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THE MIDNIGHT MAN

By robertarmstrong6 All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Blurb

When brother and sister, Matt and Kate Stoker, after taking a late-night stroll, find themselves in the middle of kidnap, extortion and movie trivia, it’s as if a real-life boogeyman is stalking them, intent on not only material gain, but on taking their lives too. Although they both know things like this don’t happen in small towns, it seems that sometimes they do, especially when old sins cast long shadows. From the House of Creeps to the House of Fun, Matt and Kate must alternately confront and evade and their foe, until the final shadowy showdown when the masks are off, the weapons are out and the clock is about to strike midnight!

Prologue

The clown pulled a funny face, made another balloon animal, and all the children laughed. Especially the pretty blonde girl whose fourth birthday party it was. Her blue eyes sparkled with merriment. Her rich father laughed. So did her well-dressed mother, who smiled at all the children. Mr Giggles, as the clown was known, pulled one colourful scarf out of his sleeve, then another and another. Each scarf was tied to the next, and when he had enough, the clown used them as a skipping rope, tripping over his size-nineteen feet. Mr Giggles fell on his face! The children howled with delight.

‘Having fun, sweety?’ whispered the rich man. For once, he wasn’t thinking about his large house, palatial grounds, influential friends or the business he’d begun as a start-up that these days brought in nothing but money. He cared about his daughter too, and today was all about her.

‘Yes, Daddy,’ said his daughter. ‘I love the clown!’

‘We all do,’ said the girl’s mother, who sometimes wondered if her husband loved anything other than cold cash. Would he trade it for his family, give it all up and go back to square one as long as he could be with them? She didn’t think so. Not that their life together wasn’t comfortable. But it often seemed to lack warmth. She touched her daughter’s soft blonde hair.

Standing, the clown pulled Monopoly money out of his pockets and threw it in the air. ‘There’s some pocket money for you, kiddies - think of how much cake you could buy with that!’ The children went wild, trying to catch the fake tens and fifties and hundreds.

‘And now, my lovely assistant,’ said Mr Giggles, dusting himself off, ‘will bring on ...’ He looked around, scratched his red nose, and shrugged. ‘My lovely assistant …’ He pulled a string and his bow tie spun around. ‘Well, how do you like that? My lovely assistant, Annabel Lee, was going to help me with the disappearing cabinet. Maybe I should give her a pay rise to stick around, because it looks like she’s already disappeared! Jeepers creepers. Well, never mind.’ He bowed and the top hat fell off his head and into his white-gloved hands. ‘If I can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat, maybe I can manage to pull a hare out of my---’

Ahhhhhh!′ A dishevelled woman ran in from the direction of the swimming pool. Having passed the greenhouse, topiary and bird-feeders, she was almost out of breath. ‘Help! Quickly! I think she’s ...’ The woman started to cry.

The birthday girl’s mother went to comfort the weeping woman. The girl’s father, looking worried, ran in the direction of the pool. He hoped nothing had happened; he might get sued. If he did, maybe his powerful friends would help him. Where was the mayor? He was supposed to have brought his son today.

Mr Giggles also ran in the direction of the pool, pulling off his shoes so he could run faster.

But they were all too late. When they pulled the teenage girl out, she was already dead. Drowned.

The rich man looked at Mr Giggles, who started to sob. These were not fake tears or in any way part of his act; he was crushed.

The rich man squeezed the clown’s shoulder and wondered how much he earned in a year. If he was performing at birthday parties, it couldn’t be much. ‘Old man, we’ll make it right,’ he said. ‘I promise.’

All the clown could say was: ‘Annabel Lee ...’

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BFIrving: A first rate story and well crafted, the blend of horror and action worked very well indeed and had me turning page after page. When not actually reading it, I found myself thinking about it which is always a good sign.There are quite a few grammatical and spell-checker errors but nothing anothe...

Kaitlyn Bier: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

Tony Lee: Read this during my 7-hour flight. You've done a great job describing each situation, but I believe there is room for improvement. Also, the ending was a bit abrupt and I think the last part where Terry Hunter was brought in again (slight spoiler) wasn't really necessary.. But overall the story k...

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Alex Rushmer: I read the first chapter, and I'm not sure I can handle anymore, but I certainly liked what I read. The idea of the drug, Fortis, was very interesting, and I enjoyed how you conveyed its effects. The beginning is very intriguing. I think I'd like to see you do a little more with the main characte...

borkarprasad: Nicely laid story. Needed a little more ghost and Raven conversations. Initially, Had everyone on suspect list but satisfied by the precision to capture the killer. Waiting for more Raven and Cade adventures.

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