If you’re in the market for a captivating, haunting and entirely unique read, Britney S. Lewis has got you covered with her suspense filled sophomore novel, The Dark Place and we’re so excited to have an early and exclusive extract, so you can start reading right here and now.
At first, I was there.
At Mama and Daddy’s new rental, which I despised.
I didn’t like the smell—it was this old, milky thing that lingered—but I guessed it was better than the apartment complexes we’d been moving in and out of since I was nine. Nothing would ever really feel like home—not like the one I grew up in. The one where Bubba and I were twisted pinkies, always promising. Because even if everything in life was scientifically proven to end one day, our words were always forever.
It was the day before my seventeenth birthday, a Sunday, and Mama and Daddy wanted to have a small cookout.
The adults were on the back porch because Mama said even though I was turning seventeen, I still wasn’t old enough to be in “grown folks’ bidness.” Which really meant they didn’t want to teach me to play spades—a mistake on their part because should I decide to go off to college and return, my family would cause absolute havoc upon the realization that I didn’t know how to play.
“You really let them white folks get to you, huh?” an uncle would say. Or, “Dang, Hylee, how you don’t know how to play? You’re Black!”
Yet, none of that would be a surprise. They say all those things anyway.
Anyway, I was glad that Lucia had arrived because my cousins weren’t here, and I could always count on her for a good time. Lucia and I had been besties since sixth grade when we were plopped in the same art class and assigned to sit next to each other.
Now, we were on the couch in the living room, right across from the incense that was almost burnt down to the end.
She was cackling over some video she’d found of a cat wailing as it tried to jump from one ledge to the other. It was the kind of funny where you laughed so hard you cried, and then you started sniffling because you were crying, and I figured I could use a laugh like that, but my stomach felt weird, uneasy. Maybe it was from how fast I’d eaten the baked beans and deviled eggs.
I stood after but had to immediately sit back down. Felt like my head was on a Tilt-a-Whirl, and the bass from the music felt much louder than before—it blurred my vision—and I could feel it. I could feel the sound waves pushing through my ears. A migraine coming on, probably. It had to be.
I remember I couldn’t breathe too well, a bubble of air trapped in my throat.
I remember Lucia’s small voice asking if I was okay, but she felt so far away from me.
I remember one of Mama’s beauty shop friends tapping my shoulder. She must have come out of nowhere, but I could still smell the oil sheen in her hair.
I remember Daddy’s voice growing louder over the music, shouting my name like it would revert the coming, like it would revert what was about to happen next. He—he must have come from nowhere, too.
I thought I’d tilt my head back, to rest it, just for a second, just for a moment, but in that instant, I felt myself sink.
The sofa engulfed me like dough rising around fingers.
And then there was no light.
Want more? Get your copy of The Dark Place by Britney S. Lewis here.