RE-Share: COLLEEN’S 2019 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Wake of the Sadico,” BY AUTHOR, Jo Sparks, @Sparks777

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Featuring Your New Weekend Count Down to Halloween Read!

Since I didn’t have time to write a new book review this week, I thought it would be nice to re-share one of my favorite reads from 2019! Are you looking for the perfect paranormal Autumn read?

About this Book

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due. 

Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.

Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves. 

Until they find a shipwreck. 

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico. 

In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair. 

This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

When five friends embark on a Caribbean dive vacation, they encounter an evil that will change their lives forever. If you’re looking for a suspenseful read for the Halloween season, make it this book. Intrigued? Let’s meet the characters.

Melanie is a gorgeous, spoiled twenty-something who likes to manipulate men for sexual favors. Her current lover, Wall Eddington, is a cool-headed British diver accompanying her on the trip. Will Melanie ditch him for one of the other men?

Jill, voted the best student in her cousin Jon’s dive class, is determined to conquer her fears. Jon’s dive shop, the Crusty Porthole, boasts the top-rated training in Delaware. Jill’s best friend Mike, the amateur bodybuilder, partnered with Jon years ago. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s during their first Carribean dive that Jill witnesses Mike, actually stroking a moray eel who seems content to rub against his glove. But it is her encounter with a reef shark that sends her over the edge.

A petrified Jill surfaces with Wall and Melanie, leaving Mike and Jon below. When the pair return to the surface they inform the others that the reef below is actually a shipwreck!

The untouched ship beckons to the crew. The five friends dream of riches and gold—treasure!

While preparing for the monumental salvage task before them, Jon asks the girls to make a quick trip into St. John’s to see his friend, Nita at the Center for Spiritual Studies.

Once there, Nita offers a spiritual reading to Jill. Left alone to her own devices, Melanie looks for a book to read. Suddenly, an old woman offers her a book entitled, “Repeating the Past,” adding, “This is the one you’re living.” Pretty creepy if you ask me.

Meanwhile, Jill experiences a past life regression that literally made me shiver as the past and present merge into a terrifying adventure that I could not put down.

I’m not a water person, and deepwater makes me uncomfortable. The vivid descriptions of the dives made me cringe… but I kept reading on, captured by the characters and the strange occurrences that plagued the crew.

Sparks has a flair for the paranormal and those eerie elements propel this story on until the surprising ending. If you don’t believe in reincarnation there’s a good chance you will after reading this book! If not, enjoy the read. Just make sure to keep the lights on!

MY RATING

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*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

From television shows to football articles, Jo Sparkes can’t put the pen down. She’s interviewed Emmit Smith and Anquan Boldin (as Arizona Cardinals), taught screenwriting at the Film School at SCC, and went on camera to make “Stepping Above Criticism”.

An award winning writer, she lives happily in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their dog, Oscar.

Jo Sparks: Amazon Author Page
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How to Connect with the Author

Blog:  josparkes.com

Facebook: Jo Sparkes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sparkes777

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Cusp of Night,” BY AUTHOR, Mae Clair, @MaeClair1

Featuring Your Mid-Week Read!

About this Book

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.   

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

After surviving a car accident that nearly killed her, Maya Sinclair moves to Hodes Hill, Pennsylvania. She decides to rent an old brownstone close to where Charlotte Hode was murdered over a century ago.

Maya is still haunted by the time she spent in the Aether, hovering between life and death in a reality where souls with unfinished business lingered. Now, she finds her perceptions altered, opening the doors to her own clairvoyance.

It doesn’t take long for the house to connect with its new occupant. When the clock reaches, 2:22 am known as the cusp of night, terrifying noises explode from the walls of the house. Eventually, Maya recognizes a figure from the Aether… what could it mean?

In a city where the people refuse to let go of the past, the night of the annually celebrated Fiend Festival finally arrives. The townsfolk dress up in costumes to resemble the terrifying creature that murdered Charlotte Hode all those years before. However, this year is different. Something is out there, and it’s killed again!

It turns out that Hode’s Hill sponsored the spiritualist movement of the Nineteenth century in the form of the Blue Lady, a blue-skinned spiritualist who perpetrated a scam against unsuspecting townsfolk. Now, she uses Maya’s sensitivity to the Aether to carry out her task.

Clair skillfully incorporates the tragic story of Lucy Strick, the Blue Lady, with that of Maya Sinclair bringing the past into the future in a story that was so riveting I couldn’t it put this book down.

The author also displays a rare command over language that’s unique. Her vivid descriptions and settings put me in the story, as if I’d experienced the events myself. I’ll never look at my watch at 2:22 am again!

Maya Sinclair is the type of heroine I like the most. She’s flawed, but in a way that makes her seem multidimensional and very human. This town is full of characters, which makes the story even more realistic. The Hode family contains some despicable figures, but Collin Hode teams up with Maya to help solve the mystery of the blue lady.

If I could give this book a rating over five stars, I would. I rarely say that, but this series is exceptional. I’m already reading the second book (End of Day) in the series and have purchased the third book, (Eventide) as well.

If you love mystery and suspense with a healthy helping of the paranormal, you won’t want to miss this series. The first book in the series is the normal price, but the subsequent books are only $.99 each, an excellent value!

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections. 

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats. 

Mae Clair, Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: MaeClair.com

TWITTER: @MaeClair1

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Through the Nethergate,” BY AUTHOR, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, @bakeandwrite

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th-century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

After the death of her parents, Margaret moves to Bungay, England to live with her grandfather. Once there, she realizes she can see the spirits of the dead. Even more terrifying, Margaret sees the spirits of how they looked at the moment of their death. If that’s not creepy enough, hang on… this story takes a dark turn. Soon, Margaret realizes she must figure out how to free these lost souls from the ultimate evil.

Some of the ghosts are evil and some are good, while others seem to be stuck between the worlds in a sort of limbo. Margaret’s gift of sight acts as a catalyst for some and the ghosts begin to incarnate and interact with our world. All of this activity alerts the big guy below and he fantasizes about Margaret’s abilities and what her power could do for him.

Cheadle builds her story off of the legend of Black Shuck, the Devil Dog of Bungay who in 1577 terrorized the parishioners of the local church by killing two people kneeling in prayer after bursting through the church doors amid a flash of lightning. In the book, the dog resurfaces as the evil Hugh Bigod, the vilest of spirits who commands the other spirits who chose not to go into the light when they died.

What makes this story stand out from other YA horror novels is how the author weaves the historical accounts of real-life murderers into her plot. Some of these accounts, while interesting, bogged down some of the pacing in the novel. Yet, it didn’t stop me from reading into the wee hours to find out what happened next.

Additionally, I found the story to be heavily influenced by the Christian concepts of heaven, hell, and the devil. These aspects didn’t affect my personal view, except that I don’t think a belief in spirits belongs to any specific religion.

I found the political elements in the story to be the most compelling. There are some valid points made between the rise of fascism/nationalism and the spread of evil in our current world cultures skillfully woven into the story. The author intertwined many other current events into the storyline including “fake news,” mass shootings, and the war in Syria, all as part of the machinations of Lucifer.

This book had plenty of terrifying moments to hold a reader’s attention. I thought the story concept was solid and the author’s approach to history enriched the storytelling. If you love YA fiction, you’ll enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle-grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades

Robbie Cheadle, aka Roberta Eaton Cheadle Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: Robbie Cheadle: Books, Poems, Reviews

TWITTER: Robbie Cheadle @bakeandwrite

FACEBOOK: Robbie Cheadle

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COLLEEN’S 2019 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Wake of the Sadico,” BY AUTHOR, Jo Sparks, @Sparks777

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Featuring Your New Weekend Count Down to Halloween Read!

About this Book

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due. 

Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.

Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves. 

Until they find a shipwreck. 

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico. 

In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair. 

This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

When five friends embark on a Caribbean dive vacation, they encounter an evil that will change their lives forever. If you’re looking for a suspenseful read for the Halloween season, make it this book. Intrigued? Let’s meet the characters.

Melanie is a gorgeous, spoiled twenty-something who likes to manipulate men for sexual favors. Her current lover, Wall Eddington, is a cool-headed British diver accompanying her on the trip. Will Melanie ditch him for one of the other men?

Jill, voted the best student in her cousin Jon’s dive class, is determined to conquer her fears. Jon’s dive shop, the Crusty Porthole, boasts the top-rated training in Delaware. Jill’s best friend Mike, the amateur bodybuilder, partnered with Jon years ago. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s during their first Carribean dive that Jill witnesses Mike, actually stroking a moray eel who seems content to rub against his glove. But it is her encounter with a reef shark that sends her over the edge.

A petrified Jill surfaces with Wall and Melanie, leaving Mike and Jon below. When the pair return to the surface they inform the others that the reef below is actually a shipwreck!

The untouched ship beckons to the crew. The five friends dream of riches and gold—treasure!

While preparing for the monumental salvage task before them, Jon asks the girls to make a quick trip into St. John’s to see his friend, Nita at the Center for Spiritual Studies.

Once there, Nita offers a spiritual reading to Jill. Left alone to her own devices, Melanie looks for a book to read. Suddenly, an old woman offers her a book entitled, “Repeating the Past,” adding, “This is the one you’re living.” Pretty creepy if you ask me.

Meanwhile, Jill experiences a past life regression that literally made me shiver as the past and present merge into a terrifying adventure that I could not put down.

I’m not a water person, and deepwater makes me uncomfortable. The vivid descriptions of the dives made me cringe… but I kept reading on, captured by the characters and the strange occurrences that plagued the crew.

Sparks has a flair for the paranormal and those eerie elements propel this story on until the surprising ending. If you don’t believe in reincarnation there’s a good chance you will after reading this book! If not, enjoy the read. Just make sure to keep the lights on!

MY RATING

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5-fairies.png

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

From television shows to football articles, Jo Sparkes can’t put the pen down. She’s interviewed Emmit Smith and Anquan Boldin (as Arizona Cardinals), taught screenwriting at the Film School at SCC, and went on camera to make “Stepping Above Criticism”.

An award winning writer, she lives happily in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their dog, Oscar.

Jo Sparks: Amazon Author Page
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How to Connect with the Author

Blog:  josparkes.com

Facebook: Jo Sparkes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sparkes777

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also!  Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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Are you looking for more great reads? Join authors D.G. KayeSally Cronin, and Colleen Chesebro in our writer’s group on FacebookThe Literary Diva’s Library to find book reviews, book promotions, & special deals on books from all the independent authors you love.

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Colleen’s #Book #Reviews – “The Fall of Lilith,” by Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega

  • Title: The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angel Series)
  • Amazon Author Page: Vashti Quiroz Vega
  • File Size: 5521 KB
  • Page Number Source ISBN: 1947475002
  • Print Length: 504 Pages
  • Publisher: Self-Published by Author
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2017
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B074CPKLHH
  • ISBN-10: 1947475002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1947475007
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Literature & Fiction, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Occult

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:

“In The Fall of Lilith, Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts an irresistible new take on heaven and hell that boldly lays bare the passionate conflicted natures of God’s first creations: the resplendent celestial beings known as angels.

If you think you know their story, think again.

Endowed with every gift of mind, body, and spirit, the angels reside in a paradise bounded by divine laws, chief of which are obedience to God, and celibacy. In all other things, the angels possess free will, that they may add in their own unique ways to God’s unfolding plan.

Lilith, most exquisite of angels, finds the rules arbitrary and stifling. She yearns to follow no plan but her own: a plan that leads to the throne now occupied by God himself. With clever words and forbidden caresses, Lilith sows discontent among the angels. Soon the virus of rebellion has spread to the greatest of them all: Lucifer.

Now, as angel is pitted against angel, old loyalties are betrayed and friendships broken. Lust, envy, pride, and ambition arise to shake the foundations of heaven . . . And beyond. For what begins as a war in paradise invades God’s newest creation, a planet known as Earth. It is there, in the garden called Eden, that Lilith, Lucifer, and the other rebel angels will seek a final desperate victory—or a venomous revenge.”

“[A] compelling narrative that . . . Strays far from the traditional biblical text . . . A well-written, descriptive, and dark creation story.”—Kirkus Reviews


MY RECOMMENDATION:

The Fall of Lilith is a high fantasy that delivers the reader into the imaginative realm of Floraison, better known as Heaven. Forget what you learned in Sunday School. This version of events has nothing to do with Lilith, Adam’s first wife, from the Hebrew texts. If you love inventive fantasy, read on!

Book One is dedicated to the lives of the heavenly angels in Floraison where they live under God’s laws. They are required to adhere to the rules, with no questions asked. The young angel’s days are filled living blissfully in a celestial Garden of Eden. As these heavenly beings mature, they develop into spectacular angels with resplendent wings and powers that are unsurpassed.

God eventually separates his godly offspring into groups by rank: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

However, this newfound maturity creates problems for the angels. Raised like sisters and brothers, they suddenly take notice of their own bodies with feelings of love and desire for each other. Lilith feels the first pull of the lust for free-will and wastes no time in questioning God’s rules.

Lilith is the catalyst, and as some of the angels follow her lead, there are others that revolt and refuse to succumb to her wiles. The great manipulator, Lilith convinces a group of angels to rebel against God and his laws believing they can change Floraison into what they desire.

The war between good and evil escalates quickly, and the penalties for failure are harsh. Lilith and her cohorts are banished from God’s kingdom of Floraison and sent to earth. They are stripped of their heavenly abilities and made to live like humans.

Book Two deals with the survival of the earthbound angels. On earth, their celestial forms have been changed. The most noticeable transformations are in Lucifer and Lilith, although some of the angels are made to suffer unbearable lives because of their deceit. Lucifer becomes the red demon and Lilith, now possesses the lower body of a snake. God’s wrath is reflected in each of the fallen angel’s new forms.

Life on earth for the angels is unforgiving and the struggle to survive is strong. The one constant is Lilith and her unquenchable thirst for power and control. Her machinations don’t stop on earth. Instead, they increase, leading to a spectacular ending that will surprise you.

There is a subtle message that resonates with the story besides the good vs. evil theme. It centers on the realization that not all rules are bad – some control is needed to tame the chaos. An excellent lesson for modern times.

Vashti Quiroz-Vega skillfully created Lilith, the protagonist, as the epitome of the evil enchantress. The rest of the characters swirl around her larger than life vileness. I was enchanted by the novel, the characters, and the creative ingenuity of both worlds. It’s a long read but well worth every word.

I’ve added this book to my Me Time category for Fantasy. If you love angels, you won’t want to miss this epic story!

MY RATING:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate:  5 out of 5 FAIRIES

five fairies


Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega

About the Author

“Hello! My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega. I’m a writer of Suspense, Thriller, Fantasy, and Horror. I also enjoy mixing in some Humor and Romance into my stories.

From the time I was a young kid, writing has been my passion. I’ve always been a writer I just didn’t know it until much later. For me, it is easier to express my thoughts on paper than with the spoken word. I enjoy making people feel an array of emotions with my writing. I like my audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

My love of animals and nature are often incorporated into my stories. You’ll read intriguing things about various animals, nature and natural disasters, all commingled into my character driven novels.

I love to read almost as much as I love to write. Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown.”

AUTHOR CONTACTS

BLOG: The Writer Next Door

TWITTERhttp://twitter.com/VashtiQV

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGEhttp://on.fb.me/1g0da7d

GOOGLE+https://plus.google.com/+VashtiQVega

PINTERESThttps://www.pinterest.com/vashtiq/


Thanks for stopping by to meet Vashti and hear about her NEW book!

Consumed: A Short Story

halloween cupcake

Happy Halloween, everyone. I convinced Colleen to let me post a spooky story today, and hope you all enjoy it. Whatever you’re doing; spending time with friends, attending a party, travelling across the country (we’re thinking of you, Colleen), working, relaxing – have a great day and stay safe.


Matthew

I pressed my hand over Cindy’s mouth and shook my head. Her big, tortured blue eyes were bright with tears. I didn’t need to read the fear; I could feel it. It pressed all around us, battling my own. The tiny closet was suffocating. It was a vacuum, sucking out all hope of salvation and bleeding us dry.

At the pounding on the bedroom door, my body jerked; drawing my attention. The door was holding strong, mainly due to all the furniture we’d pushed up against it. It would not hold forever.

When the barrier collapsed and he came into the room, he would see the balcony window wide open. This was part of my plan; to convince him we’d made a run for it. He had to believe we were desperate enough. I’d left other clues; a knotted bed sheet tied to the railing, one of the mattresses on the ground below.

It was a risk. If any part of him remained, he would see right through the ploy. Even desperate I would never lead my sister into a nightmare. What was out there – it was worse than the hell we were already living. Unless he found us.

I felt my hand spasm in response to a loud crack and almost lost it when Cindy’s head shot back. It struck the wall of the closet, the sound impossibly loud in the tight space. The silence that followed prickled along my skin.

I knew what it meant. He had found a way in, this monster who used to be our brother.

Cindy drew my attention when I felt her draw in breath; a scream building in her throat. I knew it, and was powerless to stop it. I tried anyway, my eyes pleading with hers to keep it together.

‘Please,’ I mouthed, our gazes locked.

I felt tears burn when I saw her shoulders relax, and Cindy nodded against my hand. She had my back. I let the tears fall; the only response I was able to give. I didn’t make a sound, I didn’t move. I stared into my sister’s eyes and, in doing so, gave her what I always gave her. My promise that I would keep her safe.

After a long, tense moment, I turned my head and peered through the slats in the door. Seeing the monstrosity that was our brother almost broke me. So I turned back to Cindy, snapping my eyes shut and squeezing them tight in a nonverbal command. She complied immediately, which lifted some of the weight from my chest. Cindy did not need to see the thing crawling over our barricade into the bedroom.

I had no choice but to face it, and what I saw extinguished all hope we would ever get our brother back. The virus had eaten away at his humanity until there was nothing left. Jerry’s jaw hung slack and foam frothed at the corners of his mouth. His eyes were bloodshot, his body twitching with barely contained violence. The pain of seeing him that way seared through me until it was all I could feel.

When those eyes honed in on the closet, I fought the urge to scoot back. He knew. My plan had failed, and now we were cornered.

Jerry moved slow, drawing it out; red eyes narrowed on target. The reality of what would happen; the loss, the fear. It exploded in my head and something snapped.

I didn’t think. I moved. I grabbed the first heavy object I could put my hand on, which turned out to be a dumbbell and surged out of the closet.

Jerry’s expression showed no surprise as I tackled him and we fell to the thick, carpeted floor. There was only death in his eyes.

No. No. No. No.

I struck the monster who used to be my brother over and over; feeling the anger and injustice burn through me. I saw nothing, felt nothing, but the uncontrollable need to be free of this nightmare.

***

Cindy

I moved on shaky legs to the edge of the closet, trying to pry my eyes away from the horror in front of me. We had lost Jerry to a vicious disease and the unfairness of that was hard to live with.

It hit us all hard but, Matthew, my sweet, protective older brother – it almost destroyed him. It was eating at him, even now.

“Matt,” I whispered, terrified of what might happen if I lost him too. If I couldn’t bring him back from the edge.

I took another step toward him; the scene burning itself into my retinas. Matthew battled with a monster only he appeared to understand. I wanted to know what he saw; why the thought of losing me drove him into darkness when there should be so much light. He loved me, so much his protective streak could be suffocating. Yet there was beauty in it too.

“Matty?”

He didn’t respond to my call. He didn’t respond to anything until the lights went out. Then I felt him move. Matthew dropped the dumbbell and scrambled backwards. I saw his outline, thanks to a trickle of moonlight, and instinctively I responded to his fear. I scooted back into the closet and curled myself into a ball. I just wanted it to be over.

***

Matthew

As I shot into the closet, slamming the doors closed, I questioned the logic of shutting us back in our prison. There was blood all over my face. My brother’s blood. No, a monster’s blood; diseased and possibly contagious. What if I hurt my sister? The thought of it was so huge there was no room for anything else. It didn’t even register when the lights flicked back on. But it did register when I saw my mom.

“Mom,” I whispered, pushing open the doors. I felt only relief in her presence, knowing she would protect Cindy. I had to relinquish the job. I was contaminated. I could feel it; squirming in my blood like a poisonous snake.

“You have to take Cindy, mom,” I said, unable to look at my sister. “I’m infected.” I swiped at my face, but it was too late now. It was too late to save myself.

“That’s why I’m here, baby,” she whispered, dropping to her knees. “There’s a cure. We can fight this.” One hand gripped my chin, forcing my head up. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

I wanted to believe her. So much I fell into her arms and buried myself against her.

***

Cindy

“He’ll be okay now, sweetheart,” mom said, stepping away from the bed.

I nodded, and climbed up to lay beside Matthew. He was asleep. Finally. He hadn’t even protested when mom gave him the treatment.

“I wonder what he saw,” I whispered, smoothing the hair from his forehead.

“I don’t know, honey. But he’ll be okay. I promise. We’ll get through this.”

Again I nodded. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed away my doubts. I had to be strong for Matthew. His delusions were getting worse, and had been since Jerry died. This was a side effect of grief.

“Don’t worry,” I said, leaning to kiss his temple. “I’ll protect you. We’ll beat those monsters together, Matty. You’re not alone.” Then I curled an arm around him and held on.

***

Thanks for reading.

Mel

The Horse Hole–A Halloween Tale

 

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The sun slowly slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field. Night birds scattered in the branches of the trees while insects droned on in monotony. The air felt cooler now. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun. It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve. Trick-or-Treating kids would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

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The horse hole was visible in the fading light. The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They would hang their enormous necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses. They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of candy to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit and my decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped my glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

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The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit and an orange glow cast long shadows on the street. The children ran ahead of their parents, laughing with their friends. Parents milled about in small groups watching their children, always near. The sounds of laughter completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I watched and smiled at how cute the kids were, enjoying their banter.

By 8:30 p.m. most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch, and put away the decorations in the bin I stored them in. It was such a lovely night, and a Friday night too. I refilled my wine glass and went out back to my patio that overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

It was a marvelous night. Stars lightly sprinkled the night sky and were spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day barely lingered and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the view of the night sky.

Suddenly, I smelled the most obnoxious odor. It seemed to waft, thick like fog from the horse hole in the fence. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They seemed frightened as their cries filled the vicinity of the field. I was rooted to my chair, unable to move.

There he was – the Headless Horseman! His profile was etched in the inky darkness of the horse hole! I heard my wine glass fall and shatter to the ground as shards of glass flew all around me.

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(Image credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, as his blood-red eyes glared at me! He balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right arm. I could see him clearly and there was NO head! The buttons on his coat were visible in the light from the pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt like my eyes were popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole. The Headless Horseman whirled about and was gone! The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker and moisture dripped from the remaining leaves left on the trees. I started trembling uncontrollably. All around me it was silent. My breaths came in great gasps. I shifted in my chair and looked around my back yard. I looked specifically at the horse hole. It was all dark – just swirling fog.

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He was really gone! I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. I relaxed my tightened muscles and gradually stood up. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

My husband came to the back door and called out to me to come to bed as it was getting late. I told him I was just coming in and would be right there. Could I really tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me, I thought. No, I would keep this encounter to myself. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate, I figured. I will just clean up this mess in the morning.

I went into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light. I had enough Halloween for one night.

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I hope you enjoyed my Halloween tale which was inspired from one of my favorite television shows, “Sleepy Hollow.”  Thanks for stopping by so I could scare see you!

Silver Threading