Friday, April 27, 2012

"Last Stop, Dullsville" by Walter Conley (Short Story)

Genre:  Crime

Type of Short Story:  Walter Conley

Summary:  A man comes to in a hospital with his mind shattered. Whenpeople claiming to be family drive him to a cabin in the woods, a place known as Dullsville, are they really trying to help him recover? Or setting him up for the most terrifying night of his life?


As he was driving through the woods on a summer evening, a pick-up
truck emerged from a side road and plowed into his door. There was no
move to evade him. The truck didn’t even slow down. They, whoever
they were, had done what they’d set out to do, which was to drive Paul
off the road and into the woods, as hard as possible. Their intent
was to kill him; of this, he has no doubt. Their motive, however,
baffles him. Again and again, while he’s under, drugged into a stupor
on the couch, he is there, winding through the trees, catching a
sudden glare to his left and then pulling back and raising his hands
and screaming.

He has the dream tonight.

When he comes to, it takes a moment for him to recover—not only from
the trauma of the crash, but the fluid pace of the dream, as well. He
sees the white of the cast on his leg, the gunmetal grey of his
crutches, the duller grey of the floor and walls and the hard black
panes of the windows, bare, as they suck in the country dark.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

"The Yellow Scarf" by Barrymore Tebbs (Novelette)

Genre:  Gothic Horror

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  1969. The Rolling Stones perform a free concert in London’s Hyde Park. Flying high on grass and LSD, Peter, Barnard, Bree, and Tristan rock along with nearly a quarter million people as The Stones make history. With them is Pandora, the once-famous fashion model whose downward spiral into addiction made international headlines, now clinging desperately to the belief that only a power greater than herself can restore her to sanity.

After the concert, these five friends decide to take a weekend jaunt to the country to visit Hampton Close, a crumbling old country house Peter recently inherited from his Great Uncle, Basil Townsend. A former protégé of Aleister Crowley, Basil Townsend was once one of Britain’s most notorious practitioners of the Black Arts.

But inside a locked room at Hampton Close, an ancient evil from a distant land lies festering in the warm, wet darkness, waiting…waiting…waiting…


The house waited.

The rains were heavy that spring. The grounds around Hampton Close were sodden, the canopy of trees so lush and full that swollen limbs prohibited any hope of sunlight from ever reaching the floor of the forest primeval. To walk the wood surrounding Hampton Close was a hazard to the traveler. The flora had rotted into a cesspool of rank detritus leaving the ground a morass of wet leaves and rotten undergrowth. Beneath, benighted creatures roiled and squirmed, thriving on the sustenance of warm decay which enfolded them in its womb.

With the coming of summer, and the heat, the house became a breeding ground for that which thrives in darkness. Not tangible organisms with defined shape and form and measurable weight, but those things which grow just across the border of consciousness in that twilight area accessible only through dreams and precognition, creativity and madness. The house was alone with itself and in its loneliness it turned within and beheld its own living darkness.

The house smiled.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

"Lesser Gods" by Tyler J. Vitt (Novella)

Genre:  Science Fiction with some Fantasy elements

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  The city of Haven has for centuries drifted amidst the noxious Mists, dense clouds that possess toxins so potent that even a single breath can lead to death. The tremendous Shield covering Haven has warded off the Mists since the city’s inception, but the mundane barrier is nothing if not for the might of the High Lord God and his servants, the seraphim.

Descendents of God, the seraphim act as His messengers and bring to the people His divine Will. Generations of seraphim have come and gone, with only one seraph, known as the Hand of God, watching over the city at a time. The seraphim are the most honoured and revered denizens of Haven, and the admiration held towards them by the populace of the city knows no bounds.

Except for one man who, of all people, should show the seraph devotion of the highest calibre: the Attendant to the tenth generation of the Hand of God. His charge, Uriel, is an unruly brute who abuses the privileges of his glorious rank and treats those around him as urchins. He acts in a manner unbecoming of the messenger to God, consistently pressing his Attendant’s patience as well as his respect to the limits.

One evening Uriel pushes beyond those limits by simply disappearing. Only the Attendant realizes the disappearance, and only the Attendant—lest he put himself and the security of his occupation, one of the most esteemed ranks in Haven, into danger—can search the city for the Hand of God…


“What is beyond that must be sealed away in such a manner?”

Uriel turned to me and, ignoring my question, asked: “You believe the Archangel Michael descended from Heaven to perform God’s bidding?”

“Yes,” I said, drawing back. “Yes, of course I do.” I had believed it, although all that Uriel had told me that night was beginning to bring doubt to all aspects of our religion. I was beginning to doubt everything that had been taught and told to me in my entire life.

“You believe he was a holy being, then. One of God’s own children?”

“Yes. Uriel, what—”

He held up a hand, palm outward, to silence me.

“Aside from our wings,” he went on, “you believe there is a more profound difference between your kind and mine? Between humans and the seraphim. Something, shall we say, supernatural?”


“You’re wrong.”

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Friday, April 6, 2012

"The Sobek Affair: Eye of the Crocodile" by Aubrey Bennet (Novelette)

Genre:  Romantic mystery adventure

Type of Short Story:  Novelette

Summary:  In this first part of the Sobek Affair trilogy, anthropologist Sophie St. James just wants to finish her PhD in peace. However, the mysterious arrival of an ancient Egyptian scroll quickly pulls Sophie into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In an effort to uncover the scroll's secrets, Sophie's friend and advisor, Dr. Preminger disappears. To save her, Sophie must team up with Dr. Preminger's handsome and incorrigible nephew, Peter. With a dangerous cult fast on their heels, Sophie must decide who to trust if she is going to make it to graduation alive. As the mystery of the scroll unfolds, Sophie finds that the Eye of the Crocodile is upon her.


Sophie studied the unconscious man in her living room. Mr. Goldstein and Mrs. Treebler had been right. He was one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. At least six feet tall and athletically built, he had a strong jaw and broad forehead. The masculinity of these features was tempered by his generous mouth and long, pale eyelashes. His hair was thick, sandy blonde and well cut. Sophie found herself resisting the urge to run her fingers through it.

She had, after much struggling, managed to move the unconscious man onto the sofa. She bound his hands and feet with duct tape and checked his pockets for possible weapons. She hadn’t found any, which she thought somewhat comforting. Whatever his intentions, they did not appear violent. Taking a deep breath, Sophie flung the cup of cold water she held into the intruders face.

The man coughed and sputtered, then groaned. He tried to move his right arm, most likely to feel his head- which must have been throbbing- but found his hands bound tightly. He opened his eyes and Sophie felt her breath catch. The eyes that studied her were an intense, dark blue with an almost black ring around the irises.

“Bloody hell! What did you hit me with? A commuter train?” His voice was deep and rumbling and had a smooth British accent that screamed good breeding and pricey prep schools. In short, it was intensely attractive. Sophie gave herself a mental slap. The man was stalking her! He had broken into her office and her home! Handsome or not, he was most definitely a bad guy.

“A walking stick, actually.” Sophie replied in answer to his question. “Now who are you and what are you doing in my apartment? Why are you following me?”

Check out Aubrey's work on Amazon or B&N.