Friday 10 May 2024

Who Watches This Extract…

FEAR THIS POST FOR IT WILL GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT (only there are differing opinions of when the witching hour is as that’s when I wanted to schedule this. The hour after midnight [12am to 1am] or the time between 3am to 4am. There’s some that say it’s between 2am till 4am!)

ANYWAY (let’s get off that random trail of thought!), I have an extract for you guys and it’s a good’un!

Who Watches This Place by Amy Clarkin is the ghostly sequel to What Walks These Halls and we are back with the Paranormal Surveyance Ireland as they are offered a new job. Strange and disturbing happenings are happening at a new start up, hence why the new owners asked Arthur, his sister Raven and other members to investigate. 

But when a startling disappearance reveals tensions within the group, one has the wonder whether they can overcome them, especially when one of their friends is in danger of suffering a horrific fate? 

Now, I am surprise intrigued about this as I really liked the queer and disability representation elements of What Walks These Halls as well as found family and the spooky Irishness so very excited to sink my teeth into the sequel once I get my grubby little hands on it. 

Now, before I hand you over to the extract, I just want to say a quick thank you to Chloe at The O’Brien Press who remembered I read the first and asked if I wanted to share the love over the sequel (I nearly bit her email-hand off!) and for replying to my last minute queries. And, if the extract below wets your appetite and you want to get more details, you can check out The O’Brien Press website or (if you want to click on an affiliate link, of course). Or, you can check out the author’s social and you can find Amy at either @amyclarkin on Twitter/X or @amyclarkinwrites on Instagram

Now, onto the spooOOOOOOooooky extract!

Louis already regretted signing up for the night shift.

He should have guessed there would be a catch. From how the rest of the staff had shuffled and looked at the floor when Mark Campbell, one of the owners of the Merrion Hub, had announced there was a vacancy available in the night staff. And that it came with an extra thirty per cent on top of an already decent wage. 

You didn’t turn down an opportunity like that. Not in Dublin, with a housing crisis and energy crisis colliding. Not with three-year-old twins at home, two kids whose future you already had one wary eye on. Not with a husband whose eyebrows knotted more and more tightly together as he did the monthly budget, whose sigh echoed throughout the apartment and his voice, soft enough not to draw the children’s attention, said, ‘We’ll make do. Somehow.’ 

Those were the things Louis reminded himself of as he walked the upper levels of the members’ club, wondering if he needed to wear a hat over his buzz cut to fight off the chill that seemed to exist only on the second floor of the building. He often looked down at the tattoo on his wrist – an infinity knot with his children’s names written in it – as he repeated to himself the list of reasons not to bolt from the old Georgian house off Dublin’s Merrion Square and never come back. He wasn’t a stranger to a nightshift. He’d worked security in places all around Dublin: hospitals, museums, nightclubs. He’d thought he couldn’t see anything more terrifying than Harcourt Street at 3 a.m. on the night of an All-Ireland Championship match. Louis was a practical, no-nonsense man, confident in the knowledge that, at six foot tall, with muscles that made even the most belligerent of revellers think twice before challenging him, he was a hard man to mess with. Which was why he didn’t take kindly to being unnerved by shadows.

Especially that one particular shadow that seemed to be follow­ing him. 

It had taken him a few nights to notice it. How the batteries on his torch never lasted a night, the shadows in the building growing deeper as the beam faded rapidly. How sometimes it felt like he was being stalked from within those shadows. Even if the level of light or the angle changed, the sensation of being watched never eased. It was enough to make him start to look over his shoulder more often than he needed to. More often than he wanted to. 

It was ridiculous. He was no stranger to darkened corridors and silent hallways, and was well used to his footsteps and breathing being the only sounds that filled his ears. He liked the quiet of the night, the stillness, how he could use the time to mull over his own thoughts. He just wished his thoughts didn’t take such an unset­tling turn when he was here. 

Wished he wasn’t slowly starting to figure out the cryptic com­ments some of the others had made. And why the night staff had had such a high level of turnover in the six months the club had been open. He’d put it down to how the hospitality industry in general was struggling to find staff since Covid and hadn’t thought there was any sinister reason behind it. 

He was starting to second-guess that instinct. 

The lights on the third floor were off now. This was where the meeting rooms were, and no meetings took place after 10 p.m. The four rooms filled with communal workspaces on the second floor closed at 10 p.m. too, while the private rooms for video calls and remote meetings on the first floor stayed open until midnight, since many of the members had clients or colleagues in different time zones. The bar and lounge on the ground floor, informal areas for a drink and a chat where everyone pretended it was a ‘friendly catch-up’ and not a gentle probing to see what this particular person could do for them, stayed open until 2 a.m. It was a space for business and posturing, as much to be seen in as it was to work in. Louis couldn’t imagine inhabiting that world of firm handshakes and doublespeak and had no desire to. 

Though if he did, at least he wouldn’t have to roam these corridors with a torch whose beam quavered just slightly. He frowned at the light’s betrayal of his nerves as he shone it into each room to check they were truly empty before he locked them. Each room displayed nothing but sleek tables and comfortable desk chairs, gaping plug sockets waiting for cables, and stands posed open-handed for the next laptop to rest in. He reached the stairs and took a deep breath. He hated the next floor down. 

He refused to hurry his steps as he descended. He would not be intimidated by how the air seemed to cool and close in around him. He would not notice how his torch beam seemed to dim the closer he got. How the eyes of the portraits that lined the staircase seemed to follow him, their eyes almost seeming to shine in the faint pools of light cast by the small individual lights on top of the frames. Lights that flickered and died one by one just as he passed them. He wished the timing didn’t make his heart pound. He reached the second-floor landing, almost reluctantly looking at the sole painting – a portrait – that hung there to his left. A handsome man sat in a high-backed leather armchair in a posh drawing room with oak-panelled walls, an identical but empty chair beside him, a small, gilded table between them. He had dark hair, blue eyes so light they were almost grey, and an expression that at once seemed secretive and smug, as though he was privy to information the viewer could only dream of and he’d take great pleasure in lording it over them. 

Louis had disliked him the moment he saw him. He saw past the expensive clothes, the handsome features and the confident demeanour. Some instinct had whispered to him that this was a slippery man, a man who would charm you one day and throw you to the wolves the next, if the wolves could offer him something to sate his own appetite. 

He glared at the painting. 

The painting smirked back. 

Louis jumped, his torch beam darting as he did, his back hitting against the staircase banister with a thud. The man in the painting … his lips had moved, hadn’t they? He’d seen it with his own eyes. How the smug set of his lips had curved ever so slightly, how he’d looked into the portrait’s eyes and it had silently told him, ‘I know what you’re thinking.’ He could hear his heart beating in his ears, the pounding of blood filling them. 

Paintings don’t move, Louis

He peeled himself away from the banister and set off down the corridor on the second floor to check the rooms. He just needed to tick these off, then he could retreat to the warmth and relative comfort of the first and ground floors, the ones still teeming with life and noise. He could hear the faint sounds of the bar coming up the staircase, beckoning him with light and laughter. Only this floor, with its air of unnatural stillness that almost felt threatening, could make him want to be around tipsy business people. 

Just do your job, and you’re done for another night

Plus tomorrow was an evening off. It would be a blissful almost forty-eight hours before he’d have to stand on this dark landing again, before he’d have to listen to the echoes of his footsteps on this corridor. 

There was something different about the familiar sound tonight, something that niggled at the back of his neck, like an itch trying to get his attention. He strained his ears as he walked slowly, trying to focus on the comforting, steady sound of his footsteps, his heavy boots thwupping against the hardwood floor under his feet. 


They were too long. The sound his steps made was drawn out by a half-second or so. When he listened properly, he could hear it, so subtle it would go unnoticed if he wasn’t focusing so intently on it.

Thwup-up. Thwup-up

The sound echoed in his head. 

Was this real? 

He could have sworn that it was not one set of footsteps he was hearing – it was two, so close together that they almost blended, would merge unnoticed if he hadn’t spent years listening to the sound of his own steps. 

He was being followed. 

Though as sickening apprehension made his stomach clench, and an icy chill slithered down his spine, he decided that ‘followed’ was too gentle a word for what was happening. 

He was being hunted.

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