One hour and three busted blades later, Jarrod and Ludwig found themselves in a long abandoned arcade still filled with videogames. The long-dark console games stood on either side of the low-ceilinged warren, facing each other like silent sentinels. And, as odd as it seemed, he couldn’t shake the feeling that they were judging him. And like the mural they’d torn down, something about this room was off.
“Videogames. Real videogames, not that World of Warcrap.” Ludwig ran his hand across the chipped particleboard façade of one cabinet. A fold of dust bunched up, exposing the title. “Man…I used to live for these things when I was a kid. Look at ‘em now…just junk.”
“Why are they all here?” Jarrod asked, unable to help himself.
“It’s an arcade, Jare’ that’s where they put videogames.”
“Yeah…but why are they all still here? Why was that door welded shut?”
“Like I said…junk,” Ludwig answered, but his voice quavered with a new uncertainty. “More expensive to cart ‘em off, I bet. Seen a lot of things get walled off like this. People making their own private landfills. Found tons of crazy stuff over the years. Crazier than videogames.”
Ludwig’s words went soft in Jarrod’s ear. The diminished to little more than a distant drone. Jarrod kept looking at the games. He wanted to step closer to them, but his boots were velcroed to the floor. “Why just leave them, though? I don’t get it. They’ve got to be worth a fortune. I mean people collect this kind of stuff.”
Ludwig narrowed his gaze at the twin rows of consoles. “I’m gonna’ drag the genny in here and see if these puppies still got any life in ‘em.” He turned, leaving Jarrod with nothing but the scant illumination of his own small flashlight.
Jarrod, knew that look, the avaricious glint in both of Ludwig’s eyes. There might as well have been a pair of cartoon dollar signs there. Ludwig was about to score big, and all Jarrod would get out of it was the privilege of carting his haul out to the curb. He could have put his fist right through one of the screens. He was the one who pulled down the lockers. Ludwig wouldn’t have even found this room except for Jarrod and that stupid stupid Yankee work ethic his father had drilled into him.
His hands went clammy, grabbing reflexively at the sides of his cargos. Ludwig would give him something, right? It was only fair. Ha! Jarrod almost laughed out loud. When did fair every have anything to do with it. All he’d really wanted out of life was to feel a little special. He’d wished that desperately from his parents. But there was always his brother Simon standing in the way. First as the favorite son. Then as the war hero. And now, the ghost who every year inched closer to sainthood, at least in their eyes.
Stop it! This isn’t about Simon. It was true. This was about Jarrod and his best chance of starting over, his best chance of finding that special someplace else. And that chance rested in Ludwig’s greedy mitts.
Jarrod craned his neck, hoping to spot Ludwig, but he was alone in the dark. Alone with the machines. Might as well find the plug. He dropped on all fours and shined his flashlight behind. Some graffiti caught his eye. It was almost lost in the gloom, faded black paint against a gray wall. He squinted, mumbling the words to himself.
die demon die
the end draws nigh
the puppet screamed
all is lies
a curse behind hollow eyes
is lifted now
die demon die
“What’s that there?” Ludwig asked, suddenly crouched beside Jarrod like a blue-collar gargoyle.
Jarrod tried not to jump, and failed. He scrambled back, brushing the cold from his arms as Ludwig cackled at his cowardice.
“Some kind of…some kind of creepy poetry.” He pointed. “Take a look.”
Ludwig did, his lips moving as he read silently.
“What do you think it means?”
“It means don’t do drugs,” Ludwig said, reaching for his Newports. He pulled out a smoke and started tapping it against the box. Tappity. Tappity. Tap Tap.
Jarrod grit his teeth. There it was, the tapping again. Not asking for a smoke was bad enough. Refusing Ludwig’s repeated offers was bad enough. But the tapping––the goddamn tapping was pure water torture. He turned his attention away from the pack and fixed on the graffiti. The tapping followed him, rapping on the side of his skull like a door knocker. Tap. Tap. Tap. Your old friend Smokey here, why don’t you let me inside and we’ll catch up. “Go away.”
“Nothing,” Jarrod said quickly, not realizing he’d spoken aloud. He shook his head and focused on the wall, for the first time noticing a few holes in the cinderblock. Beside the holes were big black splotches that looked like…
That looked like bloodstains.
Jarrod’s heart frosted over. Get a grip, he told himself. Just get a grip, that is probably nothing but mold. But his eyes kept ping-ponging between the holes and the stains. “Ludwig?” he asked, pointing to them. “What do you think those might be?”
Ludwig bent in for a closer look, unlit cigarette dangling limply from his mouth. “Well, Jarrod, those––” his voice slipped like a bike chain from its sprocket. “Those…ahem…those look like bullet holes. Thirty-eights I’d bet, if I were a betting man.” He fired up his smoke and took a long drag. Then he took another. The ash column broke and tumbled down his shirt. “Jeez Louise. Sure you don’t want a cigarette?”
Title: Nightlife: Night Terrors
Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
Release Date: July 7, 2015
“Doesn’t get any darker than this; you can actually feel the blood spatter…” –Hugo & Nebula winner James Patrick Kelly
Enter the world of Nightlife, where the streets crawl with unimaginable demons, and a monster can lurk behind every friendly face…
Matthew Quinn Martin first terrified horror fans with Nightlife, the captivating story of two unlikely monster hunters determined to save the city of New Harbor from the Night Angels—bloodthirsty creatures that feed on the forgotten. Jack Jackson and Beth Becker are among the few who can see these creatures for what they really are, but as they hunt the creatures, a mysterious organization known only as The Division is hunting them.
In the novella Hazardous Material, we get a glimpse of The Division’s origins and aims, when a young man stumbles onto a long-abandoned video arcade—which three decades ago was the site of the largest mass shooting in New York history—and unwittingly uncovers a relic of unimaginable power and mind-altering terror.
And in the never-before-released As the Worm Turns, Jack and Beth are back, along with their faithful dog, Blood. For months they’ve been keeping just one step ahead of The Division, whose enigmatic leader has been pursuing them with the single-minded obsession to capture them by any means necessary. But as Jack and Beth continue their quest to rid the world of the creatures once and for all they find themselves facing off against something even more terrifying than the Night Angels––something that could hold the key to humanity’s salvation…or its doom.
Three amazing horror stories in one chilling bundle…the only thing you won’t fear is the price!
Reviews for the first book:
“Thrilling, edgy, and scary as hell, Nightlife is an outstanding debut and one of the most original takes on the vampire novel I’ve ever read.” – Jason Starr, International Bestselling Author of The Pack
“Nightlife completely creeped me out. Martin is a master of suspense. Keep me up all night again soon!” –Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Wicked Saga
“Doesn’t get any darker than this; you can actually feel the blood spatter. Nightlife is the gutsiest debut I’ve read in a long time.” – James Patrick Kelly, Hugo and Nebula Award winning author of Think Like a Dinosaur.
“An incredibly riveting, edge of your seat plot that was equal parts spooky mystery and gruesomely tragic horror novel.” – All Things Urban Fantasy
“Whoa! This is like the ultimate Vampire book! No fluff here. This is not your modern, sexy, ‘I wanna get laid by a vampire’ book – this was some scary stuff.” – Wall to Wall Books
“I don’t think I’ve actually read anything like it!” – Bibliosanctum
“If you like your fantasy urban and dark, give this book a try. If you want to see vampires restored to a fearsome glory, give this book a try. If you just want a creepy good story for the Halloween month, give this book a try!” – Badass Book Reviews
“Nightlife is the perfect story to read if you like to get a good scare on!” – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
“Have you been wanting vampires that are mean, nasty, eating machines? Tired of the glitter and sparkle and angst? Well, check this book out….a perfect blend of action and pathos that most readers of horror should enjoy.” – Now is Gone
“The vampires Matthew created are nothing like I ever read before. They are scary and creepy!” – Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, it wasn’t until Matthew moved to Manhattan that he realized he was a writer. These days, he lives on a small island off the North Atlantic coast of the United States where it gets quiet in the winter…perhaps too quiet. . .
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