My new book is coming this December from Wick Press. Check it put! And follow Wick Press on wordpress to stay up to date!
I was excited to see this creepy little piece I wrote this fall find a home over at a very cool website: HorrorMade.com. And I really dig the original artwork by Jeanette Andromeda that the piece inspired! It’s perfect.
Check out both here…
Jeanette also sells her cool artwork, here…
Thank you for your support!
Dear Book Lovers and Ardent Readers,
RE: A quick note from the writer’s desk…
I’m excited to share with you that I started my next writing project this week: a novella set in a small village in North-Central Massachusetts, up near the Vermont-New Hampshire borders. It’s 1800 and a new century lies ahead, filled with hope and expectation. At least for one man.
Xander Tulley is a clever man; some would call him a man of science, a practical and pragmatic lover of facts and the path they reveal to hard truth. That is the side he shows the outside world, anyway. But inside, Tulley has another passion; one for writing, chronicling the world around him; and for the growing technology of the printed word. Fresh out of college, he accepts an apprenticeship with a printer in a small town called Widow’s Wood, where the townsfolk have a respect for the past, and a collective closed lip about it as well.
It’s a typical early American setting, he supposes, and the townsfolk have a right to live quiet lives; but Xander Tulley is a man on the brink of an age of discovery. He becomes curious about an odd grouping of stones in the woods, about a mile from the village square. There is no visible path to the outcropping, and reaching it is difficult unless you know the woods, and the way. The stones circumscribe what appears to be a gash in the earth, a crooked cave opening some five paces across at its widest. The trees that surround the area are the only trees in the wood that turn red when Autumn comes. It could be a strange coincidence. The rest of the forest is dense evergreen and white birch.
Tulley has been dreaming about the red trees. His preoccupation with learning the history of Widow’s Wood seems exciting, at first. He has a good eye and a keen mind for research. He loves a good puzzle. But, it’s a mere step or two from preoccupation to obsession. And some things—some geographies, secrets, some stories, have lain quiet and undisturbed for a long time. Before the advent of science and man’s inventing, they were there; long before a man or woman ever set foot on the forest floor.
The story of the woods is old. And when Xander Tulley reaches a fork in the road, he will be faced with one of the hardest decisions he will ever have to make.
I’ll share more updates on how the story is coming along soon…
Hope you’ll check back.
You can grab a cheap copy of the ebook at the Amazon link below…
(c) 2016 by Michael Albright Quinn. “The Adventure of the Unturned Hatchet” first appeared in Family Memories: An Anthology of Murder & Mischief, edited by M. J. Sydney and McKenzie Johnston Winberry.
The Dressmaker’s Lament is a story I began working on in August. It is a Gothic story set in and around an old Brownstone in New York that was long-ago converted into apartment homes. But something is different about this particular Brownstone and at least one of its occupants…
- Who is the young and beautiful Evie Piper?
- How long has she been living there, on the uppermost floor of an aging brownstone?
- Why does she cover the walls of her apartment in a hundred ornately framed silver-backed mirrors?
- Why does she hide her other collection of antiquated sewing shears?
- Why does a bent, elderly shadow appear some nights against the lamp-lit shade of her upper-right window?
- What makes Beverly Sams so intent on making Miss Piper’s acquaintance?
- Why has no one else ever been recorded as having rented the apt across from Evie Piper’s? (Surely that must be a mistake in record keeping?)
- What is the sensation of cold that lingers in a slice of air, right where the final step of the old stairway meets the uppermost landing between the two apartments?
- Why is Beverly Sams having so many strangely familiar nightmares?
- And why does she not see Evie for days even weeks at a time?
Beverly must be losing her mind. She knows, in her gut, that there is something very wrong about Evie Piper … and the stairway … and the dank air that seeps into her room from the brownstone’s basement…
Stay tuned for excerpts from “The Dressmaker’s Lament,” here, and at http://www.thesanguinewoods.wordpress.com.
(Cover design: Sanguine Woods. Font by 500 Fonts. The Dressmaker’s Lament: Story title, excerpts, and ideas presented on this blog are protected under copyright law; (c) 2016 by Michael Albright Quinn.)
THE TIME THAT’S RIPE FOR REAPING
(a bite-sized horror story by Sanguine Woods)
“I put on its skin. I put on its skin,” it said. “Must I put it on again tonight? I loathe it. It has an…odor.”
Narrow nostrils flared at the phantom scent of moist stinking flesh.
“You’ll do it. Again. Odor or no.”
A cracked iron pipe made a hissing sound.
Its head found the cup of its hands and rested there. A sharp wheezing whittled at the close air in which it huddled.
“I grow weary of hiding,” it said.
The sound of dripping off to the right.
“I tire of your hounding,” it said.
The dripping sound again. It made its left ear twitch. It swatted at the sound as at a whining mosquito.
The other noticed this; noticed the increased agitation cutting the air like a fume.
“We had an agreement.” He tossed it something dark and wet, wrapped in newspaper.
The sound of its hand, then—smacking at a puddle.
“I grow impatient with your masquerade!” It was almost a screech.
Rocking back and forth, now. Softer: “I grow impatient with this masquerade…” Water sloshing with the rocking.
The newspaper bundle disappeared into the folds of its long coat. A grunt; a quick rustle from the coat; a blur, really; and it was gone.
The surface of the puddle it had crouched in quivered empty in the blue light falling from a storm drain.
A quick puff, spent the candle.
He climbed the rusted iron ladder in the dark, until his fingertips felt the manhole cover. A thrust upward and he was in the alley again.
It was humid for evening. He cracked the bones in his neck. His fingers, worried at a wrinkle of loose skin around the opening to his ear.
A cab went past. A spray of gutter water behind its wheel. In the distance a woman’s laughter, and a rush of late-night bar sounds, sluicing from an open door just before it swung shut again. Above him, on a telephone wire, something made a flapping sound.
Bargaining with this…thing…was getting risky. He was running out of ideas. Something sharp played at the edges of his thoughts, fraying each one, little by little.
He was not ready to admit it was fear. Or he wouldn’t. Either way, it was risky. And risk, unmitigated, eats its way through the return on an investment, like rust.
He watched a pool of streetlight at the corner of the alley and 88th Street. The night stank of rain; the bereft precipitation peculiar to aged buildings, barren parks, withered boroughs. Within seconds the first drops were cooling his head.
The city wrapped protective wings about its nighttime sounds.
Crippled with moral decay, heavy with the parasite of disease; it shall, regardless, enjoy absolution this evening. In place of church bells: wheels ringing over a loose manhole cover; the symbol-like clang of a trashcan lid; the heavy thunk of a steel dumpster door dropping; the ping of lead pipe upon lead pipe somewhere in the darker corners of alleyways, resounding off ancient brick and wrought iron—back there, where the real transgressions were born.
I absolve thee. Harlot though thou art!
He chuckled to himself, arms outspread wings, turning slowly on his feet.
The sound of prayer beads clicked together in a memory; his mind evoked a Saint-Saëns bone-clatter, melting into the sound of the rain striking the roof of a parked car.
The irony had him tight around the gut and he felt the sudden urge to laugh out loud; combined with the urge to snap something’s neck.
It may be bitter, but it is my heart.
In a twist of leather and bone, he, too, was gone. A faint sound of metal links clinking together.
Then, a thud on the pavement where seconds ago he’d been turning: a dead pigeon; one eye staring at the sky; beak open. The feathers around its broken neck, a metallic orange in the light of the street lamp. ♢
Story (c)2016 by Sanguine Woods
(Images: Pinterest; Tumblr; Google Images. Unless otherwise noted, artists are unknown.)
This story was first published at HorrorMade.com. You can view the original publication and original artwork by Jeanette Andromeda, here…
And, you can view and purchase this and other art by Jeanette Andromeda, here…
Also, for a quick discussion on where the idea for this flash story came from, see my post below where I include the story after a quick word or two about visual writing prompts…
Where did I get my idea for this story?
It’s usually me asking one of my favorite writers. Because, we all wonder, even favorite writers.
I think the truest answer is: Who knows?
Sure, we plumb newspapers, pore over magazine articles, and scroll the ultimate dreaded time suck: Facebook.
Oh look. A fireman was helping a poor helpless little kitten out of a stormdrain this morning. Oh, wait. What is this? He later told his buddy, in confidence, that when he was down there, when he was almost waist deep, upside down in that wet and smelly stormdrain, he SAW SOMETHING. He felt something wet graze his arm. And when he looked in that direction, it kinda looked like…you know, a tentacle, or something.
A tentacle or something?
…so is that the “idea”?
It may be the start of one. I like to call it the germ or the seed. The idea for a story, sparked by this seed, comes when the writer crouches down (at the keys), opens the rusted manhole cover, and bids it “Come.”
I’m a slow writer. I can go a long time without writing a single paragraph or sentence or even a line of dialogue. Then, like the door to the Asylum was flung wide, I might all of a sudden, in a mad rush for my Barnes & Noble, grab two journals, and fill them with paragraphs and sentences.
An overheard snippet of dialogue can be an encouraging seed: Recently, at a coffee shop, a group of old church ladies: #1: Well you know, Mr. J—- died last week. #2: Oh. Poor Millie. She needs our prayers, Liz. #1: Yes. Keep her in your prayers. #3: That was her seventh husband, you know. #1: The poor dear. #2: Sounds like a ‘black widow’ doesn’t she… #1, 2, &3: a burst of wicked laughter…
Lately, I have turned my thoughts to visual prompts. We are such a visual culture. My generation grew up with comics, TV, film, Atari, MTV, VH-1, VHS, DVD, and now, Blu-Ray.
So, I say, Time to tap that sucker.
I’m usually drowning in visuals. I’m a maniacal blogger. There are days I might post 100 photographs with not a word of text, except for the photo credit line.
So, I went looking for an image that could really spark a story idea.
I discovered the photo last night. I thought, This is the one. It’s monstrous. It’s frightening. You’ll find it below, where my story bite begins.
And there’s a vulnerability to the image…a suggestion of instability, a dangerous imbalance.
I put aside two hours to write. I closed my eyes first, a kind of ‘idea meditation’. Five minutes and a couple innocent peeks back at the image later…it started to speak. So, I wrote down what it said.
The idea grew out of the writing.
I think it worked. Because, this little flash piece is scary, and true to the image that inspired it. I’m just glad whatever it was down in that sewer stopped talking when it did…
Read my flash horror story “The Time Is Right for Reaping” here…
And leave me a Like or a comment. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!