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19.2.18

Come a Little Closer by Rachel Abbott Writing Challenge

Imagine how excited I was when an email announcing the new book from Rachel Abbott arrived in my inbox? (FYI, Come a Little Closer is available now!) The email came not only bearing this very exciting news, but also offering the chance to take part in a blog-tour-writing-challenge. The concept is that Rachel Abbott has written the first two paragraphs of the story (in bold) and bloggers are given the opportunity to continue writing and make the story their own.
I had SO much fun doing this and am still a tiny bit awe-struck that I got to almost 'collaborate' with Rachel Abbott (at least in my head...)



Gemma had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember. As a child, she had blamed the cold, ancient house they had lived in – its endless corridors had too many closed doors for people to hide behind, too many secrets concealed in the shadows. But now there was no excuse. Her flat was modern, open, with huge windows.
It made no difference, though. Each night of the long winter months as she stood outside the block, she imagined all the doors she would have to pass before she reached her own, wondering if the lights in the hallway would be working, or whether they would flicker and go out, leaving her blind in the inky black void. Alone with her fear.

Perhaps she had always known that this day would come. She took a deep breath and stepped into the silent entrance, her heels tapping out a warning that she was coming on the polished concrete floor of the long corridor.


She felt a mixture of anxiety, fear and…something else. Relief? Exhilaration? It was hard to tell, there were that many emotions swooshing round her body. Was she really about to do this?
She glanced at her watch as she let herself into her flat. Fifteen minutes to go.
Try not to think about what you’re about to do she warned herself. Once she begun analysing how she got into this mess she would never have the courage to go through with it.
Still, her mind wondered back to that day in July when she received a Facebook notification ping through on her phone.
“Pink Ted Baker purse, found outside Tesco. DM me.” Gemma didn’t know why she had joined her local Community Facebook page, but at the time she was grateful that she had. Some wonderful person had found her purse! And they hadn’t taken out the money and gone on a contactless £30 spending spree with her cards.
However, the day when Gemma messaged her credit card saviour, ‘Robert Kloda’ her life changed. She’d surrender her Ted Baker purse in an instant if she could only have her life back, her sense of normality, her security, her safety…Her sanity.
She was grateful to Robert. It turned out there were still honest, decent people around. Ha. How wrong she had been.
Realising she needed a distraction; she hurried into the kitchen and scrabbled into the drinks cupboard. The stresses of the past few weeks had taken their toll and all the good stuff was gone, necked back by Gemma in moments of rage, fear and despair. However, there was a sticky bottle of sherry hidden away. Gemma didn’t like sherry but desperate times called for desperate drinking and she pored herself an abnormally large glass of sweet sherry, wincing as the sickly liquid reached her throat.
The lightbulb in the kitchen started to flicker, making her jump as it crackled. It didn’t take much to make her jump these days.
When Robert messaged offering to give back her purse in the local pub Gemma had agreed. He’d done a decent thing and it was only fair to thank him with a pint. He was charming, but older than his Facebook profile picture implied. They exchanged pleasantries and went their separate ways. End of story…But the then Direct Messages started.

Gemma initially ignored them, until she thought she should let Robert down gently with the introduction of a made-up boyfriend. It wasn’t as if she had swiped right on Tinder for him, he’d done her a favour & got the wrong end of the stick.
When she blocked him on Facebook the letters started to arrive. Then the phone calls. He started off friendly yet insistent, but when he realised he wasn’t getting anywhere the threats started. He started bombarding her with offensive images and emails. Then she thought she saw him outside her flat on her way home from work one evening. He knew where she lived – her driving licence had been in her purse.
“He’s obviously some guy whose ego has taken a bruising that you won’t go out with him, that’s all.” Her friends reassured her. 
But Gemma could sense it was more than that and she began to question her sanity as she thought she saw him lurking in every corner, down every alleyway. This stranger was terrorising her, ruining her life...And all she could think was not again.
Lying in the bath at 3am as the incessant phone calls went on late into the night, stopping her from sleeping, Gemma decided to take matters into her own hands.

She picked up her phone with shaking hands and re-read the message she sent Robert asking him to come round to her flat. In five minutes time the man who had terrorised her every waking moment would be here.

And luckily, this time, Gemma had a plan.



Click here to get your copy of Come a Little Closer, released 15th February with Black Dot Publishing.

A huge thank you to Maura for the opportunity to take part in the Come a Little Closer writing challenge.



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