Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Undead Killer Returns in The Walking Man


It's Sunday excerpt time. This week, I'm posting chapters from my horror novella, The Walking Man. Available for Kindle.

Chris Peters is returning home from work one night when he glimpses someone watching him from the shadows. He's well aware of The Walking Man legend. It tells of a man who walks the roads in town looking for victims. A man who kills, disappears for years, and returns to kill again.

Soon the police uncover a series of gruesome murders. Rumors of The Walking Man begin to surface. Chris, his girlfriend, and the detectives working the case glimpse a strange, disfigured man lurking around their homes. Strange symbols are painted on their houses, marking them for death. As Chris and the others find out, there are truth to some legends, and the evil terrorizing their town is very real.


One



It was late summer when the Walking Man returned.

Chris Peters was walking along the road, parallel to the old Harwell estate, which had been sold to the state and converted to a park. It was a little after nine on a Saturday, and he’d just finished a shift at Tully’s, a little grocery/gas station out on old North road. He was in good spirits, just having gotten a raise. Mr. Tully was happy with him. He stayed late. Came in early. Did what he was told without question.

The sky was clear and he gazed up at the stars. A warm breeze blew in his face. To his right were thick woods, and beyond that, the park grounds. To his left were fields. He had another mile or so to go before he reached the outskirts of town.

He was well aware that he had to pass the house. His house. If you believed in ghost stories, the Walking Man lived there. Or at least returned every few years to haunt the town. Sixteen years ago, some kids had been killed. Others were taken and never found. People whispered that a strange man was seen at the time of the abductions. A man no one could quite describe or identify.

People said it was the Walking Man. The police had scoured fields, dragged ponds, set up roadblocks. They had brought in every known sex offender and pervert for miles and grilled them. Still they came up with no leads.

Chris passed the house, feeling like he’d been put in a freezer, the hairs dancing on the back of his neck. You could see the house through the woods, a crumbling mansion, once white. The paint had gone to gray. Big columns supporting the roof. There was a rusted, 1950s pick-up truck on blocks out on the lawn.

He hurried along, passing the house.

As he reached the edge of the property, he got the distinct sensation he was being watched. He glanced to his left. There was someone in a copse of trees. Someone tall. The wind blew and he caught the stench of something rotten.

He hurried down the road and didn’t look back.







“Great night for a run,” Stacey Mills said to Greg.

He was keeping pace with her, their footfalls slapping the asphalt path that ran through the park. They’d met at the gym, where the two of them had been on treadmills next to each other. Both of them worked in the IT field, developing software. They both loved action movies and Mexican food. They’d hit it off, and after two months, she knew she was falling for him.

“If you can keep up,” Greg said.

“It’s you that needs to keep up with me,” she said.

They came to a T junction in the path.

“Actually, quick break up here?” he said.

“I knew you couldn’t keep up,” she said, and gave him a playful swat on the arm.

They stopped at the junction, right near the woods that bordered Pruitt park. A bench with sun-bleached wood stood at the junction.

“Need to sit down?” Stacey said.

“Only old ladies sit down,” Greg said.

Something rustled in the woods. A large branch snapped. It was probably a deer. They’d seen six of them dart across the path at the start of their run. Still, her heart quickened a bit. Something unseen in the woods always gave her a little start.

Greg was stretching, one leg up on the bench.

Another rustling of grass and leaves in the woods. It was getting closer.

“Coming this way,” Greg said. “Loud.”

“A deer in the woods at night can sound like a rhino,” she said.

The noise grew louder, until Stacey thought a horned beast might actually charge out of the woods. It happened fast. A man strode out of the woods. He wore a long, duster-style coat. He stank like something rotten. He reached across the bench and pulled Greg over, slamming him to the ground.

She watched the man grab Greg’s head and twist. His neck snapped like dry kindling. Stacey gasped. The man’s head was down, still preoccupied with Greg, whose head was cocked at a sickening angle. He was gone.

The man took a long knife from under his coat. She was looking at the top of his head. Through the thin, greasy hair, she saw burned-scarred flesh.

With the knife, he began sawing Greg’s neck. She screamed.

She took off down the path, expecting the man to chase after. When she was about fifty yards away, she turned and saw the man dragging Greg’s body into the woods. In his hand, the man held Greg’s head by the hair.

Stacey reached the edge of the park, coming to the road that bordered the property. She had her iPhone strapped to her arm. When she ran alone, she took it and listened to music.

After taking the phone off her arm, she called 9-1-1.






Two







“That’s a shit-ton of blood,” Maria Greco said.

In her ten years as a detective, she’d never seen that much blood at a scene. A tech from the county crime lab was doing his thing, taking samples near the bench.

Maria’s partner, Jenna Martz, was looking into the woods, hands on hips.

Jenna turned. “Like they dumped buckets of it.”

The ground around the bench looked as if it had rained blood and saturated the earth. A trail of it led off into the woods. They’d also found a set of size twelve footprints and drag marks.

The girlfriend, who’d called the cops, was standing off to the side with some of the uniformed officers. She was wearing yoga pants and a tank top. Looked like a gym bunny to Maria.

“Should we go chat with her?” Jenna said.

Maria had hoped to be home early with Tim tonight. They had plans to binge watch Game of Thrones and catch up on the series. Tim called it the “swords and boobies” show, which was fairly accurate. “Let’s see what she had to say.”

The detectives approached her. The young woman’s eyes were red and raw. She was hugging herself to stop shaking. It wasn’t working.

“I’m Detective Greco and this is Detective Martz. Can we ask you some questions?”

“Sure.”

Maria said, “You called us. Tell us what happened.”

“Me and Greg were out for a jog.”

Martz took out a notepad. “What was Greg’s last name?”

“Schwartz.”

“He live here in town? Address?” Jenna asked.

Stacey rattled off an address. Maria knew it. Quiet side street on the other side of the village. They would send a uniform to deliver the bad news to his next of kin.

“So you’re out jogging and then?” Maria asked.

“We stopped for a break. Near the bench.”

“You typically jog at night?” Maria said.

“Is that wrong?”

“Not wrong. Just wondering,” Maria said.

“Not usually. But we got out of work late. Thought it was a nice night. We were at the bench when I heard something in the woods. It got louder, then the man came.”

Her chest hitched and she sobbed quietly for a moment.

“Take your time,” Maria said.

Stacey wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. “He pulled Greg to the ground. He was really strong. Then he broke Greg’s neck.”

“We noticed the blood. How did that happen? I know this is hard for you,” Jenna said.

“After he broke Greg’s neck, he took out a knife and removed his head.”

The last part of her statement came out rapid fire: knifeandremovedhishead.

“I’m sorry, you said he cut off Greg’s head?” Maria said.

Stacey nodded. “Then he dragged Greg’s body into the woods.”

Hence the footprints and drag marks. “Can you describe him?”

“Long, dirty coat. His skin was kind of blue and gray, pale. He had a hoodie on under the coat. Long, stringy hair. I didn’t get a look at his face. I think he’d been burned in a fire. He came out of the woods really fast.”

Jenna said, “And you hadn’t seen him before? Wasn’t hanging around the park?”

“The first time I saw him was when he came out of the woods,” Stacey said.

“What kind of knife?” Maria said.

“Big. It had teeth.”

“Like Rambo used?” Jenna said.

“Who?” Stacey said.

“Never mind. You’re too young,” Jenna said.

They asked Stacey a few more questions and then she called for her parents to come pick her up. Maria told her they’d be following up at some point. After making some more notes and roughing up a sketch of the scene, they went off to the side, away from the commotion. One of the uniforms was keeping the first news van on the scene away from everything, a camera guy from Channel Two filming the whole thing.

“So what the hell just happened?” Jenna said.

“Well, a man was murdered, Detective,” Maria said.

“Smart-ass,” Jenna said.

“Something nasty. Who the hell shows up and cuts a guy’s head off?” Maria said.

“We haven’t had a murder here in what, fifteen, twenty years? And that was before we were on the job.”

“Yeah. The Lassiter killing. Old fucking farmer starts hearing the devil’s voice coming out of his tractor and takes an axe to his wife and three kids,” Maria said.

“There were those kids by the creek,” Jenna said.

“And the other missing kids,” Maria said.

“Presumed murdered. Good bet.”

Now a second news van was rolling through the park. It stopped short of the crime scene tape. Channel Four news. Two was already here. All they needed was Channel Seven for the trifecta.

“Don’t even start with that Walking Man bullshit,” Maria said.

“I’m not. But it couldn’t hurt to check out the house.”

“We’re not going to find the boogeyman there, Jen.”

“Our head chopper could be hiding there.”

“Fine. But no urban legend crap, huh?” Maria said.

“Best get home before it’s dark,” Jenna said. “Now he’s cutting heads off in the park. I made up that last part,” Jenna said.

The old kid’s rhyme. “You’re brilliant. I hate you sometimes. Let’s go check it out.”






Three




Maria steered the unmarked down the twisting road that led to the old house. She got a glimpse of it through the trees; it reminded her of a plantation house plopped in the middle of suburbia. It reportedly had forty-some rooms. The last owner had died in the late sixties. A suicide. Set himself on fire. Everyone knew the story. Thomas Harwell, despondent over the murder of his daughters, decided to end it. There was supposedly still a scorch mark on the dining room floor where he’d lit himself up.

“I see the Walking Man. Look!” Jenna said.

“I really hate you. I mean it,” Maria said.

She stopped the unmarked short of the estate’s gardens, which were now a tangle of brown weeds. A rusted, fifties-model Ford pickup sat on blocks, the tires gone. A path led up to through the dead gardens, and next to the path stood a wooden sign on a stake: No Trespassing.

“Guess technically we’re trespassing,” Maria said.

“It’s abandoned. Don’t even know who wound up owning it after that guy torched himself. Probable cause? We saw someone hanging around, decided to look.”

“Sounds as good as anything. Let’s get this over with.”




Maria took a flashlight from the sedan, as did Jenna. They wound through the dead gardens and approached the porch. A strong, musty smell wafted out of the house. The house’s double doors hung like loose teeth. Some boards had been slapped up over the front doorway, but those would be easy enough to pry off.

“Wonder how strong the floor is. I’d hate to crash through it,” Maria said.

“Let’s have a look,” Jenna said, and approached the door. She shined her light inside. Maria followed the beam as it swept over the fat planks. They looked sturdy enough. Inside was a sheet-covered sofa and newspapers scattered all over the floor.

“You really think someone would come here to hide?” Jenna said.

“There’s a ton of rooms. It’s dark. A drifter might take refuge here,” Maria said.

“We going in?”

“Let’s go around back, have a look there first.”

They descended the steps and followed the long driveway along the side of the house. It wound around the back and ended in a roundabout with more dead gardens in the center. The remains of a hedge maze sprawled across the rear of the property before the grass sloped off into the woods. Two massive, rotting barns stood out back, as well.

“That’s a good hiding spot, as well,” Maria said.

A chill went down her back. She supposed abandoned places did that to you, and maybe it was the reason urban explorers sought out crumbling asylums and hospitals. For the scares.

Two sets of stairs led up to a back door, where they met on a concrete porch. The rear door had plywood over it, and it didn’t look disturbed to Maria. Some of the windows had plywood over them, while others were just plain broken.

Maria climbed the steps and tried the plywood. A few loose nails held it in place, which she was able to pry out with her fingers. She pulled the plywood away. Her flashlight revealed a large pantry, the shelves bare save for some jarred goods, each with a thick coat of dust on them. There was a counter and more cabinets with dusty, glass-paned doors. She thought this might be a butler’s pantry. A winding metal staircase led upward.

She entered, testing the floor as she went. The tiled floor seemed solid enough. She heard Jenna approaching from behind.

Maria took out her Glock, and Jenna did the same.

They moved through the butler’s pantry and into a dining room with a massive chandelier and a long table. The chairs were long gone. Dust motes hung in the air, visible in the moonlight.

“Have a feeling we’re going to come up with a goose egg,” Jenna said.

“Most likely,” Maria said.

Footsteps thudded upstairs.

Maria nodded. “Staircase in the pantry.”

They hurried into the butler’s pantry, Maria taking the lead up the stairs. Her footsteps clanged on the metal. She found herself in a long hallway with a dozen doors on either side. The hallway came to a T junction at the other end.

“Police!” Maria called out. “Come out now!”

No response. It was worth a try.

They moved down the hallway, guns drawn. Maria’s heart whammed in her chest. There were too many goddamned doors.

Maria spotted someone in a flash; a glimpse of a long coat, quick as a rattler’s tongue. Passing through the T junction.

“Hey!” Martz said. “Stop!”

Footsteps sounded on the stairs and they came to the T junction and turned right, where a grand staircase led into a great room. The person fleeing them was nowhere to be seen. How could someone be so fast?

Clunking on yet more stairs. How many levels did this place have?

A door slammed and they headed in the general direction of the noise. They passed through the great room and to Maria it sounded like the noise had come from the kitchen. They found the massive kitchen, where rusted pots and pans still hung from racks. There was a massive gas stove and a wall of cabinets with glass doors. Inside were dusty dishes.

Maria spotted the door. She nodded to Martz, who stood beside the door. Maria took an angle on the door, her Glock aimed and ready. Jenna flung the door open. Her light revealed wooden steps and there was no boogeyman behind the door.

Opening doors was the worst part of being a cop. She’d known three cops who’d been cut down in doorways.

“Police! Come out! Show us your hands!” Maria said.

She was rewarded with the sound of wind whistling through a gap in the wall.

Maria debated calling for back-up, but if they waited for reinforcements, the mystery person could disappear in the labyrinth of the mansion. “After him.”

They crept down the stairs and ended up in a massive, open basement. At one end was an old coal furnace with arms that stretched like a squid’s. There was old furniture, other items draped in old sheets and even an engine block. No telling how the hell they’d gotten it down here.

“Jesus, there’s enough crap down here,” Jenna said.

“This place was in the family for over a hundred years. Not surprised,” Maria said.

A corridor led off of the basement, and once they’d swept the cavernous area, they approached the corridor. A brick archway led into the darkness.

They shined the beams into the corridor. Cobwebs framed the entrance.

“Only one place he could be,” Maria said.

They moved ahead.







“He had to have doubled back,” Maria said.

They stood before a brick wall at the corridor’s end and Maria could only conclude that they’d missed their chance.

“This is creepy. I feel claustrophobic,” Jenna said.

“Can’t believe we missed him,” Maria said.

They went back down the corridor, guns still drawn. The two of them made another sweep of the basement and found nothing. They went back upstairs and backtracked through the mansion. When they didn’t find anyone, Maria called it in and requested patrol cars to canvas the area.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Excerpt From My Dark Thriller, The Damage Factory

I'm going to try and post an excerpt each week from one of my novels. This week I decided on The Damage Factory.  Available in paperback and on e-book platforms.

What would you do if a secret criminal organization was hired to destroy your life? Three unsuspecting people tied together by a tragic event are about to find out.

"Don’t write anything down. Don’t tell anyone you talked to me. And for God’s sake, make sure no one follows you."

John Georges is out for revenge. He meets with a member of The Damage Factory and hires them to seek vengeance.Their goal is to dismantle lives. As John's victims find out, once The Damage Factory is in motion, there is no turning back.

Three unsuspecting people fight to survive The Damage Factory.

The Damage Factory. Business is good.


The Damage Factory
Copyright 2017 Anthony Izzo

Chapter One




Don’t write anything down. Don’t tell anyone you talked to me. And for God’s sake, make sure no one follows you.

That’s what the rough-sounding voice on the phone had told him.

John George pulled up to the hulking warehouse, wondering if he should turn back, the man’s words echoing in his mind. He didn’t. Instead, he got out of the car and immediately smelled the dead fish odor coming off the lake.

He went to the passenger’s side, opened the door, and took out a bulky manila envelope.

As he approached a steel door, he noticed a security camera mounted overhead. There was a doorbell mounted on the wall. He pressed it and heard a loud bell echo from somewhere in the warehouse. It reminded him of the old fire alarm in his elementary school.

He waited, used to being patient. Used to being alone these days. In the evening he would heat himself up a frozen entrée, the French bread pizzas being his favorite. His expanding belly was proof of his love of frozen foods.

There was no need for large meals or extensive grocery lists.

Occasionally, he would eat Italian at Marcos, sticking with Chicken Parm and a glass of house red. It always felt to John that the waitresses were taking pity on him, calling him sweetie. He must’ve seemed like a sad case.

After dinner, he would return home and sift through photos on the computer, looking at their trips to Bar Harbor and the Outer Banks. More often than not, the night ended with him in tears.

The door swung open and a guy in a flannel, work boots, and paint-spattered jeans answered. He was half a head shorter than John but his neck was like a tree trunk. “You John?”

“That’s me.”

“Follow me,” the guy said.

John followed the man to small room at the rear of the warehouse. Inside was a table surrounded by wooden folding chairs.

“Take a seat,” the man said.

John pulled out a chair and sat down. The guy took a seat on the other side.

“Are you sure about this?” the man said.

“Did I talk you on the phone?”

“Don’t worry who you talked to. Once we start things in motion, there’s no going back.”

“I’m sure.”

“Where’s the money?”

John slid the envelope across the table. As the man reached for it, his shirt hiked up and John saw a chrome .45 in a holster.

“You can call me Rex,” the guy said, and dumped the bundles of cash on the table. John had emptied out his 401K for the cash.

Rex did a quick count of the money. “All here. Good boy.”

“I’m not a dog,” John said.

“We’ll go over this again. Like on the phone. No cops. No news. We’ll contact you with updates. You turn on us? We turn on you. Here’s what happened to the last guy that tried it.”

He took two photos from his breast pocket and slid them across the table. John took a look, saw a headshot of a man lying on some sort of table. Most of the skin was removed from his face.

“That was done while he was alive,” Rex said.

“I won’t cross you. I want these people to suffer,” John said.

“They will. Believe me. It’s what we do.”

“How will I know when it starts?”

“We’ll contact you.”

John said, “I’ll need proof.”

“Let us worry about that. Someone will be in touch, like I said. However, if you have an emergency. If someone’s on to you, take this,” Rex said, and pulled a crème-colored business card from his pocket. He slid it across the table.

The Damage Factory was printed on it in small, black letters. Below that was a phone number, most likely a burner phone.

John put it in his wallet as if it were a sensitive explosive.

“Don’t fucking lose it. We’ll be in touch. And don’t worry, you came to the right place.”



Chapter Two




Mark Staley had gotten the call last night from Rankin: Come in early, we need to talk. The principal wouldn’t say what it was about, only that it was urgent. In fifteen years of teaching high school English, Mark had never been asked to come in early and meet with the boss.

He arrived at Westlake High and parked in the faculty lot. At the side door he swiped his ID badge and entered. He had his lunch in one hand (tuna fish on white and an apple), and a satchel slung over his shoulder.

Mark passed Ed Feeny, one of the custodians, who was busy mopping the floor in front of one of the lockers. Mark gave him a nod.

It was a decent job, if repetitive. Teaching Romeo and Juliet to freshman every year got a little dull. Still, the pay was nice, he was tenured, and he was guaranteed a pension.

As he approached his room, Rankin was standing outside the door dressed in one of his many argyle sweater vests. His tie was done in a fat knot. He wore cords and shiny, square-toed shoes. Haircut looked fresh. Rankin looked young enough to almost blend in with the students.

“What’s going on Steve?” Mark said.

“Come in. I want to get this over with,” Rankin said.

Rankin opened the door. Seated in the front row was one of his students, a girl named Haley Ann Presby. A man and a woman occupied the desks to the left and right of her. The woman wore a white blouse and a blue skirt that highlighted her shapely legs. The man wore a dark gray suit. Had an athletic build. His hair was just beginning to gray.

He assumed these were her parents. Mark had tutored Haley Ann and had spoken with Mom and Dad on the phone.

Three chairs were set up facing the desks. A moment later, John Zurich, the school psychologist, came waltzing in. Mark liked him about as much as he did spoiled milk. He was a fussy little guy that favored bow ties. For some reason, that always rankled Mark.

“John will be joining us,” Rankin said.

“What’s this about?” Mark said.

“Have a seat Mark,” Rankin said.

Mark took the center chair, thinking this was an ambush. Rankin and Zurich sat on either side of him.

“How are you Haley Ann?” Mark said.

“Don’t you talk to her,” the man in the suit said.

He noticed the girl’s eyes were puffy and raw.

Rankin said, “Mark, meet Todd and Mary Presby.”

“We’ve spoken on the phone,” Mark said.

The couple had seemed friendly and engaging on the phone when they’d discussed tutoring Haley Ann. Now they looked at him as if he were a rat in the pantry. “Is something wrong?”

Zurich said, “Haley Ann, please share what you told me and Mr. Rankin on Friday.”

The girl teared up. She blotted her eyes with a balled up tissue. “Mr. Staley was tutoring me last week. He was leaning over to look at my essay. He put his hand on my leg under the table. Then he slid his hand up higher. Near, you know. Then he asked me to go somewhere private.”

“That never happened,” Mark said.

Mary Presby said, “Are you calling her a liar?”

“I’m saying that never happened. I did tutor her, but I would never do something like that. I’d never harm a student. Haley Ann, why are you saying this?”

“He wanted me to text him pictures of myself, too,” Haley Ann said.

“Steve, we’ve worked together for fifteen years, you know me,” Mark said.

Todd Presby said, “You protest a little too much.”

“Because this is a lie,” Mark said.

Rankin held up his hand. “Haley Ann, was this the first time this happened?”

“This school better have a good goddamned lawyer,” Todd said.

“The week before he’d rubbed my back, like with the palm of his hand?” Haley Ann said. “I guess that’s when it started.”

“Haley Ann,” Mark said. “Why are you doing this? You know that never happened.”

The girl wouldn’t make eye contact with him.

Zurich said, “Haley Ann shared this with me and Mr. Rankin on Friday. Naturally I contacted Mr. and Mrs. Presby.”

“I can’t believe this,” Mark said.

“We trusted you to help her,” Mary Presby said.

“I did. She went up a full letter grade,” Mark said. “And nothing happened. I wouldn’t do that. Plus, we were in the public library. Did anyone witness this supposed touching?”

Todd Presby sat up straighter in his chair. “Are you going to tell him or not?”

“Right,” Rankin said. “Mark, the Presbys have agreed not to pursue charges on one condition.”

“Which is?” Mark said.

“You give me your resignation. And I’m going to say I think that’s best for everyone,” Rankin said.

“What about my rights? I want to talk to my union rep.”

“Your rights?” Todd Presby said. “Listen, you piece of crap-“

“Todd, don’t,” Mary said.

Zurich stood up, put a hand on Todd’s shoulder. “Why don’t we let Mr. Rankin finish up with Mr. Staley.”

Zurich escorted the family out of the room.

When they were gone, Mark said, “Steve, really? I’m serious. I want to talk to the union rep. This is a fucking railroad job.”

Rankin strolled over to Mark’s desk. There was a manila envelope sitting there. “After I found out about Haley Ann, I had our IT guys go through your emails.”

He handed the folder to Mark. The day was shit. He didn’t think it could get worse.

It did.







Mark opened the folder. Inside were what appeared to be printouts of his emails. They were from a sender labeled “hot.xxxyoung.com.” The first picture was a girl of about eighteen. She was lying on a bed, naked, legs spread. A man that looked twice her age loomed over her, hairy and naked.

Mark flipped through the pictures. Each was more vile than the last, images of teenage girls in every imaginable pose and situation.

Mark’s stomach churned. There were some sick bastards in the world. He set the folder down. “Not mine.”

“They were sent to you Mark. Why the hell would you have them sent to your work email?”

“I don’t know what kind of bullshit set up this is, but these are not mine and I didn’t lay a hand on that girl.”

“The proof is right here. You have issues. Do you see why I need you gone?”

Mark balled up his fists. “You’re really pissing me off.”

“Don’t make it worse by doing something stupid. Resign. I’ll keep it quiet. Walk away. And for God’s sake, get some help.”

“If I don’t resign? If I fight this?”

“Mark, you’ve had a rough year after the accident. I get it. But you need professional help. If you don’t resign? I’ll have to report this. The school board. The media. The Presbys will pursue legal action. No one wants that.”

“Okay. So say someone did send me these. Spam gets sent all the time. Dick enlargement pills, stuff like that.”

“We checked your browsing history. It’s full of stuff like this. I can’t allow you to be around kids, Mark. Go home. Write that letter. I’ll tell people you went home sick,” Rankin said.

Mark scooped up his bag. If he spent another moment in the room, he might bust the principal’s lip open. “This isn’t over.”

“Please leave. I don’t want to have the school resource officer escort you out.”





Chapter Three




“Why isn’t Dad home yet?”

Erin Matthews watched her daughter balance a bowl of popcorn on her lap. In one hand she held a glass of fruit punch. Erin had visions of it splashing all over the sofa.

“Watch your drink, kiddo,” Erin said.

Paige said, “’Kay. What about dad?”

They’d been planning to watch a horror movie together, something lightweight with a lot of jump scares. Erin thought it was called The Becoming. It wasn’t exactly Saw or Hostel, and seemed appropriate for a thirteen-year-old.

“We won’t start without Dad?” Paige said.

“Absolutely not.”

Jason wasn’t usually late. He was stopping on the way home to pick up a pizza, a few groceries, and a bottle of Cab for the two of them to share after Paige was in bed. He’d called a half-an-hour ago to say he’d be home soon.

She had a little nervous flutter in her belly, the same feeling she used to get before going on patrol or when she’d been heading to the scene of a nasty accident. Her days as a soldier, then later as an EMT, were never dull. “I’m going to call him.”

“I’m glad,” Paige said.

She took her cell from her pocket and dialed Jason. It went straight to voicemail. Hey, it’s Jason. At the beep, tell me your story.

She loved him dearly but there was more cheese in that voice mail greeting than all of Wisconsin. “Hey, just wondering how it’s going. We’ll wait to start the movie ‘till you’re here. Love ya.”

She hung up, pocketed the phone, and sat next to Paige. Grabbed a handful of popcorn and popped some in her mouth.

“Well?” Paige said.

“I left him a message. Probably left his phone in the car again.”

“That sounds like Dad,” Paige said, popcorn bowl in her lap. She was in a hoodie and flannel PJ bottoms, cozied up for movie night on a cold November evening.

Erin hoped all was well. They’d lived under media scrutiny for the past year. Seemed there’d always been a news van parked on the street or strange cars slowing down as they neared the house. She’d had the phone number changed twice after a constant stream of phone calls from reporters.

Worst of all, she’d kept her Glock loaded and in the nightstand drawer, something she’d never do normally. It usually resided in a safe.

She took out her cell and tried him one more time.

No answer.

Don’t panic. He’ll be here.




Mark had emailed Rankin his resignation. He was sitting in the living room of his two-bedroom apartment, laptop on the coffee table. He had a bottle of Lagunitas IPA next to the computer. Mark reflected that he might kill of quite a few of those tonight.

He finished his beer. The air in the apartment felt hot, close. Getting outside might actually do him good.

He called up Sam. His older sister always made him feel better. She’d have to be a miracle worker in this case to raise his spirits.

“Hey little brother,” Sam said.

“You want to go get a beer? I can’t stand to me in my apartment right now.”

“Where?” Sam said.

“The Brew House.”

“Meet you there in ten. Sounds good.”

He shut down the laptop, set the empty beer bottle in the sink, and grabbed his jacket.

As he walked out to his car, he spotted a man over by the dumpster. He was leaning against the hood of a blue Toyota. He had a bristly flattop and a thick Fu-Manchu mustache. Wore aviator shades, which was odd for nighttime.

The guy definitely didn’t live in the complex. “What the fuck?” Mark muttered.

The guy watched Mark get in his car. He decided to write it off as some guy waiting for a friend.



Saturday, September 15, 2018

Back into Writing

I got back into writing this week after a few week hiatus. We have some family issues going on with a sick relative, and the writing fell by the wayside. 

The Last Ride is getting close to done. I'm writing the last ten percent of it and then have to do an edit. This will include typing in part of the book from my writing notebooks.

My youngest son had to be at work at 6:30 a.m., so I was up a little earlier than usual to give him a ride. Got in a workout in the basement, through in some laundry, and wrote. The house is quiet, and this is the best time to get stuff done.

I also did some sketching this week. Trying to get some artwork up for sale eventually. All in good time, I suppose. 


Monday, August 27, 2018

Binge Watching and Some Writing

Late to the party on this one, but we're watching Bates Motel. It's some good, twisted fun.

Did some work on The Last Ride.

Worked up a Joker sketch that I'll be finishing up tonight. Just need to ink in a background. I've been posting some artwork to my Instagram account under Izzoartworks.

I cooked for my wife's birthday tonight. Did some pan-seared filets, crab cakes, and twice-baked potatoes. Plus got her a bottle of her favorite wine for later.

All in all a pretty good day.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Today's Update

I'm closing in on finishing up The Last Ride. If I keep working steadily on it, it'll be up for sale in September.

Had a wonderful dinner with my wife last night at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora. Great food and we sat outside for dinner. All in all a perfect date for her birthday.

I'm reading Chuck Wendig's The Raptor and the Wren. I love the Miriam Black series and I'm a Wendig fan in general.

Also have a short story in the works that I might include on Patreon. I have my page all set to go, just haven't launched it yet.


Saturday, August 04, 2018

The Morning's Writing

Got three pages done on The Last Ride. I'll probably sit down again later and get in another writing session. We have a graduation party to attend later on for a friend's son. It's the third grad party this summer, and it marks the passage of time. I remember coaching these kids in soccer when they were younger. I suppose it reminds me that things move fast and I need to get going on my goals.

My youngest will be graduating high school in a few years. I hope to have created more books and more art by then. Maybe enough some day to eek out a living at this.

I have a few things in the works. I'm going to give Patreon a shot, posting exclusive content there. I'm also in the process of registering with the NYS Tax Department so I can sell art online. Going to give it a shot. I might not sell a damned thing, but it's worth a try,

I'm hoping to have The Last Ride for sale by the end of September. Also working on a horror short story that I might put up on Patreon.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vacation and Progress on the Next Book

We got back last Friday from a family trip to Cleveland. The highlight for me was The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The coolest things for me were seeing Muddy Waters' '58 Telecaster and the outfit John Paul Jones wore in The Song Remains the Same. They also had his bass he played in the late 70's (pretty sure he played this one during the '79 Knebworth shows).

We ate at The House of Blues one night. They make an amazing pulled pork sandwich. I recommend it. My wife and sons enjoyed the ribs and beef brisket tacos, as well.

I've piled up 170 or so pages on The Last Ride. Shooting for a September release on this one. I'm also working on a horror short story that I might release in a newsletter.

Just getting started on a military horror novella, as well. Might shop this one around in the small press, or might indie publish it. Not sure yet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Back to Writing

Getting back to writing after not doing much the past few weeks. Continuing on The Last Ride, plus I started a military/horror novel. I'm considering shopping the military/horror novel around in the small press. The possibility of being a hybrid author is becoming more appealing.

Saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom last night. It was entertaining, but offered nothing new.


Sunday, June 03, 2018

Hitting the Movies and Writing Updates

On Friday night, I took my 16-year-old son and three of his buddies to see Deadpool 2. It was our second time seeing it. The first time for his friends. I liked the movie just as much as the first time I saw it.  Hilarious, vulgar, and action-packed. Can't go wrong with that combo.

I also realized teenagers speak a language I don't understand. They were battling each other on their phones the whole way there. Not sure what game it was, but there was talk of gems and spells. My son remarked that I was quiet. I didn't tell him it was because I had no idea what the hell they were talking about.

I'm continuing to make solid progress on The Last Ride. I thought this one would be a relatively quick novella. I'm finding the characters all had more stories to tell. I'm winding up writing a lot more about them then I initially planned, which is fine. I tend to agree with Stephen King's analogy that stories are found things, like fossils. As King has said, it's the writer's job to dig them up, and sometimes the size of the fossil varies. In this case, I think I found a full-sized T-Rex.

I finished up a few sketches this weekend. May post them here. I'm still toying with the idea of an Etsy store for my drawings. Might be something I do in the next few weeks. I should probably just pull the trigger and upload everything for sale on a weekend.


That's all for now. If you'd like more updates from me, my newsletter signup is here.

Also, Enter the Night, my latest horror novel, is available here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Movie Nights and Book Progress

Last Sunday, my wife and I attended a special screening of Jaws. Richard Dreyfuss was on hand and spent about an hour telling stories and answering questions. He went to great lengths to dispel the notion of a feud between him and Robert Shaw on set. He did say that Shaw had a way of having his number, and that he was in awe of the more seasoned actor.

It was a blast watching the movie with fellow Jaws fans. The crowd cheered when Shaw and Dreyfuss' characters made their respective first appearances on screen. Scheider's "bigger boat" line also got a cheer. Plus, the crowd screamed when Ben Gardner's severed head appears in the ruined boat.

Monday,  we saw Deadpool 2. I liked it even better than the first. Ryan Reynolds' smart-ass remarks combined with action and gratuitous violence make for an entertaining movie. Next up will be Solo.

I didn't get a whole lot done on The Last Ride this week.  Hoping to ramp up the writing this coming week.

Overall, I've had one of my best sales months in a while. I attribute this to increased blogging and paying for some ads.  Always a challenge trying to get eyes on the books and gain new readers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Last Ride and Notebook Number 3

I've been writing The Last Ride in legal pads. Just started the third notebook (50 pages each). I like the notebooks sometimes because I can write anywhere. They're also free from distraction, as it's sometimes too easy to pop onto the Internet.

I'm looking at having The Last Ride done by the end of summer, barring any complications. I had originally envisioned it as a novella, but it's growing into a novel. Deciding to just let the story go where it wants.

Will probably play some God of War with my oldest son in a bit.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Blood on the Mountain Continues: Enter the Night, Chapter Three

Tonight I'm posting Chapter Three of Enter the Night. It's got an abandoned asylum and madmen running around in a snowstorm stalking the contestants on a ghost-hunting show.

If you like what you see, you can purchase Enter the Night here


Copyright 2018 Anthony Izzo


Three

Dan Harris staples the poster with Lindsay’s photo onto the telephone pole. It also has his number and a number for the state police. He’s in a small town called Slate Falls. It’s twenty miles from Iron Mountain, where Lindsay disappeared. 
He looks at the photo. Her hair is tied back. The sun is shining on her face. She’s so damned beautiful. He chokes back the tightness in his throat and wipes his eyes. Tears feel like they’ll freeze out here.
A woman in a ski jacket stops. She’s sipping something from a cup labeled Java Joint.
“Your girlfriend?”
“Fiancé,” Dan says.
“What happened?”
“She was abducted on a camping trip at Iron Mountain. I had proposed the night before,” Dan says.
“Aw,” she says, and clucks her tongue. “I hope you find her.”
“Don’t suppose she looks familiar?”
“I’m sorry. She’s very pretty though.”
The woman goes on her way, sipping her beverage. Dan has a website set up dedicated to Lindsay’s disappearance. He regularly posts photos of her on social media and asks people to share. Lindsay’s disappearance was in the news for a bit, then the story faded. The cops searched, said there were thousands of acres of wilderness. No luck.
He’s going back to the mountain to look for her. Back in Buffalo, he’d made a promise to Lindsay’s father. The old bastard doesn’t like Dan, but the guy is dying from pancreatic cancer. Has months left. He hopes to see his daughter again before the end.
He’s shivering. The temperature is hovering around twenty and the wind whips up snow in mini-cyclones. 
He decides to head back to the hotel.
The hotel lobby has a fireplace that would heat the great hall of a castle. It’s a giant stone thing with a beam for a mantle. Dan stands in front of it, rubs his hands together. A couple in matching ski sweaters are sipping wine on a nearby couch.
He feels a pang of bitterness. That should be Lindsay and him.
Once his hands are warm, he goes back to his room. Takes off his coat and sets it on a chair. 
His pack is ready to go, with enough supplies for a week. He’s got a tent and sleeping bag. In a case under the bed he has a Remington twelve gauge and a .45 semiautomatic. 
Dan will have to be careful. There’s some reality ghost hunting show being shot on the mountain. He doesn’t want too many questions from people.
He picks up the phone receiver and dials. Sheila, his future mother-in-law, answers.
“It’s Dan. How’s Howard?”
“About the same. Pain’s a little worse.”
“Tell him I’m heading up to the mountain in the morning,” Dan says.
“Do you think you’ll find anything?” she says.
“I promised I’d try. And I have to know.”
“She’s gone Dan. I’ve accepted it. Why can’t you?” Sheila says.
“I guess that’s what makes me different,” Dan says.
“She didn’t want to go,” she says.
A stab of guilt hits him. “I know. I’m going to make this right.”
“She’s gone,” Sheila says, and begins sobbing. Dan waits a moment.
“Will you tell Howard I’m heading out to search?”
“He’s groggy from the pain meds, but I’ll tell him,” Sheila says.
“Appreciate it. Thanks,” Dan says, and hangs up the phone.
He considers ordering something from room service, or maybe heading to the hotel bar for a beer. Instead, he settles for a protein bar from his stash and plops on the bed. 
Big day tomorrow.





Sunday, May 06, 2018

More Horror: Chapter Two of Enter the Night

Here's chapter two of Enter the Night.

If you like what you're reading so far, you can purchase it here.


Copyright 2018 Anthony Izzo

Two

The first thing Heather Benson sees is the truck sitting in the lodge’s parking lot. She’s not in charge of logistics. She’s the host. It’s her job to look good and encourage drama between the contestants on the show. Oh, and sell America that this mountain might be a little haunted.
“Seems odd they left the truck out here,” George Sampson says. He’s wearing a pea coat with a colorful scarf wrapped up under his thick beard. 
“The door’s open, too,” Heather says. 
The man driving the SUV parks it. The rest of the crew vehicles pull in behind them. The cast is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. 
Heather gets out. It’s snowing lightly. The powers that be at Blackmore Productions and the network are worried about the blizzard. Worried about it affecting production. “Have you seen the radar lately?”
George rounds the SUV. “Projected to hit late next week.”
“Well, we wanted extreme conditions,” Heather says.
“It’ll make for better television,” George says.
A red pickup truck pulls up next to them. The man who gets out is mountain-sized and wearing a stained Carhartt coat. He’s got a clipboard tucked under his arm. “What the fuck?”
There’s a second pickup, a Dodge Ram, parked behind the cube truck. Heather hadn’t noticed that at first.
“Heather, this is Don Larsen, he’s the crew foreman. You want something built or moved, Don’s the man.”
Larsen grunts hello and heads for the truck. He hoists himself up into the cab and examines something. He gets down, takes out a cell phone, and punches in a number.
Heather, curious, heads over where Larsen is talking. She tries to look casual, peering up at the lodge. 
“Bob, it’s Don. Where the fuck are you guys? And why’d you leave the trucks out here? Call me pronto,” Larsen says, and hangs up. 
“Where’d your guys go?” Heather asks.
“Fuck all if I know,” Larsen says. “Sampson, got a minute?”
George comes over. The wind whips the tail of his scarf. “Problem?”
Larsen moves in close to George. Heather sidles up next to George. Larsen either doesn’t notice or doesn’t mind.
“Bob Grey keeps a .44 in his truck. Everyone knows it. No one talks about it. The case was open on his seat. The gun’s gone,” Larsen says in a low voice. Steam puffs from his mouth each time he talks.
“Maybe he saw a bear,” Heather says.
“I don’t know what possessed him to bring out the gun,” Larsen says.
“How about we have a look?” George says.
“Maybe they were drinking. Probably passed out in the garage,” Heather says.
Larsen shakes his massive head. “They like to party, but when it comes to work, they’re rock solid. They wouldn’t leave the trucks out here like that.”
“The garage is open too,” George says.
They move over to the maintenance garage. Six inches of snow have piled up in the doorway. There’s no sign of the men. 
“I’m calling the Highway Patrol,” Larsen says.
“Now wait a second,” George says. “I have to check with the powers that be at the network and the company. It could ruin our shoot.”
“Fuck your shoot,” Larsen says.
“Look, sponsors put up a half a mil as prize money. Not to mention all the advertisers. This is going prime time,” George says.
“Those are my guys out there,” Larsen says.
“It can’t hurt to have the cops come up and take a look. What if a bear did get them?” Heather says. “Just play it safe.”
“I suppose you’re right,” George says.
“Told you so,” Larsen says.
Engines rumble behind them. More trucks carrying camera equipment, the crew, and their belongings roll into the parking lot. 
“Have someone move the trucks,” George says. “We don’t want panic.”
“I’ll move them myself,” Larsen says. “Make sure he calls the cops.”
“I’m calling now,” Heather says, taking her phone from her pocket.

Heather and George are in the lodge’s lobby. There’s a massive front counter with an elk’s head hung over it. A chandelier made from antlers hangs above the leather furniture in the lobby. A stone fireplace dominates one side of the room. There’s a faint hint of wood smoke in the air. The lodge has been closed for a few years, but Heather imagines that smoke smell won’t entirely diminish.
This is the third show she’s hosted. The first was a blatant ripoff of the Bachelor called The Single Guy. The second was a ghost hunter show that took her to abandoned prisons and asylums. The ghost show lasted three seasons. Got good ratings. Hence, she has the job here.
The crew is moving camera and lighting equipment into the lodge. A moment later, the lights flick on. They got the power going. She’s hoping for hot water so she can take a bath later. 
The Highway Patrol is on the way up. George has called them.
“How long till they get here?” Heather says.
“Should be here any minute. Don’t think they were thrilled. They don’t want anyone up here, let alone some numb-nuts Hollywood crew.”
“You’ll smooth talk them, I’m sure,” she says.
He’ll get his chance, because a Highway Patrol officer comes in. His hair is shaved close and squared away. He wears a dark brown winter jacket over his tan uniform. 
He approaches them. “Which one of you called?”
“That’d be me,” George says.
“The trucks are out there?” the officer says. The name sewn on his jacket says Wendel. 
“That’s where we found them,” George says.
Larsen comes in the door and joins the group. 
The officer asks for ID from all three of them. They take out their licenses and hand them over. 
“Come outside with me,” he says. 
To Heather’s dismay, they follow him outside. She just wants to go up to her room. She figures the truck drivers probably wandered off drunk somewhere. 
The trooper takes their licenses to the patrol car and runs checks on them. A few minutes later, he gives them back the licenses. He’s carrying a clipboard with a form attached. “When’s the last time anyone heard from these men. Names?”
Larsen rattles off their names. He takes a pen from his breast pocket and begins writing on the form.
“Bob didn’t answer his phone. I called him about an hour ago,” Larsen says. He goes on to tell the trooper about the missing gun.
“Trucks were abandoned. Gun missing. You checked the lodge for them?”
Heather winces. They didn’t. “We didn’t.”
The officer rolls his eyes. “I’m going to have a look in the cab of the truck. Where is it?”
“I moved it into the garage,” Larsen says.
“Would’ve been better to leave it out here undisturbed,” Wendel says. “I’ll be right back.”
“The pick-up truck too,” Larsen says.
Wendel doesn’t answer. He strides toward the garage as if daring it to give him some shit. Heather thinks Trooper Wendel is short on humor and long on being a hard-ass. She watches the cop climb into the truck’s cab. He looks around. Then he does the same with the pick-up truck.
He comes back, stops, and writes more on the form. “Any footprints would’ve been covered by snow last night. We got a good eight inches. I’ll have a look in the lodge. If we don’t find them, we’ll get a search party out here.”
“Why would they need a gun?” Heather wonders. 
“I think we told your people someone disappeared up here a few months ago. Not crazy about having a film crew up here. Too much can happen,” Wendel says.
George says, “We’re aware of the Highway Patrol’s stance.”
Wendel gives him a long stare. “I’m going to go walk the lodge. I hope you don’t need our help while you’re up here.”
He walks off toward the lodge. 



Thursday, May 03, 2018

Vicious Killers, An Abandoned Asylum, and Mayhem: Enter the Night, Chapter One

Enter the Night is available on all digital platforms. Find out what happens when six reality show contestants come in contact with four escaped maniacs.  Here's the first chapter.  I'll post one chapter per night for the next few days.

Copyright 2018 Anthony Izzo


     One


Truth be told, the mountain gives Bob Grey the creeps.
He steers the cube truck up the winding road. Hits the wipers. Snow begins to pelt the windshield. There’s a blizzard coming down from the Canadian Rockies that will hit later next week.
“Getting icy,” he says into the Bluetooth headset.
“Take her easy,” Gary Meyers says. Gary is in the Dodge Ram behind Bob’s truck.
“What’s the name of this show again?” Bob says.
“Enter the Night,” Gary says.
“How about we call it let’s get the fuck off this mountain? I’ll star in that show,” Bob says, and Gary meets this with braying laughter.
He steers the truck around a switchback and continues up the mountain. Takes a swig of coffee from his travel mug. It’s now lukewarm and bitter, but it’s better than nothing. “Why would anyone want to film a reality show up here?”
Gary says, “Couldn’t be Hawaii or South Beach, could it?”
“Honeys in bikinis and drinking on the beach. That’d be more like it.”
They’d passed the abandoned military base at the foot of the mountain, where rusted tanks and trucks sat abandoned behind a chain link fence. Bob is glad they don’t have to drive up to the abandoned hospital near the top of the mountain. He’s grateful to be stopping midway at the lodge.
“Lodge should be coming up,” Gary says.
Bob spots the rustic sign in his headlights. It reads: Iron Mountain Lodge. He brakes and turns onto the road that goes to the lodge.
The road twists and turns. He wishes for a Red Bull and maybe some caffeine pills to keep him sharp. For now, he contends with shitty gas station coffee. Dozing off at the wheel up here would be deadly.
The lodge comes into view: it’s four stories tall. Miles of roof. Hundreds of windows. He knows it was a playground for the rich in the last century. The Rockefellers stayed here on a regular basis. Howard Hughes used to rent an entire floor for himself. Now it looks like it wants to swallow people whole. At least in the dark. It’s probably fine, maybe even nice inside.
He parks the truck near the front of the lodge. A massive covered porch runs the entire length of the building.
Lights appear in his side mirror; Gary pulls up behind him in the Dodge.
He spots the maintenance garage; that’s where they are to park the cube truck. It’s loaded with supplies for the week-long shoot.
Bob has driven truck all over the country. The current gig with Blackmore Productions isn’t bad. The pay is decent. He’s home for good chunks of time. But right now, he’s shivering and wants to be back at the Holiday Inn, where he can order a Philly cheese steak from room service and watch a pay-per-view movie.
He gets out of the truck and the wind screams. He holds onto his Blackmore Productions trucker’s cap to keep it from blowing away. He wishes he’d brought a winter hat.
Gary fumbles with the keys before inserting the right one in the lock. He gives it a turn and cranks the door handle.
“Don’t just stand there. Help me lift the bastard,” Gary says.
They hoist the garage door open and Bob spots a pickup truck with a snowplow attached. There’s also a vehicle with tracks that looks like it belongs to the ski patrol.
The boss wants them to leave the truck in the garage and the film crew will unpack it.
He notices an odd smell: body odor. Like someone hasn’t showered in a month. Once, he’d gotten a whiff of a homeless guy who accosted him for a handout in Nashville. It reminds Bob of that. “Smell that? It’s really rank.”
Gary says, “Probably a dead critter got stuck in here.”
“Smells so bad I can almost taste it. I’ll get the truck,” Bob says.
“I’ll guide you in,” Gary says.
As Bob walks to the truck, Snow whips into his face. The wind moans again. His warm room back at the hotel comes to mind again.
Bob picks up his pace and reaches the truck. He hops in the cab. As he’s about to start it up, he hears a high-pitched scream. Someone in terrible pain.
He keeps a .44 Smith & Wesson in a case under the seat when he drives. Bob’s kept it there ever since being beaten and robbed on a run through East St. Louis. He gets out the revolver and loads it. There are brown bears on the mountain and he sincerely hopes he’s not about to run into one of those.
Bob hops out, bracing himself against the wind. The snow picks up and the garage is now barely visible. It’s going to be a bitch driving down the mountain in this.
He reaches the open garage door. “Gary, you okay?” he calls.
The snow lets up long enough and Bob sees a man with Gary’s body draped over his shoulder. Blood drips down and stains the snow. The man looks back. He’s wearing a gas mask, an olive-drab coat, and camo pants.
He turns and continues walking, carrying Gary like a sack of dry concrete.
“Hey! What the hell?”
Bob raises the Magnum, realizing Gary is in serious trouble, but he has no shot.
The man disappears around the garage.
Bob chases after him.

He catches up with the guy behind the garage, where the ground slopes downward. The man scurries down the embankment. He’s large but moves with the grace of a big cat. Again, Bob raises the gun, but he can’t shoot without possibly hitting Gary.
He can’t believe this is happening to his buddy. He’s known Gary eighteen years. They have hundreds of war stories from the road. Like that time at the Bunny Ranch near Vegas, which was legendary.
Bob reaches the embankment. It’s steep and rocky. There’s a good chance he’ll lose his footing and take a spill, but he has to help Gary. The stranger disappears into the blowing snow. Bob follows, sidestepping down the embankment. He picks his way over and around rocks. The snow stings his face. This is crazy.
Halfway down, his foot hits a rock and he falls forward. He tumbles down the embankment. His ankle turns with a sharp crack. Something pops in his wrist. He skids to a stop and ends up on his back.
Fresh blood dribbles down his chin. He tries to push himself to his feet, forgets about his injured wrist, and howls with pain. It’s sprained at the least, and the ankle feels just as bad.
Bob looks back up the embankment; he can’t see the garage. Even worse, he can’t see himself getting back up there on one leg. He peers down the embankment; the abductor is gone.
He’s lost the gun in the fall. He resigns himself to crawling back up the embankment and calling for help.
The ground crunches off to his right. It sounds like footsteps.
Someone materializes out of the snow; he’s hooded. Is that a fucking gas mask? The person towers over Bob. He knows this is going to end badly.
The person hunkers down and there’s a terrible, hot pain in Bob’s belly. Something stabs upward and it feels like his insides are being torn out.
He screams, but it melts into the wind and carries over the mountain.



An Undead Killer Returns in The Walking Man

It's Sunday excerpt time. This week, I'm posting chapters from my horror novella, The Walking Man. Available for Kindle . Chri...