Edition 2: Creeper by Daniel I. Russell
Edna and Alan take on the challenge of a new home in their twilight years, buying a charming cottage in the country. But their dream turns nightmare when they can’t escape the insidious tree that covers the facade. A study in making the everyday truly creepy, Daniel I Russell makes sure we won’t be hurrying back to the garden any time soon… SY
Edna snapped from the dream, her bony fingers gripping the bed sheets. She sat upright, fragile chest pumping beneath her nightshirt.
Beside her, the bed lay empty; the sheets folded and straight.
She blinked and peered around the room. The gentle light of dawn slipped under the curtains, scattering the shadow of a chair across the wall at an odd angle. In the corner stood cardboard boxes stacked three high in a pyramid. On each, Alan’s precise handwriting had labelled the contents in thick black pen.
The dream ebbed away: the memory of the creeping terror slipping from her mind. She yawned and stretched, heart-stopping fear sinking to foolishness. Women her age suffered family nightmares, not of creatures that reached through the darkness.
She slid her legs free from the bed and poked her feet into slippers.
After heading the stairs, Edna passed through a couple of rooms off the hall. Most couples downsized so late in life, but Alan wanted more space for the grandkids when they visited. They had the money, and had seen this delightful cottage on a drive through the country. She’d fallen in love with it immediately, and Alan, his hunger for DIY sparked, ached to obtain this potential new project. The sale had gone through without a hitch, and Alan had begun fixing the place up immediately.
She found her husband on his knees in the bare room next to the kitchen. He’d pushed his glasses above his eyes, and his tongue poked out in concentration. He ran a small brush along a shelf—one of many—attached to the wall.
“How long have you been up?” she said. “Those could have waited.”
He grinned over his shoulder and dipped the brush in a pot by his side.
“You know me, dear. Early bird, and all that. Besides, look at these…Think I’ve done a good job?”
Edna crossed the room and kissed him on his bald head. She wrinkled her nose from the cloying dark stench of varnish.
“You always do a good job.”
“Just think,” he said, “when this is dry, we’ll move all the books in here. I’ve arranged the shelves into different parts, one for each subject: gardening, woodwork, your craft books…”
Edna bent forward and tilted her head. “Are they straight?”
“What?” Alan jumped to his feet and placed his glasses on the edge of his nose. “I measured them…”
Edna rubbed his back.
“You’ve done a grand job, my love,” she said and winked. “Cup of tea?”
He scowled at her, waving the paintbrush. “Don’t you wind me up! I’ve to get this place in order before Beth and the kids arrive.”
“You can’t get everything done in two days.” She walked into the kitchen and clicked on the kettle. “Just do the basics. What’ve you got planned today?”
Finished with the shelves, Alan lingered in the doorway.
“Well I’ve painted over the scribbling on the downstairs walls. Don’t know what that was all about.”
Edna agreed, dropping tea bags in two mugs. “Could’ve been anything. Showing pipes, wiring, something like that? The last owners might have been hanging pictures and had marked the positions?”
Alan scratched his head. “Not unless they were Japanese.”
Edna thought back to the markings, which Alan had found in each room. They had looked a bit oriental.
“Forget about the markings,” she said, grinning. “The altar and chalice of blood bothered me.”
“Someone’s in a cheery mood today,” said Alan.
No, I’m not. Edna tried to remember the nightmare, but it hid at the back of her mind.
“Anyway,” he continued, “I’ve done the painting, and the shelves. If I can leave you to empty more boxes, I’m going to start out front. I want to take Beth’s breath away when she sees the place.”
“It will, honey,” said Edna. She realised she still wore her hairnet and pulled it off. Her grey hair spilled about her head. “I’ll have this drink, make myself presentable and start on those boxes.”
She finished the tea and handed a mug to Alan. He thanked her, kissed her once on the lips and sipped the steaming brew. “I’ll give the front door a fresh lick of paint and mow the lawn. Plus, I want to do something about that tree.”
Edna frowned, mug paused close to her lips. “Tree? What tree?” Her eyes widened. “Oh. That tree…I thought it was just ivy.”
Alan sighed. “And here’s me thinking you were an avid gardener. I knew we’d disagree about this, dear, but it has to go. It’s definitely some kind of tree. You should see the trunk of it! God knows what damage it might’ve done to the foundations.”
“The surveyor’s report made no mention.”
“The surveyor was about twelve!” said Alan.
Edna chuckled and sipped her tea. “I think it should stay. Makes the cottage look quaint.”
“The cottage will never be quaint,” said Alan. “But it can be pretty. That tree’s doubled in size since we first viewed the house. It needs removing.”
Edna placed her mug on the kitchen counter and tapped the surface with her fingernails. The image of the cottage floated around her head: the leaded windows, and the light grey brickwork covered by a sweeping carpet of lime-green leaves. She liked that tree.
“You don’t have time,” she said. “Not before Beth and the kids arrive. Just…” Her fingernails beat a tattoo while she thought. “Can’t you just trim it a little for now?” Until I can convince you otherwise. “Won’t that do?”
Alan scratched his head again. “I suppose it’ll free up more time to build the furniture for the kids’ room. Dear me, Edna. The things I do for you…But believe me, that tree is going.”
Edna heard Alan’s call and knew he’d finished painting the door. His voice adopted a certain proud tone, like the grandkids had now.
Grandma! Look what I’ve done!
She smiled and moved the now empty cardboard box aside. Her back was playing up, but the kitchen utensils had all been put away. She rubbed her spine and walked out, glad of the break.
In the hall, the front door stood open, and beyond, Alan admired his handiwork from the front yard. He covered his eyes from the mid-morning glare. Edna stepped on the newspaper covering the floor and studied the door. Alan hadn’t just repainted; he’d stripped the old, flaking red, sanded the wood and stained a rich dark brown to match the window frames.
“So?” he said, beaming. “What do you think?”
“I’m impressed,” she said, raising her eyebrows. “Very, very nice.”
She stepped out and joined him, wrapping an arm around his waist. A dark splodge of wood stain marked his nose.
“Hope you have some turpentine,” she said and laughed.
“I think of everything, dear. You know that.”
His smile clouded as he glanced up at the cottage.
“Now for that monster.”
Edna hated to agree with him, but her husband was right. The tree had spread across the face of the house like a cancer. A gnarled knot of thick wood poked from a flower bed beneath the lounge window, and from it, thin branches snaked across the brick. One cluster grew up to the roof. It divided into an emerald spider web of shoots and vines that covered the slate tiles. Across the other side, the branches reached over the bedroom window. Smaller growths hung down, rampant with small leaves.
I never noticed how bad it was when I opened the curtains…
Alan had been watching her. “I think you agree with me now.”
“It’s still kind of pretty,” she said. She frowned at the hanging vines over the window. “But it could do with a trim. Don’t want to wake up in a jungle every morning.”
Alan nodded. “I’ll get my clippers. Should only take ten minutes. Would my fair lady do me the honour of holding the ladder?”
Edna rolled her eyes. “If you insist.”
Alan squeezed her shoulder and walked around to the rear of the house. Edna stared up at the leaves. They rustled in a slight breeze she barely felt, despite wearing a long skirt and short sleeved blouse. She returned her attention to the front door and again admired Alan’s hard work. Out here, she saw how the windows and doors matched perfectly and decided to buy him a few bottles of real ale as a reward.
Alan emerged from around the side of the house, the clippers poked into his belt, and the ladder supported under his arm.
“Tomorrow’s headline. Man falls to his death clipping tree. Wife delighted,” he said, erecting the ladder and ascending the first few steps.
“You shouldn’t say things like that,” said Edna.
He grinned at her and focussed upwards. The ladder ended by the bedroom window. He carefully reached the top and, holding on with one hand, reached for the hanging vines.
Edna held onto the ladder.
“Never seen anything like this before,” said Alan. “We can get out the books and find out what this is.” He held a vine closer to his face. “Looks like asparagus as thick as a finger! And these leaves, such a queer shape…”
Edna removed a hand from the ladder to shield the glare of the sun.
“Cut me some down,” she called. “I’m the avid gardener, remember? I’ll find out what this is.”
Dropping the vine, Alan unhooked the clippers from his belt and spread the curved blades open. He leaned over and snipped.
The ladder wobbled.
Edna slammed her hands on the frame, pushing her weight against it.
He clung on, gasping. A lime-green streak, like drained pea juice, soiled his white shirt. More had splashed on the bedroom window.
“It’s okay, honey. So much damn…sap or something. It just came gushing out. Look at this stuff. I’m covered!”
Edna swallowed. The day suddenly seemed too hot, and sweat pinpricked her armpits.
“You want to come down?”
Alan chuckled. “I’m already filthy so may as well press on. At least I’ll be expecting it now. But…but you’re going to keep hold of the ladder aren’t you?”
“Of course,” said Edna.
“Probably have to clean the windows after this too.” He sighed. “Another job.” He raised the clippers, leaned over and cut a second shoot.
Edna watched the vine fall, its severed end shooting green slime, tainting the fresh summer air with a bitter, chemical stench.
She awoke from another fitful dream, her copy of Popular Fauna of the British Isles clutched to her chest. Lying still for a few seconds, she gazed at the unfamiliar cracks in the ceiling. The dream lingered, the creeping low monster in the darkness reaching for her. Its shadowy image faded with each passing moment. Edna listened to the rhythm of her husband’s snores, finally safe.
Just a dream. Just a stupid dream from the stress of the move.
Alan’s still asleep?
Edna placed the gardening book on her bedside table by her lamp and glanced at the alarm clock. The digital display showed half past eight. Her frown deepened. Sure she’d set it the night before, she picked up the clock and studied the top.
The alarm switch was set in the off position.
Annoyed for turning it off in her sleep, she replaced the small unit, rolled over and rested a hand on Alan’s shoulder. He wore a fresh white vest and pyjama bottoms like always.
“Alan,” she said, voice low. “Alan, wake up.”
He grunted, wallowing in the shallows of his unconscious.
She shook him.
“Alan. It’s half eight.”
“Wha..?” He rolled over, squinting in the semi-darkness.
Edna patted him and climbed out of bed.
“I said it’s half past eight. Guess you tired yourself out with all those jobs yesterday.” She stretched and walked around the side of the bed towards the window. “No harm in sleeping in though.”
Grabbing the curtains, she spread them wide and stepped back, staring through the window.
“Half eight?” said Alan and yawned. He rolled over to face her. “It can’t be so late, it—”
His mouth snapped shut.
Outside, the majestic view of the surrounding countryside was hidden by the hanging green foliage. The vines hung close together in a jade fringe, almost reaching the window sill. Leaves fluttered.
“Heavens,” said Edna, taking another step away from the glass.
“That’s…” Alan blinked. “That’s impossible. I cut it down!” He swept back the duvet and leapt out of bed. He strode barefoot over to the window and pressed his hands against it. “I chopped it all down and now it’s worse than ever!”
Edna stroked her husband’s back. “Maybe it grew back thicker. Some trees do that when you cut them back…”
“Not overnight,” he snapped.
Edna pulled her hand from him, clutching it as if burned.
He bowed his head, his intent gaze still fixed on the mass of green beyond the glass.
“I’m sorry. It’s just…I risked my neck doing that and now I have to do it again. More so.” He briefly rubbed his head. “I’ll have to strip it right down…take out the roots…Did you find out what it was?”
Edna began making the bed.
“No. Nothing like it, but the book doesn’t cover everything, honey.” She whipped the duvet back over the mattress. “Leave the damn tree. We still need to sort out the kids’ room. Tree or no tree, they need somewhere to sleep.”
Tearing himself away from the window, Alan pulled his vest over his head and dropped it on the carpet. Morning sun filtered through the thick canopy, scattering light across his lean chest and the patch of fine, white hair. He opened the wardrobe, removed a shirt from its hanger and slipped it on.
“I’ll have time for that tonight,” he said, frantically buttoning. “Need to get rid of that damn tree.”
He pulled his neatly folded trousers from the back of the chair and walked out. The bathroom door slammed.
Edna, casting the tree a quick glance, walked across the room and picked up the discarded vest.
That night, Edna found Alan standing in a pair of old y-fronts by the bedroom window. His head turned left and right and back again. His hair was a wiry mess, uncombed throughout the day.
“Looks clear,” he said, looking over his shoulder as she walked inside. “Yes sir, looks good and clear.” He squeezed his fist. “But goddamn that surveyor!”
Edna swallowed and silently climbed into bed.
“It’d burrowed right between the bricks,” continued Alan. “The damage one plant can do.” He thought for a second. “The roots could go right through the foundations…”
Edna patted the bed. “Come on, honey. Get into bed. It’ll seem better in the morning. You’ve been at it all day.”
“Yes,” he said, closing the curtains. “Well someone had to. Can’t let our beloved cottage get ripped apart can we?”
Edna tried to ignore his edge. They both had moving stress. She had her nightmares, he had his tree.
Alan slid into bed without dressing. His clothes had been sodden in the putrid sap, stained to an almost luminous green, and Edna had left them in the wash overnight. The slight smell of ammonia still hung in the air around him. She wished he’d shower.
“Just try and get some sleep,” she said. “I won’t set the alarm so you can rest in the morning. Goodnight.”
She reached for the lamp, but paused. Her fingers rested on the switch. “Alan?”
“Goodnight,” he grumbled and lay on his side, facing the window.
Edna clicked off the lamp and settled down.
Minutes passed, recorded by the blazing red display of the alarm clock. Edna watched them slip by, listening to the slow, even breaths of her husband. She thought about Beth and the kids and planned the next day. Alan still hadn’t built the kids’ beds. She’d make sure he did first thing tomorrow, now that the tree was mostly gone. The tree. It had taken Alan all day to cut it down to the twisted trunk.
Her mind wandered into strange territory, venturing towards dreams. She pulled it back and turned her pillow. No time to sleep yet, not without her thoughts being put in order. She rested her head on the cool fabric.
Something scraped the window.
Edna opened her eyes. The curtain hung still in the darkroom, outlined by the glow of a streetlight. She waited, listening.
The noise came again, squealing along the glass.
“Alan,” she hissed. She shook his shoulder. “Alan!”
He mumbled something in his sleep and sighed.
Edna breathed out through her nose, staying alert.
Probably just the tree in the wind.
But he cut it down.
The squeak cut through the silence of the bedroom, sharp as a pressing finger over a balloon. Edna curled up, her heart racing. She shivered.
“Alan,” she said, hushed. “Alan, wake up! Something’s at the window.”
Another shake, and no response.
Edna swung her legs out of bed. Easing free of the sheets, she stood and faced the window. Her ears rang with silence. Cars failed to pass the cottage, and no footsteps rang out from the road. The desolation drove through Edna’s chest like a spear. She missed neighbours. Hell, she missed noise and having people close by. Now all she had was a strange noise and a sleeping husband.
Just the house settling. Or maybe something loosened while he cut the tree back?
Edna wished she believed herself.
She crossed the room and approached the window, her hand reaching for the curtain. Alan slept on, lost in dreams. Edna grabbed the thick material in a feeble hold and pulled it back, revealing a wedge of glowing glass. She peeked through.
The vines struck the window.
Edna jerked back, still holding the curtain. She stared out, mouth hanging open. Her stomach performed a slow roll.
The squirming vines slid along the wood, probing at the joints of the frame. A leaf pushed tight against the glass and whined on its journey, leaving behind a glistening green trail. The other branches writhed and curled in the air like worms in the rain. Beyond, the streetlight, straight and vertical that evening, poked out of the ground on a crazy slant, bent out of shape. It cast a sickly glow across the wild lawn and the zigzagged ploughed fields across the road.
Edna looked upwards and gasped. The sky, bizarrely bright for this time of night, was hidden by banks of rolling lilac clouds, which boiled above the shadowed earth. She stared, transfixed, as urine soaked her underwear and trickled down her thighs.
“…Alan,” she croaked.
“Go back to sleep, dear,” he mumbled.
She turned from the window to look him, her whole body quivering.
He lay on his back, arms and legs spread wide under the duvet. They moved slightly, rising and falling. His eyes darted around beneath the lids, and his jaw flopped down in a silent scream.
The vines burst out, shooting from his mouth up to the ceiling.
Edna screamed, the edge of the curtain curling in her tight fist.
The lengths of alien ivy spread outwards, exploring the bed. Smaller shoots emerged from his nostrils and ears and curled around their brethren. Alan released a splutter and bolted upright. Edna glimpsed his calm blue eyes before they exploded in a mess of clear fluid and more tangled vines. He reached for her.
Edna stepped back.
Outside, the violent clouds parted, and a million eyes watched on from the dark depths.
Edna awoke, the mattress wet beneath her body. She peeled off the clinging sheets and stood up, nauseous from the sour tang. The rest of the bed lay empty and shambolic. The wardrobe stood open. She glanced at the clock.
Relieved to be saved the embarrassment, Edna stripped off her sodden nightgown and dropped it on the carpet. Pulling the sheets free of the bed, she strained to flip the mattress over. Her accident concealed, she quickly showered and dressed. She scooped up the soiled items and carried them downstairs.
The sound of frantic sawing drifted in through the front door.
Edna dropped the washing off in the utility room and returned to the hall.
“Fuck!” Alan’s voice rang out from outside. “Fucking…whore!”
Edna rushed to open the door and stepped out into the sun.
A saw lay on the ground. Alan kicked it, and the tool spun across the drive. He wiped the sweat from his head and turned to face Edna.
“Fucking thing,” he hissed. “Goddamn fucking thing!”
“What…whatever’s the matter?” she asked, turning to where he stared.
The branches and vines remained spread across the house as twisted varicose veins. The bedroom window was all but covered by think foliage.
“You said you’d cut it all down,” said Edna, facing her husband.
“I did,” he screamed, voice cracking. “Look!”
He pointed to a hefty brown bin at the end of the lawn. It overflowed with decaying, brown garden waste.
“That was it. Most of it except for this trunk!” Alan strode over to the deformed knot of wood and planted a hard kick at its centre. “And I sawed it. I sawed it good and it just grew back, I mean, I saw it grow back as I was sawing!”
He collapsed to his knees, and Edna rushed to his side.
“Honey,” she cooed, “you have to stop this. It’s just a tree. This is all just the stress of moving. You’ve always had everything just so, and all this…change and chaos has taken its toll. Come on. Let’s get you inside for a cup of tea and a lie down.” She rubbed his back.
“But…” He hung his head. “Beth and the kids come today. They can’t see the place like this! The tree…”
Edna squeezed his shoulder. “It’s just a tree! Go and have an hour on the sofa and forget the damn house. Have a shower, make yourself presentable and I’ll go and get Beth in the Punto. Her train comes in at dinner.”
Alan clenched his fists.
“I’ll rip it out the ground before they get here!”
He dove forwards out of Edna’s grip, his hands outstretched.
Ignoring her, he grasped the short trunk between his thin hands and pulled. The wood refused to budge. Edna suspected as much. The tree had probably been here as long as the house, and it would take more than the pull of an old man to uproot it.
Alan cried out, clutching his hand.
He looked back, eyes wide. His jaw quivered.
“Y-You saw that…d-didn’t you! You saw it!”
He held his injured hand against his chest. Edna snatched it away and uncurled his fingers.
“It attacked me,” he continued. “You saw it!”
His palm had suffered a shallow scratch about an inch long. The red line barely bled.
“You’ve just caught a splinter or a thorn,” she said. “It’s barely touched you, Alan. A tree can’t attack you.”
But they can try and get through a window.
Edna remembered the sound of leaf on glass.
“It attacked me,” Alan said again, and jabbed an accusing finger at the tree. “Can you see? Can you see a splinter or a fucking thorn?”
She gripped his hand hard, digging her nails in.
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that,” she growled. “Now you get in the house and get ready for your grandchildren. I don’t want to hear anything about this stupid tree until they’ve gone, you understand? If you want something to do, go and fix those beds, which I’ve asked you to do all week!”
Alan hung his head.
“Get up,” she said, softer.
Silent, Alan climbed to his feet and allowed Edna to guide him inside. All the time, he stared at the tree until she gently closed the door behind them.
He turned to her, tears in his eyes.
“I’ll find a way to get rid of it,” he said.
“I know you will,” said Edna. “Just not today. Now, you go and lie down, and I’ll put the kettle on.”
After a pause, Alan nodded and shuffled across the hall towards to the living room.
“So,” said Beth. “You and dad all settled in the new place yet?”
The traffic lights changed to green, and Edna drove on through the village. Beth sat beside her in the passenger seat, while the two kids dozed in the back.
“Your father is…feeling the strain. He hasn’t really handled the change well, and we have so much left to do. You should’ve seen him this week, rushing around to get everything ready for your visit.”
“Hmm. That’s not like dad. He takes everything in his stride.”
Edna sighed. “I know.”
She turned onto the narrow country lane that led home. The sun blazed down on the fields of maize on either side. The horizon was spoiled only by a distant plume of black smoke.
Alan had been left building the beds. Edna hoped they’d be done in time, and that he’d find the spare sheets in the bathroom cupboard. He’d seemed more focused with a new task to do, and he hadn’t so much as mentioned the damned tree.
“I can’t wait to see the cottage!” said Beth. “It’s all the kids have talked about. I still can’t believe you just took the plunge like this.” She swept her thick brown hair from her shoulder and admired the passing scenery.
Alerted by an increasing siren, Edna glanced in her rear view mirror. A fire engine approached, and she slowed the car, manoeuvring further left.
“I’m sure you’ll like it,” she said. “It’s so…quiet out here.”
Beth smiled. “Good. I need a decent night’s sleep.”
Edna’s own smile faltered as the fire engine screamed past.
“Must be going to that smoke,” said Beth, squinting through the windscreen. “Wonder what it is? Farmer having a bonfire or something?”
“I don’t know,” said Edna. “It can’t be far from the house though.”
Her foot pressed a little harder on the accelerator, and the Punto rocketed down the narrow country lane.
Edna stomped on the brakes, and the car skidded to halt behind the parked fire engine. To the sound of kids screaming, she dove out of the car towards her burning house.
“Mum,” cried Beth, staying by the car. “Wait!”
Flames licked the left side of the cottage, blackening the brickwork and windows. Plumes of smoke rose in a wide pillar, rolling off the roof. The air tasted bitter and burnt.
Edna ran onto the drive, searching for Alan. Fireman darted across the lawn, laying down hosepipes and barking instructions back and forth. A shout came from near the house, and a chunk of tree fell from the wall and hit the ground, smashing in a shower of embers.
“Jesus,” yelled a young fireman, wiping his brow. “I was standing right there!”
A high laugh rang out, slicing through the music of carnage.
“I told you,” it screamed. “I told you!”
Edna spied Alan sat on the lawn, wrapped in a grey blanket. She headed over, pushing away the firemen attempting to stop her.
“Mum!” Beth shouted from the car. The kids continued to bawl.
Edna crashed into Alan, grabbing the blanket.
“What have you done?” she screamed into his face, pulling him up. More firemen tried to pull her back, but she held firm. She shook her husband. “What have you done to our house?”
His body flopped, and his head bobbed like his neck had snapped. He stared at the cottage.
“It grew back,” he muttered. “It kept growing back, but it won’t now. No sir, it won’t now!”
“Our home,” she wailed. “Our…home!”
Alan whipped his hands up and pressed then against her cheeks.
“Listen to me,” he said through gritted teeth. “It…grew…back!”
She struggled against his grip, thrashing him back and forth.
“Get off me, Alan!” she cried. “Get off!”
Something tickled her cheek and slid towards her nostril. Alan jerked his hands away, and with Edna releasing him, he staggered back.
Two firemen gently held Edna’s arms. She shrugged them off, staring at Alan.
“No,” he said. “That…that’s not fair…”
Behind him, another chunk of scorched tree plummeted to the ground. The wood smouldered and hissed.
“Alan?” said Edna, stepping towards him.
“It’s not fair,” he said, glancing up.
He turned his left palm to Edna, revealing the green shoot poking from the cut. His veins stood out, throbbing and squirming beneath his skin.
“It…grew back,” he said. “You see? It keeps growing back!”
A drop of rain splashed Edna’s face, and she looked up. Deep, violet clouds seethed over the house, and a breeze swept back her hair, stinking of rot and charcoal.
Alan dropped back to the lawn, screaming and clutching his hand. The thin vine protruding from his skin curled in the air like a grass snake. Firemen rushed to his aid.
Edna turned, heading for the sound of her wailing grandchildren.
Above, a million eyes watched on.
Daniel I. Russell was born near Wigan in 1980 and has soiled various anthologies, magazines and ezines such as Dead West, Midnight Echo and Pseudopod. His newest novel, The Collector: Mana Leak (Dark Continents Publishing), was released in May 2012. Daniel was also on the cover of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #43, and has released the novel Samhane (Stygian Publications) and novella Come Into Darkness (Skullvines Press). He is Vice President of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association, the associate editor for the Necrotic Tissue print magazine, and lives in Western Australia with his partner and three children. Daniel is represented in Europe by Michael Preissl Literary Agency.
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