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Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

Lost to the Raging Storms (sample) The farmer proceeded along the walkway to the back of the stable where the light was somewhat failing. His large, thin figure cast ominous shadows against the back wall. He picked up a bucket from the floor and threw handfuls of bread and cabbage in the hay across the paneling. “Come on,” he grunted, “good food. Don't let it go to waste.” Something rather large stirred in the hay, still covered by the shadows. “Be happy you're here,” the farmer said. “Outside its horrible weather.” He put the bucket down and turned to a watering can that stood against the far wall. It still held some water, but not enough. He made his way back to the entrance, opened the door and quickly ran around the small house. In the dark, with the storm throwing water in his face, he felt around for the faucet and waited impatiently as the watering can filled up with clear tap water. Grunting under the weight, he quickly made his way back with the watering can and threw the door shut behind him. “Hear that?!” he said as walked along the paneling to the back of the stable. “It's throwing it down outside.” There was still no reply. With some effort he lifted the can over the paneling and steadily poured the water into another bucket. As the water splashed down in the plastic bucket, he noticed the bread had vanished. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

With the Strength of her Conviction (sample) With the high-pitched scraping dragging behind her, she reached the door and opened it to the backyard and stood for a moment in the freezing autumn air and the ghostly blue moonlight bouncing off her white, wrinkled face and reflected in her cold, faded eyes. She opened her arms to the familiar cold that she had lived with all her life and that she knew so well. She welcomed the slight eastern breeze that cut through her clothes and her skin and her bones like a well-sharpened knife. She smelled the trees around her and the frost in the air. Oh yes, it would be cold tonight and tomorrow it would have ice on the canals and frost on the naked branches and the empty fields. When she stepped on the lawn, she already could hear the fragile cracking of the leaves of grass. She let the door of the shed fall shut behind her and shuffled forth. In the middle of the grass, in the centre of the moonlight, she stopped, grabbed the handle with her two skinny hands and closed her eyes for a second. “Good Lord,” Betty muttered, “give me strength to do this. Sweet Robert, please show me again how to do this.” Behind her old eyelids, she saw her husband, much younger, working and she tried to copy his movements. “Don't try to lift it,” he seemed to say. “You won't be able to. Swing it behind you, over your head, wait for gravity to grab it and then simply let it drop. Squeeze the handle. Feel it going up and then, simply, let it fall.” She tried and failed and tried again and after the fourth or fifth frustrating time, she took a deep breath and with the strength of ages, she got it. At first, it was a little scary and unfamiliar, but after a few tries she was able to swing the axe high above her head and let it drop with deadly precision. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

Those strange, beautiful fishes (sample) “So, what are you fishing for?” Joris asked to kill the silence. “Normally? Carp,” the old man answered. “Usually, I put a worm right on the bottom for that. But today I'm fishing for something new. So I needed some new bait.” He grabbed the rod and pulled the line up so far that the bait came up just above the water. The young man could see a piece of white meat on the hook. It looked white and bleak, dripping with water. “That's people,” the old man explained. “It's the best.” Slowly he lowered the bait back into the water. “It gives a good scent, but their not biting today.” Joris felt like he just got punched in the stomach. The air had disappeared from his lungs and he looked pale around his nose. He had to swallow to clear a particular big lump. The old man didn't seem to notice. “But patience, my boy, they'll come,” he said simply. The old man put the rod in between them, so softly and controlled, that the young man started to wonder if he had heard the old man correctly. Suddenly, the old man gave him the creeps, even though nothing had changed about his demeanour. He kept his gaze pointed at the float and was still sitting on the same piece of plastic, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees in that same concentrated pose as when the young man found him. For a few moments they sat there silently, watching the float together. Unsure of that to do and not about to seem rude or to make the old man suspicious, Joris broke the silence: “I once caught an eel here.” Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

Strangely calm and beautiful (sample) All day long she had been working in her study, reading quarterly reports and calculating profit margins. She had heard nothing but his loud grunts and the blows of the axe and the crackling of wood under his strength. He wore nothing but jeans that were now covered in dust and wood chips and sand and cobwebs. His upper body gleamed with sweat, his dark hair stood restlessly on end, his face was stern and grim, the muscles in his arms and chest were swollen with blood and rolled under his skin when he lifted the axe. She enjoyed watching him from above, like a giddy schoolgirl watching her secret love with all the appropriate feelings of body and mind. She longed to be with him, to touch him and smell him and feel him on her entire body. She longed to be overtaken by him and then, in turn, to overtake him. It wouldn't be long now before he came in for a drink and to ask her what was for dinner. She already imagined what she would do to him when that happened. She could wait, though, since the waiting was as sweet as the eventual award. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

Little Monsters (sample)

As Timmy stared at himself in the mirror, his mouth covered in foam and the toothbrush making wild motions, guided by his hand, he already imagined what tomorrow would bring. He hoped it would be the same weather as today with a clear blue sky and the sun radiating its warmth onto the world. He hoped his father didn't have any chores planned for him around the house and if he did, he hoped they wouldn't take too long. He wished all days could be as carefree and wonderful as this one had been. More than anything, he hoped the summer vacation would last for a long, long time and school, with its inherent discipline and bullies, would somehow cease to exist. He had no particular wish of how such a thing would come to pass. Burning down, as some children would suggest, seemed kind of coarse and messy. Getting crushed by a meteorite seemed much simpler and cleaner, although, he had to admit, not very likely. It would be a lot easier if the queen just decided that playing was more important than learning, he thought, as he opened the faucet and rinsed his mouth with cold water. They could then tear down the school and make a nice football field out of it or a forest with lots of animals. That would be quiet and peaceful and wonderful. With this image still in mind, he finished washing up and wiped his mouth on the towel. In his room, he pulled the blanket of his bed back and got ready to jump between the cool sheets, but suddenly halted as his eyes registered a small black clump scurrying around the white sheets. It was as big as a large coin and so dark, it was hard to distinguish any further features, except the eight thin legs it moved around on.


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

For a moment the boy stood shocked with this invasion of his most comfortable domain. The blood ran from his face and he felt the sweat break out on his back as his eyes feverishly tried to follow the running animal. The spider hastily made its way back towards the folded covers, but the boy quickly pulled them away and dropped them on the floor. The spider stopped and waited. Although initially shocked, Timmy's naturally curiosity took over and he regained his posture as he bent down next to the halting beastie, watching its black, tiny body on the clean white sheets. The spider's body was made up of two parts. One was the bulbous, thick part that it used to spin its web, the other, smaller part was the head that held the mandibles and the eight eyes. Both parts were an equal deep matte black. Its eight long legs were huddled together, close to the body as if folded in prayer. With one hesitant finger Timmy touched the spider, shoving it forward, but the animal didn't move. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

Rumours (sample) Lost in his musings, Father Swart stopped to stare at the flock of birds for a moment. He had now reached the end of his circle around the lake and stood at the advent of the sandy path that would lead him back into the village. The birds seemed to be larger than he originally expected them to be. Although still silhouettes against the night sky, he saw their shapes better now and especially the unexpectedly long wings. He heard them flapping in the quiet spring evening as the rest of nature died down and he strained his eyes to see them better. They must be geese or swans or something, although the flapping sounded somehow strange and unfamiliar. There were maybe ten or fifteen of them and they were coming his way. Their demeanour was certainly odd! They flew not as a flock, but more in a seemingly random pattern, alternating the one that flew in front with the ones that flew in the back. There was no sign of the usual chevron shape which is so common in geese and other large birds. In the dusk of the evening and with his tired, old eyes, the priest squinted to make out any other shapes or even colour as they flew overhead, but he could not. For a moment he stared at them flying away from him, but soon he shook his head and decided God's creation was wonderful and held new surprises every time. It was then that the flock turned again. Suddenly, an uncanny feeling befell the old priest. The hairs on his neck stood on end and he felt goose bumps crawl over his arms. It wasn't only their general direction that made Father Swart so apprehensive. It was also their altitude that changed. For at first they had flown overhead at quite a large height, but now they were obviously descending! He could see their strange, dark shapes become more and more pronounced as the flock lost altitude and turned around and around in the colourful sky. At one point they seemed to hover over the small village that the priest knew so well, flying in circles, as if taking in the ground, assessing the damage they could do.


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

New life (sample) Pondering the several options for tonight, he halted between two of the giant poplars that surrounded the area and, from the inside pocket of his jacket, he produced a crumpled up pack of cigarettes and one of the lighters his dad used for lighting the fireplace. He put one of the cigarettes between his lips and lit up, guarding the flame with his cupped hand against the breeze. The smoke irritated his windpipe and he coughed a few times, but then it went down smoothly. He didn't think he would ever smoke for real, but one cigarette per day couldn't hurt him, he guessed. He stood, lost in thought, sometimes inhaling deeply, sometimes just keeping the smoke in his mouth, trying to exhale slowly and confidently. It was then that his eye fell on the egg. At first he thought it was a stone, but quickly after pushing aside some shrubbery and fallen leaves, it was clear it wasn't. It was rather big, like a football, brown with strange sandy coloured speckles. He walked around it, inspected it, wondered what it could be. As he touched it, he was shocked to find it was covered in some kind of slime that stuck to his fingers. He tried to move it, but it seemed to be stuck to the ground somehow. Around it, the first buds of new life were springing from brown withered stems and between the rotten leaves of last years fall, he saw the dark green leaves of the creeping ivy. Next to the egg were some bones and a skull that looked disturbingly like a humans. Staring into the depths of the hollow sockets, he suddenly shivered in the chilly March breeze and as he looked up at the rigid branches of the leafless poplars, the entire place seemed very forbidding, like nature sent him a warning. As he stared back at the egg, it seemed to stare right back at him, its very presence was intimidating and with its inane stillness, it seemed to tell him that it indeed was best to stay away. Max quickly extinguished his cigarette between the wet leaves, stood up and turned away. As he slowly walked towards his bicycle, trying not to run, he could not shake the feeling that something living, something breathing, something very much alive, was watching him as he left.


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

He quickly paddled on. The sun had touched the horizon by now and in the east the first streak of pure darkness had started to appear. The chill of the day had changed into a veritable cold and he felt it grip his body as he quickly made his way back to his home. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

On a night filled with evil (sample) Farmer Moses froze in the shadows as he realized the sound had been too real to be his imagination. He still heard the echo of it ringing in his ears. His eyes were now looking both in the same direction again and fixed themselves at the two stables. He tried to determine exactly from where it had come. It could not have been from the stables, it had sounded further away. But on the other hand, it could not have come from the land behind the stables either, since it had sounded much closer than that. He almost wished that it would sound again, so he could determine more accurately where it had come from. But all stayed silent. Frustrated, the old farmer danced softly up and down on his slippers and chewed involuntarily on the inside of his cheeks. He sweat so much that it dripped into his own eyes and the finger around the trigger trembled. “Come on,” he spoke softly to himself, trying to think. The stables were locked, there was nothing else in there but a bunch of tractors and wagons and ancient machinery. It was dusty and stale. There was nothing in there for anyone. So the sound had had to come from outside. But not from behind the stables, because it sounded closer. And so he came to the inescapable conclusion that the sound must have come from between the two stables, from the darkest part where the light from the moon or the burning world did not reach, from the one place where he could not see. “Right!” Moses said and startled himself with his own voice. He put a few firm paces in the general direction of the two stables and almost instantly the loud cracking sounded again, this time followed by a long slurping sound that stopped him dead in his tracks and made the sweat break out on his back. He strained his eyes, looking at the darkness, hoping to

catch a glimpse of what was there. He felt his teeth searching for the flesh of his cheeks, but he managed to keep them still. “Who is there?” he hissed inaudible. “Who is there?” he repeated after he had scraped his throat.


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

“Who is there?” he heard his wife yell behind him. Moses turned around on his heels so fast his head started spinning. “Woman!” he snapped louder than he actually wanted to. “You scared me half to death!” Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

The Bar Sinister (sample) “Evening!” Edward said heartily, but the bartender just nodded slightly, his face serious and hard. As Edward came closer, the bartender leaned forward with his fists on the bar, watching his new visitor come closer. “Good evening,” Edward repeated more softly as he reached the bar. “Evening,” the bartender said unenthusiastic, still staring at him directly. “What'll it be?” “A beer, please,” Edward said without hesitation, trying to shake off the uncanny feeling that someone else was watching him beside the bartender. The bartender nodded and grabbed a short, thumbed glass from behind the bar and started pouring the beer. As the beer ran into the glass, the bartender sometimes glanced over to Edward who had laid his notebook and pen on the bar. “You're on holiday here?” the bartender said, rather demanding an answer than asking a polite question. “Oh no,” Edward said. “I just moved back here. I grew up around here and my parents still live in the other village.” The man nodded again as he brought the beer over. “Thought you looked somewhat familiar, yes,” the bartender said, examining Edward closely as if he tried to remember him, licking his lips as he did so. As he took the beer, Edward noticed that the barman only looked at him with his left eye. The right one stared off into the interior of the bar somewhere. The man wasn't cross-eyed, it seemed, the right eye just didn't seem to move at all, fixed in one place, unable to see anything. “Well, sometimes it's good to remember what it was all about in the beginning, I guess. Sometimes we loose ourselves on our path.” “Is that so?” Edward said, a little uneasy with the sudden philosophical statement. “Some people do,” the bartender said and shrugged. Edward took a sip of the beer and was pleasantly surprised with the good, hearty taste and its freshness.


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

“Nothing like a cold one on a warm day like this, eh?” the barman said with a grin that only incorporated the cruel mouth, not the one eye. “It's very good, yes, thank you.” All of sudden, Edward became aware of a presence on his right side and as he turned his head, he stared directly in the ruined face of an old man. The eyes seemed to be drooping, the creases in the flesh were so pronounced they had become crevasses, the nose was red and displayed several sores. The mouth of the man hung open and some saliva was dripping from the lips. “You okay?” Edward asked despite himself. “Grmph!” the old man said, letting out a loud rattle of a cough. Edward quickly took a step back. The spell went on for a few moments and as the old man raised his face upwards, their eyes met briefly and Edward was left with a horrible feeling of bitter defeat and hatred as the old man straightened up and turned his gaze back to the darkness again. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters Marcel Admiraal http://floating.blogspot.com

What hides in the high grass (sample) Although they were following him closely, the monsters kept a respectful distance, just lurking in the cover of the high grass. The moon was big and full and cast its silvery light on the flat lands, but they stayed in the shadows, moving from one to the other as Sebastian walked on. Being predators, they knew how to move as silently as possible, their padded paws avoiding breakable branches and crispy leaves. Some of them moved high up in the canopy of the beeches, from one branch to another, from tree to tree. Some of them scurried through the undergrowth and the bushes, pressing their white bellies close to the ground, watching Sebastian from behind the intricate network of branches and leaves. Had he been able to see them, he would have noticed their slimy, moist skin, covered in wards and lesions. He would have seen the rows of sharp teeth gleaming in the moon light, the long, sharp claws digging into the bark of the trees and the big yellow eyes that burned with greed and hunger in their primeval mind. Communicating with each other in a way that mere humans could not possibly perceive, they moved naturally as one continuous ripple through the night, hardly disturbing the natural order, only occasionally silencing the loud choir of grasshoppers or croaking frogs. They knew that the kill would benefit the entire pack. As Sebastian moved forward, so did the pack; when he held still, they froze in mid-motion, blending in perfectly with the odd mix of light and shadows. They followed him for at least three kilometres as he strolled upright and confident down the straight and narrow polder road that led past an old farmhouse and finally ended at the lake. Samples taken from Beneath Dark Waters! Now available from Floating Robes! http://floatingrobes.blogspot.com


Beneath Dark Waters