Rumors and speculation surround the possible inhabitants of Blackout Island, located just a few miles off the coast. Conspiracy theories abound while social media leaks surface about government experiments gone wrong. Certainly something or someone must live there, for haven’t we all seen the shaky home videos of the occasional wisp of smoke or recordings of eerie sounds carrying far across the water on a calm summer night? Something wicked has been let loose within its depths… And it’s time for the truth to be revealed.
Featuring seven dark stories by L.E. Aleman, Darren Diarmuid, Lauren Rylant, A.P. Christopher, -M. Taggart, M. Ennenbach, and Joann L. Berg.
For those of you who love reading, it’s go-time! The Shadows of Blackout Island is a horror anthology.
The Stump Maker: Three young teenagers agree to camp near a remote lake. As their fire grows, darkness creeps in, and with it, something else. The forgotten legend of The Stump Maker has been awoken.
This is a great read! Grab the paperback or kindle edition here-
The Stump Maker Written by -M. Taggart
Tim leaned back against a large pine. It was dusk. Derek made a circle with large stones to build the fire pit. He even tossed small rocks into the bottom so the air could flow more freely from underneath to feed the fire. The flames grew higher and flickered eastward as the wind picked up.
“That’s going good,” Brian said as he dumped an armload of wood a few feet from the fire. “Should be enough to last. Are we really going to do this?”
“Course,” replied Tim.
“I don’t see much stopping, Tim, do you?”
“No. I guess not. It’s all probably nothing anyway.”
“It’s nothing and if it isn’t nothing, I don’t much care, after what I’ve seen.”
“I know, Tim. I get it. We don’t need to go over all of that again.”
“Why not? It was my father it happened to. I’m not like other people. I’d rather talk about it than hide from it.”
“We’re going to need more wood than that. I put rocks at the bottom. This fire will burn through that wood in an hour.”
“We can all get more wood in a half-hour. I want to hear the story again about Mr. Wilson,” Tim said. “Brian, tell us what your mother said again. We’ve all heard things, but nothing like what your mother said. She reads all those books.”
Brian’s cheeks were flushed. Not from embarrassment, but with excitement. He liked telling stories. “I’ll tell you what she told me again. All of it.”
Derek sat on a stump near the fire and Tim leaned further into the pine tree while thumbing the top of his pocket knife.
“She said Mr. Wilson lost his only son in the lake. That part, we knew. She said that most of the land surrounding the lake was Wilson’s and that he and his son would fly fish for trout in a canoe. She said they would also hunt and walk over nearly every inch of the land they owned. One day, his son went fishing alone and didn’t come back.”
“I heard he drowned,” said Derek. “Did he tip and fall into the lake and not know how to swim? How could that happen if he was constantly on the land with his father and learning how to hunt and fish.”
“Yea. That doesn’t seem right to me either.”
“Guys, that’s just it. No one knows what happened. He didn’t come back and they said it happened in the lake. But Mr. Wilson went nuts after his son disappeared. They never found the body. My mother told me that Mr. Wilson blamed the power company for putting the dam in at the foot of the lake. They wanted to make hydroelectricity, but never did. So that’s why the dam is at the foot of the lake to control the flow of the water that runs into the Acton River. Streams feed into the lake and the water has to go somewhere so the power company wanted to use the water to make electricity and Mr. Wilson fought with them about it. My mother said that the power company wanted this location because of the natural geography of the slope where they placed the dam. The land drops down, making it easy for them to build the dam with the pumps underneath to open and close the gates. Anyway, that’s why that dam is at the foot of the lake and that’s why there’s a tunnel that runs under the dam… You’re going to do it, right, Tim?”
“I already told you I’m going to do it.”
“I know. I just needed to ask.”
“Keep asking and I’ll talk about my Dad and how I found him in these woods.”
The fire cracked loudly. Somewhere near a raven screeched. Dusk was a bit darker and traveling closer to night. Tim didn’t take his eyes off of Brian. Derek watched both of them.
Derek liked Tim. Liked how he was stronger now even after he lost his father. He liked about how Tim could lean against a tree and make it look comfortable, as though everyone should try to lean against a tree and be comfortable. But, he knew if he tried, it wouldn’t be that way. He watched as Brian looked at his boots, the small moment was over, but he saw it. Brian was good too, not as tough as Tim, but that didn’t matter.
“Bodies in the Basement,” has been voted Non-Poetic Publication of the Year! Spillwords Press, NYC.
Looks like I’ll need to change my blog around a bit. Thanks to Spillwords, and all of you, one of my favorite stories I’ve written, is now an award winner! I’m pumped, joyful, and thankful! I love this! The story was written about a prep-school campus I visited often as a child. We lived just below the campus and many of us snuck onto the campus at night and explored things we shouldn’t have.
I’m thrilled to be among all of the talented participants in the 2019 awards.
It was a crisp, damp, October night.
“When we get to the Church I’ll go down first.” Colin was thinking of the moment when both he and Aaron would be standing at the top of the basement stairs peering down into the darkness.
The old stone Church was perched at the top of the largest hill on the prep school’s campus. Colin’s parents were professors at the school and their house was on campus grounds. They’d been waiting for Colin’s parents to fall asleep upstairs. Both boys were comfortable in their sleeping bags on the screened in porch. The lights had been turned out an hour ago and Colin felt it was time to slip into the night.
They unzipped their sleeping bags without noise. Colin gave Aaron an understanding nod of his head. Aaron opened the porch door slowly, so as not to make it squeak. They’d snuck out at night a number of times and both knew the routine.
Once down the porch steps, and into the bushes on the far end of the lawn, they found their beaten down footpath leading to the Church. Crickets were busy sounding off.
“I heard Ben saw the baby in the jar.” Said Aaron.
“He didn’t. He’s just saying he did. Ben would be too afraid to sneak in. He’d never do it. Besides, the doors of the science building are locked at night.”
“They weren’t when we snuck in.”
“That was different. I knew which window to climb through.” Said Colin.
The moon was large. Its brilliant glow could be seen from beneath each cloud. The grass was soaked with mildew; moisture reached out and touched the boys’ jeans. The smell of dirt from the footpath filled their lungs. Each step bringing them nearer to their true intentions; learning if there was a morgue in the basement of the Church. Rumors swirled endlessly amongst them at school. Some said the Church had a morgue and that it was haunted. Others said the Church didn’t have a morgue and that Sunday school classes were held in the basement.
For a brief moment the night sky broke open with moonlight. Colin looked at Aaron and wondered why Aaron was smiling. He could see the dark space between Aaron’s two front teeth.
“Look how fast the clouds are moving,” said Colin.
“I like them. They look crazy. Do you think we can get in?” asked Aaron.
“Yes. They don’t lock the Church.”
I felt a feeling of relief. Not complete excitement. I’m not sure what that was all about. All I know is I’m sharing what has happened and I’d like to make more happen because happenings of something worth while are better than things that are not.
Cheers and thank you, any one of you, for participating in the voting. It was you who deserve this.
Only twelve pieces are selected publication of the month. And only twelve authors are elected authors of the month. Of the thousands of pieces that are sent in.
I accidentally stepped on my cigar. Thing got all fucked up. Smoked it anyway. I wrote a short story about this lake, which is now published. Moosehead Lake has a funny feeling about it. One that settles into the bones and doesn’t let go.
More on the published horror story. Only. Just. Here. –
My short story, “Only. Just. Here.” has been published.
I had a blast writing this. I was creeping myself out while listening to noises in a home I didn’t know, while writing the story. (Link to the book http://bit.ly/2W9IwGu )
The setting: Moosehead Lake, Maine. A couple purchased a home that is nestled into the mountainside overlooking the large lake. Things aren’t as they seem as the story quickens pace and takes the reader on a spine tingling adventure.
I hope you purchase and enjoy the book. The link to purchase is below.
P,S,. Megan and I had just moved into our new house and I had two days to write, edit, and complete a horror story to submit to the publisher. I told the construction crews to stay away from the house on Thursday, and Friday leading to the deadline. I locked myself into my new office and wrote the story.