I love it when I get the willies while writing. That’s what’s happening right now as I continue writing the first volume of Havoc Tales. Even with the lights on, I have to pause, go to the kitchen, put on a cup of coffee. Something. Anything to steer my mind away for just a few moments and let me calm down.
I’m taking one of those moments to do just that and to remind you that the first volume will soon be finished. This series of novellas follows a team led by Jack Havoc as they face the impossible, the unpredictable, and the horrifying. A throwback to the ’40s and ’50s creature films, Havoc Tales is sure to delight and hopefully frighten you.
The large oak, its low-hanging branches, and broad leaves was chosen as the place to sit. The ground was supple and cool to the touch, and the roots were deep, not on the surface and boney, making for a comfortable place to sit.
Jared stared off into the neglected field as Landel waited patiently, his manner of stoicism perfectly suited to the circumstance. Despite Jared’s knowledge of his Grandmother, nearly all of it coming second hand from family friends, the police, and the courts, it had over time become an unstitched patchwork of memories that needed time and careful handling to be put back together. They were memories much like the field and the barn beside where they were sitting, abandoned and gone to seed. So it was to be expected that when Jared began, the horses would be meandering out of the gate.
“I can’t remember when I last spoke to her,” Jared began, focusing on the cluster of dandelions between his legs. He brushed one of the hearty little flowers with his finger, its yellow petals bending to his will, before plucking the stem. He held it close, gently twisting the stem between his fingers, the flower spinning as he did. “She was locked up in the Osawatomie State Hospital for several years.” The flower spun faster. “They let her out a couple of years back, but I—” He shook his head as if trying to force the words out. “I never went to visit her.”
“And yet, after all that time, you stopped in the front of her house and watched her before leaving town,” Landel said evenly pitched and calm.
Jared looked up at him. “How did you know about that?” It was an obvious question, or it should have been for most people. But Landel, in their short time together, had already proven himself to be anything but most people. Jared looked back down at the flower, saying nothing about his brief visit.
“I was five years old when my mother died.” His voice held a slight tremor, and the spinning continued. An insect swooped in, circling his head with a buzzing sound. He ducked his head, shooting his hand in the air as he did to swat it away. When the assault was over, his voice recovered angrily. “She was murdered! My grandfather too.”
He threw the carcass of the flower to the ground, lifted his head, and took a deep breath. “I was told that it was a particularly gruesome scene at the house.” Jared looked up, the effect of his remembering telling in his eyes which had reddened and become laden with tears. “When the police arrived on the scene, they found my grandmother covered in blood.” The first tear fell, and he absently wiped it with the back of his hand. “There was blood on the floor, on the furniture, on the walls—” His voice crescendoed, shaking badly before catching in his throat. His tears now ran freely as he ignored the dandelions and clawed into the dirt and rock with his fingers. “On the ceiling!”
Finding a good one, Jared flung the rock as hard as he could, falling well short of the barn. He watched as the rock crash-landed, kicking up some dust and vanishing in the weeds. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes using both hands as his face changed with the anger that arose. “Their limbs were separated, torn from their sockets, and their flesh was clawed and shredded as if by a wild beast.”
Jared shifted position and leaned back against the trunk of the oak. He let out a gasp as if a great burden had been thrown down off his back. He began to laugh. “And my grandmother?” He turned to Landel, who watched impassively and patted his arm. “Oh yes, she was covered in blood—their blood, crouched in the corner of the room without a single injury.” His laughter grew louder.
“And you want to hear the best part, hmm?” His eyes, now dry from the tears, had a wild look to them. “She claimed that it was a demon that killed my mother and her husband.” He shook his head violently. “Can you believe it? Wicked, big, and powerful—much more powerful than any normal man or woman.”
Without a word, Landel stood up and began to walk into the field.
“Where are you going?” Jared asked, pushing himself to his feet.
Landel walked steadily, with purpose, until he found himself in the middle or close proximity. He lifted his face to the sky as Jared ran to catch up, which he soon did, staring at this strange man whom he had only recently met.
“What’s going on, Landel? What aren’t you telling me?”
Jared was answered with a silence that had gone on long enough as far as he was concerned. Angrily, he grabbed Landel’s arm and attempted to turn the man toward him, but it was like trying to move a great rock. So Jared stepped around in front of him. “I know you know something, so tell me, please?”
Finally, Landel relented, lowering his gaze to the young man. The two just looked at each other for a few moments. “I believe I have the answer to what really happened to your mother and your grandfather.”
This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.
The return to old memories has been difficult for Jared. But in the process, Jared may have discovered some new information from the strange man, Landel.
I don’t know about you, but my days a pretty full. As I am finishing a new book, a plot problem really brought everything to a screeching halt, my head spinning. But as I work through that, and thankfully it is nearly fixed, I am still writing other projects, reviewing books, taking care of the house, spending time with my wife, and going to work.
Sometimes I just need to find a quiet place a read a good book purely for the enjoyment of it.
I bet you do to.
Take a look at my new book, 2520 The Last Day. A dark book for a dark day. Available today from Amazon and other online book outlets.
He awoke, startled to a sound that he may or may not have heard. Jared wasn’t sure as he sat there, in the dark, his chest heaving profusely, his body sweating despite the cold.
The old barn seemed to have a life of its own as it groaned under the force of the wind that rattled the doors. The smell of rain dominated the air, and Jared could still hear it falling though it did so in a more gentle manner.
Whatever it was that sent his mind into a panic, he couldn’t hear it now, and he thought it might have been part of a dream. He started to pick up his phone to check the time but thought better of it. There was only so much battery life, and it wasn’t like there were many options for plugging in.
Whether there was anything to the noise or not, Jared knew that he wouldn’t be able to go right back to sleep, so he got up and slipped on his boots. The breeze whistled through the slats as he worked his way around his motorcycle in the dark. A hue of moonlight painted the night, the rays of which joined the breeze through the slats. It striped the barn floor with faint prison bars, enough to avoid any tripping hazards, as he unlatched the doors and pushed against the wind.
Slipping through, he stepped away from the barn a few feet, his arms outstretched and his eyes closed, the breeze having the desired effect. Soon, his mind fell at ease, and he felt a sudden chill. His eyes popped open when he heard it again. He spun around, crouching, hands raised, his head rotating like a turret. The grass fields surrounding the barn were empty, but he wasn’t surprised. He was pretty sure that whatever it was, it came from inside of the barn.
He found an old shovel leaning against the side of the barn. Its handle was ashen with age and the extremes of weather, its blade brown with rust. Jared picked it up, gripping it tightly, and started to swing it. It was cumbersome but doable, and it gave him enough of a boost in courage to go back inside.
Pulling open the door, he peered inside, the wind catching the door and slamming it against the barn. Startled, he stepped up the plate, wielding the shovel like a baseball bat, ready to send one to left field. Claps of thunder caused him to shudder as he adjusted the grip of his hands on the handle. Leaning in, he looked around, carefully stepping as he did. Much of the barn was cloaked in shadow, and it was there that he focused his attention.
A sudden flash of lightning thrust him inside, and he made a mighty swing, one that would have made the mighty Casey proud. With the shovel at the ready, Jared crept forward, moving to the left, a large pocket of shadow ahead. As he took another step, a metal clang stopped him. He turned to see that the blade had struck a lantern hanging by a nail on one of the support poles. His eye caught it as it settled from his wild swinging.
He reached up; his eyes split between the lamp and the shadow until he had it in hand. He backed up quickly, his back to the falling rain, and held the lamp to his ear and shook it. He smiled when he heard the swoosh and dropped his Casey stance, and patted his pockets.
Finding what he was looking for, he dug deep and pulled out the lighter. It was the only other thing he had from his father besides the Triumph. Flipping the top open, he spun the flint wheel three times, sparks flying. The fourth time, the spark led to a flame. The rain was cold in his back, and he had to cup the lighter with his hand because the wind was so strong. It was all becoming an unwieldy mess, so foregoing the shadows for the moment, he dragged the shovel, its handle pinched under his upper arm, held the lamp in one hand and the lighter in the other, and sidled his way back to his corner.
Leaning the shovel against his bike, Jared lifted the lantern’s globe and lit the wick. Then he heard it again. He crouched low behind the Triumph, shoving the lighter back in his pocket. With an outstretched arm, Jared held the lantern as high as he could from his crouched stance, his eyes looking just over the leather seat of the motorcycle.
With the only sound being the effect of the wind on the old barn, Jared took a breath, reached for the shovel, and slowly stood up. With the lantern, he couldn’t play the role of Casey at bat, but he figured that he could do some damage swinging the shovel with one hand.
His sweep of the barn was slow but methodical, and after a few minutes, he stood in the middle wearing his mud-caked boots and holding a shovel like a farmer waiting to be painted. All that was missing was someone standing by his side, and there wasn’t anyone in the barn. He was certain of that.
He trundled back to the corner, his senses remaining on high alert despite the sweep of the barn. He found a nail in the wall close by where he hung the lantern, its warm flame glowing. He then propped the shovel in the corner, leaning so as not to fall over, and sat down. His eyes looked past the Triumph, watching and listening when he remembered that he left the barn door open. As he started to get up, he looked over to the door and, to his fearful surprise, saw that it was shut.
“What the?” was all he managed, as he pulled the saddlebags close and started looking for his Colt. When he again heard the noise, he ducked his head below the level of the bike, the cold steel of his gun in hand. Pulling back on the hammer, he opened the loading gate and spun the chamber. It was fully loaded. His hand had started to tremble as he closed the gate and lifted the gun.
This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.
Jared Cooper, forced to find shelter in an old barn awakens in the middle of the night to strange sounds.
The bones of this story had been with me a long time before I finally decided to put my nose to it, and get it written. A lot of the intial thoughts, story twists, and specifics have long been trimmed away. Some of those I truly miss. But I feel confident that the story came out the better for it.
As a Christian, the major threads of this story are not the type which fighten me, and yet I know that this story can be frightful to those who read it. One reviewer who said that he loves a good distopian thriller described 2520 The LastDay as gruesome, horrific, and awesome. These words are a delight to my heart, for I hope to elicit similar reactions from many who read the story.
And why would I delight in such responces? Because I want people to be prepared for what is coming. You have heard repeatedly that in politics, elections matter. Well, in life, choices matter. And the types of choices I have laid out in these fictional pages will be more real than you can imagine.
Get your copy of 2520 The Last Day today and jump in for a dark and ominious ride that pulls no punches.
Available now in ebook format from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and other digital outlets. 2520 The Last Day will also be available in print format in a matter of weeks.