Monday, June 4, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: Highway 365

Hello there, Dear Readers, and welcome back for the final installment of the Creepy Samples Offerings. I hope you have enjoyed reading the story excerpts presented here,and if you would like to read them to their conclusion you can click on the link to my website, which is found under "About" on the right hand column. Everything you need to know is provided there. 

I am working on new material, which at some point in the not too distant future, will coalesce into another publication. At that time, I hope to return here with more Creepy Samples Offerings. 

Today's tale is called "Highway 365." This piece is found in my book entitled "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre." The story concerns a man with an interest in the paranormal who travels to an area south of Little Rock, Arkansas in order to drive Highway 365, a road long reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman; particularly, on stormy nights.

We pick up the story after the protagonist turns onto the highway during a heavy thunderstorm:
The rain began to slow by the time I reached the Woodson's outskirts. Still, I maintained a slow speed, hoping against hope that I would see something significant. My eyes danced back and forth as I searched for an apparition or anything that signaled the presence of the supernatural. Although the worst part of the storm had passed, rain continued coming down at a steady pace. The flashes of lightning, though retreating toward the south east, continued to illuminate the landscape, offering me short but enhanced views of my surroundings.

I approached what appeared to be a small bridge when the sudden glare of headlights from behind caught my attention. I gazed into the rear-view mirror to take quick measure of the situation. When my eyes returned to the road I gasped in horror. The figure of a human being stood almost directly ahead of me only a few yards away. I hit the breaks as hard as I could while swerving into the oncoming lane.

For a few seconds I sat there stunned—overcome by the sudden flash of adrenaline pulsing through my veins. The figure hurried over to the passenger side of my vehicle, I could see that it was a young woman.

She was dressed in a long white gown that was drenched through and through. The garment, which most certainly had been attractive and alluring earlier in the evening was stained with blood and mud. Opening the passenger-side door, I could see a deep, bloody gash across her forehead. There was another just below her cheekbone. I suspected that she had suffered other injuries as well. 

“I'm....I'm so sorry,” I told her apologetically as she got in. “Where did you come from? I didn't see you.”

The vehicle from behind was approaching, so I quickly got out of the way by crossing over to the southbound lane and pulling onto the shoulder. I reached into the back seat and retrieved an extra jacket I'd left there. I wrapped it around her shoulders in an attempt to warm her. She was cold—very cold to the touch. 

“You're hurt. You need a doctor,” I told her as I gently used a wad of leftover napkins to tend to her wounds. “Is there a hospital nearby? You need stitches.”

At first she stared straight ahead in silence without saying a word. I needed answers if I was going to help her, but as I contemplated her condition, I considered the possibility that she might have been in shock. I decided to handle the situation with the utmost gentility. Calming my demeanor, I posed another question to her. 

“Do you live nearby?”

She turned toward me imploringly and slowly lifted her left hand, pointing straight ahead. “Redfield,” she said in little more than a whisper. “Take me to Redfield.” 

At that moment my heart melted as I took in her beauty—her exquisitely chiseled face, her resplendent breasts, only partially covered by her dress; this, in spite of her disheveled condition. Within a minuscule flash of time-- a split second perhaps, a vision came to me. 

She and I were at a dance—a prom perhaps. I'd been considering my good fortune in accompanying her to the event. We were a couple; and, as I took in the sight of her golden-blonde hair cascading over the soft skin of her shoulders, I knew I was in love. 

She removed her gaze and I snapped back to reality. The realization that my passenger needed medical attention took precedence, and I turned back onto the highway and headed in the direction of Redfield, 

There you have it! Many thanks to you all for being here over these past 11 or so months, and remember, keep it spooky !

Photo, A Place to Hide by Sandra H. appears courtesy of Gothic Pictures Gallery.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: A Fall From Grace: The First Hunt

Greetings to you all, Dear Readers. It's May 15 and that means it's time for another Creepy Samples Offering. This one is a bit special as it's the next to last sample offering for awhile. It's hard to believe, but I've been doing these twice per month since around the beginning of July of last year. So yes, we're getting near the end--for now!
In any event, in today's offering we return to the adventures of the Vampire Lady Andrea and Jessie Tucker. "A Fall From Grace: The First Hunt" is found in my second publication entitled, "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre.
We pick up the story in the darkness of Louisiana's Kisatchie Bayou, where Lady Andrea has been unnerving, pursuing, and then mesmerizing Eddie Canton, Jessie's assailant, with seductive images.

“Ugh!” He shouted, confused by the sudden cut off from the titillating experience. “Wh....what happened? Why don't ya do what ya want to and get it over with?”
“Because I got what I wanted,” she responded. “You just damned your god and everything you've ever stood for. I have now prepared you to enter the place that lies beyond the gates of Hell.”
Canton realized the truthfulness of what she spoke. He had indeed done as she'd said.
“You tricked me with all that sexy stuff,” he informed her. “You tricked me!”
Lady Andrea laughed heartily before responding. “Do you really believe that I'd want to provide you with pleasure after you smashed my Jessie's head with a rock, killing him? No, there is another who will have the pleasure of draining you of your life's essence, and I will lead you to him.”
She began walking in his direction; the self-confidant smile and hungry expression never disappearing from her face. The frightened man dropped his fishing tackle and moved quickly in the direction of the bayou, screaming as he ran. “Help! Somebody help me!”
Eddie Canton's gait outpaced his limited field of vision. More than once he blindly stumbled over the underbrush, only to quickly right himself and continue on toward the bayou.
Moving through the darkness, Eddie could hear voices calling to him from the direction of the camp. “Over here,” he shouted with a shortness of breath. “Over here!”
The thick woods abruptly opened up before him, revealing the same location where he had spent the last couple of hours fishing. As Eddie rushed toward the water's edge, a dark figure, as if from out of nowhere, took position directly in front of him, blocking his path. The dim light of the lantern shone upon the figure's pale features, and the panic-stricken man gasped in sheer horror.
“Je....Jessie? Is that you?”
The strange figure inched closer to him as he spoke. It's Jess of the House of the Crescent Moon now, Eddie. Are you surprised to see me?”
Canton attempted moving backward, but his escape was blocked by the woman.
“How can this be?” Eddie asked. “You're ….”
“Dead?” Jess responded. “Indeed I am; and yet, I'm standing before you. Pray to your god,” Jess continued, “for you too are about to join the ranks of the deceased.”

There you have it! We'll see you around the beginning of next month for the final offering. Until then, keep it spooky!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: The Reaper's Hand

Hello, Dear Readers, and welcome back once again to another Creepy Samples Offering. 

It's a cloudy, gloomy day here in in the Ozark Mountains with the threat of stormy weather on the horizon. What better time could there be to feel a little....well, spooky?

Today, I'd like to talk about the Case of Travis Wilson. Mr. Wilson is an aging man who, obsessed with staying young, has taken it upon himself to live a healthier lifestyle. Part of his obsession is due to the fact that, in his younger days, he had never experienced any type of meaningful, romantic relationship. Part of his staying young strategy revolved around running, an activity he took part in quite often. On one particular evening however, his run through a local park takes on a new meaning. So, let's take a few paragraphs from the story entitled "The Reaper's Hand," and see just what has made Travis' run so urgent. The story incidentally, is found in my book, "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre. 

This evening was different however. Travis ran along the darkening trail with the terrifying realization that his deepest fear followed in close pursuit. He had first seen the hooded and black-robed angel standing in the early-morning shadows of his bedroom that morning. He spotted it a second time in the afternoon and once more this evening, while relaxing in his easy chair reading the newspaper. He knew what it all meant; the final reckoning was at hand. The third sighting was too much for him and the thought of his impending death filled him with a sense of terror unlike anything he’d ever experienced.

The dark angel of death had come calling, but Travis wasn’t ready to leave his earthly life behind.
In a panic, the old man screamed at the unwanted visitor.“No, no, you can’t take me. I want to live!”

Travis scuttled toward the nearby forest trail without even bothering to lock the doors. He would continue to cheat death the only way he knew; by running.

The frightened old man kept a steady pace as he careened through autumn’s deepening twilight. He occasionally cast a quick glance behind, only to see death’s angel walking in his direction under the half-naked trees. The Reaper neither gained on him nor fell behind, but continued to keep pace. Travis knew he couldn’t run indefinitely. He would tire soon and he desperately needed some other way by which he could escape the relentless being pursuing him. The opportunity came when he confronted a young couple jogging in his direction. 

“Please, please!” He implored them. “I’m being pursued. Can you take me to your vehicle? I’ve got to get away from here. Someone’s after me.”

“I don’t see anyone,” the younger man replied after a quick look around.

Travis pointed directly at the frightening figure, which continued moving in his direction.
“He’s right there, heading this way. How can you not see him?”

“You’re crazy, old man. There’s nobody there.”

Travis grabbed the woman’s shoulders, shaking her in desperation.

“I know you can see him,” he insisted. “Please get me away from here!”

The woman’s companion moved swiftly, pushing Travis away from his companion, forcing him backward.

“Keep your hands off her you crazy geezer!”

Well, that's it for this time around. Until next time then, keep it spooky. 

Photo courtesy of Gothic Pictures Gallery.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: Horror in the Tunnel

Hello there, Dear readers! We've reached the middle of April and that means that it's time once again, for another Creepy Samples Offering.

Today's excerpt, from the story entitled, "Horror in the Tunnel," takes place in and under an abandoned railway tunnel on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island; the same neighborhood in which horror writer H.P. Lovecraft both lived and located some of his stories in.

In this particular tale, the protagonist is drawn back to the tunnel years after the city had sealed it off. His desire is to investigate a possible connection between the pagan rituals that had precipitated the tunnel's closing, and possible supernatural or otherworldly influences that may exist there.

As we pick up the story, the investigator is in a subterranean chamber below the tunnel after hearing the sounds of a woman's screams as well as that of a slow, persistent drumming.

After about ten minutes traversing this odd walkway, the incessant rhythm of the drum and the strange voices of the participants reach a volume so intense that I pause and turn off my light. In its absence I can see a flickering orange glow reflecting on the walls ahead of me. For a few moments I allow my eyes to grow accustomed to the dim light before proceeding. As I inch forward, my heart is pounding so wildly that I wonder if it can be heard over the ruckus that is taking place so close to me.

A few more steps brings me to the point where the end of the passageway comes into view. It opens into a moderately sized cavernous chamber. At its center is a stone slab roughly the size of a queen-sized bed. Behind it a beautiful but stately woman sits upon an elevated throne. She's wearing an elegant black dress as she watches the activity taking place around her. Burning torches encircle the center of the cavern, leaving an open space directly before the stone slab.

There are at least a couple of dozen participants drumming, dancing or otherwise moving around the cavern. All appear to be wearing masks and long, ragged robes. Still, the masks are the most realistic that I've ever seen—ghastly even!
Wait a minute! Their facial expressions change as they communicate. They're not masks at all. Their faces are inhuman--shriveled, distorted and skeletal with bulging, jaundiced eyes. The creatures' hands are almost claw-like, with long fingers and rotting nails on the ends. Their thick skin appears stained with blood.

My mind reels as I stare at the spectacle before me. My God! I have stumbled upon the secret of the tunnel and it's more horrifying than I could ever have imagined. I should leave while I can but...

My thoughts are interrupted by s spine-curdling scream. It's a woman's voice; possibly the source of the screams I heard earlier. I stand almost spellbound as I watch two of the ghoulish creatures leading a hysterical, naked woman to the central slab. Without hesitation, they force the struggling woman onto the central stone face up and set about chaining her limbs tightly to the stone's extremities.

I stare in amazement, wondering if I have stumbled upon some secret BDSM ritual. Yet, how could that be, as these repulsive creatures before me appear as real as anything I've ever seen. And the victim is clearly frightened, struggling.

Suddenly, the stately woman arises from her throne and for a moment, the drumming stops and an eerie silence falls over the cavern—a silence that is only broken by the captive's pleadings. “Please let me go. Please!”

As the woman in black takes her first steps toward the terrified female, the beating of the drums begins anew. This time, the rhythm is agonizingly slow as hands and sticks strike the instruments in unison once every three seconds or so. The sound echos throughout the chamber like some sort of death march as the obvious leader of the assembly walks toward the terrified person lying before her.

The drumming ceases when she reaches the panic-stricken prisoner. The woman looks down at the young lady affectionately as she gently brushes back her hair and strokes her face. The girl is whimpering amid hysterical cries. “Please, please!”

I realize that something sinister is happening here as I contemplate the possibilities. Clearly, this is no consensual ritual; at least, not as far as the woman on the rock is concerned. Yet, I feel a certain excitement when the lady in black bends over and whispers something in the girl's ear. I watch in amazement as she begins moving her lips slowly and sensually along the captive's neck. Before long, she ceases her movement and lets her lips linger, kissing her victim passionately. The affectionate attentions of the woman in black seem to calm the young woman down as she begins moaning ecstatically, offering her neck to her captor's passionate caresses. I find the scene before me both unnerving and yet, exciting, as my mind fills with conflicting feelings of guilt and arousal.

The sinister woman's ministrations continue for several minutes until finally she backs away from the now still form lying below her. A crimson liquid covers part of her face and runs in streams from her mouth until she wipes it away with a hand, which she in turn, licks hungrily.

Oh my God! She bit her. She tore open the flesh of that poor girl and drank her blood! What the hell's going on here?
Without warning, the slow drumbeat commences once again as the first of the ghoulish creatures, which had led the young victim to the stone, steps before her limp body. The second hands him a colorful but folded and elongated piece of cloth. He at first, holds it above his head for all to see. Then, he carefully places the fabric on the stone next to the young woman's body, where he begins unfolding it. Within moments the content of the package is revealed as he lifts a fearsome looking dagger above his head. The assembly roars in approval, but the sounds emanating forth form a chorus of ghastly, ungodly moans--sounds capable of making the bravest man's blood run cold.

The chamber becomes quiet once again as the creature lowers the knife toward the young woman's body. Although my body is almost stiff with fear, I cannot stand by watching this spectacle any longer and I react without thinking of the consequences.
“No, no! Get away from her you bastards!”

My hand reaches into my coat pocket and within a matter of nanoseconds, my weapon is out and I aim it at the creature with the dagger. Two shots ring out in rapid succession. The ghoulish thing drops the dagger and reaches for what must have been a wound in its left arm while the rest of the assembly seems caught off guard. All heads turn in my direction as I struggle to take control of the situation by shouting at the gruesome beings once again.
“Get away from her!”

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed that. If so, please check back here again around the beginning of May, and we'll do it all again. Today's story comes from the book entitled, "The Darkness Beyond the Misty Veil: More Tales of the Macabre." So until next time, keep it spooky!

Photo source: Waymarking dot com. Photographer unknown.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Creepy Samples Offering: A Fall From Grace: Metamorphoses

Welcome back, dear readers, to the April 1 installment of my Creepy Samples Offering. Since today is Easter Sunday, this is the one day of the year that above all others, reminds us that spring has arrived. Here in the Arkansas Ozarks however, the day dawned cool and gloomy. A light drizzle fills the air as a thick cloud cover blocks out the sunshine. So, while some might be holding Easter egg hunts and thinking of cute little bunnies, my thoughts have turned to vampires. 

Last month, in an offering from the story, "A Fall From Grace," I introduced you to Jessie Tucker, a divinity student whose obsession with a darkly dressed woman got him into a bit of trouble. As it turns out, the object of his desires was a vampire woman named Lady Andrea. We left off last month with her drinking his blood after she finds him snooping around an abandoned farmhouse. 

In today's offering, which comes from "A Fall From Grace: Metamorphoses," we learn that Jessie has been kidnapped by members of his former school's youth league, at the behest of the Reverend Fred Roy, the college's leading figure. His captors have taken him to a nearby river in which Roy intends to wash Jessie of his sinful nature and bring him back into the spiritual fold, so to speak. Let's pick up the story at the river then, after Jessie's failed attempt at an escape from the over-zealous group: 

Eddie Canton pulled Jessie’s damaged body to the river’s edge, leaving a trail of blood along the grass and soil. Meanwhile, his companions scurried about in the dark, searching for the appropriate stones and bindings necessary to hold their victim’s body to the river bottom. One by one they brought their findings to Eddie as he stood watch over the body. Once all the necessary materials had been gathered, he turned to them.

“Alright, let’s get this done. Everybody grab a limb and tie the rock securely. The sooner we get ‘im on the river bottom the sooner we can get out of here.”

The four worked feverishly until the sound of a howling pack of wolves interrupted them.

“What’s that?” Cotton asked nervously. 

The wolves howled once again from somewhere in the darkness, stirring within them a deep sense of fearfulness. The snapping of a fallen branch next caught their attention. One of the others shined a flashlight in the direction of the sound only to rest its beam upon a beautiful, cloaked woman walking in their direction.

“Oh Jeez,” Cotton exclaimed in a voice he believed only audible to his nearby companions.

“Y’all just keep your mouths shut and let me do the talkin’,” Canton countered. 

The woman approached; and bending on one knee, began examining the body lying before her. She put her head to his chest, detecting a faint heartbeat. When she began unraveling the bindings they’d placed around his limbs, Eddie grabbed her by the arm, attempting to pull her away from his victim.
“Get away from ‘im,” he shouted.

She arose with what seemed like lightning speed and effortlessly threw her assailant into the trunk of a tree about twenty feet away, rendering him unconscious.

“Oh Lord!” One of the others cried out. “Did you see that? God have mercy!”

Cotton took hold of a nearby tree limb, attempting to attack her from behind. Swirling around before he was within striking distance, the powerful woman first wrestled the weapon out of his hands and then placed a firm grip on his shoulder before bending and twisting his right arm. He screamed in pain.

“Why have you done this?” She asked without releasing her grip. “Tell me or I’ll tear this arm right off his body.”

Cotton screamed uncontrollably as she continued to increase the pressure.

Eddie Canton, having regained consciousness, rose to his feet and addressed her while one of the others kept the flashlight’s beam focused on her eyes.

“You might be strong,” he told her, “but you can’t take all four of us. Come on,” he instructed his other companions, “let’s rush her.”

At that moment the strange woman hissed menacingly, revealing razor-sharp fangs that extended in length far beyond her other teeth. Her would-be attackers froze in abject fear. Her eyes beamed and held them fast as she spoke with determination.

“One more step in my direction and I’ll sever his head from the rest of his body. Then I’ll turn on you and will drain every ounce of blood from each of your pathetic bodies.” Smiling she continued. “I love the scent of your fear. Draining you would be quite a pleasant experience. Don’t try to escape either, because I will find you.”

One from the group began reciting the Lord’s Prayer as she turned her attention back to David Cotton, again increasing pressure upon his already damaged arm. His screams echoed across the dark landscape.

“Who put you up to this? Tell me now,” she demanded.

“It was Reverend Roy,” Cotton answered obediently. “He didn’t mean to hurt him. He only wanted to bring him back to the Lord.”

“But you did hurt him,” she continued. “Tell me, where can I find this Reverend Roy right now?”

For just a moment Cotton hesitated and she again increased the pressure on his arm. He could hear the snapping of bones. 

“In his office. He’s in his office at the Baptist University on the south side of town,” he cried out hysterically.

She released him, throwing him into the river shallows.

She turned to the others.“The car keys, give them to me,” she demanded. 

Canton approached nervously, tossing her the keys.

“Now get out of here—all of you, before I change my mind and decide to drain you dry anyway.”

She gestured toward Eddie Cotton, who still remained in the icy shallows delirious with pain, before continuing. “And take that piece of shit with you.”

While the others collected their fallen comrade and began departing the scene, Lady Andrea returned to Jessie, once again listening for the traces of a heartbeat, hoping almost against all hope that he might still be alive. His pulse was still there but had grown even fainter. 

That's where we'll leave off for today. If you want to know what happens next, the answer can be found in my book, "Tales of Dark Romance and Horror."

Thanks for reading, and I hope to meet up with you all once again around mid-April. Until then, keep it creepy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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.