, my pulse pounded and I swear I jumped out of my seat a few times when hands reached out from the darkness. I kept asking the question "who did it?" each time I turned the page and was left with the dying hope that Lorne wouldn't kill my favorite characters. He left me wanting more and will be impatiently waiting for the next book in this truly exhilarating series.

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