BY: CARRIE QUESNE
Six friends go camping in the Cotswolds of England, not one of them realizing that death is just around the corner. They end up at an old house, seemingly empty, with a story attached to it—a story of a family’s death. Friends together just having fun…or so they think. One by one, they disappear. Only one survives to go into the Witness Protection Program, depending on the police for survival. But who can she trust, when even the cops can be influenced by the evil within?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Evil Within by Carrie Quesne, Carla Jenkins goes camping with five of her friends in the English countryside and winds up in an abandoned house. When her friends start disappearing and then dying, Carla is desperate to escape. But how can she leave her friends behind? And will just getting out of the house stop the carnage? Unfortunately for Carla, the answer to that last question is no, and she is forced to go into the witness protection program. But even then, she isn’t safe. Strange things start happening after a while and, once again, the people close to her suffer.
The story is chilling with a strong plot and good character development. You really feel for Carla as one thing after another goes wrong.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Evil Within by Carrie Quesne is the story of a psychopathic killer who targets a group of six friends on a weekend camping trip in England. Our heroine, Carla Jenkins, is the only one the six left to go into the witness protection program when the weekend is over. But even there she’s in danger. Weird thing begin to happen, and she feels someone watching her, so she knows the killer has found her and is just waiting for the right moment to strike. Now Carla is on the run again. Will she ever find a place where she can be safe and live a normal life?
Evil Within is a complicated, intriguing mystery/suspense, short enough to read in one sitting, which is good because you won’t be able to stop once you start.
Sitting here knowing what I know now, would I have gone with my friends that day? The answer? No way!
It was a cheery bright morning, that Saturday in September. My friends and I had planned a fun weekend out in the country, camping. Camping! I hated camping, but it was only for three nights. So, because of that, I didn’t mind too much. Six of us were going–my best friend Lana with her on-off boyfriend Sam; Jill, whom I had known from infant’s school; her boyfriend Max, whom I knew pretty well and who was a nice guy, especially to put up with Jill who was always trying to boss him around, but a lot of it was done jokingly. The main thing was they loved each other. Then, last of all, Kris. He was someone I had dated way back but only for a very short time. He had also gone to the same senior school as me. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time. He had decided to move, and that was the last we saw of him, until now. He didn’t tell us why he was back. I gathered he wanted to be near family.
Kris was tall, dark, and handsome with a fun, kind personality–always joking around, which I had loved about him.
Then there was me, Carla Jenkins. I was an only child, no siblings. I lived a fair distance away from my mother. My father had passed away a few years ago. My mother couldn’t afford to live in a three-bedroom house and, not wanting to live in London any longer, had decided to move to Devon, to a quaint little seaside town called Dawlish. I knew she was happy there as she was near to my aunt, her sister. I visited my mother twice a year, and we phoned each other regularly. It suited me and kept my mother happy.
So that was all of us, all six of us, on the camping trip. But not six any longer, no longer…
I was all packed and ready to go. We were taking two cars–Lana and Sam in one car with a lot of the cases and boxes of food. It was far too much stuff, really–especially as it was only for a weekend. But Lana, along with Jill, had decided between themselves that we needed everything. It was fine with me, and no one else mentioned it. The rest of us were going in another car.
We were all so happy that day, singing silly little songs along the way. I sat in the back with Kris. He kept giving me quick little glances when he thought I wasn’t looking. My stomach was doing somersaults, my hands all sweaty.
I kept thinking, Stop being so silly, Carla, stop being so silly. The thing was, I knew I was being all girlie, totally silly, and, really, I wasn’t like that one bit. We were all driving out to a lovely part of the Cotswolds. I was certainly glad I was getting out of London for a while. I figured the others were, too. I had never been to the Cotswolds before but some of the others had. I knew it would take us at least a couple of hours to get there, so I’d made sure I packed a couple of books to take with me.
The drive went pretty uneventfully. We stopped twice, once at a petrol station to use the toilet and get something to eat. The second time we stopped was just off the road because Jill and Lana needed to go to the toilet again. This time they had to find some bushes and hearing them squeal was so funny.
Eventually, we arrived at our destination. It was a really pretty spot, and for the next three days it was going be all ours. There was a forest behind us and a lake in front. It was a beautiful blue lake which reminded me of a story I had read when I was young.
We had to drive down a dirt road to get there, as it was way out in the middle of nowhere. All I kept thinking was, Will we ever get there? The road seemed to go on and on, but we got there in the end. We all helped to unload everything, which didn’t take too long.
Then the guys, with a little help from me, put up the tents. Lana and Sam had one tent, Jill and Max another, then the third tent was for Kris and me. I had said I would share one with him, especially as there was going to be plenty of room inside of it. Kris had his own sleeping bag and I had mine. I stood there, looking at the lake, knowing we were all going to have a fun time.
“Hey, Carla, snap out of it!” Lana shouted, “And come over here.”
“I’m coming,” I hollered, running over to them.
We all sat around a log fire, eating hotdogs and telling silly stories. I sat right next to Kris and, somehow, his arm ended up around me, making me feel a little embarrassed, especially with everyone being there, but I was happy.
Getting ourselves ready for bed later, we were all about to retire to our tents when Max shouted for everyone to come and sit by the fire, which was starting to die down. There was a great big grin on his face, a really cheeky grin, which made me realize something was on his mind.
“I’ve got a bedtime story to tell you all,” he said, the smile suddenly going away. “Are you sitting comfortably?”
We all shouted “Yes.”
Max looked from one to the other of us. “Then I will begin, ladies and gentlemen. Not too far from here, I would say roughly an hour’s drive away, is a great big empty house. It’s totally empty. No one has lived in it for years. Seth Armstrong was the name of the gentleman who lived there with his wife Florrie. She was a beautiful woman whom all the men fancied. Over the years, they had four lovely children: three girls and one boy. The girls were as beautiful as their mother. The son took after his father–pretty plain, so they say. Well, that’s what I was told.”
“Wow,” I whispered. “What happened?”
“I’m just getting to that bit,” Max said. “Well, things gradually went from bad to worse. Seth got more and more jealous, thinking that his wife was having an affair. Not just that, but their son would go out with different girls every night and every time treat them really badly at the end of their dates.”
Nasty man, I thought, as we all sat there listening to every word Max was saying.
“He beat a couple of the girls black and blue, one girl ending up in hospital. Anyway, one day Seth came home from work early and killed his wife and daughters, who were there with their mother at the time. When the police arrived, they just couldn’t believe what they saw. It was a total blood bath.”
“What about Seth?” someone asked.
“He was still there, covered in blood himself. The police arrested him. He’s in prison.”
Jill started to gag a little. “What happened to the brother?”
“No one knows, no one ever found him in the house. The police tried to find him but never could. Good riddance to him I say,” Max whispered. “Good riddance.”
He looked at each of us, in turn, with the great big grin back on his face.
When he turned to me, I looked him straight in the eyes. “You’re makin it all up.”
“No, it’s all true…well, as far as I know, but I hope you all enjoyed your bedtime story.”
As Kris turned to me, I suddenly felt very nervous, like a little school kid again. Right then, I wished he wasn’t there as I hated feeling that way. I knew I was being silly. He took hold of my hand, leading me to our tent. I wanted to be with him but, at the same time, he scared me–the whole situation scared me.
We all said our goodnights to each other then settled down to sleep.
The next day, all of us got up nice and early. The sun was already trying to get through the clouds. I knew it was going to be a fun day for us all. We sat looking toward the sky with smiles on our faces. We were all glad that we had decided to go on the weekend campout.
I knew the guys were really happy because they always loved going camping, but they were very surprised about us girls, especially me, knowing how much I hated it. The guys made a fire and the girls, mainly me and Lana, made breakfast.
“Yummy, eggs and bacon!” shouted Sam and Kris together, making us all laugh.
After breakfast, we all went down to the lake for a swim and, off course, a wash. It was chilly this time of day but we got used to it in the end, especially the guys. Nothing seemed to faze them. After we had dried off and changed clothes, Max started pacing around. He had that great big smile on his face again. Bless Max. He was always the happy, optimistic guy who Jill had fallen in love with.
“Hey, everyone, I know what we can do,” he shouted, making everyone laugh.
“Oh? What?” Jill yelled back. “What’s that? Is it something exciting? Max, don’t make us beg.”
Poor Max couldn’t get a word in it. Jill wasn’t giving him chance to say what he wanted to. I gave her one of my stern looks as she was just about to say something else. That was all she needed and not another sound came from her mouth. We all glanced at Max, letting him know that he could continue.
“Are you ready to listen to me now? Okay, good. I shall carry on. You know what we should do? I think we should all go up to the house.”
“Whose house?” I asked.
“Seth Armstrong’s house. Whose do you think?”
“Great idea,” someone agreed. “Let’s do it.”
I turned. It was Kris. He had spoken so softly I hadn’t realized it was him. As I looked at him, he gave me a lovely smile which made me go all goose bumpy inside. I smiled back at him, not knowing what else to do.
We all sat for a short while, debating what we should do and whether going to the house was the right thing or not. Everyone decided that, yes, it was–apart from me, and I knew I was just being a coward. Worst thing was, though, they decided that later in the afternoon would be the best time to go, the later the better.
We spent most of our time sunbathing, swimming, and playing volleyball: girls against the boys! Us girls won, which didn’t go down too well with the guys. We ate our lunch of was cold chicken salad and potatoes and, throughout the day, the guys drank beer or coke.
We girls were drinking lemonade and Pepsi, except for Lana, who had one or two beers. Trust Lana. She always had to be one of the guys, or at least she thought she did. She was certainly a tomboy at times and had been when we were at school.
I remembered her going to school in trousers one day, which didn’t go over too well with the teachers.
She was made to write on a full sheet of paper I won’t come in trousers again, line after line, filling the whole page.
© 2017 by Carrie Quesne