Free Read Friday: Destination Unknown

Photo courtesy of Olivier Guillard

Destination Unknown

It was only natural that someone such as myself, from the wrong side of the tracks, with little education coupled with little hope for the future, would find themselves in my current situation. After all my trip to death row was foretold on the night of my birth when my father managed to drag himself to the hospital long enough to see what his seed had produced.

Like father like son they always say, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree was another homily that pretty much sealed my fate. From what I was able to piece together my dad had been a drug dealing, pill popping, thrill seeker living along the shadowy edge of our ordered society.  A biker with little hope for the future who lived for the moment as that was the only one that mattered. In his world there was little need for 401k’s, bank accounts, or even jobs.

He and his kind lived day by day, feast or famine, constantly on the move, never pausing for a moment except when they were too drunk, or too high to function, and even then they pushed on. Always wandering, moving from one end of the country to the other, living by their wits, accumulating only what wealth they needed for the moment through wheeling and dealing, and in rare cases by sticking a gun in some poor saps face.

They didn’t take from the man, they kept their distance from the more ordered members of society, the nine to fivers who went about their daily lives unaware of the danger lurking just beyond view. They dealt strictly within the family, that loose coalition living in the shadowy realm between good and bad. The pimps, hookers, and dealers who fed on the darker needs of an ordered society that at times became too stifling for some.

They were modern nomads roaming the land in search of a freedom that no longer existed, and they welcomed me with open arms. After being held back for the ninth grade for the third time I decided that school was not for me. There were no scholarships in my future, no invitations to visit the campus of this college or that, and even if by some miracle a college did approach me, our financial situation pretty much ruled that out.

We were nomads in our own right, the woman who gave birth to me and I, living at the very edge of society as she wheeled and dealed her way through one government program after another, her hand always extended, never once offering more than a token effort and just long enough to get what she needed. In that time we moved from one crappy apartment or trailer to the next, each worse than the one before, as we spiraled down the drain to homelessness.

I’ve often wondered as the night grows long and the others on death row with me sleep as best they can knowing at the end of the hall their destination waited. How would my life have turned out if the woman who gave birth to me had been different. Would I be sitting in this lonely cell, counting down the days to my own unknown destination, or would I have built a family of my own.

A loving wife, a couple of kids, a boy and a girl, maybe more. A family pet a dog, or cat, and some fish of course, I’d always been fascinated by fish swimming in their ordered little world. One of my childhood friends had an aquarium when I was growing up and I could sit for hours and watch as they swam back and forth from one end of the tank to the other. Staying in their groups, some holding to the center of the tank while others traveled along the outer edges.

Never aware that there was a wide open world on the other side of the glass that imprisoned them.

To be continued!

If you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work. 





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This Week in Horror 12/13/2017

Mouth of the Underworld - Clint Westgard


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Synopsis:

The Mouth of the Underworld, the eater of souls, has long been lost. But Kasuir and Jasryl, Hautlyrun youths who have heard endless tales of it, discover its entrance in the highlands above their town.

They are forbidden to enter the cave, warned that the old tales may be true. But they are both young. They do not believe in those old stories, told to scare them as children. The old ways were all proven wrong when the Ven conquered and brought the railroad and modernity.

But sometimes old tales do have a kernel of truth. For something awaits them in the Mouth of the Underworld. From it, there will be no escape.

Piercing the Veil - Guy Riessen


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Synopsis:

What do flesh-eating cell phones, brain-enhancing tacos, and a real live dead foot have in common?

They're all tools in the destruction of our world, and a weapons-grade team of heavily-armed Miskatonic University nerds may be humanity’s last hope.

Something is ripping holes in the Veil of energy that separates our world from that of the ancient evils writhing just beyond what we think is reality. Time is running out for Professors Derrick LeStrand, Howard Strauss and their team of researchers as they race to hunt down a mysterious Frenchman who wields Necromantic Death Magic unlike anything they’ve seen before.

Tearing open psychological wounds from Derrick’s past, the cabalistic sorcerer is gathering ancient icons of power to pierce the Veil and bring down the only thing shielding mankind from the relentless horrors beyond.

If they fail, the only questions that will remain are who will live in servitude to the Great Old Ones and who will die…and who will supply Derrick with tacos?

Set against the backdrop of a world where H.P. Lovecraft was not a fiction writer, but a Sweep, a special operative trained to protect the collective sanity of the human race with misinformative blends of fact and fiction … where the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual is little more than a slightly skewed Audubon Field Guide, and the monster movies you grew up with are more documentary than not.


The Cosmic Case of Chevy California - Aaron Ramsay


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Synopsis:

Chevy California is a private investigator, hired gun, and occasional killer of cosmic creatures from beyond the stars. Contracted to investigate the occult and strange in 1970's New Orleans, she has made a living out of dragging dark secrets into the light.

When the dirty cop who fronts her intel asks her to disrupt a drug deal as a personal favor, Chevy discovers that there's more to the back alley bargain than just cash and narcotics. The revelation of a secret society reaching the very top of New Orleans' government threatens to herald the return of a dead god--one whose first order of business will be to wipe clean the Earth of all human life squatting on it.

Chevy, between killing gods and tackling cults, keeps an eye on her ailing mother. Beyond the threat of human extinction and the human struggle of loss, Chevy must take stock of who she wants to be, so that she may confront who she is supposed to be.


The Ghost Game - J.D. Dixon & James Dixon


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Synopsis:

They got me in the cradle and they got me in the playground, following me, speaking to me my entire life.'

At first he didn't know who they were, these unquiet dead. From the earliest age they came to him, begging his attention, until one day he learned the horrifying truth. Now they are back once again to disrupt his peaceful life, and they will ask unspeakable things of him before the end. For Thomas, this is going to be a Christmas to remember. For his family, it will be a living nightmare.

From the critically acclaimed author of 'The unrivalled transcendence of Willem J. Gyle,' this novella will haunt you long after the final page has been turned.


Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare - Stephanie M. Wytovich & Steven Archer


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Synopsis:

Roll the windows down, wipe the blood off your cheek, and turn the music up. Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a collection spattered with dirt and blood, sage and corpses. The poems inside are confessionals and dirges, their stories the careful banter of ghosts and sinners over tequila at the bar.

These pages hold the lyrics to the beautiful grotesque that Wytovich is known for, but here she writes with a raw honesty that we haven’t seen from her before. This new direction takes readers to hospital rooms and death beds, shows the mask that was skinned off her face time and time again. There’s a brutality to her lines that cuts with the same knife she fantasized about it, her blood and tears mixed in with stanzas as she talks about suicide and abuse, heartbreak and falling in love.

Written during a time when the road was her home, these poems were sung under the stars and screamed in the woods, carved into trees. They are broken bottles and cigarette butts, stale coffee and smeared lipstick, each its own warning, a tale of caution.
Listen to them carefully.

They very well might save your life.

Free Read Friday: Detsination Unknown

Photo courtesy of Olivier Guillard

Destination Unknown

Author note: Still struggling with this one as I try to wrap my mind around the details of the shadowy realm of the "In-Between". Following the original challenge of only allowing myself one hour to actually write the story I was only able to get down 460 words. As I told a writer on Facebook, I don't vomit on the page, I approach each session in a reasoned manner as I slowly uncover the gem of the story hidden from view. Still not sure where this one is headed but I sense a culmination lying out there beyond the next hill, wanna come along?

Read this story from the beginning HERE!
Every time I stepped over these creatures emerged from the shadowy depths, stalking me as they circled in to get closer. I don’t know if it was the warmth of my body, my scent, or maybe it was the spark of life I contained that drew them to me like an iron filing drawn to a magnet. I never let them get close, I didn’t want to see what they looked like.

They were always there, getting closer with every passing moment, even when I stepped back across they continued their search. Circling my last known as they narrowed in on where I’d been. I made the mistake once of stepping back over from the same place a few hours after I had been there.

You know how it is with kids, they discover something new they have to experiment with it. That was me, experimenting as I tried to understand what it all meant. After all this special talent didn’t come with an instruction manual. When I returned that shadowy realm from my bedroom they were nearly on top of me, the sound of their approach coming to me like the echo of a rock skipping across the surface of a silent pond.

Everything had changed as well, the landscape no longer resembled a shadowy copy of the world I came from, the walls of my bedroom were gone completely, along with the rest of the trailer and the other trailers crammed around ours in the trailer court.

The landmarks I needed to keep myself tethered to the world I came from was gone. In its place were towering spires of rock, columns of massive stones stacked haphazardly atop one another against all the rules of logic and physics. They moved among that forest of stone, shadowy shapes whispering through the spaces between the spires, like blood slowly seeping through torn skin, a sight I was sadly, intimately familiar with.

Within their soul they carried the spark of nightmares. Unimaginable creatures that lived in the shadowy realm of our own sub-conscious, fed by our own fears, and the self doubt that plagues us as we struggle to fall asleep. What I feared most was what lived in those flowing clouds of eternal emptiness, and they were hungry. As they got closer I detected dark shapes flitting to and fro frantically within those gloomy depths.

I came to understand later what happened. You see when I first step across I’m not all the way over into that other world, it takes time for my essence to bleed through. When I move and step back across my essence follows my movement at the same slow pace. Aside for that one time when I conducted my little experiment, I’ve never stepped back through and remained still. You have to keep moving or they’ll find you.

To be continued!

If you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work. 





Itunes


Become a member of my
readers group and get a
free starter library.



That's 2 complete novels and a 
collection of short stories.
Absolutely Free!


This Week in Horror 12/6/2017

ALT-Reich: A LitFPS Nove - Craig Saunders


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Synopsis:

Think you’ve got what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Nazi war machine?

Then step up, because this time, it’s not just your country.

Your world wants YOU.

Henry Brandon’s an old school gamer, real old school – nudging fifty, and living in heart attack county. A game falls into his ample lap, a game called ‘The New Reich’, in which he plays John Severance, badass last hope of mankind against the Nazi threat.

Henry races across the world, to Europe, Asia, fighting the menace which rules most of the world. But the true fight is at home. The U.S.A. is in the Nazis’ crosshairs, and only John Severance has the skills to save it.

From VR to Reality, Henry learns there are no reloads. When the Nazis march on the Capital, it falls to Franziska and him to fight the big boss, and save the free world from itself.

It’s only a game, though, right? One with an engine so good you can practically feel the warmth of all the blood on your hands...but sure, it’s just a game.

Fatal Game - Linda Ladd


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Synopsis:

ONE WRONG MOVE
Private detective Claire Morgan has come home from her honeymoon just in time for Christmas at Lake of the Ozarks. And for the sheriff's department, laid low with flu, to hand her a case guaranteed to chill her to the bone.

ONE CHANCE TO DIE
One of the homes in the local Christmas On the Lake House tour—the mansion of an aging rock star trying to turn his life around—has been "decorated" with the body of a young woman, arranged as a bloody angel on the balcony above his Christmas tree. There's a piece from a board game, gift wrapped and left under the tree, a hint that connects this murder to other deaths. With evidence of a gruesome pattern appearing, Claire suspects she's on the hunt for a serial killer.

IN A GAME WITH NO RULES
But the closer she comes, the more certain she is that the killer is playing his game with her, just waiting his turn. The next move might be on Claire herself—or worse, the people she loves . . . 


Glass Town - Steven Savile


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Synopsis:

There's always been magic in our world
We just needed to know where to look for it

In 1924, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. She disappeared during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s debut, Number 13, which itself is now lost. It was the crime of the age, capturing the imagination of the city: the beautiful actress never seen again, and the gangster who disappeared the same day.

Generations have passed. Everyone involved is long dead. But even now their dark, twisted secret threatens to tear the city apart.

Joshua Raines is about to enter a world of macabre beauty, of glittering celluloid and the silver screen, of illusion and deception, of impossibly old gangsters and the fiendish creatures they command, and most frighteningly of all, of genuine magic.

He is about to enter Glass Town.

The generations-old obsession with Eleanor Raines’s unsolved case is about to become his obsession, handed down father-to-son through his bloodline like some unwanted inheritance. But first he needs to bury his grandfather and absorb the implications of the confession in his hand, a letter from one of the brothers, Isaiah, claiming to have seen the missing actress. The woman in the red dress hadn’t aged a day, no matter that it was 1994 and she’d been gone seventy years.

Long buried secrets cannot stay secrets forever. Hidden places cannot stay hidden forever.

The magic that destroyed one of the most brutal families in London’s dark history is finally failing, and Joshua Raines is about to discover that everything he dared dream of, everything he has ever feared, is waiting for him in Glass Town.



Flame in the Dark - Faith Hunter

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Synopsis:

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED—the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead—and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more—or less—than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.


Babyteeth Vol 1 - Donny Cates


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Synopsis:

Sadie Ritter is sixteen years old, nine months pregnant, and scared out of her sweet nerdy mind. Having a baby that young is tough, but with the support of her loving family behind her, everything should be okay. OH YEAH, and also her baby is the antichrist and it's going to break open the barriers between the earthly and demonic planes and unleash eternal suffering to all of humankind. Other than that, though...should be fine.

From Donny Cates, writer of Buzzkill, Paybacks, Rednecks and the break-out hit God Country, comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!