It’s raining outside. A heavy rain. And with it a feeling of release. I just sat there feeling very little. No pressure to do anything, but write. Finally. I gave myself permission to write. I’ve been telling myself to submit to publications, but I haven’t. My cell vibrated and a half hour passed, and while still on the phone, a text came in from a childhood friend. He told me my step-mother needed to hear my voice. She’s doing better, though. I said goodbye, replied to the text, “I will call her,” and my phone rang again. Same family member, needed to say more. I found myself remembering that I needed to go to the post office and just like that I was in my truck. It’s a mess outside. The rain won’t let up. I decided to grab some beer for when I got home to write. Inside the little store it wasn’t busy and I was the only one at the post office. Now I’m home. Looking out the window. It’s 11:57 AM. Not sure who’s going to call next. I owe lots of people phone calls and I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. But for now, I think I’ll shut everything off, and again, give myself permission to write.
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 is 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. (Edited by Tara Caribou.)
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.
Release date 12/12/20 The Shadows of Blackout Island, Edited by Tara Caribou Horror Anthology My short story, The Stump Maker, is within these pages.
2020 has been a challenge for many. Having lost my father in October, I gave little effort to submitting or writing anything of substance. The one bright light has been this upcoming publication. Working with Tara was a needed uplift for me personally. Thank you, Tara. https://taracaribou.com/published-works/
And seriously…look at this cover! I’ll post a few teasers as we get closer to the release. (along with the link to purchase when that’s avaliable.)
i drove to my father’s house in Massachusetts. a group of us made a large dump run for my step-mother. we even pulled the old pool table out from the basement. i held onto one end as a neighbor cut it in half so we could fit it into the trailer i felt a bit sad then
after everyone left i stayed with my step-mother and listened to some of my father’s music he was damn good but gone now
i walked into each room, a house i lived in as a small child, and walked around the yard. so much had changed but everything was the same
eventually i loaded my truck and drove home on streets filled with traffic, but i only saw blank and empty faces, gawking and waving unhappily at slow drivers
I like about how our cat sits with his tail wrapped around his furry paws while he watches my dart fall onto the floor and then attacks with such alert reflexes that I’m struck with realizations that we know so damn little while talking as though we know more than a cat
If you can smile at the smallest of things, you’re onto it. We have a hurricane, now turned tropical storm, headed toward us. Currently the tropical storm is traveling at 28 MPH and is foretasted to impact us later tonight, at around 10 PM.
It’s possible the storm will produce a few tornadoes in our region. That has my interest. I enjoy observing severe weather. I don’t want the storm to damage homes, or injure anyone, however Mother Nature will do what she does. We’re prepared and power may be lost, or not, either way we are ready and I smile at the approaching entertainment. It’s very still outside.
I’m outside smoking a cigar and reading Charles Bukowski. I’m drinking a beer but I would much rather have a whiskey. There are chipmunks running on the rocks in the backyard and my kid just striped down and is completely naked. He’s playing in a small pool on the deck. A man handling an excavator was here all day working on our land; we didn’t worry about social distancing. He had his place, we had ours. This pandemic is here and there and everywhere. Let’s play, and be, as long as we can and either we’re fine, or we’re not anymore and the wind couldn’t care less.