The House at the End of Sycamore Street

100_2056The house at the end of Sycamore Street was always a favorite spot of mine when I lived in Stubenville. The place was huge. We called it a mansion, but it wasn’t. It was just a big house.

Sycamore dead ended at the house.

Despite the creepy vibe the house gave off I never did think the place was actually haunted. Weirdest part of that place was the stop sign–a red eye watching from the trees, covered in pock marks from the rocks we used to chuck at it. John even shot it with his dad’s .22 a few times. I know you’re probably thinking there isn’t anything weird about a stop sign, but it was at the wrong end of the road. It was ten feet off the porch of the house. Now remember, this was a dead end street. There was no crossroad and no reason for a stop sign to be there.

We’d go out there and hunt for ghosts almost every weekend. Never found much of anything–just a few “orb” photos that are probably just dust in the air. Even when we were kids the place was falling apart and chock full of mold. I’d hate to see it now.

Hunting ghosts was just something fun to do to pass the time. Besides, it kept me off the drugs most of my friends found their way into. Chris and I were the only two that managed to stay clean. John eventually cleaned up his act. Evan and Kyle have been in and out of rehab too many times to count. Zach wasn’t so lucky.

The week after Zach died we went back out to the house–Chris and I that is. We didn’t feel much like searching the house for ghosts, but we went anyway.

Zach’s death was hard on us. We didn’t know how to react, so instead of reacting we pretended everything was fine. We did what we always did. We went to the mansion at the end of Sycamore Street.

The stop sign glared at us as we approached. To be honest, it freaked me out a little. It never had before that day. It felt like a warning–the hand of God telling us to stay out of that house.

Almost immediately upon walking through the door we could tell the house felt different, darker somehow. Chris thought he saw a shadow move so we chased it into the next room. Zach was standing in the middle of the room. Only it wasn’t Zach. He was transparent. The beams of our flashlights went right through him. As if that weren’t terrifying enough, his eyes were black. I’m not ashamed to say I ran. We both did, and we never went back.

We haven’t really talked about what we saw, but that image is burned into my brain. Even twenty years later I still see it every time I close my eyes. Only for a fleeting moment, but it’s always there.

This story was written for my Storybook Corner prompt. Click the link for the details and add a story of your own.


Changing of the Guard

Photo Copyright – Björn Rudberg

Photo Copyright – Björn Rudberg

“Why do you play your song?” I asked the old man.

“Somebody has to keep the demons at bay.” He nodded at the guitar beside me. “You can take over for awhile if you’d like.”

I laughed, thought I’d humor him. I picked up the instrument and strummed a few chords of his song. He stood up and walked away without another word.

I tried to put the guitar down, figuring I’d take my chances with his demons, but my hands seem to have gained a mind of their own.

It’s been three cursed days since I’ve seen the old bastard.

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers. Go forth, minions, and read the many other interpretations of the prompt.


Looking Forward

So I sat down to write a story for my Storybook Corner prompt and when I hit the 600(ish) word mark I realized I was nowhere near the end of the story I wanted to tell. It’s a story I ended up really liking (far more than I expected to) and I’m not going to disgrace it by finishing it and then hacking it down to fit the 500 word limit. Yes, editing is removing the crap from the good, but I don’t even think that it’d be possible to cram it into 500 words judging by what I’ve written so far. I’m talking minimum novella length if not full novel. It’s a pretty complex story with a lot going on. It didn’t seem like it at first, but the more I write the deeper I fall into the rabbit hole. I’m not sure where the idea even came from. I just sat down and started writing without knowing where I was going–just trying to get an idea where the prompt would take me. It took me to a place I didn’t even know existed in this warped mind of mine. I love when that happens, though it’s rare. Usually a story requires a great deal more thought before I start writing it.

The ones that fly off the cuff, though, are often the stories that I almost always end up liking the most. Sins of a Father is one of those off the cuff stories, born on a whim for a 100 word story prompt– my first foray into Friday Fictioneers to be exact. I love that story. I’m looking forward to releasing it at some point. I’m hoping you guys love it as much as I do.

Anyway, I will have to put this one on the backburner for a bit though as I have a few other things I want/need to finish before I dive into a new story.

Lately, I’ve been spending most of my “writing time” reading instead of writing so it felt good to actually write for a change. It got me back in the mindset of wanting to buckle down and get some stuff done. I’ve got enough to work on that it’s almost overwhelming, so it’s good to have that sense of drive and direction back. It was nice to focus on being a reader for awhile, but it’s time to get my eye back on the ball.

I really should quell the number of projects I work on at once. I’d probably get a lot more done in the long run if I limited myself to one or two projects at a time. I’ve got at least seven projects in various stages of completion at the moment, but some of those might never see the finish line. I’m probably missing 2 or 3 that I haven’t looked at for awhile in that count. So yeah. Too many. I need to pick one and stick with it until it’s done or I decide it isn’t worth pursuing any longer, then move on to the next.

That starts today. That starts now–as soon as I hit publish on this post.

My novel, currently titled Nightmares, is next on the chopping block. I have 76,000 words of rewriting ahead of me. I’ve tried several times before, but I just felt too overwhelmed by all the work this beast requires. I’ve never went in with the confidence I have now though, so this time I’m sure I’ll push through it. And after that, I’ll push through it again. Then again if necessary. I’m about to make this manuscript my bitch. I’d say wish me luck, but I don’t need it. Not this time.

Side note: there are only a few days left in that four to six month wait to hear from Nouvella on Sins of a Father. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. My mind leans toward it being so bad that they can’t find the words to tell me it sucks or they haven’t even looked at it yet. Either may be the case, or neither may be the case, but it’s always best to prepare for rejection and be surprised if events take it a different direction. Regardless, it’s looking like I may have to contact them soon to get a status update.


Storybook Corner Prompt – April

ogre-castle-wordsWelcome to Storybook Corner, a monthly flash fiction prompt held on the 21st of each and every month. This post will give you this month’s prompt.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a story based on the prompt below.

The goal is to end up with a story with a beginning, middle, and end that falls anywhere between 300 and 500 words in length.

Make every word count, but don’t fret too much if you can’t hit the word count. Sometimes stories refuse to be constrained. Sometimes those are the only stories worth telling.

Try to read as many of the other stories as you can in the time you have available. We all work hard on our stories and like to share our work with as many readers as possible.

This month’s prompt will be the following image:

100_2056

Happy writing, minions.


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Ten Questions with Adam M. Booth

I asked for a photo of Mr. Booth and he sent me this picture of an ugly mug he apparently owns. As I don't have a photo of him I'm stuck using it.

I asked for a photo of Mr. Booth and he sent me this picture of an ugly mug he apparently owns. As I don’t have a photo of him I’m stuck using this.

adamickes-thumbWelcome, minions, to the first of what I hope will be many author interviews. As we all know I’m a bit of a horror junkie, so most of the authors I will be interviewing will be like minded psychopaths. First on my list of victims, er… I mean guests, is Adam M. Booth, author of THE END.

Let’s get this ball rolling with a couple standard run of the mill questions, just to get acquainted a little better.

Question One: Tell my dear minions a little about yourself. (Though that’s really more of a command than a question isn’t it?)

adambooth-thumbI’m thirty four years of age and have lived in and around the UK for all of that time. I live in a big old corn mill, which I am slowly but surely turning into a house, and am the author of THE END, a zombie horror with a difference.

adamickes-thumbA big old corn mill you say? I would make a joke about that, but it actually sounds kind of awesome. I’ve been trying to convince my wife for years to let me buy an old church and turn it into a house because I love the architecture of old churches, but she being of the religious bent thinks it would be weird living there. Anyway, next question.

Question Two: Care to enlighten the folks at home about what you’re currently working on?

adambooth-thumbMy next book is a gothic horror provisionally titled ALISON. It’s about a lonely, isolated woman who does terrible things in the name of unrequited love. It exists within the same universe as THE END but is only loosely linked to it, and the joins will probably only be visible to eagle eyed readers. After that will be a another book provisionally titled DRIVE, which is about guilt and a secret in the trunk of a car, and is also loosely tied to the other two stories. Together they’ll form a collection, eventually.

adamickes-thumbThey both sound dreadful. And by that I of course mean dark and wonderful. I can’t wait to read the graffiti that your mind spills onto the pages of those books. Speaking of dark and terrible things, this is the point in the interview where we take a journey through my twisted mind with some stranger questions that the standard interviewer probably wouldn’t ask. Lucky for us I’m not the standard interviewer.

Question Three: Suppose you were a serial killer. What would be your weapon of choice, and what would be your calling card?

adambooth-thumbI would like to think I would use a machete because I have always liked the hack and slash brutality of them but to be honest I’m too squeamish and don’t like getting my hands dirty so have decided that I would instead take inspiration from Patrick Bateman and use a pack of cable ties, a swarm of hungry rats and a vat of hydrofluoric acid for clean up. And I wouldn’t leave a calling card because I’ve seen enough TV detective shows to know that’s how you get caught!

adamickes-thumbI’m right there with you on the squeamish front. While working at a factory during my summers in college a woman got her arm stuck in the machine I was working on and I had to hit the emergency stop button and go get help. By all accounts I was as white as a ghost and worthless for the rest of my shift. I like the idea of using rats to do the dirty work. Very dark and very painful for the victim. Delightfully cruel.

Question Four: What’s your favorite thing you ever written? What’s your favorite thing someone else has written?

adambooth-thumbMy favourite thing I’ve ever written is the end of THE END. I like the annihilation and the inevitability of it all and the way times runs out.

My favourite thing ever written by someone else is In A Strange Room, by Damon Galgut. I love the whole book and have read it many times but I specifically like the section about a woman with mental health problems best. The writing is perfect, at least in my opinion, and her illness and the protagonist’s reaction to it are absolutely devastating. It gets to me every time I read it.

adamickes-thumbI’ve read THE END and I highly recommend it to you minions out there who haven’t. I can’t promise that dark and horrible things will happen to you if you don’t read it, but I can promise some disturbing imagery if you do. As for In A Strange Room, I haven’t read it, but I plan to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation Mr. Booth.

Question Five: If you were a monster, what would you be (preexisting monsters like Dracula or a zombie are fine, as is something of your own creation)? How would you spend your time (chilling in the swamp, eating small children, photo bombing tourists… that sort of thing)?

adambooth-thumbBecause I’m spending the week snowboarding in Austria I would have to say that I would be an abominable snowman who devours flailing beginner skiers and those terrible people that jump queues for the chair lifts.

adamickes-thumbI hate you right now. I can’t believe you went to Austria to torture tourists without me. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. I don’t hate you. I’m just disappointed in you. Very disappointed.

Question Six: As we all know, I’m a bit of a fiend for six word stories, as should be evident by my Six on the Sixth prompt each month, so question six seems a good time for some fun with six words. In six words or less, what does horror mean to you?

adambooth-thumbA way to hide the truth.

 

 

adamickes-thumbSo you went to Austria without me AND you’re hiding truths from me. Here I thought I knew you. Turns out I don’t know you at all. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m interviewing you in that case.

Question Seven: Inquiring minds want to know–and by inquiring I mean me–have you ever experienced anything paranormal? If you haven’t, would you like to?

adambooth-thumbNo, not really, well except for one thing… When I was a child I was playing in a field across from my house with a school friend. It was one of those late summer nights when the sun hadn’t quite down and there was a golden haziness to everything. We were just playing around, doing kid stuff when my friend said she saw something in the next field. She shouted me over to the fence and at the other side the adjacent field was this huge black cat, sat back like cats do, flicking its tail about casually. Now, I don’t mean a big cat as in just a large domestic cat, this was big like a panther. Really, really huge and menacing. And large, predatory black cats are not supposed to be native to the British Isles and to see one would be somewhat concerning, but there it was, sitting a good football pitch distance away from us. Even at that distance we could both make it out clearly. We could even see it’s eyes and later we both agreed that they looked green. It sat there looking at us then it sprang up and bounced over the fence behind it with ease and disappeared into the woods beyond. We told people about it at the time but no one believed us. I even did a school report on it with a drawing and everything, but everyone just assumed we were making it up, then, years later there was a TV show on about the so called Beast of Bodmin Moor, which centred on unexplained sightings of huge black cats all over the UK. I was watching it with my Mum and said, “That’s what I saw!”, and she had to concede that maybe I did, so I got some closure finally! I talked to the girl who saw it with me a few years back and we both still agree on what we saw.

Wikipedia link to prove we’re not crazy!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_big_cats

adamickes-thumbI’ve heard of these big cats of which you speak, but I still say you’re crazy. I mean that as a compliment. All the best people are crazy. As Poe once said: “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

Question Eight: In THE END you take the reader on a ride inside a zombie like she’s some kind of psychopathic tour bus. That would make for a pretty awesome theme park attraction. Any plans to build a theme park based around this?

adambooth-thumbI would be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to have a Zoe The Zombie based theme park built in my honour. If such a thing could exist I would like a log flume as the main attraction, in which you ride in a broken Zoe The Zombie skull down a river of blood, terminating in an entirely black room, from which you never emerge.

adamickes-thumbI love that idea, but there is a seriously fatal flaw with your business plan. No repeat customers means your profit (if you get to the point of profit as that would be quite expensive to build) would tank as more and more patrons disappeared without a trace. A+ for ingenuity though.

Question Nine: If you could write the epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

adambooth-thumbHere lies Adam M. Booth, writer of THE END, now a major motion picture. He lived a happy, peaceful life and was nice to people.

1979-2979

adamickes-thumbWow, you are going to live a long time. Did you make a deal with the devil that you wouldn’t die until THE END got turned into a movie or something? Ah, not important. Either way, enjoy the Pit, my friend. Lets wrap this up with one final question.

Question Ten: Would you care to give us a plug for THE END?

adambooth-thumbadambooth-theendTHE END is a zombie novel with a difference. Told from the the perspective of a recently deceased woman in her thirties, it chronicles her journey into hell as she recounts the end of her life, her family, and everything, and faces parts of her past long since hidden from sight.

Gruesome, hopeless and terrifying, THE END has been well received by its readers and is a must for aficionados of horror.

Get it on Amazon. US: http://amzn.com/B00I5VBFRS UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5VBFRS


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