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Forgive Me

Kateri Stanley

Copyright © 2021 by Kateri Stanley

Artwork: Adobe Stock: © kozerog2015

Design: Services for Authors

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Crooked Cat/darkstroke except for brief quotations used for promotion or in reviews. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are used fictitiously.

First Dark Edition, darkstroke. 2021

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something nice will happen.

For my beautiful sisters, Lindsay and Bethany


A writer wouldn’t be able to do what they do without their support team.

I want to thank my family, Mom, Dad, my sisters, my partner and my friends for all of their guidance, advice, love and patience. Thank you for listening to my endless speeches about my characters, their plots and confusing you on a daily basis about which project I’m working on. You have encouraged me in every single way to keep going and chase this creative dream. I’m very lucky to have you in my life.

Thank you to all the readers on Wattpad who provided me with valuable feedback and kind words when I used to post early drafts of this story. All of you were an incredible encouragement when my confidence was in the creativity dumps.

The biggest thank you are for my publishers, Laurence and Steph Patterson. Thank you taking a chance on me and giving this story an official greenlight. I’m very proud to be in the darkstroke team!

About the Author

Kateri Stanley graduated from The Open University with a degree in Arts and Humanities and worked for the National Health Service for eight years. When she’s not writing stories, you can find her binge watching films and TV shows, making tons of playlists and dabbling in video games. She currently resides in the West Midlands, United Kingdom with her partner, they are hoping to be cat parents in the new year.

You can find Kateri on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sal_writes), Instagram (www.instagram.com/sal_writes) and her website: www.kateristanley.com

Forgive Me

Part One

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words

left unsaid and deeds left undone.

-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Chapter One

Summer 2017

I see the click and switch when you turn off the television. I hear your heartbeat when you climb up the stairs. I can feel your soft bare feet on the carpet as you walk into your bedroom.

The night is peculiarly tranquil when I come to visit you. I try to keep my tread light as I step across the arms of the branches. The closer you are to me, the more I want to see you. I should know better. I shouldn’t be here, but I guess I’m just like any hot-blooded man. I’m weak. I’m drawn to you. I can’t stay away.

I hold on to the branches, easing my way across so I can see you. I smell the perfume you wore today, the wine you drank lingers on your lips. My heart pounds in my chest. One single snag and I’m done for. You’d know I was here, creeping around, spying on you.

I wouldn’t visit during the day because you of all people should know that I was made to be hidden, to pounce when the moment is right. I’m not here tonight to track and trace. Remember, I wouldn’t ever... ever harm you.

You waft out from the darkness, staring from your bedroom window. You tap your finger against your chest, you’re worried about something and I know why.

The authorities are hunting for me.

I know you've been tracking my every move. You’ve been searching and reading and ringing people. You’ve kept a keen eye on the news. The stories are rife. I know what they call me. But they don’t know the true tale or what my makers did.

I know about the urban legend. Some say I’m as tall as a tree, others say I wear a gas mask when I mutilate my victims. Some of the details make me laugh and frankly, some of them make me sad.

If I were to rewind the clock and undo the past, then I wouldn't have met you. You wouldn't know what you know and we wouldn’t have...

I tremble as I think about it.

That kiss…

Your words, your skin...

Do you remember it? Do you ever think about it?

Hang on, forget what I said. Look, I took something precious from you many years ago. I stole it, ripped it from your heart. If things were different, I’d be inside this house, beside you, loving you - but you probably hate me. I don’t blame you at all if you do - and if you don’t, you should. I wish I could leave this alone, but I have something to do and I can’t ignore it, not this time. Neglecting the wounds will just make the infection worse.

Something screams from inside the house and you move from the window, disappearing into the darkness. Worry bubbles up from my core. I hope it’s not anything insidious or I’ll slash it to shreds.

Minutes trickle by and you haven’t returned. Where have you gone?

Scream or make a gesture and I’ll help you. If something bad is there, tell me and I’ll get rid of it. Where are you?

My heart slows when I feel your presence. Your heartbeat echoes in my ears. You’re calm, but there’s another beat. You emerge from the darkness again and I can’t breathe as I see it.

Perched against your chest, nuzzled by your shoulder. You cradle it so dearly. I want to cry at the sight of it.


No, don’t.

Pull yourself together.

But there it is, there she is…

The little life clings to your robe.

She has a crown of dark hair and ice blue eyes. I wish she didn't have those features. I’ve never been so... scared of anything before. I can imagine you laughing right now. When it comes to something like me – I’m what people are frightened of. I’m the entity teenagers tell, at sleepovers, to scare their friends. I’m the one bereaved family members try

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