As part of our festivities for the eFestival of Words Halloween party, we’re bringing you excerpts from horror, dark fantasy, and Halloween-themed books from small press and indie authors all weekend!.
About the Book
Darkness. It’s the primary fear of small children, the playground of the corrupt, and a piece of it lives inside us all. This anthology of dark and horror fiction includes two previously published stories, a few that have been expanded by popular demand, and three that are brand new, written exclusively for this collection. Also featuring a story contribution by author Mark Gardner.
Several stories included touch on the theme of the innocence of childhood, and the betrayal of the adults meant to protect it. “Worse Than Witches”, the story of a precocious young girl who liked to cry wolf, is not for the squeamish. The fan favorite “Hungry” explores the innocent beginnings of a cannibal, while “In Memorium” touches on the not-so-innocent past of a would-be author.
Darkness pervades every part of life; if not swallowed, it will consume us all.
Stalk the Author!
Excerpt (from the short story Princess)
Vertigo. It swept over Shonna like a wave as she stared down at the happy park goers milling around below her, oblivious to her leaning over the edge of the tower, tears streaming down her face and her heart thumping hard.
This must be what it’s like to be the princess, she thought as the wind whipped her sand-colored peasant gown around her. She swiped at the black wig, even now careful not to smear the thick, red rouge on her cheeks, and readjusted her grip on the spire.
All I have to do is let go. Let go of the spire, let go of this job, and let go of this life. Her hands were sweaty, and her fingers threatened to slip, but she didn’t let go. They were all so blissfully unaware of what went on in the dirty bowels of the place, this magical fairyland on Earth; would they all choose it if they knew the horror that lived under the giant, domed heads of the beloved characters?
At first, she had thought it quaint that they were never out of costume. It was part of the mystique that she had grown up with, and it made the job all the more dreamlike. Then, one day, she felt it: it pulsed below them, convulsing, growing with each new arrival.
“Shonna, you don’t want to do this,” sang a voice from the balcony below her. It was Brad, one of the merry lads of the forest, still in character. “It’s dangerous, and it will frighten the guests. This move is not one of your best.” His voice was off-key from strain. His boss waited at the bottom of the tower, tapping one buckled shoe, his hands on his hips.
“I can’t do it anymore,” she said, and let her pinky and ring finger slip off the spire.
“Please!” he cried. He took a deep breath and plastered on his brightest fairytale smile. “Fair maiden, I implore,” he sang, clutching the front of his tunic at the chest. “Do not fret anymore. We will find a way to make this a better day!”
“Brad, lay off,” she grumbled. “If I hear another rhyme, I’m going to puke.”
He leaned in as close as he could get, lowered his voice, and dropped the singsong act. “Listen, honey. If you don’t get off this damn tower, we’re all going to be in deep doo-doo. We’re running out of girls.”