Now available from Taylor Henderson… The Darkness Within

Now available from Taylor Henderson… 




The house next door holds a terrifying secret…

For as long as Claire Anderson can remember, the house next door to hers has been vacant. When the last owner passed away, the house fell into major disrepair. She was beginning to grow accustomed to the neglected little house next door.

But now the house appears to hold a darkness…

Her new neighbor, David Greer, is attractive, middle-aged, and friendly. At least that’s what Claire’s mom, Jasmine, thinks, but Claire can’t ignore the bad vibe she gets from him. Maybe it’s because she’s not used to having a neighbor, or maybe it’s because her mom seems to have a thing for him. Then again, it could also be the strange, creepy looks he gives her. Claire isn’t one hundred percent sure why David makes her feel uneasy, but she is determined to find out before he gets too close to her mother.

Can Claire figure out what David is hiding from behind the walls of his decrepit new home before someone falls victim to the darkness within?



He readjusted his mask as he walked closer to Holly’s shaking body. Her back was pressed flat against the wall, despite the fact her hands were tied, and her feet were free of binds. When she saw him coming toward her, she began to kick her feet relentlessly; her mouth opened wide, but only muffled sound came out through the gag.

Kneeling down in front of her, a smile stretched across his chapped lips. He held one hand behind his back, a knife gripped tightly in his grasp. He didn’t want her to see the knife yet. First, he was going to toy with her. He would be robbing himself of one of his favorite parts of the experience if he didn’t make her squirm first. He liked feeling in control of his victim’s future. It was his choice whether they lived or died. Some people might call it a God complex, but he called it self-assurance. It was his way of knowing he mattered, and he knew Natalie would be proud of him for taking initiative and doing what he loved. Toying with these girls the way he did fueled his hunger and made him feel. He was never as happy as he was when he was with his girls.

Holly turned her face away when his hand touched her cheek. He sighed as he brushed his fingertips gently across her soft skin, trailing down along her jawline to her chin where he lifted her face to look at him. Her wide, green eyes stared back at him as a tear fell from her eyelashes before she shut them tight.

“You have nothing to fear,” he whispered, trying to gain her trust. He removed the gag from her mouth. It was merely a precaution while he transported her. Thanks to the country setting he chose this time, they were far from the nearest neighbors. In fact, she was the nearest neighbor, and the only person home was her sleeping little sister, whom she had been babysitting. “I won’t hurt you if you cooperate and do what I say.”

The only response he received from her was a soft whimper.

“Look at me,” he demanded.

Holly flinched away from his harsh tone of voice. A fat tear welled up in the corner of her eye and rolled down her pale cheek. Her throat was hoarse from the screaming she did earlier, but she still managed to choke out the word, “No.”

“Come on now, Holly. This won’t be any fun for me unless you play along.”

“Leave me alone,” she spat, enunciating every word while trying to turn her head away from him, but he only tightened his grip on her delicate face.

He clicked his tongue at her words. “Now, now. Open your eyes or I’ll cut your eyelids off. That wouldn’t be any fun for you, now would it?”

She flinched at his words, but to his surprise, her eyes remained shut tight. “Screw you,” she growled through gritted teeth.

Sighing, he shook his head at the frail girl in front of him. “Either you open your eyes and speak to me, or I’ll go back to your house and see if that pretty little sister of yours will. What’s her name? Macy, is it?”

Shaking, her eyes stayed closed for a moment, thinking over his words. After about a minute of silence, she relented and opened her eyes, glaring at him. “I will not be a part of your gruesome little game. I know who you are.”

He tilted his head to the side, staring at her with mild curiosity. “You don’t say? What is it that you’ve heard?”

Holly’s glare deepened. “You murder girls for fun,” she spat, her voice full of venom. “It’s like other people’s lives don’t matter to you or something. You’re a monster,” she added; a new found courage, one he would not allow, overcoming her.

Pulling his hand from behind his back, he pointed at himself with the tip of his knife as he asked, “Me? A monster?”

Her eyes widened at the sight of the knife, but she nodded nonetheless.

He curved his lips upwards into a sinister smile as he brought the knife up to her cheek, dragging it across her skin without actually cutting her. “I’m not going to kill you right now. I just want to play with you. If you do what I say, I might let you live.”

“You might?” she questioned, her voice shaking because she already knew the answer.

He nodded. “Life isn’t guaranteed, Holly.”

At his words, a noticeable shiver went through her. After a second, she whispered, “What happens if I don’t do what you say?”

He pushed the blade of the knife into her cheek, drawing blood and causing her to scream out in pain. The piercing sound of her scream hit his ears like a fire alarm and he yanked the knife away from her face, bringing the back of his free hand up and smacking her. “Shut up!” He hated when they screamed. Sometimes it made him want to carve out their vocal cords.

Holly’s scream became raspy until she coughed a few times and closed her mouth. She bit down on her bottom lip, causing the skin to turn a bright red.

“That’s better,” he sighed. Lifting his free hand again, he smiled at how she flinched away from him, but this time all he did was reach up and push her golden hair out of her face. She was just so perfect. He got chills just thinking about what happened next. “So, are you ready to have some fun?”

Despite what her mind told her to say, she nodded her head. Behind her back her fingers were fumbling to loosen the rope wrapped around her thin wrists. She failed to loosen it and only accomplished rubbing her skin raw in the process.

“Good.” He raised the knife up again, leaning toward her face with a determined glint in his dark eyes. A smile crossed onto his face as he pressed the tip of the knife into the skin of her forehead. His blood boiled and he grit his teeth as she let out another cry of pain, yet even her scream couldn’t take away from his excitement as her crimson blood began to seep out of her wound. “You’re number six.”







Taylor Henderson is a psychology major at the University of Mary Washington who was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She has been an adamant reader and writer since she was young, and has always found solace in the worlds and characters that other authors have brought to life in their works. Taylor plans to continue writing, and hopes to expand to different genres in the future.









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