A Parallel Abyss – reader review

I got my first Amazon reader review on A Parallel Abyss 🙂 very glad they enjoyed it – and as I don’t know anything about American Gods, I can’t comment on that bit but may well check it out.

(c) K Wicks

A creepy read (A Parallel Abyss)

I haven’t had much feedback for this one yet, other than it was compelling, they were hooked from the first page and the story unfolded at breakneck speed. I take that as encouraging. This was an odd story to write because unlike my first book where I knew the whole story and just had to put pen to paper, this one unfolded before me. I suspect that is why it comes across as happening at breakneck speed because that it is how it is meant to be.

I don’t actually know how to slow it down to be honest. And when I have re-read it through, I get so engrossed in the story, the excitement and the fear of where it’s going, that I am completely distracted by it. Good if I want to escape with my own book, but not so good perhaps for the reader? Chapter one is available below if anyone wants to take the plunge…

A Parallel Abyss – Chapter 1

I also have colourful bags available for sale as well as copies of my books if anyone wants to buy them directly. Or bags available at Rebubble and books at Amazon.

(c) K Wicks

A Parallel Abyss – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Helen still hadn’t got used to their new home in Eastmoor, double shifts at the hospital to afford the new mortgage had meant little time to settle in and make it a home yet for them both. James had quietly left for the bus after breakfast, if you could call it that, a few sips of juice and half a piece of toast. He had been a bit distant since they moved and hadn’t made friends yet, but she was sure he would come round soon and get used to the place.

Today was a rare day off to finish unpacking and see if she could make the house a bit more inviting, there had been a cold draft somewhere since they moved in, giving it an unfriendly feel. Not noticed when they had visited and viewed the property, but it was hard not to now they were here. She tried to remember if the weather had been particularly warm that day, but quickly got lost in opening boxes and item placement for the morning.

More than a few times throughout the day Helen felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and turned around expecting someone to be behind her, making her realise that until now she still felt like she was in someone else’s house. By late afternoon, most of the gloomy feel was gone as all the lamps had been put in place and turned on, throws and rugs distributed throughout and the cupboards filled. Various ornaments and personal trinkets now softened the whole atmosphere and made Helen feel finally at home.

It was like a different house to come home to for James, the aromas of dinner cooking filled the whole place and their familiar things around Helen could see he was actually glad to be home. Their days were discussed, how was school? How was work? Another reminder for him to unpack his room. Light hearted chatter to see them through to bed time, most of it about the hospital and various people working there. James asked questions to keep the conversation going and to try and keep the topics away from him, but didn’t contribute to the exchange with any real information on his day.  Helen made a mental note to try and encourage him to bring a friend home maybe, but she hadn’t heard any names to mention, change of mental note, must remember to ask about friends!

All previous attempts to show interest in his life had turned into an argument. Textbook speeches about healthy interaction with others, talking more and girlfriends always get brought up. She couldn’t help herself and hated it, but couldn’t stop it – the curse of turning into your own mother strikes again. Something similar from her own teenage years echoed in her memory, but reversed. Too much interacting, far too much talking generally and boyfriends, the many arguments about boyfriends! But that was because she had them, how different it can be for some teenagers she realised. It can be tough growing up, easy to forget.

The next morning came too quickly and it was time for school and work again. A rushed breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast adding to the washing up left from the night before creating a mountain of dishes, James rolled his eyes knowing that would be his after school activity.

He gave a vague wave goodbye as his mother left and walked to the bus stop for the daily pick up. Joining another few students he gave a small nod of acknowledgement to one that made eye contact. The regular group gathered for an awkward shuffling wait, of yawns and sighs and that wish you were still in bed.

No one had really spoken to him since he arrived but he realised that was probably a good thing. It didn’t seem like anyone had anything worth saying, including him. He missed his old friends back home but even they seemed like some distant characters in a movie he used to watch, captured and on replay in his mind.

The January cold had really set in and waiting for the bus became a game of what seemed like Russian weather roulette, could the bus get here before all the students froze to death. It was colder than it had been ‘since the big freeze of ‘89’ James kept hearing around town.  Hopefully they would call off life temporarily so they could hibernate at least, bears had the right idea he thought. As if reading his mind, the roulette master turned it up a notch and snow began falling, making the scene beautiful and wintery – if you were sat in your house marvelling at nature from indoors. This was almost too much, even with hat, gloves, scarf and three layers he felt like hyperthermia would surely set in soon. A relieved sigh and cloud of warm vapour surrounded the small group of huddled together youngsters as the bus turned the corner into their road.

Creaking to a halt at the stop, the door opened and they all clambered aboard hurriedly finding seats to start the warming process.

Although not entirely sufficient, the heating system on the bus provided a slight respite from the cold, and sitting maybe slightly closer to your seat companion that you would normally. James, usually alone in his seat, found himself being joined by a girl he had noticed a few times on the bus previously. Maybe a class with her too perhaps – English lit he thought but wasn’t sure. She sat down without asking and flashed him a warm smile to acknowledge him and make up for the invasion of space, which it did greatly. She had a great smile, giving her eyes a light that was quite distracting.

“Helloooo” she said, possibly for the second time.

“Sorry, hi.”

James quickly said, surprised out of his enchanted moment.

“I’m Elli.”

This time extending her hand as if to seal the greeting.

“I’m James.”

His reply was a bit blunt and he blushed, lost for anything to follow it up with, shaking her hand back. She giggled and showed obvious amusement at his expression.

“Well, now we’ve met.”

She seemed happy to take out her phone and carry on with her usual morning bus routine to school. James gazed out of the window to think about what had just happened.

He didn’t believe in coincidences, but thought this had to be luck that she picked his seat today, whether she knew it or not. And she happened to be attractive and forthcoming, this may turn out to be a good day after all he thought. The snow was starting to fall a bit heavier now and the view was only a fifty yard expanse with minimal visibility, although enough to see the frozen river running alongside the road. James gazed out at the bleak view and frozen whiteness that surrounded them, black tree silhouettes lining the other side of the river being the only visible part of the landscape.

He squinted his eyes to try and get a better view, opening them wide very quickly at what he thought he saw, shook his head as if to clear any nonsense from it and review the scene again. He must be going mad or that’s one hell of an optical illusion he thought, all the trees lining the river bank on the other side looked to have small figures hiding behind them, peering out from behind and then ducking out of view. He looked at Elli for help, who appeared engrossed in her phone and totally unaware that anything out of the ordinary was going on for James.

He needed a second opinion but hesitated, not wanting to come across as completely insane especially when they had only just met. It was probably a trick of the light he told himself, one last glance to prove this fact and he could relax for the rest for the journey.

He looked, no trick, there they were – hundreds of them now, and there was a strange glow coming from under the ice covering the river. A dull brightness that he couldn’t tear his eyes away from.

The need for friendship was at this point overruled by the need for sanity, he touched Elli’s arm and she slowly pulled her attention away from her phone. He opened his mouth to start without even knowing what to say or how to begin, but before he got the chance, the driver swung the wheel and gave a shout to hold on, the bus lurched forward, throwing most of the passengers from their seats. A loud bang followed and the bus dipped, there was a silence as it all stopped for an eternal second, moving forward in slow motion for those involved.

Then in unison the screams began from the terrified students as the vehicle took on a new agenda and momentum. James could feel the bus start to tip and slide to the left, glass shattered inwards as it hit the ground on its side. He couldn’t believe what was happening but a moment of comprehension crept in, real fear for his life for the first time ever. The bus kept on sliding, catching the slope of the riverbank and starting the deathly path towards it, gravity and circumstance carrying it forward.

They hit the ice at a steady pace, the loudest crack James had ever heard. His ears still ringing as the cold water and chunks of ice rushed into the bus. The screams sounding muffled and far away to start with but gathering in intensity. Soon they were almost deafening, mingled with the sound of the roaring current dragging the bus further down into the river. He was almost paralyzed immediately by cold and fear; the dark freezing water enveloped them within seconds. He couldn’t believe how cold it was, how quickly it encased them and filled the already broken shell of the bus. Looking around, he could he see the other students panicking, shocked as icy graves beckoned to them all.  He faintly realised Elli was holding his arm and instinctively tried to hold onto her back but couldn’t move. The cold water making all thoughts begin to slow and looking for any way he might be able to escape became an impossible task mentally and physically. As the water reached his neck, escape became a lost thought, replaced by the hiding beings seen only moments ago but seemed an age away now. James could feel his body start to convulse with the shock of the icy temperatures and the air he could still breathe was getting caught in his throat and not doing what it should for his desperate lungs as they and the rest of his body began to shut down.

A glowing light emerged from deep below in the blackness, different from the crisp fading light above them, it enveloped the bus as it sank. There was no comprehension of this visual emersion, a thought of rescue fading with their senses. As the water covered his face, he attempted a last deep gulp of life too late and the darkness took him, the cold now surrounding them all. The bus quickly they sank to the bottom of the river, daylight disappearing and leaving only the images of their pale faces fading in the darkness.



A Parallel Abyss FRONT 15.05.19


[Review] – A Parallel Abyss — Dead Head Reviews

By Elle Turpitt It’s a perfectly normal day when James gets on the bus to school. But normality soon turns to tragedy, as the school bus crashes into a lake–an accident that sets a whole town into mourning, and James on a path to uncover the town’s mysterious past. In doing so, he meets Dan, […]

via [Review] – A Parallel Abyss — Dead Head Reviews