Michael laid a hand against the door. Its lacquer finish failed to protect the wood stain from fading, after years of exposure to the elements. He pressed down the rusty handle. With a screech of its hinges, the door swung open.
“Hello! Anyone home?” he called, feeling awkward for invading a private space, but crossing the threshold all the same.
A damp sensation crept around the corners and over the moldy walls. Shadows stirred, yet when you turned to look back at them, they seemed to freeze. Every now and then there came a sound, like that of a finger scraping against a stone floor. Was it a lizard slipping back into a crack? A bug crawling underfoot?
A mound of small clay models appeared in one corner, and a few finished sculptures in another. One of them was a bronze piece, depicting a figure twisting around itself. Its sleek lines deformed—one muscle after another—into a horned head. From its empty eyes came a look, an intense look that seemed to tell volumes, but of what exactly it told, Michael could not even begin to guess.
For no good reason, a shiver went down his spine. Against his better judgment he went on, turning around one partition and closely behind it, around a second one. They were covered with soot, and with one drizzle of thinned oil paint over another.
The third partition had small sketches nailed to it. Behind it, a small wooden stage came into view, lit by a small flame that was flickering in spasms.
Bent over the thick wax candle, with his back turned to him, was a short man. He cast enormously distorted shadows that were knotting all around him on the walls and partitions.
“Bull?” asked Michael.
Raising the collar of his cowhide jacket, the artist seemed to stiffen at the sound of his voice.
Annoyed at his silence, Michael took another step toward him.
“Didn’t you hear the doorbell?” he asked. “I rang and rang. Why didn’t you answer?”
Keeping his back to him, the artist began rearranging paintbrushes in a metal container. “I’m in no mood for visitors,” he muttered, over the clamor. “Go away.”
“You’re the one who invited me,” said Michael. “Don’t you remember? You promised to show me your latest sculpture—”
“It’s not here.”
“Where, then, is it?”
“Outdoors. There’s no light out there now. And without light, you cannot begin to appreciate darkness.”
Excerpt from Virtually Lace
(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael sets out to create a virtual reality simulation of her murder. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve its clues in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?
I started reading the book and couldn't put it down, so I finished it in one day. Young people who are into those games will love this book! Older people who are into love will adore the two main characters and root for Michael to save Ash before it is too late. ~B.J. Robinson, Author
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