Today I am so pleased to welcome Eric Arvin to Joyfully Jay. Eric has come to share an exclusive excerpt from his latest release, The Rascal. He has also brought along a tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Eric a big welcome!
As they climbed, Chloe noticed the house looked less foreboding with each step. Instead, it became desolate and pleading. Paint chipped from its sides like leaves from a tree. The wind shook the windows in their frames so that the house seemed to shake and sigh in despair. To one side of the house was what, at one time, must have been a stunning piece of garden and yard. It was now grown over, though. Thick vines and an army of weeds would not give back the statuary and walkway. There was a fatigued beauty to the scene. It expressed a rotted class. Above it, as was the case all around, the sky was a blighted white, and where it met the sea, there was an indifferent fusion.
The place settings at the table were meticulous and lovely. They were like ornaments from a different, wealthier dollhouse. The china gleamed as Lana Pruitt poured Chloe and Jeff each a cup of tea, then one for herself. There was a tray of sugar cookies in the center of the table. They would not be touched, however. And there were no napkins. The wind that circled the big house forbade them.
Chloe saw a rifle leaning against the house by the door.
“Don’t worry,” Lana said. “That’s not for you. It’s for all the damn nuisances that crawl up the hill.”
“Pests.” Lana said no more about it. She took a sip of her tea.
After a few moments of dangerous silence, but for the wind and the water down below as it crashed on the rocks, Chloe couldn’t take it anymore. Silence was intent on driving her mad today. “It’s a lovely day… a lovely place.”
“Don’t invite me to the cottage,” Lana said. It was blunt, but not mean.
“What? I didn’t mean—”
“I won’t come. I haven’t been past the tree line on the hill in years. I’ve never set foot in the cottage and I don’t intend to.”
Chloe looked at Jeff. He seemed undisturbed by the actress, but he was studying her. As if she wasn’t real and he was looking for a trick to the illusion.
“Never? But there are pictures…”
Lana gave her a suddenly interested glare.
“Old pictures of you and…”
“Oh, those.” The actress waved her hand dismissively. “My husband spent a lot of time in the little place with my daughter.” She stopped and quickly took another sip of tea. “He fixed it up for her. You know, like a playhouse.”
“Quite a playhouse.” It was the first thing Jeff had said.
Lana made a gesture as if swatting away the conversation. “Other things,” she said. “There are other things you should know about the cottage.”
Shadows, Chloe wanted to say. Are there shadows? But she said nothing. She wanted to believe that it was simply nerves for just a little bit longer so that all her plans would not be for naught.
Lana continued. “The barn out back is very old. Maybe too old. It might need to be demolished altogether. There’s a well in front of it. I think there is a stone that covers its mouth now, but just know it’s there. Be careful.” She looked at Jeff. It was a strange look of warning.
Lana is a faded movie star who lives alone in a big house on a hill that overlooks the sea. She has lived this way since the death of her daughter and the disappearance of her husband.
Jeff and Chloe are a couple who live in a cabin below the big house. It was Chloe’s idea to strengthen their marriage; but she see’s now that it isn’t working. Jeff has become obsessed with the cabin and the old water well. Chloe only sees strangeness around her.
One night while talking on the computer with Ethan, Jeff’s brother, a feeling of dread comes to the fore. When Ethan see’s a figure behind Chloe, he leaves his boyfriend and baby and sets out to save Jeff.
Chloe, Ethan and Lana come together to fight an evil that would destroy Jeff. Will they succeed or will all of them fall to the taste of a young cannibalistic ghost?
The Rascal will be available from third parties on October 14th.
“Some of [Arvin’s] work is as direct as Hemingway with the sensitivity of O’Connor or Shields, and yet others nuanced as if Maupin wrote a letter to Penthouse.” – Thom Fitzgerald, director THE HANGING GARDEN
Eric Arvin resides in the same sleepy Indiana river town where he grew up. He graduated from Hanover College with a Bachelors in History. He has lived, for brief periods, in Italy and Australia. He has survived brain surgery and his own loud-mouthed personal demons. Eric is the author ofmWoke Up In A Strange Place, Subsurdity, Simple Men, Galley Proof, and various other sundry and not-so-sundry writings. He intends to live the rest of his days with tongue in cheek and eyes set to roam.
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