MalevolentHere’s one to look for from Samhain Publishing coming out this November: Malevolent by David Searls.

Description: It feeds on your fear!

It watches. Listens. Learns. It feeds on your deepest fears, your basest instincts and darkest suspicions.

As its grip tightens on neighbors, friends and lovers, it’s up to Tim Brentwood and Griffin Solloway – two clueless slackers who can barely take care of themselves – to confront the nameless terror. As its shadow spreads over the Cleveland neighborhood, Tim wonders whether he can even trust his new friend. Or is there a darker side to Griffin?

The two can only be sure of one thing as their nemesis draws ever closer. Whatever it is, it’s malevolent.

Excerpt: Copyright © 2012 David Searls
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

The blinking sign was a lecherous wink promising fornication in all combinations of number, gender and form. Germaine Marberry stood frozen in revulsion to the sidewalk along the side of the Utica Lane Church of Redemption. The focus of her glare was the shop across the street, its windows slapped with posters featuring knives, guns, oiled-up muscular men and garish buxom women. Even more in the way of titillation (just the word made her blush) was promised behind the black curtain in the corner of the showroom within. Though she’d never been back there, of course, Germaine had heard plenty. She instinctively knew that the DVD cover art alone could send you to the deepest pits of Hell.

It was, as Vincent had called it the other evening in that soft, gentle tone of his, a slap in the face of all Bible-abiding Christians. Especially to those in loyal and regular attendance at the church that stood some fifty yards from that shabby brick, glass and neon sin shop.

“Sin can be found everywhere,” that listless Sarah Lamplighter kept trying to tell her when Germaine let her dissatisfaction with the place pour out.

“In Cleveland, sure, but this is Old Brooklyn,” Germaine had shot back. She had the good sense to stay out of the city’s downtown, but where she did spend her time was in her relatively quiet neighborhood.

Quiet until he moved in.

As if the mere proximity of his shop weren’t insult enough, he—that man—had made the incredibly bad decision to drop in the other day, as though Germaine’s church were some pagan tourist attraction.

“Just curious,” he’d explained with a shrug when confronted by Germaine herself. He’d never seen the inside of the church, he’d told her, and since he spent a lot of time in the neighborhood . . .

Well, she’d put the lid on his curiosity, she had. And now, if her laser glare could cut through brick and plate glass, he’d be writhing in pain in his heathen haven. But since no decent channel for her well-targeted hostility existed, she could do nothing more at this dusky hour than follow the example of the Lamplighters and Kendalls and Vincent himself, and go home from the evening service.

She harrumphed her displeasure one last time before turning her back on that outrageous Broadview Road porno palace and setting her sights for home.

She had an easy three-block walk ahead of her. The sun had slipped behind the roofs of the tidy wood and brick homes crowding the streets, and the mild evening hummed with gasoline lawnmowers spewing the early-season scent of cut grass. Children played, sprinklers sprinkled and cars and bikes used up the perfect early June evening with the haste of a free gift only available while supplies lasted.

She heard and saw little of this, her thoughts still cutting that bearded man down to size for the mockery of his earlier intrusion.

“It’s not enough,” she’d told him, “that you sell your fornicating movies practically right outside our door. Now you have the audacity to stop in. Why don’t you come back tonight when you’ve turned on your blinking pink sign? You can’t miss it from our windows here.”

He hadn’t said a word in reply, just stared at her like she was the one who’d gone off the rails. God, she hoped he’d understood the sarcasm behind the invitation. Last thing she wanted was to actually catch him at the church one night when she was all alone.

Footsteps pounded pavement behind her. Germaine gasped, spun, bent to present a low center of gravity to her assailant.

“Excuse me,” huffed the thin, hard-muscled woman who chugged by in short shorts and a tight, sweat-stained jersey.

Germaine snorted her general contempt for all joggers, especially the middle-aged sinewy women hot to show off their midriffs. Used to be, a grown person on the run had just committed a crime. Now all it meant was that you were getting a cardio workout by nearly stopping the heart of the unsuspecting folk you crept up behind in the dark.

She was only fifty-one, but Germaine had watched society fester. For instance—and she blushed again in the dwindling light—the very public performances of the slutty couples and trios and God-know-what combinations of people in those DVDs in that godawful new shop.

She shuddered. Maybe Vincent ought to explain the effect pornography had on degenerate men with too much time on their hands on account of the economy giving them an excuse to not hold down a job or even try too hard until unemployment ran out—which it never did.

The man’s hairy arm came from nowhere, his thick-fingered hand clamping on her mouth, stoppering her startled bleat. He slammed her face-down to the grass of the tree lawn. Her scream broke into useless, panicky wheezes. When the hand slipped partially free of her mouth, she opened up and let out an unbroken scream, then another, before her head was forced back to the ground, her call muffled by fresh, sweet grass and rich, moist soil.

His soft chuckle sent hot breath into one of her ears and she recognized the timber of that chuckle. She could also hear a horn beeping in the distance and the shush-shush of a revolving sprinkler. Children squealed a half block away and she caught the thudding bass of a cranked-up stereo from a car on the cruise. This could not be happening. Not with the entire neighborhood out enjoying the warn June evening.

The monster’s coarse, nubby beard tickled the back of her neck. One hand clenched her shoulder while the other began to rove.

Oh God, no.

“You’re going to enjoy this,” he grunted.

She didn’t.

Check it out on Samhain’s website: Malevolent

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