{Excerpt/Giveaway} THE SEA INSIDE by Vickie Johnstone

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Earlier this week, 
Vickie Johnstone
stopped by The Book Rat
for a fun interview.
Check it out!

And now...
 Here's an excerpt from 

by Vickie Johnstone!

I staggered to a stop and spun around, only to find there was no one there. Cidenet, as though sensing my fear, stopped buzzing and perched on my shoulder, his radiant reds glistening in the tiny sparkles of light. I turned around again, more slowly this time, but there was really nothing to see, yet I could have sworn I was being watched. There were eyes on me, deep and probing.

“Come in!” the faceless voice repeated.

“To where?” I enquired, swallowing down my fast rising panic.

The cavern walls began to tremble and I braced myself for another plunge through the dark. I willed myself to be brave as I fought my anxiety. Looking up, I saw sprinkles of dust fall from the ceiling. I dare not look at the ground, imagining a huge pit was about to open up. Instead, I felt a tugging at my feet – a pair of hands! Their fingers were long and bony, the skin the colour of dead fish, ending in inky black fingernails.

“Ah!” I screamed and tried to move backwards, but I was frozen to the spot, gripped as if by hooks.

“Don’t fear it,” whispered Cidenet. “Open your mind.”

“I am opening it,” I replied, almost wanting to flick him off my shoulder. I wished he would speak straight for once, although I realised he couldn’t. He was only the messenger after all.

Glancing up at the ceiling and the walls, my heart sank as there was nothing to hold on to. I would not be able to raise myself up. Cursing under my breath, I noticed her wrinkled hands. The skin seemed to have an oil-like texture, as if the top layer was gliding over the one beneath, and I shivered. The black nails seemed as sharp as razors. I tried once more to wriggle, but I was not going anywhere. Closing my eyes, I waited for the inevitable.

“Come in!” the voice said again, and then an icy, cutting chill ran through my body, from my feet all the way up to the top of my head. It was so bitter that it seemed to burn, but it only lasted a second for at the very moment that I opened my mouth to scream the sensation stopped.

I cracked open my eyes. Cidenet was sitting silently on my right shoulder and we were in a cavern. There was light here, from the sparkles in the dank walls again, but they were blue this time; the steady glow of aquamarine stones. There she was, staring at me with an expression unfathomable; her long fingernails hanging from grey, loathsome hands draped over the seat in which she sat. I so wanted to peel my eyes away from her, but I knew I should not. I had to face this.

“You came,” she remarked in a tone that seemed to sear the cavern air in two.

I stared at her hair, which appeared to be made of seaweed. It hung in clumps all the way down to her knees, wrapping itself around her body in waves of black, as though it were alive. I imagined hundreds of creatures living inside, feeding on it.

“How did you know how to get in?” she asked.

Her eyes seemed to burn through me into my very core. Dark orbs, lifeless and dull. Her skin was translucent, like grey, dank water, and I could see the bones beneath. It was as if a skull were talking to me, but a living, breathing one.

“I walked in,” I answered, willing my legs not to shake. I could not run away, even if I tried. Fear had me rooted to the spot.

“I see,” she remarked and then cackled, grey slithers of drool spilling from her lips.

I shivered, but stood my ground, feeling that she was my only way out. The dress that she wore resembled cobwebs; layer upon layer of webbing on which those familiar, tiny black spiders raced up and down, and to and fro. Upon her feet were... I expected black slippers, but she had no feet. There was nothing below those webs. Her legs appeared to just end.

Noticing where I was staring, she snapped two of her grey, lifeless fingers together. The sound bounced off the walls and echoed around the chamber. I wondered what Cidenet was thinking at that moment, and if he was feeling the same emotions as me. Not daring to speak, I peered all around out of the corners of my eyes while keeping my focus on...

I could not call her a woman. She showed no resemblance to any female I had ever seen before. I wondered if she was a witch or dead even, suspended somehow between this life and another, or if she were some creature from the sea. Her skin rippled like dank water as she raised her bony arms together, the thin hide barely concealing the skeleton beneath.

She lifted from the chair and glided towards me, the cobwebs spilling out all around her. The blue light made her skin seem greyer and the black strands of her hair drifted, as though she were swimming in the sea. As she approached, I found that I could not move my stare from her eyes, even though I tried. My hands became rigid fists by my sides as her face drifted to within inches of my own. I swallowed, my breath trapped in my throat. I felt as if my heart would stop, here and now, in this dark cave with this loathsome thing floating in front of me.

“Bring me the heart of the unicorn,” she said, grey bile dripping from her lips as her pungent breath wafted over me. It smelt of the dead.


Vickie lives in London and has a thing about fluffy cats. She works as a freelance sub-editor on business magazines and editor/proofreader on books. She loves reading, writing, films, the sea, art, animals, nature and travelling. She is currently working on her second zombie novel and a children's story about mice.

Check out Vickie's website and blog, and follow along on Twitter and Facebook

Author: Vickie Johnstone
 Publication date: May 24, 2013
Publisher: Vickie Johnstone

Book 1 in the Cerulean Songs series.

Time is all we have; it flows – it cannot stop.

This is a fantasy adventure full of unexpected twists. 
Sixteen-year-old Jayne struggles to regain her strength in order to find herself and her true destiny, even when fate appears to have other ideas.
Following a diving accident, Jayne wakes up in hospital, paralysed. Depression sinks her as she battles to adjust mentally while her body fights to heal itself. One day a mysterious visitor gives Jayne a beautiful crystal with a shimmering blue mist at its heart, transporting her to an alternate world. But is the crystal a bringer of bliss or chaos? 
With time ever evading her, Jayne must seek out mysterious lands and creatures of legend. Set a series of tasks, she must face and conquer her fears in a bid to gain her heart’s desire.

Ready to check out 

To join in the festivities, Vickie has offered up 3 copies of The Sea Inside — 1 paperback, 2 e-book — to 3 lucky Fairy Tale Fortnight readers!

This giveaway is open to US/CAN, and ends May 10th, 2014 at midnight. 

Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter, and make sure to leave Elizabeth some comment-love!

All FTF giveaways run until May 10th.

You must register on the Giveaway Registration Form during the event to be considered for any prizes in individual giveaways throughout the event.
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