Friday, November 16, 2012
There are some places in this world that go far beyond any normal definition of “haunted.” These places are so evil, so diabolical, that they become gateways to Hell itself. The Fuller Farm is one such place.
It is said that old man Fuller conducted unspeakable acts, blood rituals and human sacrifices, all in an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate power. And then, he was killed–horribly murdered on his own lands, leaving the house to stand as a vacant monument to his wickedness. But once a door is opened, it can never really be closed.
Now, the stars are right. The gateway is ready to once more unleash unspeakable horror upon the town of Harmony, Indiana. And this will be one Halloween that they will never forget!
About the Author:
Michael West is the critically-acclaimed author of The Wide Game, Cinema of Shadows,
Skull Full of Kisses, and The Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.
Every Halloween, he turns his garage into a haunted house
Spook House Excerpt:
Officer Hicks drew his gun and started for the old, dark house.
So much for another quiet Saturday night.
Harmony was usually boring, even on the weekends, just the way his wife, Angie, liked it. He’d been a beat cop up in Chicago for years before Uncle Sam and the reserves called him away for back-to-back tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now that Angie finally had him home, after all those sleepless nights of worry, he knew she didn’t want to get that call.
“We regret to inform you that your husband survived well-armed, well trained terrorists and roadside bombs half way around the world, but was taken down by some high school drop-out in a bathroom meth lab a few miles from your doorstep.”
So they pulled up stakes and moved to this quiet little town. No gangstas. No whores. No crack houses. Just law-abiding, God-fearing people who watched out for their neighbors; a place where the only victims of gunfire were deer. This made Angie happy, which made Officer Hicks happy, but sometimes, just sometimes, he found that he still longed for the excitement of a city beat.
Now, his adrenaline was pumping again.
The Pontiac on the front lawn had been a wreck. Hood dented in. Windshield shattered. Hicks ran the plate and it came back registered to one Jeff Stone.
“He’s still in the house,” the woman inside the car informed him, and Hicks had seen the fear in her eyes; white hot, despite all his assurances of safety. “I think that thing got him.”
The thing in question was some kind of large animal.
Spider’s dog? Is that what she called it?
Whatever it was, she said she’d tasered it.
Hicks keyed his radio and said to the dispatcher, “22-06, be advised, we have a 10-91V in progress.”
A 10-91 denoted anything involving an animal, and the letters signified the seriousness of the situation. There were codes for everything from stray (10-91A) to dead (10-91D). V stood for “Vicious,” and judging by the damage done to the Pontiac, and the woman’s terrified state, Hicks thought it was the right call.
“Ten-four,” the dispatcher replied, her voice just as calm as ever. “10-91V. Will contact Miami County Animal Control and direct to your location.”
“Ten-four.” He frowned. It would take animal control a good forty-five minutes to get there, and if Jeff Stone really was injured, he might not have forty-five minutes to wait.
The fact that the woman could stun it told Officer Hicks that he could kill it, which meant he was going inside. He crossed the threshold, sweeping every room from left to right with his light and his Glock, making quick steps down the corridor and paying close attention to every corner. He didn’t want any surprises, and Angie still didn’t want that call.
“We regret to inform you that your husband tried to be a hero and was eaten alive by Cujo.”
“Stone!” he shouted. “I’m here to help. Can you hear me, Stone?”
The only sound was the thud of his own footfalls on fresh plywood.
“Stone!” Hicks turned the corner and found an open door. He tipped his flashlight down a flight of stairs. There were footprints on the dusty steps; one set of shoes heading down into the darkened cellar, one set of animal tracks coming back up. Big animal tracks. “Jesus,” he muttered, then yelled, “You down there, Stone? Are you injured?”
Silence from the darkness below.
Hicks glanced over his shoulder, then squinted into the dark ahead; he tightened his grip on his gun and started down the stairs. Bits of dust drifted through his beam like falling snow, and the smell of fresh-cut wood gave way to the dank musk of mildew. When he got to the bottom, his light played over brick walls; it was a tight corridor with several arched doorways.
Then he saw a glow. It filled the archway at the end of the hall.
“Police!” Hicks yelled. He took a few steps down the passage, checked a storage room to his right, then advanced a few more steps before sweeping another room on his left. “Stone? You in there, Stone?”
He strained to hear any response from the darkness, no matter how faint or non-verbal, but he heard nothing.
Hicks moved forward again, cautiously stepping beneath the brick arch and into the room at the end of the hall. He’d expected to see Stone, bleeding out into the dust, perhaps mauled to death. He was even prepared to confront the animal responsible – a large, feral dog, or, judging by the size of those prints on the stairs, a tiger escaped from someone’s pen. Instead he found ... nothing.
No animal. No Jeff Stone.
But something had happened in here all right. The dirt was disturbed in a way that suggested a struggle. Drag marks ran from the far wall to the center of the floor where a flashlight laid abandoned; its plastic lens had cracked, but the bulb within still burned brightly; the beam bounced off the brick walls, creating that glow Hicks had seen from the hall. A few feet away from the light, a discarded cell phone lay face down in the dirt; a wad of mucous stuck to its back, just below the tiny camera lens, like someone had sneezed on it.
Hicks crinkled his nose.
Let CSI touch that.
The faint smell of bleach hung in the air, and for a moment, Hicks wondered if someone might have cleaned evidence from the walls. His light revealed a different story. The brick was filthy, dark moss filling in mortar lines. The far wall was badly cracked – a long, dark, deep fissure that split the brick in two like a faultline – but it appeared to have been there for some time. No one had cleaned this place in years, if ever.
But Hicks couldn’t find any blood. No blood. No body parts. No body. Not even torn bits of clothing or a stray shoe. Where the hell is Stone?
Hicks turned away and headed back for the stairs, studying the floor, looking for more drag marks, anything that would indicate what had happened to the man. His mind kept going back to the prints on the stairs; shoes going down, claws coming up. If someone had placed the flashlight and cell phone down here, they’d still need to get back out. And if the animal only went up the stairs, how did it get down here in the first place?
Maybe it was down here for a long time, starving, and Stone set it free from its cage?
But, as he shined his light around the other storerooms, he found no cages. No other doors, either. No clues at all.
To be continued…