Saturday, 31 October 2015

Books and Stories for Halloween

I've scoured the internet, toured the bookshops and visited the library...
I've asked authors, friends, and acquaintances...
I've sent, and received, messages, texts, and emails...


To find you some suitably spooky and scary stories to read, and some books, mainly by indie authors, that are perfect for reading around the campfire at any time, but especially on the spookiest night of the year.

Also ideal if you prefer to be curled up in a comfy chair in front of a roaring log fire with a mug of hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other.

And for those of you looking for something a bit less scary… I’ve found some books for you too.

Whatever your preference: Demons, Monsters, Shape-shifters, Vampires, Witches, Ghosts, Werewolves or Zombies, I hope I've found something for everyone.

My son, Evan, has a very active imagination and is always drawing pictures of monsters and writing stories about them. My wife and I think that his imagination can get away from him sometimes. He always insists that he doesn’t make up his monsters, but that they are real. The one he is obsessing about now makes him afraid to go to bed. I have to tuck him in and check for monsters in his closet and under his bed before he goes to sleep every night. If I forget, he always makes it a point to remind me. We try to tell him that they are not real, but he is so anxious when he goes to bed that I end up obliging him anyway. After all, what harm could it do? Tonight is just like any other night and after dinner, Evan takes to writing another monster story.

“Evan, what are you writing about now?” He is diligently scribbling a story in his notebook on the den floor. His tongue is sticking out in concentration as he pauses for a moment, then resumes his thought.

“It’s a Jabok,” he says distractedly.

“What is that?”

“It hides under the bed. When you come in, it will snatch you and hide you under the bed until your parents go to sleep. Then it eats you.”

“Well Evan, wouldn’t a parent know their child is missing?”

Evan looks up at me with a solemn expression. “No dad. It will change itself to look like you. The parent tucks in the Jabok and never notices that their real child is missing.” I think about the plausibility of that for a second. It is a very disturbing explanation for an eight year old.

“Evan, how do you come up with these things? Have you been watching horror movies without us knowing?”

“It’s not made up!” He looks at me desperately. “It’s true!”

“Evan, this is why you are so scared to go to bed at night.”

“No it’s not. The Jabok is real. It’s been stalking me!”

“Evan, why don’t you put the story down and go get your bath.” I want to get him away from his story and hopefully watch some TV to clear the monsters from his head.

After Evan gets his bath, he watches some cartoons until it is time for bed. He asks me to come and tuck him in, but I am on a call, so I tell him I will be there in a couple of minutes. About ten minutes later, I walk into his room to tuck him in. He is already lying in bed in his favorite ducky pajamas, which is unusual. He always sits in the bed while he waits for me. Perhaps he is a bit calmer tonight. I kiss him goodnight and tuck him in.

“Do you want me to check for monsters?” He shakes his head no, which is a complete surprise. “Are you sure?” He nods, so I turn off the light and close the door behind me.

The rest of the evening I am a little bothered by Evan’s behavior. He is always insistent on me checking for monsters. I know they’re not real, but he sure seems to think they are. Something is nagging in the back of my mind and I can’t shake it. Before going to bed, I decide to go and check on him, if for no other reason than to ease my mind. I open his door to peek in, but quickly realize that his bed is empty. A quick glance towards the bathroom door confirms that he isn’t in there. Calling for my wife, I check the closet but find nothing. Frantic, I bend down to look under the bed, finding nothing but torn, blood stained ducky pajamas.

Something strange is happening to Pine Creek. A cemetery pops up just outside of town and it’s fueling the residents’ fears. The headstones bear the names of deceased residents buried in town and the townsfolk are left wondering … what’s buried beneath the soil?
Cemetery at Devil's Bend by Gina Moray

Horror of the Past. Terror of Today. Roman greed and ambition created something almost two millennia ago. That creation still lives – starving, lusting for blood, eager to inflict suffering and carnage...
God Of War by Ian Thompson 

It's on the prowl...When an inquisitive paperboy notices something strange along his route, he immediately investigates. But what begins as an innocent inquiry will soon become something hauntingly sinister. And as the truth is unleashed, the neighborhood discovers... THE INVASION IS JUST BEGINNING.
Neighborhood Watch by Evan Bollinger

In this collection of twelve stories, Michael J. Elliott examines dread in all it's many forms. In MOTHER CALLED TODAY a woman becomes increasingly fearful of her demanding mother's incessant phone calls. She has a horrible secret about her mother, something she is too scared to share with anyone.
Portraits Of Dread: A Gallery Of Decidedly Evil Short Stories by Michael J. Elliott

How about a little bait and switch? Three horror tales, each with a twist. Three shifters, each with their own brand of terror.
Halloween Trickery by Barbara Chioffi

She stared intently into the mirror, doing one last check to make sure everything was perfect. Not that she really needed to, she thought. She could go to the bar in sweat pants and a grungy shirt and guys would still buy her drinks.

"All you need is looks and show some skin," she smirked at the reflection in the mirror.

Satisfied with her appearance, she left the apartment and got into the taxi that was outside waiting for her. She could have taken her car, but not tonight.

"501 on University" she instructed the driver. Another smirk touched her lips. Even being mid-week, she knew he'd be there.

When the cab pulled up to the bar, she paid the driver and got out. She headed for the nearby bar and went inside without so much as a passing glance at the two guys who eyed her hungrily as she passed them. Some other night, she thought. Not tonight. Tonight she had someone specific in mind.

She saw him as soon as she stepped inside, sitting at the other end of the bar facing the doors. So he could get first dibs on any girl that walked in, she thought. Like me.

It didn't take her long to hook him. After letting him buy her a few drinks, she suggested 'repaying' him back at his place. He was all to eager, and within a matter of minutes he was driving the two of them back to his place. He had no idea she'd hexed his last drink when he'd gone to the bathroom. Served him right, though. He never should have messed around behind her best friend's back.

It's almost too easy, she thought when they were in his bedroom with their clothes heaped in a pile on the floor. She almost ruined the whole plan when she took the package out of his hands and said he didn't need to use it. The excited look on his face almost made her laugh, but she hid it under a seductive smile.

As he convulsed on top of her two minutes later, she did laugh. It didn't matter at that point.

"What's so funny?" he demanded. She got up from the bed and started to get dressed.

"I'm not on the pill," she replied. The horrified look on his face was priceless. But what she told him next... she wished she'd gotten a picture.

"Don't worry, I didn't get pregnant. You did."

The Exiled            ~             Continuation          ~             Infinity  

There is a veil that covers the world which hides the truth behind it.
Humanity's very survival rests upon finding a way to stop a foe that is unstoppable.

In empty places darkness lives; hidden in small towns citizens find themselves traversing tales that others know to be safely confined in storybooks. Mr. Edward opens bookstores in these hamlets, selling rare works and indoctrinating children into “The Program” for lessons in the art of writing. Despite his oddness there is something about the gentleman that demands enough respect and admiration from the locals and his protégés for him to quietly go about his business.
Old Odd Ends by Patrick Elliott

The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Haunted by lost memories, he is bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power but denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.
Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii: Book 1 by Andy Peloquin 

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge... Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn't even human: he's a 200 year old rogue vampire!
Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book 1) by Lily Luchesi 

The hard rock band Her Final Sleep are not only beautiful, they are incredibly talented. They have the small town of Pine Lake completely enamored, but some say they hide something evil in their old house just outside of town. Kyle Van Velt and his friends are about to have a run in with Her Final Sleep, with disastrous consequences.
Her Final Sleep by Joe DiCicco

In the deepest bowels of hell, five demons have been summoned, their bonds to the fires of damnation severed. For the first time in millennia, they have been called to the human realm to put an end to a battle that has raged for centuries. The Children of Light and the Brotherhood of Shadow dominate the war-torn land, each yearning to rule the planet. Now the Brotherhood has summoned the demons, a weapon that could destroy their enemies once and for all, if they can only keep them under control.
A Chronicle of Chaos by D. M. Cain

"Jace! JACE!" Amelia screamed, panic pushing her feet as she ran through her house. "JACE! Where are you!"

Every light was on, but neither her son nor his babysitter were anywhere in sight. Searching every room, screaming for her son, she stopped short when she saw the door to the basement slightly ajar.

Slowly pushing the door open the rest of the way, Amelia felt the heavy hand of dread settle in her chest. "Jace?" she called into the basement from the landing.

Silence answered her. She grabbed for the flashlight she kept on a little hook at the top of the stairs, but her hand came upon nothing. The lights in the basement only worked sporadically, so she kept the flashlight there for when she needed to venture into the dark room. She knew if the flashlight wasn't there, someone had taken it, and she knew her son and babysitter would never have considered opening the basement door even to get the flashlight.

"Hello?" she called, tentatively taking each step into the darkened basement.

"Hello." It was a deep, scratchy whisper in the dark that called to her.

"Who's there?!" she cried, startled by the answering greeting.

"Me and you, and them," the whisper replied accompanied by a long scrape of metal against concrete.

"Jace? Sandra?" Amelia called into the dark, cautiously coming to the bottom landing and trying the light switch, hoping for even a flicker of power.

Her prayer was answered when the light flickered on long enough for her to see that her basement was full of the horrifying sight of ugly, misshapen clowns. "Where are Jace and Sandra?" she cried, terrified and stumbling backwards against the steps.

"At the carnival, of course," the whispered came from the crying, white-faced clown directly in front of her.

The lights flickered off. For a terrified moment Amelia hoped she was dreaming, but then rough, pinching hands grabbed her. Her screams were short lived as she was dragged into the darkness. 

Beyond the world of humans, a supernatural war rages on. Surrounded by secrets, power, and bloodshed the people of Lucius' territory struggle to stay in control. With the Looming threat of the Vampire Circle raising the Father of all Vampires, it's every creature for himself — Choose your side.

Six spooky never before seen YA short stories just in time for Halloween!
Darkness Echoes: A Spooky YA Short Story Collection 

Chilling tales of zombie horror from thirty-two of your favorite female writers. Sit back as your favorite authors of zombie lit take you on a wild, horrifying ride that will leave you breathless! Come and meet the women who love to entertain you with their own unique versions of the zombie apocalypse.
Darlings of Decay

A million times we've been told the tales of the haunted. We easily forget the original victims. Revenge. Truth. Love. Confusion. Resistance. Lurk inside the pages and discover seven soul-filled stories of why our haunters LINGER

A Slayer has but one purpose. Seven short story missions of your not so typical slayers taking on highly unusual targets. These captivating stories slice through tales of aliens, super slugs, demons, and beyond.

From tales of revenge and spurned lovers to vengeful ghosts and blood-thirsty misandrists. This unique collection of tales explores the violent potential of women. Turning old tropes on their heads we have male victims and female killers.
Slice Girls: An Anthology of Feminazi Splatter Goth
A strange and wonderful collection of Halloween stories, ranging from paranormal romance to horror.
The Cat, the Crow, and the Cauldron: A Halloween Anthology

No one was prepared.
How could anyone prepare?
It was quiet at first. Those living on the outskirts of the cities were the first to notice. An elderly man was driving home from his daughter’s house around ten at night when suddenly the road before him began to crumble. Terrified, he slammed on brakes, swerving to the shoulder but he needn’t have feared. He was in no real danger. The asphalt was merely removed, replaced by lush, green grass. His car skidding to a stop, his hand flying to his chest, the man thought he would have a heart attack. Catching his breath, calming his mind, he watched as the grass took over the road, growing thigh high right before him. His terror was soon replaced by awe.
By midnight, every paved road in the world was gone.

Then the vines came.
Seeming to spurt from random areas of the ground, leafy vines grew in minutes. They crept along the ground, wrapping themselves around every metal object they could find. Streetlights were covered in minutes and slowly pulled toward earth until wood and metal snapped. Once the lights were destroyed, they were gently lowered to the ground where the grass grew over them.
Cell phone towers, light poles, fences, even the Eiffel Tower suffered the same fate. Every metal structure created by a human was destroyed.

The trees took care of the rest.
Around five-thirty in the morning, just as the first rays of summer’s light were creeping over her windowpane, a young girl woke to strange sounds in her room. Breaking, ripping, crunching sounds. Curiosity overrode fear and she sat up in bed to see what was happening.
A tree was growing through her floor. She watched in wonder as it pushed through the floorboards, branches fanning out around her room. Pictures were knocked from the walls as the tree grew and spread itself out. A room that had seemed so large to the child now felt incredibly crowded and tiny. Another branch from a different tree broke through the wall over her bed. The dark-haired child merely watched, convinced that this was some elaborate dream. She couldn’t wait to tell her mother about it when she woke up.

The trees and vines worked together to crumble concrete bridges and tear down office buildings. The sounds of metal warping, glass shattering, concrete breaking, and wood splintering could be heard around the world.
Mother Nature was taking her world back.

But she was not cruel about it. Not a single human life was lost in the process. For every tree that crushed a house, another’s branches lifted its occupants to safety outdoors. If an apartment began to buckle and cave while people were still inside, vines would swiftly move in and cocoon them until it could push up and outward, moving them along the ground away from the debris. The barriers keeping exotic animals in zoos were removed, allowing them free reign over the lands. Lions and wolves raced across open fields where shops had once stood. Cows and horses ran free. And the humans were left homeless, jobless and for the most part, horrified.
How would they eat without grocery stores? How would they communicate without phones? How would they work without the internet? How would they protect themselves from the carnivores now loose in the cities?

Though Mother Nature hadn’t killed them straight out, it was up to them to survive now. It was time for a change.

What flavors do the chocolates in your box contain? Ten short stories of fantasy, science fiction or horror are in each chocolate. Two princesses lose their father. A little boy is left home alone at night. A fantastical creature is curious about human customs. A CEO calls his underling in for a chat. A man decides to hit on his beautiful neighbor. What other adventures await you? Go on, take a bite.
Box of Chocolates by Marie Krepps

How do you hide from a killer when he's in your mind?
Conduit by Angie Martin

A bleak and unflinching tale in which we meet a lonely, middle aged woman who must live with the legacy of her family's dark secret, the madness that grows in the absence of love, and a closet full of delicate skeletons.
Angela by Adam M. Booth 

We're often told tales of the underworlds to feed the darkest corners of our nightmares. We tuck them away with the sunlight and laugh away the fear our minds created. But the daylight offers no relief for Zari. She's hidden her waking nightmare as nothing more than a damaged past.
Slither by Valarie Savage Kinney

Valerie is on her own in a harsh and brutal future world, until she finally finds some allies she can trust. Now she'll do anything it takes to protect them, and to make sure she never ends up alone again.
What Was Left by Travis West

The catacombs are dark and the sounds from the group we came in with are quickly fading away. We turned down a side tunnel to do some exploring on our own, but I can no longer see Thomas and my phone battery, and the light it supports, are fading. I press further on into the black abyss hoping that I will catch up with him.

“Come on Jeff!”

He yells for me every few seconds, but there are so many twists and turns in here, it makes it impossible to figure out what direction he wandered in. The tunnel is turning dank and possesses a strong odor not unlike mold and rust. Water is dripping from the ceiling, making the floor slippery and exacerbating an already difficult task of navigating obstacles on the floor.

“Jeff come on! There is light up ahead!”

Always calling, but ever unreachable. I pause at a juncture and decide to try one last time to listen for his direction. “Thomas! Holler back! I can’t find you.” I listen and on cue he shouts back, leading me to believe I should go left. So left I go and the smell is worse than ever. I try not to gag as I avoid slipping on the rocks below my feet. I grow weary of this adventure and long to get back to the group, but that idea seems all but impossible now. I do not think I can get out of here if you gave me a map. That and my light is dying.

“I’ll stop and let you catch up!”

Finally the thought occurs to him. As I push on through the tunnel and feel my way around the next turn, I slip on something while shining my light around the corner. I fall hard to the floor, thankfully managing to keep a hold of my phone. The fall lands me in something cool and viscous. In the dimming light I can see that the liquid is dark and smells highly of iron. Blood. As my phone gives off its last beams of light, I swing it around and catch the face of my friend and co-conspirator in this fiasco lying on the floor, his throat torn out. My last visual in this hellhole is Thomas’ vacant eyes staring at me.

“Jeff, are you coming?”

In the dark my friend’s voice still calls and I turn my head towards the sound of approaching footsteps.

Join Dr Eva Ross, a prison psychologist, and Madden Scott, a drifter with irascible charm, as they undertake an adventure that takes them through nightmares and across continents as they are thrust without choice into the shadowy world of Anges de la Resurrection des Chevaliers, the last barrier between earth, and what lies beneath. 

The tiny community of Meriton has been plagued by a spate of burglaries, and White Pastures seems to be next. A shadowy figure stalks the house, but the police can find no signs of an intruder.White Pastures grows more and more dark, possessed by a shadow that yearns, a shadow that will not be denied. At White Pastures, someone will die – but love never will.
In Shadows Waiting by Stewart Bint

The Starblood trilogy is a potent and visceral work of horror and fantasy and a tale of obsessive love. What would you do for the one you love? Satori would travel worlds and battle demons but, however much Star begs, he just cannot let her go.
Starblood Trilogy by Carmilla Voiez 

Filled with hate for a humanity that turned its back on her, Iyzebel has accepted her fate as a demon convert with relish. On the verge of orchestrating a human culling that will wipe out most of humanity with her creator, the greater demon Ashur, Izzy is impatient to see the humans suffer for their sins.
Voices of Hell by Catherine Stovall#

The Nightmarescape is a realm constituted of negative psychic energy. It reaches out to damaged souls through their dreams and pulls them in after death.
Nightmarescape by T.S. Dann

While trying to find out who killed their friend, Liz and Maggie end up on a daring adventure with a ghost and a voodoo princess.
Spirits in the Keys by Susan Stafford 

James crept up to the house slowly, cautiously. He'd seen the man in the window from where he had hidden for only a few brief seconds, when the man had walked from one side of the room to the other.

No, that wasn't right, James thought to himself. The man hadn't walked across the room. He'd glided across it - like some kind of apparition who no longer needed to put one foot in front of the other in order to move. And even that wasn't right, because the thing in the house wasn't even a man.

James shivered at the thought. Why had he come back to this place? The foreboding sense of evil that hung over the house like a dark shroud was just as strong now as it had been when he was a kid. Back then, he'd gone into the abandoned house on a dare. That had been when he'd first seen the faceless man.

He knew what the thing was now. It was no man, despite appearing as one. He knew that it was responsible for all of the disappearances in the town. Not just the recent ones... ALL of them, going back almost two hundred years to when the town was first built.

The answer to why he'd come back to the town whispered into his head. Because he knew what the darkness was. He knew where it came from. He knew where it lived. He knew it was bound to the house. And he knew how to kill it.

Another cold shiver went through him as he peered into the window and saw the broken furniture in the room beyond. He should have called Dale, should have told him how to kill the thing, just in case.

Dale was the one person who believed him, who would listen to him... who wouldn't think he was crazy. He'd gone into the house with him back then. He'd seen the faceless man too.

James took his cell phone out of his pocket and flipped it open. His shaking hands were proof enough that he was scared shitless. The thing hadn't come after them back then - they'd only been kids. If it saw him now...

Punching in Dale's phone number, James lifted the cell phone to his ear. Another cold shiver went through him. The air seemed to grow cold around him, as if every last bit of warmth were being sucked out of it.

"Come on Dale, answer!" he muttered. He breathed a sigh of relief as he heard a click as his call was picked up on the other end.

And then the static echoed into his ears. His breath caught in his throat as James felt an aura of cold wash over him. It pierced through him like a thousand tiny needles of ice. He barely felt the cell phone slip from his hand and fall to the ground.

Catching sight of the reflection in the window, James slowly turned away from the window. Saw the dark, faceless figure standing motionless near the trees. Thought he should have called Dale earlier, and told him how to kill the thing.

The last thought he had as the faceless cloaked creature rushed at him across the lawn was that he'd been wrong. The creature wasn't confined to just the house.

A celebration of a god older than history. A desperate play for love, fame and power. A gathering of friends to slay the demons of isolation and despair. Conjure Moon tells three terrifying tales guaranteed to keep you inside when the moon is high.
Conjure Moon by Mickie Bolling-Burke

Phoebe Woodard's world has changed. With her mother brutally murdered and three small children to look after, Phoebe is lost in a world of infected cannibals until she meets seventeen-year-old Leland and the vampire, Jameson.
Rippers by Ashlei Hawley

Life lesson number one: Never anger a powerful witch
Shifter by Jennifer Reynolds

Vampires are alive and well in the Big Easy. In the modern world of forensics, technology, and security cameras everywhere, vampires are now forced to live in secret. In this new age where vampires have evolved into gentle predators mainly depending on alternative methods for acquiring blood, vampire bars have risen in popularity. Vampyr is New Orleans’ most popular venue. Welcome to Vampyr...
Vampyr: The Complete Trilogy by K. M. McFarland 

In the green paradise of what was the Mayan Empire, something dark has begun. Father Lamas has been performing exorcisms without Papal authorization, but it doesn’t stop there. Reports of missing children lead Paladin to the depths of the jungle, where the Shadows are alive and well. Nothing is as it seems as Gerald and Matthew learn what has awakened in the Devil’s Garden!
Devil's Garden (The Paladin Sequence Book 1) by Lance Tuck

The story opens with Antoine, an abandoned immortal, longing for the company of his maker once again. Antoine seeks to resurrect him, and bargains for the ultimate payment - his soul. And the demons come. Antoine manages to escape, but not without those pursuing him at every corner. "Ashes" is a seemingly simple horror story with unexpected complexity and undeniable impact. It will take the reader through facets of time, space and across dimensions - and delivers a profound message. That a scratched surface is merely scratched.

The rumble of the bed beneath her woke Charlize up. Immediately her heart began racing and fear squeezed a scream from her throat. Grabbing her blanky she found her knees. Cloudy sleep passed away instantly at that sight of a forest filling her room with trees. The soft pink carpet was eaten by the earth that now surrounded her bed. Her fear left her, replaced by wonder.

The tinkle of tiny laughter filled the room with heavenly joy. Her eyes widened when a ball of glowing light zipped right up to her face and stopped. A fairy hovered on wings that beat faster than a hummingbirds and waved manically with a wide toothy smile full of sharp teeth.

Charlize lifted her hand to touch the beautiful creature, but when she did, the fairy bit her, chewing off a chunk of her flesh the size of a pencil head.

"Ouch!" she cried, pulling her finger away quickly.

The fairy grinned at her and zipped forward, taking a bite from her cheek.

"Stop it!" Charlize screamed.

She shouldn't have spoken. She shouldn't have moved. She shouldn't have even woken up. The room filled with glowing balls of carnivorous light, surrounding the little girl. She screamed again.

With the Light, came Magic, and the Witch. As mysterious as she was fearsome, and as powerful as she was merciless, the Witch almost succeeded in ending the world until she was vanquished by a hero and his comrades. This is the legend of the Witch and the Guardian.
Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian by A. S. Aramiru 

Jewel has a problem. She's in a witch school and can't get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.
Norma Jean's School of Witchery by Rose Montague

A fast-paced crime/paranormal novel set in future Dallas, Texas. In a time when supernatural beings such as Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies are known, though not always accepted, by the humans around them, crime is still a problem. The Dallas Police Department forms an elite new squad dedicated to solving crimes among the Immortals.
Fang and Claw (The Undead Unit Book 1) by Markie Madden

Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.
Eternal Curse: Giovanni's Angel by Toi Thomas

Twenty-three-year-old Jancie Sadler was out of the room when her mother died, and her heart still longs for their lost goodbye. Aching to ease her sorrow, Aunt Starla gives Jancie a diary that changes her entire life. In entries from the 1930s, her great grandmother revealed how she coped with her own painful loss by seeking out a witch from nearby Coon Hollow Coven.
Witch's Moonstone Locket: A Coon Hollow Coven Tale by Marsha A. Moore

It's 3 a.m., and I am here waiting for the night train to West End Junction. I’m alone tonight, no other lonely souls to accompany me on my trip. Many have gone to West End in the past, but no one stays and no one ever comes back. It’s only a transitionary stop on the way to your final destination. I chose the night train so my family couldn’t try to keep me from boarding. They are working tonight. I live about five miles from here. This place is the closest stop for the night train to my home. Many people have caught the train from here in the past. Before it comes, I need to take another nip of this vodka and swallow some sleeping pills. I’ve had the worst time sleeping lately and I’m really not fond of train rides. They make me feel claustrophobic. I think I will finish out the bottle of pills for good measure. What do I have to lose?
What does a person find at West End? Hope. Peace. Redemption. Regret. No one knows what they’ll find, but it’s different for everyone. Unfortunately, the train doesn’t always stop for everyone. Sometimes, it passes you by because you’re not ready. You have to be truly ready to go to West End. I hope the train stops for me. It took me a long time to book this trip. I don’t think I will have the courage to try again if I am rejected this time.
So why did I decide to take a trip? I am leaving home because my home left me behind a long time ago. After a horrible incident back in seventh grade, no one would associate with me anymore. I was ridiculed incessantly by my peers and had no friends to ease the pain. My parents were not much help with protecting me either. They were always working and ignoring me. This went on for years, and I am tired of the ridicule and tormenting and I want out.
I can feel these pills taking effect now. I timed them just right so I should be sound asleep when the train pulls out. Don’t worry, though, I will stay awake until it gets here. I don’t know where I’ll go once I get there. Excuse me! These yawns are getting persistent. It’s 3:13 now and the train should be here any minute. They say it is always on time. I am ready. I have decided to take the train, and I intend to get on the first time.
Oh! Please don’t be concerned for me. I am not afraid of being alone anymore and travelling to a strange place. I see it as an opportunity to be at peace. Wait! I hear the train coming. I only have a moment now. Do take care my friend. I hope you have a full and happy life. Here is the train. I am so sleepy now, I can barely stand. I wish you well, for we may not meet again. No, I can’t change my mind now. What is done is done. Eventually everyone ends up at West End Junction. I am just choosing to take the journey early.

Morley Rivers lived a quiet life until she brought home a portrait of a hottie from the 19th century. Alexander Brynes had been cursed when his plea to a gypsy went horribly wrong. He was tethered to his portrait, unable to communicate with the people around him, until Morley came along. Alexander is positive Morley is the key to break his curse. He wasn't expecting her to break into his heart.
Transparent by Joy Eileen

November Keys, a quaint village that was ready to sell its soul to the Devil for hastily promised riches. However, when the Devil buys he expects to collect. A very funny tale of greed, gangsters and things that go bump in the night.
November Keys by Michael & Brian Turner 

Skye’s a young witch who sucks at spells and works at a metaphysical store, The Green Fairy. Strange things are happening there at night: black specks of movement out of the corner of her eye, mysterious buzzing noises, unidentified dragonfly-like carcasses in the basement, and a hidden cache of absinthe (aka fairy crack).
Changeling: An Appalachian Magic Novel by Debbie Herbert

One night Stella is invited to a Halloween party by her boss but the dreaded Delores, her spiteful co-worker has been invited too. Delores has her sights set on Harry Dunlop, Stella’s dream man but events are about to unfold that will teach Delores a valuable lesson and allow Stella to finally get to grips with far more than just her broomstick.
The Witching Hour by Lynette E. Creswell 

Angelica Walker has a dark past and is haunted by the fact that she was born on Halloween night. As she struggles to heal from the dark memories of bad, supernatural experiences and her diagnosis of schizophrenia, her faith and trust in Fortuna Roman Goddess centers her in the present.
Angelica Walker: Halloween Birthday Girl by Yuna Angell 

“It looks like shit.”
“Shhhh, it’s perfect.”
“I agree with Morgan, it will do nicely.”
The Great Lord said nothing.
The four entered the ancient doorway and Morgan was quick to set about removing cobwebs and dusting off the lone chair that resided in the abandoned hut. The one-roomed home in the heart of the forest was so tiny it could almost be called a shed. There was not even a kitchen or bucket to piss in. Not that any of them needed such things. Vampires had no use for kitchens or bathrooms.

Leon smirked at her as she cleaned, but Morgan paid him no mind. She was waiting for him to make a smart ass remark about her doing the “woman’s work” or some such since she was the only female in their small group. But Leon had been surprisingly lacking with his usual jokes in the past few days. As much as Morgan was happy to be free of his juvenile antics, the cause of his reform was nothing to smile about. Leon had played a part in her sister going mad, after all. And though he suffered for it, though she saw his regret clearly, she could not easily forgive him it.

“Here, Master,” Morgan offered the chair to The Great Lord but he paid her no mind. He merely stood in his blue jeans and white T-shirt, staring out the broken glass of the lone window, his face unreadable. Richard’s tall form slumped to the floor in the corner, cradling his injured arm. Leon too, sat as far away from the window as he could get. Dawn was coming.

“This reminds me of the War for Earth. All those days hiding out in dark buildings or burying underground,” the ginger-haired Richard remarked.

Morgan had never gotten to know him very well, but he always gave off this pleasant aura of calm and understanding. He was a friendly guy who always looked out for his friends, never complaining when they showed up uninvited. He had ruled over his district well, known as the kind Lord who never hesitated to listen to his human’s troubles. And now even those humans who claimed to love him so were after him.

Leon made an unhappy noise in his throat. “I think I prefer the aliens hunting us. At least we could kill them without remorse. If we kill the humans off, how will we eat? Damn Euro-rebels, starting trouble! Bringing their fight and their crazy idea over here where it doesn’t belong. I’d like to see Lord Gerard have a go at them, I would.” His English accent became more pronounced as he cursed the humans, but he grew silent when Lord Gerard turned to face them.

The Great Lord had changed his appearance to that of a human and Morgan didn’t like it. She was too used to his jagged ears and pointed chin and nose. Her master just looked… wrong like this. Again she gestured to the unoccupied chair and again he ignored it. His gaze fell on Leon instead. The young blonde vampire couldn’t help but squirm. Even disguised as a human, those eyes were intense enough to make anyone nervous.

“When night falls, you will find your made-child. Do not return without him. Do not abandon him again.”

Leon gulped and nodded, not daring to meet his black eyes. At the mention of Blayke, Morgan’s anger fired up once more. She was tempted to knock Leon into next Tuesday. Maybe she should break his wrist again. It had healed too quickly; the kid needed another reminder of how pissed she was at him. She could most certainly kill him as easily as squashing a bug. She leaned against the wall, hearing the creak of wood and the groan of the floorboards under her feet. This was neither the time nor place to start swinging fists and ranting about past mistakes. Gerard had gotten the point across pretty clearly without any signs of violence.

Instead, she breathed a sigh and tried to calm herself. Richard needed tending to. He needed blood to heal and hers was the strongest besides her master’s. She needed to take care of him now, just as he had taken care of Alexus. Until yesterday, when Alexus had taken care of him; ensuring his escape and dying in the process.
As bad as his arm was, Morgan knew the pain of losing his made-child was much worse. She’d heard that the feeling was like losing a limb. Alexus was his friend when she was human. The bond of master and child had brought them even closer. Now she was gone and he was suffering for it. It was an excruciating reality that she hoped to never experience. Exactly why she never planned to change a human.

“Find him,” Richard said to Leon, his voice low but commanding. “You were born a vampire, therefore you can’t understand how confused and tormented he is right now. This is a dangerous time for him and those around him. Find him and train him properly. It’s your duty.”

Leon nodded unhappily again. “I’ll take care of Blayke.”

Morgan ran a hand through her brown locks and glanced at her master but he had already turned back to the window. The sun was rising, making the sky near the treetops a yellowish pink color. The two nightwalkers immediately threw their backs against the far wall and pulled their knees up to their chins. As if they could shrink into themselves and escape the sun’s rays. Morgan glanced about for an old blanket or cloth or anything she could use to cover the window and protect her friends. But her master had already thought of them.

A wet sound came from The Great Lord’s direction and the immediate scent of blood had their nostrils flaring. Then Lord Gerard lifted his wrist and wiped it across the glass window. Covering the unbroken pieces in smears of blood, his wrist fell back to his side, the broken flesh healing before their eyes.

“It isn’t enough,” Richard whispered to Morgan but she shushed him.
“Watch,” she said, her eyes twinkling.
And sure enough, right before their eyes, the blood on the glass began to move. It seemed to spread more and more until every inch of glass was covered. Leon gasped when he realized that there was actually more blood there now, the cells multiplying on their own. Once the glass was covered, more began to drip over the empty areas. Staring at the missing chunk in the top right-hand corner, Leon felt his jaw drop as he witnessed the blood dripping upward. When the entire window was covered and no light could be seen through it, the blood began to dry and harden. In seconds, it was a solid piece of maroon, shielding them from the deathly rays of sunshine.

Morgan approached the window and thumped on the blood with her fingers. It made a hollow sound but didn’t give or shake. “Nice,” she said. Gerard said nothing but lightly walked over and settled in the creaky wooden chair.
Even after all these years, Richard and Leon were still dumbfounded by The Great Lord’s power. They could think of nothing to say so they remained quiet. Morgan, ever proud of her master’s feats, could barely hide her smile of glee as she approached Richard. Her super model figure hunched over the redheaded nightwalker.
“No worries, this place is a dump but we’ll be safe here. Now, let me see about that arm…”

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