GET THE THRILLING CONCLUSION TO THE INTENSE SUSPENSE/HORROR SERIES, EVADE!
On sale on Amazon for $7.99 Paperback $.99 on Kindle!
GET THE THRILLING CONCLUSION TO THE INTENSE SUSPENSE/HORROR SERIES, EVADE!
On sale on Amazon for $7.99 Paperback $.99 on Kindle!
A CHRISTMAS SURPRISE FOR ALL OF YOU!!
I have just created and submitted a new one-of-a-kind 2021 Calendar/Day Planner & Horror Story Collection — It’s called 12 Months of Hell & Horror!
Yeah, I was inspired by the twelve months of hell & horror we went through this year!
Inside you’ll find 6 short stories with original illustrations by my father, T.D. Barton. You will also have 365-day journal pages as well as 12 calendar pages with an Important Day Notes section.
It will be available within a day or two on Amazon for only $11.99!! It will make a great gift for you or any reader you know. BUY NOW to keep organized and thrilled for the entire coming year!!
I wanted to check in with everyone and advise you of my current projects I’m working on.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge was a big help and success for me this year! I used it to help me get Evade Part III written, edited, and soon to be published by the end of the year!!
Evade Part II has been produced and sent in to Audible.com for their final approve to sell the audiobook probably by the end of December.
I am also working on a secret side project — hope to have more news on that before the end of the year. Check back here for more information!
I’m back to reworking the outline for the third Wyvernshield Series book. Been a very rough year for everyone and I certainly have felt it — the first time in six years that I had a serious snag in my motivation as well as production. Anyway, it appears that this has eased up and I’m ready to create once again.
I have decided to have one new goal: for a whole year, I want to write 400 words every day. Now, I won’t say this will be in stone or that I can reach the small goal every day, but it does give me a minimum to obtain. In other words, it will be easier to say to myself, “C’mon…It’s only 400 words. Stop being lazy, you can do this easy!”
By the end of one year, it totals to over 124,000 words (I am basing this on six out of seven days reaching 400 words). So for a nice kickstart to this, I wrote tonight 1,108.
Thank you all for your support and your fantastic energy which helps fuel my work! Got a lot more horror to share…
August 9th, 1912
The rattle of the jail cell as it slid in its track struck me to my core. The grating metallic sound reverberated in my chest. Clanging at the end had a harsh fierce cold finish to it. My death knell? Maybe.
I’m going to hear that sound for the next twenty years…
“Well…go in. He ain’t gonna bite,” chuckled the burly guard behind me. Officer Darryl Norris shoved me into my new cell mate.
“Jesus! They said I was getting fresh meat, but I didn’t know it was this raw!” A man, lanky and sinewy, scanned me up and down, his lips drawn into a tight white line. He had a shark’s sneer.
“This here is Kevin Harrison, Ralphie. The newest convict to join us here at the Joliet Correctional,” Norris introduced me. “Oh and by the way, he’s innocent of all charges.”
They both burst out into laughter. Norris turned and left the cell. After locking it, he called out, “Lights off at 7:00 PM.”
The top bunk was cleared off, a shelf on one wall next to it was also empty. Ralphie had the bottom bunk obviously. A shelf carved out of the cement bricks had his toiletries and a pair of worn out paperbacks. The walls of the small 6′ by 6′ cell were patchy and crumbling in disrepair. A single barred window gave a glimpse of gray skies but little else. We were on the fifth floor. A wispy odor of bleach clung in the air, the stench of urine barely masked underneath it.
My cellmate turned away from me and plunked down onto it without a word. His clothes were thin, gray like the walls, and had patches sewn on the elbows and knees. His shaggy black hair hung just above the collar, his patchy beard covered an acne-pocked face. He swept up one of the books and rolled over onto his side. Perhaps I had already been forgotten.
That’s fine with me. The less we talk, the better. I was in no mood to be nice.
I’m not going to keep telling everyone I’m innocent. That’ll only get me in trouble. I’ll let the fat lawyer do that on the Outside, but in here, I’ll keep low and out of sight.
I set a burlap sack of my own toiletries and a twin exchange of my prison uniform in the corner. A rickety, rusted ladder was built at the end of the bunks. I crawled on top of the hard stained mattress.
Someone had carved out the days in lines in one corner. Others had written nonsensical sentences or scribbled symbols. It boggled my mind. How many others had laid here before me?
My mind wandered and I recalled how my fat lawyer, I forgot his real name, kept spouting, “We have a solid case here. I am sure we can appeal and maybe you’ll even see Christmas back in San Diego, Kevin.”
“There’s nothing left in San Diego for me. She’s gone.”
“Oh… Yeah, sorry, kid.” He said offhand as he lit the end to a massive cigar. We were in a guarded conference room. Case file folders, random papers and the photos of the crime scene splayed out on the metal table before me. I saw her body splashed in streaks of crimson. Her long blonde hair pulled out in clumps floating in a large puddle by her head.
“You were shot in the war, right?” he asked, enveloped in a thick white cloud of smoke.
“Yes. In the shoulder. So?”
“That’s the ticket,” he slapped at the table and then slid about the papers as he searched through them. “Yes. Yes, here it is. You suffered loss of movement and mobility per this doctor’s report.”
He pushed the paper in front of me.
“I wish I had thought of this during the trial. Sherry Devenroe was killed by blunt force. The intruder crushed her head in swinging a metal baseball bat –” he stopped seeing me wince.
I finished his thought. “So, I couldn’t be the murderer because I can’t swing a bat with any such force. Right?”
“See. You are a clever lad.”.
That was a bold lie. I wasn’t what I once had been, but it had been some time since the injury.
Now as I stared at the cobwebs slowly swinging about the ceiling, I wasn’t nearly as confident he could get me out.
I closed my eyes, clasped my hands, and started a silent prayer in my head.
You and I haven’t talked much and I’m not saying I have been the best of your children here on Earth, but I know I can do more, do better. I just need another chance. Please, Lord, please don’t let me rot away in here. Give me a second chance to go on and be free to spread the Good Word as Mama always spoke of. Be–
“Your Mama going to visit you in here?” Ralphie asked out of the blue.
He chuckled to himself and rolled over onto his back. “I asked if your Mama was going to visit you in here? Going to spread her Good Word to us animals?”
“I…I don’t know.” I whispered in shock.
“You were speaking aloud, Kev.”
No I wasn’t.
“It happens a lot you know. Mamas all proud of their sons, fiercely defending them, professing the real crimes are against their little boys being falsely charged and imprisoned. Happens all the time. They stomp their tiny feet, wave their fists in the air in outrage and cry tears of injustice at the drop of a hat. Then… the first round of whispers come, the fingers pointing at them, then the not-so-quiet remarks made behind their backs. The odd looks from once friendly neighbors. The awkward excuses by friends why they suddenly can’t come by. It all adds up quickly. Mama’s will and determination fades. Mama comes by less and less, the letters stop. Happens all the time. You’ll see. Mama’s Good Word will be spoken less and less on your behalf!”
Ralphie’s cynical speech ate at me and the deepening shadows in the room swallowed me whole.
“You don’t know me. You don’t know my Mama. Shut the fuck up.” I said it, but there was no power behind it. It was going to be a long, hard night.
“True. True. I don’t know you. I guess, time will tell.”
He grew quiet and must’ve went back to reading.
The sun had gone down. My stomach rumbled aloud.
“You missed chow time?” he asked.
“I was on the bus coming here.”
“Yeah? Sorry. I didn’t like much what was served, but you eat what you get here. Still hungry myself.”
I pulled my arm up over my eyes, trying to muffle and hide my emotions. Thinking of Mama and how she’d become embarrassed by me really hit home. She said she knew I was innocent at the trial. Came each day to support me. But was Ralphie right? Would those lingering doubts and the shame erode her belief in me? I had been convicted by an actual jury of my peers, right?
I am only nineteen! I don’t belong here! Oh, Mama!!
Suddenly a book flew up and landed on my lap. “Here. Books are a great way to keep your mind clear of your troubles.”
He was making an attempt to clear things between us. I appreciated that. “Thanks.” My voice scratchy and thick with emotion but he didn’t make light of it or comment.
For the next hour I tried to read but my stomach kept whining.
“Look, Kevin, I may be damned for doing this, but… maybe I can help you out. Come down, let’s talk.”
I set the lame mystery aside and went down. He was sitting up, his hands together between his knees. He smiled and extended his hand out to me. I shook it.
“Kevin Harrison, I’m Ralph Otara.” He moved over a few feet and gestured for me to sit.
“You have a lawyer right?”
“Yes. Says he’s going to appeal.”
“They all say that. Do you have anything else going for you or just your Mama at home? A plan for the future?”
I lowered my head and stared at a spot on the floor between my shoes. “After they found Sherry and took me in, my boss fired me from the car plant. I don’t have anything right now.”
“That second chance you were praying for… that chance to do more if you were free. Are you really interested in an escape?”
I blanched and pulled back to stare at the older man. He barely knew me, but was willing to invite me into his confidence and be involved in an escape plan? Talk like this could get you thrown into solitary or worse under the boots of the guards.
“You don’t know me as I said before. I’m young but not stupid. What is this really about?” The anger tinged my voice, welling up inside me.
He held up a hand trying to calm my suspicions. “Whoa, whoa. I’m just trying to help. I hate seeing such a young guy in here, wasting what little time we all have here in this world.”
Ralphie stood up and dug around in a small stack of wash cloths. He looked around and listened to be sure a guard wasn’t walking up. Then he turned around with that shark sneer and he held out a chocolate candy bar. “Peace offering.”
I smiled and felt foolish. I took it and greedily devoured it.
“Kev, look, I was sincere about an escape. When we get out, we’re all going to need to stick together, help each other on the Outside. I see a lot of potential in a young fellow like you. I admit it, getting you out will help me too.”
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing ever came easy to me or my mother. With my Pops not around, I learned that lesson quick. Only hard work gotcha ahead.
“I don’t know.”
“What would you lose? You think that asshole lawyer’s going to come through for you?”
“When we get out — there’s a small group of us in on the plan — we’re going to be the Next Family. You understand? Out there, if you got a record, no one will do anything for you. Never going to look past your crimes. Or they imagine you done worse. So we stick together, stick to the plan and make the world bend to our will. You with me?”
“Maybe…” I said.
The lights blinked. “Lights out!” A voice bellowed out. The line of hanging lamps began shutting off as dictated.
“What’s this plan? You actually think you’ll get out?”
He didn’t answer. It was all silence.
In the dark, a sharp frigid air enveloped me, taking away my breath. Suddenly blind, all I could sense was the shift in weight on the bunk bed. He had moved closer.
A hand shot out and clutched my throat. The fingers were coarse, gnarled and vice-like. The claws pricked my skin, drops of blood beaded up.
Ralphie — or what was once Ralphie — leaned in close. Blood red eyes opened up. He was so close his nose was almost touching mine. I could feel his hot damp breath as he snarled, then said, “We have a plan, a great plan. You will too. We all have it in here. We are all infected.”
A spark of moonlight flashed off the set of fangs just before they plunged into the side of my neck.
I have been working hard on strengthening and fleshing out my two resources Pinterest and Patreon for you. These sites should give you even more access to me, my work and new materials I am developing.
For those who may not fully understand what Pinterest is, Pinterest is unique search engine for materials, reference resources and finding key elements that fit into your customized categories. In other words, I have currently fourteen “boards” (categories) where I can “pin” material that I feel fall into those categories. For example I have a board called Storyboard: Horror-Suspense & Crime Inspiration.
When I find an image that intrigues me, I can pin it and keep in that folder. I also have a board for my Fantasy images. This gives me a handy place to get writing ideas as well as show you the readers where I get some ideas. In my board From My Writer’s Blog I have six subsections with material showing my self-publishing tactics, some biography blogs, my writing prompt stories, etc.
Some of the other boards are: From My Writer’s Blog, My Horror-Suspense & Grim Fantasy Collection, My Newsletters, Book Reviews, Book Cover Artwork, Landscapes, Batman & Other Comics, My Audiobooks, and My Favorite TV Series.
I can also do my own “pins” like these:
Also on Pinterest I can place reviews on my books, details about my book & audio book giveaways, or I can share pins from other collaborators and authors I find on Pinterest. If you want to see my work or other things on my site, you can click here and “follow” me so you can see my contributions and additions to the site.
Patreon I have previously talked about here. I want to this year do even better at maintaining and providing exclusive access to my work. I have decided that I will be writing a fantasy novella based on this:
The novella will be seen in chapter installments only on Patreon and sold only in paperback format once completed with signature and customized metal bookmarker to my patrons initially. The other benefits for becoming patrons will still be there — now I just want to make it even better!!
Please see these two sites and let me know what you think of them and if you have suggestions, comments or ideas to provide even more value to you!!
Starting today, May 1st I have discounted the price for the Ebook to just ONE DOLLAR! Well, actually, $.99!
GET THIS SPINE-TINGLING, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT THRILLER TODAY!!
—->> Up through the 4th get this great classic horror story for only $.99
—->> Then after the 5th for only $1.99!!
—->> Back to regular price $2.99 by the 9th!
E N J O Y !!!
“Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?”
Stephen Caldero nearly fell off his aisle seat. His head reflexively snapped up from the newspaper article to stare in the wrinkled face of an elderly woman. She had wisps of blonde mixed into her thick white hair. Her spectacles were pushed high onto the bridge of her nose. She sat in the middle seat of the bus bench, clutching an umbrella and a rolled up copy of Newsweek. A slight smile on her face and the question shining in her pale blue eyes.
“What? What the hell did you say?” He shouted back, his face turning red.
She recoiled, whimpering. “I asked if you had read the weather report for today? I forgot to this morning. I’m sorry.”
“Everything okay back there, Ms. Richards?” The bus driver called out, watching in his rearview mirror and glaring at Steve.
“Um yes,” she replied.
Steve now reddened with embarrassment. He shook his head. “No! No, you didn’t. You said ‘Death was coming for me’ Why? Why would say that?”
Ms. Richards blinked back at him, she straightened without replying and walked behind them to sit three rows away from him.
Must’ve been dreaming. I… was up pretty late, but, man, that seemed so real.
He couldn’t bring himself to turn around and apologize. The bus ride was quiet and without incident to his stop at Bronx Ave.
The gray structure housing Pottermen & Felsby resembled more a modern prison than the prestigious accounting firm. He worked as Accounting Researcher II for nearly a year in his three years tenure with them. He glanced up at the towering building and wished he felt more satisfaction or pleasure from his employment and career.
He entered the quiet lobby and made a beeline for the elevators. When he pushed the button it occurred to him then just how little enjoyment or pride he got from the position. What had he really achieved?
Death is coming to you, today. Are you ready, Steve?
The words paraded in a loop inside his mind.
“Certainly not,” he growled low to himself as he entered the elevator doors.
In the western corner, he had a modest office with glass walls to somewhat isolate him from the noises of the work
floor. The fourth wall behind his decade old desk had a dirty window framing an ugly, crowded parking lot below. He kept the blinds mostly pulled tight to keep the sunlight and glare off the computer monitors. It didn’t help much to drive out the ever-present gloom. The florescent lights were a harsh purple-white.
Steve sat down with a sigh — the day was doomed to be long and tedious.
Accountants did not die of natural causes. They gave up and volunteered. The bad joke crossed his thoughts adding to his inner turmoil.
He glanced at the calendar planner spread across the desk top. It had scribbles and notes all over it like an alley wall of graffiti.
He jumped at the sight of the word, splashing the office door and walls with the remains of his Starbuck’s coffee.
Shit shit shit shit!
His eyes locked on the word, his skin prickled and the hair on the back of his neck rose in tuffs. His hand came up to stifle the building scream in his throat.
A knock at the door made him jump again out of his chair. “What?”
Through the fake plastic wood door he heard the muffled words, “Mr. Caldero, do you need paper towels?”
Sheryl Lehman leaned over and peaked around the door to look at him through the glass. Concern mixed with curiosity battled for position on her pudgy face.
“Uh, yes, thank you.”
He knew before looking back down at the calendar the word would not be there.
Death? What in the hell is happening?
He studied the date and appointments.
Sheryl entered and started mopping up the desktop. He took a few towels and cleaned off the door with shaking hands, thanking her with numb lips.
“It’s okay. It’s gotten to all of us, Mr. Caldero,” she said.
“You heard, of course, about Joe Barness? Weird world we live in, huh?”
Steve watched her a second as he tried to recollect who the name belonged to. “Was that the front lobby clerk, right?”
“You had to notice he wasn’t downstairs this morning,” she replied, throwing away a pile of used paper towels. “He was mugged last night on his way home. Shot and left in a pile of trash bags on Hamperton. He’s alive at Metro Regional, but they don’t know if he’ll recover! Lordy, so sad!”
“It just proves ya gotta live each day like it’s your–“
“Shut up, Sheryl!”
Her jaw dropped at the cutting remark. Her face frozen in shock and hurt.
“I’ve got it from here. Uh..um, sorry. I’m not feeling well.” He shrugged apologetically.
She left, not bothering to shut the door. Steve grabbed his laptop and newspaper. He was going to work from home today.
“Floor 3, room 2AB,” the nurse pointed to the elevator bank on the right of her circular station desk.
He wasn’t close to Joe Barness and spoke occasionally with him
about football drafts and such from time to time. Yet he was compelled to see the man. He even had a card and a small box of chocolates in his hand. It felt lame to bring a gun shot victim chocolate but was there anything typical or even appropriate?
Moments later he found the room and Joe lying under several sheets and a blue blanket, hooked up with multiple tubes and wires like some sort of dimented Christmas tree.
No one was visiting.
“Are you family, sir?” A man asked him from behind another circular desk.
“No. I work with Joe,” he answered. The nurse grimaced but Steve cut him off. “I won’t be long — I don’t think he has anyone here to stop by. I thought it would help maybe leaving a card and a gift for when…when he wakes up, ya know?”
The grimace melted from his face. “Okay. Yeah, go ahead. Just don’t stay long or try to wake him. The man’s got a helluva battle ahead.”
There was a single cold metal chair in one corner of the ICU room. It was drafty and had a permanent, stale chemical smell. Steve sat down without bothering with the lights. He put the box down with the card on a shelf. No one else had sent anything. It was a truly lonely way to die.
What am I doing here? I barely know him.
You’re here because of the death threat. His dark thoughts scolded him. You are here on a purely selfish hope that if you show this dying man one little bit of kindness then you’ll be spared from the Grim Reaper! You selfish asshole!
Go home, go back to…
Joe’s eyes were open. They were boring into his.
Steve gasped and shrank back into his chair. The man’s finger rose slowly and stabbed at the opposite corner of the room. A thick gray curtain hanging from the ceiling blocked most of the light from entering and the shadows were deepest there. Something inside the black alcove moved… or at least he thought something twisted in the pitch black. Something that had been there all along, but hadn’t moved until it was pointed out.
Words crawled out of Joe’s lips, words barely audible but held a power over Steve.
“He’s here for you, not me.”
Steve’s breath caught hard inside his chest, spasms wracked his whole frame and he wheezed from exhaustion and effort. His massive oak bed frame, a family heirloom he’d inherited from his grandfather, now leaned against the mostly empty china cabinet which was also propped up against the door.
YOU are a complete fucking idiot! He whirled to scan the apartment. All four of the apartment windows had been covered with furniture and mattresses. Every lamp and light in the small condo had been turned on, eating away any trace of shadow. Even the kitchen table had been dragged into the living room to block the twin balcony doors. It was an impressive amount of effort, but it was completely fruitless at the same time.
How do you stop Death Incarnate from entering your door? It’s completely implausible that your Serta Pillowtop Mattress will do the deed, dumbass!
He rubbed at his sweaty scalp and pulled at his cheeks with both hands in his anxiety. But what am I to do? I’m not just going to give in. I’m too young! This isn’t fair. I’m only twenty-three goddamn it!
Coming up through the floor vent, Steve heard a loud bang followed by several shouts.
“Oh god! It’s here!” He moaned in pity. His heart leaped into his throat.
More shouts and then slamming doors could be heard.
“FIRE! FIRE! EVERYONE OUT!”
Steve’s shoulders dropped. His hands hung limply at his sides. Seriously. A fire, huh? He could swear he already smelled a whiff of smoke in the air.
He grabbed at one corner of the bedframe and struggled to drag it an inch.
While it seemed an eternity, less than ten minutes had passed as he clawed at the blocking furniture. He managed to squeeze past his door to stand in the smoke-filled hallway.
He was not going out this way! The Calderos had always been a family of survivors and fighters. His older brothers had both been in the military branches and his father had died on the streets as one of the city’s most decorated police officers. Perhaps now Steve could prove all of them wrong. He was going to make it! The mantra beat like a drum in his head.
A brief second in the stairwell at the third floor landing, he had a bad scare. Flames had already brought down the tiles and support beams to block his path. He ran back to the fourth as the building had two stairwells on opposite sides of the structure. Desperation put extra energy in his strides.
Just as he shoved the door to the other stairwell, a sharp and high-pitched cry came out from the gloom.
“Help! Help me!” It was a child’s voice coming from one of the apartments.
Sandee Mitchell, eight years old and left home alone, shivered in a brown blanket wrapped about her shoulders and back. Smudges of smoke and ash had darkened her hair and caked along the base of her chin and neck.
A female EMT tech was wrapping swathes of gauze around her burnt arm as Sandee rested on a stretcher in the back. A male EMT was hooking up a bag of saline.
She stared at the coil of bed sheets at her feet and the length still tied at her waste. They hadn’t gotten around to taking it off her yet.
Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.
The male EMT leaned down to her ear. “It’s okay, honey. You’re safe now.”
She didn’t look back or even acknowledge him. All she could focus on were the stranger’s words as he rushed out onto the patio. The stranger who had burst into her apartment and found her balled up outside.
“I am ready. You’re not taking her! I’ll go!” The stranger had spoke aloud as if in an argument. It had been his fourth trip to get bedsheets.
“What?” she asked him.
At this point, the fire engulfed the top of the building. Smoke billowed around them as he frantically tied the knotted sheets around her. He then wrapped a blanket around her to protect her from flames and heat.
“Hold on tight to this, don’t let it slip!” He shouted to be heard over the crash and roar of the inferno. “I’m going to lower you down. I’m making you an honorary Caldero!”
But it was his last words which haunted her at nights, stuck to her soul. He kept screaming it out in the air as he lowered her from their apartment patio.
“I AM READY! YOU ARE COMING FOR ME ONLY! YOU HEAR ME?”
I took a little liberty with this one, but it was too good to not try!
EXCERPT OF EVADE PART TWO:
In case you haven’t heard or haven’t seen my latest newsletter (Hey? Why aren’t you on my email list? Thought we were friends! hahaha).
EVADE PART ONE IS OUT!!
On the day Detective Lindsey Korrey should be celebrating the closure of her biggest case, The Nurse Catcher, she’s caught up in an intense police car chase.
Rory, a missing child case of three years, has fallen under her protection. Someone — or something — wants him back.
Yet their road is full of hidden dangers.
With twists and turns, extraordinary characters, action, suspense, and a mystery with pulse-pounding revelations, EVADE will take your breath away and leave you wanting –needing to know more!