Enter if you dare. Today we have Spook House by Michael West. This tour is brought to you by Seventh Star Press. Read the excerpt if you are brave enough! Mwaahhaaa.
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!
Excerpt from Spook House
Sheri Foster shuddered, but not because of the air conditioning. Sure, a cold breeze blew from the Pontiac’s vents, laboring to combat late August heat, but that wasn’t why she felt a chill. Not tonight.
Her foot tapped the floorboard, looking for a brake pedal that didn’t exist. Jeff was the one driving, and there was no stopping him when his knowledge had been called into question.
Why couldn’t she just agree for once? Now he had to come out here and prove her wrong. It was all so childish and stupid.
The woods were dark, even with brights on. Weeds and tall grass choked the dirt road ahead, low-hanging branches clawing at the Pontiac’s metal top as it passed beneath them. Something ran across their path, caught by the headlights, a creature with huge, bright eyes; there and then gone. Sheri clamped her hands over her mouth and screamed through her fingers, not much of a scream—more of a quick yelp, really—but loud enough for Jeff to hear.
“Just a possum, hon,” he said with a laugh. “Or maybe a big rat.”
She lowered her hands to her lap and glared at him. “You’re not helping.”
He laughed again, keeping his eyes on the narrow road that wasn’t really a road at all, just a very long driveway.
The trees on either side slid off into shadow, giving way to a clearing of tall, unkempt grass and dwarf bushes. Sheri could see the night sky clearly now, a velvet blanket littered with a million stars, a beautiful sight marred only by the dark, gabled roof of a farmhouse. There it is, she thought, the old Fuller place.
“See?” Jeff smiled victorious in the dim dashboard light. “Told you it was still out here. You didn’t believe me.”
Sheri didn’t believe much when it came to this house. Oh sure, she’d heard the stories since childhood. Everyone had. Heard how the man who owned the place, Sam Fuller, had been a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, head of the whole “Realm of Indiana.” How, in 1946, he’d lynched an entire family just north of Harmony, hung every man, woman, and child, and watched them flail and kick until they’d died. And how, about a month later, according to local legend, Fuller had fallen into his own threshing machine.
Supposedly, the man’s death was ruled an “accident,” but no one in town seemed to buy it, then or now. And over the years, the stories of ghosts and karmic retribution had been repeated so often, and with such conviction, that they were widely accepted as canon.
Sheri’s eyes shifted to the left, to the distant shadow of a barn. It leaned to one side as if tired of standing. Is the machine still in there? Still covered in Fuller’s blood? She shuddered.
When the car finally came to a stop, the house stood squarely in its headlamps, huge and sprawling and showing both extreme age and total neglect. Windows had been boarded at random, leaving unprotected glass to shatter; the jagged shards hung from the panes like crystalline teeth. Indiana weather had not been kind to it, stripping its paint and leaving naked wood to crack and gray. Winds stole its shingles, and seasons of heavy snow had weighed down its roof until it sagged and buckled beneath the memory of past strains. Even the front door had abandoned it, leaving a vacant hole just as dark and sinister as the house itself.
Sheri stared up at it, almost hypnotized, and when Jeff spoke, she nearly leapt from her seat.
“Creepy place, huh?”
“Yeah.” She looked away, glanced down at her arms, and found that her skin had turned to goose flesh. “OK, you were right, they didn’t tear it down. Can we go now?”
“What?” He gaped at her, puzzled. “We didn’t drive all the way out here to just turn around and leave. There’s a flashlight in the glove compartment.”
“We can’t go in there.”
“That’s trespassing.” She tried to say it with authority, as if she were afraid of being caught. She was afraid all right, but not of that. They were miles away from anywhere, with no reason to believe this place was on any cop’s radar. No reason to think anyone would come out here to catch them in the act. No reason to think anyone would find them at all. And that’s what she found truly frightening.
“I don’t see any signs.” Jeff reached across the dash and opened the glove box, removing a neon yellow flashlight. “Besides, the house has been empty for what, fifty years? Who’s gonna care? It’s not like there’s anything in there worth stealing.”
“Probably not, but it could be dangerous.”
He laughed, held the light under his chin and switched it on, casting odd shadows across his face. “It’s got a death curse!”
She slapped his arm. “I’m serious! What if the floor’s rotten, or the ceiling collapses, or there’s a nest of poisonous snakes or spiders or—”
“Look, if you’re too scared, you can stay out here with the doors locked and your cell phone ready.” He aimed his flashlight at the windshield. “I’m just going to go have a quick look around. If I don’t come back, call somebody.”
“Come on, Jeff, you’ve already proved your point. Let’s go back to my—”
“I just want to see it,” he told her. “Just give me fifteen minutes.”
Sheri sighed. She knew she couldn’t talk him out of it, not when he had his mind set, but she also knew there was no way she was getting out of this car. “Fifteen minutes?”
She hauled her purse off the floor and dug through it until she found her cell phone. It would be just her luck to find no service out here. When she flipped it open, however, she found two signal bars and the faint ghost of a third. She held it up and shook it at him. “One second more and I swear I’m calling the cops.”
Jeff smiled, his hand already on the door handle. “Fair enough.”
He opened the door, let in the humid summer air, and climbed out into the night.
Sheri leaned across the seat after him. “You know, this is the part of the horror movie where everyone yells at the screen and calls the character a complete idiot.”
“Yeah, but I’m your idiot.” He stuck his head back inside, kissed her lightly on the lips, then withdrew and closed the door behind him.
Sheri watched him step around to the front of the car. He stood there a moment in the headlights, casting a huge shadow across the house’s crumbling façade, then he moved through the tall grass and carefully mounted the steps. He paused a moment, studying something at his feet, then he crossed the threshold, the shadows swallowing him whole, and Sheri glanced back down at her phone, at the time displayed there in the corner of her lighted screen. Fifteen minutes suddenly seemed like a very long time.
“Okay, mister,” she said aloud, “clock starts now.”
To be continued…
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
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