Tag Archives: horror

Short Story Time Again!

Gather ’round. This little horror story puts a different twist on “roadside shrines”.

The Lore

ROADSIDE SHRINES

Roadside shrines can be seen on almost any major highway in the world. In the United States, they are common throughout the Southwest, especially on Highway 86 between Tucson and Why, Arizona. This two lane road cuts through the lands of Tohono O’odham nation.

Shrines on the reservation serve multiple purposes. Many are placed as memorials to loved ones who died while walking or driving at a specific location. Others are to honor a vow or prayer. And still more offer tribute to the Virgin Mary. The shrines for highway deaths are also referred to as “descansos”.

On some unpaved roads through the reservation, you might see an elaborate grotto or altar built into a mountainside. These are usually family or special group shrines that feature statues of the Holy Mother or a saint. Often, during a religious feast or celebration, a ramada is set up nearby to serve food to attendees.

Not all shrines look alike. Some are simple white crosses etched with a name and date. Others are elaborate stone or brick grottos filled with religious figurines, candles and offerings. They might be located a few feet from the highway shoulder, or elevated high on a hillside. It’s not uncommon to see shrines and grottos in residential yards.

The unwritten etiquette for viewing shrines is If the front  faces toward the road, visitors are allowed to pay their respect. If it faces away from the road, especially on private property, it is intended for that family’s personal use and not mean for public visitations.

The Story

ROAD KILL

by Debra S. Sanders

I’m a thief. Big deal.

I never stole from the poor – just from those who have more than they need. There’s a point where these rich bastards got so much money, they stop counting. Then when they die, their families put on a show with a big funeral, dressing up the dead with things they can’t use when they’re six feet under.

My mama used to say “waste not, want not” so I decided to help myself to a few trinkets just so they don’t go to waste. I guess that makes me a grave robber. At least, I was until Shorty Long spilled his guts to the feds about a gold necklace I showed him.

Some partner he turned out to be. Now I’m on the lam and I got nobody to fence my goods.

So I was thinkin’ . . . if I gotta lay low anyway, I might as well be someplace warm. Who wants to huddle around a fire with a bunch of homeless guys on the banks of the Mississippi? Everyone thinks Memphis is great until they spend a winter here. The wind blowing off the river is cold enough to freeze a gargoyle’s ass.

It took three days of hitchhiking but I finally made it to southern Arizona. It ain’t exactly the tropical paradise I imagined but at least it’s warmer than Memphis. I left Tucson yesterday. Figured I’d put my thumb out on the two lane highway that heads west through the Indian reservation . . . Tohono oooooodham, or however the hell you say it.  The back roads are safer but man, there ain’t nothin’ out here except cactus, coyotes and border patrol.

Nobody’s offered me a ride, not even the tourists driving their big motorhomes. Damn Feds got people scared to death. They think every hitchhiker is a freakin’ illegal from Mexico. Well, take a look, assholes . . . I got blonde hair and blue eyes.

I may be a thief but at least I’m legal . . . hahahaha!

Last night I slept in a wash under an Ironwood tree. Kept a small fire goin’ to chase away the chill. I had no idea the desert could get so cold at night. I’m so hungry, my ribs are beginning to rub against my backbone. I ain’t had nothin’ to eat since yesterday when I snatched a loaf of bread out of some chick’s cart in a Walmart parking lot. My mouth tastes like I swallowed a handful of dust. If I don’t get some money soon, I could die out here.

Geez, it’s hot. I need some water. Hey, ask and you shall receive! What’s this up ahead? A pump house?

Hang on, nope it’s a . . . shrine? You gotta be kiddin’ me.  Look at this cross and religious shit. And . . . oh, my. Ain’t this sweet? Somebody put a silver bracelet next to these flowers.

I bet I can pawn it for a few bucks. Dumbasses. Who would leave a perfectly good bracelet like that out in the open? Whoa, check out this photo. Cute chick. Isabelle Sa . . . . whatever. Some kind of Indian name, I guess.

I reckon your family musta built this little memorial thingy after you died. I heard about people doin’ stuff like that. You don’t mind sharin’ the wealth, do you, darlin’? It’s not like you can use it on the other side. Let me take a look at this picture again. Damn, baby, you ain’t bad lookin’, at all. If’n you was alive, I might just show ya a good time.

Oops, there’s a car comin’. Gotta scoot. See ya. Wouldn’t wanna be ya. Hahahaha…..

Phew, that was a close call. I barely had enough time to hide behind those bushes before the driver saw me. No matter, I scored good on that shrine. Candles to keep me warm. A silver bracelet to pawn. And a photo of a pretty girl to look at when I jack off. Not bad.

*****

Okay, this is gettin’ old. I’ve been walking for over an hour. Found two more of those little shrines. Didn’t get nothin’ from the first one. Pissed me off, too, cuz I had to climb over a bunch of damn rocks to reach it. But I got a jar of coins at the last one – came to just over five bucks and some change. I figure that will buy me a burger and beer.

Man, this sun is brutal. I’m roastin’ like a chicken on a spit. I had to tear off the tail of my shirt to use as a head band. Damn sweat kept drippin’ in my eyes. At least I got this bottle of water somebody tossed out. It was half full. God, I hope nobody slobbered in the damn thing. <sniff, sniff> Smells okay. Tastes okay. Alrighty, then, guess I can keep goin’.

What the hell? Another frickin’ shrine? Ain’t these Indians got nothin’ better to do than build shit for dead people? I hope to God there’s somethin’ good inside. I mean, hell, I’m usin’ my time and energy to check these damn things so somebody better make it worth my while. The jerk who died was probably a drunk, anyway. There’s broken whiskey and beer bottles everywhere you look. I guess when these folks aren’t building shrines, they’re drinking. Can’t say I blame them. This place has gotta be the ass crack of the nation.

Okay, what have we got? Flowers. Check. They all got plastic flowers. Ain’t worth nothin’. Crucifix. Don’t need no religion today, thank you very much. Some kind of bird feathers. Yuck. Hmmm . . . and this. A little box. Jewelry box?

Well, hell yeah! Looks like a silver charm. Maybe I can put it on the bracelet and sell ‘em together. At this rate, I’m gonna be a millionaire before I reach the other side of the reservation. Hahahaha…..

I gotta eat somethin’ soon. All this shrine robbin’ worked up a fierce appetite. I ain’t passed a town or nothin’. Wait a sec . . . is that a light? I think there’s a house way back there. Maybe I can talk ‘em into giving me some food. I bet they get lost travelers all the time.

“Hey, old man!” Dang, he looks like he’s been knockin’ on death’s door for about ten years. <snicker> I crack me up some times. “Hey, mister. Can you spare something to eat?” Well talk, you old fart. Don’t just stand there and stare. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I’ve been walking for most of the day. I’m hot, hungry and thirsty. Think you could help out a stranger in need?”

Aw, hell. This guy ain’t got no teeth and his face looks like boot leather. He’s one ugly SOB. “I don’t have any money but what if I give you this bracelet? It’s gotta be worth a sandwich and soda.”

That’s right. Take it. Okay, you can stare at it as much as you want . . . after you get me somethin’ to eat. Wait . . . come back here. “Hey, don’t take that unless you aim to give me some food!”

Oh, good, he’s coming back. What the hell is he carrying? It don’t look like food. And it smells like . . . somethin’ dead. Stupid old fart is putting his hand in there. FUCK!!!

“Whaddya blow that crap on me? It’s in my eyes . . . and nose. What the hell is this? Dust? Ash? You son of a bitch!”

I can’t see. My eyes are burning like crazy. Where is the old cuss? If I get my hands on you . . .

“Hey . . . dude . . . get up. I didn’t mean to punch you so hard. Dude. Old man . . . get up . . .”

Aw, hell. That’s blood. He must have hit his head on a rock when he fell. Okay . . . okay. Breathe. Go inside. Grab some food and water and get out of here before someone shows up.

*****

It’s not as cold tonight. Or maybe I’m not feelin’ it ‘cause I got a full belly. The old man had some decent food, I’ll give him that. I don’t even feel bad about him dyin’. He was ancient. If it’d been me, I’d rather go quick like that than linger around fighting off cancer or some old people’s disease. Guess that makes me the angel of death. <snicker>

Ahhhh, now this is a good. I got a warm fire, a thick blanket and a sack of grub. Look at them stars. Damn! You never see stars like that in Memphis.

Huh? What’s that? “Somebody out there?”

Somethin’ moved by that cactus. There it is again. Friggin’ illegals are tryin’ to steal my food. I ain’t got no gun. Nothin’ to defend myself. Geezus!

“Okay, amigos . . . you can have my food. I’m just gonna back away. No harm. No foul.”

What the hell is that? “W . . . who are you?”

Fuckin’ shadows are moving. Everything is moving. How many of these fuckers are there? Huh? It can’t be . . . my eyes are playin’ tricks. But it sure as hell looks like . . . “Isabelle?” Who’s that behind her?

Go, go, go. Need to get out of here – shit’s goin’ down.  What the hell? “Hey . . . old man . . . I thought you was dead. I thought . . .”

Oh . . . God . . . that hurts. Feels like someone ripped open my chest. What the hell is he laughing about? “This ain’t funny, assholes!” I can’t move. Can’t breathe. They’re circling me. All I can see are their painted Day of the Dead faces, laughing . . . at my heart in the old man’s hand.

Aw, fuck . . .

*****

Three weeks later.

“Look, Daddy. There’s another shrine. That’s the sixth one we’ve passed since we left Tucson. Can we stop?”

“Okay, kiddo, but just this once or we’ll never reach Organ Pipe National Monument.”

The little girl bolted from the car as soon as her father stopped and ran to the arched shrine. Her eyes widened with awe.  “Why do they build these, Daddy?”

“I think it marks the place where someone died. But other people can visit and light candles, or pray for their souls. Would you like to do that, honey?”

“Yes, please.” The little girl put her hands together and bowed her head. After a few seconds, she swiveled to meet her father’s bemused expression. “The man who died here said I could have the silver bracelet and coins. Is it okay, Daddy?”

“No, you must never take anything from the shrines. The mementos were left for those who passed on. They contain a little piece of their soul. If you take it, you might bring them home with you.”

“Oh . . . okay.” She turned back around, lowering her voice to a whisper. “I’m sorry, mister. You have to stay here – with your friends.”

 

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Spotlight on Thrillers: RULER OF DEMONS

Ruler of Demons Banner 450 x 169

Ruler of Demons

A Samuel Roberts Thriller

Scott A. Lerner

rulerofdemonsPublisher: Camel Press

Release date: December 15, 2013

ISBN-10: 1603819053

ISBN-13: 978-1603819053

Paperback: 214 pages

Genre: Paranormal Suspense, Thriller, Holiday Horror

Book Description:

Human sacrifice and an impending apocalypse sure can throw a wrench in the holiday season.

Only eleven shopping days till Christmas. And less than a week to save the world.

Three nuns–in Chicago, Paris, and Jerusalem–have been killed in a religious ritual. The choice of victims and the macabre details of their deaths indicate that someone is following a recipe provided on an ancient text–a recipe to unleash the forces of hell on earth. The final sacrifice must occur on the Winter Solstice.

Samuel Roberts, a small-town attorney in Urbana, Illinois, knows a bit about the supernatural, having triumphed at least once over the forces of evil. Thanks to a friend who is aware of Sam’s little known previous efforts on behalf of mankind, Sam is hired by a big Chicago law firm to take on a sensitive case. His mission? Nothing less than halting the impending apocalypse.

Sam and his good buddy Bob travel first to Jerusalem then Paris in a desperate race to save mankind.

Amazon   Book Depository

Excerpt:

“What are we going to do at this wake? Bob asked.

“I want to see the tattoo.”

“Do you realize that is barking at trees crazy?”

“Woof.”

“You intend to turn over a body in a coffin at a wake to exam the dead woman’s tattoo? Not just a woman but a woman with a grieving husband who you believe is incredibly violent?”

“You could make anything sound crazy.”

We found a parking spot easily and walked into the Funeral Home. The front room was large, with the body at the very back of the parlor. To get to it we would have to wait in line and shake hands with Mrs. O’Neill’s husband, a priest, and what I assumed to be ten family members. There were also fifty people ahead of us in line. To make matters worse, there was no alcohol or food being served.

Bob was right. If I tried to flip the deceased like a cheeseburger to look for a tattoo her husband would kill me. Bob and I walked over to a leather sofa in front of a fireplace. I put my head in my hands. I was an idiot.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around. A huge man in a black button-down shirt and Native American-made bolo tie stared down at me. He had an unkempt beard and tattoos covering his arms and neck. He would have been more at home in Sturgis than a funeral home.

“Dude, it’s okay. She is in a better place.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“Don’t you remember me? From high school? Roger … Weasel.”

“Shit, Weasel, I didn’t recognize you. You have grown,” I said.

“Yeah, I have put on a few more pounds. Well, maybe more than a few.” Weasel patted his gut.

“Were you close to Mrs. O’Neill?”

“No, she came in and got a couple tattoos. Did I tell you I am the proud owner of Champaign Urbana’s newest tattoo parlor, Weasel’s?”

“Wow, congratulations.”

“Mrs. O”Neill was one of my first customers. Then she dies. Kind of sucks for business. I felt I owed it to her to pay my last respects.”

I pointed to Bob. “Weasel, have you ever met Bob?”

“Sure, Bobnoxious from school.” Weasel said.

“No,” Bob said, “Bobnoxious was Robert Kesler.”

“This is Robert Sizemore, also known as just Bob.” I said.

“I don’t think we have met,” Weasel said.

“I have put on a few pounds myself,” Bob admitted, “so even if we have met you might not recognize me.”

“You know,” I said. “Bob was thinking about getting some ink. What tattoos did Mrs. O’Neill get?” It was not exactly a smooth transition, but I had to find out about those tattoos.

“She got two. The first was on her back on the right side below the shoulder blades. It was real original—a snake that coiled around to form three rings. Inside each ring was a little flag. I have no idea how she came up with it. It turned out real well. The other was a bird. You know, like the symbol for the baseball team. She put it just below the other. That was kind of generic. I took a picture of the snake one. It is on my phone if you want to see.”

“I would love to!” I said with too much enthusiasm.

The photograph depicted the same basic image as on the dead nuns. This one, however, was not so crudely rendered. I had to hand it to Weasel; he was an artist.

“Bob, if you do come in, I will give you a friends and family discount,” Weasel offered.

“Thanks,” Bob said.

“You know, the last time I saw you was at a funeral,” I said to Weasel.

“You’re right,” Weasel said. “I think it was for Buster. That dude who got killed in that bar up in Chicago.”

The three of us got up and waited in line to see Mrs. O’Neill. When I shook hands with her husband I couldn’t help wanting to hit the son of a bitch. He was tall and losing his hair. He looked harmless. Yet, I knew better.

Mrs. O’Neill was even paler than when I saw her at my office. She wore a white dress that might have been made in the 1890s, with small buttons down the front. The collar and sleeves covered the ligature marks from the ropes.

About the Author:

ScottLernerAuthor and attorney Scott A. Lerner resides in Champaign, Illinois. He obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and went on to obtain his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.

He is currently a sole practitioner in Champaign, Illinois. The majority of his law practice focuses on the fields of Criminal law and Family Law. Mr. Lerner lives with his wife, their two children, and their cat Fern.

Lerner collects unusual antiques and enjoys gardening, traveling, reading fiction and going to the movies. Scott’s first novel featuring Samuel Roberts, Cocaine Zombies, won a Bronze 2012 IPPY Award.

You can find him online at www.scottlerner.camelpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ScottALernerAuthor

https://twitter.com/scottlernerauth

Spotlight on: “Waking Up Dead” by Emma Shortt

WD poster

You’re going to love this contest! What’s not to love about a “Waking Up Dead” t-shirt???? Click on the link to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1cb554194

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waking up Dead

End of Days Love – Book One

Emma Shortt

Genre: Horror romance

Publisher: Entangled Select

Date of Publication: 22 October 2013 

ISBN: 9781622660353

ASIN: B00BMKRLXG

Number of pages: 372

Word Count: 104,000

Cover Artist: TK Designs

Amazon   BN

Book Description:

You know your life has hit rock bottom when you’re living off cooked rats and showering once every few months—if you’re lucky. But for Jackson Hart things are about to get a whole lot worse. When her best friend, Tye, disappears hunting for food, kick-ass Jackson’s ‘head south to safety’ plan looks like it’s dead before it’s even begun. But then she meets ex-mechanic Luke Granger, who takes her to his bunker, feeds her with non-rat based food, and offers her protection against the zombie hordes—not that she needs it. She knows how to use a machete and isn’t afraid to.

Jackson was tempted to stay in the city with her rescuer. Food, shampoo and the possibility of finally getting laid, what more could she ask for? But the flesh eaters are getting smarter and the bunker is compromised, so Jackson and Luke have no choice but to make the journey south.

Luke and Jackson team up to find other humans in a road-trip romance for the ages. They travel for thousands of miles with zombies shadowing their every move. They must utilize every resource at their disposal…and then some. On the way, they discover that even if flesh eating zombies are knocking down their door, there’s always time for sex and even love.

Waking Up Dead Button 300 x 225

About the Author: 

Emma ShorttAs a kid Emma wanted to be an astronaut, or maybe Captain Janeway. Because she didn’t really think her career choices through very well she ended up in an everyday geek job, crunching numbers and sighing over syntax. It seemed a long way from the stars, and in an effort to escape Emma decided to get serious about her other passion. Writing.

Several years later and Emma has yet to walk on the moon or sit in the Captain’s chair, but she is still writing. She scribbles stories in all sorts of genres, contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, historical, sci-fi…if she hasn’t tried it yet she will before long. The only common theme is the romance. A hopeless romantic, everything Emma writes has a love story in there somewhere.

She lives on the west coast of England with her very Greek husband and teenage kiddos. Apart from all things geek reading is her main hobby and she likes nothing better than getting home from a hard day at work and curling up with a book, though sometimes she gets home and writes one instead.

www.endofdayslove.com

www.facebook.com/AuthorEmmaShortt

www.twitter.com/EmmaShortt

Giveaway, Review & Excerpt: No Shelter From Darkness

No Shelter From Darkness Banner 450 x 169

Tour Wide GIveaway

5 ebook copies of  No Shelter From Darkness by Mark D. Evans
5 print copies of  No Shelter From Darkness by Mark D. Evans

No Shelter From Darkness

The Cruentus Saga – Book One

Mark D. Evans 

No shelter coverGenre: Paranormal, Horror

Publisher: Booktrope

ISBN: 978-1620151396

ASIN: B00D5C9IJ4

Number of pages: 304

Cover Artist: Greg Simanson

Amazon    BN  iTunes

Book Description:

“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.”

London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End—a corner fairing worse than most—thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . .

What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.

Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?

My Review:

I have to start by saying this book had everything going against it for me. I’m not a fan of World War II era novels, I’m so done with vampires, and this was a debut novel which usually means the author has a ways to go before evolving into someone I want to read again. And now I have to say . . . lesson learned. I will never let preconditioned prejudice dictate my reading preferences again.

Mark D. Evans has penned an extraordinary tale that grabbed me from the first few pages and kept my interest to the end. No Shelter From Darkness takes place in World War II London. Evans has done his research and created an entirely believable world with characters that come alive page after page. Yes, there are vampires but the story never stops reminding us of their emotional angst. This is especially true with the main character, Beth Wade, as she struggles with her transformation to vampire. Thirteen year old Beth must deal with the wartime London Blitz as well as an internal metamorphosis to something she doesn’t understand or want.

NSFD contains a few horror scenes, a great deal of suspense, the YA factor due to the character’s age, and enough vampire lore to satisfy paranormal fans. History buffs will revel in the detailed and accurate descriptions of WW II London and family saga readers will clamor to learn more about Beth’s familial relationships as she transforms into a blood lusting creature. So you see, there’s something for everyone in No Shelter From Darkness.  This is a five star book from a very talented author. I’m anxiously waiting his next book in the series.

Read on for an excerpt.

 Short Excerpt:

Beth breathed furiously. She was exhausted, but the air she breathed had a new scent to it. It stopped her short. Her insides jumped in excitement at the rusty metallic scent. Her jaw twitched and her body flinched. She spun her head around, toward the aroma. Oliver had felt his way back to the uneven wall and leant against it cradling his arm. He sobbed and whimpered, while looking aimlessly at it. Beth could see what he couldn’t: a jagged edge of bone poking out from his forearm. He was slightly sheltered under the broken floorboards above him, and the rain wasn’t washing away the blood that now oozed freely. Beth didn’t need to see everything. She could smell it.

Beautiful, delicious, unparalleled and unbeatable human blood.

Her head tipped forward. Her nose flared involuntarily and her lips snarled into a sadistic smile. She felt the four pointed canines being pushed out; unsheathed. The tip of her tongue curled under one of the two fangs that slid down. Her heart deafened the rain and the approaching bombers. Almost subconsciously, she lowered herself into a half-crouch, ready to pounce, and though her nails were trimmed short, her fingers curled into claws. She couldn’t even feel the hole in her palm any more. She felt nothing at all except raging bloodlust. Her brother leant there sobbing, oblivious to the bloodthirsty creature no more than a yard away that wanted nothing more than to cover everything with his precious life force. To swim in his blood.

Beth could almost taste it.

About the Author:London Boy

MARK D. EVANS was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of travelling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.

He is the author of two short stories, one of which made it into a Kindle Top Ten.

His latest work is his debut novel, No Shelter from Darkness, which is the first book in his series, The Cruentus Saga.

Visit Mark online:

www.markdevans.com

www.markaeology.com

www.cruentus-saga.com

https://www.facebook.com/authormarkdevans

Twitter: @TheMarkDEvan

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/markdevans

Spotlight on Horror: BLACK ADAGIO by Wendy Potocki

Black Adagio

Wendy Potocki 

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Book Description:

newblackadaiog_3CROPMelissa Solange is presented the chance of a lifetime. Chosen as a member of a new dance company, she works tirelessly perfecting the one element of ballet she’s never mastered—the adagio. As she rehearses, a dark force watches. Resurrected by the surprise addition of a classic ballet to the repertoire, the sinister work is thought to be cursed—destroying anyone who attempts to dance it.

When the production’s lead dancers begin to disappear, the old warning is taken more seriously. A death worshipping cult called The Innocents is blamed, but she is not so sure. They may be the scapegoat for an ultimate evil living in the woods of Holybrook. Desperate for an answer, she searches for what lurks in the shadows of the old trees before she becomes the next victim of the Danse Macabre.

Amazon  Amazon Paperback

Black Adagio Banner 450 x 169

Excerpt:

“Come here,” he said pulling her to him, and giving her a hug. The tenseness in her body staggering, either she wasn’t that into him or wasn’t used to physical contact. Remembering what she’d said about never having a boyfriend, he hadn’t thought she was lying, but this behavior confirmed it. Not wanting to be the big, bad wolf at her door, he didn’t want her house to fall—he only wanted to be let in.

“Melissa, no matter what happens between us, I want you to know that I believe in you. I know that what I’m about to say is cliché, but I don’t mean it that way. Anyway, I want you to know, that I’m willing to remain a friend. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”

A small piece of her responded. As her body reacted to Tchaikovsky or any other great composer, it now moved an inch more into Todd’s camp. Having issues with trust was never easy. Only time and patience would reveal whether he was running some kind of game, but right now the only thing that mattered was that he was offering his shoulder. Her arms looping around his neck like a bow on a birthday present, she luxuriated in his feel. Beginning to enjoy the time spent alone, he was saying all the right things, and she’d have to have a heart of stone not to respond.

“Thank you,” she replied, in a small, quiet voice that went with the intimate setting. A million questions rushing past her, one was whether she’d found true love. Her gaze rising, she glanced over his shoulder into the thick woodlands. Her eyes enlarging, she froze. Treated to the same glowing pair of red eyes that she’d seen before, the demonic twin evils were locked upon her. Gasping, she jerked back, intent on getting away.

About the Author

Wendy Potocki lives and writes in NYC. If that isn’t scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale — and in the crevices of her keyboard.

Named one of the Top Ten “New” Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, she has six self-published novels. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her official website wendypotocki.com/. Her next planned projects are Thrill, The Virgin, and ZaSo, a Gothic tale of horror.

In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbucks Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone, and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet.

web: 
http://www.wendypotocki.com/

Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/WPotocki

Facebook Author page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-Potocki-Author/100285326834525

Book Trailers

Black Adagio:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFNRk8IBKoI

The Vampire’s Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJUWiA55w5U&feature=related

The House of Cards
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWtb1DU2XpU

The Man with the Blue Hat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgQalpFtQuY

October & Horror: A Perfect Blend (MARTUK . . . the HOLY Review)

Martuk … the Holy

Book One

JONATHAN WINN

Martuk-ebook-cover-Tim-2-TwitterGenre:  Horror, Literary Horror

ISBN:  978-1480035690

ASIN:  B007HPQPV4

Number of pages:  446

Word Count:  89,000

Cover Artist:  Timothy Burch

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In a crowded Left Bank cafe, an immortal man sits, the phantoms crawling near, the heat of their whispers stinging his cheek …

and Martuk … The Holy begins.

One thousand years before the birth of Christ, a golden god damns Martuk with a kiss. In a land ruled by a wounded king, life everlasting steals his mortality from the bottom of a golden cup. Finally, generations later, a Messiah who has the power to heal breaks under the weight of Martuk’s demons, stumbling to his death defeated by darkness.

From his home in modern Paris, he writes, his memories lush, his words evocative. Revisiting his impossible life, he vents his rage and shares his loneliness. From bloody battles with a demon he cannot escape to the ghost of a beauty who haunts him still, this is his story.

This is Martuk … The Holy.

REVIEW:

If you enjoy books with a new twist on a familiar plot similar to Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”, then you will most certainly love “Martuk . . . the Holy” by Jonathan Winn.  This intense, gripping tale will keep you turning pages, biting fingernails, and re-evaluating your beliefs until the final sentence.

I’m not sure if Winn’s book can be classified into a single genre . . . or even a sub-genre. It’s multi-faceted and that’s part of the appeal. The fact  Martuk . . . the Holy is a debut novel is impressive beyond words.

Martuk is a tormented immortal with roots in ancient history. Before you start thinking Adrian Paul and the TV series, “Highlander”, let me assure the differences are vast. Martuk . . . the Holy is a dark story filled with demons, angels, beastly abominations, horror, sexuality, violence and a provocative biblical twist. All that adds up to a fascinating, complex read that will thrill most readers and upset a few. Be warned . . . it’s not easy reading.

At times, you might feel confused because there’s a lot going on. The story covers past, present, future and can jump scenes before you’re emotionally ready.  Martuk is written in first person, told in flashbacks and flash forwards because he’s a seer. Winn’s ability to transport the reader to various periods in history as well as build a fantastical world filled with breathtaking detailed imagery is astounding. Even scenes with horrifying violence transmit a beauty that both sickens and beguiles.

At this time, Martuk . . . the Holy averages 5 stars on Amazon. Add my 5 stars to that ranking.

Invest your time in this book. Authors like Jonathan Winn are a rare treat.

EXCERPT:

His scream brought me back.

The blackness lifted again, those Beyond the Veil disappearing again. I was on the stone again. He was straddling me, his hands on my throat. Again.

I opened my eyes.

Above me, he sat, his mouth open in another loud scream, a roar, the pain of his loss obsessing him, driving him to hurt me.

He bent low, his sweaty face inches from mine, the skin flushed red and dripping with sweat. Shaking his head, he caught his breath, his eyes wide with disbelief as I died and came to life again and again, his mind, still blunted and thick with wine, not comprehending the impossible.

He roared again, the spit rolling from his mouth to stain my lips and run down my cheek to tickle my ears.

I tried to move. Tried to breathe. Tried to escape. But it was useless.

I didn’t have the strength.

Yes, my demons had left me. I suffered, losing life, the Veil so near yet so far, tempting me with its peace, its quiet. Abandoned by my strength, the human in me unable to escape this man’s anger and rage, his brutality.

He lifted my head and smacked it against the stone, the thwack rippling over my skull, my eyes closing, the burning pain stealing my breath.

I had endured this once, long ago. So long ago. Trapped and held by cruel hands, my head hitting the stone with a crippling thwack while the stars twinkled above.

He tightened his grip around my throat.

Where were you? I silently asked. Oh my God, my demons, where were you?

My chest was on fire, my lungs burning, every bone hurting, every inch of skin screaming for release, for relief, for surrender.

The darkness was coming again.

Help me.

There they stood, Those Beyond the Veil, their faces pressed close, watching me.

Help me, please.

They stood near suddenly, watching. Impassive. Unresponsive.

Having slipped into the Fog to move among them once again, I could see their unfinished forms wandering, their shapes shifting like a delicate fog. There were noses and chins, perhaps eyes, arms and legs and torsos and breasts. There were children and parents. Parents of parents. Some watched closely, the fragile gaze curious and afraid. Others stood in the distance, lost in the dreams of a life once lived. I didn’t know.

But they were shapes. Listless, ineffective shapes.

I thought of the altar lifetimes ago. How they had abandoned me then. The poisoned brew at my lips. The smell of blood. The smell of fear. The warmth on the soles of my feet as the darkness wound its way up my shins, my thighs, whipped itself around my waist and crawled up my chest as I drank and drank and drank.

I gasped, the air filling my lungs as I came back to this world. The world of stone and roaring fires, smoldering bodies, and an angry beast driven by anguish choking the life from me. This horrible reality ripping me from the Fog once again.

He was resting, this beast. Still straddling me, he fell forward, leaning forward, his weight crushing as, his chest on mine, he rested his forehead on the stone as he caught his breath.

He would stir again. I knew this. And the frustrating cycle would begin again. I knew this, too. I would suffer, my chest exploding, tears washing my cheeks, his drool slipping from his lips to slide down my chin, the pain of death endured yet again.

I need my demons. The restless, useless Dead couldn’t help me. I need my demons. I needed my strength. My power. To live, to rise up and seek revenge. To slaughter this man who had killed my angel. Who had brutalized her, leaving her for dead on the side of the road, in the dirt, the leaves, the grass and the trees. I needed that impervious strength I possessed lifetimes ago.

To hurt him the way he had hurt her, I needed my demons.

On the verge of exhaustion, he lifted himself, his eyes heavy, his skin sweating in the glow of the fire. He still sat on me, breathing deeply, his chest rising and falling, his shoulders slack.

Glancing to the side, his eyes focused and saw his dead daughter charred black, her flesh red and raw. And then his wife in the water, her flesh scorched, her skull red and raw, the fine dark hair burned away. His sons, his dead sons, laying peacefully as if in sleep, their heads awkwardly twisted.

The grief returned.

His face crumpled in tears, his chin trembling, the sobs struggling to escape as a shudder of pain rippled through his shoulders. He swallowed, paused, shaking the emotion away. He then turned to me, his eyes no longer heavy, his breath no longer ragged, his chin no longer trembling, his shoulders strong and straight.

He bent low, his lips almost on mine, and roared, his open mouth easily covering my face from the dip in my chin to the top of my nose. And then he sat up, his hands around my neck.

Lifting my head, he brought me close, looking at me for a moment, watching me. Wondering, perhaps, how I, this weak nothing of a boy, of a young man, a beardless, smooth, skinny young man, could possibly have killed so many so quickly.

The tears threatened again. He swallowed before snarling, gritting his teeth. And with my face still so close to his, he screamed again.

Yes …

Just as my own tears came again, just as I lost all hope of this nightmare ending, just as I surrendered to the darkness swallowing me once more, the peace of the Veil taunting me with a quiet I can never claim as my own, they came.

Look …

The Whispers inched near, the heated breath slipping over my skin, the darkness, their darkness, their blessed darkness, the effective, terrifying darkness of my demons, clouding the air as his thumbs tightened around my throat.

We are here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and now award-winning author, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA, and currently divides his time between the East and West coasts.  Martuk … The Holy is his first book.

Blog – http://martuktheholy.com

Twitter –  http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Winn

Facebook – http://facebook.com/MartukTheHoly