So you can read my books

Friday, October 29, 2010


The six other stranded bus passengers hugged the heat of the room's roaring fireplace.


It should have been roasting in here. But I was still shivering.

Of course, I was also standing in the far corner. Even the shadows around me seemed cold and unfriendly. I might have only been 12 years old, but I hadn't survived years on the mean streets of four cities by being trusting.

So here I stood.

Our host at the far end of the table called out to me, "Come, boy, warm yourself at my fire. It was a long walk from your broken down bus to my estate."

"Name's Victor Standish, sir. And I'm just fine right here."

I strained to make out his features but the shadows that shouldn't have been masking his whole body stopped me from seeing him clear. "Where's our bus driver?"

"He asked me where the phone was. I told him. He seemed in a hurry to contact his superiors."

I smirked, "He had that many quarters?"

He said, "Show respect to your elders, boy."

"Respect is earned. And the name's Victor Standish."

He shifted in his chair angrily. I went cold. His body ... squished. I realized he was in a wheelchair ... and it blocked the door out of here.

"Tonight is a rare night ... Standish."

His words were spoken oddly ... as if human speech itself was a foreign thing to him.

"It is Samhain, summer's end. The Celtic New Year began this nightfall.

In your ancient Welsh tradition, this evening was called The Three Spirit Night, when all kinds of beings could roam between realities."

I went colder at his use of "your" as if he did not belong to the human race.

He wheeled his chair towards me by only inches but it seemed far, far too close.

"You really should have sat with your fellow passengers. It was over so quickly for them."

I flicked my eyes to them. Oh, crap. Some were slumped on the floor. Some across the tables. Some sat bonelessly in their chairs.

Their eyes were ... melted, flowing like mucus down their withered cheeks. And their shadows were gone ... as if their very souls had been eaten.

"You hold in your fear well ... human."

The fingers of both hands in my pockets plucked up a ball bearing each. "T-The bus driver's dead, too?"

"Oh, yes. You I picked to play with."

"It's been a long day, sir. I'm all played out."

"I think I'll eat your sharp tongue last."

There was nothing in that for me but pain so I said, "H-How did you get here?'

He laughed wetly. "You think me some space creature?"

He turned for a moment to stare into the fires with eyes I could not see nor was unhappy over that fact. "In a way I am from beyond the stars."

He turned back to me, and for a moment, I saw a wet, scaled face that looked more insect than fish. And eyes rhuemy and totally empty of anything human or merciful.

I fought back a shiver. He chuckled in a squishy gurgle.

"It began with the meteorite. The black seed of my birth fell in the back of this estate on the night of Samhain in 1843. Men could not approach the site for weeks because of the heat."

Again that terrible laughter. "And by then, the trees and wildlife were taking on strange shapes."

He wheeled closer still. "Men of your so-called science came finally to investigate. Those that managed to overcome their sudden illness and go back to their homes and beds died in them."

Closer came the wheelchair, and I saw that tentacles, not fingers, grasped the wheels. "The lovely wife of this estate's owner was pregnant."

The wheels squeaked as the chair came right up to me. "She did not survive my birth. As you will not survive this night."

I whipped both hands out of my pockets and shot two ball bearings with all my strength into his gaping maw of a slavering mouth. "Eat this!"

He choked in wet husks. I darted around his chair, twisting aside to dodge the tentacles that suddenly shot from his middle. I saw razored teeth in a second snarling mouth in his damn stomach.

I grasped the back of the chair with both shaking hands. I shoved the nightmare creature along the wooden floor, ducking the tentacles that clutched for my head.

You don't outrun the addicts and perverts on the street by being slow.

I whizzed past the dead passengers and shoved the squirming mockery of a man into the blazing fire. His screams were ... beyond my ability to describe. I hear them in my nightmares still.

I raced out of the room, yelling over my shoulder. "And by the way, Trick or Treat!"


  1. Oh man! I'll be u late tonight. I picture things when I read and sometimes that's worse than nightmares.
    Loved it--can you tell?

  2. Mary : Thanks for the great compliment. It was Halloween "Trick or Treat" gift to all my friends.

  3. Brilliant - simply brilliant!

    Happy Halloween to you too, Roland.

  4. Wendy! It's great hearing from you. Glad you liked my little Halloween tale to be whispered in the night. I've missed you mightily.

  5. A good story to get things started for me tonight. My son wants me to watch another creepy movie for Halloween. Nice job, Roland.

  6. Wendy : How old is your son? He might get a kick out of 12 year old Victor taking on one of Lovecraft's Elder Ones. You're a good sport to watch horror movies with him over the Halloween weekend. Me, I'm going to watch Johnny Depp in SLEEPY HOLLOW again -- maybe the gruesome GHOST SHIP -- then neutralize it by watching VERA CRUZ with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster. Have a great weekend.

  7. Oh man, this was fantastic!!!! And creepy! LOVE that Victor Standish. What a trick for a treat!

  8. The video was almost spookier than the excerpt. A good story; a slight change from your usual posts. Lover the squishy voice, and tentacles. I love being grossed out.


  9. Words Crafter : Yes, Victor Standish is taking on a life of his own. I think of him as a modern day child Ulysses. Thanks for liking my Halloween gift to you.

    Donna : Yes, I'm tempted to get that DVD from Amazon. Halloween is a time for being grossed out. Remember The Hook stories from when we were very young and listening to them in the dark?

  10. Roland, you are a weaver of tales, a spinner of words and I just love stopping by here. Loved the ending :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. That Victor is one almighty sassy survivor!! I love him - he's a great character - he ducks and dives and dodges all sorts of heinous creatures with such wit and style! Love him!!

    Oh this Lovecroft clip is FABULOUS!!Thank you so much for putting this here!!! Makes me want to re-read my Lovecroft all over again!!

    Take care and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

    Take care

  12. Victor Standish is certainly a character! I love the ending to the story.

  13. Totally understood your Halloween comment...The Headless Horseman rode at just the right age, lol!

  14. This was really great. I absolutely LOVE Lovecraft! Thanks for checking out my blog and following!

  15. Very spooky...but Victor has smarts and guts to match. Well done as always. Have a perfectly boo-ful fun time this Halloween.

    PS...I posted my monster story yesterday and my ghost story the day before.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  16. Wonderfully creepy! A perfect story for the eve before Halloween, thank you. Have a wonderful holiday!

  17. Bwa ha ha ha. Love that spine-chilling story. Thanks for sharing. I popped over from Theresa's Halloween Haunting. :) I write MG novels and picture books.

  18. Once again, another gift to share with your admirers.


    Thank you for your kind words at my blog. Frankly I am stunned an agent hasn't snapped you up! And with over 600 followers across the globe. Don't worry, it will come to you In TIme ... I couldn't resist.

    I am thrilled that I have some degree of writing talent. I have been an artist all my life. I hope you dropped into Amber's world, there you can see some of my art. I know you mentioned it, but I wasn't sure if you actually clicked onto the other page.

    I look forward to your next masterpiece of prose.


  19. It's funny you said "neutralize" it. That's what I have to do before I can go to sleep sometimes. Last night we watched "The Orphanage" in spanish with subtitles. It was very creepy but the end is extremely sad. I think we're doing John Carpenter's "The Thing" tonight. Oh, and my son is 23. He and his fiance live with us currently for the time being while she finishes her Library Tech courses. She's not as big a movie buff as my son and I.

  20. Wendy : For a clue to who is human and who isn't at the end of THE THING -- watch whose breath comes out as billows of frost and whose doesn't. THE CRAZIES is one of the better of the more recent horror movies -- I think you and your son would enjoy that.

    Michael : Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have visited your Amber's World blog and even commented. I am considering doing a requested post tomorrow of McCord and 12 year old Samuel Clemens battling in DreamTime for my Halloween Day tale -- but it is rather long.

    Robyn : Don't be a stranger now that you've visited once.

    Heather : Thanks and have an all treat Halloween yourself.

    N. R. : I'm going to visit your story now. Thanks for commenting.

    King : Thanks for following back and yes, Lovecraft was one of a kind. My 2nd idea for a post tomorrow was to re-post one written by the ghost of H P Lovecraft himself. But nobody like re-runs.

    Kittie : Yes, he did, didn't he?

    The Golden Eagle : Victor Standish is my Harry Potter I think.

    Kitty : Yes, Victor is a child Ulysses, a street orphan whose wit and bravery comes to his rescue when the night is darkest. Thanks for enjoying his adventures.

    Jules : I'm always glad when you stop by. Now, if I could only get an agent to feel about my writing as you and others do! LOL.