As many of you are no doubt aware, most writers and journalists of note now come to me first when they want help on their stories.
Legendary horror writer Stephen “I’ve written more books than I’ve read” King is no exception, and recently submitted to me his draft for a China-based horror story. He’s been enjoying a bit of a resurgence in popularity recently with not one, but two, films based on his books out in the cinema right now (It and The Dark Tower). Good for him. I’ve always thought Stephen was a structurally sound writer, despite pumping out some absolutely awful shit during the 80s and 90s. Yes, you don’t see film versions based on his stories about a killer pair of wind-up teeth (Chattery Teeth) or a haunted laundry press (The Mangler, oh shit, they did make a film of that). I haven’t seen the new version of It yet, but I’m very curious to know if it includes the scene at the end where six eleven year old boys take it in turns to gangbang an eleven year old girl. Oh yes.
Anyway, Steve’s keen to have a crack at the China market. All that bourbon and cocaine doesn’t pay for itself, you know. So, without further ado, I am proud to present an exclusive excerpt from King’s upcoming China-based epic: The Knocking.
It was one of those hot summer nights that reminds one of misspent adolescent evenings spent in the back of your old man’s Chevrolet trying to finger Nancy-Jo, the red-haired chick from next door. The heat pushed one down like a drunk and horny divorcee from the outer laying regions of Bangor, Maine. Stuart Rex, part-time writer and full-time dreamer, lay on his sticky bed, lighting up another Camel cigarette and sucking up the sweet cancery goodness. Ahh, it sure was good to be a smoker.
The electric fan’s blades swept from side to side like chainsaws, and Stuart thought about his upcoming novel. He had gathered a lot of material since arriving in China, and he knew some major award was going to come out of this. The horrific traffic accident he had witnessed, the sinister smiles of the made-up ladies in the barber shops, the massive shit someone had taken on his doorstep… Stuart was here to learn about man’s inhumanity to man. And then hopefully make a TV mini series out of it.
Without warning, there was a knock at the door. Not the usual rat-a-tat-tat of a girl guide selling cookies, but the mad demented constant knocking of a serial killer. Reaching for another smooth Camel cigarette, Stuart decided to ignore it. He had long ago learnt that answering the door in China brings little reward, and he had already had three neighbours this week claiming to “collect the water fees”. Enough was enough. He was not answering that door.
But the knocking did not stop. Again and again with no pause, the dreadful knocking persisted to resonate around the house. Who knocks like that? What mental sickness could drive somebody to knock on a door for so hard and so long even when it was obvious nobody was going to answer.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. It was like an unfunny never-ending joke. Each knock tore into Stuart’s head like a rusty screwdriver. He knew he was going to have to answer the door if he was ever going to make the knocking stop. However, as he made his way towards the slightly slanted door (was it smirking at him?), each terrible knock weakened him and he fell to the floor covering his ears. Why was this person knocking on the door so hard? Why did bad things have to happen to good people?
As if things could not get any worse; his mobile phone began to ring. But the phone was in another room and Stuart did not have the strength to go and retrieve it. He knew that the ringing would never end either. Incessantly, the knocking of the door and the ringing of the phone intermingled and combined into an eternal aural inferno. It would never end. Stuart knew it would never end. If he could only find the strength to just crawl towards the door and tell the person to go away. But the noise, the inhuman noise…
Somewhere, in the house next door, a neighbour plugged in a drill…
Or is it?
Or is IT?
Or IS it?
OR is it?
OR IS IT?
Yes. Yes it is.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.