Wednesday, March 14, 2018

About This Website

Enter into the frightful world of the macabre, where things are not always as they first seem. Open the gates to those obscure regions of your soul where fear and hidden desires wreak havoc with the imagination. I bid you welcome to Tales of Dark Romance and Horror, the official home for the fiction of A.D. Vick. 

In the days ahead, I will, on a bi-weekly basis, be featuring an excerpt from one of my pieces of short fiction, starting with those contained in my first book, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror, continuing with the second, The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre, and beyond. Exciting times are approaching. I hope you will come back here to visit often. 

I'd like to give special thanks to the following: 

To Lady-Moriendistock for allowing me to use her beautiful and most romantic photo at the top of this page. Visit her gallery here.

I offer my gratitude to Miramariann and Morten Marius Hansen for gracing the cover of my book with their wonderfully romantic photo. You can check out Mira's many fabulous photographs by visiting her Facebook page

A special round of thanks goes to Marina Bocharova for the wonderful artwork she produced to accompany some of my literary offerings. Her website can be found by following this link.

My gratitude also goes to Jeff Blevens for allowing me to use his magnificent photo to grace the cover of The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to offer words of appreciation to the Insomniac, who not only offered me sound advice on various technological problems I encountered, but especially for helping to make things fit here. Follow this link to The Insomniac's Attic,
Come back soon for a visit. I'm sure you'll have a horror-able time!

You can access both publications for purchase by following this link to Lulu Dot Com,
or you can find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other similar venues. They are also available in Kindle and other ebook formats.    

Creepy Samples Offering: A Fall From Grace

Well, dear readers, we've reached the middle of March. The weather is beginning to warm, and this is all making me realize that it's time once again for the next Creepy Samples Offering.

Today's excerpt comes from a story entitled "A Fall from Grace," which is found in my book called "Tales of Dark Romance and Horror." This particular story is the first in a series of three, with possibly more to follow, which tell the tale of a divinity student named Jessie Tucker, who just happens to find himself obsessed over a darkly dressed woman who passes by his window every night. 

Unable to overcome his lust for her, Jessie surrenders to his sinful nature and begins to search for clues as to her residence, hangouts, or places she might frequent. One night, he explores an abandoned country homestead that lies beyond the perimeter of his city. We pick up the story as he explores the inside of the old residence: 
Suddenly, the front door slammed shut behind him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing in here?”

Startled, Jessie dropped the book as he spun around abruptly to face his interrogator. His mind reeled as he gazed at the person standing before him. OH NO! GOD NO! A potent mix of fear and embarrassment overtook him once he came to the realization that IT’S HER!

She stared at him intently with cat-green eyes; her demeanor radiating both power and self-confidence. He saw the predator in her and succinctly felt his own weakness and vulnerability.

He was the prey; yet, he could feel an excitement rising up from within—dark desires fueled by the realization that the woman over which he’d had so many fantasies—the creature that had sparked the formation of unspeakable but growing needs within him, now stood only a few feet away. He felt as though he were suddenly living in a dream from which there may be no escape.
Part of him wanted the dream, but his other side wanted to flee.

“I asked you a question, Pervert!”

Hearing her accusatory tone was too much for him. Panicking, he lunged for the door. The woman moved swiftly; and before he had completed two full steps she was upon him, pushing
him roughly into the wall.

Do you really think I don’t know what you’ve been up to all these weeks, Pervert? Do you think that I don’t know about you hiding behind your window—staring at me—having nasty thoughts about the things you’d like me to do with you?” 

Her voice was soft; even sexy. It enchanted him. He felt her cool breath upon him. She drew closer to him, her hair gently brushing up against his face.

Jessie shook his head and tried to speak but the hand over his mouth remained firmly in place.

She smiled coyly and continued. “Well, your dreams are about to come true; only in a way that you would never have imagined.” 

She moved back slightly; and removing her hand from his
mouth, reached for his shirt, tearing it open, exposing his neck. He gasped at her boldness.

An expression of wanton lust overtook her. She stroked his face sensually before beginning to slowly pace in front of him, only inches away. “I can sense the uncertainty in you,” she continued. “You fear me; yet, I sense your desire to surrender. I can smell it in your blood-- and I love it!”

Unable to speak, his own level of desire growing by the second, Jessie could only moan in response.

She abruptly stopped in front of him and smiled seductively. Then, bringing her face to his chest,began kissing and biting him passionately, working her way upward, ever upward, sending the man into his own private Heaven. When she reached the base of his neck she could no longer contain herself. Within seconds, she opened her mouth wide; biting him, penetrating his skin with two sharp fangs.

The predator moaned ecstatically as she greedily drank his life essence. In spite of her many kills over the years, no human’s blood had ever offered sweetness such as this. She could taste his innocence as well as the darkness he could never face. She reveled in the flavor of his fear as it meshed with an abject surrender to his fate. 
There you have it. I hope you all enjoyed this week's offering. An excerpt from the first sequel, "A Fall From Grace: Metamorphoses," will follow in the April 1 sample. Until that date then, keep it spooky!

Photo and artwork: Marina Bocharova

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: Rosalie

Hello, Dear Readers, and welcome to the March 1 Creepy Samples Offering! I hope you got to check in on last month's Vampire's Day Soiree. If you didn't, you still have the opportunity. Just scroll down to the previous post and you should still be able to see what the fun was all about. Time continues to roll along however, and so must I. 

Today's story, Rosalie, is taken from my first book entitled Tales of Dark Romance and Horror. Rosalie is a novella that takes us to an America that has changed. Extremist politicians have gained control of the federal government and imposed a religious theocracy upon the citizenry. Robert, an artist and craftsman, decides to temporarily leave his home in town to hide out with survivalist friends who live close to the Fox Grove community on a hill called Haunted Mountain. The friend's daughter, Rosalie, is a young, seductive, but powerful witch who is in love with Robert. He in turn, is forced to resist her charms.

We pick up the story where Rosalie ventures into the forest to summon her deceased Great Grandma Boudreaux. Little does she know that she is being watched by two parishioners belonging to the church led by the Reverend Ronnie, Crawford; a zealot intent upon ridding the area of those he considers sinful. 

Within an hour the twilight had descended upon the Ozark 

landscape; and as the heated buzz of the cicadas yielded to the ever-

growing nighttime chorus of the katydids, Rosalie, with a sturdy 

tote bag thrown over her shoulder, stepped back onto the pathway 

which led to the spot she had earlier prepared. Walking through the 

deepening darkness, she could see the rising lunar orb as it flashed 

momentarily through the spaces between the trees.

Upon reaching her destination, the young woman quickly set about 

the task of lighting a fire. When the new campfire grew to ahealthy

blaze, she opened her bag and took out its contents; her Book of 

Shadows, a wand wrapped in black cloth, and a half gallon jar of 

water with which to later extinguish the fire’s remnants. After 

carefully removing the wand from its protective covering, Rosalie 

gazed at the magical tool she had only recently fashioned. It was 

about ten inches long and constructed from a fallen branch 

belonging to the very oak that stood in the center of the clearing. A 

double-terminated quartz crystal was lashed in place on one end by 

a series of red threads. Attached to the handle was a wooden cat’s 

head with each eye made of garnet. Both the cat’s head and the 

wand itself had been stained an ebony hue.

With wand in hand, Rosalie moved next to the tree, facing toward 

the rising moon in the east. For a few moments she stood with eyes 

closed—motionless—clearing her mind of any thought—grounding

herself to the Earth below her feet and to the forest. Then, gazing 

skyward she spoke: 

“Oh dark Goddess of the forest, mistress of the night,

I create and bless this circle in your name.

I invite you to this sacred space,

And ask that you open the portal between the worlds,

And allow the passage of my grandma—my “Mémére to this 


Moving toward the outer reaches of the oak’s lower branches, she pointed the wand, now in her right hand, toward the ground just beyond her reach as she began walking around the tree in a clockwise motion.

“Be thou cast, circle,

As I walk along your edge.

Keep me away from harm,

And protect me as I now walk between the worlds.”

She walked around the tree three times; with each revolution repeating her words. After returning to the circle’s easternmost point for the final time she stopped; and facing the rising moon said, “The circle is cast. So mote it be.” Then, she quietly took a place on the log by the fire pit and gazed out into the darkness.

“Are you seein’ the same thing that I’m seein’ Danny? The preacher’s right about witches…”
“Shh!” The other man quickly responded. Then, in a whisper, he continued empathically. “Keep your voice down! She’ll hear us!”
The two men, having spotted Rosalie making her preparations earlier in the evening, had decided to move in closer in order keep watch on the small opening in the forest and any activities that might occur there. Now, hiding behind some bushes only 100 feet or so from the clearing, they could easily see everything the young woman was doing.

“Mémére,” Rosalie called out. “Can you hear me Mémére? Please come! I need your advice. Please come and speak with me.”

After making her appeal, the young supplicant returned to the fire and sat down upon the log. For a few moments she sat in silence—waiting—anticipating--hoping that the Goddess to whom she had dedicated her circle would grant her request by opening the portal to the world beyond. For a few moments there was only the sound of the katydids and the occasional hooting of a nearby owl. Finally, the silence was broken by the sound of a woman’s voice. “I am here child. What is it that bears such a burden upon your soul tonight?”

As Rosalie gazed toward the voice, she saw the dark figure of her long deceased ancestor emerge from the shadows. The attractive fortyish-looking woman was dressed in a dark robe; her salt and pepper hair mostly covered by a hood. Although her Great Grandma Boudreaux had been in her eighties when she finally passed from this world, her younger appearance no longer seemed strange to her granddaughter. “Why should I take on the form of an old woman,” she once asked, when I can appear to you as I once looked; mature but still sensually vibrant?”

Not far away, the two onlookers stared at one another incredulously. “Where did that woman come from?” Danny whispered to his friend.

“Sure beats the heck out of me!” Bobby responded; a hint of unease in his whisper. “I don’t b’lieve I’ve ever seen her before. It’s like she came from out of nowhere. She ain’t dressed normal either. Look at her!”

“Danny McLain’s voice dropped down to an unintelligible whisper as he folded his hands together. “Lord Jesus, watch over your servants tonight. Protect us from whatever evil has befallen us here.”

The older woman did not approach the fire but instead, remained close to the shadows, the flicker of the fire reflecting in her eyes.

“I want to cast a love spell Mémére, one that is so powerful that it will bind my love to me forever.”

“Is that what ails you, child?” Her grandmother asked. “You’ve fallen in love for the first time?”

“I’ve never felt anything like this before Mémére, I don’t want to live without him, not for a minute!”

“Oh yes, how I remember young love! It’s a powerful thing. Rosalie, and sooner or later it vexes just about every young lady such as yourself. But you must be careful, for love is often blind.”

“I’d like to learn how to cast the best love spell that I possibly can Mémére, I really want to be with this man, and then keep him.”

The woman laughed sympathetically; there was kindness in her voice when she spoke. “Spells such as those you seek are designed to attract love; not to force anyone against his will.”

“But he does love me; I know it! I can feel it!”

“Then no spell is needed child. You have already attracted love.”

“But he’s afraid to give himself to me. He won’t let go.”

“The questions you ask are the same as those asked by every young woman in your situation, but you have an advantage.”

“An advantage?”

“Of course, Dear! You’re a very attractive young lady Rosalie, and the power flows within you vigorously; even if you are somewhat inexperienced. You already hold the answers to your questions. They lie within you. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your inner-most feelings. They will tell you what to do. Every woman must work at keeping a man just as he must work at keeping her. Every relationship takes work. But your powers are strong Granddaughter, learn how to use them.”

The robed figure threw Rosalie a kiss and then walked slowly into the tree’s impenetrable shadow. The teen cried out, “I love you Mémére!” Then, her Grandma was gone.

Rosalie continued sitting by the fire for several more minutes as she pondered her grandma’s words—reflecting upon the events that had just taken place. Finally, she arose and once again took position in the middle of the circle—facing east, yet skyward—the forest silhouetted in the pale light of the moon.

“Dark Goddess, mistress of the night,

I thank you for joining me in my circle,

and for your blessing on this night.

As we depart upon my opening of this circle,

may we go forth in peace.”

Once again moving to the eastern edge of the circle, she extended her wand downward, and began retracing her earlier steps; this time, moving counter-clockwise around the tree. Finally, she stopped; again facing eastward, and concluded her ceremony. “The circle is open but unbroken. Blessed be.”

By the time Rosalie had concluded her business, the fire’s flickering light had faded; its flames replaced with the orange glow of its dying embers. After repacking her supplies into the tote bag and dousing the coals with water, she made her way home through the shadowy forest with flashlight in hand.

The two intruders remained in position for several minutes, making sure that the girl had gone home and would remain unaware of their presence. Then, emerging from their hiding place, they walked silently toward the clearing. The sudden hooting of an owl halted their progression just short of the now open circle’s perimeter.

“Jeez! The damn thing nearly scared the heck outa me!”

“Relax, Bobby! It’s just an owl.”

“It ain’t no ordinary owl. It’s tellin’ us to stay away. I know it.”

“You’re lettin’ your imagination run away with ya,” Danny retorted dismissively. Still, as he took another step the owl hooted again loudly.

“What did I tell ya? There’s evil all around us here. Let’s get back to the truck before somethin’ happens to us.”

Danny acquiesced. “I s’pose the best thing we can do now is go and talk to the preacher ‘bout all this.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me. He’ll know what to do.”

Well, that's it for this time around. My apologies for any problems with the formatting. Computers can be so hard to please sometimes! 

Until next time then, remember to keep it spooky!

Artist unknown 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: The Arrival of Narkissa Laveau

After a bit of an absence at the beginning of this month due to computer problems, I'm back with the next Creepy Samples Offering for mid-February. Today's entry, The Arrival of Narkissa Laveau, comes from the pages of my second publication, The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre. Before we actually delve into the actual story, a bit of background is in order.

A soon-to-graduate university student named William gets on Facebook one day to discover a new friend request. As he investigates its source, he discovers that it originated from a dark but beautiful woman, who plays the part of a vampire for internet productions. He accepts her request, and over time, can't get her out of his mind. When summer arrives, he discovers upon her invitation for a visit, that she lives only a few hours away in a small Ozark town called Fox Grove. He is to meet her in the local cemetery after dark. Although he believes that she is carrying her acting role a bit too far, he agrees to the meeting. We pick up the story as he awaits Narkissa's arrival at the cemetery. 

The late afternoon heat had tempered somewhat by the time William walked into the cemetery. Evening had arrived. With its presence came the loud buzzing of cicadas emanating from the treetops and the cawing of crows, warning their brethren of his arrival. He gazed around the graveyard, hoping that Narkissa might have arrived ahead of him, but there was no sign of her.
She did tell me to meet her after dark, he reasoned. It's early yet. So, I might as well find a way to amuse myself until she arrives. He decided to explore the cemetery, and to see what he could learn about the earlier residents of Fox Grove.
He took note of a boarded up old church with its steeple and bell tower situated on one side of the cemetery. As he walked in the midst of the deceased, a feeling of sadness overtook him. The epitaphs carved into the stone markers told the tales of those who had come before. These had once lived as he lives. Yet, they are long departed; their memory nearly extinguished. Some had left this world at tender young ages. Others had died of accidents and disease. Yet, others had lived to ripe old ages. He didn't particularly care for graveyards. The burial ground upon which he stood reminded him of his own mortality; that one day he too would join their ranks and become nothing more than a fading memory.
The buzzing of the cicadas eventually gave way to an almost eerie stillness as day morphed into twilight. Fireflies arose from the graveyard's grassy bottom, beginning a nightly spectacle that would soon cast a dim, flickering illumination upon the tombstones. Bats emerged from the church steeple, beginning their erratic flight far above the resting places of the dead.
Alone and unaccustomed to the quiet darkness falling over the landscape, a sense of unease—even dread, began to swell up from somewhere deep within his soul. He walked nervously toward Narkissa's altar tomb and sat down upon it, waiting in silence as the darkness deepened.
Without warning, the sound of rustling vegetation and the snapping of fallen branches coming from the nearby woods broke the silence. Something of considerable size was moving around just beyond his limited field of vision. He shuddered as he contemplated the possibilities. William, although unaccustomed to the country, understood that black bear and even worse, wild hogs inhabited the Ozark region. He sat in silence, making not the slightest move out of fear that it would attract whatever predator might be lurking in the shadows nearby.
The last vestiges of twilight had given way to night by the time the disturbing sounds moved off into the distance. He breathed a silent sigh of relief as he gazed up at a quarter moon rising above the tree line to the east, shedding a dim, eerie light upon the grave markers and monuments, which in turn cast long but barely distinguishable shadows across the grassy floor.
I can't take any more of this, he decided. This is too creepy, and I'm not going to sit here for another minute waiting for some ungodly creature to attack me. I've been played for a fool and I'm getting out of here right now.
He stood up, turned toward the highway, and began walking toward his vehicle. He had only taken a few steps when something took hold of his shoulder. Sheer terror gripped at him as he spun around in an attempt to break it's grasp. “Augh!”
“Why William, what's wrong?”
His heart beat so furiously he thought it might jump out of his chest. Although completely unnerved and somewhat embarrassed, he now stood face to face with the beautiful Narkissa Laveau.
“I....Uh....” He was speechless, embarrassed, and unable to do anything more than stand before her sheepishly.
She chuckled at his discomfort before addressing him. “You are William, aren't you?”
“Uh yeah, I am.”
“Did I startle you?”
Seeing a way out of an embarrassing situation, he quickly collected his thoughts. “Yeah, I guess you did. I didn't see you coming and all of a sudden, there you were.”
“We vampires are hunters and creatures of the night,” she responded. “How could we stalk our prey if we announced our presence beforehand?”
She stared at him intently in the dim moonlight, her eyes reflecting the luminescence with a greenish hue. Narkissa's beauty ensnared him; yet, her facial expression betrayed any attempt on her part to hide her hunger—a hunger he could not define. Was it sexual? Or was it something else?
“So, is that what I am,” he asked flirtatiously, “your prey?”
“Isn't that why you came here? Didn't you imply that you'd like to be my victim?”
Although he was already under her spell, feelings of unease arose from within him once again. She's sure taking this vampire thing seriously, he admitted to himself. I sure hope she's not detached from reality. Wouldn't that be just my luck?
“Would you like to see my lair?” She asked. “You know, the one I've highlighted in some of my photos? After all, I'd like to put you at ease and make you as comfortable as possible.”
“Sure, lead the way.”
She took his hand and led him across the graveyard toward the abandoned church. Her hand was cold to the touch, but he hardly noticed, so intoxicated was he by her contact.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this month's offering and until next time, keep it creepy!

Photo source: Gothic Pictures Gallery

Monday, January 1, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: Ozark Howler

Happy New Year everyone!

A lot of people have been saying lately that 2017 was certainly a year of many horrors. While they may not be thinking of horror in the traditional sense, I would like to say that my wish for you is to make this coming year horror filled. And what better way to do that than to start things off with another Creepy Samples Offering.

Today's story is found in the book "Tales of Dark Romance and Horror," and it is entitled "Ozark Howler."

For those of you who may be unaware, an Ozark Howler is a hideous creature that figures in the folklore of the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. It is often described as a cat-like creature with the body structure of a bear, horns on its head, and glowing eyes. Today's offering then tells the tale of an old man, who in his younger days, had lost his new bride to the beast. Now, upon hearing the cries of a wounded dog, the man must go into the dreaded swamp near his house to once again confront the monster.

We pick up the story inside the marsh where a thickening fog obstructs the man's view--but he knows that the howler is nearby.

The fog continued to thicken until Jack could only see a few yards in any direction. He proceeded cautiously—almost blindly—his shotgun elevated at chest level, ready to fire. When he reached the juncture where the swamp lands met the forest, he paused, now out of breath—panting—his shoes soaking wet and his tired legs aching.

He could hear the sound of movement from somewhere behind him—slow methodical steps sloshing through the shallow water. With his eyes unable to penetrate the misty veil, he turned backward and called out questioningly; this time, not as loudly as before, and more cautiously. “Daisy? Daisy?”

A rustling on the forest floor to the right was quickly followed by the renewed and heart-breaking cries of a terrified dog in pain.“Dang!” He cried out anxiously; and straight away, started in the direction of the weeping animal; its cries emanating from no more than a hundred feet away.

In spite of the overwhelming desire to rescue his beloved pet, he proceeded slowly; a sense of growing peril increasing with every step. As the nervous man drew closer, he could make out the dark outline of a canine lying on the ground. “Daisy!” He cried out. A couple more steps in the animal’s direction however, revealed that he had not responded the cries of his faithful companion but rather, those of an injured wolf lying in a pool of its own blood. The animal snarled with his approach and attempted to lunge at him, thwarted only by its apparent lameness. “Augh!”The man screamed as he jumped back.
Seeing that the growling wolf was unable to attack him, old McCormick quickly collected himself; and taking pity on the creature, decided to end its suffering. Before he could aim the shotgun however, he was further alarmed by a blood-curdling howl coming from the bog—from where he had stood only moments before! It sounded something like the cry of a wolf and yet, the wail of an elk. He understood though, that it was the cry of neither. It was the scream that he would sometimes hear when he sat in the darkness of his home, inside the protective circle his mother had cast so long ago. There was only one creature whose howl could make the blood run cold; and the man knew that he was about to come face to face with it—the Ozark Howler!

There you have it; the first of many horrors to come in 2018. Until next time then, remember to keep the the new year creepy. I certainly will.

Photo: Courtesy of Marina Bocharova Art.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Creepy Samples Offering: A Very Special Christmas Eve

The daylight continues to diminish as the darkness of night grows longer and deeper. The Yule season is nearly upon us; the longest night of the year draws nigh.

It is indeed the middle of December and that can mean only one thing: It's time once again for another Creepy Samples Offering. I intend to make this one a bit different however, because I want to offer my readers and followers a holiday treat. Oh yes, this caliginous tale, entitled, A Very Special Christmas Eve, will present to you a very different side of this particular holiday, as it demonstrates what sometimes happens to little girls and, in this case, boys, who prefer to be naughty instead of nice. Are you intrigued? I certainly hope so.

A Very Special Christmas Eve appears in my second publication, The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre. It first appeared on my blog, "The Gothic Embrace," back in December, 2014. Because the piece still appears there in full, and because I'm feeling especially generous today, I have decided to simply link from here to the full story. Enjoy dear readers, and may your holiday season be spooky. 
You can read the story by clicking here.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Creepy Samples Offering: Night of the Harvestmen

Hello everyone! We now find ourselves at the beginning of December, and that can only mean one thing. Yes indeed, it's time for another Creepy Samples Offering. 

This time around, I'm going to feature one of my personal favorites, which is found in my first book, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror. This particular story, Night of the Harvestmen, was featured in a Horror Addicts dot Net podcast back in 2015, and it won the Horror Addict's Best in Blood Award for Season 9. It is featured in the Episode 99 podcast on the above-mentioned website. 

We'll pick the story up the morning after our protagonist had returned home from a visit to the city, where on the night before, he'd had a brief encounter with a lady that rocked his world. Also on that same evening, he had discovered a lone harvestman occupying his bathroom. 

The following morning, I put on the coffee and made my way to the shower. I stepped into the stall and found myself taken aback by the sight of two more harvestmen standing side by side as they clung to the inside of the curtain. “Damn it! I thought I told you to stay out,” I scolded. I reached for one of them but the movement of the shower curtain caused the other to fall to the floor. “Shit!” I exclaimed as the critter scurried past my feet and out of sight. Without hesitation, I took my captive to the door and threw it into the adjoining greenery. “Now stay out,” I warned, slamming the door shut. I returned to the shower in a somewhat unnerved state as I considered that the second harvestman might still be lurking nearby.

During the days that followed their numbers increased exponentially. I would find them lurking on the shelves, scurrying along the sink and staring at me—yes, staring from the darker recesses of the restroom—each with its front legs wagging back and forth—scanning—monitoring my every movement. Perhaps they’ve been driven inside in search for water by the summer’s drought, I reasoned.

They moved under the cover of darkness and at times, I awoke to find one or two hovering on the ceiling above my bed or viewing me from behind one of the ghostly marionettes that decorate my wall. The creatures’ persistence continued to unnerve me and I responded by devising a new method for removing them, a wide-mouthed bottle with which I would scoop them up en masse before releasing them into the wild, far enough away that they would never bother me again. Gentle soul that I am, it hadn’t yet crossed my mind to kill them—and never with chemicals, to which I am overly sensitive.

A couple of days later I noticed my prey running into the narrow space between the shower stall and the adjacent wall—a gap too small for me to fit my bottle into—a place too small and dark to capture them. “Aha! So that’s your place of safety, is it? Well, we’ll see about that!”

Truth be told, the idea of looking into that dark corner of the cottage filled me with dread. A horrible thought took hold—one so revolting I attempted to expel it from my mind at once. Still, it forced itself to the forefront of my consciousness and filled me with loathing. Perhaps they’re breeding in there, sensually rubbing their long, skinny legs and bodies together in some grotesque sexual dance! The horrific possibility of it all kept me from peering behind the stall for a day or two. I couldn’t muster enough fortitude to confront the revolting spectacle I might find in that obscure place.

Before long, the need to gather intelligence on my new adversaries superseded my revulsion over what I might find. On the morning of the second day I stealthily approached the shower stall with flashlight in hand. I took a deep breath and shined the first rays of artificial light into the darkness.

Oh shit!” I exclaimed as I gazed at the sight before me. The monsters had gathered in hordes—standing side by side—dozens strong, lining the wall. Their front legs swung back and forth like tentacles seeking to draw some unsuspecting prey into the hideous creatures’ bosoms, all the while strangling the life out of it.

At first, I retreated in utter disgust. Then, I cast the luminous rays into the dark corner once again. This time, I grabbed one of the little monsters by the hind legs and brought it under a magnifying glass for closer inspection. What I saw only served to increase my anxiety. I saw a creature with bulbous eyes and two projections from its mouth resembling a monstrous beak, one ideal for tearing and slashing!

I tossed the spider-like being outside before grabbing a piece of newspaper and making my way back to the shower. I folded the newspaper over my right hand and reached behind the stall and applied pressure, crushing the life out of the invaders. Bodies fell to the dank netherworld below while others from among the ranks scattered in all directions. Again and again I struck at them, grinding them into the moist wall, leaving behind any compassion I once felt for them.

My struggle against the eight-legged horde continued unabated over the next several days as they began moving about in herd-like formations, climbing on windows and screens, darkening the walls with their numerous bodies—advancing, always advancing until they had taken over my cupboards and closets. At night they sometimes ran across my body as I attempted sleep—mocking me and my inability to vanquish them. In turn, I fought them with whatever tools I had at my disposal until, their numbers greatly diminished by my continued efforts, the survivors lost interest in continuing the fighting. Defeated, the beasts evacuated the premises. They’re gone. Victory is mine!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this week's entry. The next Creepy Samples Offering will feature a Christmas-related tale. I hope you'll be here for that one. So until next time then, keep it creepy. 

Photo artwork: Marina Bocharova You can check out her Facebook Page,   Marina Bocharova Art here.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creepy Samples Offering: The Beckoning

Time flies by so quickly. One moment it's Halloween and seemingly on the next, we're approaching the holidays. There's no need to fret however, because it's once again time for another Creepy Samples Offering. 
This time we take several paragraphs from a story entitled The Beckoning, which is found in my first book, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror.
In this tale of pure horror, our protagonist continually experiences a vivid, unsettling dream in which he is drawn to a hidden crypt, in which appears an incredibly seductive woman from out of the darkness. She taunts him with her sensuality and desirability--invites him to join her. Still, he fears that to do so, might result in his own death. 
We pick the story up just hours before All Hallows Eve, where the narrator, unnerved by the latest dream, attempts to drown his unease with a glass of absinthe:
“Clearly, I need some fresh air,” I say to myself as I head for the door. Perhaps I drank a little too much this afternoon.

Stepping outside, I hear the familiar creaking sound of the wooden screen door. I am somehow reassured and grounded by its resonance; that is, until I take in the new landscape in which I find myself. I gasp at what I see. “Shit! Fucking shit!”

Gone is the gently rolling prairie that surrounds my habitat. In its place is the forest that doesn’t exist—the forest of my dreams. It is a forest of hickory, oak and maple. The brilliant
sunshine, to which I earlier denied access into my domicile, is now obscured by a thickening veil of clouds. The wind is rustling through the trees, slowly stripping them of their colorful bounty. 

For a while I watch, as leaves of yellow, red and golden brown swirl toward the ground—their final destination. This isn’t real. It can’t be. I must be dreaming!

The sensation of the wind blowing through my hair and its caress upon my skin tell me that that I am attempting to deceive myself. This is no dream. It is very real. Intuitively, I understand that now is the time to realize the reality that lies behind my nocturnal visions. Now is the time to take the step from prophecy to fulfillment. My blood boils with an almost exquisite level of excitement, for I fully understand with whom I am about to have an encounter—she whom I cannot resist. Still, I am filled with a potent sense of horror and dread. I think of the crypt, the coffin contained within and the two hideous gargoyles and their dire warning: Nevertheless, I’ll do what I must. Casting one last look at my country home, I set out for my final destination—an encounter with fate. 

The walk through the forest is exactly as expected. There is death and decay here. Decomposing leaves, acorns and mushrooms cover the damp forest floor. Eventually, I come to an all too familiar clearing at the base of a hill. “There it is,” I mumble to myself, “the cemetery, just as I remember it.” Then I cast my eyes upon the crypt! A voice wells up from inside me. Go back. Forget this forsaken place! I can neither forget nor turn back however. So haunted am I by the mysterious woman who resides within the crypt, that dark but irresistible angel of death, that I have no choice but to continue on. 

All is as I saw it in my dreams—the rusting lanterns, the descending stairway, the near blackness enveloping the interior of the vault. I tremble with fear as I distinguish the vague outlines of the ghoulish gargoyles as they forever stand sentry over the casket.
Suddenly, the multitude of candles comes alive with flame; their shadows dancing upon the walls. My heart is racing; the sound of its beating pulsates through my eardrums. In spite of the still evident intoxication induced by my afternoon revelry with the Green Fairy, pangs of terror permeate my entire body and cut to my very soul. The gargoyles cry out to me. “Stay back! Flesh and blood may not enter here. Still, I stand my ground.

Then I hear it; the sound of a woman’s heels—footsteps, walking slowly and deliberately toward me through the passageway. Each step is louder than its predecessor; every stride she takes brings me closer to the unknown. Yes, the unknown, because all of my previous visions ended with an awakening. This time there will be no such return to my familiar surroundings. This experience is authentic. Reality has shifted somehow, but this is reality nevertheless.
“Hello there lover,” she greets me from the beginning of the dark passageway. Walking toward the coffin she continues. “I’m so glad that you decided to meet your true destiny—the fulfillment of your dreams.” A seductive smile comes to her lips. “Do you find me desirable? Are you willing to share your deepest and darkest yearnings with me?”
Her black lips draw me. Her jade-colored eyes sparkle in the candlelight like the eyes of a cat caught in the headlights. In spite of whatever may come next, I can only muster a barely audible “yes.”

“Then what are you waiting for? Come to me. Embrace me.” She beckons me with her seductive smile and manual gestures. “Come on; let me feel your body against mine.”

“The creatures that stand watch here, they warn me that flesh and blood may not enter. They terrify me.”

“You must overcome your fear to earn my affections. Put them out of your mind and approach.” With a deep breath I make my advance toward her.
That does it for this week's offering. So, what happens next? The answer lies in the book, dear reader. 

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Creepy Samples Offering- The Coven

Halloween is behind us, but fear not; it's time once again for another Creepy Samples Offering.

Today's sample comes from a piece included in my first book entitled, "Tales of Dark Romance and Horror." The title of the story is "The Coven."

This time, we return once again to North Carolina's Outer Banks where, after the Appearance of a charming stranger at Angela's Collectibles, Jasmine and Angela drive up to Nags Head for a goth event held by a coven of human vampires at a venue called The Sea Hag. As the two make their acquaintance with their hosts, a desperate figure walks a lonely neighborhood before arriving at the venue.

Several blocks away, a dark and lonely figure walked along the quiet street; his solitude broken only by the occasional passing vehicle. Weak, and with an intense desire that had to be quenched, a man staggered toward his destination. I must not let them see me like this, he thought to himself. I simply must find some form of sustenance before I make my appearance.
Triggered by the sound of the man’s staggering footsteps, the voice of a barking dog suddenly penetrated the silence of the night.
“Oh yes! Perhaps all is not lost after all,” he mumbled to himself.
The dark figure turned down the next available side street and focused upon his urgent new mission. Although physically weak, he was still in full control of his mental abilities; and as he drew closer to the noisy animal, he concentrated on a mental command. Relax! There is nothing to fear in death. It is your destiny!

The dog ceased making its agitated sounds before the source of its agitation arrived at the back gate. Upon eyeing the figure standing before it, the dog let out a quiet whimper—the sound of surrender.

“Now, now, it’s okay,” the mysterious person whispered while petting the dog. “It’s okay.”
Slowly—ever so slowly he moved closer—locking his victim into an affectionate but deadly embrace. With a deep breath the being opened his mouth; and with fangs that surpassed those of his prey in size, tore open the animal’s jugular. Even as he feasted upon the canine’s warm sanguine liquid, he could feel his own strength returning—filling his veins with a renewed energy—and strength! Within moments the dog laid dead upon the ground, completely drained of its life blood.

“Ah! Not perfect perhaps, but certainly better,” he said to himself with a new vigor. This will hold me and will make me appear far less suspicious as I pursue my ultimate goal for the evening.”
Partially sated, the somewhat invigorated predator strode back toward the main street.

After our Halloween celebrations, I hope that you the reader can handle a bit more vampire material, because that's what this offering is about.

Until next time then, thanks for reading and liking this page.

Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery

Monday, October 16, 2017

October Creepy Samples Offering: The Legend of Mercy Brown

We've reached the middle of October and that means that it's time once again for another Creepy Sample's Offering. 

Since it is so close to Halloween, and to celebrate the grand event, I'd like to do something different this time around. So, instead of offering a short-story segment from one of my books, I'd like to link to a tale that appeared on my blog, The Gothic Embrace, several years back. It's called "The Legend of Mercy Brown: A True Vampire Story." Mercy Brown is considered by many to be one of America's best known vampires. 

Just follow the link below to read the strange, tragic, but true tale of this late nineteenth century phenomenon. 

The Legend of Mercy Brown: A True Vampire Story

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Creepy Samples Offering: The Caretaker

 October has arrived, and with it a growing anticipation that speaks of Halloween drawing near. With the special night only 30 days away, and its spirit growing in intensity with each passing day, what better Creepy Samples Offering could I feature at this time than a ghost story involving a cemetery caretaker who happens upon an old, previously undiscovered grave in the nearby woods?

This week's offering is taken from my book entitled "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre." The name of the story, perhaps not surprisingly, is "The Caretaker:"

The caretaker examined every bit of ground in the vicinity. As the minutes passed, the brightness of the rising moon increased, illuminating the terrain well enough that Elena's grave marker, although small, should easily have been seen. Yet, his search remained fruitless, and his frustration grew. Damn it! I know I'm in the right place. Why can't I find it?

The discomfited man, having covered the entire area to no avail, paused momentarily. As he gazed toward the forest beyond his field of operation, he couldn't help noticing how uncannily foreign the surrounding landscape had become. The trees now seemed larger, older than before; their thick, majestic trunks and limbs reaching toward the heavens. He was struck with a sudden realization that the cold northerly breeze, which had accompanied him into the forest, was absent. In its place was a translucent, swirling fog that seemed to emanate a dull light of its own. The moon was no longer visible. Nothing was recognizable, and he felt as though he had been snatched from the world with which he was familiar and placed into a new, unfamiliar reality; one much more eerie and portentous than his own. The sudden stillness of the place unnerved him.

Suddenly, the sound of approaching footsteps broke the silence. These were unlike the earlier disturbances. They were slower, more deliberate—human! For the moment the thick fog continued to block his vision as well as that of whoever was approaching.
The caretaker took advantage of the opportunity to take cover behind the thick trunk of a nearby tree. The sound grew louder with every step and then...

Is that a woman's voice I hear? It is indeed, and she's singing!

With that realization the object of his attention emerged into view. The lady moving in his direction seemed the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She continued walking slowly, pensively, all the while singing words of love to a tune he'd never before heard. She sported a stylish wide-brimmed hat, which partially covered her flaming red mane--hair that cascaded well over her shoulders. Her beige dress, although voguish, reminded him of something folks would wear to civil war re-enactments. And then he noticed it—a necklace bearing what appeared to be a heart made of ruby. His mind raced as the exquisite female drew near. Pieces of the puzzle began falling into place.

My dream, she looks just like the woman I dreamed about a couple of weeks ago. And that ruby heart, could it be her prize....

“Hey lady, Lady! Hold up a minute!”

She paused and looked back disdainfully at a dirty-looking man running in her direction. Taking her eyes off him for just a moment, she tucked the ruby heart under the cover of her dress before turning around to confront him.

“Want some company?” He asked her. “After all, a pretty lady like you ought not to be walking in the woods alone; 'specially, not in the early evenin' like this.”

He stared at her with beady eyes, not removing his gaze from her. Feelings of anger and even jealousy began gripping at the caretaker as the uncouth man continued with his nauseating pursuit of the woman.

Well that about does it for this week's sample. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back with another Creepy Sample's Offering around the 15th. Until then, don't forget to keep it spooky! 

Artwork and photo by Marina Bocharova. You can visit her website by following this link.