Category Archives: Creative Writing

All of my writings in one place!

Updates

I have a big announcement to make today. You may have noticed the lack of blog posts in the last few weeks. For that, I apologize, but it was for good reason.

When I delayed Eliza, the Witch to next Halloween, I posted that I hoped to have a family friendly story out this Halloween. I am glad to say that I have fulfilled that hope, and I will be releasing a picture book this Halloween titled Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern. The writing has been done, and illustrating is starting soon. I hope to have it available by mid-October. More details coming soon!
It is my plan to release a new book every Halloween that you know you can share with the entire family.

Also coming next week, look for more Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment, and a spectacular post about the oldest palm trees in Los Angeles!

Eliza, the Witch delayed

Hello, fans. I have decided to push Eliza, the Witch back to next Halloween. The story still needs  a lot of time to cook and I want to make sure I am putting out the best quality of work I can. So, with an additional year to iron out the details, I hope it will be my best story yet!

I do want to stick to releasing something every Halloween season, so I will come up with an abbreviated adventure starring Eliza, most likely as a picture book form.

Also, I will be releasing my horror story The Haunted House of John Price this October in e-book format for Amazon Kindle, Nook, etc.

Book Updates!

Book Updates!

Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate is still in the works. Just ironing out artwork and distribution.

Coming this October: The Haunted House of John Price as an eBook on Amazon.com. (This is the Halloween story I posted on my blog last year with a few revisions and added twists). Note: This story is Adults Only!

Also (hopefully) coming this October: Eliza the Witch. A Halloween adventure for the entire family! It all depends on if I finish it in time.

Dead Skin Dave and the Treasure of Isla Dente: A Prequel

The hot sun beat down on the peeling mess of skin on Dave’s face. His short, light brown hair felt as if it were on fire, and the soft sand melted under his blistering, tough feet as he staggered to the shade of a palm tree. The blue, tropical sky burned in his brown eyes as they searched for any sign of clouds. The ocean surf echoed in his ears as he plopped down under the palm tree.

“I don’t know how much longer I can last,” Dave said to no one in particular.
“I can’t believe I’ve lost my third ship this week. Maybe I should just give up tryin’ to be a pirate.”

As if in answer, a faint cannonball blast echoed in the vast emptiness.

“Why, that sounded like it came from the other side o’ the island,” Dave said as he stood up.

Suddenly with renewed energy, Dave rustled his way across the jungle to the other side of the island. A massive Spanish ship sat just off the coast.

“Looks like trainin’ exercises. This could be my ticket off o’ this island.”

Dave made his way through the lush jungle, back to the sand and towards the shore, where several Spanish sailors were training. All at once, the sailors stopped what they were doing and stared at Dave.

“My goodness, Señor. You look like you’ve been stuck out here for months! Your face is horribly peeling!” One of the sailors said.

“Uh, well, actually I just got here this mornin’. As for me face, well, it’s a skin condition, and somethin’ I don’t like to be speakin’ of.” Dave said.

The Spanish sailors continued to stare as if waiting for more. When they realized Dave wasn’t going to say anything else, they went back to their training.

The leader of the group approached Dave. “Senor, perhaps we can take you on our ship back to our port in exchange for a service?”

“Of course! Dave’s my name, but my fellow pirates call me Dead Skin Dave,” Dave said, extending a hand.

The Spaniard gingerly accepted the handshake, only touching Dave with two fingers. “Very well, Dave. You see, we are here for not just a training mission. I have here a treasure map recently obtained from a filthy pirate. Our training exercises are merely a cover for a treasure expedition. If you were to retrieve this treasure for us, we would be willing to give you transport on our ship and a pardon for any wrongdoings you surely have committed to have been stranded on this island.”

“A treasure hunt, eh? I’ve always loved the thrill of a treasure hunt. I’ve never actually found any meself. Of course I would be willin’ to locate yer treasure for ye,” Dave said, his chest puffed in the air, his hands on his hips and confidence swelling in his voice.

“Very well, Dead Skin Dave. Now, we’ve had a bit of trouble getting to the treasure. There is talk among the crew of a curse and no one wants to volunteer. Unfortunately, we lost two men earlier this morning to a booby trap, and we have reason to believe that this will most likely be a very dangerous trip, and you may very well lose your life. Now, here’s the map, and good luck to you, sir!” The Spaniard said as he handed Dave the map and beckoned for two sailors to come over.

Dave’s chest sunk in, his hands fell limp to his side and his head sagged as flecks of dead skin fell to the sand. “D-did you say, death?” Dave’s voice quivered.

“Senor, you will be fine!” the Spaniard turned his back to Dave and walked away, leaving two muscular Spanish sailors standing in front of Dave.

“Well, it looks like it’s just the three of us, eh?” Dave said.

“We are not going after that treasure. It be cursed, señor. We will escort you to jungle and wait for you,” the tall one on the left said.

“What will your commander think of ye if ya do that? Besides, I am Dead Skin Dave, fearsome pirate! You will do as I say or, er, terrible things will happen.”

The sailors stared at Dave for a moment, and then burst out laughing. “Senor,” the smaller one on the right said, “you are about as scary as my grandmother – and you’re about her height, too!”

Dave slumped his shoulders, turned around, and started to head for the jungle. Once inside, he unfolded the map. “It says here the treasure is buried under a big W?”

“No, Senor. You are holding it upside down.”

“Oh! It’s buried under a big M? How for did the other two men get?”

“They made to about here,” the tall one said as he pointed to a spot on the map. “It is just a few meters ahead. Good luck, señor!”

“You sure I can’t convince ye to come with me? What if I just take the treasure for meself?” Dave asked.

“We are your only way off the island. We will find you and then kill you.”

“Ah. Fair enough,” Dave said as he headed into the jungle, turning one last time to see the Spanish sailors resting on a fallen palm tree.

* * *

Well, Dave. Ye always wanted to be a real pirate. Now’s yer chance! Dave thought as he continued through the jungle, pushing vines and tree branches out of his way. He felt something squishy under his foot, followed by a clicking noise. Dave looked to his left just in time to see an arrow headed straight for him. He quickly fell to the floor as he heard the whooshing sound of the arrow pass overhead. Dave picked himself up, shook off the leaves and dirt from his tattered rag of a shirt, and continued on.

That was close. I’ll have ta be more careful from now on. Dave paused to look at the map and noticed a similar rock formation just ahead of him. Aye, there’s the rock formation on me map. I’ll have to climb over the top of the rock and there should be a waterfall near by. Ha ha! This is actually going well. I am a much better treasure hunter than I thought. And with that thought, Dave felt the ground give out from underneath him. The next thing he knew, he was free-falling and the hot sun gave way to a damp, dark layer of dirt, and then everything was black.

Dave startled awake with leaves covering his face. He brushed them away and looked around to orient himself. Ugh. What happened. I’m layin’ on me back and I’m surrounded by dirt.  Argh, I must have fallen into a pit trap! Dave lifted himself up off the ground and looked up towards the sky. He could barely make out the sun filtering through the dense cover of palm trees, bushes and vines. There must be a way out. Think, Dave! A rush of excitement came over Dave just as he looked up to see someone standing at the top of the pit, silhouetted by the sun above.

     “So, yer after me treasure, are ye?” A voice as rough as sandpaper said to Dave.

     “Who are you?”

     “I be the pirate that those Spaniards stole the map from. I just landed me ship on the other side o’ the island to ambush them.”

     “Well, then, could ye get me out o’ this pit? I’m on yer side, mate. I am Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate!” Dave shielded his eyes with hands to get a better view of the pirate.

     “Dead Skin Dave? Har har har! Aren’t ye the worst pirate ever?”

     “Oh. So ya heard o’ me, eh?”

     “It figures I’d find ye at the bottom of my pit trap. Just another story to tell the mates back at the Rusty Barrel Tavern, eh? I’ll help ye only because I feel sorry for ya,” the pirate said as he leaned into the pit and extended his hand to Dave.

Dave grabbed hold and was slowly lifted out of the pit, his legs frantically scraping the edge of the pit for support. Dave sprawled across the leafy floor of the jungle and then stood up to face the pirate.

     “Blackbeard’s ghost! The stories about yer face are true. You are hideous! Now then, what’re ye doin’ on Isla Dente with me treasure map?” the pirate asked.

     “You don’t look so good yerself with yer torn up Captain’s hat and weatherbeaten hair. Besides, I have a skin condition and I don’t like to talk about it. Alas, I washed up ashore here earlier in the day, and then I found the Spanish and they asked me to get their treasure for them. It seems those sailors weren’t cut out for treasure huntin’ like us pirates.” Dave said.

     “Ah, Dave, ye can hardly call yerself a pirate, mate. Everyone knows you’ve never even had yer own crew. However, I shall take pity on ye and allow you to join me in runnin’ the Spanish off o’ this island.”

     “Well if we’ll be workin’ together, I’d like to get yer name,” Dave said.

     “Ye can call me Captain Tobias Bridge. Now then, if we’re done with pleasantries, I’d like ta get me treasure and escape off o’ this island.”

      “Lead the way,” Dave said.

Dave and Tobias walked through the jungle for several hours until finally Dave saw a rock formation in the shape of an M covered by several tree branches and vines.

     “Ah, there’s the giant M! This is so exciting!” Dave said.

     “You’ve never recovered a treasure, eh?” Tobias asked.

     “Uh, yes… Yes! Of course I have.”

     “Save it for the boys back at the pub, Dave. Now then, I shall just removes these vines and get these rocks out o’ the way and claim my treasure,” Tobias said as he began to clear the vines from the rocks.

Dave watched in frozen excitement. His eyes couldn’t move from the stack of rocks, and his entire body was frozen as if this was the greatest moment of his life. The vines were torn from the rocks, and then Dave watched Tobias knock the stack of rocks over with one fell swoop. Dave looked at the ground where the rocks were and saw … a small bone.

     “That’s it? A bone?” Dave asked in astonishment.

     “Just wait,” Tobias said as he slowly lifted the bone off the ground. A small string was attached to the end of it, and as Tobias lifted, Dave saw the string tighten, and then heard a small click.

The ground below Dave slowly began to rumble and gave way to a hidden path cut deep into the ground. Tobias motioned Dave to follow as he descended into the cave. The hot sun of the island quickly gave way to the damp, cool, moist air of the cave.

     “Just a little ways down this path, and we’ll be there, mate,” Tobias said.

     “An actual treasure. I can’t wait!” Dave’s excitement took hold. He no longer cared if he didn’t sound like a real pirate. This was too exciting to keep his guard up.

A few feet down the dark, damp cave led Dave into a massive underground cavern made entirely of monkey bones.

    “Well shiver me timbers, this is sure as amazin’ sight,” Dave said, looking all around the room and seeing piles of gold, rubies, diamonds, and rare weapons from all over the world.

     “Aye. I never quite get tired o’ it meself. This room was constructed by the original inhabitants o’ this island. It was some sort of religious buildin’. Not really sure o’ the exact use, as the inhabitants of this island all died out o’ the plague. Now, I use it to store me treasure.”

     “And a lovely treasure it is,” a voice said from behind Dave.

Dave turned around to see the leader of the Spanish army standing at the entrance above him.

     “How did ya get here?” Dave asked with a look of astonishment. “I thought you were all terrified o’ the curse of the treasure?”

     “Aye, señor. My men are, but I am not. When I learned the two men I sent with you had left you on your own, I felt compelled to make sure you followed our agreement.”

     “Har! Ye shall never get yer hands on me treasure,” Tobias said, grabbing a cutlass from the floor and pointing it straight at the Spaniard.

     “Ah, my friend. You have just pointed a weapon at a Spanish Commander. Such a treacherous deed is punishable by hanging, and I will personally see you to your execution.” The Spaniard pulled his sword from its sheath, jumped down to the ground floor of the cavern, and pointed his sword straight at Tobias.

      “Well, then, I’ll just be goin'”, Dave said as he slowly started to back out of the cavern.

     “Oh, you stay right there, filthy pirate. I shall deal with you next,” the Spaniard said, and began dueling with Tobias.

     Dave froze. Here we go again. Wussing out when the pressure gets tough. This is why I’ll never be a real captain of me own ship. Dave made his way to a dusty corner of the treasure room and sat down on a large rock. Dave felt the rock slowly sink. Dave watched Tobias lunge at the Spaniard, almost hitting him with his sword. The Spaniard quickly struck back with another swing of his sword, but missed Tobias. The sword fighting continued all over the cavern, as Dave continued to slowly sink into the ground. He looked behind him to see a small doorway open up through some of the bones. Must be a secret room, and that rock must’ve been a trigger. Dave quietly snuck into the doorway. Once inside, his eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the darkness of the cave. He smelled a faint odor that could have almost been salt. The room opened up into a tunnel made of rocks. Dave continued on his way, the smell of salt growing stronger. A few steps further and the tunnel gave way to the mouth of a cavern with a cove that connected to the ocean. On the shoreline, a box made of monkey bones was delicately placed onto a small pedestal in the sand. Dave wandered over to it, his gaze transfixed.

Dave’s rough hands grabbed the lid of the box and slowly pulled the lid up. A swirl of dust rose and cleared to reveal an ancient voodoo rattle made of human bone and hair. It was old and weathered looking, and the hair had all but dissolved.

     “Well, that’s not what I was expectin'”, Dave said. “Must be part o’ the religious ceremony Tobias was talkin’ about. Maybe he’ll know what to do with it.”

Dave grabbed the rattle and headed back through the tunnel towards the cave of bones. He entered the cavern to see Tobias surrendered in front fo the Spaniard.

     “Ah, I was looking for you, Dead Skin Dave. Your friend here has just surrendered. I will take his life and then do the same to you. Kindly wait there, this time,” the Spaniard said.

     “Oh yeah, well I’ve got this!” Dave said as he held the voodoo rattle up.

     “And what, may I ask, is that?” The Spaniard turned his nose up at Dave.

     “Oh, just the ancient voodoo rattle that will activate the curse o’ this treasure,” Dave said, smiling.  He saw Tobias turn his head towards him and wink.

     “I- I told you. I don’t belive in c-curses,” the Spaniard’s refined speech started to shake.

It was all the distraction that Tobias needed. Dave’s eyes grew large in anticipation as he saw Tobias go for the Spaniard’s sword, grabbed it out of his hand and turned it on him.

     “Now then, ye Spanish scum. Ye will leave this island with yer crew or Dead Skin Dave will recite the spell that will activate the curse, an’ ye all will perish!” Tobias said.

     “I will? Yes, I will! Har har! Dont’ mess with pirates ya scallywag!” Dave said, holding the rattle high in the air.

     “You are both very lucky that my army is not here. Mark my word, I will return to my ship and come back to plunder this cave of every last piece of eight. Besides, Senors, I call a bluff on your curse. If Dead Skin Dave knew how to use that rattle, he would have already. Look at him, he is a joke. Now then, I shall return with my army very soon and we will continue the conditions of your surrender.” The Spaniard said as he made his way out of the cave.

     “Now what do we do?” Dave asked.

     “Dave, ye found the cursed voodoo rattle. I have been searchin’ for that for many a years. I never woulda guessed it was right here in me treasure room in a secret tunnel! Inside o’ this room when I first discovered it was this ancient scroll,” Tobias said as he removed an tattered piece of parchment from a sack on his belt.
“The scroll had a drawin’ of that rattle with an incantation next to it. I’ll let ye read it since ye discovered it.”

     “Should we really be recitin’ some strange incantation? What if there is a curse and we be stricken with illness?”

     “Aye, that’s why aren’t goin’ to read it until we are takin’ prisoner on the Spaniards ship.”

     “Prisoner? What do ya mean?”

     “Here’s my plan, mate. I’ll make a pirate out o’ you yet.We let the Spanish take us prisoner. I’ll tell them they can’t kill us because I know where the rest o’ me treasure lies. Once we’re on board and they have my treasure, we put the curse on ’em and sail off. The time has come to reclaim me treasure, and I shall grant you a cut if ye help me with this plan.”

     “Of course I will help. A pirate will always help out his fellow mates,” Dave said.

     “That’s what I like to hear. Now, we’ll wait for them to return.”

     “Know any good piratey songs while we wait?” Dave asked. He was returned with a blank stare.

* * *

     “Make sure you get every last ounce of treasure. I want it all on my ship by sundown! Move it!” The Spanish Captain barked orders to his men, who were lugging giant bags of treasure back to the Spanish ship.

Dave stood next to Tobias, shackles around their arms and legs. He watched a Spanish sailor approach the captain.

     “Captain, we have finished loading the ship. Your orders, sir?”

     “Prepare to set sail for home and escort these two pirates to the brig,” the captain said.

     “Aye, sir.”

The sailor approached Dave and Tobias grabbed them and forced them off towards the ship. Once down in the brig, Dave felt a sense of relief flood over him as the shackles were removed.

     “It’s nice to move my limbs again,” Dave said as he rubbed his ankles and wrists.

Dave watched the sailor leave the brig, closing the creaky wooden door behind him. The smell of mildew and rotten wood overtook Dave’s nostrils. The rusty iron gate that held him and Tobias looked like it wouldn’t last too much longer.

     “We’ll use the rattle as soon as the ship gets out to open sea. We want to make sure that we won’t drift into a sandbar or rock formation after the curse goes into effect,” Tobias said.

     “What exactly is this curse goin’ to do?” Dave asked.

     “That, me matey, we shall find out together.”

      “So ya have no idea? What if nothin’ happens and we’re stuck on this ship with the Spanish? Oh, I knew I was gettin’ in over me head.”

     “Calm yer nerves, pirate. In the scroll, it clearly mentions a curse of transformation. I’m suspectin’ that we won’t recognize these scallywags once the curse has taken hold o’ them.”

     “So as long as we’re both holdin’ on to this rattle thingy, then we’ll be safe?” Dave asked.

     “I’m assuming so. Now, we’ve got a few hours before we reach open sea. Get some shut eye fer the trip ahead.”

* * *

Dave awoke to Tobias’ giant tangled mess of a beard in his face.

     “Ah! What is it?” Dave asked.

     “‘Tis time, mate.”

     “Well, all right then,” Dave said as he got up off of the splintery, damp wooden floor.

     “Let’s bust this gate open before we begin,” Tobias said as he kicked the bottom of the rusty gate, breaking it immediately. “Now, as soon as yer done readin’ the incantation, I’ll head up to steer the ship and you make sure that everyone on board has been transformed by the curse.”

     “No problem! So, we just hold this rattle like this and say ‘Upsom Certi Waja Nali’ and then it should work, right?” Dave said.

     Tobias stared back at him in shock as he slowly contorted and fell to the floor, turning into a monkey.

     “Oh, shoot,” Dave said, as the cries of monkeys echoed around the entire ship.

THE END

Catch the continuing adventure with Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate coming late 2012!

An Unexpected Treasure

I present this poem to get ye in the mood for the adventures of Dead Skin Dave!

A map half torn,
A mem’ry half worn
From drinking too much rum.
Till I find the chest
I will not rest;
It holds a hefty sum.
Against the sky,
My eye does spy
The land so often sought.
The wind does blow,
The waters flow
To where X marks the spot.
A night to sail
I will not fail
This treasure to regain.
Spoils so fine
All of it mine,
The joy attacks my brain.
I slog ashore
For treasure galore
To have and hold forever.
I’ve ended my quest
But inside the chest
was nothing whatsoever.
-Author Unknown

Happy Halloween!

To get in the spirit of Halloween, I present to you this horror/detective story.

This story is purely unedited. I haven’t gone back to look at it since it initially entered into my mind and made it onto the page. I thought it would be an interesting look into a rough first draft, which is something that most people do not get to see.

Without further ado, here is the story. Enjoy!

“Bwa ha ha ha!” A booming voice eerily filled the room as John walked down the hallway, nonchalantly pushing fake cobwebs and black plastic curtains out of his way. He made a sharp left, pushed back a hanging skeleton, and turned a black painted door knob to reveal a brightly lit, white hallway. He stepped in, turned right and made his way to a small office, where his boss Bill sat, staring at a computer screen that read “61 Days till Halloween!” John quietly sneaked behind him.

“Which means only one more day until we open!” John said, sending Bill jumping out of his seat.

“Jesus, John! Ya tryin’ to give me a heart attack?” Bill swung around to face John.

“Sorry, Bill! But, what better way to kick off our annual haunted house, eh?”

“Yes, sirree! It is that time of the year again! Wanna help me go through the attraction and make sure everything is up to par?”

“Of course! Just like every year. Go on ahead and I’ll catch up with you,” John said.

John watched Bill head out of the office, down the hall and disappeared through the black painted door and into the haunted house. John sat down at the desk, tapped on the keyboard and brought up a file. “Just a few more touch ups to this poster, and then I can print some out and get the word out,” John thought to himself. Just as John grabbed the mouse, the power went out in the office.

“Damn! Must be Bill making sure the effects are still getting power. Let me go find him.” John fumbled his way out of the desk in the dark, banged his knee, cursed, and then made his way down the hallway, arms groping at the blackness.

“Bill, where are you?” John’s voice echoed through the dark, eerily silent haunted house. He noticed sunlight at the end of a long corridor. “Emergency exit door is open,” he mumbled to himself. Using the light as a guide, he began to make his way down the corridor. Fake cobwebs hit John in the face every few feet, causing him to claw at his face and spit out the stringy cotton. The sinister faces of mad scientists, devils, and the likenesses of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger watched John in an eerie silence as he passed by. Finally, he reached the emergency exit door.

“Bill? You out here?” John looked around, shielding his eyes from the bright sun. He made his way around the corner of the building, wiping cotton cobwebs from his faded jeans and Friday the 13th t-shirt. He looked at the power box on the wall, which was left hanging open.

“Bill? I’m going to turn the power back on! Stand clear of any open wires!”

John switched the power back on, took a last look around, and then walked back to the emergency exit. The haunted house was alive with moving figures, eerie sounds and flashing lights. Bill was standing in the doorway.

“Ya thought I was murdered or somethin’ right?” Bill asked, with a fiendish smile on his broad face.

“Oh, please. This is way too cliché. Come on, cutting the power and then you’re nowhere to be found?”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. You jus’ watch too many horror movies, my friend,” Bill said.

“Come on, let’s do the inspection. The inspector from the city will be here in about an hour to give us the OK to open up.”

John and Bill walked back into the haunted house, John shutting the exit door behind him.

* * *

“Well, you guys pass the inspection. Looks great this year!” Inspector Reemer, a mousey looking man with a tweed suit, bad comb over and thick glasses stood in front of Bill & John in their office.

“Awesome! We hope you’ll bring your family again this year,” John said.

“Oh, of course we will. But not more than once, because I just get so darned scared in these things!”

“Well, that’s the point, right?” Bill said.

“Best of luck to you guys this year. Uh, do you mind walking me out, John? It’s kind of creepy in there,” Reemer said.

“Sure thing.”

John and Reemer made their way out into the haunted house.

“Just to the right, and down through the attraction to the main entrance and exit,” John said.

“Right. I get so turned around. Ahh!” Reemer jumped, caught his foot on a piece of wood, and fell backward to the floor as an animatronic ghost flew past him.

John helped him up and the two continued walking toward the exit.

“Certain death awaits all!” An eerie voice sounded over the speaker system.

“Ooh. Creepy! I don’t remember that from last year,” Reemer said.

“Yeah, neither do I. Probably Bill goofin’ off.” John said, and ushered Reemer to the exit.

“Well, best of luck, again! See you soon!” Reemer said as he squinted until his eyes adjusted to the sun, and then headed back to his car.

“Thanks!” John waved as Reemer left. “Might as well scope out the parking lot and make sure it’s good to go.”

John walked around what was left of the their parking lot. He looked up and to the left of the lot they owned, where a new mega mall was being built.

“I can’t believe the Smiths sold their grocery store for this monstrosity to go up. Looks like we’re the last of the small businesses around here, and they’re taking up more space than I’d like. We’re going to have lots of parking problems this year,” John said to himself.

He shook his head and inspected the front of the building. All of the twinkling lights were functioning, along with the neon ‘Haunted House’ sign. John looked up at the roof of the building and noticed that the Grim Reaper animatronic was missing.

“Man, someone stole the Grim Reaper again! This whole town is falling apart.”

John walked back into the haunted house and began to make his way to the office. He spotted Bill running towards him.

“John! Are you the one making those death threats?”

“Death threats?”

“Make no mistake, John and Bill, you will both die! Huuaahhh!” The eerie voice boomed over the speakers.

“So that line about certain death wasn’t something you recorded, earlier?” John asked.

“Nope,” Bill said.

“There couldn’t be someone in our office. I don’t know of any other way to get to our PA system,” John said.

“I’ll go check da office anyway,” Bill said and lumbered down the hallway.

“Right. I’ll check the roof. Someone stole the Reaper again. Maybe they’re still hiding up there.”

John walked back to the main entrance of the haunted house, exited the building and went to the right side of the old brick building. He tested the rusty ladder on the side of the building, and then began to climb. Once on top, he gave a quick look around. The roof seemed intact, save for the broken restraints for the Grim Reaper, and the rusted shut hatch that lead into the attic crawlspace. As usual, there were empty beer cans and cigarette butts littered around. This was a popular hangout in the summer for the local kids. Or, at least it was before the mega mall went up next door. Just as he was about to head back down, John saw a bright reflection on the ground next to the broken restraints. Picking it up, he noticed it was a Rawlings High class ring.

“Hmm. Class of 2010. At least that narrows down who stole the Reaper,” John said to himself.

He put the rung in his pocket and then headed back down the ladder. Bill was waiting for him at the entrance to the haunted house.

“You see anything up there?” Bill asked.

“Found a Rawlings High ring. Might be a good lead on who took the Reaper.”

“A ring? I didn’t see anyone in the office. The PA mic was turned off and didn’t look like it was tampered with.”

“Hmm. All right. Let’s go check the equipment room.”

John and Bill made their way back into the haunted house. The eerie sounds, animatronics, and flashing lights performed for no one, as John and Bill sternly marched through the corridor. They passed the entrance to the office, and continued on to a small hatch that lead to a basement. John and Bill descended down into the dimly lit basement. Rows of electrical equipment sat on the floor of the basement, spinning, whirring and blinking in an endless fury. A 60 watt light bulb burned quietly in the back corner of the basement, and the lights form the machines danced around the room. John and Bill made their way to the audio machines. Large reels of audio film spooled around.

“Let’s shut it down so we can inspect the audio,” John said.

“Aye, aye, cap’n,” Bill smirked and pulled a big lever on the near wall of the basement.

The blinking lights dimmed out, and above the muffled cackles and creaks of animatronics slowly sputtered to silence. John grabbed the audio reel, slid it off of the machine, and inspected it.

“Check this out, Bill. The tape in this reel is brand new. Someone’s been in here.”

“Son of a bitch. Where da hell did they get audio tape in this day and age?”

“Good question.”

A loud scream came from up above.

“Holy-”

John and Bill ran out of the basement and made their way to the main corridor.

“Damn. Forgot to grab a flashlight. Lemme go back to the office and grab one,” Bill said.

“OK. I’m going to walk around and see if I can see anything,” John said, and began scanning the corridor.

He slowly moved forward, trying to get his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He felt something sticky and slippery underneath his feet. Just as the realization came to him that it was blood, John was face to face with a silent, staring severed head.

Want more? This novella is now available on Amazon.com under the title The Haunted House of John Price.

You Write #1

Hello, everyone!

Today I will be starting a new feature on my blog. I will provide writing prompts and let you show off your writing skills! Each week I will post a new prompt and post my favorite response on my blog and Facebook page.

So without further ado, here is the first prompt: You just found a secret staircase buried in the basement of a dusty old section of your local library. Take it from there!

There is no limit – make it as long or as short as you’d like! Have fun!

Dreams

I awoke in a panic, flailing in bed and sitting up. “NO!” I screamed. My heart racing and short of breath, my eyes darted around the room, trying to figure out where I was.

I had just had a dream that was so intense that it woke me up and sent me into a panic. I don’t recall the story of the dream, but I recall being so into it that after I awoke and came to my senses, I thought I should write it down immediately and turn it into a story. Of course, I fell back asleep instead of writing it down and no wit is lost.

I have had several dreams throughout my life that seemed so intense while I was in them that turning it into a story felt like a sure hit. But for some reason, dreams are always better when we are experiencing them rather than when we are re-telling them.

I’d like to invite you to share any experiences you’ve had with dreams. Did you turn it into a story? And if so, how did it turn out?