So you can read my books

Monday, October 31, 2011


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. I've started to read Victor. (= Fun stuff, buddy.

  2. Pure, spooky entertainment :)


  3. A Halloween tale for the ages! Excellent.

  4. Jo :
    Victor hopes you like his adventures. He says it's easier to read them than live them! I'm glad you are enjoying it so far.

    Donna :
    This was an abridged version of the prologue to UNDER A VOODOO MOON. Roger Ebert in his first review of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC, said,

    "Remember when as a kid, your friend would bring you to a movie he'd already seen. Then at some scene, he would nudge you 'Here's the good part'? Well RAIDERS is ALL good parts."

    I wanted to make Victor's adventures ALL good parts. I'm happy you enjoyed this snippet.

    Joshua :
    Victor's whole life is one big Halloween. Glad you had fun with it. Roland

  5. Fabulous read! You've a natural knack with the horror stuff!

    ps....what did you think of Guillermo Del Toro's makings in Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark..?

  6. Lena :
    Thanks. I'm waiting for the DVD of DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. I can fast forward thru the really scary parts! Me and Scooby-Doo! Rut-roh.

  7. Sorry I'm late Roland, I'm all behind yet again. I'm so glad I didn't miss though, you have a knack for making me say 'yuck' and 'wow' at the same time :-)

  8. Sarah :
    That's a great compliment. This is actually an abridged form of the prologue to UNDER A VOODOO MOON. Towards the end of that novel, a relative of "Squishy" comes to Meilori's for payback. And at the very end of that novel, Alice and Victor find themselves alone ....

    But that would be telling. Happy Halloween, Roland