When witches go riding
and black cats are seen
'tis four days
Hello my pretties and welcome to the final edition of Creepy Campfire Tales. This blog series started in June and ends as we all sit around the last campfire of fall. It was great fun. I had super scary and very well written stories by all my guest authors and today's tale is no exception.
I've never met Dave Benneman in person, but we've been friends on FB for a while and he is one of the nicest guys you'll ever come in contact with. He loves horror, writing, and Labrador Retrievers (and I'm going to guess all animals) so we get along just fine.
Without further ado...
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Screams
T’was a night much like this, on a desolate section of dunes between the old coast road and the Pacific Ocean. The full moon rose and forced the sun below the horizon. Phil came to document the rising of the largest super moon of the decade. Poised on a tripod, his Nikon exposed a frame every three seconds. Minute adjustments kept the moon in frame as it rose up out of the dune grass. Once the moon hung aloft in a predominately clear sky his attention drifted. He fancied himself a visual musician, but now his role was relegated to that of a Roadie. It was time to pack up.
They called it a blood moon, but in truth it was orange-yellow. The light cast an otherworld feel to the familiar surroundings of sand, surf, and grass. The decision to lug his gear across a half mile of sweeping dunes for the shot now seemed questionable. Thousands of cameras around the world were filming this event.
A dark cloud appeared from nowhere, obliterated the starlight and pushed a spearhead across the face of the moon. The hideously large, orange circle now wore an interesting detail. One appealing enough to photograph. With his attention back on the view screen his finger clicked the wireless remote for each exposure.
The wind kicked up and sang a discordant tune. The sand hissed as it sailed through the tall grass. Something moved in his peripheral vision. He remained riveted to the spectacle. The spearhead blunted and the moon gradually disappeared. He held his breath. The perfect fingernail crescent photograph approached the threshold. He took a rapid blast of photos just as the lights went out.
“I’m such an idiot!” His gadget bag lay ten feet away with fabulous sources of artificial light, but in this, bottom of the cave-like darkness, it might as well have been miles away. He chose this location because there would be zero light pollution to spoil the shot. Once the moon and the stars were blanketed he lost all reference of time and space. The deep sand and tall grass were difficult to move through in full sun, in total darkness he feared falling on his face, or breaking an ankle. He waited, frozen to spot knowing the cloud cover would pass.
A whispering sound filled his head. Something moved through the grass. A lot of somethings. Not in the clumsy way a person stumbled around. This was lithe, graceful, and delicate. It came from everywhere and nowhere, which unsettled Phil.
The dark held court and the sounds he heard were foreign to him. Rivulets of sweat started down his face in spite of the October breeze blowing off the Pacific. He waited. The alpha Phil wanted to throw caution to the wind and grope for his gear bag. The beta Phil said, “Be quiet asshole or we’ll be stuck here all night with a sprained ankle.” Beta won.
The sound moved off toward the ocean. It sounded like a thousand single blades of dune grass slithering through the sand.
Alpha Phil, “Do something you pansy.”
Beta Phil, “Doing nothing, is doing something.”
Alpha Phil is not equipped to have an argument that employs logic. Round two went to Beta Phil on points.
The edge of the cloud took on an orange glow. The moon strained to be seen. Phil’s eyes, which had become accustomed to the complete darkness, could make out shapes. With the promise of impending light he felt around for the equipment bag. The hissing sound grew louder. He turned toward the beach. Hundreds of creatures moved about like a modern dance troop. They were long and lithe, like bundles of vines, some trailed out to their sides using them like a dancer uses their arms.
The orange glow cast shadows around them making it difficult to discern shadow from dancer. “Beautiful,” he whispered. “Camera idiot.”
Phil pulled his camera close and started taking photos. He dialed in his most light sensitive settings to capture the ballet. Frantically he captured the whole group in some shots and close ups in others. He didn’t know how long this phenomenon would continue.
A shape moved across his lens. The moon shone a little brighter. One of the creatures leaned over him. It was reedy, over six feet tall, slender, more like a bunch of roots entwined around each other. Fine sand clung to it glistening in the moonlight. It had no distinct head, arms, legs, or face. Still it seemed to be looking into the lens inquisitively. Blood battered through Phil’s chest. His heartbeat thudded in his ears drowning out sound.
“I guess I’ll be going now.”
At the sound of Phil’s voice the creature slithered into the sand as if it were standing on a cloud instead of terra firma. Relief flooded through Phil. Still he felt he’d overstayed his welcome. He slung the tripod over his shoulder and took a step toward the gadget bag. His foot sunk deeply into the sand. His second step was awkward and he slid deeper still. He struggled for balance. That’s when he became aware of something entwined around his legs. It tugged him down. He tossed the tripod away and grasped the dune grass pulling and ripping at it he fought to keep himself from sinking. He kicked harder at the creature dragging him into the dune.
He struggled for breath as he battled for his life. He bellowed rage until his mouth filled with sand muffling his final scream.
The only witness to Phil’s demise lay a few feet away. Slowly disappearing under the drifting sand.
Here's actual footage of Phil before he was pulled into the dune...
Oops, sorry, it's Dave photographing the rising full moon through the Oregon dune grass and being inspired to write this story!
The #OctoberFrights Blog Hop 2017
has come to it's fateful end.
Fun was had by all and now it's time to hand
out the prizes!
The winner of my first prize: two enchanted soaps is...
The winner of my second prize: flameless Haunted Halloween Candle:
AND THE WINNER OF THE GRAND PRIZE
$20 Amazon Gift Card is:
Thank you to everyone who participated in the hop and commented on my blog and all the authors blogs, to Anita Stewart for organizing and doing al the hard work to
bring this together and to all my fellow paranormal and horror writers.
See you next year!!
Welcome to the final day of the #OctoberFrights Blog Hop.
I had a fabulous weekend in Salem, Mass and thought I'd make the last post
about one of the most interesting places we'd visited.
I LOVE cemeteries and the older and more mysterious the better. THE BURYING POINT is Salem, Mass oldest burying ground. It owns a lot of history as you can see from those buried there.
There's also a fairly new addition, The Witch's Memorial. Outside of the cemetery there are 20 plaques each with an executed witch's name on it and their date of death. Over 200 people were accused in the mass witch hysteria of 1692-1693 and 20 were executed.
There seemed to be three waves of execution, all on the 19th of the month. I don't know what the significance of that date is, if there is any, but 19 witches were hanged either on July, August or September 19th.
One was pressed to death.
John Proctor, a wealthy and successful farmer and tavern owner, was the first male to be accused of witchcraft. First, his servant Mary was accused, then his pregnant wife, then finally suspicion grew about him, because he was an outspoken opponent of the accusations, calling those accused frauds and liars. The Proctors are the basis for Arthur Miller's, The Crucible, where you can read and learn many more details of the case.
Giles Corey was 80 years old when he was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea to the charge of witchcraft. English law allowed torture of a mute prisoner in order to force them to plea. His wife, Martha, was hung, I believe on the same day. I thought I had a picture of her plaque, but I don't see it in my photos now. You can also read about Giles and Martha Corey in The Crucible.
The cemetery itself was beautiful. Old, massive trees seemed to protect the graves from the elements, but for some it was too late. Many were so worn, we couldn't even read who was laid to rest. Sadly, there were many babies, toddlers and young adults in their late teens and early twenties. Life was definitely hard back then and something as simple as the common cold could turn to pneumonia and kill.
I found this stone, over to the side, completely on its own. Not another stone anywhere around it. I wondered why and still don't have an answer. It doesn't seem her husband is next to her, but according to the engraving, which is hard to read, Mrs. Louisa was wife to Daniel (last name I couldn't make out) and someone died September 12, 1837 at age 31. At first, the way it's written I wondered if it was the husband's date of death, but I'm assuming it's the wife's. Still, I found her to be lonely in a big burying ground surrounded by many of her fellow town folk, that for some reason, she'd been separated from.
There is so much history and mystery in Salem, and we took it all in, but The Burying Point, was by far the coolest place for me.
If you'd like to be entered in my Grand Prize giveaway, a $20 Amazon Gift Card,
leave me a comment.
I'll pick all my winners tomorrow morning to give anyone who wants to, time to comment.
It's been great fun and I hope everyone who's hopped around has
enjoyed it as much as the authors have!
It's the final day - please hop around and visit the other authors and
don't forget to enter the rafflecopter!!
HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!!
And welcome to my third installment of the October Frights Blog Hop.
Today's post will be short because guess who was lucky enough to be
born on Friday, October 13th?
Yes, in 1961, October 13th was a Friday. Its happened a couple times since then, but twelve years have passed since the last time
October 13th and Friday reunited (those pesky leap years).
My husband knew how much I was looking forward to the date,
so he surprise me with a trip to
Salem, Massachusetts for the night.
To be entered to win the flameless Halloween candle and to be entered in the Grand Prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card, let me know: Have you ever been to Salem, Mass? (I have but never in October, I'm so excited) Have you always wanted to go to Salem? Can you recommend something that we should see? We have a couple things scheduled, but I'm always up for suggestions.
It's a 3 hour ride from where we live in CT to Salem, so I'll check the comments.
I won't be posting tomorrow, but on Sunday for the last day of the hop, I hope to have some eerily, fun pictures and maybe a ghost story or two to share. I'll also pick all my winners on Sunday.
Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter!!
Follow the black cat to the other authors participating in the hop. Lots of ghoulish surprises await.