Monday, November 12, 2018

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - PNR - Guardians (Touched by Light, #1) by Lindsay Chamberlin


Touched by Light, #1
by Lindsay Chamberlin
Date of Publication: October 31st 2018
Cover Artist: Jake Clark
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tagline: You can save her. Follow your Light.

Riley had spent her entire life terrified of the shadows and darkness that followed her everywhere she went. They ruined her chances at a normal childhood and tormented her throughout her teenage years, labeling her the freak in her hometown, but now was her chance to start over. After receiving her acceptance letter from Bradford University, a chance at a new life and new friends in a town far away from home filled Riley with such hope for the future, but never had she dreamed of meeting the most gorgeous guy on campus. Not only was he attractive, but the shadows were chased away whenever he was near. Riley hoped she could hold on to him, but how could she hope for so much when she had only ever had so little?

Reymend may look like just another student at Bradford University, but his world was greater than any mortal could understand. He was blessed by the Light, trained to be a Guardian, a warrior against the shadows of Midnight that plagued Touched souls in the never ending battle of Light and darkness. It was his duty to protect those souls, and his next Charge was Riley. She didn’t understand the shadows that followed her relentlessly, but one day, she was going to be stronger than any Guardian in the history of the Light, if the darkness didn’t claim her first.

READ MORE . . . GUARDIANS (Touched by Light, #1) . . . 

Monday, November 5, 2018

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - PRN - The Harpist by Michele Roger and M. M. Genet

The Harpist
by Michele Roger and M. M. Genet
Date of Publication: September 20th 2018
Publisher: Meant To Be Press
Cover Artist: Joshua Roger

Genre: Paranormal Romance


Elizabeth O’ Toole has finally gotten her life where she likes it.  She plays harp for the local symphony.  She shops high fashion labels at vintage stores.  She’d recovered from her tragic past and she has her friends Catherine and Alan to thank.  After suppressing her extra sensory perception with intense study of her harp, she finds her music is suddenly connecting with a new audience; particularly a young girl, Emma Brady, who has been murdered.  With each ghostly visit, the hauntings grow more intense and more terrifying. 

Investigating the case is ruggedly handsome Detective Mike Flannery.  Known for his fast thinking and bravery on the force, he has his own past and reputation he’s trying to keep at bay.  Coming from a rich and powerful family, he’s out to prove he can fight for justice ny being a good cop rather than moving up the ranks through nepotism.  Mike and Elizabeth’s paths collide at Emma’s funeral.

The daughter of a Senator, the family wishes to the investigation done quickly and quietly.  Mike can’t close the case because some of the pieces just don’t fit together.  Elizabeth holds the key to the murder mystery but will be believe her and her unusual connection to the dead victim?  Will she and Alan find a way for the dead to tell their stories?

A novel that spans two worlds and two time periods, this book is one part science fiction, one part paranormals mystery and all romance.  Intertwined is a love story of the most unlikely couple.  A killer is on the loose and both Elizabeth and Mike are on the hit list.  If they work together, Mike just might solve the case before more people fall victim.  But he can’t do it alone.  He’ll need the help of Elizabeth as she connects her living world to that of the dead.  She’ll need Mike’s protection and he’ll the talent and bravery of The Harpist.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Enchanting Yuletide: A Multi-Author Anthology

From Children of the Moon
By Jena Baxter

Moonlight shines within my soul
Musical notes splash color
Violin, piano, from worlds of old
Stirs new life with blossoming wonder
Seabirds call in the distant sky
Warm breath of forgotten lovers
My heart stands with awe and wonder
Lost in a web of finest silk
Notes spiral through twilight endless
In a fine-spun web of enchantment.

READ MORE . . . Enchanting Yuletide: A Multi-Author Anthology . . . 

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Diamond Moon (Black Hills Wolves, #12) by Celia Breslin

Celia’s Picks for Halloween Binge-worthy Shows

My family loves to binge-watch paranormal movies and TV shows for Halloween, especially those involving vampires and werewolves. Here are our top ten picks for your All Hallows’ Eve viewing pleasure…

1. The Underworld movies.  Love all of those digitally rendered Lycans!

2. Wolf (1994), starring Jack Nicholson. Seriously, it’s *Jack Nicholson*. Enough said. :-)

3. An American Werewolf in London (1981).  Classic.

4. The Lost Boys (1987).  Naughty vampires, wicked good fun.

5.  Blade (1998).  Action!

6. From Dusk Till Dawn, (1996).  And more action!

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and its spin-off, Angel. Vampires, werewolves, and more, oh my!  Joss Whedon rules.

8. Vampire Diaries TV series and its spin-off, The Originals.  Sexy, naughty vampires, kickass werewolves, and a whole slew of entertaining witches.

9.  True Blood TV series. Vamps, wolves, witches, and the fae. Fun, funny, dark, and bloody.

10. One last movie, and my all-time fav, The Cabin in the Woods (2012).  Funny, a bit scary with some good and creepy transformation effects, and chock-full of great lines such as:  “Yeah, uh, I had to dismember that guy with a trowel. What have you been up to?” and, “Hey, shh, no. I totally get it. I’m sorry I let you get attacked by a werewolf and then ended the world.”

READ MORE . . . Diamond Moon (Black Hills Wolves, #12) . . .

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Immortal Descent by Carolyn M. Walker

Immortal Descent
by Carolyn M. Walker
Release Date: April 3rd 2018
Publisher: Clean Reads / Astrea Press
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy


Deep in the caves of rural Western Germany, the truth about immortality has remained a secret for centuries, but now that secret is about to break free...

Ethan West knows what it means to be different. With a haunted past and a strange sixth sense he sometimes can’t control, Ethan’s in search of a better future. Instead, he’s brutally attacked. Narrowly saved by the beautiful and mysterious Rue, Ethan quickly learns the world is darker and more bizarre than he had ever imagined. And sparing his life comes with a price: being reborn immortal. Now, a dark faction of ancient, cursed immortal beings known as Lorns are after him. And they want his rare, newly awakened soul.

Descended from the mythological Nephilim, Lorns are bound by either the divine force of order or the mortal force of chaos. Ethan is a rarity, bound by neither, yet he is ruled by both. Now, wielding an ancient and volatile power, Rue and her Alliance work to keep Ethan from spiraling out of control. At the heart of a terrifying underground war between Lorns, Ethan becomes the target of one side and a savior to the other. Amid everything, Ethan struggles to understand his own purpose and power—an ordeal that tests his loyalties, beliefs, and sanity in ways unimaginable. And the greatest danger is yet to come.

READ MORE . . . Immortal Descent . . .

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Prince of Dreams (House of Terriot, #4) by Nancy Gideon

Prince of Dreams
House of Terriot, #4
by Nancy Gideon
Date of Publication: October 2nd 2018
Cover Artist: Patricia Lazarus
Genre: Paranormal

Tagline:  Written in the cards . . . Who was this guy, her rescuer, her hero, her knight in shining 2-carats?

Kip . . . Prince in the shapeshifter House of Terriot

He'd said he wasn't a mobster. . . She should have asked if he was a monster.
Who was this too good to be true, always ready in a crisis guy working a menial job for her father? Ophelia knew things. Something was not quite normal about the Kip Terriot hiding behind another name in lace-up dress shoes and a preppy wardrobe – something wild and exciting as all hell. A dangerous something calling to that restless difference in her own soul.

Ophelia . . . daughter of his enemy, girl of his dreams

So sassy, so sweet so perfect . . . and what he had to do would destroy her.
Kip was in New Orleans to save his clan and his kind, not to play white knight for Ophelia Brady with her quirky habits, curvy body and tormented past. His deception would rip the heart from her world, not help heal it. Was his family’s nemesis using his own daughter to make Kip the played instead of the player, pulling him between love and duty to make an impossible choice?

“Emotionally captivating! A brilliant conclusion to a unique series!” – Book Bling

READ MORE . . . Prince of Dreams . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - The Meadows by London Clarke

Recipe for Chocolate Swamp Pie

Pie crust

2 cups flour

¾ cup Crisco

dash of salt

1 egg and 4-5 tablespoons of ice water

1 teaspoon of vinegar

Mix salt and shortening in with flour. Mix together with spoon. Beat up egg with fork and add to mixture. Scoop tablespoons of water into the mixture. Add tsp of vinegar. Mixture will be stiff. Chill for 2-3 hours. Cover with saran wrap until ready to mash into a pie pan.


1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs beaten

2 tablespoons cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1and1/2 squares of baking chocolate

Melt butter and chocolate. Beat eggs, add sugar, beat well. Add cream and vanilla.

Mix well. Add melted mixture and mix all ingredients together. Pour into unbaked crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

READ MORE . . . The Meadows (Legacy of Darkness, #1) . . .

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - The Last Hellfighter by Thomas S Flowers

Friday the 13th 3D: 36 Years in the Making
Guest Blog by Thomas S. Flowers

As a horror fan I feel rather fortunate that so many of my favorite thrillers released on the year of my birth. A quick Google re-search will reveal a VHS candy store of goody gore and lovable murderers, from The Thing to Poltergeist to Halloween III (the one without Myers) to Amityville II: The Possession (the one that was like The Exorcist but with incest) to The New York Ripper to Pieces, Parasite, The Slumber Party Massacre, and... Friday the 13th...PART 3D (cue groovy disco music). And among the other entries in the franchise, PART 3D is I would say my second favorite. There are many factors that play into my rating but unless you've seen it you probably won't understand. So, do me a solid and go pop in that flayed VHS cause this review will be chopped full of SPOILERS. have been warned!

Directed by: Steve Miner
Writing Credits:  Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson, and Sean S. Cunningham.
Music by: Harry Manfredini
Special effects: Martin Becker
Release Date: 13 August 1982 (USA)

"Having revived from his wound, Jason Voorhees takes refuge at a cabin near Crystal Lake. As a group of co-eds arrive for their vacation, Jason continues his killing spree."

Among many reasons why I love Friday the 13th part III, one would be that it is the first true Jason Voorhees slasher. Yup. Obviously part 1 was really about mommy Voorhees, a character who wasn't even given a first name until...what, part 2? And while fantastic in its own right, it was not a "Jason" movie, not yet anyway. Now some would say, "But hey, Tommy, what about part 2? Isn't that considered a Jason Voorhees movie, it does have Jason in it after all?" And I would of course nod my head knowledgeably. Yes, part 2 does have Jason...but not the Jason. What we got was a backwoods deranged potato sack wearing weirdo who at times certainly had classic Jason mannerisms, but in the end still just an inbred acting mongoloid. Now that said, part 2 has its charm and some really excellent kills, but if you want Jason as we love him today (hockey mask and all), you gotta start with part 3.

Part 3 is also really awesome because it has what every good indie horror movie should, a cast a unrecognizable actors and actresses. While still young, parts 1 and 2 had some fairly recognizable cast members, including Kevin Bacon, John Furey (a known TV actor), Harry Crosby (son if Bing Crosby), and not to mention the late great Betsy Palmer who was one of the most veteran and highly respected actors on set. Part 3? Nadda. They didn't even have Chong, of the Cheech and Chong variety, star as the lead stoner, instead they dressed some dude named Chuck in a blue bandanna, green button down, and red pants with not quite as much weed as Up In Smoke.

I'd be amiss not to comment on what PART 3 has no other addition does. Shelly. Shelly is the best part of this movie. From humble awkward to cartoonish to a astonishingly flamboyant runner, Shelly is still by far my favorite character in the film. Sure, he fails to get the girl Vera and he's socially immature, who isn't?!? Shelly does have a few things going for him. Sweet yo-yo skills and a magic box that is literally "his entire world" full of tricks and gags to annoy the entire gang of friends, and the largest white-boy fro ever shot on a 3D film.  On a low par, I wasn't all that thrilled with leading lady Chris Higgins (Dana Kimmell).  She seemed too annoyed at times. Bored. And too drawl. The best part about her, I thought, was her really strange back story of a previous "unfilmed" encounter with Jason Voorhees. An encounter that sounded almost as if it were some kind of sexual assault. Going back to the amazing documentary
Crystal Lake Memories, actress Dana Kimmell confirms this backstory, but she says that producers did not want to pursue it in any kind of depth. This revelation is kinda dark for a Friday the 13th film as they typically follow a blood, guts, and gags methodology.

So, we've covered the more manly killing machine Jason. We got the actors. Next is the music. Harry Manfredini, who scored most of the Friday the 13's, including the original, crafted one hell of a soundtrack for this third installment. Part disco, part horror, 100% awesomeness. It is also one of the few, if not only, horror sound track to garner its own cover band by the name of Nilbog. Check them out on YouTube. Link provided below.

But like any horror slasher flick, there's gotta be a seemingly solid foundational plot. In PART 3, Chris Higgins invites a gang of friends to include a pregnant bestie (who gets slaughtered later btw...also a very dark moment for a Friday the 13th movie), two stoners, a Mexican chick, and Shelly. They met up later with lurch looking boytoy Rick (Paul Kratka). Events escalate into a series of weed smoking, beer drinking, skinny dipping, practical jokes, and heartfelt life lessons until Shelly and Vera end up pissing off a low-level biker gang. After Shelly runs over some of their motorcycles, the b-squad gang vows revenge that never really materializes. Instead, after following Shelly and Vera back to the cabin, they are quickly dispatched by Jason.

After Chris goes off with Rick to blow off some steam, the night consummates in more weed smoking and beer drinking, a sexual encounter, and Shelly in a wet suit. I know, sounds amazing doesn't it? Where does all this debauchery go? To one of the coolest kills. Once Shelly is dispatched, Jason finally obtains his moniker look by putting on the hockey mask that Shelly was so kind enough to bring along. Jeez, imagine if he brought a faded Captain Kirk mask? Talk about a lawsuit! Anyways, with Jason now complete, he causally strolls out on to the deck where a waiting Vera is fishing for Shelly's dropped wallet on the edge of the lake. He aims at her, much to her confusion, as she thinks he's Shelly. Just as she says, "Wait...who are you?" Jason pulls the trigger on the speargun popping her eye out the back of her head. Simply amazing. Its the small things folks.

More killings ensue until finally Rick and Morty...oops, Rick and Chris arrive back at the cabin. With everyone gone and blood everywhere, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. During the attack, ole handsome lurch Rick gets his eyeball popped out his socket, which must have been a real thrill for kids who matched this back in 1982 in 3D. And finally, Chris and Jason go toe to toe. During the struggle, one of the surviving bikers revives just to be killed again, but distracting Jason long enough for Chris to throw a noose around Jason's neck and shove him out the barn. When that proves useless, she plants an ax deep in his skull. That seems to have done the trick and as the credits roll, the cabin is surrounded by police and paramedics.

For me, my horror appetites are not hard to please. And PART 3D, given some of its flaws, is a groovy good time for a slasher flick, and especially a Friday the 13th slasher flick.

READ MORE . . . The Last Hellfighter . . .

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Stalk by Victoria Danann


by Victoria Danann

Date of Publication:  October 21st 2018
Publisher: 7th House, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Cover Artist: Victoria Danann

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tagline: Every breath you take.

The first coming of chaos. Twelve thousand years ago, members of a more advanced race crossed into our dimension when the barriers temporarily collapsed.

Trapped in our world, the aliens, who were also shifters, built structures that eventually caused the great flood and the sinking of Atlantis.

Some of the alien DNA survived in progeny that carried an untraceable shifter gene, dormant until awakened by mating with a full blooded werewolf.

READ MORE . . . Stalk . . . 

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Haunted by Darkness by Raven M. Williams and Jena Baxter

Halloween Night
By Raven Williams

Darkness grows all around,

As the woods echo with haunting sounds.

On the pumpkins the frost does lay,

And in the cemetery mist covers the graves.

The wolves howl at the bright full moon,

Filling the air with their spooky tune.

Witches, their cauldrons they do stir,

While stroking their familiars’ soft black fur.

Costumed children roam the streets,

Looking for candy and other sweet treats.

The Vampires, Ghouls, and Goblins give fright,

As all gather to celebrate Halloween Night.


READ MORE . . . Haunted by Darkness . . .

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Haven (Tranquilli Bloodline, #1) by Celia Breslin

Celia’s Bewitching Halloween Tale

I grew up listening to my Irish grandmother’s stories about the Fae, including her encounter with a Banshee in her family’s cellar when she was a teenager. Of her many stories, this is my favorite, and I love to share it every Halloween.  Enjoy!

Bumped by the Banshee
by Celia Breslin

… I lived in a large two-story house with my parents, younger sister, and grandmother. It was a cold, winter evening, nothing special or out of the ordinary. My family dined together, then my sister and I cleaned up while our parents and grandmother drank tea. We joined them at the dining table to do our homework, but my grandmother said she was tired and went upstairs to bed. My parents followed shortly after that, but my father paused on the landing.
“Maeve, it’s going to be a cold night. Fetch us some coal, please.”
I abandoned my homework, grabbed the empty coal bucket from the kitchen, and went down into the cellar. I filled my bucket and returned to the stairs. I had one foot on the first step when the temperature in the cellar, already cold, dropped dramatically. Chills ran down my back. Behind me, someone moaned.
But how could that be? I was alone...
Terror rooted me to the spot. The keening grew louder. I dropped my bucket and covered my ears. A cold wind bumped against my back. I stumbled forward as the shrieking wind rushed over me and up the stairs.
But how could that be? The cellar had no windows...
Above me, the cellar door slammed shut. The sound broke me from my stupor. I screamed and ran up the stairs and out of the cellar, through the kitchen and dining room, and up the stairs to my room. My parents and sister found me under my bed, shaking like a puppy lost in a snowstorm.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” They asked me, while pulling me from my hiding place.
“I heard the Banshee wail.”
We stared at each other in silence, all of us reaching the same conclusion moments later. We hurried to my grandmother’s room.
She was dead.

Copyright 2018, Celia Breslin. All rights reserved.

READ MORE . . . Haven (Tranquilli Bloodline, #1) . . .

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - The Sting of Victory by S D Simper

Eri awoke when the candle at her window blew out. The light in her bedroom shifted, the warm glow replaced by translucent, silver wisps of moonlight.
Her bed creaked when Eri sat up, the wood groaning from age and use. All the world was silent beyond, and when Eri stood up and gazed out her window, she saw faint flickering lights shining from other homes in her village, offering the same respects.
She always kept her matches close at hand – as she ignited one, she recited a whispered chant to the Goddess: “The light shall burn away all your fears.”
There were terrors in the night, rumors of a monster decimating villages after dark. The Endless Night, they called it, but Eri did not fear, the comforting light of the candle illuminating her bedroom like an embrace from her beloved Goddess. Soft hues of orange cast deep shadows across the furniture. Eri gazed out across the sleepy elven village, the home she loved, but then a shadow blotted out the moon.
It passed, but not before Eri saw the eerie silhouette cast across the celestial light.
The candle, she realized, had been a warning.
She ran to her sister’s room. The girl slept peacefully, despite the first hints of screaming from beyond.
Eri gathered her courage and shook her sister awake. “Lirita, awaken. We have no time.”
Her sister blinked and rubbed her sleepy eyes, her precious pointed years just visible as they poked from the blankets. “Eri-”
“Put on your robe – we must go!”
Lirita obeyed, and thank the Goddess for that. Eri herself ran to throw on her shoes and grab a satchel of food – one set aside for this very purpose. When she looked back to the bedroom, Lirita approached. “Eri, is it-?”
Eri nodded as she stole the girl into her arms, the tiny thing barely half her height. Eri had raised Lirita for six months now, after their parents’ death, and she had vowed to do whatever it took to give her little sister a home – even if it meant abandoning it now.
Outside, the cold air bit her skin. Winter would soon be here, but that precluded they survived until then. Eri saw a great shadow moving in the distance, illuminated by the full moon – elongated limbs, far too thin. Flashing in the backdrop of darkness, Eri saw glowing eyes in the brightest blue, icy enough to freeze her blood
Screaming erupted from beyond. Eri heard shattering stone and wood. She ran away, to the great river beyond.
Lirita clung to Eri’s neck. “Where are we going?”
“As far as we can.” Already, her breath began to burn, the added weight of her sister more than she expected. They would escape, but so many others would fall. “Lirita, I want you to scream as loud as you can. We need to wake everyone up.”
The child obeyed, her shrill voice cutting through the false peace. Though deafened by the noise, Eri continued running, her boots stirring up dust beneath them. Through winding streets – their village was dense and older than most – Eri ran, knowing the path by heart, and watched as curious faces peeked beyond their windows. She realized she wasn’t alone, after a point – other feet echoed behind, the lucky few evacuating before the monster could come.
When the houses grew sparse and the road suddenly ended, they face a great river, wider across than the road. It rushed, dangerously so, but it brought the hope of escape. The Goddess would deliver them, and Eri offered a silent prayer of thanks. She glanced back and saw a small crowd running towards them, some carrying children, some with supplies.
The monster stepped out of the trees beyond, emerging from the shadows cast by the moon.
Eri saw it clearly now – its elongated limbs sickly and pale, impossibly thin, yet it balanced on all fours, great claws at the front. Its jaw hung slack as though broken, revealing rows of fangs and a maw of infinite darkness – as endless as its cursed name. Intelligent eyes, glowing brighter than the moon, surveyed the crowd, and Eri swore it smiled.
Here is stood, The Endless Night. It leapt across the river, and Eri screamed.
Prepared for death, Eri clutched her sister tight, then gasped when great claws flung her aside. The monster raked through the crowd of people, but though it tore through them like paper, Eri and her sister yet lived – thrown instead of gored.
With a pained yelp, they smacked against the wall of a building. Though bruised, Eri lived. She glanced at Lirita; the girl sobbed, but she remained unscathed.
Blood dripped from a gash across Eri’s crown, droplets of blood steadily staining her blouse. She ran back into the village, screams and her sister’s own sobs echoing through her head. From behind, she heard the monster’s booming voice, deep and yet shrill, two dissonant tones coming to speak words that grated against Eri’s ears. It recited a language not meant for this world – the dialect of the demons from beyond.
From the shadows emerged hazy figures, and Eri watched as one grabbed an unfortunate soul and pulled him back. They both disappeared into the darkness, his screams ceasing at once.
All around, more shadowed figures emerged. Eri had heard stories of demons seeking hosts, that to be stolen was to be eaten or possessed or worse, but they could not manifest alone. The monster summoned more of its kin, for what purpose Eri could not say.
Eri heard the monster laugh – a horrid, guttural, gleeful sound – and somehow it frightened her more than the demons or the monster itself.
Stragglers were stolen, those who ran with Eri. She saw fire ahead and wondered if it would save her. Goddess, burn away my fears, she prayed. Let Lirita see the sun again.
Fire blazed in the city square – started by the villagers themselves. A great pyre burned, and armed guards stood around it, some swinging at the shadowed figures. The shadows dissipated when struck, and if the flicking light touched them, they vanished with a whispered scream. “Stand in the light!” she heard a guard cry. Another bonfire erupted, fire quickly eating through the dried tinder. “The Endless Night is weak in the light. We need only survive until dawn!”
Or so they said, Eri knew.
From the great shadows cast by the fire, the monster emerged beyond the town square. It stood taller than the buildings, and when it balanced on two legs and bellowed a roar, Eri tucked Lirita to her chest and covered her fragile ears. Eri’s own pointed ears rang and lingered in pain.
Fire cast grotesque shadows across The Endless Night, highlighting its gaunt, unnatural face. Guards rushed as it approached the square, prepared with their swords and shields. With unnatural speed, the monster swept them aside. It grabbed the last and slowly tore him in half, visibly reveling in the man’s screams. Eri heard that perverse laugh as it dangled the halves before the crowd and threw them into the fire.
Eri ducked, then screamed when fire caught her skirt. Burning wood scattered across the earth as Eri dropped Lirita and rolled on the ground.
Its laughter sickened Eri to her core. On the ground, she beat the fire licking at her skirt while The Endless Night continued its rampage. Lirita joined her, the tiny girl braver than Eri had ever felt.
Eri would not die in flame today. Bells rang through the cursed night, deafening even amidst the cacophony of screams and demonic words. The cathedral stood as a beacon of hope, the great bell warning the village of its eminent demise.
Some drawing in Eri’s soul bid her to rise. Perhaps the Goddess would deliver her yet. Eri grabbed Lirita and a burning slab of wood – fire for protection – and ran for the cathedral doors.
It rose in white stone, the richest of all the buildings in town. She banged on the great wooden doors, appalled to find it was locked. With a prayer of apology, she ran instead to the side, and with her makeshift torch swung and shattered the stained-glass window. Rainbows hues scattered across the cathedral floor, reflecting the fire in opalescent shades.
With as much care as she could muster with one arm, Eri helped Lirita inside. The girl made it in without a scratch on her skin, but Eri was much less fortunate – as she fell inside, glass caught her leg, ripping a deep gash across her thigh.
Eri gasped and landed sprawled on the floor, driving the shattered shards deeper into her flesh. The torch licked at the stone floor as her own blood pooled around her. Within, the tentative peace was as fragile as the glass Eri had ruined. She withheld a scream, her pain steadily rising, and with how the blood spurted, she feared she could not walk for long.
Adrenaline spurred her forward, as well as screams from beyond. She grabbed her torch, illuminating the great church, and limped toward the altar.
A statue of the great Goddess smiled down at them, her eyes filled with the kindness of a mother gazing upon her child. Before her was a stone altar draped in fabric, and a chance breeze from the broken window rustled the fabric, revealing a hollow opening – one small enough for a child. “Lirita-”
She gasped as she stumbled and fell, slipping in her own spraying blood. The stone floor caught her, and the glass embedded in her leg cut fresh wounds within.
Tears welled in her eyes as Lirita tugged on her hand. “Hide underneath,” Eri said. “No matter what you hear, do not come out.”
Lirita shook her head and knelt beside her, uncaring of the blood staining her nightgown. “What about you?”
“The Goddess brought me this far. My life is hers.” Small arms wrapped around her head. With the last of her strength, she brought her own arm up to embrace her sister. “I love you. What you can do for me is live.”
“I love you, Eri.”
The enormous doors shattered, the monster’s claw sweeping clean through. Lirita’s touch disappeared, and Eri saw the fabric shift around the altar as The Endless Night approached.
It gazed around the cathedral with its horrid, glowing eyes, its gaping mouth pulling into a vicious, broken smile. Its stared landed on Eri, and she moved to stand on her feet – but collapsed.
Her head swam from blood loss. Despite the instinct to flee, she scooted herself away from the altar, toward the monster, unable to help the sob that tore from her throat.
She stared into the abyss, at the face of this monster from hell, and it stared back. “Goddess, deliver me,” she whispered, and it must have heard, for its cruel laughter met her ears.
It swiped out an enormous claw and ripped the statue of the Goddess from its pedestal. Eri drew a breath, tearing her gaze away from the monster and to the Goddess’ countenance—
The monster threw the statue down. Eri’s death was swift and clean.
* * *
In the aftermath of hell, the endless night did end. Dawn broke across the horizon, casting light onto the ruins of the once thriving village. Every inch of land lay covered in debris and carnage, and already the scent of death and stagnant blood began to rise.
But with the sun rose survivors, the lucky few who escaped the demons and The Endless Night. They gathered their own and formed a caravan, desperate to leave before nightfall – by nightfall, the dead would rise.
Lirita emerged with the living, the only child among the small throng. She did as she promised – she lived.

READ MORE . . .The Sting of Victory . . . 

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular - Malevolent by S. Peters-Davis

Soren’s Calling
By S. Peters-Davis

The tree, miles inside the dense Michigan forest, billowed with majestic energy, same as it did fifteen years ago. I’d sensed its power even then, at ten years old. Something marked in my memory like a reoccurring dream called me back to this place.
I touched the kaleidoscope of bark, reveling in its swirls of uneven texture, and swore it shivered. Or was I vibrating to its high frequency? Excitement and exhaustion sliced through me. “Hello, old friend,” I whispered.
A sudden heaviness settled into my body and eyelids. I dropped my backpack and leaned against the tree, bending until I rested on the ground. The sketch book. I pulled it from the pack and thumbed through the pages of my drawings. There he was. I want to see you again.
My eyes closed of their own volition, sending me into the darkness of deep sleep.
* * *
Breaking branches, rustling leaves, and a thud on the ground next to me startled my mind to consciousness. I jumped to my feet, the sketch book landing with Soren’s page open. I glanced at it for a second before scanning the area and seeing nothing. Then…he stood in front of me.
His violet-rimmed dark eyes studied me. He’d grown in stature, still long-limbed with clawed hands and feet. His shoulder-length silver hair was drawn away from his sculpted face by a couple slender braids. He sniffed the air and his mouth opened showing long incisors.
“It’s me, Becca.” I reached my hand toward him and he jerked back, snarling, the talons on his fingers displayed in full. The hair across the nape of my neck snapped to attention, reminding me of the graphic way he’d stopped a wolf from attacking us years ago.
Maybe this wasn’t Soren. I lowered my gaze to the drawing at my feet. He stepped closer backing me against the tree, his thin brows pinched together as he studied the drawing. He looked back at me, wide-eyed, and planted his hands on both sides of my head. Somehow, we fell inside the tree.
We plummeted into a wind tunnel. His arms locked around me as he spun my body around until our heads were up and our feet were down.
What the heck just happened? I didn’t recall this part.
Warm shimmering light surrounded us, making the violet color of his eyes opalescent as we free-fell in this make-shift elevator of air.
“Becca,” he whispered and nuzzled my neck. “You came back.”
My eyes moistened. “Soren, I’ve missed you.”  His earthy cocoa-spice scent doused my olfactory in memories. The three days and nights we’d spent together, climbing the tree, finding mushrooms, swimming in an icy pond, enjoying campfires…until my parents found me wandering the forest alone.
We never went to that forest again for our spring mushroom hunts.
All this time I thought the tree and Soren were figments of a child’s wild imagination. I returned to the forest in hopes of finding the tree, where I’d first fallen asleep so long ago. I lifted my head away from Soren’s shoulder to study him closer. His face appeared more human. The fangs had receded. His ears lost their pointed tips and his nose wasn’t so snout-like.
The tunnel opened into a vast terrain of vegetation, thistle huts, pools, gardens; a whole underground civilization. Our descending slowed until our feet rested on solid ground.
“Where are we?” My focus went ballistic, attempting to take in everything at once.
Soren tapped my chin, closing my mouth.
I laughed. “We didn’t come here as kids. I would have remembered it, especially the trip down.”
“No. Our kind never brings humans here.” He grabbed my hand.
No humans? My stomach roiled and my knees shook then folded. The whole falling through a tree into another world of beings wasn’t connecting inside my brain. A living nightmare might work as not one human knew where I’d gone, too hard to explain a child’s quest.
“Becca, you must stand, now, or everyone will know.” He pulled me up and wrapped an arm around my waist. “We must hurry.”
I jerked to a stop. “I don’t understand. Why did you bring me here?”
“Shhh. No scene. Come now.” His nostrils flared and he eyed the gathering crowd. “Explain in a moment.”
A pack of wolves came to mind. My stomach flipped a couple more times at their red eyes, flaring nostrils, and growing fangs and claws.
Soren yanked me along a narrow grassy path, the others followed on our heels. Their snarls and growls closed in. Soren lifted me in his arms and ran toward a large round hut. He pushed through the fabric-like doorway into a cool dimly lit room. Not one of the creatures entered after us.
“They want to hurt me. Or eat me. Why did you bring me here?”
He set me on my feet and motioned for me to sit on the cot in the center of the room. Then he slid my sleeve above my wrist, his fingertips touched two small scars. “Those are what called you back. I marked you long ago, as you slept, with the intention of giving you another that bonds. It is why we were attacked. Spring is our season to bond, no matter what age, we bound our mate and when the age is ripe, like now, we mate for life.”
“Instinct brought me here? You told me humans aren’t allowed.” My heart beat into my ribs so hard my body moved to its pulse. A mix of emotions swept through me in a shiver.
“There are no humans here, only our mates and us.” His face morphed, fangs extended.
“No.” My voice a mere whisper as he pushed me back and his fangs sank into my neck. 

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