Halloween Promotion – Fear of the Scarecrow by Anthony Renfro

Today’s scary story is Fear of the Scarecrow by author Anthony Renfro.  He writes amazingly scary stories.

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Tommy looked from the moon to the scarecrow who was now alive. Its eyes burned an eerie green color, and its cut out mouth was now filled with razor sharp teeth and plump red lips. The scarecrow broke the bonds that held its wrists and ankles in place, and floated out towards Tommy, who, of course, took a few steps back, stopping when his butt reached the green corn stalks.

The scarecrow looked down at him, and Tommy up at it. Their eyes locked, and a second later two bolts of green lighting shot out of the scarecrow’s eyes and entered Tommy’s.

This short story is about a desperate man hungry for revenge. Sometimes revenge comes with a price.




Halloween Promotion – The Clayton Chronicles by Edwin Stark

Today’s scary book is The Clayton Chronicles by my friend Edwin Stark.  We also have the First Chapter, please enjoy.



Strange events are taking place in the small town of Nosfort, Massachusetts.

A corpse turns up with strange marks on its neck, key people in the town are disappearing – and who are those pale, sharp-toothed strangers the townsfolk can’t seem to notice?

For Sheriff Clayton Harris, there can be only one conclusion. But how can one lone lawman take on the nest of bloodsuckers that has taken root in his town? With the help of an undead sidekick, of course. Come inside and meet Sheriff Harris and Sherwin Williams, the sheriff/vampire duo that joins efforts to save the imperiled town of Nosfort from its impending doom.

Hop on a thrill-ride with Sherwin and Harris in an entertaining combination of mystery, biting and fun. Enter the small East Coast town of Nosfort in The Clayton Chronicles!





Danny Tremain walked intently down Main Street, passing the corner of Chelsea and ignoring Reader Street altogether. He strolled past the candy shop and paid absolutely no heed to the display window in the ToyLand store at the corner of Ashwood Street.

This lack of a pause in front of his preferred loitering spot, where he could gaze for hours at the newly arrived toys and novelties, was pretty unusual. Normally, he would waste away the hours staring at all those toys he could never afford to buy on his own, until its owner, Mr. DeSalle, more often than not a very patient man, gently shooed him away with an impatient gesture of dismissal.

Danny Tremain, ten-years old, would later return to his favorite spot after he dealt with the important matter he had in mind. He was heading to the sheriff’s office to do the right thing. It was a good thing that other kids of his age weren’t with him at the time; they would call him a goody-two-shoes, do-gooder, et cetera, et cetera, and whatever silly names they could come up with for a person who knew his civic duty.

Daniel was glad that he hadn’t met any of his school buddies… yet. What he had to tell the sheriff was his personal secret and no one else’s. So he relished the temporary possession of this dark secret, until the time came to disclose it to someone in Authority.

He had been moseying around the industrial back lot in Elm Street, hoping to find something interesting to do near Hector’s Junkyard since it was mid-summer, Friday, five days past the Fourth of July and school was out. Bored out of his skull, he had peeked in the narrow greenbelt that bordered that crappy Latino scavenger’s lot. There was a small ditch and a drain pipe there, well concealed by the greenery, and Dan used to hang around that place to see what the small current may bring up. It was shady and cool, particularly during these off-school summer days, and he usually made small but interesting discoveries. On one occasion he found a five-dollar bill, which he happily—but wisely—spent on Marvel Comics, two of them each week. On another, a golden chain with a small heart-shaped locket that held the picture of three beautiful girls; he had intended to give this to his mom on her last birthday, but this particular item generally gave him the chills for unknown reasons, and he had briefly reconsidered this notion, saving it for the next Christmas. And in another instance he had found in that ditch a dead, bloated beaver. For Dan, since he had never seen one up-close except in school textbook drawings, it was a very interesting opportunity to thoroughly examine it as best as he could; of course, all this from the safe distance afforded by a long pointed stick he used to turn the dead rodent around.

Today, Dan went near Hector’s Junkyard, and when he entered the greenbelt, he suddenly got more than he had bargained for. He had found a…

Now Daniel stood in front of the sheriff’s office at the corner of Main and Sycamore. It was a red brick and mortar two-storied building, with two big windowpanes in front. Stenciled across each, in a graceful arc of letters, was the word ‘Sheriff’. Directly below were small letters that read, in a less ornate manner, ‘N.P.D.’ Daniel nodded approvingly at the sign and then climbed the three front steps, pulled the door open and entered the sheriff’s office.

 * * *

 Being inside the sheriff’s office was truly a major source of disappointment for young Daniel. It didn’t resemble any police station he had ever seen on TV. Three desks, each one complemented by a set of file cabinets, and a dozen wooden chairs pretty much summed up the furniture content of its first floor. There was a wrought iron spiral staircase climbing to the top floor of the building and next to it was a barred door that prevented access to a wooden staircase, leading to the lower darkness of a small detention block. Danny felt a certain curiosity about it and briefly considered asking Sheriff Clayton to let him have a look-see—after Dan had told him about what he had found, of course.

Danny quickly glanced at the nameplates on each desk and noticed that Sheriff Clayton’s spot was empty and so was Deputy Hugh Pritchett’s seat. Regrettably, Cliff Golan’s wasn’t. If there was a Sheriff Deputy that ever hated kids as much as Golan did, Danny would certainly like to meet that hypothetical law officer: he’d be worthy of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Damn, Dan would even buy a ticket to see a guy like that.

Cliff Golan was sitting at the front desk that served as a reception area, with his feet propped on the desktop while reading the Nosfort Gazette. Danny knew that if Sheriff Clayton once more caught Golan doing that, there would be hell to pay. Sheriff Clayton Harris was truly a professional cop and really didn’t like it when one of his subordinates acted in such an unprincipled manner.

As soon as the entrance door shut at his back, Danny noticed that Deputy Clifford Golan had cast an unconcerned glance over the edge of his Gazette and then had hurriedly sunk behind the pages of the open newspaper, acting as if Dan was the sort of trouble that would disappear from sight if you simply ignore it.

Danny approached Golan’s desk and made a guttural sound with his throat to call the guy’s attention. Golan practically shielded himself with the Gazette and Danny had to resort to this throaty sound, not just once but twice more, before the Deputy finally dropped his reading material with an exasperated gesture and deigned to ask him what he wanted.

“What do you want, kid?” Deputy Golan inquired, with such an emphasis on ‘kid’ it nearly implied that being underage was a crime deserving capital punishment.

“I want to talk with Sheriff Clayton, sir,” Danny replied as courtesy required, fighting the mercifully brief urge to provide to his own ‘sir’ all the creeping ooziness his actual mood was suggesting.

“Sheriff’s up at the second floor, in the archives, kid,” Golan said, pointing his thumb at the spiral staircase.

“Can I go up and talk with him? It’s important,” the kid asked, straightening his spine to show he was serious about it.

Golan eyed him suspiciously. “Nah—you can’t. It’s against regulations. You better take a seat and wait,” he said, thumbing a row of three wooden chairs set against the opposing wall. He cocked his thumb twice as if it was the deadliest weapon in the world and then he raised the Gazette to isolate himself from Danny’s sight. In Golan’s humble opinion, if there ever were a snottier kid than Danny Tremain, he’d gladly buy a ticket to see him.

  * * *

 Sheriff Clayton Harris loved his job and that was why he was in the archives upstairs. He wasn’t there trying to track down some relevant information amongst the dusty file cabinets, but making an important personal phone call. With all the insistence he placed on professionalism while lecturing his personnel, he didn’t dare to make this call on the main phone line while sitting at his desk—lest Hugh or Clifford overheard him—so he climbed upstairs, claiming that he was going to rummage through some old files.

Earlier that morning, as he walked from home like he did every day, he had passed in front of Sal’s Basement, the local collectible items store. Sal Schneider traded in antique baseball cards, odd plaster statues from the twenties and thirties, and old comic books.

Today, his storefront sported in the shopping window a rare Vault of Horror #26 that seemed to be in mint condition, nary a crease on the cover or a dog-ear in any of its corners. All day long, Clayton had tried to get hold of Sal on the phone to work some kind of deal over that particular issue.

Danny Tremain, who was sitting one level below, could have told him a thing or two about this obscure yearning, since this sort of compulsive and nearly obsessive behavior was more fitting to a pre-adolescent kid than a thirty-eight-year-old male, who was also the town’s sheriff. Many an eyebrow in town would rise and many town council brows would frown upon discovery of his secret little interest in EC horror comics.

Since it would look bad at the next fund appropriation meeting, up to the archives he went and used the phone extension that was there, being careful to bill the charges to his own home phone.

At last, Sal’s familiar voice answered after a long series of beeping tones. “Sal’s Basement. Sal speaking. How can I help you?”

“Hello, Sal, this is Sheriff Harris.”

“Hello, Clayton,” Sal said. “How are you doing?”

“Quite well, Sal, old chum. Say—did my eyes fool me or did you put a Vault #26 in your display window this morning?”

Sal’s tone of voice suddenly shifted to a more businesslike quality. Clayton Harris could mentally picture him, greedily rubbing one hand against the other.

“Yes—what about it?” Sal said.

“You know that my son Jonathan loves to collect that sort of stuff—he keeps pestering me about the missing issues of his growing collection and Vault #26 seems to be at the top of his major priorities lately,” Sheriff Harris said… and here he started to depart more and more from the truth. Yes, he had a seventeen-year-old son, but Jonathan couldn’t care less for EC comics. Sarah, Clayton’s wife, and Jonathan would shake their heads in disbelief over his vehement departure from the truth. After a short round of bargaining, Sal finally named a two-figure sum that Sheriff Harris found reasonable.

“Would you mind putting it away in your ‘reserved’ box until I drop by a bit later, Sal?” Clayton asked.

Sal agreed to do that and mentioned that it had been a pleasure to do business with him, just a couple of seconds before Harris set the phone receiver back in its cradle.

Sheriff Harris headed toward the circular staircase, while he pulled out his wallet to check on its contents. He nodded appreciatively at the fact that he could cover what Sal asked for the magazine without any major trouble, save that he would be hard-pressed for cash for the next couple of days until payday finally came. Sarah would kill him for this out-of-schedule buy, but that was the price one had to pay for being a knowledgeable collector of memorabilia.

He started his descent of the stairs, clanking down each metal step and whistling a happy tune.

 * * *

 Harris’s high spirits, however, were short lived. When he reached the lower end of the twisting staircase, he noticed two things. Clifford Golan was shuffling stuff on top of his desk, which meant he had been putting his hoofs over it again. The second was that Danny Tremain was sitting, with that usual stiff and righteous stance of his, on one of those terribly uncomfortable wooden chairs set against the opposite wall. Although the kid was already big enough to set his feet on the ground while sitting, he had managed to find a position that allowed him to dangle and swing them slowly, while softly scuffing the floor with the tips of his sneakers. He looked like a kid two years younger bored by an unjustifiable wait.

Sheriff Clayton momentarily stood at the bottom of the stairs, unsure of how to proceed. Cliff looked particularly irked, most probably by the soft scraping sound that Danny’s feet made—and in this situation it would be bad form to address the kid first. Harris shrugged and asked his Deputy what was up.

“The Tremain kid wants to talk to you, Sheriff,” Golan reported succinctly. Knowing how much Clifford disliked young children, Harris limited himself to replying with a shrewd nod. He then shifted his attention to the young boy.

“Hello, Danny—what’s up?” he asked.

Danny stopped his feet from swinging and reasserted himself in that insufferably upright demeanor of his that seemed to irk everyone else. Oh, boy, Harris thought. This kid’s gonna be a major pain in the ass when he’s a grown-up.

“I have something important to tell you, Sheriff.”

“Well, go ahead Danny.”

Danny Tremain gave Deputy Clifford Golan quite a sour look. Harris sensed Golan stiffen considerably under that stare and sighed inwardly.

“Clifford—will you be a sport and go to Betsy’s Luncheon and bring me a coffee,” Harris said, pausing to eye young master Danny. “And an ice-cream soda for our young visitor here. What flavor, Dan? Chocolate?”

“Vanilla would be nice.”

Vanilla, oh, great. I should have that figured out, Harris thought.

Clifford harrumphed noticeably; his face was flushed by the subdued anger of being suddenly turned into an errand boy, especially when it turned out that he had to bring a treat for a ten-year-old kid. Nevertheless, he got off his chair and headed toward the exit door.

Harris smiled as he heard the door slam shut.

“Ok, that will get him out from our hair for awhile. Step into my office, Danny.”

The ‘Sheriff’s Office’ being the desk farther from the door and the one sided by more file cabinets than the other two, Danny sat in one of the chairs facing it. The kid curiously examined Harris’s nameplate for a second or two and then took the initiative.

“Sheriff, I was bumming around Hector’s Junkyard and found something that you must see.” The kid said this with such a serious and straight face that Harris had to briefly fight the urge to laugh. That certainly would look like bad form.

“Were you alone, Danny?”

The kid nodded wordlessly.

“You know that kids your age shouldn’t be hanging around that area alone, Danny,” Harris commented, matter-of-factly. “It’s one of the most lonesome spots in town and there’s no one at a shouting distance in case you get into trouble—so it’s best if you take a few friends along.”

Danny nodded again.

The sound of the door opening called the attention of both males, Sheriff and kid, toward it. Clifford had returned from Betsy’s Luncheon with the coffee and the ice-cream soda. Damn, he was fast!

“Thanks, Clifford,” Clayton said.

“Thanks, Deputy Golan,” muttered Danny.

Cliff scowled at them both. Then he returned to his desk and buried himself again beneath his copy of the Nosfort Gazette.

Sheriff Harris had pulled out a notepad and a pencil, and was readying himself to take notes, just in case Danny Tremain had stumbled onto something really important. Nosfort was a town caught in the middle of being a big town and a small city, and almost nothing that truly mattered happened there, but you never knew. “Will you tell me now what have you found, Danny? Please?” he asked.

Danny Tremain was noisily slurping the last remains of his vanilla ice-cream soda through the straw, making Harris wonder if the little holier-than-thou twerp had a penchant for the dramatic.

Sheriff Clayton Harris nearly dropped his pencil when Danny finally said what he had come to say: “I found a dead body among the bushes, sir.”




Halloween Promotion – Short Story Strands: Halloween 2012 Edition

Today’s scary book is Short Story Strands, a collection of short stories of the spooky kind by a group of talented authors.  This collection is FREE so grab yourself a copy and enjoy.




Come celebrate Halloween in ways both spooky and fun in this collection of sixteen short stories spun by talented new voices in science fiction and fantasy.

Insecurity Complex, by Jade Kerrion
Empty Glass, by P.L. Blair
The Red Card, by Sheenah Freitas
Chanceus, by L’Poni Baldwin
My Soul To Take, by L.M. Boelz
The Nest, by Linell Jeppsen
The Medusa Touch, by Sam Kates
Skinshade, by T. Jackson King
Little Girls Squealing in the Yard, by Lalo LaFleur
Tender Moments, by Massimo Marino
Blood Relation, by Patrick Ottuso
Grandma to the Rescue, by Sharon L Reddy
The Power of Spirit, by Ch’Kara SilverWolf
Dominique, by Edwin Stark
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream, by Lisa Williamson
Spoils of Earth, by Michael Youngblood



Halloween Promotion – Amor Maldito by Simone Beaudelaire

Today’s scary story is Amor Maldito by my friend Simone Beaudelaire.  We also have an excerpt to give us a taste.




Evening in South Texas. The citrus scented breeze fans the palm fronds. Lovers linger in the growing darkness, hoping to steal a moment alone.
But their solitude is about to be shattered as legends of the Border come to life to claim new victims. Tragedy, love, terror and myth merge in this trio of tantalizing tales… 



Yesterday, in class, he’d noticed she’d drawn his name on her notebook and put a little heart around it. That was all the invitation Ethan Miller required. He’d been eyeing Yesenia Morales for weeks, wondering if he dared ask her out.

The pretty Mexican-American girl had been his tour guide when he’d arrived on the campus of The University of Texas- Pan American three months ago, freshly out of the Marine Corps and ready to use his G.I. Bill money to pursue his goal of becoming an engineer. From the first time he’d seen Yesenia, he’d been possessed by an attraction the likes of which he could not remember ever feeling, in all his twenty-two years of life.

As he sat in an uncomfortable seat in the recital hall, staring at the black velvet curtains covering the empty stage, he remembered the day. He’d driving around the campus for over an hour looking for parking, and had been reduced to using the Wal-Mart across the street. Muttering and grumbling in the heat, he’d jaywalked across the busy road, earning the ire of drivers, who honked, receiving a one-finger salute in response. At last he’d arrived, drenched with sweat and far from certain about his overall freshness, at the student services building, where his frustration had melted like a snow cone in the sun. A soft, girlish voice cut through the crowd, though the speaker was invisible.

“Okay, it’s time to go. I’m not waiting for anyone else. Hello, everyone. Welcome to The University of Texas- Pan American. My name is Yesenia, and I’ll be showing you around today. This is the student services building, as you might know. You can pay your bills, sign up for financial aid, and meet with advisors here. If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you the rest of campus.” The crowd parted to allow the young woman through, and at the sight of her, Ethan was instantly enthralled. Yesenia was not just pretty, she was gorgeous. She had shimmering black hair, pulled into two girlish braids. They hung over each shoulder, tied at the ends with little flowers.  She was tiny, not quite five feet. She was also slender, but had lovely curves, revealed just a little in a skimpy sundress that countered the blistering South Texas heat. He’d looked into her big brown eyes as she passed him, and was lost. Those eyes made him want to do something stupid, like write poetry.




New Release – The Elevator by Sam Kates

Today I am bringing you a New Release, The Elevator, a Dark Fantasy by my friend Sam Kates.  Sam has also given us an excerpt to give us a taste.



The Elevator – a long novella (or short novel) – dark fantasy with elements of science fiction and mild horror. Oh, and there’s an appearance by a dragon.



An ordinary elevator. An ordinary morning.

Four people step into the elevator and it begins to ascend. Just another dreary day in the office, they think.

Until the door opens…




“Thanks, Tara,” I said.

She shrugged again. “Don’t go thinking we’re all mates here. As soon as that door opens onto what it’s supposed to, I’ll go to my sales meeting and blank all this—and you people—from my mind.”

“Oh, nice,” said Kim.

“Nah,” said Jack, without looking up. “She’s got the right idea. None of this can be real so treat it as a dream or something.”

“The blood on my hands is real,” I said.

“And your nose,” added Kim.

“And your head.”

Where the flying creatures had yanked out strands of Kim’s hair, bloody gaps showed. A trickle of blood, now dried, had run down to above her eyebrow.

“And that gunk on your binder is real,” said Kim to Tara.

Jack made a high-pitched sound and I glanced at him. He stared past me, his newfound poise gone.

“You telling me that’s real?” he said.

He held out a shaky finger, pointing out of the door.




Halloween Promotion – Possibilities by Lisa Williamson

Today’s scary story is for Possibilities by my friend Lisa Williamson.




There are hunters and hunted out on the dark streets of the city.

We all know what a vampire is. A blood drinking, undead creature of the night. But there are other kinds of vampires and other kinds of vampire hunters.

What if there was one who trolled the lounges to drain you dry of your Possibilities?






Halloween Promotion – It Sleeps at Dawn by Anthony Renfro

Today’s scary story is It Sleeps at Dawn by fellow author Anthony Renfro.

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Her heart sank once the door was wide open because there he stood, the man who had brought her here the night before. Her cloudy memory had finally opened up, spilling forth the information. It was the bar where they had met, the bar where he had laid on his charms, the bar where he had asked her to go home with him, the bar was the last memory she had before waking up in this mysterious place. And she was sure of another thing, he wasn’t the same man who had picked her up. That dashing handsome young man with the long black hair and dusty blue eyes, who stood at least six foot five, and was easily a foot taller than her was now nowhere to be seen. Instead of the young man dressed in modern clothes, here stood an ancient older man in dated black three piece suit with a cape tied around his neck. The cape fell to somewhere near the middle of his back. It was black to match the suit, but the interior of it was as red as the pentagrams on the door. His cologne wafted through the air as he stood there, an ancient smell of High Karate.

He smiled at her, an evil dark eat you alive from head to toe smile, which revealed large white fangs that hadn’t been there when he picked her up.

This short story is about a Vampire who stalks the Appalachian Mountains. A traditional Vampire who uses fangs instead of guns. He hunts. He kills. He sleeps at Dawn.