Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

A Dream Of Winter By John Connolly

johncon.jpg

When I was a boy, I attended a school that stood by a cemetery. Mine was the last desk, the one closest to the graveyard. I spent years with my back to the darkness of it. I can remember how, as autumn descended and winter gathered its strength, I would feel the wind blow through the window frame and think that the chill of it was like the breath of the dead upon my neck.

One day in the bleakness of a January afternoon, when the light was already fading as the clock struck four, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a man staring back at me. Nobody else noticed him, only I. His skin was the grey of old ash long from the fire, and his eyes were as black as the ink in my well. His gums had receded from his teeth, giving him a lean, hungry aspect. His face was a mask of longing.

I was not frightened. It seems strange to say that, but it is the truth. I knew that he was dead, and the dead have no hold over us beyond whatever we ourselves surrender to them. His fingers touched the glass but left no trace, and then he was gone.

Years passed, but I never forgot him. I fell in love, and married. I became a father. I buried my parents. I grew old, and the face of the man at the school window became more familiar to me, and it seemed that I glimpsed him in every glass. Finally, I slept. I slept, and I did not awaken.

There is a school that stands by a cemetery. In winter, under cover of fading light, I walk to its windows and put my fingers to the glass.

And sometimes, the boy looks.

The Wrath Of Angels by John Connolly is out now (Hodder & Stoughton)

(Image: Rex)

Related

main-image.jpg

The Best Crime Novel Covers Ever

horowitz.jpg

The ShortList crime challenge

self.jpg

The long drop by Will Self

Comments

More

Donald Ray Pollock: Inside the mind of a nightmare specialist

Modern master of disturbing prose on the moments from page & screen that made him who he is

05 Oct 2016

Harry Potter fans can now discover their Patronus

Don't lie, you want to give it a go, don't you?

by David Cornish
23 Sep 2016

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Stephen King

21 Sep 2016

Your chance to see excellent US author Donald Ray Pollock

And also have a beer! Win win

08 Sep 2016

Return to a nineties classic: Chuck Palahniuk on Fight Club

20 years since Fight Club, the author tells us how he’d rewrite his seminal novel for 2016

17 Aug 2016

Details announced for new Partridge book

'Nomad' will arrive this autumn

21 Jul 2016

13 famous books that had very different working titles

by Chris Sayer
10 Jun 2016

George RR Martin has just confirmed this brilliant GOT fan theory

A badass character gets a badass back story

by David Cornish
01 Jun 2016

Twitter account Photoshops 90s’ books to give them titles they deserve

12 Apr 2016

You're going to want these stunning new Shakespeare books

The books your bookshelf deserves

by David Cornish
12 Apr 2016