The Night Watcher A novel

In Louisiana, 1962, Martin Sher, a 22 year old manager of Gorse Lake camp, and his friends, decide to spend their weekend there, they face 'The Night Watcher', a killer who has lived in Louisiana for a long time.
The new horror novel by Robert Helliger.

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1. Gorse Lake

***

Louisiana, 1962.

I

Martin Sher focused on the eerie house. He imagined that the dreams that he was having as President John F. Kennedy was in The White House; he was eager to dream of a better future that he...and his friends...would endure for the long weekend. It was nine o'clock AM on Saturday, July 8. He saw his mother and father grin at him. "Gorse Lake is three miles away", Bill Sher told his son. Margaret Sher kissed her son. "It's going to be fine". Martin, who was twelve, gazed at the picture of ducks. He heard the quacking in the distance. "I hope so", he said. Then, as he saw the lake, he pondered on the events of the past week. Martin had a lot of homework to do. Miss Harrison, the English Teacher, was thirty. She had been married for three years to Ken Harrison, a lawyer. Martin gazed at the lake. "I hear it's haunted". Bill smiled at him. "There's been a lot of stories about Gorse Lake. Some are true. Some aren't". Margaret sighed. "Honey, don't scare him". Martin heard his father begin to sigh. He wanted to think his son was immune to danger. "There! Over there!", Martin said. He then focused on the lake again. Bill stopped driving his blue 1960 Ford. Martin took off his seatbelt. Then, as he grabbed his luggage out of the boot of the car with his hands, the boot door slammed shut. Martin waved at his parents. Bill waved his hands. Then, as he and Margaret, headed back to town, Martin knew one thing was certain. 

 

That he was alone.

***

II

Martin blinked his brown eyes. The temperature was sixty degrees...and going downward. He shivered. Before he could do anything, he saw an abandoned gypsy tent. He frowned. Something caused him to look around. Four tents were lying in the dirty ground; another four tents were lying in Gorse Lake's tepid water. "I wouldn't move them", a gypsy girl said. Martin gazed at the young girl. She wore a brown headdress. Her blue eyes was like the moon; her face was soft. "Oh, I just arrived here. My friends are coming soon for the weekend. I'm Martin". The girl nodded. "Avery Lock. I'm a gypsy, like my family are". She didn't smile at him. Martin felt his flesh crawl. He walked to a tent. "I'm not here to cause trouble. My parents want me to explore the wilderness". Avery nodded. "A lot of white boys are here camping. They seek out their own futures". Martin heard the sound of cars coming towards Gorse Lake. "Finally. Look, Avery, can we talk about the lake afterwards?", he asked her. "Yes. If The Watcher doesn't come that is", Avery answered him. Martin frowned. "Who is The Watcher?". Avery shook her head. She picked up a tattered red jumper with her hands. Some blood was on it. "I saw The Watcher attack Jim Carters last summer. He didn't believe in the stories of the killer. He died from fright in nineteen fifty-nine. That was three years' ago. He was only ten". Martin's face was turned to ice. He hadn't read about the horrors of the Southern city; he hadn't remembered to go to the library and search for missing children who disappeared at Gorse Lake over the last decade or so. Avery, who was twelve, walked in her black boots towards the lake. She heard the footsteps of her parents coming her way. "I have to go, Martin. I'll know if you're in trouble, then I'll find you". And he nodded...and begun to pray.

***

III

"I heard Martin will be scared", Frank James said. He was smoking a cigarette. The smell wafted in the northerly air; the air was freezing. Anne Lynn smirked. "I heard there's ghosts around Gorse Lake. The Native Americans hold ancient ceremonies to cleanse Louisiana from evil monsters". She saw the sign to the lake. Loren Ives grinned, as he pointed to the campgrounds. They were walking slowly. Once they reached the lake, all three of them saw Martin. 

He waved at them, as the small group of campers waited for the other children to arrive.

***

IV

Martha Clement watched her mother frown. "No. You can't go to Gorse Lake". She had waited for the summer to begin. The imminent threat of The Cold War, as well as Vietnam, had plagued America for a decade or more. "Mom, it's the weekend". She pleaded to her father. "Daddy, please let me go. ​Please!", she said irritably. "Jean, let her go", John Clement told his wife of eight years. And Jean begun to sigh. "Fine". And she packed her thirteen year old daughter's clothes, socks, and shoes. Then she grabbed her pyjamas. Once she was finished, she walked out of the front door. Then she let her parents drive her to Gorse Lake before they changed their minds about sending their daughter to the campgrounds.

V

Victor Kendall shook his head. He was thinking about the other campers. His old man, Peter Kendall, had died from a heart attack at in the blistering winter of nineteen fifty-eight. He was forty. Melanie Kendall, Victor's mother, was thirty-nine. And a writer. "Can I go, Mom?", Victor asked her. "Yes". Victor nodded. He hugged her. Then she drove their orange van to Gorse Lake before she had changed her mind.

***

VI

Sandford Hole shook his head. He watched the other campers. "We're close by, Tina". She nodded. Gorse Lake was four miles away. "We're expected", she said. By ten-thirty AM, they reached the lake. When they saw the other campers, all of them were smiling...and were glad to spend the weekend together.

***

Martin saw the campers. He was thinking about the consequences of living at Gorse Lake. He waved at the young people, and smiled. "Hello. I'm Martin Sher. How are you all?", he asked them. "We're fine", Frank answered. Anne nodded. "I'm Anne, his girlfriend". Martin nodded. As they walked towards the tents, a cool breeze wafted in the air, leaving them to settle down. When they saw Sandford and Tina, he smiled. The campers smiled at them. When they reached the other tents, the Night Watcher watched them from afar. And waited for the perfect time to attack them.

***

VII

Martin flicked on the light. The bulb was flickering. "Gorse Lake has been around since 1894. In the nineteenth century, the Native Americans dominated the area. They thrived in Louisiana. The white people who came there to build their homes, forced them out. As a consequence, the elders warned them that The Night Watcher would meet out justice to those who harmed them. And, over a century later, the idea that death was going to happen didn't faze them. That was until several rich land owners disappeared late at night. No one saw them again. In short, as the nineteenth century ended, families left town in fright. By the beginning of the 20th century, James Forsythe, the Gorse Lake owner, saw The Night Watcher. He was so scared that he, his wife, Ethel, and their seven children, left their Mansion...and didn't return. When the 21st century arrived, the children of Louisiana didn't go to Gorse Lake because of the killer. I had to convince Mayor Ken Payton that nothing has happened here for a long time. And he nodded, then let me do my job as the new Manager". He stopped speaking. Then he saw several small brown tables in the middle of room. Frank begun to shiver. "It's warm outside". He smiled at the group; he waited until all of them were thinking the same. That the horror of the night was going to cause them to feel bad; that, in the scheme of things, everything would be better than last time when three teenagers had died under mysterious circumstances in the dark woods. Suddenly he saw Martha Clement appear at the campgrounds; he frowned, as Martin walked out of the room. "Hello, I'm Martha. Sorry I was late. I was delayed by my officious mother...". Frank nodded. "Hi. I'm Frank. This is Martin, the Manager. And Sandford, Tina, and Victor", he said. Before Martin could do anything, the sound of heavy footsteps caused him to stop speaking. He saw Avery staring at them. "Hello. I'm sorry to disrupt you. But, as night falls, Gorse Lake is dangerous". She looked at the clear, blue, lake; she saw the Native American tents were up. "We'll be fine, Avery", Martin said. She gazed at the group; she sighed. "I hope that nothing happens", Avery stated. And then she walked away...and knew one thing was certain...that life was short.

***

 

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