Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Darkness Within Ezine Vol.6-December

Hi all!

Here's this months' edition of Darkness Within Ezine Vol. 6.


CEO: Jodie Pierce

Lindsey Jayne: Vice-President & Cover Artist

Jessica Sawa: Editor in Chief


The Haunting of the Roadhouse Grill and Bar by Thom Futrell
Lore’s Corner: Krampus by LM David
The Rescue by Helen Bishop
The She-wolf of Lake Wildwood: Part 5 by Ronald Edward Griffin
The Haunted Highland Ave. House by Jason Blayne
Prince’s Love Song by Sabrena Pattat
Dead Love Part 2 by Samuel Southwell
Haunted Ohio: Franklin Castle by The Vampire Queen1
The Worm Farm by Helen Bishop
Detective Goodson: The Dead Will Rise: Part 3 by Brien O’Raighne

2015 All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction of this ezine in part or in whole.



I love a good ghost story. When I started working at the Roadhouse a year or so ago I thought it would be a fun place to work plus I was able to help Leah, the owner out. She was a little short on cooks at the time and I am always happy to help others. Then she dropped the bomb of happiness on me when she said: “Did I ever tell you about the body in the basement?” My eyes lit up and I got all warm and squishy inside.
She took me on a tour of the basement, which had a creepy feel to it. There were actual tunnels left from what I assume was prohibition.  Through research I have learned that it used to be a stage coach stop and a “Blind Pig” which housed gangsters and distributed illegal booze during the prohibition days. The body in the basement is thought to be one of those gangsters.  The building itself was originally the Meadow Lark Inn,  first a homey country inn selling home-cooked meals of home-grown poultry and produce and then a classy dining spot for banquets, parties and weddings.
I found some spooky stories about the place, including a female spirit playing an old piano in the back room who “didn’t realize she was dead,” Sounds of conversations, laughter, people being touched, pushed, and tickled.  And then there are the bizarre electrical problems.  A psychic said that she talked to a spirit named “Edward” and he wanted the world to know he was murdered over two women, and not suicide, which was reported.
I have heard people talking, heard footsteps coming behind me while washing dishes, heard a moaning sound by the stand-up freezer and shadow figures moving around the kitchen. The occasional item gets moved and a few pans have been tossed off the shelves as well.
Last year, the camera picked up several ghostly images in the bar well after closing. That photo was recently validated as not being tampered with.
The Roadhouse is a great place to eat drink and have a good time. I recommend it to everyone. Come on down and enjoy some spirits with some spirits! There’s a chair waiting for you!

Author Bio:

Thom Futrell is a horror writer living in Jackson Michigan. He has been in more than sixty publications and has four films under his belt. He writes under the name T.G. Reaper.


Until I sat down to write this installment of Lore’s Corner, I had never heard of Krampus. I am glad I had not because this guy is no push over.

December represents Christmas, Santa Claus and presents, reindeer and sitting in front of a fireplace drinking hot chocolate and warm cider. In German-speaking Alpine folklore Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure who, according to traditional narratives, is a figure who punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved. Yikes! That is in contrast with jolly ole St. Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. In regions within Austria, Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas widely talked about in regions of Europe. The origin of the figure is unclear but some folklorists and anthropologists, say Krampus has pre-Christian origins.

Quoting Maurice Bruce who wrote, in 1958:

“There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches, so well preserved. The birch—apart from its phallic significance—may have a connection with the initiation rites of certain witch-covens; rites which entailed binding and scourging as a form of mock-death. The chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to 'bind the Devil' but again they could be a remnant of pagan initiation rites”.

In the 20th century, Austrian governments discouraged the pagan initiation practice. In the aftermath of the 1934 Austrian Civil War, the Krampus tradition was prohibited by the Dollfuss regime. Towards the end of the century, Krampus celebrations became popular once again and continue even now. The Krampus tradition is being revived in Bavaria as well, along with a local artistic tradition of hand-carved wooden masks. There has been ongoing public debate in Austria in modern times about whether Krampus is appropriate for children.

Krampus is steadily becoming a popular creature in North American pop culture. This has been met with controversy, as many see it as part of a "growing movement of anti-Christmas festivities" there. While celebrated, these rituals are rare but gaining interest.

Although Krampus appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown, or black, and has the cloven hooves – sometimes one foot is a hoof and the other a regular foot. He also has the horns of a goat and a long-pointed tongue that lolls out.

Krampus carries chains, thought to symbolize the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. He thrashes the chains for dramatic effect and is sometimes accompanied with bells of various sizes. Sometimes Krampus appears with a sack or a washtub strapped to his back. This is to cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell. Some older versions make mention of naughty children being put in the bag and being taken. This part of the legend refers to the times that the Moors raided the European coasts, and as far as Iceland, to abduct the local people into slavery.

Since the 1800s, Europeans have been exchanging greeting cards featuring Krampus looming menacingly over children. North American Krampus celebrations, though rare, are a growing phenomenon.

Personally, Krampus is a definite candidate for a lump of coal in his stocking for Christmas.

Source Material: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Author Bio:

LM David has been writing stories since Jr. High School after taking a Creative Writing class. Initially drawn to the genre of Science Fiction, a fascination with Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Romance drew her back into the dark erotic world of vampires. The more she read about the subject of the ‘undead’, the deeper dark erotic world of folklore and legends of the vampire became. You can reach her at:
Twitter: @LMDavid54 

The Rescue by Helen Bishop

There are four thousand five hundred and fifty six holes in the pattern on the dashboard of my car. Four thousand, five hundred and fifty six. Not fifty seven, not fifty four. I have counted them all, each and every one of them, some by my now-limited sight, some by touch, some by figuring what must be in spaces I cannot see by the spaces I can. There's really nothing much else to do.

I don't have any idea what time it is, hell, I don't even know what day it is. I don't have any idea how long I was unconscious, although I know I must have been. How would my leg have ended up where it is, if I had been 'awake' when it happened? I'm hoping that I was 'out' only a short period, but it could have been days. I guess not weeks or months because I appear to be mostly still here, wherever 'here' is. I don't even know what happened; have no idea what 'it' was. All I know, all I actually know is that I'm here, and I'm hurt, and that no one is nearby.

When I first became aware of the accident, which I'll call it for lack of a better word, when I first became aware of anything; I screamed my throat raw, begging for help. No one ever came, and all I heard were the drip-drip-drips of something drip-drip-dripping. The drips come about twenty-nine times every forty one-Mississippi. I have had plenty of time to count the holes in the dashboard and the drips. I've had time to rack my brain, and scream for help, and look for something to eat, and cry. Plenty of time, more than enough.

I am hanging upside down. I am hanging upside down, from my seatbelt, which is jammed shut. You always read about people who were ejected from their car because they either weren't wearing the seatbelt or it disengaged. I would pay good money for one of those. Although the seat belt isn't the entire problem, my legs apparently tried to fly away, when whatever happened happened, because now they are wrapped around the steering wheel in an unnatural way, and a long bone-what's the name of that one? Alex, I'll take parts of the body for $200, never mind, it'll come to me, is pushed out of the skin just below my knee. It's erupted about 7 inches, and it was bleeding up onto the ceiling of the car, but it stopped a couple of dark and lights ago.

I say dark and lights, which could actually be days, but the first few of them seemed to go by too fast, so now I just count them as dark and lights. I seem to count everything, because all I have is hanging, and it got old really quick.

I tried wiggling out of the harness that my seat belt has become, since I'm hanging from it, but even as I got an arm out, the resulting pressure on the twisted leg forced me to go away, and was painful when I crawled back from the fog.

Because of the leg, which I'm happy to say doesn't hurt much anymore, though it's getting to be an odd color, and the jammed seat belt, I am hanging here for the duration. I have no hunger anymore, this will be great for my waistline. See it up there? But I am pretty thirsty. There's only one whole bottle of water left up here on the roof with me, I always meant to take that six-pack into the house, but they had come in pretty handy since I got here. I can reach the ceiling with one hand and I'm not really up there, that's just the closest area I can see. My butt is still fastened to the seat, and my chest is pinned to the seat back. I have some movement in parts of my arms, but that's all.

I've gotten used to most of it now. No heat, no rain, no moving, no help. I know someone will find me eventually. I just can't figure out why no one has found me yet. You'd think the bottom of a car would be a real no-brainer. That someone would see it and just like a turtle, feel the need to turn it over.

I have counted the holes on the dashboard now several times every light. It seems that I must start over every time, because I forget a lot of things now. This time I repeated the amount over and over so I won't have to count it all again. I tell myself all the things I remember, and tell myself them over and over so I don't forget. For the first little while, I was singing to keep myself relatively sane, then little by little I would forget how the words went and "um-um-um" in the holes, until I was annoying, even to just me.

My name is Mary Ellen Miles, I am 26 years old. I am single, and have no children. I remember getting in the car and driving on the highway. It was night. It was raining and blowing hard. There was very little traffic. I remember construction cones, and warning signs, and that's all. My accident must have happened then, because I have no other memories of something that would have left me upside down in my car.

I don't have my glasses. I tell myself they are around here somewhere, but without them, I can't find them. At home I always kept them at night in their own little place, so I could find them in the morning. I didn't bring that place with me, I guess, when I went out for a drive. A stupid, why was I out, drive in the rain and wind.

I can't tell what's outside the car, I've tried and tried to open the window, I've tried to crank it open but it resists me, and I have no room to lever a harder assault. Everything looks foggy or smeary, and I can't tell if it's the windows themselves that are foggy or smeary or if it's me. Now it seems to be getting darker...

Four thousand, four thousand, I must remember, as I count the holes on the dashboard. I can't see them so well, so I feel for them. My reach isn't very far, and my arms are very stiff, hell, who cares how many holes are in the dashboard? I hang there in the greasy light, listening to the drip-drip-drips, and squinting to see through the windshield, or the side windows. Nothing. I can reach the buttons on the radio, but whatever turned my car upside down must have done something to that as well, sorry, ma'am, I can't reach out to let you inside.

I recite my mantra again; it seems to calm me down. My name is Mary Ellen Miles, I am 26 years old. I am single, and have no children. I remember getting in the car and driving on the highway. It was night. It was raining and blowing hard. There was very little traffic. I remember construction cones, and warning signs, and that's all.

There is a noise suddenly, outside the car, a rustling noise. I scream out, as loud as my tortured throat will allow! "Come get me out! Come get me out! I need help!" I yank on the window handle and remarkably it opens, but less than half an inch. I pull and pull for more window, and it opens another half-inch then stops. All the pulling has started my leg bleeding again and something hurts in my neck. That's okay, though! Someone's out there, I heard them. I call and call for help and the noise gets louder.

The car moves suddenly, like it's been bumped and the whole window is full of someone's face looking in at me.

I've been found! It's finally over!

All I can think of is how beautiful his fur is.

Author Bio:

Helen Bishop is a native of Pennsylvania and a true fan of the written word. She works as a litigation paralegal; reads on average 20 books a week; writes book reviews for an internet blog; writes stories, poems and novels in various genres; and-just to fill out her dance card-contracts with fellow authors to proofread and copy-edit their work before it goes to the publisher. You can check her out at
thttps://www.facebook.com/HelenBishopAuthor?ref=bookmarks, and 

The She-wolf of Lake Wildwood
Part 5

That same evening at Pizza Hut
            Kurt sits down at a table across from Tabetha who is wearing a black skirt and white blouse. He tries not to stare at her seeing as how she’s wearing a pink polka dot bra beneath the white shirt. He clears his throat as he turns his attention to her application.
            “Well I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be qualified for the job. I’ll just need to run a background check and set up orientation.”
            Tabetha does an excited half hop in her seat and reaches her hands across the table placing them on top of his. Kurt slowly withdraws his hand from beneath hers and looks away uncomfortably.
            “Hey I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to make things difficult between you and your wife earlier.”
            “Yeah, I’m not sure what’s gotten into her lately. So I think when I am home I should keep my distance from you. No offence, I just don’t want her to be upset.” He says.
            “You must really love her a lot then?”
            He nods while rubbing the back of his neck.
            “I don’t know what I would do without her. She may act a little crazy at times but she’s worth putting up with anything for.”
            “I understand, I have a tendency of being flirty and sticking my foot in my mouth sometimes.”
            Kurt chuckles lightly.
            “Yeah I eat my socks on more than a few occasions.” He says.
            “Maybe you should do something really sweet for her tonight. Show her that you love her and she will come around.” Tabetha says with a smile.
            “I may just do that. Well thank you for your time and advice. I’ll give you a call when I find out something.” Kurt says while extending his hand.
            She smiles and shakes his hand before standing.
            “Well I guess I’ll head home. Just remember to do something nice. Women love to feel appreciated.”
            “Thanks, I will definitely keep that in mind.”
            Tabetha winks at him and walks out of the restaurant while some of the other workers watch her hips as they sway while she moves. The cashier Jade places her hand on Kurt’s shoulder. He turns to face the 20 year old Asian girl.
            “You do realize that by hiring her none of these boys will get any work done right?” she asks him.
            Kurt looks around to see the bus boys and cooks come out staring at Tabetha in the parking lot. One of them even managed to snap a picture with his phone as she was walking out.
            “Everyone get back to work there’s nothing to see here anymore.”
            Everyone starts scattering around getting back to work after being caught. Kurt shakes his head in disapproval before grabbing the application from the table.
            “Jade, keep them in line for me while I’m in my office.”
             The next couple of hours go by and the dishwashers, cooks, and the drivers go home. Only Kurt and Jade remain as the close down for the night. The two of them walk outside locking the doors behind them.
            “Where did you park your car?” Kurt asks.
            “I didn’t drive tonight, my car is in the shop so my mom is going to pick me up. She should be here any minute.”
            “Would you like for me to wait with you?” Kurt asks.
            “Nah, she will be here soon I’m sure.”
            “Okay well I need to stop by Kroger on my way home. I want to see if they have any roses left in the florist department.”
            “For your wife?” she asks.
            “Yeah things have been a little rough around the house lately.”
            “I’m sorry to hear that. You better hurry up though they close at midnight.”
            “Yeah you’re right. Take care of yourself Jade I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
            Kurt gets into his car and waves at Jade as he drives by. She smiles and waves back at him before sitting down on the curb. Once he is out of sight a cold chill runs down her spine as the wind blows. She rubs her shoulders as she shivers.
            “Woah that’s strange. It’s not even that cold out.”
            She feels goosebumps form all over her body as she feels someone watching her. Her eyes scan the parking lot searching for whoever may be watching her. Then a glob of thick saliva drops onto her shoulder. She slowly turns her head upwards and before she realizes it the large beast pounces on her and wraps its massive jaws around her throat. Within moments a blood curdling howl resonates in the air.

To be continued…
Author Bio:

Ronald Edward Griffin is a native of Macon, GA where he was born and raised. He is an accomplished Author in his own right and is always working hard on something. He has two children whom he hopes to pass his writing bug on to them.

 The Haunted Highlawn Avenue House by Jason Blayne

Located downtown in the small city of Huntington, WV is a house where negative forces are in play. Going as back to 1993 I’m going to share a story with you that still brings chills to others even to this day.

It’s late on a Saturday night in the spring; a mother takes her children away from an abusive home to a trusted friend’s house for the night. Lifelong childhood friends mix dinner that night and plan on using spirits to predict the future.

While the children play upstairs, unbeknownst to the adults the teenagers take to the attic for a chance to play around with a forbidden Ouija board. The two adults downstairs meanwhile are pulling out their own items such as a pure black candle and tarot cards. Things are about to take an eerie turn for this dwelling for the rest of time.

As the teenagers begin with simple questions and giggling occurs of each other assuming the other is pushing the indicator, things begin to heat up downstairs with the spirits being called from the other side to answer the questions concerning the abused family.

Two difference forces at work both from negative forces of the other world coming to the surface. The teenagers begins asking questions of love and sex, the adults ask for spirits of protection and if they know the turn of events that will unfold if the mother doesn’t find a way to get rid of her husband for not only her but the children she wants to protect.

The flame bounces and twists answering each question and nearly goes out when it becomes stubborn and yelled at when it doesn’t provide the clarity the women are searching to find. Even the tarot cards can’t give anything beyond the night which becomes an issue for answers as the teens upstairs ask who they are talking to and get the response of a “demon” being spelled out.

When the final letter on the Ouija board comes for the teenagers, the flickering of the candle downstairs goes out and the cards refuse to shuffle. A low chill in the air falls throughout the entire house. Suddenly in the attic and in the living room of the house, a growling howl begins to be heard when suddenly the front door blows open with the smashing of the front room window, which also occurs in the attic with the window and skylights shattering and screaming from the teenagers becoming startled by what they invited into the home.

Minutes later the laughter comes to a halt the candle lights once again with the flame jumping several inches into the air while the tarot cards scattering all over the floor sending a message that the end isn’t near for the house.

The teenagers rush downstairs after they see a shadowy figure standing and snarling in the corner of the attic cackling calling out their names. They admit to what they did in the attic as the look of horror comes across the face of the adults of not only what the kids welcomed into the house but the message from the cards tells the story of how ominous things will continue to occur with anyone who lives in the house.

Time passes by and the after events of that night become a rare talking point as things in the home remain heavy for all those living there. Slowly things begin to pull the family apart, the parents begin to argue more and the father develops a drinking problem. The children’s grades begin to fall and become withdrawn from their favorite sport of baseball/softball. Meals don’t taste the same, dreams become nightmares, electronics begin to blow up, and the colorful clothes of the mid 1990’s get thrown out for black and other dark colors. The love that used to exist in this happy home is slowly dying.

Six months later, the family move into a new home in another county renting out the house they used to call home. Each family that lives there for years start having problems, ranging from separations, drug addiction, even thoughts of murder and suicide when the entity reveals itself when other people try to rid the place of its presence.

One young couple years later go one step further, with a young wife being pregnant, they commence a séance where the demon speaks and uses enough energy to knock over the pregnant woman once he declares that the unborn child will belong to the devil himself from that point in time.

The couple pays no attention to the threat and continues to dabble with séances trying to call forth the demon again and again with no luck. The baby is born on time healthy and vibrant, but when the child becomes a toddler and the grandmother wishes to take the child to church one Sunday morning a scary event is about to unfold. When the child sees the cross on the door to the church he begins to hiss and throw a fit to keep from crossing the threshold.
Worried the grandmother apologizes for the child’s behavior and takes him home waiting for his parents to come pick him up. She questions them until they cave and admit to what happened and she gasps in horror at the notion that her son would pull a stunt so stupid and expose his child to such evil.

Not believing his mother, she proves her point when bringing a cross near the child. Laughing at the child’s behavior playing it off as a child with anger issues, his grandmother then carries in a Bible and the child goes crazy hissing throwing a fit and trying to claw his way out of the trailer.

A year later after the young couple leave for a military career, his sister and her new husband take over their lease. A few months into living at this house of evil, the young married couple begins to experience urges of things they never even discussed. They begin to experiment with other couples and swinging along with other sexual taboos. Once the fun wears off they begin cheating behind the others back lying, cheating, drugs and alcohol get brought into the house.

Another year passes by and thinking things will improve by allowing her little brother to move in, the young married couple welcomes him in with open arms, but the house demon can sense this teenager is a religious nut and tries to get rid of him by blowing up all of his electronics and every night during the winter his window would open after he passes out.

Then one morning when the religious young man was utilizing the bathroom, he finishes up a shower and before he opens the shower curtain a head pops through the curtain staring him straight in the eyes and utters one phrase. The demon says “GET OUT!” sending fear all over the young man’s body, he stumbles down the steps and runs outside screaming. He’s butt naked standing and yelling in the middle of the road how he will never step foot back into the house. His sister and brother-in-law laugh and mock him until they get his clothes and return him to his mother’s trailer where he doesn’t leave even to this day afraid it will find him. The married couple soon after that incident divorces going their separate ways never speaking to each other again.

Each family since then have also run into the same issues, and finally one couple take it to the darkest of places, a murder occurs one night with the wife unable to recollect what, how, and even why it happened but she’s arrested and convicted of murder.

Since then the house has been sold and several people have attempted to cleanse the home of the demon invited inside so many years ago. The two families from that very first night still feel the effects of what’s occurred that night. The children grew up with issues and even find it difficult to believe in religion. The adults are no longer friends and their lives have turned out nowhere near what they expected as well. They all have become cold, cruel and closed off to the world. Others have also since divorced and the child the demon took as his own still fights, fusses, and becomes violent around any church or Bible. 

Author Bio:

I'm Jason Blayne a native of Lesage, West Virginia. I'm a fictional YA/NA author and father of one. I've experienced a decent bit of death at a young age to compliment the paranormal Phenomenons during my life, such things that I believe that we all have a spirit that guides us as well as protects us and helps as an extension much like a guardian angel.

Prince’s Love Song
Sabrena Pattat

The young Selkie princess closed her deep, oceanic eyes listening to the sound of the wind through the palm trees and the waves crashing against the beach, ever since losing her skin, she longed to return home. Damn the local lord, with his amber eyes and short, red hair, for entrapping her and damn herself for letting herself get lost in promises that turned into ash. Sariah didn't know where Lucan kept her skin but she knew that it was in whatever chest the key around his neck unlocks, he had a few around the room. Most were for his gold or other possessions. 

It was late at night, but the moon was full; she had always felt restless, however.  The fuller the moon got, the more she felt the call of the sea in her blood, her heart and her very soul.   

“Come to bed, Sariah” Lucan entreats her, softly.
“Give me just a little more time, Milord.”

Sariah turns her head to respond to Lucan before turning back to stare out the window. She waits until he is deeply asleep, then like a ghost, takes the key from around his neck and looks around the room as Lucan rolls over in his sleep. She finds the chest and unlocks it, only to freeze as the rusted, iron hinges of the old, warped chest creak loudly.  

Lucan's eyes open and he smiles sadly.

‘So, it has come to this, has it? I thought I could keep you, but you can't truly keep a being of the sea, can't you?’ He asks himself, softly. “Go, take your skin back, I've seen how unhappy you have been these past few months and I thought showing you what I, no the human world, could offer you would be enough. I was wrong, so very wrong. Take your skin back, my beauty, but never forget I loved you.”

He swings out of bed and stands, moving towards her, before hugging her from behind.
Sariah twists in his arms before pulling away gently to take the seal skin out of the oak chest.

“I won't, but my home is the oceans and you, as a man, will never understand that. Perhaps we shall meet again, if the fates allow.”

She kisses him softly, a final goodbye. With that, she slips out the window, taking the ladder she had hidden in a shadowy alcove and climbs down it slowly, her skin tucked tightly under one arm, before stepping onto the beach below, a lone palm tree sways in the wind. Her hair blows around her as she strips off her nightgown and steps into the water.  It swirls around her ankles, and she shivers in cold and delight from finally being able to be free, before covering herself with her seal skin. She looks back at Lucan's mansion and briefly wonders what might have happened if she let herself stay before mentally shaking her head to clear it and starting the long journey back to her home.   

 Author Bio:

Sabrena Pattat is a thirty-two year old geek who watches anime and can often be found with a mug of coffee in her hand. When not reading, she can be found playing games on her PS3 or Facebook if she's not watching shows on Netflix.

Samuel D Southwell


Mike shot awake at the sound of knocking. “What the...” He glanced at his watch. It read 3:30 am. The knocking continued turning into a pounding.
Mike tossed off his covers, swung his feet off the bed, and stood up. He sleepily dragged his feet to the door and put his eye to the peek hole.
On the other side of the door was a small boy. He was banging crazy with dread and fear in his eyes. “Please help me!”
“Son stop banging on my door. I’m here what do you want?” Mike asked through the door.
“Help me please. My mother...She is ill.” The boy pleaded.
“Call 911!” Mike hollered.
The kid stood there with fear and dread on his face.
“Hold on.” Mike reached for the phone and dialed the front desk.
“Front desk!”
“Yeah hi this is room 651 and there is a little boy in front of my door complaining about his mother being sick.”
“Yes sir. I will send someone up right away.”
“Thank you.” Mike walked back over to the door and peeked out again. “Good news kid help is on the way. Kid?” Mike opens the door and looked in both directions. “Hey kid!”
A little while later two paramedics knock on his door. Mike tells them the story about the kid.
“Well mister Roth it seems like you had a bad dream and next time you should be sure before you go calling 911.”
“Thank you I’ll do that.” The paramedics leave and Mike sits on the edge of his bed rubbing his eyes when there is another knock at his door.
Mike gets up and puts his eye to the peek-hole. No one is there.
“Please mister my mom is ill.”
Mike locks the door and puts the bolt on. Then climbs into the bed and pulls the covers over his head like he did when he was five. The old feelings coming back again like a tidal wave.

Mike got out of the taxi cab paying the driver before turning to the office building. He marked last night as a bad dream and nothing more. He grabbed his briefcase and headed inside. The lobby was large with a desk in the middle. Behind the desk was a full size mural of a warrior doing battle with a pack of lions. The warrior was dressed in a roman tunic with two blades hanging from his waist and a long sword in his hand.
Mike walked up to the desk where a young woman sat staring at computer screen. “Pardon me.”
“Yes sir. Can I help you?” The woman glanced up at him with her grass green eyes.
“Yes miss. That is some mural you have there.” Mike pointed.
“The woman turned her head slightly. “Oh yes the president had it commissioned a few years ago. It is a symbol of our company I believe. Warrior spirit and all that.” She turned back to her screen. “Name?”
“Warrior yeah right.”
“What is your name sir?”
The woman caught his eyes with hers. “Your name sir. You do have an appointment right?”
“Appointment yes. My name is Roth. Mike Roth!”
“Nice to meet you Mister Roth. I see you are here for the big meeting!”
“Yes! Big day!”
She smiled slightly. “Well take a deep breath, straighten your tie, and follow the yellow brick road to the elevator down the hall. Stop at the top floor and you will reach your dream.”
He looked down on the floor and saw a yellow brick road. “I’ll be damned.”
“Luck of the gods be with you Mr. Roth.”
“Thank you.” He picked up his briefcase and followed the yellow path to an elevator. He pushed the button and waited. The door opened and he stepped in. He pressed the top floor. When the door closed, staring him in the face were the words ‘Carpe Diem’. Mike laughed to himself.
Mike stepped off the elevator and found himself in a small lobby with chairs on three sides and a double door on the far side. The room was full of men dressed in suits all sitting and waiting. A few glanced up at him, some sat staring at the wall, and others were deep in thought practicing what they are going to say.
“Welcome friend!”
Mike turned toward the voice. A man in a plaid suit straight out of the 70’s was staring at him smiling. “Thank you.”
“Come sit!” The man motion to the chair next to him.
Mike walked over and sat down.
“John Overton!” The man held out his hand.
“Mike Roth! Nice to meet you.” He shook John’s hand.
“Quite a turn out huh?”
“Yeah I guess so.”
“Yeah it’s worse than Walmart. This guy is a tough sell you know. Hates everything only wants the best of the best.”
“Oh yeah. This is my fifth time this year. Tough son of a bitch.”
“No kidding.”
“Don’t worry though he will listen to your whole pitch before he turns you down. So at the very least it will help you hone your craft.”
“Well that’s nice.”
Suddenly the double doors opened up and a man hurried out the door with grief painted on his face. Then a woman stepped out. “Mr. Overton your next.”
“Wish me luck kid.” John stood up and followed the woman inside as the door closed behind him.
Mike sat in his chair thinking about his presentation, the little boy from last night, and Jane.
“...And so that is what makes our product better than the leading brand.”
Mike glanced around the room. It was a large board room with windows on three sides. He could see all of down town LA from here. At the table sat a dozen or so people. He tried to read their faces during his presentation but most of them had great poker faces. At the end of the table sat Martin Edwards, President of Edwards Inc.
Mike laid his arms at his sides and waited for someone to say something. He started to sweat a little and he could feel it inside his suit. Again Jane popped in his mind he did not want to blow it. He remembered what John Overton said about what a hard sell Edwards was and how John walked by him with a shrug of his shoulders as if to say maybe next time. Why won’t this guy say something?
“Mr. Roth.” Mr. Edwards began. “I love it. It sounds like just what we are looking for.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Mary write up the contract. I want them on our shelves next month.”
Mike walked over to Mr. Edwards and shook his hand. “Thank you sir. We’ll get those orders out to you right away.”

“I did it Jane. He wants them in his stores next month.”
“That’s great baby. I told you you could do it.”
“I miss you. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.”
“So go get packed and come home.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.” Mike hangs up the phone and began to pack up his clothes.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. He walks to the door and peeks out.
“Mister, please help my mom she is sick.” The same little boy is at his door again.
Mike hesitated slightly before opening the door. “Look here son...” The boy is gone. Mike looks both ways. Nothing. He shook his head as if to clear the dust out of it. Then went back into his room and finished packing. ‘I got to get out of this town it is driving me to the edge.’


Mike entered the airport with a look of dread behind his eyes. He kept thinking about that little boy. What did it mean or did it mean anything? He took off his shoes and put them on the conveyer belt. Then he began to take off his watch and empty out his pockets. Lastly he stepped through the gate and into the x-ray screen.
Suddenly the buzzer went off as a woman ran through the gate beside him.
“Stop that woman!”
Mike reached out and grabbed the woman.
“Please mister. My mom is sick.”
“No, please I have to get out of here.”
“Thanks mister. We’ll take it from here!”
Mike let go of the woman as a security guard takes hold of her. The woman turns and stares at Mike with the look of death in her eyes.
“Please help her Mister. She is ill.”
Suddenly she grabbed Mike’s arm. “No please don’t let them take me back. They are going to kill us all.”
One of the guards ripped the woman’s arm away from Mike. “Come along now.”
Mike watched the guards drag the woman kicking and screaming into a side door.
“You’re clear, move along sir.”
Mike continued to stare as the door slammed shut behind the woman.
“Move along please.”
“What’s going to happen to that woman?”
The security guard lets out a sigh. “I don’t know. She will be handed over to the police or the feds. Can you move along please? You’re holding up the line.”
Mike glanced at the guard who gives him a practiced smile. Then Mike walked through, retrieved his belongs, and continued on into the terminal.

Mike checked the terminal sign and looked at his watch. ‘Damn, why is my plane always running late?’ He walked over to a row of empty seats and sat down. He looked around him. The terminal was mostly empty except for a few families, an old couple, and few other single passengers.
Suddenly a little boy of about 6 ran past him. He watched the boy as he ran around the room going from one end and back to the other. The boy ran between the seats of people.
Oh to be care free. Mike continued to watch the boy. He was mesmerized by the boy. The boy ran from one group of seats to the other. Back and forth over and over. Suddenly the boy tripped and fell landing a few feet in front of Mike.
Tears began to fall from the boys’ eyes as he held his knee to his chest.
“Are you alright?” Mike stood up and approached the boy slowly.
The boy continued to cry and rock back and forth.
“It will be alright! May I see?” Mike reached out to the boy.
The boy looked up at Mike through glossy eyes. Then he held out his leg to him. Mike took the little leg in his hand examine it. The boy had a small scrape on his knee where he hit the ground.
“Oh! It’s OK little one.” Mike pulled a napkin out of his pocket, wet it with his water bottle, and cleaned the little boy’s scrape. Then took a band-aid out of his wallet and covered up the cut. Lastly he took another napkin and started to wipe the tears from the little boy’s eyes. “There you go little man. All better.”
“Oh my god Sam. There you are!”
Mike turned toward the voice and he saw a young blond woman running up. The woman scooped the boy into her arms.
“Are you OK baby? You had mommy worried. You know you shouldn’t run off like that.”
Sam hugged his mom. “I sorry.”
“It’s alright baby.”
“He fell and scraped his knee. Nothing serious.”
The woman looked over at Mike as if seeing him for the first time. “What?” She glanced down at Sam’s leg and notices the band-aid. “Oh, thank you, sir. He is such a handful. He just ran off while I was getting him something to eat.”
“No problem. My name is Mike.”
“Heather and you already met Sam.”
“Please to meet you.” Mike patted Sam’s head. “You too.”
Sam laughed as Mike ruffled his hair.
“Can I give you a hand? My plane is late as always.”
Heather put Sam on the floor holding his hand. “I don’t know Mike. You seem like a nice guy but don’t want to impose.”
Just then Sam grabbed Mike’s hand. “Come eat.”
Mike and Heather both laughed a bit as Sam pulled them both toward the pizza stall.

Sam sat next to Heather picking the pepperonis off the top of his pizza. His face was covered in sauce. Mike watched him and shook his head. “Kids will be kids.”
“That’s true.” Heather smiled at him as she began to wipe Sam’s face with a napkin. “So what were you doing in L.A.?”
“Business! You?”
“Visiting a friend.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Yeah we took Sam to Disney Land, drove through Beverley Hills, and walked the street of stars.”
“Well it sounds like it was a great trip.”
“It was I just wish we didn’t have to leave so soon.” She looked down at Sam who was smearing the crust on his face and laughing. “Oh Sam you silly boy.” She took the crust away from him and began to wipe his face again.
Mike watched her smiling.

Mike glanced at the board again and then back at his watch. ‘Damn, come on I want to get out of here.’ He took out his phone and pushed Jane’s number.
“Hi baby.”
“Did I wake you?”
“It’s ok I was dreaming about you.”
Mike smiled. “You’re so sweet. I miss you.”
“I miss you too.”
“My flight is still not ready yet. It says another 2 hours.”
“It’s alright darling you will be home soon enough. Then we can spend the day in bed.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Me too.”
Mike glanced around the room it was still pretty empty except for the same few passenger that have been there as long as him. He spotted Sam and Heather sitting alone in the far corner. Sam was still giving her a hard time but he was not running off.
“Jane honey do you still want to have kids?”
“What? You know I do. Why do you ask?”
“I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a little boy or girl to raise and have fun with. Someone to teach and pass on my wisdom too.” He continued to watch Sam as he pushed a little car around Heather’s chair.
“Yes it would be wonderful. First you need to come home so we can make one.”
Mike smiled wider, “Oh baby your speaking my language.”
“What can I say after all these years? I know what my man wants. So come home. I have to get up and go to work soon. So I will see you when you get home.”
“Alright Jane my love. I will see you as soon as I can. I love you.”
“I love you too. Until we meet on the other side.”
“Until then. Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
“I shall see you upon the morrow.”
“Fare thee well my love.”
“Fare thee well.”
Mike hangs up the phone just as the ground starts to shake.

Author Bio:

Samuel holds a degree in English Literature from the University of South Florida and has been published a dozen or so times. He published his first book “Twisted American Fairy Tales” on Lulu.com and it is still available there today. He currently lives in Florida where he cuts up dead bodies for a grocery chain and spends his free time writing and collecting books.

Haunted Ohio: Franklin Castle by The Vampire Queen1

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I was aware of the Franklin Castle for as long as I can remember as it was said it was the most haunted house in Ohio. In seventh grade, my dad was a church custodian and on Sunday’s we would take extra food over to the men’s house (St. Herman’s) which was right next to the castle. The first time I saw it, I was drawn to it. The massive structure was just too much to take in. Then there was the cemetery on the left side that was enclosed by a wrought iron fence. My dad always had to pull me away from standing in front of it so we could go and I was always in trouble because I was supposed to have stayed in the car while he took the food in. When I got older, there had been a rumor that every Halloween night, you could see a ghostly woman in the attic window rocking away in her rocking chair. I went and looked but was never allowed out late enough to stay to see her.

On March 15, 1982 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Franklin Castle is an eerie structure of dark and foreboding stone that has long been considered a spooky place by architects and the general public alike. There are over thirty rooms in the castle's four stories and the roof is designed in steep gables that give the place its gothic air. Secret passages honeycomb the house and sliding panels hide the doorways to these hidden corridors. It is said that a thirteen-year-old girl was once murdered in one of these hallways by her uncle because he believed her to be insane. In the front tower, it is told that a bloody ax murder once took place and it was here that one of the former owners found a secret cabinet that contained human bones. The Deputy coroner of Cleveland, Dr. Lester Adelson, who examined the bones shortly after they were found in January 1975, judged them to be of someone who had been dead for a very, very long time. Did they date back to the years of the original owners of the house?
It is hard to separate fact from fiction at Franklin Castle but we do know that a German immigrant named Hannes Tiedemann built the mansion in 1865. Tiedemann was a former barrel-maker and wholesale grocer who had gone into banking. This new source of wealth allowed him to spare no expense in building the house and he soon moved in with his wife, Louise. Over the next few years, Louise gave birth to a son, August, and a daughter, Emma but life in the mansion was never really happy. By 1881, it had become tragic.
On January 16, 15 year old Emma died from diabetes. In those days, death from the disease came as a horrible, lingering starvation for which there was no cure. A short time later, Tiedemann’s elderly mother, Wiebeka, also died in the house. Over the next three years, the Tiedemann’s buried three children, one of them just eleven days old. Rumors began to spread that there may have been more to these deaths than was first apparent.
To take his wife's mind off the family tragedies, Tiedemann enlisted the services of a prominent architectural firm to design some additions to the mansion. It was during this expansion that the secret passages, concealed rooms and hidden doors were added to the house. Gas lighting was also installed throughout the building and many of the fixtures are still visible today. A large ballroom was also added that ran the length of the entire house and turrets and gargoyles were also incorporated into the design, making it appear even more like a castle.
The hidden passages in the house also hid many legends. At the rear of the house is a trap door that leads to a tunnel that goes nowhere. Another hidden room once contained a liquor still, left over from the Prohibition era. During the 1920’s, the house was allegedly used as a speakeasy and warehouse for illegal liquor. The most gruesome secret uncovered in the house came from another of the hidden rooms. Here, an occupant found literally dozens of human baby skeletons. It was suggested that they may have been the victims of a doctor’s botched experiments or even medical specimens, but no one knew for sure. The medical examiner simply stated that they were "old bones".
On March 24, 1895, Louise died at the age of 57 from what was said to be "liver trouble". Rumors continued to spread about the many untimely deaths in the Tiedemann family, especially when Hannes married again a few years later. By that time, he had sold the castle to a brewing family named Mullhauser and had moved to a grander home on Lake Road. The following summer, Tiedemann decided to vacation at a German resort and there he met (or some have suggested became re-acquainted with) a young waitress named Henriette. He quickly married the woman and lived just long enough to regret it. He divorced her and left her with nothing.
By 1908, Tiedemann’s entire family, including his son, August and his children, had passed away. There was no one left to inherit his fortune or to comfort him in his old age. Tiedemann died later that same year, suddenly stricken while walking in the park one day. It is believed that he suffered a massive stroke.
Tiedemann's death did not end the speculation about strange events in the house however. Legend had it that Tiedemann had not been the faithful husband that he appeared to be. There were stories of affairs and sexual encounters within the vast confines of the house that were only whispered about. Tangled in the distasteful stories were also rumors of murder.
One of the bloody tales was told about a hidden passage that extended beyond the castle’s ballroom. It was here that Tiedemann allegedly killed his niece by hanging her from one of the exposed rafters. The stories say that she was insane and that he killed her to put her out of her misery. But it’s possible this was not the truth because others maintain that he killed her because of her promiscuity. He discovered her in bed with his grandson, it is said, and she paid the ultimate price for this transgression.
Tiedemann is also said to have murdered a young servant girl on her wedding day because she rejected his advances. Another version of the story says that the woman who was killed was Tiedemann’s mistress, a woman named Rachel. She accidentally strangled to death in the house after Tiedemann tied her up and gagged her after learning that she wanted to marry another man. It’s possible that Rachel’s spirit is the resident "woman in black" who has been seen lurking around the old tower. Former residents say that they have heard the sound of a woman choking in this room.
More blood was spilled in the house a few years later, after the Mullhauser family sold the castle to the German Socialist Party in 1913. They used the house for meetings and parties, or so it was said. However, the legends of the house maintain that the Socialists were actually Nazi spies and that twenty of their members were machine-gunned to death in one of the castle's secret rooms. They sold the house fifty-five years later, and during the time of their residence, the house was mainly unoccupied.
It is believed that they may have rented out a portion of the house however, as a Cleveland nurse recalled several years ago that she had cared for an ailing attorney in the castle in the early 1930's. She remembered being terrified at night by the sound of a small child crying. More than forty years later, she told a reporter that she "would never set foot in that house again."
In January of 1968, James Romano, his wife, and six children moved into the house. Mrs. Romano had always been fascinated with the mansion and planned to open a restaurant there, but she quickly changed her mind. On the very day that the family moved in, she sent her children upstairs to play. A little while later, they came back downstairs and asked if they could have a cookie for their new friend, a little girl who was upstairs crying. Mrs. Romano followed the children back upstairs, but found no little girl. This happened a number of times, leading many to wonder if the "ghost children" might be the spirits of the Tiedemann children who died in the early 1880's.
Mrs. Romano also reported hearing organ music in the house, even though no organ was there and sounds of footsteps tramping up and down the hallways. She also heard voices and the sound of glass clinking on the third floor, even though no one else was in the house. The Romano’s finally consulted a Catholic priest about the house. He declined to do an exorcism of the place, but told them that he sensed an evil presence in the house and that they should leave.
The family then turned to the Northeast Ohio Psychical Research Society, a now defunct ghost-hunting group, and they sent out a team to investigate Franklin Castle. In the middle of the investigation, one of the team members fled the building in terror.
By September of 1974, the Romano’s had finally had enough. They sold the castle to Sam Muscatello, who planned to turn the place into a church, but instead, after learning of the building's shady past, started offering guided tours of the house. He also had problems with ghostly visitors in the mansion encountering strange sounds, vanishing objects and the eerie woman in black.
He invited Cleveland radio executive John Webster to the house for an on-air special about hauntings and Franklin Castle. Webster claimed that while walking up a staircase, something tore a tape recorder from a strap over his shoulder and flung it down the stairs. "I was climbing the stairs with a large tape recorder strapped over my shoulder," Webster later recalled and then told how the device was pulled away from him. "I just stood there holding the microphone as I watched the tape recorder go flying down to the bottom of the stairs, where it broke into pieces."
A television reporter named Ted Ocepec, who also came to visit the castle, witnessed a hanging ceiling light that suddenly began turning in circular motions. He was also convinced that something supernatural lurked in the house. Someone suggested that perhaps traffic vibrations on the street outside had caused the movement of the light. Ocepec didn’t think so. "I just don’t know," he said, "but there’s something in that house."
Muscatello's interest in the history of the house led him to start searching for the secret panels and passages installed by the Tiedemann's. It was he who made the gruesome discovery of the skeleton behind the panel in the tower room. This discovery apparently had a strange effect on Muscatello as he started becoming sick and lost over thirty pounds in a few weeks. He was never very successful at turning the place into a tourist attraction and eventually sold the place to a doctor, who in turn sold the house for the same amount to Cleveland Police Chief Richard Hongisto.
The police chief and his wife declared that the spacious mansion would make the perfect place in which to live but then, less than one year later, abruptly sold the house to George Mirceta, who was unaware of the house’s haunted reputation. He had bought the castle merely for its solid construction and Gothic architecture. He lived alone in the house and also conducted tours of the place, asking visitors to record any of their strange experiences in a guest book before leaving. Some reported seeing a woman in white, babies crying and lights swinging back and forth. One women even complained of feeling like she was being choked in the tower room. Strangely, she had no idea of the legend concerning that room and the death of Tiedemann’s mistress.
Even though he had a number of strange experiences while living there, Mirceta maintained that the castle was not haunted. If it was, he told reporters, he would be too scared to live there. "There has to be a logical explanation for everything," he told an interviewer.
In 1984, the house was sold once again, this time to Michael De Vinko, who attempted to restore the place. He claimed to have no problems with ghosts in the house but surmised that it may have been because he was taking care of the old place again. He spent huge sums of money in restoration efforts. He successfully tracked down the original blueprints to the house, some of the Tiedemann furniture, and even the original key to the front door, which still worked. Even after spending all of the money though, the house was put back on the real-estate market in 1994.
The castle was sold again in 1999 and the new owner once again attempted to restore the place, even after an arson fire damaged it badly in November of that same year. Work continued throughout his ownership, as he hoped to open the place once again for tours. But had the blood-soaked past of the house left a mark that was still being felt in the present? When asked if the castle was really haunted, the owner admitted that he was not sure that it was, or if he even believed in ghosts at all. However, he did say that many of his friends and family have had had odd experiences here. "Most of them involve either unexplained sounds, or difficult-to-describe feelings."
He added that the castle was not a scary place, but it was a little creepy, especially in the middle of the night. "I've heard strange sounds and hoped to see something or hear something that would prove to me that ghosts exist, but so far it hasn't happened," he said. "So far it's been no spookier than sleeping alone in any old house that creaks in the wind or has rattling pipes."
According to a July 2003 edition of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper, Franklin Castle sold once more and the new owner, a local land developer, has hopes of converting the place into a social club. When completed, he also plans to offer ghost hunters a chance to spend the night in this legendary haunted house, using the new bed and breakfast facilities that are scheduled to open in May 2004.” (http://www.prairieghosts.com/oh-frank.html)
2014 construction was seen on the outside of the home and there were rumors of turning the house into either a 3 family home or a museum. Guess we’ll have to wait to see.

 Author Bio:

The Vampire Queen1 aka Jodie Pierce has been writing since Jr. High School but was unsatisfied with her teenage romance stories. One day, a friend handed her an Anne Rice book and she found her inspiration. She’s been writing about vampires ever since.

The Worm Farm by Helen Bishop (Chapters 5 & 6):

One morning, I called the sheriff's deputy and asked if he had time to go fishing. He allowed as he was thinking about coming out to visit anyway, and sounding pleased said he'd be out later that morning.

We went for bait, and he helped me in my shy way ask the bait guy how many worms I should send for at first. They both acted like I was damaged, so they treated me carefully. The bait man said he hoped I wouldn't run him out of business, and I made myself look shocked, and stammered, "Oh no, sir, maybe I shouldn't raise worms?" He just smiled and said there was plenty of call for worms what with the river so close and for farming, and not to worry. I let them talk me back into it, and the deputy and the bait guy showed me how to fill out the order form and mailed it for me.

Two weeks later the post office called and said I had received some boxes of live animals, would I be home if they came out to deliver? I, of course, said yes, and they brought them on out. I had ordered five thousand worms. Sounds like a lot, but I had a big worm bed and big plans for their place in my future. I had decided to let them feast on the dregs of society, or at least those dregs that I encountered.

One night I had knocked together a small open shed for the bait seller's shack. When my friend the deputy saw it, we couldn't do anything else until he showed me how to make it stronger. I could have done it myself by that time, but he felt better helping me out, and I felt better letting him.

Most of the people in town had gotten over my horrible appearance in that place and the events that had apparently led up to it. They would just as soon forget about it and me, and for those folks I had made it easier to forget, moving all the way the hell out to the river. But I did make some good friends there, too, what with the Sheriff and his deputy, the nurses and the other counselors, and so I had to continue my neediness and slow down any competence I was beginning to feel. I took out books from the library on a regular basis, though less often after I moved. I always got some ‘easy reading’ ones, and some picture books they told me were ‘coffee table’ books.

I actually was pleased to know that people really cared about how I was doing, although it was a new thing for me. So, I tried to call my friends at least once every couple of weeks, to stay in touch, and to stop them from making surprise visits to check on me.

I had put the worms out into their nice clean new beds, and five thousand worms is a damned amount but 20 minutes after I had first laid them out, they were nowhere to be seen. All of those worms had burrowed down into the masses of ground newspaper. I scattered a bunch of worm 'kibble' mixed with road-kill from out of the grinder onto the heaving mass. It smelled terrible to me, but apparently not to the worms, because they came squirming out of the mess and the bed looked alive.

I waited for about an hour then I sprayed down the top of the pile with the hose, just like it said in the brochure from the worm hatchery. The mass quieted down after that but it gave off a gentle steam, like something was cooking underneath. I noticed that the smell from the mixed kibble was gone, too. There wasn't really any odor associated with it, except the wet smell of freshly turned loam. I found it rather pleasant, and was glad that there was no smell that might be questioned by anyone passing by.

I forked over some dirt in my side yard, right off the kitchen and mixed in some of the worm dirt to make it better. That afternoon I called the librarian to see if she could check the classified for a scooter or an old motorized golf cart I could use to get back and forth to town. She said she'd get right on it and unbeknownst to me; she called the sheriff and put a plan in motion.

The end of that week, the deputy called. "Charlie?" he said, "Will you be home this afternoon? I've a load of newspapers for you and Helen (the librarian) wants to come along to see how you're doing."

"Sure I will," I said. "I wanted to ask you about a garden anyway." The deputy allowed as how they'd be out later that afternoon. I swept up and put off feeding the worms so I could show them when they came. Around about 2 that afternoon, several trucks came rolling into my yard. I recognized them as my friends from town. Suddenly glad that I had disguised all my questionable hidey-holes, I went out to meet them. Deputy Dan Jenkins called everyone to order. "Charlie," he said. "A lot of us in town are happy about how you've worked so hard to turn your life around, and we wanted to do something for you." "But you've all done so much..." I interrupted. Dan waved his hand and continued, "We have been talking about it for weeks. We thought about getting you a dog, a puppy really, but puppies are a lot of work and we weren't sure how you'd feel about a dog, after what..." Dan's voice faded off. Helen jumped in, "So, when you called about the golf cart, we all got together and found you a nice used one and Dan and the Sheriff had it gone over at the garage. We all worked on spiffing it up and now," she waved toward the back of the nearest truck, "This is our gift to you!" Dan and some of the other men wheeled out the neatest little golf cart from the rear of the truck. It was newly painted in a barn red color that was resistant to weather. It had a roof-like cover, and they had rolled up plastic 'walls' so I could use it in the rain. They had even fashioned cargo tie-downs, so I could secure the road-kill and other things I picked up.

It was the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for me. And I was happy to let them do it for me, because I had planned to help the town later, in my own way.

The other people who had come out from the town had brought box-lunches and tarps and blankets to sit on in the field and we had a picnic. Afterwards I gave them all a thrill by dumping all the picnic waste, excepting the bottles and cans of course, out onto the worm beds. Those little guys made short work of the scraps, and some of the men came up to me later to ask about them. I showed those who were curious the ways of the giant worm bed. I showed them everything, well almost everything. I demonstrated the grinders and showed the worm 'kibble' and how I mixed it, and I dug up a bucket of the bed to show them the healthy worms. I went to throw some more kibble onto the pile, and some folks came up to help. Most of them were pretty impressed by what I had accomplished. A couple of teen-aged boys stood slightly apart from the rest of us, and were whispering and looking guilty. I kept an eye on them without seeming to, and then a little bit later everyone took their leave.

 I loved having the golf cart, and for the next couple weeks I went everywhere in it. For my first trip, I carefully drove down to the town's hardware store, parked outside and put a nickel into the meter. The owner came out and told me I needn't, but I said I knew that was what was right, and he said 'Good," and led me into the shop.

I told him that I was worried about passersby and other people falling into the worm bed. I also told him that I was scared to leave my home open when I drove down to town. He helped me figure it all out. We drew pictures and hemmed and hawed and hashed it all out. He allowed that I’d need at least a five-foot high fence all the way around the bed. I would need a lockable gate, but the gate would have to be wide enough to bring the golf cart through, because the stuff for grinding up the road-kill and mixing the kibble would need to be inside the fence. He also set me up with a few good deadlocks for the house. I bought a lot of them; I told him I might think of other things to use them on later on, so I wanted an assortment. He told me of a guy in town who could come out to install the fence, and after some more talking we set up the appointment.

When the fence man came out to the farm, he brought his nephew, a teenager named Mike. Mike spent more time asking me about the operation and everything than he did helping his uncle. He was the one who suggested the 'honor system' for my bait shack. He said I wouldn't have to get up so early for the fishermen; they could take their own bait and leave the money.

Even though I didn't think so, I told him that it was a great idea. Mike walked around the whole farm, pointing at this and that, and asking how much each thing cost. I don't cotton well to that kind of talk, but his uncle was setting my fence and I tried to be neighborly. I told Mike I wasn't comfortable talking like that and he blurted out, "But you're rich, ain't ya?" Mike said he didn't mean anything by it, but then his uncle called him and he went over to help.

The fence came out great and Troy, the uncle, showed me all about the locking mechanism for the gate. He said, "and you can put a camera right there and train it over the beds and see anything that happens from inside." Mike said, "Now Uncle Troy, Charlie don't need that." Then I got nervous again.

Dan had told me what plants grew well around the area and came out to drive me to the local nursery. I got some tomato and pepper plants, and a bunch of seed packets. Dan thought I was moving too fast and told me so, but I told him that I wanted to live off the farm as much as I could, and maybe I could sell tomatoes in the bait shack as well. He said that maybe that would be good, and we went back to the farm.

Dan dropped me off and I put the plants in the ground.

Later that week, I noticed more foot traffic going past my farm toward the river. I fixed up the bait shack, and put in an old refrigerated unit to keep the worms in. I also got a metal box and put twenty dollars in change in it, and put it under the counter. I painted an old board, and in my shaky lettering wrote "WORMS- 15c each or $1.50 a dozen. And I put it out leaning against the shed.

I did a little bit of business that first day and I put a couple extra worms in each dozen. I was hoping the people would think it was just good business practice and not think it was because I was dumb or couldn't count.

The next day I was out bright and early, mixing up the kibble and feeding and watering the worms. I recycled the cold worms from the cooler into the kibble and dipped out a few more.

When I walked back up to the bait shack, I heard a noise and saw bike tracks in the dirt. Coming around the side of the shack I saw the bike and saw the back end of someone going through my stuff. I slammed the countertop, and the kid jumped a mile.

"What are you playing at, friend?"

The kid dropped what was in his hands and made to bolt. I cuffed him on the side of his head and he went down like a stone, dropping the open change box when he fell.

It took some doing to get the boy down to the dungeon, and I thanked the townspeople several times under my breath for the gift of the golf cart. When I got him down there, I sat him against the wall, and tied him tightly to the run-out stake and the tie rings. I thought about stripping him naked, but I figured that could be saved for another time farther along. I made sure the bonds were tight, then went back outside, carefully closing everything behind me. I really wanted to watch the boy, but I had chores and he would wait.

I spent some time in the bait shack with my tools dismantling the boy's bike, and put the pieces into my buckets and drove on down to the river bank. I threw those pieces as far as I could from several places along the bank. Then I dug up some of the loamy sludge along the bank to give the garden and my worms. I thought with all the stuff that got into the river, it might be like fertilizer in a way. I drove back home, and cleaned everything up, went and washed my hands, and went back down to the room.

Author Bio:

Helen Bishop is a native of Pennsylvania and a true fan of the written word. She works as a litigation paralegal; reads on average 20 books a week; writes book reviews for an internet blog; writes stories, poems and novels in various genres; and-just to fill out her dance card-contracts with fellow authors to proofread and copy-edit their work before it goes to the publisher. You can check her out at
thttps://www.facebook.com/HelenBishopAuthor?ref=bookmarks, and 

A Southern Hospitality Companion Story


Brien O’Raigh

Metapol Headquarters in Downtown Storm City…

Two men awaken. Their arms and legs are restrained. They begin to struggle.
“You can’t hold us here!” The large man hisses. “This is against our rights!”
Randall watches through a two-way mirror in the room. He turns around and looks at Agent Lance Thomas. He rubs his chin. “So these are the two you found at Club Chaos?”
“Yes, we were informed by a young woman who was cleaning the VIP rooms.” Lance says.
“Why did they contact you and not the SCPD?”
Lance rubs the back of his neck. “Well, um, she isn’t human, Detective.”
“Nor am I, Agent Thomas.” Rand reveals. “I think I can handle myself pretty well.”
“I know what you are, Detective.” Lance says. “Known since the first time I saw you. You’ll see soon enough how to take care of incubi and succubi.”
“Uh, huh.” Randall says. “You ever face off against one, Agent.”
“Well, no. They haven’t been around for over a century.”
“And why is that?”
“I have no fucking clue.”
“They dilute the blood and make it insatiable for vampires.” Rand explains. “Someone, a vampire, most likely, pissed off the Dark Lord. He’s the only one who can bring back an extinct species like this.”
“Are you trying to say that Lucifer is responsible for the return of these creatures?”
“Yes. Why? I don’t know.”
“Where do you think they would go?”
“Don’t know. But our best bet is to keep an eye on Club Chaos.” Rand rubs his chin. “Something tells me that Club Chaos is the center of activity for all manner of dark creatures.”
Rand turns and sees two agents with chainsaws enter the room with the two incubi.
The thinner incubus, Tim, looks up at the two agents. “What the fuck are you doing?” He struggles.
The restraints begin to come apart and the incubi continue to flail. Clink! Lance sees the incubi come free of their restraints. Pieces of the tables go flying across the room. The agents slash with their chainsaws. The superspeed of the incubi allows them to avoid the chainsaws.
Before Rand and Lance can move, the two-way mirror is covered with blood. They rush towards the door leading into the holding room. As they arrive, the two incubi throw the door off its hinges at them.
“Kill the vampire!” The large hulking incubi says.
Tim zooms over to Rand and picks him up. “Hello, Detective. Your time on this Earth has come to an end.”
Bullets hit Tim in the shoulder causing him to drop Rand. He turns his head towards Lance. “Rand get out of here!”
“Your agents did no good, Lance!”
“No kidding!”
“Oh, my dear Agent, your time to die is now!” Tim rushes over at Lance.
A bullet goes right into Tim’s head dropping him. Tim skids on the ground. He stops at the foot of Lance. Lance takes a step back. He turns to Rand. “We need to rip him apart!”
“With pleasure!” Rand speeds over and begins ripping the limbs from Tim. Blood splashes everywhere. “Where can we burn the body?”
“I’ll get a cart to take the body to our crematorium.”
“Get it! I’ll chase down the other one!” He turns and rushes down the hall opposite the direction of Lance. He rounds the corner and skids to a stop. There in front of him are four creatures of the night, 2 incubi and 2 succubi. “Oh, shit!”
Atatoli looks at Det. Goodson. Blood covers his shirt, pants, hands, and shoes. A raised brow is on his face. “I see our friend has met his demise at your hands. That is not a good sign for you.”
Rand gulps. He knows firsthand how dangerous these creatures are. He pulls out his pistol. “I am not afraid of you four.”
“A pistol, Detective? Really?” Atatoli asks with a grin on his face. “Do you honestly think that bullets are going to stop us?”
“Try me. These aren’t ordinary bullets.”
Atatoli zooms right up into the face of Rand. He slaps the pistol out of his hand. The pistol flies across the room and skids to a stop against the far wall. He pokes the chest of Rand. “If I wanted to kill you, detective, you’d be dead. But I am going to let you live. I think you could be useful to us. Kanto?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Take our friend here into custody. The Dark Lord will love to make his acquaintance.”
“But he killed Tim!” Savannah screams. “Why should he get the privilege to meet our Lord?”
“Oh, dear Savannah, I believe that Lucifer could convince our friend here to join us.” Atatoli slyly says. He turns to Kanto. Kanto zooms over and pins Rand’s arms to his side. Rand tries to break free, but Kanto is stronger than he is. “Now, detective, you’ll learn who your real master is.”
Kanto smiles. “Time for your indoctrination, vampire!” Rand hangs his head knowing he cannot break free of Kanto’s grip. Kanto laughs.
The succubi and incubi walk out of the Metapol holding cells and into the night. Matthew Thomas rushes into the back of the holding cells as the back door busts open. He stops at the docks as he sees the incubi and succubi rise into the air. Rand is being carried away by Kanto. The five, quickly, disappear into the night sky.
“Fuck!” Screams Matthew. “Captain Hill is not going to like this one bit! Fuck!”
Lance rolls the cart towards the crematorium as he feels the cool air of the night. He turns to see his brother, Matthew returning from the docks. There is a look of disappointment on his face.
“Matt, what happened?”
“We lost him, Lance.” Matthew says angrily.
“Lost who?”
“Detective Goodson.”
“Where is he?” A sense of fear overcomes Lance.
“He was taken by the incubi and succubi.”
“Not good.” Lance says. He shakes his head. “We need help. Call for a meeting with the Blood Lords 5.”
“You sure you want a meeting with the vampires?” Matthew says holstering his pistol.
“Positive. Working together we can get an advantage for everyone involved. It will benefit them as well as Storm City to get rid of these vile creatures before more are made.”
“Okay. I will get it done.”
“Thanks. We will need to find a way to get back Detective Goodson.”
“It won’t be easy.”
“That’s part of the reason for the meeting, Matt. We need their help.”
“I hope this goes well.”
“As do I.”

Author Bio:

I am an author and artist. I am a family man, love my future wife, daughter, and son. My daughter is not biological, she is my future wife’s daughter, but she calls me Daddy.
I love to write. It is a passion of mine. Some would say an obsession, but those don’t really support me when they call it an obsession.
My writing usually combines my influences of Epic Fantasy, Sci-Fi Sagas, Paranormal, Classic Horror monsters, Superheroes and more. With what I like movie wise it would be hard for most people to understand some of my major influences in writing.
My influences include: J.K. Rowling, E.B. White, Homer, William Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Chris Claremont, Lara Hama, Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman, J Michael Strasczynski, Todd McFarlane, Scott Lobdell, Timothy Zahn, Roald Dahl, Cassandra Clare, amongst others.


**Anyone looking for a GREAT editor/beta reader should contact Jessica Sawa (same name on facebook) or at her email: jessisawapromotions@gmail.com. She does excellent work and is even offering specials for Nano pieces!!! Check her out!!!

***Ronald Edward Griffin has a new contract with Immortal Publishing and is releasing and re-releasing some of his books you can see here:

****Jodie Pierce has a new book coming out the end of November titled Vampiro do Brasil which will be released first in English and then in Portuguese. Follow her on Facebook for more information (screenname Jodie Pierce-Author). Book cover to be revealed TBA at a Facebook event hosted by her so keep checking her page for more information. The cover is being done by Lindsey Jayne of L J Book Creations which can also be found on Facebook!

*****Jason Blayne has Shadow Wolves Youthful Inexperience that came out and the upcoming Shadow Wolves Tears of Blood is coming out in early 2016. Look him up and show him some love!

******If you'd like to contribute an article or become a columnist, please contact me at darknesswithin.jpierce@gmail.com. Also, please feel free to leave a comment here letting us know what you think of the ezine! We love to hear from our readers!!!!

Keep Writing/Reading!

Jodie Pierce

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