Authors: Graham Masterton
Table of Contents
The Sissy Sawyer Series
TOUCHY AND FEELY
THE PAINTED MAN
THE RED HOTEL
The Jim Rook Series
TOOTH AND CLAW
GARDEN OF EVIL
FACES OF FEAR
FEELINGS OF FEAR
FORTNIGHT OF FEAR
FLIGHTS OF FEAR
FESTIVAL OF FEAR
HOUSE OF BONES
THE NINTH NIGHTMARE
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First published in Great Britain and the USA 2004 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9â15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
eBook edition first published in 2013 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright Â© 2004 by Graham Masterton.
The right of Graham Masterton to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Darkroom. â (Jim Rook series; 6)
1. Rook, Jim (Fictitious character) â Fiction
2. Horror tales
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-6053-8 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4483-0115-7 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
WEST GROVE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SPECIAL CLASS II
English and Special Needs
|Vanilla King||Freddy Price||Sue-Marie Cassidy||Edward Truscott|
|Ruby Montes||George Graves||Pinky Perdido||Randy Bullock|
|Sonny Powell||Brenda Malone||[spare desk]||Delilah Bergenstein|
|Roosevelt Jones||David Robinson||Sally Broxman||Philip Genio|
hey were laughing so much that Bobby almost fell down the wooden stairs leading up to the beach-house balcony, and twice he dropped the key that opened the living-room door. They were both excited, but nervous, too, and Bobby was feeling the giddy effect of four pina coladas and two beers, as well as a long, deep drag at the joint that Freddy Price had given him, âto make you invincible, dude.'
Bobby managed to unlock the living-room door and slide it open. The net curtain billowed out into the evening wind and wrapped itself around them like a shroud. Bobby held Sara's face in both hands and kissed her, and kissed her again, and almost lost his balance.
âYou know something, Sara Miller? You are a â¦ princess. A princess in
And red! With yellow spots, too.'
âYou're not so bad yourself, Bobby Tubbs.' She kissed him teasingly on the tip of his nose, and then his eyebrows, and then his lips. Enfolded in their shroud, they held each other close for a moment and stared at each other wide-eyed, unblinking, as if it was a challenge to see who would burst out laughing first. Only a hundred yards away, in the breezy darkness, the ocean slapped against the pier, and slapped, and slapped, so that the yachts and rowboats knocked against each other at their moorings, as hollow as coffins.
âIt's incredible,' Bobby decided.
âFate. That day you first came trucking into the classroom, with that tight white T-shirt and that short denim skirt on â I thought,
what you thought?
, that's exactly what I thought. But I never would have believed, not in a million, grillion yearsâ'
Sara smiled and pressed her fingers against his mouth. âSsh. You
to believe it, otherwise it won't happen.'
âYou're right, you're right,' Bobby replied, trying hard to sound serious. âLike, anything you
believe in â¦ it just doesn't exist, right?'
âLet's go inside,' said Sara, struggling free from the curtain. âDo your parents have any booze?'
âAre you kidding? My parents don't give blood, they give dry Martini. They always keep loads of stuff in the icebox. Wine, beer. And rum, too. My dad loves his rum. He says rum puts hairs on your chest, and makes you talk like Johnny Cash. Well, like Johnny Cash
to. You know â before he cashed in.'
âIn that case, I think I'll stick to wine. Is there a
Bobby stumbled over an armchair, knocked a brass ashtray on to the floor, and only just managed to catch a standard lamp before it fell over. At last, however, he found the light switch. âThere,' he said. âWelcome to my humble abode. Well â my parents' humble abode.'
His parents' beach house had rough, white-painted walls. The floors were laid out of wide, bleached planks salvaged from the SS
and the living room was furnished with natural linen chairs and couches and loose-woven slip mats. All around hung oak-framed prints of sailing ships and storms at sea, as well as nautical knots and compasses and maps.
âMy dad said he would have been the skipper of a three-masted schooner if he hadn't been a movie accountant. Skipper of a three-masted schooner, my rear end. He gets seasick washing his hair.'
dad always wanted to be a professional card sharp,' said Sara. âYou should see him whenever he plays poker with his friends. He wears one of those green eyeshades and bands on his sleeves and smokes a cigar out of the side of his mouth. It's pathetic. Like, if he wanted to be a professional card sharp so much, why didn't he just go to Las Vegas and
Bobby made his way through to the kitchen, and switched on the light there, too. âI'll tell you something â me, I'm going to be exactly what I want to be. No compromises.'
He opened the icebox and took out a bottle of Stag's Leap Chardonnay. It had been opened already, but it was still three-quarters full. He pulled out the cork with his teeth.
you want to be?' asked Sara.
âYou know â¦ one of those guys who goes around with a falcon on his wrist.' He crooked up his arm by way of illustration.
Sara frowned at him. âIs there any money in that?'
âI don't know. I just like the idea of doing it. Somebody's dog comes yapping at you, biting at your ankles, and all you have to do is whip your falcon's hood off. The falcon swoops on the dog,
flies up into the air with it, hovers for a while, sixty feet up,
and then drops it into the nearest dumpster.
Sara nodded, but didn't say anything. Bobby wasn't the only student in Special Class II who had slightly off-center ideas about what they were going to do when they left college. David Robinson seriously thought that he would make a good Pope, while Sally Broxman had set her sights on training miniature ponies for the blind.
Sara wanted to be a masseuse to the stars. She had written it on her college registration form. âMasseuse to the Stars.'
Bobby sloshed out two large glasses of wine. âHere's to things that exist,' he said, and they clinked glasses.
âHere's to things we believe in,' said Sara.
She had never taken a whole lot of notice of Bobby, not before tonight. He was tall and skinny and loose-jointed, like a life-size marionette, with startling blue eyes and sticky-up hair with bleached-blond tips. He always seemed to be smirking at some private wisecrack. Even when he asked to go to the bathroom he sounded as if he were telling a joke. He would put up his hand and say, âPlease, ma'am, I really, truly, have to â¦' and everybody in the class would collapse.
He had read out part of
in class last Thursday, and by the time he had come to the lines about âthe dread of something after death â¦ the undiscover'd country from whose bourn â¦ no traveller returns,' everybody had been crying with laughter, including their substitute teacher, Mrs Lakenheath.
But tonight, thirteen of them had gone to Papa Piccolino's Pizza House for Kerry Lansing's nineteenth-birthday party, and for no particular reason except that he had been sitting right opposite her, Bobby had caught Sara's attention. She had suddenly seen how alert he was to the people around him, and how hard he worked to make sure that everybody had a good time. He was always smiling at people and teasing them and giving them silly compliments, and if a girl looked as if she were being left out of the crowd, he had made a point of going over and talking to her. He made people feel happy. He was quite good-looking, too, she thought, if you didn't mind sharp, pointy noses.
Sara hadn't dated since she had split up with Brad Moorcock during the winter holidays. Plenty of guys had asked her out, because she was one of the prettiest girls at West Grove Community College. She was petite and perky, with messy brown hair and brown eyes as big as a cartoon character, and she always wore huge dangly earrings and bangles on her wrists. She had a figure that made boys walk into lamp posts. After Brad, however, Sara had felt like a break from serious romance. Brad was handsome, no question about it. He was broad-shouldered, jut-jawed, curly-haired, confident, and captain of the most successful football team that West Grove had ever fielded. But he was also vain, and obsessively jealous, so that Sara hadn't even been able to talk to another boy about her English coursework without Brad muscling in and threatening to break his legs in fifty-four places. She was still enjoying the relief of being free from him.
âLet's have some music,' Bobby suggested. âWhat do you feel like? “The Absolute Dregs of Perry Como” or “Songs for Harpooning Whales To”?'
âWhy don't we make our own music?' said Sara, putting her arm around him.
âYou mean, like a duet?'
âYes. Like a duet.'