Prologue: Bursting with Life!
The empty house sent a shiver skidding down Vint’s spine. Mother had gone out, leaving instructions to finish his homework. A pile of schoolbooks lay untouched on the kitchen table next to a colourful array of pills and a glass of water. “Make sure you take them,” she’d insisted. What did she care if the damn things made him feel worse? He’d tried to warn her, but she wouldn’t listen. All she wanted was to be free of his bouts of illness. “And don’t forget your appointment,” she’d added as she left.
Scooping up the pills, he opened the cupboard under the sink, flinching at the stink that sprang out at him. He hid them under the rubbish in the bin. The cupboard closed, he sniffed his fingers. Shepherd’s pie. Running his hands under the tap, he rubbed in soap to rid himself of the smell.
His hands dry, he swigged a mouthful of water and took in the room. A tense silence hung in the air sending further shivers down his spine. As he watched wide-eyed, the walls billowed outwards before resettling with a twang that rang like a guitar string being plucked. Ripples ran through the room causing the books on the table to shimmer like a mirage. The windows rattled and the array of utensils hanging over the sink shifted uneasily.
Goose flesh formed on his arms, like so many tiny wavelets coursing across his skin. He flung out a hand in search of reassurance and clung to the back of a chair, his breath coming fast. Closing his eyes, he struggled to push back the growing panic that surged in his gut. It was getting worse.