Tonight, On Ghost Discovery

200ghost-coverTitle: Tonight, On Ghost Discovery
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Genre: , ,
Pages: 41

Do you believe in ghosts?

 

Walter wasn’t sure if he believed but he knew that the ghost hunters on the television show Ghost Discovery didn’t have a clue about anything.

His favorite pastime was watching them scream and run from every little sound while he berated them from the safety of his living room.

That is until he suddenly died and became a ghost himself. Intent on teaching the ghost hunters how scary a real ghost could be he travels to the famous Ghost Museum only to find that ghost hunting is much more terrifying in person than on the television.

With a ghost devouring demon in pursuit, Walter must learn how to access his powers as a ghost or be consumed and cease to exist.

This short story springs from Ed’s love of ghost hunting shows and his off-hand comment that if he ever came back as a ghost he’d have to show up at Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum in Las Vegas (which happens to be right down the street from him) just to mess with them.

“Tonight on a special live edition of Ghost Discovery, Nick Carter and his band of ghost hunters take you inside the famous Ghost Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. The museum is home to many haunted and cursed artifacts which Nick has collected during his twenty-year career as a paranormal investigator. The museum is currently one of the most haunted attractions in the country. Nick and his crew will give you unrestricted access as they investigate the spirits lurking in the museum tonight on Ghost Discovery.”

The promo for Ghost Discovery was replaced by a commercial for deodorant. The jingle always made Walter Chindi want to throw something at the television. Resisting the urge, Walter levered his bulk off of the couch and waddled to the kitchen. Cold, deep-dish pizza left over from dinner and a couple of beers would be the perfect thing to eat while Nick and the boys acted like babies. On every show, they panicked and ran from each thump or disembodied voice.

Walter could not understand them or any of the myriad ghost hunting shows which proliferated on the Vacation Channel. How could they spend their lives hunting for ghosts yet every time there was any activity, they screamed and ran like frightened children? Wasn’t that the exact thing they wanted to happen?

He took a massive bite of pizza and then added a second slice onto the paper plate for good measure. He lumbered back to the well-worn, sagging couch with his plate of food and two ice cold beers. The couch groaned as he lowered himself onto it. He was just in time for the commercials to end and the splash screen for the Ghost Discovery show to appear. Walter gobbled his first slice as the theme music played and the ghost hunters were introduced.

Nick Carter, intrepid paranormal investigator, was the star. He was an overacting man-child in Walter’s opinion. His longtime sidekick Andy came next. Andy had to be the most easily frightened man in America. The camera crew, whose names were unimportant to Walter, would follow the duo as they searched for evidence of life after death.

As the show progressed, the investigators moved from room to room in the Ghost Museum. Each room contained supposedly haunted artifacts. They examined each item with their electromagnetic field detectors and digital recorders. The goal was to capture ghost voices. Cameras, many of their own design, attempted to capture supernatural evidence. They examined haunted dolls, cursed jewelry boxes and the cleaver once used by the most notorious serial killer in Kentucky.

“Nick, look,” Andy shrilled. “We’ve got orbs!”

The television camera focused on the screen of Andy’s camera. It showed small white blobs floating near a mirror which had once hung in the famous Myrtles Plantation.

“Don’t you know how to use a camera?” Walter screamed at the television, spraying pizza crumbs onto the coffee table. “It’s freaking dust catching your IR light. You idiots wouldn’t know a ghost if it bit you in the ass.”

Walter didn’t watch ghost hunting shows to broaden his mind about the possibilities of life after death. He liked watching the hosts make fools of themselves while he berated them from the safety of his living room.

The host, Nick, took center screen in front of a staircase leading up to the ceiling.

“This staircase began life in the famous Winchester Mystery House. It was reported that dark entities were often seen moving up and–”

His monologue abruptly ended as a loud ringing thump, like a hammer striking wood, echoed from somewhere behind him. Nick’s face displayed shock and his eyes almost bugged out of his head.

The host yelped and ran off camera screaming, “What the *bleep* was that?”

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Hero of the Solar Union

200hero-coverTitle: Hero of the Solar Union
Release Date: 5/3/2021
Contributors: Edmund de Wight
Genre: ,
Pages: 47

Garrett Ata found something in the darkness of the Kuiper belt that could earn him enough credit to retire and never have to deal with other people again.

It's also something that some would be willing to kill for.

A damsel in distress, gangsters, and secret government agents confront him at every turn.

Garret finds himself in a race for his life from the depths of the asteroid belt to the drowned Earth.

 

A sci-fi short story in the tradition of noir thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat

Winner of a Silver Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest.

Butterflies performed acrobatics in Garrett Ata’s stomach. He couldn’t decide if it was the zero-gee, the fact that he had not visited Ceres in three years, or because of the Thing in the cargo hold?

“Ceres Comms this is Hopper Black Bird, can you try again to patch me through to Jonas N’go? He lives in Calypso pod, berth forty-seven charlie."

Ceres Approach demanded that he park out on the ass-end of nowhere while they found a bay for him. He’d been waiting for four hours. There was absolutely nothing to do but float, read, and try, for the fifth time, to contact his broker.

Jonas knew to expect him. They had spoken three weeks ago, albeit with a two-hour delay each way, and arranged to sell the Thing. Where could he be? He might be a conniver, but it wasn’t like him to leave Garrett flapping in the wind. He had served under Garrett for a dozen years. The men were brothers-in-arms, a bond formed through combat and bloodshed that ran deeper than the bond between siblings. You don’t leave your brother hanging.

Minutes dragged by until the bored communication tech’s voice crackled from the speaker.

“There’s no response from that berth sir and his comm is not forwarding. There’s nothing I can do.”

 

 

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Hag Stone

200hagstonecoverTitle: Hag Stone
Release Date: 3/7/2022
Contributors: Edmund de Wight
Genre: ,
Pages: 20

A short horror story.

Marie is a successful archaeologist. When the death of her father turns her world upside down she learns that there was more to him than she knew.

Her father's Hag Stone is her legacy and it opens a portal to a new, magical, world. The stone shows her a world where the Fae and wondrous creatures she never could have imagined live.

When another, larger, Hag Stone arrives at her museum she is faced with new visions of a perfect world. But things are not always as they seem.

A short story of horror where the thing you most desire may be your undoing.

 

 The rain sluiced over Marie. It drenched her hair and oozed through her clothing to her skin, chilling her to the bone. Why did it always rain at funerals?

Peter, her younger brother, offered his umbrella but she refused once again; if their father had to be taken from them, the least she could do was suffer stoically as the sky wept at his passing.

Peter had never understood her bond with their father. Peter lived in a world of computers and code while she had followed her father from dig to dig. Since she was old enough to walk he had taken her along as he discovered buried civilizations and musty, forgotten tombs.

It was cold comfort that he had lived to see her named Curator of Antiquities at the city museum. She would never get to join him on one of his adventures as his peer rather than his student, and that left a yawning void in her soul.

“Are you going to Gram’s after this?” Pete’s whisper shocked her out of her introspection.

“What?”

“Gram’s house? You know, the after-party.”

“Of course, I’ll be at the repast. Jesus Christ, Pete, he was her son; this isn’t a chance to party and get shit-faced. Gram will need comforting. I swear, you spend so much time with your machines that you’ve forgotten what it means to be human.”

“Like you know. You and Dad were always more interested in buried things than people.”

She looked at him aghast. Pete had always been the whiny younger brother but when had he turned into a callous ass? She moved away with a glare before they could cause a scene.

As the casket disappeared into the muddy soil, Marie turned away. Perhaps in a thousand years, some future archaeologist would dig up her father and wonder what kind of world he had lived in. The old man would have been tickled by the prospect.

Gram’s house always left her in awe. Of course, calling the Purefoy estate a house was sort of like calling Notre Dame a church. The family was very well off and every child and grandchild had received a generous bequest when Gramps died. She had received half a million dollars that she had used to further her education and goals. Peter wasted most of his on a jet-setter lifestyle and—she was pretty sure—an expensive coke habit. Luckily, Gram still held the keys to the kingdom. The estate covered fifty acres and the mansion held almost one hundred rooms. She had always felt as if she was wandering the most luxurious hotel on earth when she was a child and came to visit. Now that dad was gone, she assumed that the estate would be split between Uncle Roy and mom once Gram died.

The massive front door opened as she approached.

“Welcome home Miss Marie.”

Reggie was the estate’s majordomo. He was even older than Gram and had been with the Purefoys since Gramps had made his first million. Reggie was treated more like a friend than an employee by her grandparents and she always looked upon him fondly, as an uncle.

“Thanks, Reggie. I wish I was coming home for a more joyous occasion. Has Gram made it back from the cemetery yet?”

“Yes, ma’am. She is in the study and specifically asked that you be sent to her the moment you arrived.”

“Really?” She searched for a clue in the old man’s face but he was as inscrutable as a statue.

Reggie relieved her of her coat and she squeaked and sloshed her way to the study.

She slid open the double doors and spotted the old woman seated near the fire. She clutched an ornate box of rosewood and brass protectively in her lap.

“Come in child. Shut the door, this is for you alone.”

“Gram, I’m so sorry…” She crossed to the woman, stretching out a comforting hand.

“Tut, tut, child. Your father is with his father now. There’s no use fretting over those who passed. There are things I must discuss with you. Your father’s legacy after all.”

Marie had no idea what she was talking about. What legacy? The will wouldn’t be read until later in the week and she was pretty sure that everything was going to mom anyway.

“Sit, sit, don’t make me crane my neck.”

“But, I’m soaked.”

“Sit.”

There was no disobeying that voice; Marie sat opposite the old woman and awaited her pleasure.

“This was your father’s and now it’s yours.” She offered the box to Marie.

“It’s a beautiful box…”

“The box is shit. Open it. Your legacy lies within.”

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A Familiar Tail

200A-Familiar-Tale-originalTitle: A Familiar Tail
Release Date: 4/4/2022
Contributors: Ed Walker
Genre:
Pages: 28

Not your normal talking animal story.
When an aged witch dies, her familiars are bound by magic to find their new mistress.
A pampered housecat that knows nothing of life outside of her house and a crow who is afraid of heights must undertake an epic journey.

Together this unlikely duo must travel across deserts and cities to find their way to their new home.
Along the way, they must overcome hunger, thirst, and all the dangers of human civilization.
When Nimue the cat is captured by Animal Control, Balthazar the crow must learn to overcome his fears to rescue her or they will never reach their new home.

A Familiar Tail

by Ed Walker

.“Come to me children, it’s almost time.” The old woman shifted on the narrow mattress with a grunt. Her skin was a maze of wrinkles and her hair, what remained of it, was thin and white. Her green eyes, which once sparkled like emeralds, were dim and dusty with age. She beckoned weakly. Her hand was little more than translucent parchment skin stretched across fragile bones. A midnight black crow waddled across the floor, hopping awkwardly from leg to leg as it approached the bed. A frantic flutter of wings lifted it to the mattress where it wobbled and squawked. After a moment it settled down and cocked a shining black eye at the old woman. An orange and white cat leaped over the foot of the bed, landing beside the crow with much more grace. The cat favored the crow with a narrow-eyed glare before focusing on the old woman. “My time is up, little ones. No, no, don’t fret, you’ll have someone to take care of you, my great-granddaughter.” The cat’s ears went back; she wasn’t impressed with this pronouncement. “Nimue, don’t be like that. I know you’ve been with me for ages but I’m dying. Neither my fool of a daughter nor my granddaughter could summon fire without a match, but little Millie, she-” 1 A coughing fit shook the crone. Her pale face turned red as she choked. The crow squawked and flapped its wings in agitation, buffeting the cat in the process. Nimue’s tail puffed and she emitted a short hiss but she turned away from the crow. The coughing fit passed and she sucked in ragged, wheezing breaths. “Come closer, I have one last bit of power to spare for this and then I’ll be done.” Cat and crow inched forward until they stood on opposite sides of the fluttering chest. The old woman to stroked each, lovingly. She lifted a pendant with a glowing green crystal from her breast with a shaking hand. She muttered ancient phrases that made the air contract and sparkle with power. “I bequeath you both to my great-granddaughter, Millie. You will serve her for as long as she desires and guard her as you have done me. So be it.”

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The Z-Team

200zteam-coverTitle: The Z-Team
Release Date: January 26, 2019
Genre: , ,
Pages: 31

Meet the Z-Team.

A crack commando unit died in battle and was resurrected against orders by a necromancer. Today they are hunted by the government and survive as soldiers of fortune. No job is too dirty, no threat too great.

When a gang of outlaw demons takes over a small desert town,

The Z-Team must drive them off or else the townspeople will be forced to sell their souls and the town will be damned.

 

If you are in trouble and no one else can help, maybe you can hire the Z-Team

A short story of zombies, magic, and mercenaries.

“Larry’s gonna need some stitching up before our next gig.”

“Why do you do that?”

“What?”

“Use their names; they’re dead. They’ve been dead for over six years. Whatever made Larry Winslow that person fled when he died; he’s just Z-4 now.”

Harvey ‘Needles’ McGee finished from his inspection of the former Larry Winslow and walked to the bar where the necromancer, Macken Duvalier, perched on a stool.

The two men couldn’t have been more different. Needles was short and squat with a shock of pumpkin colored hair and skin so white he might be mistaken for a ghost. The Necromancer had skin as black as coal and when standing hovered a foot over the smaller man. He was thin, almost to the point of anorexia, but possessed a wiry strength.

“C’mon Mac, that was his name. Just because the boys are dead doesn’t mean I can’t address them proper.”

“When the body dies,” Mac said. “The person they were is no more.”

Mac’s voice gained a sing-song lilt as he spoke. His Haitian roots always emerged when he dropped into lecture mode, especially when lecturing about Necromancy and zombies.

“Those bodies there are nothing more than shells, vessels for the power which I summoned. You might as well call the troop vehicle Mary as address the dead by proper names. When I raise the dead I bind the merest grain of my soul to the power from the Greater Dark. This is what animates the team, not their souls but raw power which I control. They are no better than machines, hence Z-1 through Z-4.”

“Yeah, but I liked Larry.”

Mac shook his head in mock disgust. “You, my friend, are impossible.”

“Hey guys, we got a client.” Richie ‘Zoot’ Jimenez barged into the room waving a pad of paper.

Mac and Needles abandoned their disagreement over a zombie’s proper form of address and joined the excited man. Zoot got his nickname from the outrageous suits he wore when not in combat fatigues. The muscular Puerto Rican wore a bright yellow shirt and wide legged purple pants. The combination was painful to look at. He had abandoned the long jacket and wide brimmed hat while indoors. Even without the full ensemble he still looked like a refugee from a 1940’s jazz band.

Mac took the pad from Zoot’s hand and scanned the scribbled notes.

“Where the hell is Silverfield?”

“It’s a small town north of Vegas,” Zoot said. “Small population, damn near a ghost town.”

“And these people can afford us?”

“She says they can. She wants to have the meet at some diner outside of town.”

“Biker gang took over the town,” Mac read from the notes. “Seems a bit low threat for us but if the lady is willing to pay, who am I to say no to a damsel in distress.”

Mac pulled a cigar from his pocket and set about readying it to smoke while he considered the offer at hand. The team had once been soldiers, a crack unit tasked with the hardest jobs the military could find. Half the squad had died in a poorly conceived attack on a terrorist stronghold. Necromancer Sergeant Duvalier had resurrected his teammates against direct orders. Fleeing his court martial with the aid of his squad they were branded outlaws and had been on the run ever since.

 

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The Tell-Tale Zombie

200telltale_coverTitle: The Tell-Tale Zombie
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Genre: , ,
Pages: 39

The zombies were dead - really dead this time.

It is one year since the last zombie was reported to be destroyed and the world is slowly recovering.

Demi is a survivor who harbors a dark secret. She lost her husband to the undead and will do anything to protect her young daughter.

Neighbors and friends pry into her life, trying to learn her secret. To protect her secret and her daughter she will do the unthinkable.

The Tell-Tale Zombie is a short story of survival in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. This isn't your normal zombie story with rugged survivors battling hordes of undead in the streets. This story examines the human toll in a world where the line between life and death has become blurred.

The zombies were all dead - really dead this time. Less than a year ago the five mile hike to the neighboring enclave was life endangering. Today she strolled without fear toward her home after trading two dozen fresh eggs for three pairs of new pants.

Old habits die hard. She scanned every rusting car, and every crumbling doorway in each burned out building. Every shadow was a hiding place for one of the dead. Her belt held the well-used tomahawk and the pistol she had taken from a dead cop so many years before. The grips of both weapons were worn smooth from constant use during The Troubles.

She chuckled as the newly minted name describing the prior nine years sprang to mind. Humans are a resilient bunch. It had always been the way of the world to remember the past in a better light. The horrors are minimized and the good times amplified in memory. If there were only bad times, people referred to the past in a less disturbing way. What had once been the Zombie Apocalypse became the less horrifying The Troubles.

The last of the dead were officially destroyed just over eleven months ago. Everyone Demi knew still kept watch and started at shadows. The world still carried the reek of corruption. The smell of the dead, burned buildings, decay, and rot would cover the world for years to come. The world was a corpse.  New life now sprang from its soil but it would never feel alive again for those who lived through The Troubles. The scent of death drifted on every stray breeze. Every shattered building was a reminder of death. Demi's hand dropped to a weapon with each new smell, each shift of rubble. Every moan of the wind moving over broken pipes and through desiccated trees caused her to look for a shambling figure. Those threats were finally gone, or so they said.

Demi hitched her backpack higher and shook off her dark thoughts. The sun was shining, a bird - an actual live bird - was singing. Life was returning to the world. It was almost a pleasant hike back to Sunset Acres, her enclave.

Some walled communities had been built as havens for residents to feel elite and separate from the common man. Other walled communities were built to defend against the criminal elements of society. It was ironic that they would be turned into fortresses to protect the surviving members of the human race.

She always hated the name Sunset Acres but it was on the sign which had graced the gated community. Nobody was going to waste time worrying about a stupid sign when the dead were attempting to kill them on a daily basis. Now the dead were finally at rest, but no one could spare time from rebuilding. The name remained even though it made Demi feel that she was living in a retirement community.

A new scent drifted to her - smoke. Demi stopped and raised a hand to shade her eyes as she scanned the horizon. There, to the north, a column of thick black smoke; someone was having a funeral. Cremation was the final solution to keeping the recently departed in their graves. The first few months after the last zombie horde was put down, the sky was black with the smoke of mass cremations. Every body had to be burned to ash and the bones ground to dust to guarantee there would never again be a rising.

This book may be obtained for free from Edmund de Wight by joining his mailing list

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Mind of the Zombie

200mindcoverTitle: Mind of the Zombie
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Genre: , ,
Pages: 29

It's the zombie apocalypse like you've never seen it.

Jackson has a problem.

First, he was being attacked by unending hordes of zombies who have destroyed his world.

Next, he found himself trapped by unknown assailants and tortured with views of the outside world where zombies kill and maim before his eyes.

Can he escape? Who has imprisoned him?

It's a zombie story unlike any other. You've seen shamblers, you've felt the terror of sprinters and rage zombies. Now, look into the mind of the zombie.

Jackson tripped over the half eaten corpse of a woman in a yellow sun dress.

He could hear the uneven shuffling of the zombie pursuing him. He tried to leap to his feet and continue his flight but a stabbing pain in his ankle threw him back to the litter strewn pavement with a scream. A cliché; he was going to die as the worst zombie movie cliché ever. He began to crawl, cursing himself the entire way. Why didn't he watch where he was going? If he hadn't turned at the last moment to see how far ahead he was he could have hurdled that woman's corpse and been half way to his shelter by now.

Zombies weren't fast. One on one, Jackson could outdistance any zombie within a couple blocks but at a crawling pace the undead creature was gaining ground like a sprinter chasing a snail. The smell of mold and rotting meat enfolded Jackson as the zombie caught up to him. He rolled onto his back to face his attacker and grabbed the hammer hanging from his belt. The creature had been a man once. It wore a blue sport coat crusted with blood. The fabric was shredded in places and the left sleeve was missing. Its eyes were a bilious yellow color with irises the color of blood. The zombie's skin was a waxy gray with gaping wounds, probably received when it was killed and turned into an unnatural creature by others of its tribe.  Drool flew from its gaping mouth as it dove onto Jackson, clawing and snapping like a rabid animal.

Jackson swung the hammer with frantic strength. He missed the head and hit the zombie in its shoulder. He might as well have hit a brick wall. The creature tore at his skin, unfazed by the repeated blows Jackson rained down on it.  Jackson screamed and redoubled his efforts when the monster locked his head with a grip like iron and pulled itself up until its mouth was above Jackson's forehead. The pain as the teeth ripped into the flesh of his scalp was worse than the time he had cut his palm to the bone with a fillet knife, worse than the burns from the exploding firework on his thigh when he was a teenager, worse than the boiling radiator water that had hit him in the face on a road trip during Sophomore year in college. He screamed so loud that his voice cracked and ceased to provide sound to accompany his agony. He felt and heard a grinding crunch as the zombie's undead jaws cracked the bones of his skull. The world contracted to a small circle of pain and blinding light surrounded by encroaching darkness. The pain stopped; everything went black.

 

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Flashes of Darkness Year 1

200flashescoverTitle: Flashes of Darkness Year 1
Series: Flashes of Darkness #1
Release Date: September 24, 2017
Genre: ,
Pages: 204

Bite-size stories of the strange and horrific

Ghosts, ghouls, demons, aliens, monsters, and things that go bump in the night fill the pages of this volume. Each flash fiction or micro-fiction story is the perfect prescription to fulfill your daily recommended quota for the strange and macabre.

If you’re in a rush, waiting in the doctor’s office, ten minutes from the next train station; this is the collection for you. Each story was written to be read in a matter of minutes, the perfect bite-size stories for our hectic, always moving world.

Flash fiction is extremely short fiction. It stands out for its brevity, often as little as a few words to as many as 1,000 words or so.

Micro-fiction is any story told in 300 words or less, and could even be as short as a few words.

 


Also in this series:

The Artifact

 Doctor Alan Quatrain's pick slammed into the rock for what must have been the thousandth time. Sweat poured down his body as he hacked at the wall of the ancient mine.

All his research, translations, clues, everything led to this ancient mine deep in the Chilean jungle.

He pulled back the pick once more and swung with fading strength. The point bit into the rock and then, instead of rebounding as it had a thousand times before the point punched through the surface and the pick sank deep into the stone.

Alan almost impaled himself as the lack of resistance threw him off balance. He wiggled the pick free and shined a light into the hole he had just punched.

It was there, the legends were true, a large space behind this wall that could only be the cavern of the lost temple of Xichulkata.

Alan giggled and attacked the wall with renewed strength. By the time the hole and expanded to a size sufficient for a man to pass he was shaking with exhaustion and could barely lift the pick. It was worth it. It was all worth it. He would be immortalized for this find. His peers, those doubters, would come to him, hat in hand, to beg for his forgiveness and a chance to assist in what would be a historical archeological find.

The pick clattered to the stone, already forgotten and he stepped through the opening. His helmet light sent a dim spear of light, speckled with floating rock dust, into the cavern. The ground in front of him was smooth, almost like concrete. This would be a game changer in the understanding of pre-Columbian construction. Alan reached back through the hole and retrieved his lantern. He adjusted the flow and ignited the quad mantles. Brilliant light, as bright as a searchlight, erupted from the lantern and chased away the darkness.

The cavern was enormous. His light, for all its brilliance, failed to reach the ceiling or distant walls. The smooth floor continued in every direction. He could just make out a shape at the extreme edge of his light. It must be the temple itself.

Alan walked toward it. The shape emerged from the darkness and revealed itself to be an enormous cube. He staggered to a halt as the cube was revealed. This was nothing like any other pre-Columbian construct. Where were the frescoes? The builders of Xichulkata's time built step pyramids for their temples. This plain cube was nothing like one of their buildings.

He looked left and right but the cavern appeared empty of any other artifact save the cube. He continued forward. The cube's size became more evident as he approached. It was at least one hundred feet across and just as tall. It must have been carved from some titanic boulder. There was no way the Xichulkatan civilization could have built a structure this large and have it remain stable.

Alan reached the side of the cube and set his lantern down. The surface of the stone was perfectly smooth. No seams or joints were evident. It must have been carved, he thought.

He reached out and touched the stone. It was strangely warm and he sensed a vibration running through the rock. The vibration increased as he stood staring at the mute surface.

He yelped and yanked his hand away. The vibrations had become so intense that it felt like one of those joy buzzers his older brother had used to zap him with when he was a kid. Alan backed away from the cube.

As he watched, a thin seam appeared in the stone where none had been before. The line ran from floor to the top of the stone structure. The line deepened and began to spread to the sides. The seam  flowed as if the rock were being dissolved rather than sliding like a door. A brilliant light erupted through the seam which opened wider than his body.

"Welcome my child, we have been awaiting you," said an ethereal voice from the light.

Alan felt terror and joy flood his body. This was truly the greatest find of his life.

He stepped into the light.

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Flashes of Darkness Year 2

200flashescover2Title: Flashes of Darkness Year 2
Series: Flashes of Darkness #2
Release Date: December 31, 2018
Genre: ,
Pages: 184

No time to read? Bite-sized flash fiction is the prescription.

Year 2 of this collection brings you even more horrors and strange events to haunt your dreams.

Ghosts, ghouls, demons, aliens, monsters, and things that go bump in the night fill the pages of this volume. Each flash fiction story is the perfect prescription to fulfill your daily recommended quota for the strange and macabre.

If you’re in a rush, waiting in the doctor’s office, ten minutes from the next train station; this is the collection for you. Each story was written to be read in a matter of minutes, the perfect bite-size stories for our hectic, always moving world.

Flash fiction is extremely short fiction. It stands out for its brevity, often as little as a few words to as many as 1,000 words or so


Also in this series:

Temple of the Gods

Frank woke from a bizarre dream. It was the same dream again, the same dream that had haunted his nights since he turned 16. A full moon lit strange reddish brown columns of stone stretching into the distance. He wandered between the columns until a booming voice from above said, “Temple of the Gods.”

He always woke up after the voice spoke, covered in sweat and terrified. After almost two years of this nightmare, he was tired of its presence in his life; he was also sure that it was more than a dream.

“Dreaming again?” Buddy Wilson spoke from the other bed in the small room.

“Yeah, I’m really getting sick of it.”

“Look it sucks, OK, but think about this; today is your birthday. You’re eighteen man, you’re finally escaping this place.”

Frank used to dream about escaping the Burlew Ridge Orphanage with a forever family. That dream faded as he aged and now he was destined to finally leave the orphanage as an adult, rootless, without prospects, and hag ridden by a dream which he could not understand but knew he had to.

“Big whoop. All that means is I lose the roof over my head and steady meals.”

“Oh come on man, it won’t be that bad. You get to move to the halfway house in the Ridge until you get set up. Tommy said that the recruiting firm they set him up with found him a good job in no time.”

“Great, I can be another factory puke living in the Ridge until I become a toothless moron like the rest of the people stuck here.”

Buddy threw his pillow across the room smacking Frank in the face.

“Get up loser, it’s gonna be great.”

The two boys, one aged 17 and the other now officially a man at 18, got ready and ran down for breakfast and one more day in the orphanage.

At lunch, the staff and children performed the normal ceremony for a resident who was aging out. They gathered in the cafeteria, sang an off key rendition of Happy Birthday, ate sheet cake and then wished their departing member the best with a forced cheer.

Frank was driven to his new home, a halfway house operated by the local government which would house him for up to one year while he got a job, saved money, and finally moved out into the world.

“Temple of the Gods.”

Frank sat up in his new room; the three snoring roommates in the bunk beds around him were oblivious to his distress.

Unlike the orphanage he was free to come and go as he pleased so he dressed and slipped from the building to walk the streets of Burlew Ridge and clear his mind.

Burlew Ridge, or the Ridge as residents called it, was a mountain town nestled between four peaks. There was only one road in or out and the locals preferred to live simply; that meant most nights were pitch black without the presence of street lights which the locals were loathe to install, unlike their big city brethren. One or two random house lights lit the sidewalk allowing him to see. A few blocks from the halfway house the night became as bright as day. Frank looked up to see the lone cloud in the sky move away from the full moon which shone like the sun through the darkness. He shuddered; it reminded him too much of the dream he had just escaped.

He increased his pace and in a matter of a few minutes he found himself at the edge of town facing one of the many trails leading into the mountains.

“What the hell, why not,” he said and started up the dirt path.

He knew that hiking into the mountains in the dark was potentially suicidal. Hikers fell off cliffs or were injured by rock slides even during the day, at night he would never see danger coming. The night was so bright though, he knew he was smarter than those hikers; he’d be fine. Besides, he felt an urge to climb, like he was being pulled by a magnet. Any time he looked back toward the receding town he felt a tug, deep in his gut, telling him he needed to press onward.

The moon was high overhead, it must have been near midnight and Frank had turned so many times and climbed over so many peaks that he no longer knew where he was in relation to the Ridge.

“Great, eighteen years, and on my first day out I get lost in the mountains. Way to go butt head, you’re gonna die as a statistic.”

Still the urge to press on pulled him. Just one more peak, maybe then he’d be able to see one of the roads running past the town.

Frank came over a ridgeline and froze. Below him was a small hollow, shaped like a bowl in the center of the towering mountain tops. In the center of this area stood dozens of stones. They weren’t just stones, they were columns. Two rows of them, stretching almost the width of the bowl valley. They appeared the color of dried blood in the moonlight but Frank knew they would be a rusty brown. He was shocked to find that he was moving forward again, almost running downhill to reach the columns.

“This can’t be real. This can’t be real.” He chanted it like a mantra as he moved.

The columns were very real. He touched each as he walked among them. The stone was warm and he swore he could feel a vibration in each as if it were a tuning fork vibrating a note he could not hear.

Frank pinched himself, hard. The pain and line of blood now trickling down his arm assured him that he was actually awake.

“Welcome to the Temple of the Gods.”

A voice boomed above him. Frank yelped and spun in circles looking for the source of the voice but he was alone in the valley.

“Who are you?”

“We are the Gods. We are your family.”

Frank’s knees buckled and he landed hard on his ass.

“Say what? I have no family; my mother died when I was born.”

A glowing shape appeared above the columns. It shifted and changed as Frank watched. It was like a cloud caught in conflicting winds which tried to give it form and then pulled it apart again. Frank was uneasily reminded of a writhing pile of worms.

“When the forces of the multiverse are aligned, one of us may enter your realm and cause a female to be with child. It is how we reproduce. The females never live beyond the birth of our child as the energies of the Outside are more than their bodies can withstand. Now, you are matured in your human form and it is time to embrace your true self.”

Frank wanted a family; had dreamed of it all his life, but this was too much. This writhing light in the sky was too terrifying, too alien to comprehend.

“No, I want to go home.”

“You are home,” a chorus of voices echoed among the columns.

A thread of light lashed out from the writhing mass above him and penetrated Frank from head to toe. He screamed in pain and ecstasy as every emotion, every sensation, every stimulus he had ever experienced recurred at once, amplified a thousand fold. His body glowed. He stared at his hand in wonder and then cried out when it became transparent. His entire body became ethereal and then stretched out until it became a tendril of light like those above.

Frank felt everything in the world. He could feel the children at the Orphanage. He felt the lives of adults in the Ridge and even the city far beyond. He knew the feelings of the burrowing animals throughout the mountains. The magnetic field of the Earth was a caressing wind and cosmic rays racing through space tickled his mind. He was one of the Gods. He laughed with his power. He knew his destiny. His destiny to make more like himself until the Gods were so numerous and powerful that they could finally rip through the barrier between their Outside universe and this one and consume it, making all reality part of themselves until they alone existed in bliss and harmony. Frank laughed with the other Gods as the light faded from the sky and darkness reclaimed the mountainside.

 

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Gray Walkers

200gray-coverTitle: Gray Walkers
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Genre: , ,
Pages: 21

A short story of the Geriatric Apocalypse.

You’ll never look at grandma the same way after reading this new short story

You’ve heard of the zombie apocalypse – forget all that. This is a strange new take on this existing genre. Aimed at both the horror fan and the young adult horror fan this short story follows young Billy Cope a normal boy who’s grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

One day she turns violent. She believes her family has stolen her memories. Soon everyone around Billy is turning old, even the little kid next door.

Billy must survive this geriatric apocalypse and reach his girlfriend before she loses her youth to the spreading evil.

It’s quirky, sometimes frightening, sometimes humorous. You’ll never pass a home for the elderly and feel safe again.

"Alzheimer's disease (AD), is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. As the disease advances, symptoms can include: problems with language, disorientation, mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioral issues including violence.

“As a person's condition declines, she or he often withdraws from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death."

Billy looked up from his tablet to stare across the room at Phyllis Cope, his paternal grandmother. He couldn’t picture life without the steel-haired old woman but that’s what the wiki entry said would be the eventual result of her Alzheimer’s disease.

Dad had brought Phyllis to live with them five years ago when Billy had turned 12. In the beginning, she had been forgetful and occasionally called the boy David, his father’s name but Billy had just assumed that it was a side effect of being old.

As the years crawled on and Phyllis became more confused and withdrawn, Billy learned the name for her disease. Now he, like his father, was marking time until the old woman either died or became too much of a burden for the two men to handle. Since Billy’s mother had died when he was a toddler David and Billy Cope had been alone in the world. As a single father, David had taken to ruling the house in a regimental manner; no breach of discipline was permitted for the young Billy. The sudden arrival of David’s mother had shown that the man was capable of compassion, something Billy had never seen.

More often than not, Billy was assigned nurse detail. He would keep an eye on the old woman and fetch whatever she needed to be comfortable. It wasn’t a hard job but it did cut into his social life. Billy would spend most of his time at home reading and gaming on his tablet while occasionally checking on his grandmother who was usually staring blankly, mumbling about some past event as if it were happing in the here and now, or sleeping like she was right now.

Billy did a double take. She was sleeping, wasn’t she?

“Gran,” Billy said in a quiet voice.

“Grandma,” he said loudly when the old woman didn’t respond at all.

He realized that he had not heard a sound from Phyllis in quite some time. He wasn’t even sure she was breathing.

“Dad!”

David Cope rushed down the stairs from his home office, impelled by the raw sound of fear in his son’s voice. He skidded into the room and looked around wildly for the source of danger.

“Dad, I think Gran may have died,” Billy said in a near whisper.

 

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