So you can read my books

Thursday, October 18, 2012


It's Halloween! Another FW/RU Challenge

They’re looking for chilling stories of ghosts and haunted locations – and maybe even love from beyond the grave.

A romantic element is essential, but they’re looking for stories with a thrilling edge of fear to add to the romantic tension building between our Hero/Heroine.

Have fun with this one! Don't forget the Romantic Element! Let your head go!

You can write up to 1,000 words of prose/prosetry!

I wrote 1007 words. 007 words extra in honor of the latest James Bond SKYFALL!

HOUSE OF HORROR is an excerpt from THE RIVAL:

An April night in 1834 New Orleans finds Victor Standish and Alice Wentworth being invited by the insane Dr. LaLaurie and his psychotic wife, Delphine, to the house that will forever live in whispers of horror from this night forward:

The LaLaurie mansion towered over us like the House of Usher.  It was a sprawling shrine to death.  Three stories, an attic, and stuccoed front.  On the plant-strewn front porch, hollow-eyed slaves waited for their dreaded masters.

DayStar had sneered at my words about the lenient attitude in old New Orleans towards slaves.  I sighed.  I just hate it when the bad guys are right.

That cruel torturers lived in such splendor made me furious. 

Alice touched my arm.  “Delphine’s father built this mansion on the site of two other homes.  It has only recently come into her possession with her marriage to the not-so-good doctor.”

Delphine frowned, “You know a great deal about me for one from the future,”

“The future, yes, Madame LaLaurie.  But I was born only six years from now.  I know of you and of your two other marriages.”

“Poison, right, your viciousness?” I laughed.

Her face going pale proved my guess had been, ah, dead on.  “Hey, Doc.  I’d watch what I ate if I were you.”

His face was cruelty given life.  “You are not me.”

I said, “That’s good news.”

The LaLauries huffed and walked up the stairs to the front door which was hurriedly opened by a butler stiff from beatings.  I knew that feeling.  I ground my teeth. 

Alice and I walked into the front lobby, and she whispered, “Oh, my!”

I didn’t blame her. We were greeted by a pair of brass gates, etched with tentacled things reaching for the on-looker.  Within the marble hallway was a wide door high enough for the entrance of something terribly big like … like

“An Old One,” Alice whispered softly.

Beside us there was a wrought-iron staircase that wound like a spiral column to …

“The drawing rooms, Standish,” laughed Delphine.

Alice and I climbed behind them.  I looked for hidden buttons and trap doors in the steps.  I didn’t trust these two any further than I could throw Pittsburg. 

The drawing room was modest, about the size of the National Debt.  The folding doors that led to other drawing rooms were ornamented with beautifully carved images of flowers and terrified human faces.

All around the great room there extended a frieze covered with rail work, representing fallen angels with folded wings, holding screaming skulls.  On the walls were mounted swords of every kind.  They even had a katana at a time when they were rarer than an honest politician.  I looked up.  Sfumato!

The ceilings were so high the painters must have gotten nose bleeds.  They were carved with stars and tentacled creatures flying by them.  Six fancy, diamond and crystal chandeliers slowly spun in arcs of bright color. The fireplaces were wide and covered in flowing runes. 

A hesitant knock tapped on the door behind us.  I turned.  Little Angelique, her right arm all bent out of shape.  But unlike in 2005, this Angelique was alive and not a ghost. The way she held her arm when she looked at her father suggested something terrible.

“Step-mama, I know you said ….  Oh, you have company.”

She looked terrified, and I smiled, “Don’t worry, Angelique.  I’m just folks.”

Angelique jerked as her father rumbled, “You have been warned about coming here.  Now, I shall have to attend to that other arm.”

“No!” whimpered Angelique.

I snapped, “No is right, Angelique.”

He glowered.  “You cannot interfere with a father’s discipline!”

“Watch me.”

Delphine started for the girl.  Alice flowed between them.  Her face scared me.  I remembered how her mother had tortured Alice for years.

Delphine raised her right hand, black energies sizzling at her fingertips.  “You cannot stop me.”

Alice flicked her eyes to me, then back to her.  “Watch me.”

Black lightning flew from Delphine.  Alice countered it with a misty hand. My jaw dropped.  Alice laughed.

“You have seen much of what I can do, Victor, but not everything.”

Showing that the insane can’t learn, Delphine tried again, only to be blocked by Alice.  The two deflected energy balls started a fire in the room, making it look like the Hell it had been for too many tortured slaves.  Dr. LaLaurie raised his own hands.  I nodded to the swords on the walls, their blades gleaming in the firelight.

“You any good with those pig-stickers?”

He barked a laugh.  “I am the best swordsman in New Orleans.”

I snorted, “New Orleans must be hard up.”

I sprinted to the closest corner, tic tac’ed up it, and snatched the katana from its housing.  Twirling in a Full Arabian Cartwheel, I did a Parkour roll and popped to my feet.  I ducked another deflected energy bolt, keeping my eyes on the insane physician.

“Know Kendo?”

“No Westerner does, fool.”

I smiled wider.  “I’m not a Westerner, psycho.  I’m Victor Standish and the student of Bruce Lee’s ghost.”

Angelique cried, “Watch out!  Papa is ….”

Sfumato!  What he was … was fast.  He raced to the wall, grabbed two swords, and was back where he had been in one heartbeat.  He even sped through the growing flames without getting burned. I smiled.  Well, hey, this might actually be a challenge.

“You are a dead man,” husked Dr. LaLaurie.

He lunged in a blur.  I slipped through the seconds, spun on the ball of my right foot, and brought the katana down two-handed across his fencer’s tight butt.  The blood spurted nicely.  I sneezed at the reams of smoke from the burning furniture.

He howled.  I laughed.  I spun on the ball of my right foot, holding the katana high above my head with both hands.

“How does it feel to fight someone who can fight back?”

He spat, “Fight back?  I was holding back.  Mine is the speed primeval.”

“Make that evil, and I’ll agree.”

“You’ll die!”

He funneled a strange scream at me.  He could do what I feared to?  I tumbled on my shoulder and popped to my feet.  The paint was blistered off the one unburned wall behind me.

“Hey, you cheat!  My kind of guy!”

The truth behind the LaLaurie Mansion and its horrors:



  1. Just glad to know Victor and Alice continue...
    Slight Lovecraft feel to this one, Roland.

  2. Alex:
    They continue on in THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT as well. Lovecraft's spirit is in this one. He always could unnerve me. The Old Ones are forever in the shadows of my novels in some form or fashion. Perfect for Halloween! :-)

  3. Horrifying piece of history.

    Reality usually is worse than anything we can imagine!

    Great story though, thanks for sharing.

  4. Yolanda:
    It is a gruesome story made more horrifying because it was real. Brrr.

  5. Interesting trailer about the haunted mansion in New Orleans. One's social status doesn't define one's state of mind, does it?

    Not that fond of Lovecraft, but he has influenced many writers. That explains your reference to Old Ones in your books, so thanks for that.

  6. D.G.:
    Reading Lovecraft is much like reading Jane Austin or the Bronte sisters -- prose from another time.

    I put ancient beings trying to regain their foothold into my mythos along with the world's myths to unsettle the status quo of evil. :-)

    Sadly, mental illness is found in all strata of society. The elite just get to hide it better and abuse their position in truly frigthening ways.

  7. Nice!

    Hey, I gave you a mention on my blog post today .

  8. Hi Roland,

    I usually read your excerpts with my fingers over my face (it makes it a tad difficult) and I watched the video with tears in my eyes.

  9. Always enjoy a bit of Victor and Alice. He is a fierce defender. I love his form of cursing, without actually cursing.

  10. Always enjoy a bit of Victor and Alice. He is a fierce defender. I love his form of cursing, without actually cursing.

  11. Brinda:
    Thanks for the mention. I visited your site to personally say thanks!

    My excerpts are that bad, huh? :-)

    Yes, the crimes of man against man never seem to run out of cruelty, do they?

  12. Candy:
    Victor had to come up Sfumato! out of self-defense. Elu kept twisting his nose every time he used profanity! And then, there is the Victorian Age born Alice who sighs every time he uses a colorful metaphor. You do the darndest stuff for love! :-)

  13. Loved the way you put Victor and Alice as the culprits to the actual fire. Great use of reality to enhance the fiction.

    Are you watching Walking Dead this season? A kitana is a wicked weapon :)

    The haunted house trailer was perfect for this blogfest Roland.

    Have a good weekend.


  14. Sorry about that. Not sure how my comment was added twice. :/

  15. Hey Roland, this blogfest was made for Victor and Alice. Fits your stories perfectly. Ah, dead on, don't you think?

  16. Candy:
    Not to worry. :-)

    Yes, indeed, this blogfest fit Victor and Alice ... dead on. :-)

  17. I enjoyed how you manage to include a touch of wittiness to your characters even under dire conditions. Good read :)

  18. Hi Roland
    Love the humor that highlighted nearly every scene. Fast paced with lots of action. So scary that people like the LaLaurie really lived.

  19. Dear Roland,
    I agree with Denise when she wrote that this challenge was made for Victor and Alice. I feel that I have so much to learn!
    Best wishes,
    RFW No. 46 - 'Jenny Holland's Robinson Crusoe Halloween'

  20. Hi, Roland,

    SO NICE to be visiting.... I ALWAYS enjoy Victor and Alice.

    You have some amazing lines in this excerpt. This one says it all...

    'His face was cruelty given life.'

    As always, action packed, descriptive, and full of horrific characters .... yet Victor and Alice always seem to get through... Thankfully.

  21. Michael:
    Always nice to have you visit! Victor and Alice get frequent flyer miles for all their trips through the Twilight Zone! Thanks for the kind words.

    Victor feels honor bound never to let the monsters see him sweat. And Alice is much too proper to sweat! :-)

    Yes, it is sad and horrific that Dr. LaLaurie and his wife did indeed exist to torture and kill as they did those poor slaves whp could not fight back.

    Yes, Halloween is made for Victor and Alice. All of us have so much to learn. Even Hemingway felt that he had a lot left to learn. We authors are forever apprentices! :-)

  22. Roland!! It has been too long since I last visited your blog. Loved this excerpt and the dynamic among the characters. Overall, very creepy indeed!

    Only suggestion: I would try not to use non-speech actions like "frown" in place of words such as "said."

    Apologies for being late; I am just now getting through all of the House of Horrors excerpts. Hope you're having a great weekend so far, Roland! :)

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Red Angel Blog