Archive for the Horror Category

This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part 2 of 5)

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 11, 2018 by Occult Detective

tswos

Part Two of Five

WATER & WIND

“The Old Ways are lost,” she said, raising the athame above her head in reverence. She was skyclad, overlooking the tumultuous waters of the Mississinewa from the limestone cliff, her raven’s perch.

“Not lost,” a voice replied from the unnatural mist, “merely obscured, young one.”

“There’s little room for romanticism here, Dr. Connors,” she said. She turned to see the approaching figure. He was slightly above average height, with long reddish blond locks spilling over his bare shoulders. He was leaning heavily on his cane, more heavily than usual. He was in pain. She could see it etched on his face.

“Landon,” he said, adding, “If not here, then where?”

Connors stood before her, the wind whipping his hair back as the gods took notice of the couple’s proximity. He reached out and clasped his free hand over both of hers, sliding the ceremonial blade from her grip. He raised it up, eyes lifted, gazing into the swirl of black clouds that undulated above them.

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“Bòidhchead,” he called into the swirling storm, “na diathan a ‘fàs!” He brought the blade down and touched it to his throat. “Leanabh gaoithe.” Connors then lowered the sacred knife and rested the blade’s edge on his left breast. “Banrigh uisge.” He allowed the knife to glide across his flesh, a trickle of blood slowly cascading down his chest and stomach. “Comharra airson amàireach agus amàireach às deidh sin!”

Lightning flashed overhead, arcing through the tempestuous clouds. Tears swelled in Tracy Larson’s eyes. She touched her stomach, that place where her child had once been. Now barren, today and all the days to come. Her daughter had seen to that, when she crawled out of her womb and spread her dark wings, an ancient thing born again.

Despite the sorrow that welled up inside her, she had nothing but love for the child, and for the man that stood with her now. Even knowing his role in the path ahead, she could not fault this magician. The stakes were unimaginable.

She laid her hand on his right, that which clutched the silver skull handle of the antiquated cane that he clung to for support. She hoped that some of that support, in a spiritual sense, would be transferred from it to her.

When the lights of a car fell upon them, the pair turned, raising hands to shield against the wretched glare. The rain came then, in a torrent, as wind and water took horrific form, lashing out as if a harbinger of the news to come.

Alethea Hill stepped out of the mid-seventies Skylark wrapped in a long raincoat, her umbrella doing little to protect her from the storm’s wrath.

“Thea?” Connors called out over the thundering torrent. “What is it?” He staggered toward her, against the wind, his naked flesh stinging from the pelting rain.

“A call from Guy,” she said, shouting above the roar. “He said, Es tut mir leid.” The wind knocked her against the car and ripped the umbrella from her hands. It rose up into the sky, twirling like some sort of black caped ballerina. “Damn it,” she shouted.

“You’re sure,” Connors said coming to her side. He looked back toward Tracy. “Es tut mir leid?”

“Yes,” she replied. “What does that mean? My German’s rather rusty.”

I am sorry,” Connors muttered. He touched his assistant’s cheek and feigned a grin. “Have Rhodes prep Icarus,” he said, “transfer my outstanding cases to Selina and Martin, and let Michelle know I’ll need a raincheck for this weekend.”

“Right,” Thea said. “And Tracy?” she added, looking toward to windswept teen standing naked on the cliff-edge. She had turned away from them and was embracing the wicked storm’s assault. Her arms were outstretched, like she was conjuring the maelstrom itself.

“Tracy,” Connors replied, “will be coming with me.”

to be continued

This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part 1 of 5)

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 4, 2018 by Occult Detective

tswos

Part One of Five

EARTH

The magician’s shovel bit deep into the rich, black soil, the sound of overturned earth swallowed by the vast expanse of old-growth forest that surrounded him. He was not alone. There were many eyes upon him for he was an intruder here.

Starbiter wiped sweat from his brow, pulling his weathered hand down across his face to stroke the hoary beard that he had hid behind for so long. It was a mask of sorts, a deceit. It projected an aura of wisdom and learnedness, and while the years behind him measured him so, the road ahead begged hard to differ.

No, one would be hard pressed to see wisdom in his present course.

A crow cawed from overhead, one of the watchful denizens of the ancient wood. The old scholar recalled a rhyme from his childhood. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth,” he muttered. “Three for a funeral and four for birth.” The crow flapped its wings and swooped down off its perch, soaring over Starbiter’s head. “One it is,” the magician spat. He returned to the soil and finished the grim task he had set himself to.

How many graves had he dug in this silent corner of the world? Each was marked by a single stone, never larger than his fist. He made sure it had a flat side to it, and he scratched an appropriate sigil to denote the departed in a significant way.

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He lowered the figure into the ground and covered them, slowly and methodically, reciting that old nursery rhyme over and over, again and again, as he worked. “One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth,” he sang.

“Five for heaven.”

He brought the flat of his shovel down hard, patting the earth solid.

“Six for hell.” He stabbed the shovel into the ground and took up the flat rock he’d uncovered earlier, and with another stone, he etched the sacred symbol onto it, then lowered it atop the mound of black dirt.

A crow cawed, and then another. Starbiter looked up to the trees over head. A murder of crows had arrived. A procession of mourners perhaps, he mused. He counted them, one by one, then acknowledged the truth of it.

“Seven for the devil, his own self.”

Guy Starbiter brushed off his hands and smiled grimly before beginning the long trek out through the forest to his awaiting Opel Kapitän. Within an hour, he was back to civilization, pulling his saloon sedan into the rundown roadhouse at Bishop’s Cross.

He took a deep breath and took out his cell phone. No bars. He cursed, then steeled himself and made for the door beneath the flickering neon sign that read “Beherit Club“.

He approached the bar, eyes intent on the patrons scattered throughout. He ordered a whisky neat, top shelf, and lit a cigarette nervously.

“Pay phone?” he asked.

“Sure,” the bartender replied, pointing toward the bathrooms. There it stood, mounted between the doors to the men’s and women’s lavatories, like some sort of ancient relic from a long lost era.

Starbiter dialed the number by heart and put his back to the wall. All eyes were on him. As he waited for someone to answer he began to count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Sev—

Caliburn House.

“Thea?” he muttered, shaken.

“Yes, this is she, who…” Alethea Hill paused for a moment. “Guy, is that you?” she said. “You sound horrible.”

“Tell Landon,” Starbiter said, lowering his voice to a whisper, “Es tut mir leid.”

“What?”

“Just tell him, bitte.” Starbiter returned the handset to its cradle and slouched toward the bar. The magician downed his whisky and leaned there, eyes closed, that damnable nursery rhyme coursing through his brain.

“Another, Herr Starbiter?”

The magician looked up from his empty glass, startled. The bartender smiled as the patrons all rose from their seats.

“I am number eight,” the bartender said.

Dann bin ich neun, scheint es,” Starbiter replied.

Nein, der Hexer” the bartender said. “Du bist die Nummer eins.”

to be continued…

Artistically Speaking

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on October 2, 2018 by Occult Detective

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Occultober is in full swing. Today we honor the births of two legendary figures in the occult world — Jack Parsons — Thelemite, author, and co-founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory — and Arthur Edward Waite, author and occultist best known for the Rider-Waite Tarot.

I had several important projects to work on this morning.

First off, I tackled the writing of the backcover copy for a forthcoming Landon Connors novella I co-wrote with Greg Mitchell, then followed that up with finalizing the cover and back cover art and producing the fifth (above right) of five illustrations that will grace the interior. Greg is hard at work formatting the text and getting it ready for release. Stay tuned for more details on that front.

Next, I worked for a bit on my new review column that will begin appearing at Paint Monk Library. Here in the coming weeks I’ll be taking over Wally’s Saturday Night Shivers, reviewing horror comics for what is fast becoming the premiere review site on the internet.

I have been reviewing issues of Conan the Barbarian as a fill-in for Paint Monk’s “Countdown to Conan” for the past couple of months and it’s been a blast. I’m thrilled that Wally thought enough of my work to offer me a weekly column.

Finally, I had a chance to work on the cover art (above left) for my son Connor’s next release, Word Hollow. We have spent the last couple of months editing the book. Now all that’s left is formatting the text and getting it uploaded and printed. We hope to have it all wrapped up and ready for purchase by Hallowe’en.

I was really proud of his first work, Jonny Spencer and the Black Lich of Ashrock Earth, but Word Hollow is a much more mature effort. He was a born storyteller and it has been a thrill to watch him hone his craft. He’s already something special. I can hardly wait to see where his incredible talents take him and he continues to grow as an artist.

 

Occultober 2018

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error on September 25, 2018 by Occult Detective

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OCCULTOBER CALENDAR

Oct 01

  • Occultober Begins.
  • Cullen Bunn’s A Passage in Black Kickstarter
    featuring Dance, Dance Upon the Night of the Ball by Kromoff & Freeman
  • Isaac Bonewits’ Birthday.
  • Dave Arneson’s Birthday.

Oct 02

  • Jack Parson’s Lesser Feast
  • Arthur Edward Waite’s Birthday

Oct 04

  • This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part I of V)

Oct 06

  • Imaginarium Convention
    I moderate the Paranormal Literature Panel @ 11:30 (Farmington Room)
    I moderate the Occult in Literature Panel @ 3:15 (Derby Room)

Oct 09

  • Connor’s Fifteenth Birthday.

Oct 11

  • This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part II of V)

Oct 12

  • Aleister Crowley’s Lesser Feast.

Oct 13

  • Mississinewa 1812 Living History

Oct 16

  • HorrorBoards Kickstarter

Oct 18

  • This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part III of V)
  • Katherine Kurtz’ Birthday

Oct 20

  • Converse Historical Society’s Haunted History
    I’ll be hosting Ghost Tours on the hour from 6-10
  • In Memoriam: John Hall

Oct 22

  • Timothy Leary’s Lesser Feast
  • John Hall’s Birthday

Oct 25

  • This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part IV of V)

Oct 31

  • Hallowe’en Night

Nov 01

  • This Silent Well of Sorrow (Part V of V)

Dance, Dance Upon the Night of the Ball

Posted in Horror on September 20, 2018 by Occult Detective

bunnSuperstar comic scribe and horror author Cullen Bunn will be launching a Kickstarter for CULLEN BUNN PRESENTS: A PASSAGE IN BLACK in October. This will be a graphic novel anthology featuring comic book adaptations of some of Cullen’s short horror stories. I was lucky enough to be tapped to illustrate “Dance, Dance, Upon the Night of the Ball” from an Anton Kromoff script.

Dance Title

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One heck of a way to kick off the Hallowe’en Season, if I do say so myself.

Stay tuned for more info once the Kickstarter launches…

An Imaginarium Convention Update

Posted in Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 12, 2018 by Occult Detective

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My schedule is starting to shape up for my appearance at next month’s Imaginarium Convention.

I’ll only be attending the con on Saturday, October 6th this year. Though I’m not sure when, I will be signing copies of First Born, Shadows Over Somerset, & Keepers of the Dead at the Seventh Star Press table for a brief period of time. I will, however, be involved with two panel discussions:

Paranormal Literature – An open discussion about paranormal literature today. What’s popular now? What are some of the trends at the moment? Why do tales with strong paranormal elements resonate so strongly in a science-driven age? This panel will consider these kinds of questions and much more! Sat 11:30am in room Farmington. Panelist include: (Mod- Bob Freeman) Tammy Blackwell, Pam Turner, Kelly Martin, Katheryn Ragle.

The Occult in Literature – The occult is often used in literature, from thrillers, to mysteries, to horror and cross-genre tales. With a vast amount of information available and a history that extends to the beginning of humankind, the occult has proven to be fertile ground for storytellers. Our panelists will discuss the presence and use of the occult in literature. Sat 3:15pm in room Derby. Panelist include:  (Mod- Bob Freeman: The Occult Detective) Chad McClendon, Sara Marian, R.N.Drum, Janie Franz, Josef Matulich.

bobIf you’re looking for me to devalue your copies of any of my books (ie get them signed), catching me before or after one of these panels is a sure way to have me nailed down to one spot and hold me accountable.

Otherwise, if you see me on the convention floor, feel free to come right up and say “hi”, but be prepared for me to chew your ear a bit (not in a Mike Tyson sort of way). I’m hard to miss. I kind of stand out in a crowd for some reason.

I make my home in the Haunted Heartland

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

I always seem to get more popular the closer we get to Hallowe’en.

Case in point —

heartlandYou can find me in the latest issue of Heartland Magazine in an article titled “Oh, the Horror: Exploring Haunted Places in North Central Indiana”. I had a great chat with reporter Carson Gerber about several local haunts. He’s a great interviewer, always respectful, and a pleasure to just sit and talk with.

Want to see me in person?

I’ll be a guest for the 5th anniversary of the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky October 6 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Imaginarium is an amazing convention for writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, editors, publishers, game designers, cosplayers, gamers, readers, podcasters, pop culture fans and all who love the creative world. It features over 130 panels and workshops, sports a gaming room crawling with table-top games, RPGs, and retro video games, is a book fair and expo, and offers tons of Live entertainment, covering everything from bellydancing, to magic and music, costume contest and cosplay and more.

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Weekend and single day passes are available. For more info visit www.entertheimaginarium.com

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On October 20th, the Converse Historical Society will be hosting an old school Hallowe’en Festival at the Eastern Woodland Carvers Club in beautiful downtown Converse.

The CHS will have some fascinating artifacts on display, there will be games and refreshments, and I’ll be there giving people guided tours through the upper floors of the historic Oddfellows Building. Never been on a ghost hunt before? This is a chance you don’t want to miss.

Keep an eye on the CHS Facebook Page for details.

 

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