Fridays Frights: Chapel of Ease St Helena Island, SC

Some places don't look haunted at all. They lull you into a false sense of security with an innocent facade. Many other places scream haunted with a capital H. One such place is the Chapel of Ease on St Helena Island in South Carolina. While not a real church, a Chapel of ease provided a place to worship in isolated communities where it was not possible to travel to services at a parish church. As one of the earliest settlements in the United States, first established around 1540, nearly five hundred years of history are shrouded by towering oaks whose branches are draped by Spanish moss. 

Taking Lands End Rd off of state route 21 you will pass under the Hanging tree where runaway slaves were hung as a warning to the other slaves contemplating escape. It is said if you park under the tree at night and turn off your lights you will soon see the Lands End light as it races down the lane towards you. Many believe the light is the ghost of the slaves who had been hung from the tree while others believe it is the ghost of a Union soldier who lost his head during the Civil War.  

Just before the Hanging tree, on the left, lie the ruins of the Chapel of Ease. There have been reports of the sound of voices coming from within the walls. Some have claimed to have seen a woman in white carrying a baby as she wanders the grounds.    

White Walker: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

It never failed, any time he had to work, someone always showed up the night before and got him to drinking. Last night it had been his cousin Stephanie and her new boyfriend, Chuck. He’d promised himself after the last meeting he had with Teddy that he wouldn’t do that anymore, that he’d not go out and get drunk until he knew for sure he was off the following day. He’d tried to beg off but Stephanie had persisted. They only had a few more days before Chuck had to return to his unit and she wanted to show him a good time.

As he made his way to his cubicle the churning in the pit of his stomach intensified. He was gonna hurl. His breakfast was resting uneasily in the sea of vodka he’d dumped into his gut the night before. He immediately made a u-turn and raced from the main floor down the short hallway to the men’s room on the right. He didn’t see the figure through the window, standing in the snow on the bank behind the building, watching the building from beneath the shadowy brow of his hat.

He saw nothing at all, focused as he was on the burning at the back of his throat that told him if he didn’t hurry, he was gonna make a mess. If he had updated his contact information like he should have, he’d be lying in bed right now, nursing his hangover instead of spending the morning digging out his truck so he could come to work. Being on your last warning sucked. Being hung over and on your last warning was even worse than that.

Reaching the stall he dropped to his knees in front of the toilet just as the first hot stream of vomit was ejected from his mouth. It felt like his fucking guts were being sucked out of him and he panted weakly between each bout.

“Are you okay?” A familiar voice asked from the doorway and he recognized Judy’s voice.

Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire. A couple of months earlier he and Judy had spent the night together after she had gotten into an argument with Teddy. It was one of those drunken evenings, he had nothing better to do so what better excuse was there than to go out and get drunk.

Judy had come to his apartment crying about the argument she had with Teddy. Outwardly Cody had been sympathetic to her problem. But that was only an act. He’d discovered over the few short years he’d been living alone that girls on the rebound from a bad relationship, or those who had just stormed out of their boyfriends after an argument were the easiest to get into bed. Judy had been no different.

After a few I understands, and that bastard, mixed in with a healthy dose of vodka in a glass of orange juice Judy’s defenses had come down and she spent the night.

“I’ll be all right,” he said between dry heaves. He was pretty sure he’d just cleaned his system out. He’d recognized the two sausage biscuits he’s had that morning, as well as the chili he’d eaten the night before. His mom had stopped by for a visit, and that had primed him for a night of drinking. So it hadn’t been too hard for Stephanie to convince him to show them the nightlife. 

Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand he crossed to the row of sinks on the opposite wall. After splashing some cold water on his face he looked at Judy. “Does he know?”

“I haven’t told him yet.” She said.

“Why?” Cody splashed some cold on his face.

“It just hasn’t come up yet.”

“What? You have to wait for it to come up? You can’t just tell him?”

“It’s complicated.”

“No shit. Does he know what happened?”

“Are you still working here?”

“Good point. But you need to tell him, the sooner the better.”

“But what if he gets mad?”

“Don’t tell him everything. You’ve been fucking him, right?” She nodded. “Then he doesn’t need to know what happened between us.”

“But what if it looks like you?”

“That doesn’t mean a damn thing. I don’t know how you women can tell the difference anyway. A baby is a baby.”

“I’ll know.”

“Then you’re gonna have to leave him.”

“But I don’t want to. I love him.”

“That’s not what you said two months ago.”

“That was then, this is now.”

Cody approached Judy and placed his hands on her shoulders. “I understand. I might be a drunken ass half the time.”

“Only half the time?”

“Funny. But I do know this. He’s the best thing in the world for you, and your baby right now. He has a future. What do I have? I’m a drunk on his last warning. I seriously doubt I make it past the end of this month.”

“But what if he finds out?”

“Who’s gonna tell him?”

Judy shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“I’m not gonna say anything, so your secret is safe with me. The only other person who knows is you.”

“Knows what?” Teddy asked from the doorway. “And what are you doing in the Ladies room Cody?”

Cody looked around, at the row of stalls along the wall, sinks opposite, each with a mirror above. There were no urinals. Of course not dumb ass, this was the ladies room. In his haste to make it to the bathroom he’d gone through the wrong door.

“I’m sorry, had to puke, couldn’t make it to the men’s room.”

“Well, you better clear out. Calls are starting to come in so I’ll need you in the rotation.”

“Right.” Cody said before exiting the bathroom.

Teddy waited for the door to close before he turned to Judy. “We’ve gotta talk.”

“I’ve been trying to talk to you for the past week.”

The door swung open and Liz walked in. She was a tall redhead with a who gives a shit attitude.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize there was a meeting planned for in here. Do you mind if I use the facilities.”

“Yeah, sorry, go ahead.” Teddy said before he turned to Judy. “Let’s talk in the break room.”

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Fridays Frights: New Releases

The following new kindle horror releases went live this week at Amazon.

 Best Horror of the Year Volume 6 Edited by Ellen Datlow

Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie


Zombie Apocalypse Book III by Jason Brandon

Corrosion: Terminal Horizon: Portal Arcane Book III by J Thorn

Sanitarium #21 Various Authors

Laughing in the Dark by Michael McCarty


White Walker: Chapter 6

Chapter 6

By the time Norman and Andrea reached the main floor, a maze of cubicles with gray dividers sectioning off individual cubbyholes, each containing a small desk upon which sat a computer and a telephone, the rest of those who had made it to work were standing around Teddy in a loose group. With the addition of Norman and Andrea there were a total of ten people present, with the group evenly divided between male and female.

Judy, Teddy’s girlfriend, stood next to him as he joked with David who stood on the opposite side. Teddy's relationship with Judy was a not so well kept secret among the ninety employees who staffed the call center. They tried to keep it under wraps, but there was no denying the way they looked at one another.

“It’s about time you two decided to join us.” Cody said and Norman’s face immediately flushed with embarrassment as the entire group turned to watch their approach. Self-consciously he released his hold on Andrea’s hand. Not wanting to draw any more undue attention to himself. He felt Andrea’s disappointment and realized that he had already jeopardized their budding relationship. But he’d make it up to her, he promised himself.

“So were you two in the back making out?” Cody said. Several of the members of the small group laughed nervously in response. It was a knee jerk reaction stemming more out of fear of Cody, and a desire to not make waves. They might have known Norman better than Cody, but Cody had a reputation for being aggressive. At a little over six foot tall he looked like he was all arms and legs, skinny as a rail, but with a disposition that left many of his co-workers a little afraid of him.

He was your typical twenty two year old who had discovered that it was legal to drink, but  had yet to figure out that getting drunk the night before he was scheduled to work was not conductive to a productive day. He had been caught several times napping at his desk, hung over from the night before, with an irate customer being ignored on his phone. It was said he was on his last warning. One more fuck up and he was out.

Yet it wasn’t his fault, not according to Cody, it was always this guy, or that guy’s fault, old friends had shown up, someone had been mean to him on the phone that day, one of his co-workers had said something mean to him. He had not yet learned to take responsibility for his own actions, so it wasn’t any wonder he still hadn’t learned the art of discretionary behavior.

“I spoke with corporate just a little bit ago,” Teddy said and the group tightened around him to hear what he had to say. “They attempted to contact everyone to cancel work, those of you who are here missed the call for one reason or another.” Several members of the group checked their cell phones for missed calls.

“I didn’t get a call.” Jasmine said, looking up from her cell phone.

“You were busy,” Cody said pantomiming a sexual act by moving his fist back and forth next to his mouth while he pushed out the opposite cheek with his tongue.

“In your dreams little boy.” Jasmine shot back.

“Watch your mouth asshole.” David said as he stepped forward.

“Hold it,” Teddy shouted as he held up his hand and stepped between Cody and David. Turning to Cody he said, “remember what we talked about.”

Cody immediately backed down, dropping his head and stuffing his hands into his pockets.

“I didn’t get a call either.” David said as he stepped back to stand next to Jasmine. They were opposites in every respect, Where Jasmine was dark and exotic, David was fair haired with lightly colored skin, and an open face that screamed mommas boy. They made an odd pair who were in an on and off relationship. Currently it was on as was indicated by the positioning of Jasmine’s arm around David’s waist.

Teddy shrugged. “Not much I can do about missed calls. I’m just relaying what they told me. If anybody wants to leave, you can without being charged a missed day, but since we’re here we might as well work, give the road crews a chance to clean up the mess outside. Corporate will route calls to us on an as needed basis. I’ll take care of assigning each call as it arrives.”

“What if the electric goes out?” Leslie asked. Short and skinny with long brown hair she had only been on the team for a month so she hadn’t had enough time to get to know everyone.

“We’ll deal with that when it happens.” Teddy said.

All eyes looked up at the ceiling as thunder rumbled from the sky beyond. The lights flickered momentarily.

“Good night to stay inside.” Kevin said. Several of the others nodded in agreement. He was the oldest member of the group, and had been working for the company the longest. He was the friendly type, always asking how everything was going; exuding an aura of caring that went beyond being a mere acquaintance.

A call center environment left little time for personal interaction while on the job. Unlike a production setting where assembly line workers could communicate freely with one another while they worked. The nature of the call center’s business, interacting with assorted customers on the phone, left little time for the employees to get to know one another unless they did so outside of work.

As everyone moved to their work stations in preparation for another day of work the storm grew even stronger. The wind howled with a fierce voice, pushing the sheets of falling snow about like a swirling blanket, battering itself against the walls of the building that housed the small group as the depth of the snow on the roof increased with every passing hour.

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Fridays Frights: The Harrisville Haunting

All homes have a history. That indelible mark left by its previous occupants. For most it is a warm sensation that tells you, you're home. Some may be shrouded in despair, a perpetual sadness that communicates the passing of one before their time. In a few the walls scream with terror, having witnessed the brutality of man's inhumanity to his fellow man.

Such was the case for Roger and Carolyn Perron who in 1970 purchased what they hoped would be their dream home, but what turned out to be a decade long nightmare of torture at the hands of the spirits that lived within the walls of Old Brook Farm. Built in 1736 the house had been occupied by eight generations of the Arnold family who lived, and died within its walls. 

Manny (Johnny Arnold) hung himself in the attic of the home in the late 1700's. Mrs John Arnold, at the age of 93, hung herself in the barn. There were a number of other suicides. The rape and murder of  eleven year old Prudence Arnold by a farm hand. Two drownings in the nearby creek. And four men who mysteriously froze to death on the land.

While most of the spirits did not harm the Perron's beyond the discomfort and shock of slamming doors, and levitating beds, there was one who was determined to drive Carolyn Peron from the home completely. The ghost of Bathsheba Sherman, who while alive had been suspected of killing her own children as a sacrifice to Satan.

The story of the Perron's ten year ordeal has been recounted by their daughter Andrea Perron in her self published memoir House of Darkness House of Light. Hollywood has also gotten involved with the movie, The Conjuring

Have you researched the history of the house you currently live in? Do you know the previous owners full story?

White Walker: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

With his heartbeat thundering in his ears Norman leaned against the wall of the short hallway that led to the main floor. Behind him the wind rattled the door in its frame and he glanced back over his shoulder half expecting to find that stranger following him into the interior of the building. He didn’t know what he’d do if that happened. Even though he was no longer the fat kid, and outwardly he portrayed the image of a self assured man, or at least tried to, he felt completely helpless in the presence of that stranger.

The door to the ladies room across the hall opened and Andrea stepped out into the hallway.

“Are you all right, Norman?” She said as she crossed to him. He felt her hand on his back, resting lightly between his shoulder blades as she bent over to check on him.

“I’ll be okay,” he said between gasps. He struggled against the panic attack. A familiar sensation he hadn’t experienced in quite a while. In fact it had been over ten years since his last attack. The night of his graduation from the local community college with an associate degree in office management. He’d asked one of his classmates, a cute blonde named Jennifer if she’d like to have dinner with him to celebrate their accomplishment. Her response had left him gasping for breath as he struggled against the panic washing through him.

“Are you sure?” Andrea said, concern evident in her voice.

“I’ll be okay, just give me a minute.” He said nodding his head. Andrea’s hand felt good on his back, it reminded him of how his mom would rest her hand on his shoulder or arm when he was younger. It was a touch that said, I’m here for you.

He’d have to go see her this weekend. It had been nearly a month since he’d been by, but she didn’t know that. Alzheimer’s had robbed her of her ability to keep track of the passing time. In her mind she was a young woman once again and in that fantasy there was no room for a thirty year old son. His father had left shortly after Alzheimer’s had reared its ugly head. She’d always been a little absent minded. In danger of leaving her head if it weren’t so firmly attached, she was so fond of saying. But absent minded had quickly become disorientation that led into the early stages of dementia as the disease robbed her mind of her identity.

The last straw had come when Norman stopped for a visit and his mother called the police to report a breaking and entering.

May I come in? That sinister voice whispered again, this time in his mind, and he pushed himself up from his knees.

“I’ll be all right.” He said as he took a deep breath and drew himself to his full height.

Andrea looked up at him with a worried expression and Norman got a really good look at her. With her head tilted up the light struck her face in a way that highlighted her plain beauty. She wouldn’t win any beauty pageants, but she didn’t look half bad. A little on the heavy side but who wasn’t when the years started rolling by faster than anticipated.

“Are you sure?” There was genuine concern in her voice and he felt flushed with a sudden excitement. He’d been working here for nearly three years, Andrea even longer than that. During that time he’d never paid much attention to his co-workers. Preferring his own company to anything they might offer.  He’d spoken to them in passing, responding to their questions, acknowledging their comments, but he had never perused the conversation beyond that. 

“There you are.” Leslie said from the end of the hall. “We’ve been looking for you two, Ted has called a meeting, I think they’re going to let us go home.” She turned and vanished into the main room.

“Not much to go home to.” Norman said.

“Ever since my cat died last month it’s been lonely in my apartment.” Andrea said as she nodded.

He was surprised to learn Andrea once had a cat. Most cat people had a certain odor about them. A harsh, ammonia smell that heralded their arrival everywhere they went. He couldn’t recall ever smelling that odor when Andrea was around.

“I didn’t know you had a cat.”

“I called him Smokey, had him ever since he was a kitten. I miss him, but he had a good thirteen years with me.”

“That’s longer than some marriages I’ve heard about.”

“What about you?” Andrea said. “What do you have waiting at home for you?”

“A frozen dinner, a good book, maybe some wine.”

“There’s no Mrs. Norman?”

Norman shrugged. “My mom has Alzheimer’s, I’ve spent most of my adult life taking care of her, never had much time for anything beyond that.

“Is she still with you?”

Norman shook his head. “She became too much for even me to handle so I was forced to put her in a home last week. She no longer even knows where she is. In her mind it’s 1969 and she’s hitchhiking across the country to follow some band.”

“We better get going.” Andrea said.

“When are you off again?” Norman said as a familiar panic rose to the back of his throat, threatening to strangle him.

“I’m off Saturday, what about you?”

“Same here, would you like to go to lunch with me?” Norman bulled his way through the panic, the last of his question coming out at a near whisper.

Andrea nodded. “I’d like that.” And she reached out with one hand to take his hand into her own. The contact was electrifying for Norman who had until this moment never gotten beyond the initial meeting with a woman. His shirt collar, that had suddenly grown three sizes too small when he was asking Andrea out, was now resting comfortably against his throat, and he felt a sense of confidence he’d never known before.

Before they entered the main floor of the call center he glanced back at the door leading to the smoking area at the other end of the short hallway. Through the small window he saw the swirling snow beyond, driven this way and that by the relentless wind. As it parted he spotted a shadowy figure standing immobile on the bank opposite the dock. He looked away, suddenly very frightened, wanting nothing more than to get away from this place. For the first time in three years he wanted to go home. He didn’t want to lose himself in the anonymity of being a faceless voice on the telephone. He had the feeling that tonight was not going to end well for any of them.

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Just a little update.

I've made the decision to open my blog to guest posts from other indie horror authors and new release announcements I average over a thousand page views per month,nothing spectacular, but its improving. This year I will be repeating last years Halloween countdown listing thirty authors in thirty days ending the event with the 2014 Coffin Hop that will include a giveaway of an electronic library of one work from every author who participated and agreed to provide a copy.
Last year I received over 17000 page views during the event. 

I am currently serializing my next novel White Walker with a new chapter posted every Wednesday.

On Father's day I will kick off a year long contest with a monthly giveaway leading up to the release of my novel "A Father's Love." Every month I will post a photo of puddles in a different locale and those with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing to receive a prize yet to be determined. Something unique for the home or office. 

Mondays and Fridays are open for guest posts and new release announcements if you're interested. Also let me know it you'd like to participate in the thirty days of Halloween.

White Walker: Chapter 4

Chapter 4
Built into the side of a hill the rear of the building occupied by Advanced Computer Services was an open dock with a short roof that extended to the edge. It was a raised concrete platform with a steel dock plate built in at a forty-five degree angle to conserve space, allowing a delivery truck to back in at a slant. The ground was higher in relation to the dock with a steep incline leading to a paved road that created a trough behind the building. The dock had become a smoking area for the employees of ACS and was currently occupied by two smokers who stood in the classic smokers stance, head down, shoulders bunched while one hand occupied a pocket, and the other tended to their cigarette.

Norman dropped his cigarette butt into the sand filled five gallon bucket next to him and glanced at his watch. There was still time to catch another. He pulled the pack from his pocket and slipped the filtered end between his lips. As he bent his head to catch the flame of the lighter, sheltered in his cupped hands, he caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Hey, who was that?” Norman said as he lifted his head, his lighter forgotten for the moment, as he searched the falling snow on his right.

“What was what?” Andrea said as she dropped her own butt into the bucket and pulled her key card from her pocket.

“Didn’t you see him?”

“See who?”

“That guy, in the storm.” Norman said. He was sure it had been a person standing at the edge of the overgrown field behind the building.

“I didn’t see anybody.” Andrea said as she turned to the door.

“Aren’t you gonna have another? We’ve still got a few minutes left.”

“Too damn cold.” Andrea answered as she swiped her badge and pulled the door open. “Are you coming?”

“Not yet, I gotta finish this.” Norman held up his unlit cigarette.

“Well you better light it first.” Andrea said with a smile before she stepped into the building.

Norman glanced at his cigarette and reached into his pocket to retrieve his lighter. As he lowered his head to light it an old memory surfaced.

Butterball. It was the name the kids in the neighborhood where he grew up used to call him. With the memory came the all too familiar feelings of self loathing and worthlessness he’d suffered through his entire childhood as he waged a losing battle against obesity. Beneath that lay a smoldering rage and he imagined what it might have been like to grab his tormentors by the throat and squeeze until their faces turned purple, and their tongues hung uselessly from their gaping mouths.

“Is that what you want to do Norman?” A voice whispered from the curtain of falling snow beyond the edge of the roof.

His rage was washed away by a bone numbing chill.

 “Who’s there?” He asked, his voice barely above a whisper. A small primitive part of him did not want to draw any more attention to himself. He swiveled his head back and forth, searching for the owner of the voice. His gaze tracking across the solid curtain of falling snow that shrouded the world with a silence that inspired more fear than the deepest night.

The falling snow parted like stage curtains pulled aside to reveal the waiting set to the audience. Less than twenty yards away a man stood watching Norman from beneath the shadowy brim of a wide hat that shaded his eyes. He didn’t need to see the stranger’s eyes to know he was staring at him.

His cigarette slipped from fingers that had gone suddenly numb. It didn’t matter if they wrote him up for not putting his butts in the proper place. Suddenly nothing mattered but getting back inside where he was safely hidden from the stranger’s prying eyes.

He sidled to the left as his hand fumbled with his key card. The stranger approached him through the swirling curtains of snow and it was then that Norman realized the wind had no effect on the stranger. The filthy red scarf wrapped around his neck lay perfectly still against his chest. The collar of his heavy brown jacket stood unmoving. Even his wide brimmed hat remained in place untouched by the searching fingers of the wind that seemed to avoid him, as if to touch would be a mortal sin.

Norman’s heart slammed against his rib cage as he turned to the door and frantically swiped his card through the reader. He yanked on the door to no avail, realizing when he looked down that he had swiped the card upside down.

Behind him he felt the strangers approach and he glanced over his shoulder to see the man climbing the stairs to the dock.

“Please,” he moaned as panic washed through him.

He swiped his card again and the key lock beeped. Norman yanked the door open, hyperventilating as panic washed over him. He’d been caught in the open by the stranger who was even now drawing closer than Norman cared for him to be.

Then he noticed the smell. An odd mixture of spicy sweetness with an almost undetectable undercurrent of decay. It was a dangerous scent, awakening primitive fears that had been subjugated by the conveniences of modern society and technology.

He saw the short hallway before him. Bathrooms to the right break room to the left. Beyond the hall lay the industrial grade gray carpet of the main floor where a maze of cubicles housed small desks each with its own computer and telephone. He was so close yet so far away. Before he could step over the threshold, into the safety beyond,  the stranger spoke to him.

“May I come in?” He asked.

Unable to speak, his throat tight with fear, Norman was only able to shake his head vigorously. He stumbled into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind him, and stopped with his shoulder against the wall.

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Fridays Frights: Haunted Military Vessels.

Since most hauntings are associated with brutal or unexpected death is it any wonder that battlefields are some of the most haunted places in the world? Since the beginning man has waged war. And with each succeeding generation the technology of dealing death has become increasingly brutal. From rocks and spears to swords and maces. From bows and arrows to Gatling guns capable of firing over a thousand rounds a minute. Death on the battlefield is often swift, unexpected, and brutal.

One of my favorite stories growing up was a comic about an American patrol in the jungles of New Guinea. Outnumbered and outgunned by a superior Japanese force they were about to be overwhelmed when the unmistakable roar of a fifty caliber machine gun cut through the dense jungle blunting the Japanese attack as the rounds shred the advancing enemy. No one knew where the fire came from until they discovered the wreckage of a B-25 bomber that had crash landed in the jungle a year or two before. In the tail section sat the skeletal remains of the gunner sitting behind the smoking barrels of his twin fifties.

From Waterloo to Guadalcanal, from Antietam to Baghdad, wherever men have fought and died, many of their spirits have remained to guard the night. And the hauntings are not restricted to geographical locations. Listed below are a two weapons of war, floating cities that carried their country's message to the enemy, now docked they each serve as a museum. And each one is haunted.

USS Yorktown CVS10: Launched in 1943 and originally named Bon Homme Richard, she was renamed to commemorate the original USS Yorktown (CV5) that was sunk by enemy action during the battle of Midway. The ship participated in the pacific theater of action earning 11 battle stars during WWII. She earned 5 more during the Vietnam conflict. A total of 141 men lost their lives aboard the Yorktown that is now docked in Charlestown South Carolina.

USS Lexington CV16: Nicknamed The Blue Ghost due to her blue camouflage she was originally slated to be named USS Cabot, but when word came during her construction of the loss of the USS Lexington CV2 during the Battle of the Coral Sea the decision was made to rename her in honor of the lost carrier. She is the fifth naval ship to bear the Lexington name commemorating the Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington. She is currently docked as a floating museum in Corpus Christi, Texas.