Horrorfest – It’s over ’til next year!

witch1Thanks to everyone who took part in our first ever Horrorfest – I really enjoyed putting together the features and reading the spooky short stories you creative-types wrote for the event. Hope you all enjoyed it too – I definitely think this will be coming back next year – a bit like an undead,  zombie feature, it’ll keep going until you take out the brains 😉

 

Horrorfest Post…Spooky Stereotypes

Twilight Every genre has stereotypes, but perhaps classic horror has more than most… Remember the outcry about sparkly vampires? Did you think it was an interesting twist, or a tad cheesy – do you prefer your vamps more fangy than blingy? Stake-able or solid as a rock?

I’m a bit of a mixed bag, if I’m honest. I love classics like Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula – imagine writing a book that establishes, such powerful and enduring characters? That people would write and re-write over and over again, re-imaginging them in new settings… I can’t imagine any author not wanting that.

And that’s the next part – as much as I like the classics, where the core themes of the genre appear, I also like it when people twist them. I might not buy in to sparkly vegetarian vampires, as much as I do their blood-thirsty, monstrous cousins – but I like how Meyer twisted the genre. Vampires that sparkle, is a good excuse to stay out of the sun, whilst not ruining the romantic / attractive bits the author was aiming for.

I think the biggest challenge when you’re twisting something is striking the right balance – I read the Sookie Stackhouse books, and then moved on to True Blood on TV – the gore, sex, and rather heartless predators were all what I would expect, but the twists were good: synthetic blood (vampire sci-fi), vampire blood as an illegal drug, vampire integration into society…

No one will have missed that the undead have been very popular over the last few years, particularly in the YA world – Being Human was one of the good ones I came across, which gave a very personal view of becoming a vampire and how that changes you as a person, others I think didn’t hold together as well, (review here) perhaps going so far away from the genre that they weren’t plausible. (Blood cola, anyone? C’mon – at least pretend you want to bite someone and not just fill up on blood related junk food!)

Some of my favourite books play on genre expectations and twist them, either poking fun at your expectations, or using them to give a whole new view on a topic. Zed was a neat twist on the zombie genre – told from the perspective of a ‘thinking’ zombie with a brain. I liked the way the author integrated zombies back into society with zombie-treat dispensing headsets, that helped them work in fast food outlets or rounding up shopping trollies.

So how do you like your horror, straight up, with a twist, or something else entirely?

Horrorfest Short…Tonight is the Night

Tonight is the NightTonight is the Night

by Lynxie

I pushed a post-it note into my shirt pocket as I hurriedly packed up my books.

I placed my glasses on top of my head and wiped my eyes before placing the pieces of glass and metal back on my nose. I started shoving the books into my satchel and threw it onto my shoulder as I whipped around the side of the desk in the library.

“Please Sir, you must hurry up. The library should have been closed ten minutes ago,” the old, wrinkly librarian practically screamed at me from behind the front desk. Her lavender and light grey shirt washed out the colour of her droopy skin, yet strangely matched the colour of her hair.

Smirking to myself as I ducked out the door, I avoided making eye contact with her.

“What an old witch,” I forced out under my breath along with a heavy sigh as I walked towards the empty bus stop. I kicked a small stone on the ground before me; the onyx lump ricocheted off the metal seat inside the small bus shelter. Making myself jump at the loud clang, I slowly shook my head in disbelief.

“Quiet!”

I looked around quickly.

“What the hell?” I quipped quietly as I searched the immediate area for the person who’d yelled at me.

“I said quiet!”

“Stuff you!” I yelled into the quickly darkening sky. “I don’t have to be quiet!” I kicked another stone at the bus shelter reveling in the loud clang.  “I’ll be as loud as I want!” I kicked another stone, this one missing the bus stop, I continued to search for the owner of the voice, but seeing nothing, not even a stray cat, I shrugged and went to sit on the cold metal seat.

An incessant buzzing in my pants pocket brought me back to the present. Fishing my phone out, I read the text on the screen.

“Oh great! Alone for dinner again,” I sighed and plopped down heavily on the seat. “I have such a crap life, my own mother can’t catch up for dinner,” I sighed again and slumped over my legs, supporting my head with my hand. “Why the hell am I talking to myself? Anyone would think I’m insane,” this elicited a snort of mirth from me.

I would have to be the furthest thing from insane. I majored in mathematics and psychology at school and was currently working on my thesis on the human brain and dreaming. It covered some pretty psychedelic stuff, but not for someone who could potentially be insane. Though one could argue that if I were insane I could come up with some of the best dreams for my thesis and then break them down.  I’d have to ponder that thought some more later. I filed it away in my mental thought bank, yes, I said mental thought bank. That’s how I am, highly organized and methodical. I have a photographic memory, and utilise that frequently to assist my analytical thought processes. People call me a nerd. I call myself organised and efficient. I intimidate people; they don’t understand me. That was through no fault of my own. I am highly articulate too, probably too much so for some of the slobs and brain dead dropouts that attended my school.

Shoving my phone back into my pocket I saw the bus come around the bend down the road. I stood up and waited as it drew closer to me.

“Psst…”

I swirled around quickly; my heart beat racing a little. No one there.

“Psst… in here!” whispered into my ear. I continued to whirl around in a circle trying to find the person who was now whispering to me.

“Where are you?” I asked. I had to at least pretend I wasn’t about to pee my pants.  A loud roaring engine and the hiss of air brakes shocked me. The bus pulled to a stop behind me.

“You gettin’ on here Mate?” The dimwitted bus driver drawled. I turned around to face the bus and nodded, not trusting myself not to sound as freaked out as I felt. I could see the hostility and distrust emanating from him as he watched me take a seat at the back of the bus.  I shrunk down into the seat to try and get away from his continued stare.

“Why don’t you just drive the bloody bus instead of checkin’ me out back here?” I yelled up at him, feeling aggressive.

Aggression wasn’t an emotion I was familiar with, being an academic I was more used to sitting quietly in the library or study hall. What was going on with me?

The bus driver slammed his breaks on and stopped the bus. I was pitched forward, hitting my right shoulder on the seat in front of me.

“That’s it! I won’t take any more! Get your freaky ass off my bus!” He screamed at me, spittle flying from his mouth as his bloodshot eyes bulged out. I looked at him with what must have come across as incredulity.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?” I squeaked out. “What the hell did I do?”

The bus driver stepped menacingly towards me. He came up the isle to where I was sitting and stared down at me. I could see the beads of sweat forming on his greasy brow. I had only a few seconds to think how gross that sight was before his bear like hands grasped the front of my shirt and jacket and picked me up. He continued to manhandle me down the isle and pushed me unceremoniously down the steps from the bus and onto my ass on the curb outside.

The bus doors shut quickly and the hulking metal beast left me in a mess on the side of the road. Brushing myself off, I slowly rose to my feet and picked up my satchel. As I swung it over my head to place it on my shoulder I noticed a dim red light pierce the darkness around me. Where’d that come from I wondered.

I checked the phone in my pocket. Nothing. Looked around for taillights of a car. None.

I twirled around like a prima ballerina looking around again. What the hell was going on with me? Did that bus driver make me hit my head when he shoved me off the bus? No, I was hearing things before I got on the bus…

That thought dispersed as I lifted my left hand up to unconsciously scratch my ear. The red light appeared again. This time I managed to catch where it came from.

Me.

More accurately, the inside of my jacket. I glanced down at the inside left breast pocket, feeling a little apprehensive about what I might find. I slid my hand into the pocket and my fingers brushed against the cool, shiny surface of a photograph. I remember putting it in there a few months ago at my Grandfathers funeral. My strange distant cousin had been passing out photos that had been found with the rest of my grandfather’s belongings. I had glanced at it and shoved it into my pocket that day. I didn’t know many of my extended family, but I’d been there to support my mother. She’d had a falling out with her Dad years before I’d been born and I’d never really spent any time with the rest of the family. It was just Mum and me at home, but granddad’s funeral was tough on her. It didn’t mean much to me.

Taking the photo out of my pocket, I flipped it over and saw glowing red eyes looking out from under the brim of a low-slung hat. My mind reeled.  I didn’t remember the photo glowing when I was given it. I probably would have paid more attention to it if it had.

“You’re going to die,” caressed my ear.

A shiver sped up and then down my spine and I dropped the photo.

“Who said that?” I jumped and searched the immediate area. The neighbourhood was deserted. None of the houses had lights on inside, no cars drove by, no one was out walking their dog, I was alone.

Suddenly feeling chilled to the bone; I picked up the photo. The red eyes glowed brighter and a sinister smile graced the man’s face.

Was that there before? Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Am I going crazy?

I continued to ask myself these questions as I quickly walked down the street, hugging my right arm around my stomach, my left hand holding the photo.

“Psst…” tickled my earlobe.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I could feel eyes on me, I felt watched. I hunched my shoulders and rushed quickly down the empty street. My eyes were darting from left to right trying to find anyone, someone who could help me, someone who could be making these noises. Someone. Anyone.

“I’m going to kill you…” hissed into my ear.

“Stop! Stop it! Please…” I begged as I rushed faster still down the street. Whipping my head to look over my shoulder, I tried to catch a glimpse of someone in the shadows. I strained my ears to hear another set of footsteps racing down the street after me. Nothing.

I passed under the archway into a small grassy park, ploughing straight into it, too afraid to stop or to walk around.

“I’m coming to get you. I’m going to enjoy stripping your bones…” echoed all around me as I stumbled up a small grass knoll.

Making it to the top of the hill, I had a 360 view all around me.  My eyes darted about focusing on everything, yet nothing at the same time. There was no one. Not a whisper of wind, no movement. None.

“You’ll never find me, but I’m going to find you!” Threatened the disembodied voice. I shuddered and swallowed the scream that welled in my throat.

“I’m coming, can you hear me? I’m going to kill you, can you feel my eyes watching you?”

I whimpered and whirled around again trying in vain to find this evil that was terrorising me. I twirled again, tripping myself on my own foot and fell heavily onto the damp grass. The photo lay in front of me. One of my eyes was closed and squashed into the grass, but the other was open and focused on the evil red glow that came out of the photo.

A pair of sinister red eyes bore into my single green one. The sadistic smile grew larger before my eyes. I watched in horror as the photograph started to come to life. The man in the dark trench coat in the photo lit a cigarette and took a drag, blowing a lung full of smoke out. The smoke swirled around his head in the photo, then left the photo and escaped hurriedly into the dark sky above me.

A strangled noise that was a mix of a scream and a howl of laughter escaped my throat. My heart beat so fast I was sure it would escape my chest. I could feel beads of sweat trail cold rivers down my back as I watched the man take a step towards me. I closed my eye, afraid to watch more.

“Look at me! You little piece of crap.” Flowed almost musically from the photo.

My body appeared to be frozen in place, but my eye opened again and stared straight into the murderous red ones of the man in the photo.

I think I peed my pants as his first hand punched through the shiny skin of the photo. His evil, twisted laugh erupted in my ears and I heard him take a deep breath through his nose.

“You are pathetic!”

I shivered, my wet pants sticking to my legs and my face still partially pressed into the grass where I’d fallen. His second hand escaped the photo, closely followed by his hat and those evil, glowing eyes of red.

I screamed.

 ———————————–

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Horrorfest short story 🙂 It was written as a creative exercise for a group competition…

“I’m a regular on www.GoodReads.com I have a number of pieces in various stages of completion on my profile too, but I kind of shocked my socks off, when one of my groups (The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword) had a competition and my result came out like it did.

The prompt was: AN OLD FAMILY PHOTO OF A STRANGE MAN IN A TRENCH COAT – Now, you can describe it, or write of the person in their time or of you finding it, or whatever, have fun with it!

I decided before sitting down to write that I wanted a visual prompt for this story. I did some googling (don’t we all when we need a little inspiration) and I located this picture [shown at the top of the post].”

And here’s a little more about the author, Lynxie, who blogs at Coffee2words

Coffee2words is me at my most basic in terms of my writing. I drink copious amounts of the darkly, rich stuff and attempt to convert it into at least partially amusing or interesting written word. I am sure those of you who check back here from time to time will see various spatterings of my work adorn the pages of my blog.

In other aspects of life, I enjoy reading, reviewing the books I read and interacting with the over 10 Million members on goodreads. I have spent a great deal of my life with my nose shoved between the pages of a book, and more recently pressed against the screen of my kindle. On a good week, I read between 1-4 books and I endeavour to review each of them. Reviewing is still quite new to me, having only picked up my quill late in 2011, I am still finding my own style.

When I’m not writing, reading or stuffing my husband’s or my own face with food, you can find me out walking my beautiful Border Collie dog, Tammy, frequenting the gym or sewing up a storm in my sewing room.

Thanks for taking part in our Horrorfest Lynxie 🙂

Horrorfest Review…Like Death by Tim Waggoner

likedeath

This book needs a bit of an intro before you read my review… it was truly strange.

Synopsis

Scott Raymond is a man haunted by his past and terrorized in the present. As a young boy, he witnessed the brutal murder of his family, but there is so much of the gruesome tragedy that he simply cannot remember — including the identity of the killer or why Scott alone was spared. The memories won’t come, but the trauma won’t go away.

Scott is an adult now, still emotionally scarred but learning to deal with it. He has come to Ash Creek to write about a different mystery, a six-year-old girl named Miranda who has disappeared in broad daylight one year ago. Here, Scott meets another girl named Miranda, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the one who’s missing — but this one’s a teenager. She will draw Scott into the bizarre hidden world known as Shadow. A world where nightmares are very real . . . and very deadly.

What the synopsis doesn’t tell you

Anything, even things just barely on your level of perception will be thrust into this world of crazy! If you’ve ever dreamt strange things that kinda freaked you out when you woke up, this will likely talk about and explore some of them! It wasn’t creepy (well not to me) but I wanted it to be. Perhaps I’ve just done a good job of creeping myself out of late. On another note, everything in this book has a latent sexuality to it. If not immediately, down the track some sort of sexual innuendo will be made about it.

Who I would recommend it to

Anyone interested in a complete mindscrew.

Having said that, it doesn’t ring true to horror, so some horror fans would be disappointed; it’s not even totally gore, though it is probably closer than horror. It’s not even in or outside of the science-fiction realm either. It contains some aspects of mystery and some crime-thriller themes. It seems to be a mash of a lot of genres, just a very gruesome one.

Review

Like Death: I’m not 100% certain as to why the book was called Like Death I think perhaps the PR guy thought ‘complete mindf*ck’ wasn’t appropriate. Even something relating to darkness or evil would have been a bit more appropriate in my opinion.

Don’t rush into this story if you can’t handle gore and horror. Don’t rush into it if you can’t stand constant WTF moments. Don’t rush into it if you don’t like talking/reading about killing, screwing, blood, guts, and all other manner of darkness.

This book was certainly all of those things; it was deep in the world of a sick mind (Scott Raymond’s, the main character). There was a lot of sexual innuendo mixed in with the horror and gore; everything seemed to be tinged in boobs, nipples, penises and sex. It did get a little, dare I say it, boring, tedious, same-same.

There were things I did enjoy. Some of the craziness was absolutely unexpected. I liked that feeling of being completely thrown off balance by a twist in the story. I also found the ending to be a bit odd, but I felt that it was a good ending to this truly strange book.

I didn’t feel creeped out by this book. I wanted to. Some of the scenes were heading down that path, but I didn’t feel the tension, I didn’t feel goosebumps on my skin or the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. This left me feeling a little disappointed.

 ———————————–

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Horrorfest review, here’s a little more about the author, Lynxie, who blogs at Coffee2words

Coffee2words is me at my most basic in terms of my writing. I drink copious amounts of the darkly, rich stuff and attempt to convert it into at least partially amusing or interesting written word. I am sure those of you who check back here from time to time will see various spatterings of my work adorn the pages of my blog.

In other aspects of life, I enjoy reading, reviewing the books I read and interacting with the over 10 Million members on goodreads. I have spent a great deal of my life with my nose shoved between the pages of a book, and more recently pressed against the screen of my kindle. On a good week, I read between 1-4 books and I endeavour to review each of them. Reviewing is still quite new to me, having only picked up my quill late in 2011, I am still finding my own style.

When I’m not writing, reading or stuffing my husband’s or my own face with food, you can find me out walking my beautiful Border Collie dog, Tammy, frequenting the gym or sewing up a storm in my sewing room.

Thanks for taking part in our Horrorfest Lynxie 🙂

Horrorfest Interview…Author Nicky Peacock

Today we’re welcoming horror author Nicky Peacock for an interview…

——————————————————————–

Nicky PeacockNicky is an English author living in the UK. She writes both YA and adult horror and paranormal Romance. In her spare time she runs a local writers’ group and can be found online through the links at the bottom of the post.

 What do you like about writing horror, over other genres?

There’re so many more options available to a writer when you throw horror into the mix. Ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, werewolves, angels and demons – they are all great characters before you even start creating the character itself. They can also do things that normal people can’t, and this adds more facets to your story-telling.

 Which authors inspire you and your writing?

I have so many, and they change constantly. There are loads of established writers such as: Poppy Z Brite, Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent, Charlaine Harris, Keri Arthur, Kelly Armstrong, Karen Marie Moning, I could provide a massive list! But there is also some great new talent out there too. When it comes to inspiration, I’m inspired by anyone who takes the time to tell a good story, who puts effort into their prose, editing and imaginative concepts.

 Any spooky real –life experiences that have influenced you?

I have had a few spooky experiences – the first ghost I ever saw was that of an old man who lived across from me as a child. I saw him in the window looking out at me in this bright red jumper. I was a bit of brat back then so stared right back at him – the odd thing was that he seemed to disappear right in front of me. I ran home to my mum, to tell her how rude he was to stare at me. She told me that I couldn’t have seen him as he’d died the day before.

 Reveal.50ShadesDo you believe in ghosts?

Yes, but no. I don’t think everything is paranormal and a lot of experiences can be explained away with natural occurrences. There are a few things though that simply cannot be rationalized.

 This or That: Zombies or Vampires?

I do love a good vampire paranormal romance and a gory zombie horror. I kind of like them both – for very different reasons though!

 It’s your fantasy Halloween party – who would you invite into your haunted house, and why?

Hmmm, I’d have to have all my friends and family there. No matter what we do we always have a blast. I’d like to scare the bejeezes out of my older brother, as he’s pulled some frightening shenanigans on me in the past.

Alexandra Skarsgard in his True Blood Viking prince costume wouldn’t go a miss either!

 This or That: Night owl or early bird?

I’m an early bird who is training to be a night owl as well. I recently stayed up 23 hours straight to get a manuscript finished. I do not recommend it – I actually slept more the next day to make up for it – so really didn’t gain any time in the long run.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your books?

I need the money! LOL just joking – I’ve got a number of stories in anthologies which range from paranormal romance to horror – so there’s plenty of variety and dark, sticky thoughts to get your reading fangs into!

 Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

I do love to listen to music when writing, it’s especially helpful when writing dramatic or emotional scenes. I always try to put up a playlist of the songs I listened to when writing particular pieces – they can then become kind of a soundtrack.

 What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I’m a multiple manuscript kind of girl so I always have a couple of books going at once. I write both YA and adult and am trying out the new NA too.

 What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

There’re all pretty crazy! I did have a brain storming session with my young nephews recently which came up with a goblin family that eat car tires (the flavor dependent on the color of the car) – I’m unsure as to how to work that in somewhere though! LOL

 What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Don’t eat yellow snow! Just kidding, although that’s still good advice. It’s probably to just keep trying till you succeed. There is a famous Thomas. A. Edison quote I live my life by. When attempting to invent the light bulb he was asked what it is like to fail 10,000 times – he replied, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ Every failure is still a step toward success. You just have to keep walking.

——————————————————————–

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website for my Writers’ Group: http://www.creativemindswriting.co.uk

Horrorfest Post…Why Stephen King missed his calling

This post by Tony T orginially featured on the blog in October last year, but I thought it fitted well with this event and so have re-posted it today 🙂

——————————————————————–

I’ve read quite a few Stephen King books. Not all of them by any means – I believe the list is now up to sixty two, – but I’ve read enough of them to know his writing pretty well.

We all know the genre: Joe Average (who has a habit of being a writer) finds himself in a supernatural situation, gets himself out of it – though doesn’t always survive mentally.

And fair enough, some of them are gruesome to the max – I believe all aspiring writers should read Misery, just as an object lesson to run from anyone who tells you, ‘I’m your Number One Fan’, and as a delve into the writing process.

But I digress, and back to my point.

I put it to the world: He missed his calling. The man was born to write YA.

I came across the review Em posted on here for The Long Walk, and flicking through my shelves of King today, it occurred to me that the works I think are his best are all, at heart YAs: IT. The Long Walk. The Body (Stand by Me, for those who only know the film). The Talisman. Christine. Carrie.

But what about the horror? What about the profanity? Some might ask. I’d ask if they’d read any YA recently. I’d pick up a Bali Rai and point out the profanity in there. I’d pick up a Darren Shan and show you the gore inside. He’s not written anything in the books I’ve mentioned above that couldn’t be handled by a teenager.

The simple fact is Stephen King works best when he’s writing about teenagers and children.

He knows on a fundamental level how they tick, the elemental fears that move and shake them. He knows how a dark cellar scares the lunch out of them, how sunlight gleaming from the ankle bracelet of the first girl you ever love melts your heart.

And he knows the value of childhood friendships (The Body: I never had any friends later on like I had when I was twelve. Jesus, did anyone?), the easy pain cruel parents inflict on their children – and not always physically.

That’s why his horror works so well…he knows the fears of childhood and knows we’ve all been there. Who’s never been frightened by a clown like Pennywise in IT? Personally, I don’t remember a time I didn’t find clowns scary.

Even Christine, which is perhaps a borderline case for YA, is all about the losers in high school, full of teenage angst and anger. Breaking the rules for the first time to get what you want, breaking away from your parents.

Stephen King missed his calling. He’s wasted on all those adults! YA’s should take him as one of their own!

So I put it to the world: Start a campaign. Stephen King should write YA!

Horrorfest Short…The Mountain of Souls

witch1Author Georgina Morales joins us again today, for her second feature in Horrorfest 2013. After ‘Talking Horror’ earlier in the week, here she is writing it, with short story ‘The Mountain of Souls’.

This piece is a shortened, re-working in English of “El monte de las ánimas” a tale written by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, a Spanish romantic writer, famous for his poetry and a central figure in Spanish literature. The title roughly translates as: “The spirit’s mountain”. You can read it complete in Spanish here and in English here. This tale is often read in Spanish-speaking countries as a ghost story, so prefect for Halloween. Blogger Pandapon talks about it in more detail in their post here: http://blog.mangamagazine.net/?p=1106.

—————————————————–

The Mountain of Souls

A Legend of Castile, by Georgina Morales

“Fasten up the hounds and give the signal with the horns for the hunters to gather. Let’s travel back to the town. Tomorrow we shall put an end to that pack of wolves.”

“So soon have you tired, my dear cousin?” Mischievous intent curled up her thin lips in a smile.

“Any other day, my sweet Beatriz, and I would never pass the challenge; but today it is All Hallows Eve, and we are in the Mountain of Souls, after all.”

“I didn’t take you for the superstitious kind, Alonso.” Though her façade remained under control, derision dripped from her words.

“You are unaware of what goes on in this county, because it’s not even a year yet since you graced us with your company. In a little while prayer will sound in the monastery, and the spirits of the dead will ring its bell.”

“The abandoned monastery up in the mount, you mean?”

“Indeed. Ride by my side, my beautiful cousin, and as the journey continues, I will tell you that story.”

And so they went ahead of the group with the Counts of Borges and Alcudiel following their firstborns in procession.

“A long time ago, Templars resided in that monastery; but Templars were not regular monks, you see. They were warriors, too. Once the town of Soria was rescued from hands of the Saracens, the King granted the land to the famous order to continue its defense. This caused bitter animosity with the Noblemen. Lastly, upon the Templars intrusion on restricted land while wolf hunting on All Hallows Eve, a bloody battle erupted.

“Not one side won but the wolves who instead of being hunted devoured a feast like no other. When silence filled the mount again, disincarnate corpses littered the scene and ravaged pieces of clothing swayed like broken flags in the brambles.

“The monastery fell out of use and greenery took over. Since that day, every All Saints Day the derelict bell comes to life; and with it, the hateful skeletons rise to fight in the mount once more.”

Beatriz dared not say a word, and in silence the cortege entered town. Perhaps had she been surrounded by the beat of the city, she wouldn’t have found the toll of the church’s bell so sinister.

That night after dinner, Beatriz sat in front of the fire recalling the amusements of life in court, the balls, the gowns, the art of trickery hiding behind hand fans.

“It’s extraordinary to see the rosy color on your cheeks when not eight months ago you arrived here so sick,” said Alonso, joining her contemplation of the peaceful flames.

“I have the air of Castile and its remarkable people to thank. How will I ever repay their kindness?” She bowed in his direction.

“Perhaps if you stayed…” Catching a sudden twitch of the feminine hand, Alonso went on, “Yet, I can vividly imagine the heartbreak your absence would bring to my dear uncle. Instead, I’ll be happy to offer you the brooch fastening the plumage on my hat. I saw it caught your eye earlier today.” The nobleman extended his hand and offered a blue velvet box. “May this small token forever bring you memories of your time in Soria.”

Beatriz faced Alonso and with disapproving tone, she said, “A well to do woman must never accept a present without compromising her affections.”

“But for especial occasions. Remember, today’s All Saints Day, and yours and mine are bound to celebrate amongst all the others.” Alonso opened the box where rubies sparkled voraciously under the firelight.

“If that would make you happy, very well then.” Beatriz took the box with apathy.

“Is there something, maybe, you may want to gift me?”

The green eyes twinkled. “Yes, indeed.” Beatriz’ long, delicate fingers searched for something on her right shoulder they failed to find. With a gasp, she then covered her mouth.

“Oh, Alonso. Remember the blue silken sash I wore today to the hunt? I had thought to give it to you, but I must have lost it!”

“Where could it be?”

“In the mount, I think!” There again, a gleam of life turned the emerald eyes ever greener.

Alonso paled and bit his lips into a thin line.

“Any other night I would go into the mountain and find it for you. They do call me the Boundless Hunter in these lands; yet tonight is All Hallows…”

“And to risk name and future in a mount full of wolves? Never! I shan’t ask you such a thing, no matter how important the sash were to me.”

Alonso turned away from her sight and after a moment of pause, he kneeled at her side. “I shall bring it to you. Remember me, lovely Beatriz, if we don’t see each other again.”

And with that, he departed the gathering.

The night went on and Beatriz waited for Alonso. Twelve chants bellowed the tower bell when exhaustion finally brought the lady to her bedchamber.

He has been gone for too long, now. It should have taken him no more than two hours.

She went into the oratory for her nightly prayers and came out when either fatigue or apprehension allowed her no further concentration. Away from her devotions and the company of others, Beatriz trembled at the sound of the howling wind. She climbed to bed and let the curtains fall.

Beatriz tossed and turned, unable to sleep. Images from the story Alonso related to her pounded her mind the way the storm battered her window. Hours passed and to the noises outside joined the groans from the inside.

Was that the deep whine of the front door?

A sorrowful cry traveled through the hallways, traversing the castle in her direction, concealing itself under the holler of the wind. The door to each chamber between Beatriz and the entrance moaned its particular tone before her own door creaked open.

Beatriz ceased to breath, her heart threatened to burst, and her mind conjured images of ravaging wolves and frightful skeletons.

The wood under the carpet squeaked as if under the pressure of inexistent feet, one and another, every time closer to her side. The wail again echoed softly through the thickness of her curtains; and they moved!

Beatriz gasped, for abject horror had imprisoned her throat. Darkness swallowed her whole.

The next morning, when the Count of Borges came to let his daughter know the dreadful fate of the Alcudiel heir, he came upon a tragedy of his own. Beatriz rested on the bed, but instead of the tranquil kiss of Morpheus, it was Lyssa who had visited her; and in a final paroxysm of madness and terror, she had taken Beatriz’ life.

No violence desecrated her beauty; she had died of fright. The evidence laid on the way her pale lips parted in a silent scream. On Beatriz’ blonde locks that were now a matted nest. But above all, it was evident in her bulging eyes that refused to stay closed, perchance avoiding in death the blackness that had swallowed her last moments of life.

Since then, it is said that on All Hallows night, after the monastery bells ring, Templars riding equestrian carcasses and Noblemen dressed in shrouds haunt a frail-looking woman that runs around Alonso’s tomb. All in direct line from the Alcudiel Castle’s top windows.

——————————————–

Georgina Morales - Profile Image Georgina has featured several times on our blog before, sharing her own horror genre writing, as well as her love for all things spooky. You can take a look at two of her previous features here, if you’d like to see her book Perpetual Night or her popular guest post My Letter to Stephen King  About the Author From early on Georgina Morales felt fascinated by the horror genre. The stunning covers tantalized her with promises of endless darkness and obscure tales. While other girls dreamed of becoming princesses, her young mind weaved stories of madness to fit those covers. Years later, after settling in New England, she felt perfectly at home surrounded by dark woods and abandoned buildings. It is from those places and memories that she writes, spinning stories from inside the obscure corridors of the mind where not many venture and very few come out alive. Her debut novel, PERPETUAL NIGHT, was published in 2011 alongside other stories. On Halloween 2013 the anthology GOTHIC BLUE BOOK III: THE GRAVEYARD EDITION by Burial day Books will include her most recent tale, A DIARY OF MADNESS. For more information about her shenanigans, stalk her here:

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perpetual-Night-by-Georgina-Morales/159894374059399?ref=hl

 Blog- www.diaryofawriterinprogress.blogspot.com

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Georgina-Morales/e/B004L93XQE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 —————————————

We have several other spooky short stories coming up this week, so make sure you check back with us to see what has been lurking in the minds of our regular bloggers and author pals (mwah, ha, ha).