Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Ben Chatfield would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Ell

By Ben Chatfield All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Prologue

She was half-dead from hunger and thirst, crumpled in a corner as far from the light as she could get. Her black hair hung in sweat-soaked strands, clinging to her pale face. It had been two days at least . Two days in the White Room, where time had no meaning, where day and night became a maddening twilight limbo.

Many decades ago, the room had been a wine cellar, and had remained more or less intact through the various renovations the old house had undergone. Now, painted an off-white color and stripped of its furnishings, the room had been re-purposed as something far more sinister; a torture cell.

The only illumination came from a naked bulb, swinging gently from its cord. The girl tried to ignore the light, squeezing her eyes shut, but the brilliance was unrelenting, glowing crimson through her eyelids. The thick concrete walls deadened sound, leaving only the low hum of the burning filament and the soft sobbing of the room's sole occupant.

Earlier, she had considered smashing the bulb, putting an end to the tormenting brightness, but she had long ago lost the strength to move. Her arms hung loosely at her sides, red and raw from numerous cuts and abrasions, fine lines of blood discoloring her shirt. In the end, the light didn't matter. Without it, the blackness would come.

And the blackness was worse. Much, much worse.

Despite the bleakness, despite the pain, still she felt the faintest glimmer of hope. Daddy was coming for her, she knew it. He wouldn't leave his daughter to die here. He would rescue her from this place, and take her to her favorite restaurant, and buy her a milkshake like he always did, and everything would be all right. She just had to wait... and wait...

She gritted her teeth and bore on.

The memories of the days gone by remained hidden in the swirling heat and pain. She remembered being dragged down a steep flight of stairs, the wooden planks slamming against her heels. A rough voice in her ear, rasping filthy words through broken teeth, blood and saliva flecking her cheek. Then came the concrete floor, rough and uneven. She had broken free then, swinging with every ounce of her strength, cracking his jawbone. The floor had rushed up to knock the wind from her, only to recede again as she was yanked back up amid a barrage of curses.

He had dragged her the rest of the way by her hair.

The White Room was becoming unbearably hot, a seven-foot by seven-foot box of hell with one little girl packed up inside it. She tried to breathe, coughed out the air, forced her lungs to draw it in, to take the oxygen even as it burned her. Had she been here months? Years? Time didn't matter any more. Everything was pain. The heat, the wounds and the bruises, the horrible stretching in her mind as rational thought slowly, slowly gave way...

The door was open. She had forgotten there was a door at all. It blended perfectly with the walls, the same stark white, the same maddening chalk tone as the rest of the room. And now it was hanging open, a crack in the unbreakable hurt that was White Room.

A breath of cool, damp air swirled lazily through the haze, sending goosebumps up and down her arms. Slowly, very slowly, she dragged herself to her feet, wobbling a bit as she stood. The darkness seemed to call to her, a reprieve from the searing light. A way out, a way back...

A way back to Daddy.

Before she knew it, she was outside, in the blackness, and with the darkness came sudden fear, an absolute terror that sent her reeling back in shock. The chill, the deadly stillness, the feeling that something was watching her... or perhaps a multitude of somethings, grinning with razor teeth as they drew nearer...

She fell backwards, but the White Room was gone, consumed by the emptiness and the Things. The Things creeping around her, long fingers brushing past her face, skittering across her ankles like enormous insects. And she could hear them, too. Whispering, whistling, rustling in the dark. They spoke words too soft for her to catch, giggling and hissing, growing ever closer.

Her hand, groping in the dark, found a small, rectangular object; a metal cigarette lighter, from the feel of it. She didn't know how or why it was there, and it didn't matter. She had to have light, however small. The thought of what she might see made her hand shake, and she almost dropped the lighter, but in the end, the darkness scared her more.

The gear turned once in a spray of sparks, but the wick didn't catch. The whispers rose in alarm, and she panicked, clicking the igniter over and over until, finally, it caught. A tiny flame flickered into existence, and she held it up before her, desperate to see...

A mutilated face grinned at her, inches away.

She couldn't move, couldn't cry out. The thing remained still as well, and for a brief second she hoped beyond hope that it would stay where it was, silent and menacing, for eternity...

Then it screamed, its cheeks ripping apart as its mouth opened impossibly wide, and it swallowed her whole.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...

Someone: This was a fun, entertaining read. Although the novel wasn’t stylistically polished, and although the first couple of chapters struggled to hold my attention, the rest of the novel was engaging and beautifully done. You had me fooled until the end. The rest of this review will contain spoilers fo...

: The book was hella great. You never know what's going to happen next. There's a lot of clues that shows to the next scene. I thought Miley and David would marry each other in this book but too my disappointment, they didn't. I have a ques. Will there be a part two to this book?

Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.

taosgw74: If this is the authors first attempt at writing, I'm floored. I was engrossed in the plot from the get go.

Alex Rushmer: I really love your writing style in this story. Usually the whole narration from a journal sort of thing doesn't work for me, but you really pull it off here. I like the main character's blatant way of putting things. I think that it lends a lot to his character and to the story. You tell it like...

Sara Joy Bailey: The characters are well written, full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done.

europeanlove: I gotta hand it to you. I love reading. I read books everyday. When the book is good I can read it in probably 13 hours. Your story was amazing. Great prose, very imaginative. Incredible dialogue. I am deeply impressed. Keep it up.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

More Recommendations

nightdrummer: Best story ever. The characters are real, flawed, people I relate to because although they have unbelievable talents they also fail, and get stuff wrong. This should be a series. Alpha is the most interesting hero and Martel's scary/real. I love Sunday.

Girl on Fire: Great story, line Alex!!!It really has a edge on it. It put me on edge with its thrill. Can't wait to read the rest.!!!

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
Iosaghar

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."