Tag Archives: supernatural

The Journey: Chapter 9

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear: Collection‘.

 

Some of the passengers took the conductor up on his offer of a drink and departed for the dining car. The rest settled back to sleep. The dining car was decorated as ornately as the other cars. Six tables were set, each prepared for four people, and in the corner was a bar made of mahogany that ran half the length of the car. Seven drinks were already set out, one at each barstool. The passengers appeared amazed to find their favorite drinks waiting for them. The eighth passenger sat down at an empty space. She had no desire to drink but had come along for the walk. Indeed, each of the passengers were glad for an excuse to get up and move around a little.  The conductor sat quietly in the corner as the passengers enjoyed their drinks and light conversation.

“Come on, man, ask him,” one passenger whispered to the other.

“No way, he gives me the creeps. Whatever secrets he wants to keep he can have as far as I’m concerned.”

The conductor, for his part, seemed content to read from an old, leather-bound book that had no title.

Emily kept a wary eye on him while sipping her ginger ale. Something about him didn’t feel right. The answer was buried in her memory, she knew it, all she had to do was wait. Eventually, she would remember.

The conductor was watching her in the same way. This silent standoff went totally unnoticed by the other passengers.

In the meantime, tongues loosened as the passengers sipped their liquid courage. Pointed questions better kept to themselves were asked.

“So, what’s your story?” a passenger said to the conductor.

“Me?” the conductor asked. “You wouldn’t find my life very interesting.”

“Why not?”  he retorted. “Everyone else has told you stories, why don’t you tell us yours?”

The conductor seemed to consider this for a moment.

“Very well,” he said. “But don‘t blame me if you‘re soon bored to death.”

“I think anything is better than sleeping on a train.”

“So be it. I was born long ago, much longer than any of you. My childhood was quite unspectacular, with the exception of a knack for preserving things. Unlike other children who seemed bent on the destruction of everything they see, I wanted to keep things. I suppose that’s when I first started collecting stories. It was the twelfth year of my life when the defining event happened for me,” he said, his gaze drifting off.

“What was that?” the straight-laced woman who couldn’t find her Bible asked, pulling the conductor out his reverie.

“Oh, my pet cat died.”

“That must’ve been horrible,” Emily said.

“You would think so, yes. However, that was not the end of the event,” he said. “I read a book on taxidermy, and used the knowledge to keep my childhood friend with me forever.”

“You stuffed your pet cat?” she asked, repulsed.

“Quite right,” he said. “I continued to develop my skills, practicing on some of the lesser wanted animals around the neighborhood and became quite adept. My efforts were noticed by someone other than law enforcement, and I was offered an apprenticeship in my true calling.”

“Conductor?”

“No, mortician,” he said with a smile that made everyone in the room feel like calling nine one one. “It turned out that the human form is infinitely easier to work with than animals.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes, I had so much more room to maneuver. Didn’t have to worry about ruining the fur, it was much easier. I was considered to be something of an artist for my profession. I was as happy as I had ever been at that point in my life.”

“If you were so happy, then why did you quit and become a conductor?” the straight-laced woman said.

“Patience, I shall get to that part of the story,” he flashed a mirthless grin. “It turned out that there was another mortician in that town who had been quite prosperous until I began my career. It seemed that his work simply could not match up with mine, and he began to lose business. So, he did the only thing he could do.”

“Find another job?”

“No, sanction my murder,” he said. “You see, this man also had a jealous streak along with a very bad temperament. A dangerous combination you will agree.”

“So, what did you do?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“That’s correct,” he said. “I had no idea the sanction was active until a certain gentleman arrived on my doorstep.”

“So, a hit man just walked up and rang the doorbell?”

“Essentially, yes.”

“What did you do?”

“The only thing I could.”

“Run?”

“No, invite him in for tea,” he said. “I must say, you people just don’t have much of a knack for guessing.”

They nervously chuckled, each one probably regretting that they had asked for this story, but now felt so involved that they didn’t want it to end either.

“Like any proper host, I invited him in and we sat down to discuss our dilemma.”

“Unbelievable.”

“What is even more unbelievable was the solution,“ he said. “It seems my guest was getting ready to retire and needed to provide a replacement. Seeing the great care I took of the recently departed, he offered the job to me.”

“What about the contract on you?”

“Ah, yes, that was a difficulty. He was sworn to fulfill the contract. This created quite a conundrum for him, but in the end, I provided a solution for him that would suit his needs.”

“So, then you became the assassin?”

“Not quite that dramatic, I prefer to call myself a deliveryman. Whatever is needed, I deliver.”

“Did the mortician ever find out?”

“Oh yes, he was one of my first customers,” he gave a wicked grin.

“So what was the solution you provided?”

The whistle blew its long, mournful note, as the train began to slow.

“Ahh, it appears we have arrived,” the conductor said. “You should all return to your seats. We will be disembarking soon.”
 

 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 6

The Journey: Chapter 7

The Journey: Chapter 8

 

The Journey: Chapter 5

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection’

 

Emily stood alone in the darkness. Her only source of light was an antique, gas powered, street lamp. She couldn’t remember how long she had stood there or why. Somewhere deep in her mind, she knew she had no choice.

What is this place?  

The lamp had become important to her, it was her only companion, in fact, it was the only light in this desolate place. It was her protector, her shining knight, holding the horrid creatures at bay that she imagined lived in this darkness. This place seemed familiar, like some half remembered nightmare from long ago. Emily was sure she had been here before and the thought still gave her chills.

The light also provided her sound, the occasional flicker of the flame burning the wick and subtle hiss of gas was all she heard in the deafening silence. There were no night sounds in this place. No crickets chirped, no owls hooted, no distant mournful wail of a wolf. The thundering of her heart and the rushing wind of her breathing were all she heard, until …

What was that?

She frantically searched the darkness looking for the source of this new sound.

A train?

Finally, a pinprick of light emerged, getting stronger. Soon she could hear the ‘chuff, chuff’ of the approaching engine. She knew it was coming for her.

All at once, she felt the excitement, the exhilaration of a trip to the unknown. Just as quickly, fear settled into her mind. What new horrors would the train hold? But most of all she didn’t want to leave her lamp, her protector, and friend. As the train slowed, the massive engine lumbered by, followed by the first few cars. She had fought with herself and decided to stay at the station.

And no one will change my mind.

The train came to a stop as she stood, arms folded, resolute. She refused to leave. As the engine blew off its excess steam, a strange wind whipped around the platform. It grabbed the steam and carried it toward the lamp, smothering the flame, and casting everything into darkness. Emily’s heart leaped into her throat. It was all she could do not to scream. Panic washed over her like an ocean wave. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand it, a light appeared.

She was so overjoyed, she ran to it. Any light had to be better than this soul-crushing darkness. She approached this new light with a sense of dread. Some tall, thin old man in a uniform was holding up a lantern. She was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. She paused when she reached him, but he held out his hand and said,
“Come along now, child.”

He sounded so much like her grandfather that she took his hand without hesitation and followed him into the train. He led her to an empty seat, punched her ticket, and turned to leave.

“Excuse me,” Emily said, making him pause. “You seem familiar, do I know you?”

“That’s quite possible young lady. You seem somewhat familiar to me as well.”

“Could I trouble you for your name?” she said.

“No trouble at all,” he said. “My name is … ”

But his words were drowned out by the blowing whistle as the train lurched forward, starting down the rails again.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other passengers to attend to,” the conductor said, then continued punching tickets.

After his duty had been done, the conductor sat in a room that seemed much larger than the size of a train car. There were no decorations, no windows, only book shelves. Floor to ceiling, the walls were covered with book shelves. On the shelves were thousands of large books, each one looked identical to the other. There were no markings on them, no title, no author, only a number.

The conductor sat at his desk, writing the latest story in his newest edition. He finished, then sat back to review his work. He was restless, and he knew exactly why. The last passenger, Emily, was one of ‘those’ passengers. Every once in a while he would get one. He knew them immediately, even though they had no idea that they were different. He tried to treat them no differently than any other fare, but personal feelings sometimes crept in.

He made a mental note to treat her the same, but a subtle feeling was crawling around in the back of his mind. It wasn’t quite fear, but maybe trepidation. She had done it to him before, and even though he was certain he had her this time, doubt clawed at him like a hungry predator. Needing to clear his mind, he put away the current book and pulled out one that seemed much more worn than the others. It automatically fell open to a certain page, as it had innumerable times before. He sat back in his chair and re-read his favorite tale.

 

 

The Journey, Chapter 1

The Journey, Chapter 2

The Journey, Chapter 3

The Journey, Chapter 4

 

Haunted: a short story audiobook

Step 2. My newest video/audiobook is now up on youtube.

Once again I have borrowed the talents of Dalan Decker as the incredible narrator, and Mason Carlton to help me with the tech stuff to put this video together and make it awesome.

I hope you are enjoying these videos as much as I’m enjoying making them. If you watch, please like, subscribe, comment, and tell your friends. I would love to make many more of these videos, but that takes time and money.

Every click, like, subscribe, review, anything that gets the word out about these videos will enable me to make more.

Thanks so much for watching.

 

Puzzled, a short story audiobook

The Journey, Chapter 4

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘. 

“The Invisible”
“Spare change mister?  Got a quarter ma’am?  Hey kid, gimme
a dime.”

No one pays attention.  Not even a glance in his direction.
Occasionally someone drops a coin or two, more out of habit than wanting to help.  He is one of the invisible.  They hide in plain sight.  No one knows their name, and no one cares.  They are an inconvenience at best.

He walks out of the terminal after a day of begging and vanishes.  No one notices because they didn’t see him in the first place. He walks down a filthy alleyway and stops at a graffiti covered door. He opens it into an immaculate room in contrast to the alley and quickly closes the door. It is a room that only ‘they’ know about.

“How was your day?”  he is greeted.

“Successful!”  is his somewhat surprising response. He holds out his hand to show $1.55 in coins.

“That’s wonderful,” the other says sincerely.

He closes his eyes, grips the money tight, and speaks so low it’s almost inaudible.  Yet some of the words can be heard through the fervent whispers. “Bless”, “Help”, “Protect”, “Giver”, are a few.  His counterpart also closes his eyes and whispers.  When they are done, they end with a single word.

He opens his hand, and the money is glowing, as though it is made of light.  The other smiles at him as he gently even reverently places the glowing coins into a large bowl that is full of glowing coins.

“Come,”  the other said. “We have much to do.”

Hector Jimenez has stood in the same spot every day for the last five years, waiting for the bus.  It’s become such a habit that it’s a comfort thing now, just part of his daily routine.  If he isn’t in that spot when the bus comes, he just doesn’t feel right.  He’s been the same for five years.  Same wife, same job, same kids, the sameness is both a blessing and a curse.  He wants to try something different.

There have been attractive women on the bus for five years, but he’s always ignored them. He’s happy at home.  Lately, the women seem to be much more attractive, and he’s starting to notice.  He’s slowly making his way closer to a gorgeous blonde when some Jamaican, Rastafarian, wannabe steps in between them.  He has the multi colored hat, and dreadlocks, complete with lice that Hector could see.  He doesn’t seem to care much for personal hygiene either.

This is the first time in five years that Hector is tempted to move from his spot. Instead, he takes a step back and reads his newspaper, trying to ignore him.  In fact, he’s so involved in reading his paper that he doesn’t see the out of control car, careening toward the bus stop.  The other people scatter, but Hector is a split second too late.  As realization dawns on him, he tries to get out of the way but knows it’s futile, the car is mere feet from him. Suddenly, he feels a strong hand push him clear of the careening car. He lands on the sidewalk several feet away.  The car strikes a building and stops its unintentional rampage.  Lots of damage is done, but it seems that no one is hurt, except …

Hector looks back to where he had just been standing and there lays the Jamaican wannabe, his unmoving body was twisted and bleeding.  Five people already had their cell phones out, calling 911.  An ambulance arrives in seven minutes, and the Jamaican is taken away.  Hector tries to say something, tries to thank him, but he‘s unconscious. Hector watches as the ambulance speeds away, he doesn’t know that it will not arrive at any hospital.

Several blocks over from where Hector is reevaluating his life stands fifteen-year-old Alan Decker. Alan isn’t a bad kid or a stupid kid, he just isn’t very popular.  He fell in with some kids that took advantage of him, but he allowed it because he wanted to belong.  Now here he is, standing in the corner store on 23rd street, trying to build up the nerve to rob the place, about to make the worst mistake of his young life.  He doesn’t need the money, (not that he’ll get much here anyway).  He isn’t interested in the thrill of it, (he’s nearly peeing his pants in fear now).  So why is he doing this?  Because his so-called friends dared him to.

They gave him a gun and sent him off to the store.  He walks toward the register, knowing if he doesn’t do this now, he might not build up the nerve at all.  Just before he gets to the counter, a man in a ski mask runs in, points a gun at the clerk, and screams, “Money!  Now!”  Alan stops short.  The robber turns and looks at him.

“What are you doing?  Get on the floor!”

When the robber turns back, he’s looking down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun.  He tries to pull his gun up first but is too slow.  The shotgun goes off, unloading both barrels of buckshot into the robber’s chest, and throwing him backward.  The robber lands in a bloody heap, right beside Alan.  He watches as the life fades from the man’s eyes.  The ambulance driver doesn’t bother with CPR, it’s already too late.  Alan watches the EMT cover the robber’s face and load him in the ambulance, knowing full well that it could be his face being covered right now.  He throws the gun in the river, and never talks to those ‘friends’ again.  The ambulance drives by, reminding him that he has made the right decision.  This ambulance, also, never reaches any hospital.

A little while later the Jamaican and the robber quietly sneak into the same, well-kept room they left that very morning. Their bodies begin to glow so brightly as to blind anyone who might happen across them. When the glow faded, the two are once again dressed as beggars.

They smile at each other, and close the door behind them, on their way back to the terminal.

***

As the woman finished the story, she noticed the conductor did not seem happy. In fact, he seemed downright irritated.

“Whatever is wrong?” she said. “Didn’t you like the story?”

The conductor turned slowly and glared at her with a fire of rage in his eyes. His look chilled her to the bone. Then suddenly, he seemed to regain his composure.

“My apologies,” he said. “Your story was … nice. It just reminded me of a time when someone took something from me.”

“Oh dear,” she said. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

His face softened, and he smiled in spite of himself.

“Dear soul,” he said. “No need to fret. Thank you for being willing to tell me your story.”

Then he quickly moved on to the other passengers.

 

***

 

 

The Journey, Chapter 1

The Journey, Chapter 2

The Journey, Chapter 3

Stained

An excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear Collection’.

 

‘Sincerely, Douglas T. Forbes, Esquire.’

Edna’s wrinkled hands laid the letter on top of the envelope that had ‘Final notice’ stamped in red ink.

“I think I’ll invite Mr. Forbes over for tea.”

She phoned Mr. Forbes several times only to be told he was busy.

Finally, thirty days were up. Two large men in suits knocked on Edna’s door.

“May I help you?” Edna asked sweetly.

” We’re from the bank.”

“Oh yes, come right in.”

***

Two days later there was another knock on Edna’s door.

“May I help you?” she said sweetly.

“I’m Mr. Forbes from the bank.”

“Please come in.”

He stepped into the foyer and was mesmerized by the myriad of colored glass.

“I see you like my work.” Edna smiled.

“It’s quite lovely,” he said, “Mrs. Kelley I’m here on business. It’s about your mortgage.”

“What about it?”

“It’s past due.”

“That’s because you raised my payments last year.”

“There was a change in the law, we’re allowed to do that now.”

“So you’re here to take my house that I’ve been paying on for thirty-nine years.”

“That’s correct.”

“And how much do I need to come up with to keep my house?”

“With late fees, taxes, fees for house calls, compounded daily for twelve months, that brings it to, forty-two thousand dollars.”

“Wow. That’s a lot. But happily I came across an old box of antique coins.”

“Really?” he said.

“Follow me, I’ll show you.”

She led him down the hallway that was lined with stained glass artwork.

“Did you do all of these yourself? I’ve never seen stained glass this detailed before. How do you work with all those tiny pieces?”

“It’s a labor of … love.”

“Who are these people?”

“Oh, my ex-husband, children, neighbors, mailman…”

“You did one of your mailman?”

“Oh yes, he deserved it.”

“Deserved it?”

“I meant he earned it,” she said chuckling.

As they walked, Edna started murmuring.

“I’m sorry?”

“Oh, I was just humming.”

She opened a door at the end of the hallway.

“Here we are.”

They walked into an empty room. The only thing visible was an easel.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“Have a look.”

On the easel sat a mirror set in a golden frame. He looked into the mirror and no reflection stared back at him.

“What is this?”

He was drawn toward it as if being pulled inside.

He started to see a faint image in the mirror. The louder Edna murmured the more he could see of himself. He looked down at his hands and they had become transparent.

The mirror cracked, sending a jolt of pain through him. It cracked again and again, each a new experience in agony.

The cracks came faster.

His scream echoed.

Her murmuring reached a fever pitch.

The cacophony reached a crescendo then ceased.

She opened her eyes and smiled at her brand new stained glass portrait.

She hung it in the hallway next to portraits of the other men in suits.

 

 

Thank you for reading. If you liked this, try some of my other short horror stories.

Open

Haunted

The Exam

Eyes

Avian