Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Stephen J Carter is a Canadian living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He writes novels and shorter fiction in multiple genres: Science Fiction, Supernatural Romance, Horror, and Historical. He completed a PhD at York University in Toronto, Canada.
What inspired you to write your book?
A recent poster for a horror movie showed in the background an old empty house at night, and three 20’s home invaders in the foreground. Far up at the top in a dark window stood an old man in silhouette looking out. The figure looks phantasmal and threatening. That image struck me and my story Gudrun was inspired by it.
Here is a short sample from the book:
A door opened at the top of the stairs. Moonlight fell on the steps and scrolled down the wall to the left. She stepped fully into view, and stood in silhouette looking down at me. She turned to the side a bit, and her right arm was revealed, and the right side of her face. I caught my breath – a half-profile of soft pale features, a narrow nose and high forehead, and a neutral smile. She half-bowed, paused, and then backed away, leaving the door open.
I started up. When I stepped inside she was at the window looking out, her back to me. As I walked over I noticed how large the room was, impossibly so given the house’s dimensions, and promptly forgot it.
“The view is beautiful here, no?” she said to the window.
I murmured a reply. “Do you live here?” I asked, knowing she couldn’t, given the house’s condition.
“After a fashion,” she said.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Gudrun. And you?”
“Do you want to kiss me, Michael?”
She whirled around, her hands turned in, resting lightly on her collarbone. We looked at each other, our eyes not darting about or nervous. We just looked into each other, ignoring the rest. The moment clicked into place and we both leaned forward, our lips touching. I felt her hands on my chest as we leaned in, deeper.
We pulled apart, swaying. As our breathing slowed we turned and looked out at the moonlit bay, immensely at ease.
“I must …” I said to the window.
I felt her nod. “Return to me, Michael,” she said.
“In three days.”
“Why that night?”
“It’ll be a full moon. I can leave with you.”
I turned and looked at her. “For how long?”
“One night only. Can you bring me back, early the following morning?”
She nodded to a figure standing in the moonlight outside. “Your friend is looking for you.”
“My brother,” I corrected. “In three days then.” I turned and she grabbed my arm and pulled me close.
Moments later I stepped outside and walked down the pathway to our boat. Rick was waiting.
“Where were you? I checked this whole area. You weren’t even in the house because I looked there too.”
“I walked along the shore and then doubled back.”
He nodded. “That house is a wreck inside. Half the floor is missing. And the basement is flooded.”
I looked back at the now-empty window. “I bet the second floor is OK.”
“Funny, Mike. It might be OK, if there was a second floor.”
I looked at him as he lifted the boat’s bow and shoved it out. I looked back at the lighthouse, and the single story ruin of a house. It was true.
I wondered if I’d imagined it all, imagined her.