She Rises at Night by Jae El Foster
Blurb: Bob and Karen are, by all regards, an unhappily married couple who has tried desperately to rekindle an extinguished flame. Their last hope for reconciliation is a move across the pond to an old farmhouse by the sea. This farmhouse has problems that are much worse than the constant flooding and the shape of disrepair that shadow over it. It harbors dark secrets, hidden dangers, and a legacy of horrific murders that have followed the structure and those who have inhabited it for well over a hundred years. Bob and Karen have barely survived one another throughout their marriage; can they survive the terrors that dominate their land when the sun goes down? An epic tale of love and marriage blended with the fearful whispers of the Book of Lucifer, the zombie genre finds new life and a new definition in ‘She Rises at Night.’
“I don’t know how I let you talk me into this,” Karen told her husband as she looked out the window of their “new” car. The car was a 90’s model, and it had been a required purchase for their transition.
“How many times do we have to go over this?” Bob asked her. “I lost my job. You haven’t had one in years, and we were going to lose the house. You said you always wanted to live in England. You said it was on your bucket list. You said…”
“I know what I said!” she shouted. Then there was silence.
Bob and Karen had been boiling through this fight ever since their plane landed. They fought over what car to buy. They fought over who would drive. They fought over every little bitty thing that they could find, and this ferocious bickering was caused by their unhappiness. They had not been happy in Connecticut. They had only moved there because – A – Bob could afford it at the time and – B – they had planned to raise a family and had wanted to do it in a calm, serene, neighborhood environment.
Truth be told, they had not been happy since marrying and leaving Chariot, Tennessee, for Bob’s job transfer and their fresh start. They had only known each other for five weeks before Bob popped the question, and Karen had been all-too swift with her acceptance of it. She had also been pregnant too, and that had a lot to do with it.
“I said I wanted to live in England,” she whispered, breaking the silence, even if barely. “This farmhouse is not in England. It is way out in the middle of nowhere, and it’s on a marsh. A marsh for crying out loud!” She no longer whispered.
“I thought you liked being near water,” Bob countered, keeping his eyes on the narrow road.
“Every time it rains… every time the tide comes in… every time it fucking rains and that marsh rises, you realize we’ll be trapped in that house, right? The road will be impassible.”
He began to walk the woman back to the door when she stopped again and faced him. “Some medicine, maybe? I think it’s influenza that has stricken him. Or a touch of pneumonia. Oh, please, Doctor Longfellow. There must be something you can do.”
Longfellow sighed and considered her request. He decided he could safely send her away with a bottle of tonic for her husband and instructions on how it was to be administered. If it would get her out of the house so that he could concentrate, it would be worth it.
“Give me a moment,” he said, smiling and nodding his head. “Of course, I have some medicine I can send home with you. I’ll write down the instructions also.”
“Oh, Doctor Longfellow, that’s wonderful,” Mrs. Collard said, beaming brightly at his announcement.
“My bag is in my study. Please, wait here a moment and I’ll retrieve it.”
Leaving Mrs. Collard in the great room, Longfellow retreated once more to the library to fetch his medicine bag. Yet, the second the door closed behind him, the whispers returned to his mind and they were much louder than before. The sound of them floored him, and he held his hands over his ears hoping to muffle them out, but it did nothing to lessen the deafening pulsations that riddled through him, from them. His nose began to bleed from their pressure.
That moment, the book slid off of the desk and landed before him, still open to the spell he’d used on the little girl. The book was being persistent, and it was not going to relent until he agreed to do what it asked. Feeling defeated and left without any other option, he told it, “Fine… I’ll do it.”
All at once, the whispers silenced and Longfellow was able to regain his wits. He stood upright and wiped the blood from his nose. Then, he walked to his medical bag and pulled out a reflex hammer. Holding the hammer behind him, he returned to the great room.
Mrs. Collard’s back was too him, and even though he knew the door had made a sound when opening, he approached her with timid, soft steps. He didn’t want to do this. It wasn’t something he was choosing to do. It was something he was being made to do, and that made it all the more difficult.
“Did you find what you were looking for, Doctor?” she asked. Longfellow quickened his pace.
“Yes… I have just what you need, Mrs. Collard.” He had to do it quick – before she turned around and looked at him. He didn’t want to face her when he did it. Yet, as he pulled up the hammer and began to lower it onto the back of her head, Mrs. Collard turned around and the hammer crashed hard against her nose, breaking it on contact.