Memorial Day 2017






As we go about our day let us pause for a moment to reflect upon those who have given their lives in the defense of this country. They came from all walks of life, from city streets and country roads, from backgrounds as diverse as Wall Street to the rolling Farmlands, and everything in between. White, black, red, and yellow, it didn't matter the color of their skin, they came together under a common cause, and a shared desire to do their part for the country they loved.

Free Read Friday: Alone Pt4


I've posted the entire short story, up to the end of this part on it's own page that you can find HERE!.


Alone


Moving closer he traced the outline of the object with his hand as it curved upward, the Cris-crossed object terminating at a scarred flat surface. The scarred surface curved down to another flat section and as his fingers traced the pattern embedded in its face he realized what it was.

A boot.


Just like the one he wore and as the realization filled his mine he came to understand that the Cris-crossed patter had been the laces. Someone had lost or discarded a boot in the mine, and it had lain there ignored until he came across it while searching for his tool bag. It wasn’t uncommon for miners to bring spare footwear with them when they ventured into the mines so the presence of the boot was not uncommon


Relieved by the sheer innocence of the object he tried to pull it from the ground, only to find it was securely held in place by the stony earth. And as he pulled he came to realize the boot was occupied by a foot.


Who was it?


 With fingers shaking at the revelation and the implications it contained he followed the outline of the boot in the opposite direction. Slipping his finger beneath the hem of that coarse fabric he came to a softer fabric bunched around a solid object. Beyond that his fingers came into contact with flesh as cold as the ground in which it had been buried.


An uncontrollable flash of panic drove him back and he scrabbled through the loose stone, loosing all sense of direction as a single thought blossomed in his mind like a poisonous flower.


There was a body with him.


He looked left, and then right, the emptiness pressing in on all sides as he focused on that singular notion. There was a body in the mine with him. It was followed by another that came with an ominous clarity. It was not where it should be to have been affected by the cave in.


Unless, he tried to convince himself, he had gotten turned around when he was crawling through the dark, and instead of being near the face of the mine, he had unknowingly returned to the collapsed section.


Who was it?


The others had gotten out, he was sure of it, he’d left them at the bottom of the vertical shaft leading to section 16B. Unless one of them had followed him back without him knowing about it, and had become buried by the falling stone.

It made sense, it was logical, and if anything was to be said about him, he was logical. Four years of college had made him that way. His time in school had also severed to distance him from his roots, but the roots of a boy raised in the West Virginia coal fields ran strong and deep. Roots that ran as far back as the late seventeen hundred when the first settlers ventured west, finding the rolling hills of the Appalachians that reminded them so much of the homelands they had left behind.  These roots might be weakened, but they could never be removed.


Reaching this conclusion helped to quell the panic simmering in the pit of his stomach, and he stopped moving so he could work out where he’d left his bag. The section he occupied was not very big, no more than thirty by forty feet. If he took his time, and approached his problem logically, he’d find his tool bag.


It was just a matter of remaining focused as he carefully worked his way back and forth across the open space. It wasn’t going to be quick, but it was preferable to running around in a blind panic.  Calmly he crawled forward until he reached the wall of the mine. Turning to his right he crawled two steps, then turned right again and crawled across the open space towards what he hoped was the other side of the mine.


As he worked, slow and careful, he became conscious of the sound of a steady pounding that came from his left. Turning his head in that direction he peered into the emptiness as a slow chill crawled the length of his mine when he realized it was the steady sound of a pick working the wall.


It was believed that when a miner died in the mine, his ghost returned to finish his shift. 


To be continued!

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Legion of the Damned Excerpt

Here's another little taste of Legion of the Damned, coming May 31, 2017. It's currently available as a pre-order at the low price of $.99 that will go up to  $2.99 the day after release. I've also lowered the prices of book 1, All Roads Lead to Terror, and book 2 The Reaping, to celebrate. You can grab all three for less than three bucks using the links above. . 
There has been a slight change to the cover to bring it in line with the story inside. Today's excerpt will make that perfectly clear, and I hope intrigue you enough to reserve your copy today.





Excerpt

As night approached and the shadows grew long the children gathered around a single fire as David stood before them. Meat and Einstein had become outsiders.

“Do you believe?” David said as he gazed at the faces gathered before him.

“Yes,” they whispered in response, hands clasped before their chests as they watched David with rapt attention.

“Do you believe with all your heart that God lives in each of us?”

“Yes,” they answered with more assurance as David moved back and forth in front of the fire, pointing at them as he spoke.

“He said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

“Amen,” the children whispered.

Meat was reminded of the service he’d attended when he was younger, the preacher moving back and forth across the stage as he whipped up the emotions of those attending. Smoke and mirrors, he had thought then, but after his experience in Richmond where he'd learned belief could be a powerful weapon, it was with just a touch of unease that he watched David.

“What are they doing?” Einstein said, and Meat held up his hand to quiet him. There was no sense drawing attention to them, not now.

“Let us pray,” David said as he bowed his head and the others followed suit.

“Father, we stand before you, a lost flock without its shepherd. Taken from us by a world that has closed its mind and its heart to the glory that is your love. We are without hope, lost upon a sea of unease. Will you lead us to our rightful home? Will you guide us in the task we have undertaken? Amen.” David finished and lifted his head to look at the faces that turned up to meet his gaze.

“Amen,” the children responded dutifully.

“Jesus said. ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. “

“Amen,” the children answered in a growing voice that threatened the stillness of the darkening forest.

“Do we remember what Jesus said in Matthews twenty-six when Peter drew his sword as the Romans came to take him?”

“What did he say?” the children asked their combined voice a shout of righteous anger that stirred the short hairs on the nape of Meat’s neck.

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’ Our enemies have chosen to live by the sword, and so they shall perish by the sword.”

“Amen,” the children shouted and David leaned forward with one hand cupping his ear. He had them now, they’d follow him to hell itself if he asked, and what they planned to do was not far from it.

“Amen,” they repeated, louder this time, their voices carrying more conviction than before.

“I can’t hear you,” David said as he leaned over with a smile, his hand still next to his ear.

“Amen,” they screamed in a single voice that rocked the stillness of the forest around them.

“Jesus said, ‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

“Amen,” came the shout on cue, even louder than before as the children warmed up to David’s preaching.

“Are we not Father Henry’s legion of angels?”

Again their shout rocked the forest and David drank long and deep of the conviction that rolled off the assembled children. They had achieved a symbiotic relationship with one another, one feeding on the other, fueling their anger, their conviction, their belief

“But we failed him,” David said as he took a step back and crossed his arms over his chest. A feeling of quiet discomfort spread through Meat’s stomach as the gathered children groaned in response to David’s comment.

“I don’t like this,” Meat said.

“He’s just talking to them.”

“That’s the way it always starts, with just talk, I imagine that’s the way it began in Richmond.”

“I wasn’t there, so I don’t understand.”

“I know, but had you been you would. It was like,” and Meat paused as he sought out the word to best describe the feelings that were coming to him from the gathered children. Fanatical came to mind, but he felt that was too strong, it was something much more subtle. Loss, confusion, they were close, but not quite right.

“They had been taught from the Bible, but somewhere along the way it had become garbled, mixed up with other things that made little sense,” Meat said, trying his best to put his finger on the problem.

“We, his legion of angels, have failed our father,” David said in a near whisper as several cries of anguish rose from the gathered children.

“What can we do?” One of them cried out.

“Yes, what can we do?” another took up the call.

Soon they were all asking the same question, their voices rising in volume as the night slowly descended around them.

“We must pay penance for our failure,” David said and turned away from the crowd. He did something none of them could see. When he turned back, a black cross bisected his face. The upright started at the hairline of his forehead and followed the line of his nose, ending at the tip. The cross member made him look like he had a unibrow, following the line of the ridge above his eyes.

“We must take vengeance on those who have wronged us for they have chosen to live by the sword, and now they must die by the sword. Who will take penance with me?”

Hands shot up throughout the crowd as a babble of voices rose up through the trees. All repeating the same thing. “me, me, me, me,” they said, and if a god existed within the low gray clouds that hugged the earth, he would have surely heard the anger in their voices.

“We will become Father Henry’s legion of angels, and we will bring death to his enemies. For we are the lost legion, we are, the legion of the damned.”

End Excerpt


Synopsis:

Hell was coming to Paradise!


In a remote desert world that bore little semblance to their own, the boys corner and kill Nickoli. Unfortunately the act fails to release Window from his curse, and they discover that a much higher sacrifice must be made to free him.

Struggling to silence the voices from his past, Billie-Bob’s drinking results in his capture by the family of cannibals he once escaped from. This time he is taken to Paradise, a small compound along one of the many tributaries leading to the Chesapeake Bay. For those who lived there it was truly a paradise on earth, for its captives it was a different story as they were reduced to nothing more than livestock to feed a growing population.

While following the trail left by Billie-Bob’s captors, Meat, Window and Einstein come upon the shattered remnants of the church that had given them shelter on their trek north. Many of the church’s inhabitants had perished in the attack, but most of the children had been able to escape. They join the boys on their journey south to rescue Billie-Bob, and exact their vengeance on those who had shattered their peaceful existence.

Hell was coming to Paradise, and there would be no denying its vengeance.





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There was a flavor of “Lord of the Flies” expressed through the savage tribe of kids who kidnapped the children in the first place. They were viscous, brutal creatures grown from the cycle of abuse this book explores. And the religious practices they had cultivated in the absence of love and protection is truly horrifying. It’s the kind of horror that at once makes your stomach churn and your hand itch to draw it. (Or maybe that’s just my response to these kind of stories…)

Jeanette Andromeda
Horror Made

I would place Mister Schiver's talents in league with Neil Gaiman's. He shines in his ability to let dialogue propel a story. That is trickier than it may seem, but the talented writers do it with an effortless grace.
 
T.W Brown
Brutally Honest Reviews