The List by Carys Jones
English | 2020| Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 3.0 MB
Five names on a list. The first two are dead. The third is yours.
Beth Belmont runs every day, hard and fast on the trail near home. She knows every turn, every bump in the road. So when she spots something out of place – a slip of white paper at the base of a tree – she’s drawn to it.
On the paper are five names. The third is her own. Beth can’t shake off the unease the list brings. Why is she on it? And what ties her to the other four strangers? Then she discovers that the first two are dead. Is she next?
Delving into the past of the two dead strangers, the truth Beth finds will lead her headlong into her darkest, deadliest and most dangerous nightmares…
The nightmare started the same as all the others. Screaming, terrible and tormenting, pitched like an animal caught in a trap desperately squealing for its life. It rattled through Beth Belmont’s bones, causing sweat to prickle on her skin. In the early hours, she awoke gasping, the screams still ringing in her ears.
‘Hey, it’s okay, just calm down.’ Her boyfriend, Josh, rolled over and folded his arms around her, holding her close, waiting until the shaking subsided and her breathing levelled out. Beth lay wide-eyed and staring into the darkness of their bedroom at the swollen shadows in every corner. ‘It was just a nightmare,’ he calmly assured her as he ran his work-hardened hands in circles over her lower back.
Just a nightmare.
Drawing in ragged breaths from this latest twilight terror, Beth focused on that.
It was just a nightmare.
The Green Day T-shirt she slept in was soaked through, her long dark hair damp and matted. How long had she tossed and turned while the phantom in her mind shrieked like a banshee?
‘Let’s try and get back to sleep.’
Josh was always keen to return to his slumber. He had to be up at dawn, with the birds, for another day labouring on the new super school that was being built on the edge of town.
Beth wanted to sleep too, but the screams lingered. Each nightmare stayed by her side like an unwanted bedfellow. Even though she could no longer hear them, she could feel them, scraping down her spine like sharpened claws, picking her apart at her very core.
‘What are you even dreaming about?’ Josh had asked early on in their relationship, his tired blue eyes holding her in a concerned stare.
‘Nothing.’ Beth knew that the answer came a little too easily. ‘I mean, I can’t remember.’
‘Your nightmares, they seem … intense.’ He tilted his thick neck to watch her. Josh – who slept like the dead – never so much as whimpered in his sleep.
‘Really, it’s nothing,’ her voice was strained, so she forced a smile, ‘lots of people have nightmares. Like night terrors. Honestly, I can’t even remember what they’re about.’
‘Well, okay then. As long as you’re all right, babe.’ He’d kissed her forehead and Beth wished that his touch had healing properties, like the kisses bestowed on her as a child when she scraped a knee or an elbow.
‘Let Mummy kiss it better,’ her mother would say, leaning in close, smelling of musky Dior perfume and cigarettes, scents that she shrouded herself in. A cloak for the senses.
But there was no kissing her nightmares better, no willing them away. Each night as Beth tucked herself in beside her boyfriend of three years, she knew what was coming – at some point, she’d wake in a pool of her own sweat, gulping deep, frantic breaths as though she’d been drowning. And the screams would continue to linger on the periphery of her mind, even when her eyes were bloodshot and wide open, a reminder that no one was ever truly free.