One of the less positive aspects of blogging is FOMO – the fear of missing out. When I agreed to host an extract from This Little Dark Place by A. S. Hatch for today’s blog tour stop because I didn’t have time to review, I had no idea what a fabulous book I was missing out on. Now I have that piece from This Little Dark Place to share with you today I really wish I’d managed to fit in a review too. When you read it you’ll know what I mean! My enormous thanks to Rachel Nobilo for inviting me to participate in theis blog tour.
Published by Serpent’s Tail on 10th October, This Little Dark Place is available for pre-order in all the usual places, including directly from the publisher here.
This Little Dark Place
How well do you know your girlfriend?
How well do you know your lover?
How well do you know yourself?
Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.
But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.
And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.
An Extract from This Little Dark Place
6 June 2016
I’ve been lying to you.
The version of me that you’ve been reading in these letters hasn’t been entirely true. When we started writing six months ago, I was in a terrible place. I don’t cope with life in here as well as I make out. Friendship doesn’t exist here, love doesn’t exist. No one makes eye contact. Everyone is so guarded. I hoped every morning that I would wake to some calamity, a riot, a suicide, a fire, anything that would break the pattern of petty cruelties, of loneliness. New Year’s Eve was particularly hard on me. Jade was meant to visit but couldn’t come because of some delay on the motorway. I woke up on the first of January feeling nothing of the renewal of a new year. I felt only a renewed hopelessness. So when I got your angry little letter it jolted me, made me realise that there was still a world out there. Made me realise how I’d slid into despair. So I engaged. I told you stories about my past, about the reason I’m in here. They weren’t lies. Where I have been less honest is in my feelings. I feel we’ve become so close over these past months. You’ve told me your darkest secrets. I have told you mine. Without your letters I don’t know how I would have survived. In my head we are the only two people in this world who are awake, just like Winston and Julia! I feel I can call you my true friend.
I have been surprised though, to find myself thinking of you even when I’m not looking at your letters or writing to you. Though I have only your description of yourself to go on, still I find myself thinking of you. When I’m walking in the yard, I think of you and how nice it would be to walk beside you. When I’m eating in the canteen, I think of you and I picture us talking and laughing over a meal. When I’m lying in my bunk and looking at my painting of you, I think of how I want to touch you, and be touched by you.
I never used to think of the future. It only made things harder. But since we found each other I think of the future now with excitement. I know now that happiness is as simple as loving someone and being loved back for no other reason than that you deserve. That is the future I envisage for myself. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock to you. And I’m sorry if I have misjudged the situation, but I don’t think I have. I know how hard it has been for you too, out there, alone. We both deserve so much better. I won’t be in here forever, Dan. Do you think, one day, I could come to visit you? I would ask no more than friendship from you. If I love you without receiving anything in return it would be a better life than to have never known you at all.
You must think I’m crazy. I nearly deleted this whole thing just now, my finger was hovering over the key. But I have denied my feelings for too long. And I feel you’re about to make a terrible mistake. If I don’t tell you how I feel now, it will be too late. Please don’t hate me.
(See what I mean? And now I feel as if I’ve missed out even more! This is going straight to the top of my TBR!)
About A. S. Hatch
A. S. Hatch grew up in Lancashire in the 90s and has lived in Taipei and Melbourne. Now he lives in London and writes fiction in the early hours of the morning before going to work in political communications.
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