Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween is here!

So, as usual, I'm a little late with something. Two things in fact.

I mentioned Dark Red Press's CL Stegall and the very fine cover he created for the upcoming special edition of Shining in Crimson in my last post................and I completely forgot to mention the Free Halloween Anthology that Dark Red Press put together that includes stories from J.T. Warren, CL Stegall, Brian Fatah Steele, and myself!

On top of that, today kicks off the Coffin Hop Web Tour a blog hop featuring 96 awesome sites all containing special Halloween posts plus a lot of them are doing contests and giveaways. That's right 96 pages of contests and giveaways! So, get to as many of these sites as possible and see what kinds of treats you can get your hands on. Here's the link: http://www.coffinhop.blogspot.com/

I'll be giving away two free ebook copies of Shining in Crimson at random to two
lucky commenters!


And for another treat, here's an excerpt of my story Chaldon's Bones from the free Dark Red Press Halloween anthology, Past the Patch:

Halloween was my favorite night of the year until the fall of '96. I hadn't seen my buddy Jeremy in over a year when he called me that afternoon. He said he had a night of horror all planned out for us. He showed up that night around 9 in an old black boxy van with two guys I'd never seen before.

One was short, heavy set with blond hair down to his chin and a blond beard, and kind of resembled Chris Farley. The other guy had long red hair pulled back into a pony tail, was dressed all in leather, and I found myself unable at first to look away from the black teeth behind his impish smile. Both of them looked like they hadn't showered in weeks.

Jeremy slid open the side door of the van and jumped out straight for me. He gave me one of those hip backwards handshakes that look more like you're arm wrestling. "Hey, duder, come meet the guys. This is Rick..."

"Hey," the Chris Farley look-a-like said.

"...and this is Darrell."

"What's up, man?" The impish smile grew and even more black teeth
showed.

"Hey guys, nice to meet you. What the hell's going on, Jer?"

"Get your shit and get in the van and you'll find out, bro."

Once I got my smokes and my wallet, I climbed into the side of the van
and sat down behind the bucket seats on the floor next to Jeremy. Jeremy
reached across, slid the door shut, and the van peeled out of my gravel
driveway.

As the van shook us around, Jeremy opened up a blue cooler sitting on
his other side, pulled out 2 Budweisers, and handed me one. We clinked the
necks of the bottles together and Jeremy said his toast.

"To a horrible, frightening night with good friends."

Rick Farley howled like a wolf as Captain Black Teeth beat his fists
against the dash. Jeremy and I guzzled our beers. I couldn't see much out the
windshield, but I could see enough trees to realize we weren't going into
town. Instead, we ventured deeper and deeper into the wooded countryside.
A few more beers and scary shows of excitement from Jeremy's other
friends and we arrived at our first destination.

I stepped from the van, my feet crunching in gravel, and noticed the
house at once. It was huge and obviously abandoned. It seemed to hover
over us, its second floor windows narrow and watching, waiting for us to
come closer. Its once-white paint was now completely faded and flaking and
the porch had sunken in some years ago. I've never had a stronger feeling of
dread toward an inanimate object. Rick took the lead, waving us to follow.
Darrell went next, and Jeremy and I followed.

"They call this The House of Bones," Rick said.

Darrell called ahead to Rick, "What the hell for?"

"How the hell should I know? Hey, maybe there's some bodies in here,"
he said stopping and looking back at us with an exaggerated sadistic
expression. He laughed and turned back toward the house.

Fenced-in fields of neatly rowed, dark yellow corn stalks surrounded
both sides of the huge yard. The darkness between those rows of corn gave
me chills as I kept imagining movement within them from the corner of my
eyes. Even as dark as it was, brightly colored leaves of yellow, brown, and
orange covered the ground demanding our attention as we walked toward the
house.

Rick stepped onto what was left of the porch. The movement of shadows
on the wall of the house gripped and squeezed my heart. The tall outline of a
man with long thin arms turned out only to be the shadow of a tree. I took a
deep breath and let it out quietly so the guys wouldn't think I was a pussy.

"Oh, wow. That's so fuckin' cool!" Rick said as he stepped into the
partially open door. I stepped experimentally onto the porch and leaned a
little to try and see what Rick thought was so great.

Stepping from one board to another like stepping on stones in a creek, I
made my way up to the front door.

"Oh that is pretty killer, man," Jeremy said.

Rick held a flashlight over his head and pointed downward. The beam
illuminated a large rundown piano covered in several layers of dust. He ran
his other hand down the keys and various out-of-key notes played. A bunch
of the keys were cracked or busted.

When I stepped into the house, I noticed a large Victorian stairway
behind Rick. I pointed to it. "What's upstairs?"

Rick laughed and said, "Let's go see, man."

So, we followed Rick up the stairs. About half of the steps were caved in
and the other half felt like a thick cardboard. All along the walls were
drawings and writing I couldn't quite make out with the little bit of bouncing
light coming back from Rick's flashlight.

When we were all at the top of the stairs, we came to a huge bedroom
just to the left. Inside, things were scattered everywhere. A bed lay at the end
of the room, its mattress and box springs pulled from the base and sprawled
out along side it. A dresser lay on its side in the middle of the room and
clothes and blankets covered the entire floor.

Rick shined the flashlight on the walls. "What's that?"

Writing like I had just seen going up the stairs covered the entire wall.
Each small section had different handwriting. Some of them were marked
with dates and years.

Jimmy was here and he fucked your mom in this room! February 12th
1962

If you're reading this it's already too late... Trevor May 1976

For a good time you won't forget, call Jannette 765-653-2997

Whatever you do, don't go digging up Chaldon's bones! - Leonard
January 1944


We stood there reading writings on the wall for several minutes before
we decided to move on. The rest of the upstairs didn't seem nearly as
interesting to us. A collective uneasiness was coming over us by that time
and it wasn't long before we were stepping right back through that front
door. But Ricky wasn't ready to leave quite yet. When Jeremy and I stepped
outside, the two other guys were nowhere to be seen.

We circled around looking for where they might have gone. The van
looked lonely sitting in the long gravel driveway with the moon morphed
into a halo of clouds hanging over it. Rick's voice called out from behind the
house and echoed off a huge old barn across the street.

"Hey, guys you're missing it. This is fucking awesome."

Jeremy and I walked toward the side of the house, following Rick's
ricocheting voice. As we came around the corner, a loud yell came from the
shadows. We both jumped and I let out a near scream as Darrell jumped out
at us.

"You fuckin' prick, you scared the shit out of us," Jeremy yelled.

Darrell laughed hysterically, his impish grin arching up the sides of his
face.

He pulled out a cigarette and lit it as he continued to chuckle. As Jeremy
and I followed suit to do the same, a loud gargled scream came from behind
the house. Darrell laughed harder and Jeremy looked at me and smiled.

"You're gonna have to try a lot fucking harder than that, Ricky, you son of a
bitch!"

There was no reply.

Jeremy only laughed. I kept hearing that scream repeat in my head, my
brain analyzing it over and over for humor.

"Well, I'm gonna go see what he's up to," I said.

"Okay, have fun and don't shit your pants when he grabs hold of your
ankle or some shit," Jeremy said.

I laughed nervously and then started walking toward the back of the
house as Jeremy and Darrell chattered back and forth.

As I came closer and closer to the back corner of the house, a dim red
glow crept through a thin veil of mist covering the back yard. I stopped and
looked at the glow. My legs stiffened involuntarily. I was just about to turn
back when a loud racket like the sound of things being thrown around in a
small room started from behind the house. I managed to make my feet lift
off the ground one after another until I came around the back corner of the
house.

A small, wood-rotted outhouse stood shaking at the center of about a
dozen dead trees, the red glow coming out from between the cracks of the
door and in between each heavily weathered board.

Read more from Past the Patch...