A Monstrous Place: First Chapter

Hey there, nerds!

Well, my first book is released in just a few short weeks (20th of October!), so I thought I’d share the first chapter. Have a look, tell me what you think! (Unless you hate it. I’m a fragile, fragile man.)


~Chapter One~

He was awoken in the dead of night by somebody calling his name.

‘Billy Tyler.’

He muttered, half-opened one eye, then rolled over.

‘Hello, Billy Tyler.’

Billy grumbled and rubbed at his sleep encrusted eyes with the heel of one hand, his mouth dry, as he propped himself up on his elbow and peered blurrily into the darkness.

‘Billy Tyler, it’s me.’

The voice was familiar and yet not quite right in some way. Like someone doing an impression that was a little bit off.

‘Listen, Billy Tyler.’

‘Who’s that…? Dad…?’ He sat upright now, his eyes a little more used to the gloom of the room, but there was nothing to see other than the familiar vague shapes of his bedroom furniture.

‘Hello, Billy Tyler.’

No, it sounded nothing like his Dad. Who was it? Why was the voice itching at his memory and yet he couldn’t place it? The almost familiar voice wasn’t coming from within the room. Even though the voice sounded as though it was being whispered calmly into his ear, he was sure that it was actually coming from downstairs.

‘Are you there, Billy Tyler?’

‘I said who’s that? I’m trying to sleep.’ He tried to place the voice. It buzzed at him, teasing.

‘I’m here, Billy Tyler.’

‘I have to go to school tomorrow, I need my sleep, I’ve got double maths. I’m not very good at maths so I need to be at my best.’

‘I’m here, Billy Tyler.’

He pulled back the duvet and placed his bare feet onto the carpet, toes wriggling. He pushed on his Doctor Who slippers and padded quietly towards the door, opening it a crack.

‘Down here, Billy Tyler.’

He wanted to stop, to shut the door and go back to bed, but the voice seemed to be physically pulling him forward. ‘I’m probably dreaming anyway,’ he said aloud, as though to reassure himself and stop the knot in his stomach from tightening further.

‘That’s it,’ he laughed. ‘Just a silly old dream.’

‘Down here, Billy Tyler.’

It certainly felt like a dream. Dreams felt completely real and completely unreal at the same time, and this definitely felt like that. Like walking through a sharply focused fog. He reached the top of the stairs and peered down warily into an impenetrable wall of black. ‘Down where? Where about?’

Down here, Billy Tyler.’

‘I don’t want to go down there. I think I want to stay up here. I mean, I know this is a dream, it’s a silly scary dream and I know that of course, I’m not stupid, but I still think that I would really like to get back into bed and not at all go down there.’


The front door must have been open because he could feel cold tendrils of outside air snaking up the stairs and coiling around his ankles, trying to pull his reluctant feet forward. Billy wanted to resist. He really wanted to resist.

‘Down here, Billy Tyler, down here.’

He stepped forward. And down.

Step by step.



Step by step went Billy Tyler.

He was now unable to even turn his head back to where he had come from, his eyes fixed forward and unseeing in the inky blackness. Finally he reached the bottom. The front door was indeed open a sliver, the moonlight weaving weakly within allowing some vision. His teeth chattered at the night-cool air.

Out here now. Out here, Billy Tyler.’

Hand shaking, he reached out towards the front door and pulled it open, the wind shaking his pyjamas, toes curling under his feet inside his slippers.

‘Step out now, Billy Tyler. Step out now.’

‘I shouldn’t go out,’ he said. ‘I really shouldn’t.’

‘Step out now. Step out now, Billy Tyler.’

Billy remained in the open doorway, body shivering. On the path before him stood his older brother, Andrew. He could see that his brother’s feet were bare, water pooling around the soles. There was an undefined quality about him, a blurriness to some of his features. It had been a long time since he had seen his big brother, who had died six years ago whilst on holiday. He’d run out into the sea, all excited and shouting and full of life, and thenin the blink of an eyeno one had been able to see him. Dad had run in, others too, desperately searching, diving down again and again and calling his name, but they could see no sign of him. The water had claimed him.

Andrew’s body had finally washed up two days later and five miles down the coast. An old woman walking her dog had come across him. His skin blue, breath gone. Billy’s memory of his brother had gone soft around the edges over time. He’d been so small when he knew him. His sharpest memories were of Andrew’s hair, his whistle, the way he ran and laughed. The rest had slid further away, or else were lost entirely.

‘Hello, Andrew,’ said Billy to his dead brother.

Andrew smiled, or tried to smile. Parts of his face smiled, but others stayed as they were, unable to complete the expression. Like he had forgotten how Andrew smiling actually looked.

‘Hello, little brother. Oh how I have missed you. Would you like to come outside and play?’

He already knew he was going to step outside, step towards his impossible brother. He was sure this was a bad idea, but couldn’t turn back now, however much he might want to.

Billy stepped out of the house and onto the path.

Andrew opened his mouth, wider and wider and wider still, until it seemed like his whole head was a blackened hole full of teeth.

‘I don’t think this really actually is a silly dream at all.’

Billy Tyler wasn’t at school the next day.

Or the day after that.

Or ever again.

A Monstrous Place: A Tale From Between.

Available to buy Octorber 20th.



2 thoughts on “A Monstrous Place: First Chapter”

  1. That’s a pretty good start, I like the use of the full name to incite suspicion. Does the book continue to be about Billy Tyler?

    1. Thanks! Nope, he may pop up later, but it changes to focus on another character after thi sopening. I think of this like a little pre-credits sequence on a TV show. Something bad happens, then onto the main characters.

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