Here it is (*drumroll*)…the Prologue to Creeping Shadow (Book One in The Rise of Isaac Series)

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for (actually it’s the moment I’ve been fretting about and preparing for all day!) here is the prologue to Creeping Shadow. It’s 2261 words in length so grab a biscuit or a mcmuffin (or something of the equivalent) and pleeeeasseeee have a read! Everyone who does will win the unicorn award (though this may not be an actual, physical award you’ll know deep down that you’re a beautiful unicorn and that’s surely award enough?) It also has it’s very own page on my website so you can also find it here. Enjoy!

The Girl in the Road

Ten Years Ago

Alison gripped the steering wheel tightly, her wedding band pinching her skin as it caught on the

leather. A stream of headlights briefly illuminated the beaded droplets hitting the windscreen and

the view beyond was momentarily distorted before a squeal of wiper blades cleared the glass.

Heavy clouds curtained the sky, casting the world into dismal tones of blue and grey. The

traffic trundled along at a painfully slow rate and the glaring red of brake lights intermittently

punctuated the gloom. Alison leant her cheek against the window to see how far she was from the

turning.

Thump.

She ignored the noise and squinted in an attempt to improve her vision.

Thump.

She gritted her teeth in concentration and slowed to a halt as the car in front of her stopped

dead.

Thump.

Oliver, that’s enough,” she said, resting a hand firmly on her son’s knee as his dirty

wellington boot kicked out towards the glove compartment once more.

He grinned and she raised an eyebrow at him before releasing his leg.

Alison turned her attention back to the road, digging her nails into the soft material of the steering wheel. Sirens cut through the monotonous hum of idiling engines and flashing red and blue lights caught her eye in the rearview mirror.

A fire engine blared its horn as it passed on their left and Oliver sat bolt upright in his seat,

watching it go by. An ambulance followed it closely and stopped a few hundred feet up ahead of

them.

Alison edged forward as the traffic began to move once more. She spotted the turning and

keenly pressed her foot down on the accelerator.

The car in front swerved onto the other side of the road, revealing a chaotic scene beyond it.

An overturned vehicle lay in the middle of the tarmac surrounded by the emergency services. A

police officer was guiding the traffic around the devastation.

“What happened to that car Mummy?” Oliver asked quietly.

“Someone’s had an accident,” Alison said softly, catching a glimpse of a man on a stretcher.

A sick feeling stirred inside her stomach as she indicated and quickly turned the car down a

narrow lane.

Trees crowded over the road, casting the lane in darkness so she flicked on the headlights to

banish the shadows. They drifted along the winding lane until the sound of sirens faded into the

distance and they left the main road far behind.

The rain suddenly gave way to a heavy fog and Alison braked, causing the wheels to skid on

the mess of dead leaves that littered the ground.

Her heart fluttered and she took a shaky breath to calm herself.

“You okay?” she asked, glancing at Oliver but he was distracted by something ahead of

them.

“There’s someone out there,” he whispered, leaning forward in his seat and narrowing his

eyes.

Alison snapped her head back to face the front. She watched as the fog lifted, revealing a

solitary figure beneath the bowing trees that encaged the road. The woodland swayed and leaned

from a blustery wind but the person remained perfectly still, watching, waiting.

“Who’d be out in this weather?” she mumbled as she manoeuvred the car away from the

roadside to give them a wide berth.

The mist descended once more so that a swirling cloud of white swallowed the road and the

figure disappeared behind it.

“I think he’s waiting for us,” Oliver said in a quiet voice.

Alison went to respond but was silenced by a flash of purple light. It radiated throughout the

mist, momentarily illuminating the curling tendrils of the fog as they moved across the road.

She slowed the car to a halt with a low squeal of the brakes, thumbing her wedding ring

instinctively. She swallowed in an attempt to dislodge the lump that had risen in her throat.

“Mum, what is it?” Oliver asked in a hushed voice, a look of fright registering in his eyes.

Alison worried at her bottom lip with her teeth and didn’t answer.

“Perhaps we should go back,” she whispered after a moment, not removing her eyes from

the road.

Just as she pressed her foot to the clutch, the fog swirled and the figure emerged. The man

strode toward them; he was tall, dark and shrouded by shadow. The headlights cast an eerie glow in the

mist around him but his face remained obscured beneath a hood. He raised his hands towards the

car and purple fire ignited within his palms, flaring at them threateningly.

A breath caught in Alison’s throat and she lifted a trembling hand to her mouth, her fingers

brushing her parted lips. He closed his right hand, extinguishing the flames that flickered in his

palm, and beckoned for her to exit the car.

Alison tentatively reached for the door handle.

“Where are you going?” Oliver asked in alarm.

“Just lock the car when I get out,” Alison said, her voice shaking as she undid her seatbelt.

Every fibre in her body advised against it, but she was drawn toward the man with a

desperate and hopeful longing that she couldn’t ignore.

She fumbled to tuck her long, blonde hair into the hood of her raincoat and exited the

vehicle.

“Mummy don’t leave me!” Oliver cried, scrambling after her across the driver’s seat.

Alison shut the door firmly and pressed the button on her key before he could follow. A click

sounded as the car locked and she fumbled the keys into her pocket.

The mist clung to her skin as she turned towards the road and a gust of wind flung her hood

back so that her hair whipped around her face in a flutter of blonde strands. The rain drummed

against the tarmac and the trees creaked and groaned as the wind bent them to their limits.

She blinked out into the darkness, her eyes falling on the figure. The man turned and walked

away causing the mist to snake around his body as he cut a path through it.

Wait,” she called urgently, hurrying forwards.

She glanced back, not wanting to stray far from Oliver but the man’s presence drew her

onwards. He stopped at the side of the road and waited, his stance hauntingly familiar to her.

Her heart hammered as she approached him. “William?” she asked quietly, her bottom lip quivering.

She could sense his gaze on hers, though his features were still concealed beneath the

shadow of his hood. The man turned abruptly and strode into the trees. He pressed his palms

together to smother the last of the flames and was instantly swallowed by darkness.

“No,” Alison breathed then bolted after him.

She stumbled as her foot caught on something. She looked down and a gasp escaped her

throat.

It was a child. She must have been around six years old, the same age as her son.

Alison dropped to her knees beside the girl and pushed a mop of blonde hair away from her

pale face. Her eyes were heavy with dark circles and her lips were a worrying shade of blue. She

wore only a thin, summer dress that was soaked through to the skin.

Alison pressed two fingers to the girl’s neck and found the steady beat of a pulse. She

glanced back to the road, hoping to see the pinpricks of headlights heading towards them. She

cursed when she saw none and rummaged in her pocket for her phone. It was dead, though she was

certain that it had been fully charged.

“Dammit,” she hissed, staring at the girl as she decided what to do.

Alison gritted her teeth and lifted the child into her arms, sparing a last, hopeful glance back

toward the trees as she turned to her car.

She hurried over, awkwardly retrieving the keys from her pocket and opening it with a click.

She wrenched the back door open and laid the girl across the seat. The child groaned and Alison

relaxed marginally. She was still alive.

Oliver was craning over the passenger seat to look at her. “Is she okay?” he asked, his eyes

wide in alarm.

“I think so, but we need to get her to a hospital,” Alison said, keeping her voice as calm and

level as she could manage.

Alison shut the back door and returned to the driver’s seat. Oliver was still looking around at

the girl.

“Get your seatbelt back on,” she instructed, pulling him around to face the front.

He strapped himself in and she accelerated down the road.

***

Alison sped into the hospital car park and stopped outside Accident and Emergency,

throwing Oliver a quick smile.

“Here we are. Let’s go. Put your raincoat on,” she said.

Alison scooped the girl off of the back seat and rushed towards the entrance whilst Oliver

splashed his way across puddles behind her. She sprinted through the hospital doors, nudging

people aside as she went. She skidded to a halt at the front desk, her wet shoes squeaking on the

floor.

The receptionist sprang to her feet and pressed a button on the console in front of her. “What

happened?” she asked as a shrill buzzing sounded in the ward behind her.

“I found her in the road. I don’t know if she was hit by a car o-or,” she stuttered, thinking of

the man who had led her to the child. “She’s unconscious!” Alison blurted, adjusting her hold on the

girl.

The woman gave a sharp nod and turned expectantly at the sound of a squeaking wheel. A

short man appeared, hurrying towards them with a hospital trolley.

“Lay her down here,” the man instructed.

Alison gently placed the girl on the mattress. She leant over her, brushing the wet mop of

hair out of the girl’s face. She stepped aside as the man pushed the trolley back into the ward.

Alison gripped Oliver’s shoulder firmly and gave him a half smile. She felt tears spring to

her eyes and wiped them away with the back of her damp sleeve.

“Are you alright, Mummy?” Oliver looked up at her.

“I’m fine, Olly.” She sniffed then lifted Oliver into her arms, kissing his cold, wet cheek.

“Where can we wait?” she asked the receptionist.

“Down the hall and to the left.” She gave them a sympathetic smile as Alison nodded and

walked away.

***

Alison hadn’t had to wait long before police had shown up to question her. At first they

seemed suspicious but, once she had taken a breathalyser test and answered their questions, their

attitude had softened towards her. She had neglected to mention the figure in the road. In hindsight,

she wasn’t sure whether it was right to protect a man on the assumption that he was her husband.

Just over an hour had passed and they had heard nothing.

She was unable to keep Oliver occupied any longer and his boredom was beginning to show.

His damp clothes were sticking to him which was only contributing further to his already

aggravated state.

Muuum, when are they going to let us see her?” he moaned.

“Not much longer, Olly,” she said with a sigh, running her fingers through his hair.

“We’ve been waiting for hours.”

“Don’t exaggerate. I’m sure we’ll hear something soon,” she said. “Why don’t you draw a

nice picture for her?”

“Mmm, okay!” he said with renewed enthusiasm and returned to the table in front of him,

reaching for a pencil.

Alison sat back in her chair and anxiously picked at the pink nail varnish on her fingernails.

The once-busy waiting room had diminished to a sparse few who were slowly called away until

only one remained. She picked the last stubborn flake of varnish from the tip of her index finger and

brushed the remnants from her knees absentmindedly.

“Would you like to see her now?” a voice spoke.

Alison looked up to see the receptionist smiling at her kindly.

“Yes,” she said, jumping to her feet.

Oliver grabbed his picture and hurried to keep up as the receptionist led them down a

corridor.

When Alison opened the door, the girl was lying in bed. Her eyes flickered open as they

entered the room and Alison’s gaze locked with the child’s bright green irises. Something instinctive

stirred inside her and she sensed an attachment to the girl that she couldn’t explain.

“Hello, sweetie. I’m Alison, how are you feeling?” she asked.

She moved to the chair beside the bed and took the girl’s small hand in her own. She

blinked at Alison but didn’t answer.

Oliver climbed up onto the bed, knelt next to the girl, and offered her the picture he had

drawn. She sat up, reached for it and unfolded the page then a smile pulled at the corner of her

mouth. Alison stifled a laugh as she caught sight of the drawing; it was a pink unicorn with a machine gun

for a horn.

“I’m Oliver. What’s your name?” her son asked the girl.

“May,” she said quietly.

“Is that your name? May?” Oliver asked excitedly.

“May,” she repeated, looking up at Alison with a wide-eyed gaze.

She smiled and the little girl smiled shyly back at her.

“What else do you remember?” Alison asked gently.

May shook her head. “Nothing.”

“What about your parents?” Alison tried.

May shook her head, tears gathering in her eyes.

“That’s okay.” She squeezed her hand reassuringly.

“Where’s your family?” Oliver asked.

“I don’t know,” May whispered. “I can’t remember anything.”

 

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think (I’m dying to know!) If you like my writing maybe you would like to subscribe to my mailing list? You will be the first to receive updates on my series as well as cover reveals, blog tours, publishing dates, tips, tricks and much more! Click here to subscribe

Β© Caroline Peckham and http://www.carolinepeckham.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Peckham and www.carolinepeckham.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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24 thoughts on “Here it is (*drumroll*)…the Prologue to Creeping Shadow (Book One in The Rise of Isaac Series)

  1. Good start! Nice imagery and good setup. The flash of purple light in the mist and the still figure beneath the trees were particularly intriguing, so was the revelation of the blue-lipped little girl. I’m probably just overprotective, but it seemed the mom could have felt a little more conflicted about leaving her son alone in the car with a stranger nearby.

    Yours truly,

    E.B., the newly anointed unicorn

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was good. I expected I’d stop reading about 500 words in, but you held my attention. There are several errors–grammatical and otherwise–I’d suggest polishing it up. The content was vivid and your attention to detail is what I like most. You don’t linger on it but you give the action depth. Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooooo… ominous and foreboding. But I assume you want it that way, correct? It’s a nice start to your stories and I’m anxious to see what comes next. There are some areas that could use polishing, as all our stories require, but that’s what beta-readers and editors are for. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry if this comment appears a billion times, I seem to be having trouble posting it…
    Very interesting–I prefer a slower pace but everyone else in the world hates slow-paced writing so you’re on the right track πŸ˜‰
    I was especially intrigued by the possibility of the mysterious man being Alison’s husband or something that can disguise itself as her husband–the suspense when Alison leaves the car is the most effective part. IMHO the first half is stronger than the second half overall, which is a bit ‘bare bones-ish’ though that may just be my old-person ‘slow down!’ instinct kicking in. The ending with May leaves the reader with little enough for them to want for more while still being an engaging twist. πŸ™‚
    [NB–I don’t know if it was deliberate, a quirk of the site or something only my computer has decided to grace me with the sight of, but a lot of the paragraphs above appear to break off mid-sentence, and that unfortunately really disrupts the flow of the text.]

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for the feedback!
      Yes quick paced tends to be my style but each to everyone’s tastes πŸ™‚
      I did fiddle with format on here to try and get it right but originally it was doing that but it doesn’t appear to be now on my page so I’m not sure! Very frustrating!
      It’s great to hear that you were intrigued and hopefully there’s enough questions there to keep people’s attention for the coming chapters!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa!
    As I was reached to Oliver’s remark about a figure outside the car, my mind was hallucinated with the fearful voices of thundering and lightnings.
    I liked the suspense! Nice work Caroline! It really grabbed my heart, attention and hence my curiosity for the first part is on peak πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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