This excerpt is from a new novel I’ve just finished called Darkness in the Blood. It’s about a young college girl, Sofia, who gets invited to an exclusive fraternity party, only to discover a dark secret about its inhabitants. The three brothers, in this excerpt, Creighton, Dregan and Malachi are the main focus of her suspicions. Georgia, mentioned here, is Sofia’s room mate and a bit of a fun character. I’ll leave the secret as one you have to discover when the book comes out 😉 Enjoy –
Creighton ran after Dregan immediately. He was only a step or two behind him, going upstairs and into the attic room, his anger bubbling away unnoticed below the surface. He was mad at Dregan and Sofia, and Georgia for wanting an invitation to a party just because her room mate got one. To make it worse, he was even a little guilty, but even more angry at Malachi for trashing his room, throwing anything in sight, kicking chairs and rubbish bins over in his frustration. He knew he couldn’t help it, but he was worried and even a little scared. “She’s coming! She’s coming back tomorrow!” Dregan shouted the instant he skidded to a stop inside the open door. He was so loud that his words made an immediate impact on Malachi, who stopped in mid-throw. He was about to trash his clock, so Creighton could only be thankful that Dregan had stopped him.
“She’s coming?” Malachi asked, stunned, frozen as he stood there, in the shadows, breathing hard. He had been so scared that Sofia would never come back to see him again. That Dregan would miss her.
“Yes. I stopped her…I told her to come back for the books…she says she’s coming tomorrow. And she’s coming to the party.” Dregan reassured his brother that she was going to keep to her word and attend the party. Malachi let out a ragged breath and gripped his hair for a moment, with both hands, trying to calm himself. It wasn’t working. He needed to sit down. Dregan took a step forward to let his brother know that he wasn’t alone, but Creighton caught his shoulders before he could get out of reach.
“Go back downstairs. You have homework to do.” Creighton ordered suddenly, surprising both Dregan and Malachi into staring at him. No-one liked his tone, or the implication. Malachi knew fine well that he was ordering Dregan away from him because he didn’t think he was safe.
“Don’t order him around like one of your lackeys. He’s your brother.” Malachi reminded him, sighing when Creighton reminded him that he was too, as if that made any difference. He supposed it did though, since he was the good little boy and stayed in his attic room away from the world. He was trying to convince himself to calm down when Creighton ordered Dregan to go downstairs again and his momentary control sped away from him. It wasn’t just the tone of his voice, or the command, it was the gentle push that he gave Dregan, towards the stairs. His control broke and he exploded. He grasped for the first thing within reach, throwing it straight at Creighton with no regret.
What neither he nor Creighton expected was for Dregan to suddenly run through the room towards the object. Creighton was quite used to Malachi throwing things at him, but he never would have hit him, so he rushed forward at the same time as Malachi did, to try and stop Dregan. Neither of them got to him in time. The silver frame hit him at the side of his eye and the force knocked him off his feet and onto the floor. But despite all that, Dregan caught it into his hands and held it close to his chest, lying on the floor panting, trying not to let on that it had hurt. “That was mom’s.” Was the only sensible thing he could think of to say. Malachi felt a rush of guilt, knowing that with their mother no longer with them, she meant more to Dregan than she ever had, and every object of hers was precious.
“I’m sorry. Are you alright?” He asked, worried and sorry for being so stupid. He would never deliberately hurt anything of their mothers, and Dregan knew that. He nodded as he got to his feet, while Malachi cursed himself for not looking at what he was doing. If he had only looked at what he was throwing, Dregan wouldn’t’ have gotten hurt.
“Of course he’s not alright!” Creighton’s voice boomed through the room in fury. He placed his hand on Dregan’s shoulder, about to ask to see the wound to assess the damage, when his little brother shrugged off his touch and moved across the room. He placed the photo frame back where it had come from, on the table where the TV sat and then, unsurprisingly, escaped into Malachi’s waiting, outstretched arms for comfort. For all that Dregan continued to repeatedly defend their brother, Malachi wasn’t safe to be around. He hadn’t been for a long time, it was about time that they both accepted that. He didn’t keep him locked up in the attic for no reason, despite what they both thought. So when Malachi sighed and said that he hadn’t meant to hurt him, it was the last straw. “No, you never do, do you? Yet that’s always what happens. Malachi the great, does things of his own accord and Dregan gets hurt by it.” He snapped, furious that they were both ignoring the blatantly obvious. Dregan just stood there, hugging Malachi tightly, acting like he had rescued him instead of hurting him.
“I know it’s my fault, do you have to keep reminding me?” Malachi asked sadly. For all that Creighton didn’t want to upset his brother, he did need to keep reminding him of the things he had done, because it was important. It was important to Dregan’s safety. He was the only one who could still get hurt by his actions. He was the only one young enough to be naïve and hopeful anymore.
“It’s not your fault Malachi, really it’s not.” Dregan pulled back from his hug with Malachi, to reassure him. He managed to smile and get a smile from his big brother in return, before Creighton ruined it.
“Yes it is! This whole thing is his fault!” Creighton argued heatedly, feeling like he was losing control of a simple situation. Why couldn’t they just listen to him? There were things they didn’t know that he did, but did it really make all that difference when Malachi continued to remind him of how dangerous he was on a daily basis?
“I hate you!” Dregan turned and glared at him, shocked both of his older brothers. Malachi was about to tell him to take it back, when he suddenly rushed past them both and flew out of the room and down the stairs. It was quite obvious to them both that he was crying. For a moment, Malachi and Creighton shared a look that said they were both as guilty as each other and they were both sorry for making the situation worse. They would normally have left it there and gone their separate ways, but when Malachi took a step towards the door and out of the shadows, Creighton had to stop him. He stepped into his path and sighed, taking a firm hold of his shoulders.
“You’re in no fit state to go anywhere. You haven’t had any sustenance in four weeks. Since that damned girl showed up. You either give in and eat something, or I make sure you never see her again.” He threatened, sure that it was the only way to make Malachi see sense. But it just made him angry. His previous anger was still unabated, still below the surface, looking for a target. Creighton was it.
“Then you’ll have to try harder. Because I swear to god, I won’t let that poison pass my lips as long as she lives.” He shouted only because he needed to, because he felt caged and on the edge of violence. He shouted so that he didn’t lash out. And Creighton knew it. He nodded, resigned to let him control his own life, and then left the room to head downstairs. Malachi was left feeling empty, and yet full, furious and yet sad and lost. He hated the constant conflicting emotions. So he paced. He needed movement.
Creighton headed downstairs, hoping to talk sense into Dregan. But what he found surprised him. The living room was empty, there was no sign of a disturbance and there was only one fraternity brother in the room, sitting reading a newspaper. “Did you see Dregan?” He asked, hopeful that he might have gone to his room or to do his homework.
“He took something off that table and then left the house.” The brother confessed quietly, only raising his eyes from his paper for a moment to see a trouble frown creasing Creighton’s brow. He moved across to the table with a bad feeling, only to notice that not only was Dregan missing, but so was Georgia’s invitation to the party.