robertarmstrong6 would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

PLEASURE AND PAYNE

By robertarmstrong6 All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Blurb

“How may I tempt you?” asks the voice in the darkness … soft, silky, sinister. When Caveat Emptor, a second-hand store with seemingly something for everyone, opens in sleepy Slaughter’s Hall, it seems like a godsend to the students of the local high school – the perfect place to find all the props for their annual play – and to pick up that one-off impulse buy … just for oneself. The extroverted Zoe, conservative Brad, shy Fleur, abrasive Bub, and even the cautious Gil, find themselves drawn one by one to Caveat Emptor, and soon each is reciting the same drowsy mantra: “Sold.” They might not remember it, but they’ll wish they hadn’t said it, because Caveat Emptor is the kind of place where you buy now, pray later; and even if you’d step on your mama to bag yourself a bargain, everybody’s going to start running for their lives when Caveat Emptor stages the sale of the century and looks like being “souled out” in this life and the next!

Prologue

“HOW MAY I TEMPT YOU?”

The voice was smooth, like butter melting over brimstone. Blue eyes twinkled in a round Father-Christmas face.

“I want ...” The buyer hesitated. “I ... want ...”

“Yes?” Patient. Understanding. I’ve got all the time in the world just to help you find that special something, the voice seemed to say.

“I want ... something ...

“Yes.” Everybody wants something, the voice seemed to insinuate, without really saying anything at all.

“I want something ... special.”

“Yes.” The voice was smiling now. Still patient, still understanding, but there was something about that smile, the way it spoke, something that suggested ... hunger.

“I want something just for me.”

“Of course you do.” The blue eyes shone. “I think I have just the thing. A one-of-a-kind, you might say. Although the previous owner ...

well, let’s just say that the previous owner wasn’t necessarily all that nice. The previous owner, in fact, had a little run-in with the law.”

“You mean like he was ... a murderer?”

“Well, we needn’t go into that just for the moment. First, let me show you the piece. So fine, so - although I hate to use that particular word - sublime.”

“You mean like a ... religious piece?”

“Let’s just say it was the subject of a certain ... fixation.” Santa Claus turned away.

“Where are you going?” Alarm. Fear.

“Just into the back for a minute. The piece I’m referring to - it’s not the type of thing you’d keep out front where it might be sullied by the ... riff-raff. No offence. No, this piece demands a special owner, a certain type of person. Someone like ...”

As the shopkeeper disappeared behind the dusty black curtain that separated the main part of the shop from the back room, the would-be purchaser took in the atmosphere of the small premises that seemed to be crammed to the ceiling with what, at first glance, looked to be junk.

There were picture frames (wood, gilt, and something that looked like

bone), paintings - including one of a spooky-looking castle perched high atop some even spookier-looking mountains - dolls, ranging from the adorable to the grotesque, books, comics, toys (the creepiest of which was a mechanical musical monkey, its cymbals frozen forever in a silent clash), cameras, stuffed animals, pipes, bottles - including one with a model ship called the Marie Celeste inside - candles, collectors’ cards, plastic fruit (including a shiny red apple so tempting the Wicked Queen could easily have poisoned it and passed it off as real to an unsuspecting Snow White), mugs, maps, astrological charts, scary masks, a huge silver sword with Barbarian scrolling across its hilt, and for true connoisseur of the exotic (and just downright strange) there were incense-burners, ancient typewriters, candelabra (hung with cobwebs like something out of a midnight movie), abstract lamps, a stainless steel hip-flask (engraved with a five-pointed star inside a circle), something that was identified as Petrified Crocodile Head, a genuine crystal ball, and, towering above it all like some monument to the macabre, a grandfather clock, silently stopped at ten thirty-one. Junk.

Yes, that’s what this was - a junkshop.

Smiling, Saint Nick reappeared. He reached into a black velvet bag.

“I thought I heard ...”

“... voices?” Santa smiled. “So did the former owner of this. Frankie Wall, the young man’s name was. He heard voices all the time. They spoke to him, and one day ... he answered.” Santa drew a shotgun out of his sack. “With this.”

“You mean Frankie Wall of---”

“’The very same.”

“But how did you get it?” The buyer reached for the glistening shaft, taking it delicately, reverently.

“Ways and means, my friend. Ways and means.” Father Christmas twinkled.

“But wasn’t it kept by the police as evidence?”

“What for? Everyone knew he did it - climbed up that tower in Carfax Cove one fine Sunday morning and ... pop, pop, pop!

“Yes ...” Dreamy ... almost seeing it.

“Frankie got even with them - all of them!”

“But wasn’t he just crazy?”

“Unfortunately, Mr Wall is no longer able to answer that question. Not without a psychiatrist interpreting his every syllable and gesture, and probably making a huge cock-up out of whatever it was the young man was trying to say.” The proprietor closed the purchaser’s shaking fingers around the barrel, placed the index finder of the right hand upon the trigger. “Frankie isn’t able to ... but you are.” Santa’s smile was saintly.

“I don’t know if I can. Afford it.” Voice shaking now as badly as the hands.

“Can you afford not to have it? All those people who’ve done you wrong - you’re not going to just let them get away with it, are you?”

“I ...”

Are you?”

“Hell, no!”

“Hell, yes - then we have an agreement!”

“But you haven’t told me the price.”

“Don’t worry about the price, my friend. We’ll work something out. I really do have excellent terms. For now, why don’t I just ask you to sign this ...?”

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Greg: This is a well thought out horror story. The twisti-turns, the creativity, and spot-on dialogue are movie-worthy. It's a perfect horror story that no horror reader can put down. If I were a publisher, I'd look you up.

sanvi khamkar: It's an amazing story with a perfect plot

Saleha30: Zanthus.. this name will always remind me of golden colour.. this story was different.. the characters were so powerful yet vulnerable.. so aggressive.. what happened to Zanthus, it broke my heart and he did not emerged out of it unscathed..Olive had a soft-hearted person but her character was so...

DervBlah Carson: I need more! Love the concept, I'm dying to know the ending.

Debby : Are you allowed to write a book this good and leave it hanging. There are so many things to settle in it. I need some sort of closure, please. It was a good book, I enjoyed every bit of it.

farviz: In beginning..i thought its just typical love triangle..but no..i apologize..for judging in very beginning ..nd those twists u given for all of them was superb...Jason..Izzy..Thomas..waiting for upcoming chapters..

Deleted User: Inkit...First day first book first story..fast forward 2 hours...last page.( i think i am gonna stay a lot longer than i thought)this book made me realize how much serial killers fadicinate me. lets grade it (outta 5+ reasons)Story = 5 your are an amazing writer for surePlot twist = 2.5 though a ...

Myqueen: First I started following ur story in wattp.. not only this ur other stories also. In June I couldn't find this story I really felt sad . I tried in ways to find ur story but somehow I found u in inkiit. Sage I love ur stories.

MrsHickey: It was good, would make a good teen/young adult novel

More Recommendations

Raychillgray : This book has a lot of potential and I really followed along well. Definitely wouldn’t put it in the thriller category though. There were moments that I could see an amazing plot structure while other times the plot seemed a little secondary to the story.

Mavrick I: Yes really good papa blessed this book. kept me entertained and slightly a roused I recommend to anyone and everyone

WriterReader7: I love this. This is so good! Instead of wondering what is happening next, I am wondering, "Why the hell isn't this a book yet? And why isn't this author hella famous?!"Good book. I can't get enough of it!!!

horsebizzy: Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great job Crystal.

SilentReader_23: For being zombie like i know that this stories twist and plot is unique. I may read a different virus story but not like this kind,well except for the werewolf heat but we know thats not virus. Anyway i like how it the protagonist potrayed but i though they might be a moment with ian and im dissa...

Deleted User: Rarely do I find a mystery that peeks my interest, but Jack Huber's Pat Ruger reminds me of Parker's Spenser or Spillane's Hammer! Strong character with the right connections and plot drivers to keep anyone engaged and never putting it down.The encounters of the characters Ruger engages, continue...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.