Saturday 31 October 2015

Halloween Week: Step Into The Woods

Happy Halloween!

For this day of scare fests, we travel the forest path, far into the darkness…

Calling You

A single voice.
A sweetling voice.
A treble tone, and sing-song notes, of joy and giggling.
A voice to dance among the treetops and sing among the posies. A voice that calls, Come hither, come hither. It’s a beautiful day. It beckons and you will follow.
You will follow it off the safest path, and within the darkest woods. You will follow past the perfume scents and through the sharpest thorns. You will follow though the sun has set and the night is always met. You will chase the voice around the trees, and see them all appear. Their yellow eyes, their sharpened teeth, their fetid whispers in your ear.
And then the voice, that sweetling voice, that voice will call your name.
It will sing your song, your final song, and then your life will end
With a screaming voice.
Your single voice.

Buried Bones

I miss the warmth of the sunlight.
It is too cold and dark buried here beneath the earth.
I miss the sounds of laughter, of my sweet children’s voices.
Interred deep, I hear nothing save the scrabbling of mice and insects.
I miss the moon, I miss the stars, but not the night.
Without eyes, I live in darkness.
I miss the smell of perfume on my skin. I miss my skin.
Would that I could turn back time.
Would that I could live again.
But I am nothing but murdered bones.
Trapped and forgotten under the forest soil.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

Thank you for joining me in this week long celebration of Halloween fun.
Have a great and scary day!

And remember, as a Halloween treat, you still have until midnight October 31st
to download both books in my Killers and Demons series for free on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Friday 30 October 2015

Halloween Week: Rebirth

Something’s Coming…


Evening raindrops clung to a broken spider web, and fallen leaves held water like tiny crumbling cups. Silence draped across the forest; the animals fled at sunset when the sky shed its first tear. Even the carrion birds flew away, and the rodents scampered deep down into their holes.
The animals knew.
No moon graced the shrouded sky, and no starry luminosity scattered the inky air swallowing the trees. Fog crept like silky spiders, thick and velvet over the ground, obscuring earth and flora. Grey met black and swirled, mingling, melding in a darkling kiss.
And the night waited.
It waited in stillness, the breath of air grave and expectant with longing. It waited cold and cavernous, as if time gave this occasion pause. And then… past the midnight hour it came. A faint noise from beneath the onyx soil. Scrabbling, scratching, fingernails in the dirt.
Digging upward.
The ground trembled, softly, gently, as if a lover’s touch caressed it. The wind sighed, dancing among the trees and twirling with the hoary mist. Slowly, slowly, the earth gave way, the soil parted, cracked, and a bony hand burrowed out from beneath the world. Then a shoulder, and a head, and the thin skeletal remains of what once was human.
It cried.
A hoarse, guttural pain.
It hungered.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Tomorrow is our last day of Halloween Week, with one last horror story.
I hope you'll join me, as we go for a final walk in the woods...

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Thursday 29 October 2015

Halloween Week: The Wee Folk

Sometimes all you need is a little help...

The Wee Folk

Momma always placed a saucer of milk on the back porch every evening just before dusk.
“For the Wee Folk. You never know what lurks in the gloaming,” she said, “Best to leave an offering.” Then she’d smile and add, “’Sides, you never know when an offering will come in handy.”
I never failed to see her leave that saucer, even though it irritated my Daddy until the day he died. Once or twice she left other offerings out there too; don’t know if my Daddy ever knew about those. The way things turned out in the end, maybe he should have. He might’ve done things different.
And if he’d done things different, maybe I would’ve too. Maybe I wouldn’t have married Harry. Maybe if I had a better role model than a drunken good-for-nothing who beat on his wife, I might’ve aimed higher. But I didn’t, and I ended up with a part-time mechanic with a temper for a husband. I also ended up on the wrong end of his fists when he was drunk. Which happened fairly often. They do say girls marry men like their daddies. I sure did.
For a while I just took it. Kept my mouth shut, and pretended everything was fine. Daddy was still alive then, so going home wouldn’t have been better. And Harry wasn’t quite as bad as Daddy. He usually just gave me a few smacks and then stopped. Daddy used to beat Momma black and blue.
After Daddy died, I thought about leaving Harry and going home, but I waited too long. Momma put the house up for sale and hightailed it out of town. Came to me, suitcase in hand, kissed me on the cheek, and said goodbye. I haven’t seen her since. I thought I’d hate her for that, but I didn’t. I knew why she left, and I didn’t blame her.
‘Sides, by then I had met Sam.
He sidled into town one day, and got a job at the factory where I worked. Not in the same department as me, but we saw each other in the lunch room, and out back when we sneaked a smoke or two. We were both trying to quit, and failing miserably.
It didn’t take long before it went from friendly chat, to up close and personal smooching, and then quickies after work in his truck. It went on months, and maybe it was wrong to be cheating, but for the first time in forever I was happy. And hey, Harry didn’t have a clue.
Of course, that didn’t last. Things had to go and get more complicated.
It was in the back of the truck, just after, well you know. I’d pulled my clothes back on and was fixing to leave. And then Sam said it.
“I love you.”
I stared for a minute, and forgot to breathe. Before I could think, the answering words tumbled out.
“I love you, too.”
There, it was all out, and no taking it back. I didn’t leave the truck. I stayed and we talked. We made decisions. And then I went back home. To Harry.
I told Sam I’d leave my husband, but that I needed to tell him in person. But I was afraid, you see. Of what Harry would do. Truth was, my mind tumbled in on itself, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be with Sam, but Harry… no telling how he would react. He might come after us, do something terrible.
It was about then I started wishing Harry would die.
Maybe that’s why I got that revolver out of the drawer. For protection. Maybe I figured it would scare him, when I told him I was leaving.
It didn’t.
I stared him down, gun behind my back. Looked at his sneering face, and said, “I’m leaving you, Harry.”
He laughed, and backhanded me across the cheek. I fell. He stood over me. “You ain’t ever getting rid of me, bitch.”
Something in me snapped. I brandished the gun. He lunged, grabbed the weapon. Next thing I knew the gun went off and Harry was bleeding out over the hardwood floor.
“Help—help me.” He reached his hand towards me, but I backed away and scrambled to my feet.
I stood there, and watched him die.
Then I realized what happened.
Harry was dead, and I killed him.
Panic started creping in about then. Folks might believe I had no choice, knowing Harry’s temper, but some people knew about me and Sam. They might think I did it on purpose.
Maybe I did. I sure as hell wanted him dead. Maybe part of me provoked him, gave myself the excuse. And if I don’t know for sure, will other people believe I didn’t murder him?
I stared out the window, feeling lost and scared. The sun was starting to turn the sky all shades of pretty. Then it hit me. The Wee Folk.
Heck, it worked for Momma when she killed Daddy, maybe it’ll work for me.
Yeah, I didn’t mention that, did I? Murdering kind of runs in our family.
I dragged Harry’s body out to our back porch and covered it with a blanket. Took me a few minutes and I worked up a sweat. Then I went to the kitchen and poured a saucer of milk. I put that on the porch next to Harry’s head.
I fidgeted for a minute, shuffling my feet and clearing my throat. I felt a bit odd, but it was worth a shot. “I’d appreciate it, if you’d take this offering. I know it’s been a while, and I ain’t been good to you like Momma, but I need your help. I know what you did for Momma, helping her and others fix their problems, and I’m asking the same.  I promise, if you fix this for me, I’ll keep leaving things on the porch for you.”
I stared at the darkening woods. The leaves rustled, and I swear I heard whispering. I took a breath, let it out, and went inside to clean up the rest of the mess I’d made.


The next morning I stood for the longest time at the back door, afraid to go on the porch. What if they didn’t take him? What if Harry was still there? How would I explain what I’d done?
I could always tell them I left Harry for the wee folk. Go with an insanity defense.
I finally turned the knob and opened the door.
No Harry. The body was gone. Not even any blood.
The saucer was there though, empty. Not a drop of milk left. I picked it up.
Then I sighed, a rush of relief flooding though me, and closed the door.
On the way to the kitchen, I began thinking of ways to explain Harry not being here anymore. Figured I best plead ignorance. That he took off after a fight and never came back. Might pack a few of Harry’s things and leave them out on the porch tonight. Might help with the story, if it looks like Harry took his stuff with him. Good thing his truck got repossessed last week.
All I got to do is keep it simple. It ain’t like anybody’s ever going to find that body. The wee folk don’t ever give back what’s been offered.
My momma taught me that.
I put the saucer in the sink, staring at the woods through the window. I never liked to think on some of what Momma did when I was growing up, but I guess it sunk in anyway. I guess her and me are the more alike than I figured. You see, Daddy weren’t her first offering, and, well, I don’t think Harry’s going to be my last…
There’s a few more people in town I wouldn’t mind seeing dead.
Like Momma said, you never know when an offering will come in handy.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Tomorrow I have even more horror fiction for your reading pleasure.

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Halloween Week

Today on this special Halloween Week edition of Drabble Wednesday, we go in search of the undead

Zombie Confessions

The graveyard smelled of leaf mold and rot.
Or perhaps it was just me. Half my nose fell off yesterday, so my sniffer may not be working correctly. Plus, after two weeks of wandering around as a decaying corpse, my body exuded a ripe stench.
Not that anybody in the cemetery cared; every zombie here smelled terrible. Just something you adjusted to as one of the undead. That, and the boredom. All day, every day, craving brains. Flowers, clouds, people (especially people) it all reminded me of brains.
What I wouldn’t give for a juicy hamburger…
…made of brains.


A silent heartbeat, lost among the thumping rhythm of the living.
My stilled heart, unnoticed, my taken life, forgotten.
Life wanders past me, never discerning my presence.
I hear them. Those racing heartbeats, their adrenaline surging, the terrors of the night stabbing at those that surround me. They laugh, to chase away the fear. They glance over their shoulder, shiver, try to pretend it’s their imagination. Do they know something is watching them? I think they do.
Yet, they never see me.
I am invisible.
I am Vampire.
You will never see me coming…
…until you die in my arms.



It won’t take long.
I’ll be with my family again.
I missed them, all those months away, when I was lost. Something happened to me, something I couldn’t deal with, and I ran. Left my family behind. For their protection, I told myself. My husband, my son, they didn’t have to be part of my madness. For a while I pretended to be happy.
Then I came home. I found my family.
I should feel bad. For biting them, killing them.
For making them zombies, like me.
But I don’t feel bad.
I don’t want to be alone anymore.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Tomorrow I have some more horror fiction for your reading pleasure.

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Halloween Week: Book Spotlight for Everlasting: Da Eb'Bulastin

Today for my Halloween Week, (and as part of the book's blog tour) I bring you a book spotlight for the horror novel, Everlasting: Da Eb'Bulastin by Rasheedah Prioleau. It's Book 1 in the Sa’Fyre Island Series, and I now present it to you.  Enjoy...

Everlasting: Da Eb'Bulastin
(Sa’Fyre Island Series Book 1)
by Rasheedah Prioleau

After another incident of sleepwalking, Aiyana Gamelle wakes up lying under the stars on the Beach of Sa'Fyre Island, an island off the cost of South Carolina with a rich Gullah and Native American history.

Knowing these incidents of sleepwalking have something to do with her long awaited transition into queen of the island, Aiyana shrugs them off as little more than a nuisance to be expected since her lineage leads to a mysterious African goddess.

Aiyana moves forward with plans to host a week long festival that will end with her succession to the island throne, but the murder of an important guest and the passing of her grandmother bring the festivities to a screeching halt.   Aiyana learns that the transition involves an unwanted possession and the revelation of a dark family curse.

Everlasting: Da Eb'Bulastin is available at 

Author Bio:

Rasheedah Prioleau is a Southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits.  After an unfulfilling stent in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern at the age of twenty-six and never looked back.

“I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities.”

Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams... just to name a few.

Rasheedah Prioleau currently resides in her hometown of Washington, Georgia.

Everlasting: Da Eb’Bulastin

A Gullah Horror Story

Book Trailer

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Return tomorrow for a Halloween Edition of Drabble Wednesday.

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Monday 26 October 2015

Halloween Week: Darkling Poems

Today we wax poetic, shaded in black…

First up a terrifying trio of my poems:

Shadow Vows

I walk in deathly footsteps,
through the cold, long halls
A ring of gold, upon my finger,
and secrets upon my heart
I can hear her whisper,
Turn your eyes away

Eclipsing wisps of grey
haunt those empty corridors
A veil of white, follows me
and my strangling ring of gold
I can hear her whisper,
Turn your eyes away

Darkness harrows my nights
echoing down barren hallways
Tainted vows consume me
sealed with my wicked ring of gold
I can hear her whisper,
Turn your eyes away

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

Into the Arms of Death

Sing that softest lullaby,
those strains of mourning dirge
that fare thee well goodbye
Sing that softest lullaby
Saddened notes, a broken sigh
and gentle tears you purge
Sing that softest lullaby,
those strains of mourning dirge

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

A Night in the Cemetery

A quiet evening and a soft wind, where the wisps of dried leaves and dust waft gently. A full moon cracks the darkness that settled like soot on cobblestones. The graveyard silence drapes in beauty and gloom…

Cold, pallid—lost soul
waxen moonlight flickers across
bones rising from graves

From Colours of Poetry
© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved

And here are some macabre selections from my guest poet, the talented Sean Theall.

"Whispers from Below"

Please my dear, you mustn’t scream.
You must lie still to conserve air...
stay calm. Don't let the darkness
envelope you, befriend shadows
and twilight sounds. It's how
the other half lives deep within
the ground.

If you can relax and hold your
breath keeping the nerves at
bay and overcoming death.

Talking back to an owls call
for company. Your heart thumping
and pumping in time. The container’s
walls that you are encased in are
closing in. Slowly losing your grip
on reality and losing your mind.

Hearing muffled speech through
the slats of wood. Listening very
close to get some clue on how
to possibly escape, and bring
back the color in your face
before it's too late.

Please be a good little
victim close your eyes
and breathe out a quiet
exhale, let the serum take
effect and let your dreams
carry you to hell.

Sean C. Theall © 2015

"Babies Breath"

Jack and Lily are not two
of kind but are connected
by love and family and
of one mind.

These little ones are
inseparable. Their fate
locked within a dream
Terrible, insane. running
around for a day of play.
Chasing each other through
their home. Making their
way to the bathroom,
standing by the sink
playing in the water.

I watch from a distance.
quickly glancing into the
mirror, a sticker with the
word "scream" appears.
in the blink of an eye,
an ear piercing shriek
comes from the bathroom.
Dashing in, the next sight
is a full bathtub with tikes
wrapped up in a shower

Early lives dashed
innocent mistake,
stealing babies breath.
Innocent looks preserved
exhaling to the final act,
and the final act is... death.

© Sean C. Theall 2012

"Please Tale Spinner"

I have a request my dear.
Tell me something beautiful
and shocking as I get comfortable
anxiously waiting to hear.

Work your magic with the
typewriter or computer
keys. I am really picky but
I am confident you have
the skills to please.

How will you construct
my newest nightmare?
Hold my hand, please
cher, as I slowly slip

Please go let me go
If I must; ok but let
my spirit stay.

To comfort and encourage
you to slash and hack through
the story. I do have a question,
"Do I want my body back?"

I do enjoy the quiet fireside
chats we have discussing story
and poetry structures, and our
characters' fates. Finish your yarn
before the midnight chime
rings. Before it's too late.

You are one of the best at
what you do. You have all
that you need. A nightmare
mind, paper, imagination
and the willingness to

Sean C. Theall © 2015

And so ends today's Halloween fun.
Tomorrow I have a spotlight for the book, Everlasting: Da Eb'Bulastin

And remember, for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

Sunday 25 October 2015

Halloween Week: An Interview With Author Todd Allen

Welcome my horror minions,

to the start of my gloriously devilish

Halloween Week!

And do have a great beginning to kick off the week! Today's post is a wonderful interview with fellow Atlantic Canadian, and horror author, Todd Allen. He chats about his debut novel, Sacra Obscurum, discusses his writing and shares a wickedly tantalizing excerpt from his novel.


An Interview with Todd Allen

1) Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1976. Maybe it had something to do with being the youngest of three boys, but I was a kid who always needed a creative outlet. I drew and I painted, and later, I picked up the guitar and played in garage bands.

I have been a fan of all things horror for as long as I can remember. I first took an interest in horror novels by picking up my older brother’s paperbacks and reading bits here and there. One day I picked up Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I was hopelessly addicted.

Today I’m a husband and a father and when I’m not occupied by the duties of those roles, I like to write horror stories. Sacra Obscurum is my first novel.

2) Could you tell us a bit about Sacra Obscurum?

Like most every horror story, it explores a struggle against evil. In it, a few small-town boys perform a ritual from an arcane book and the story focuses on the effect the rite had on the town several years later and the effect it had on the Dawson family in particular.

It opens with Matt Dawson returning home after the death of his father, Stanley. Like Stanley, Matt is a clinical psychiatrist and he is obliged to assume control of his father’s practice. As Matt learns about his new patients, questions arise concerning Stanley’s recent behavior. Matt begins to fear that his father was involved in a decades-old murder and rumors persist that he dabbled in the occult. Matt is so driven to uncover the truth that he ultimately puts his own life in jeopardy.

3) How did you become interested in writing about the occult?

There was a poll conducted in 2013 that revealed 57% of Americans believe in the devil. Of that group, 40% believe the devil has occasionally possessed people. Quite simply, people believe in the devil. They believe in the occult. That people still hold such old-world beliefs is fascinating to me.

I was raised in a Christian household. We weren’t what some people would view as devout Christian, but we went to church weekly and observed all the holidays. On occasions that I went to my parents with concerns about vampires or werewolves, their response would never vary. They would tell me, “Those things aren’t real. Monsters aren’t real. But the devil, he’s real. He is the only thing you need to worry about. So go to church and say your prayers and he won’t bother you.” I think a lot of parents send a similar message to their kids even today—roughly 57%, of the population I’d say. That alone makes it an interesting sub-genre to work in. Also, there is a wide back story to draw material from and it is based in a history that is widely accepted by the society we live in.

When dealing in the occult and in demonology, the ultimate threat is coming under possession by a foreign intelligence. Possession brings about a total loss of freedom, a loss of identity. That is the one concept in the genre that frightens me above all others. And if it is frightening to me, I just have to write about it.

4) What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I had a lot of fun working with the setting. The story unfolds in the town of Saint Andrews. It is a real place. It is a coastal town on the North Atlantic with a deep tradition of fishing and seafaring. The physical characteristics of the place are quite unique. It is nestled between a mountain ridge on one side and the sea on the other. It has the feel of a place that would be very difficult to escape so it made the perfect setting for putting characters in danger. The townspeople were fun to write, too. They have a bit of a regional dialect and a few unique traditions that I hope came through in the book.

5) What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?

Being from Eastern Canada, the Maritimes in particular, I wanted to contribute a story to the horror genre that my neighbors could relate to, that we could call our own. This is an old place—one of the first regions settled in North America—and ghost stories abound. My grandmother could tell a slew of them. In recent years, some of the region’s more popular ones have been published in collections, but I still don’t think we do enough to celebrate our history of the macabre.

6) Why did you decide to write in the horror genre?

I had my first run-in with horror at a tender age. I saw a movie that I was altogether too young to see. I was terrified. Needless to say, there were sleepless nights to follow. When I finally got over the trauma of my first horror film, I learned something about myself that was a little surprising—I liked being scared. And I stopped at nothing to recreate the terror that gripped me during that first film. I watched every horror movie I could get my hands on. As I matured, I turned to books and found a whole new appreciation of the genre. Books can provide the reader another level of intimacy with characters and it pays dividends when those characters are endangered. When you spend ten chapters getting to know characters, it is so much easier to fear for them when they ultimately face the monsters.

Writing horror is such a liberating experience for me, as well. Perhaps no other genre allows a writer to make commentary on society while still having so much fun. Metaphor plays a heavy roll in this. Sometimes monsters aren’t just monsters. Vampires have been known to represent the spread of disease; werewolves, a lack of self-control; the Frankenstein monster, the folly of Man playing God. There are so many ways for horror writers to speak their minds.

7) What do you enjoy most about writing in the horror genre?

There is no better feeling than the one I get when a reader explains how my book frightened them. When they say, “I had to put it down at night, because I was too freaked out to continue,” that’s the best. I guess I get a kick out of making people feel uncomfortable.

8) Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

I can’t narrow it down to just one favourite, although Stephen King remains a stand out to me. There are some excellent horror writers emerging on the Canadian scene. Guys like Andrew Pyper, Nick Cutter and Michael Rowe are doing some fantastic work. I suppose, when I read their books, I get excited about the future of horror fiction in Canada.

9) What advice would you give beginning writers?

A great way to practice story building is by telling stories to friends. Years ago, a few friends and I had a weekly ritual. We’d meet at the pub every Friday after work for a few pints. During all the elbow-bending, we’d talk about whatever happened to each of us over the last week at work, or at home, or with women—the whole bit. I didn’t see it at the time, but I was getting great practice at telling stories. If it was a funny story, the timing had to be just right to elicit a great laugh. If the story was a jaw-dropper, the twist had to be delivered perfectly to get the most impact. The friends who listened to those stories made the best critics. Whether or not they realized it, their faces would tell me just how well I presented my story. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. The same story-telling rules can be applied to writing.

Now we don’t meet at the pub very much these days. We’re all married and have families to care for, but those experiences remain invaluable. I really believe that recounting those stories for friends helps me in my process today. Sometimes when I’m trying to arrange a passage effectively, I’ll think, how would I tell this story at the pub?

Author Bio: 

Todd Allen lives on the East Coast of Canada in Southern New Brunswick, and is a down-to-earth, fascinating interview. His examination of the occult exposed him to many modern witchcraft, demonology, and summoning practices and he was more than happy to get those research materials out of his house upon completing his book.

And here's an excerpt from Sacra Obscurum:

Matt reviews the mysterious Dykeman’s long-lost chart

A turn of the page revealed another incident report. It was more of the same – violent behavior followed by punishment. This time, Dykeman managed to bite an orderly despite being restrained to his bed. That earned him lockdown and a dose increase. Matt was beginning to see a pattern. Dykeman had been doped up, restrained and kept under lock and key for more than fifty years. And it had started long before he was placed in Stanley’s care. How did he survive all that time? Matt pondered. What could possibly be keeping him alive when his body has been poisoned with drugs like this for decade after decade? Ordinarily, Matt would sympathize for the patient. Clinically speaking, Morris Dykeman was a very ill young man and the years had not improved his state. But speaking from the heart, Matt saw Dykeman as a homicidal madman who was kept in Stanley’s hospital mere blocks away from his home, where he grew up, where his mother lived. Dykeman had been there the whole time, while Matt attended elementary school, went to Boy Scout meetings, played barefoot on his lawn. Dykeman was there like a beast lurking in the shadows.
            After he emptied the wine bottle, Matt flipped through more pages. There were more incident reports, but he could not bring himself to read them. He had the gist. As he got to the bottom of the chart, there were fewer and fewer dose records and none of them bore any notes by attending psychiatrists. If there was no change in condition, there was nothing to write about. And how could there be any change when he was kept in a vegetative state? He became the forgotten patient. And when Stanley came calling, Centracare was probably thrilled to be rid of their guest. Dykeman became someone else’s burden.
            Strangely absent from the chart were Stanley’s notes. Matt had assumed that he would have performed his own patient evaluation, but maybe he didn’t bother. After all, Dykeman’s records spoke for themselves. It was clear that the patient would never be well. He could never improve to the point of reentering society, or even achieving any quality of life, so why waste time on him? But then again, why bring him to Saint Michael’s in the first place? Matt may have found Dykeman’s elusive chart, but he still did not find any answers.
Matt groaned and rubbed his tired face. There was another wine bottle chilling in the fridge with his name on it. He was about to stagger to the kitchen to retrieve it when he noticed the envelope at the very bottom of the folder. He flipped to it, pulled it free, and pushed the chart away. On the front of the manila envelope, Saint Andrews Police Dept was stamped in red ink. Matt opened it, dumped its contents on the desk. There were some pages stapled together and half a dozen or so eight-by-twelve black and white photographs. The first one took a moment for Matt to comprehend. When he did, the Chardonnay he had consumed attempted a comeback. Tears stung his eyes as he swallowed hard against the tempest in his stomach. He took a breath. 
“They’re crime scene photos…Dykeman’s crime scene photos,” he said softly. “It’s okay. You’ve worked on cadavers before…you can handle this.” 
Indeed, he had. Matt had even dissected a human brain in the course of his studies. But there had not been any blood. That was all the difference. Though the blood appeared black in the pictures, there was no mistaking it. It was everywhere: splashed on the floor, climbing the walls, dripping from the ceiling, everywhere.
He looked back to the photographs. He had never seen anything like it. What used to be people was rendered to bits and pieces. What was once Dykeman’s family was mere gore strewn about their kitchen. Matt shuffled the pictures to the next. It was a close up of a housedress – white with flowers dotting it on the parts that were not blood-soaked black. The next depicted a pair of hedge clippers resting on the kitchen table. “Oh my God…” escaped Matt’s lips. He brought his hand to his mouth. The image of the huge shears slick and dripping, froze the breath in his chest. How does one use those to butcher people…to butcher family? Stunned, Matt looked to the next photo. It was a shot of a weird symbol painted on the kitchen wall. No, wait, it was not paint, it was drawn in blood. And by hand, too. Matt could see streaking made by individual fingers in the gruesome drawing. He put the stack of photographs face-down on the desk.

Well, that's it for today. 
Please pop by tomorrow for some of my wicked poetry,
and for some featured poems by guest poet, Sean Theall.

And for a Halloween treat, both books in my Killers and Demons series
are free until midnight October 31st on Smashwords. 

Check them out here:

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