Whispers of the Hallow Night (Editingle Halloween Anthology Vol.4)
Publisher: Editingle Indie House
You have been warned before, but there will be no more.
So one must pay and become the prey.
As you holler and plead, they might make you bleed.
But, alas, your voice will not be heard while you take in the horror that occurred.
Oh, you sorrowful soul, should have listened to my warning, for you might have made it till morning.
Give up the fight; you’re a victim of Whispers Of The Hallow Night!
Here's an exclusive first look into the sample chapters of each story...
A Samhain Night’s Scream by J. D. Edwards
Chapter 1: The Wages of Sin
Hatred burned in the old crone’s eyes beneath her hooded cowl. She watched from a shadowed alley as boisterous teens traipsed through the town, disregarding others and their property.
Vermin… filth! she hissed, glaring at them in disgust. Each generation is worse than the next. They come here each year on my birthday and defile my home with their lude and vulgar antics.
Dipping her head, the crone reached within her cloak and clutched a ruby pendant connected to a golden necklace. Within seconds, her aged infirmities faded, revealing a tall, attractive woman with smooth olive skin and flowing auburn hair. She flipped open a compact mirror, surveying her new body and dark, sultry eyes.
Yes… very nice. Time to get to work. I’m not getting any younger… yet.
Stepping from the shadows of the vacant alley, the crone scanned the bustling village of Pluckley for her first victim. Her dress swayed in the cool night breeze. A waiter and his twin caught her eye at Pisano’s Kitchen. She sensed their duplicity, which she confirmed when one of them swiped another server’s tip from the table.
A sly grin played at the corners of her mouth.
Oh yes… this should be fun.
Crossing the street, the crone reached for the door when it flew open, and a hulking young man plowed into her, knocking her to the ground. “Oi! Watch out, young man!”
He glanced down at the crone, his lust-filled eyes lingering on her chest. “Oh, pardon me!” He extended his hand to the crone, his gaze tracing the woman’s voluptuous contours as he helped her to her feet.
Gripping his hand with strength belying her slender frame, she exhaled a fine golden mist.
I claim you for my own… The mist hung in the air before dissipating into his chest. Forget me for now…
The Autumn of 1690
Somewhere in the Hudson Valley
The ropes cut painfully into Emma's wrists. Though her eyes were bleary with tears, she could still make out the masked figures that encircled her. These figures held torches in their hands, the flickering lights casting a surreal illumination on the proceedings going on around.
Emma knew that under the masks were friends and neighbors, people she had interacted with since she was a small child, people who she had always greeted with a smile and kind words. Many of them, she was sure, she had grown up with, played with as a child, laughed, and learned with.
It was, after all, a small settlement.
Beyond the torchlight, Emma could barely see the poppetje, carefully built and lined up by the villagers as part of the ritual. They were simple things, really, just bits of cloth and corn husk, with sacks of potatoes as rudimentary heads. The craftsmanship was not very good, but Emma knew it didn't need to be. They would suit the ritual just fine the way they were, and the ritual would protect everyone in the village.
Everyone except her.
One of the figures broke through the circle of torches, tall and strong, and stood in front of her. While the other members of the procession wore their everyday clothing, this figure was dressed in a long white robe, its mask more detailed than its brothers' and sisters'. Yet, despite the mask, Emma recognized it at once as the colony's governor.
Surely he won't go through with this. Emma thought to herself. He, of all people!
Surely he will take pity on me and cut me down. We can always find another way to end this nightmare, a way that doesn't involve bloodshed.
The governor started to circle the pole that Emma was lashed to, intoning a prayer softly under his breath. It wasn't a prayer that Emma had heard before, and no matter how much she struggled to hear, she couldn't make out the words. Once the circling stopped, the governor pulled something from his belt, something that glistened and glimmered in the torchlight. Only when he brought the object to Emma's neck did she recognize it as a blade, the same blade that had cut her countless meals of lamb, pig, or game fowl.
“Please,” Emma whispered, gathering every inch of sadness and desperation she could muster into her eyes. Surely it would be enough. “Please, father...”
“Forgive me, daughter,” The governor apologized with a heavy tone. “I am truly sorry for what I am about to do. Still, it must be done.”
With a tear in his eye, the governor slit his daughter's throat.
Everyone knew Johnny Lang was a good kid. Of course, he got in trouble from time to time like other kids in high school, but all in all, he was a good citizen and a hard-working lad.
Johnny was a senior at Mill Grove High School. He played football for his school team, the Wildcats, and helped his father on the farm whenever possible.
In nineteen hundred, his great-grandfather, Jonah Lang, built the family farmhouse. It was a substantial three-story house to accommodate a large family. Many children would be needed to run the farm in the future, and this house would ensure plenty of room for them. Now there was no large family. It had dwindled down to only Johnny and his parents.
Other than playing football and helping out on his father’s farm, Johnny liked to go hunting. But, mostly, he liked to spend as much time as he could with the love of his life, his girlfriend Christina Blanchard, who also attended Mill Grove High.
Johnny was six feet tall with a large frame. He had deep blue eyes, the color of an island ocean on a white coral sand beach, and wore his brown hair in the new style that Elvis Presley had started. When Love Me Tender came out, he began to slick his long locks back as Elvis did. The pomade made his light brown hair dark and shiny. He was a sensitive soul, but he hid it well lest anyone think him not manly.
However, what's more impressive was the girls were attracted to his solid physic, formed from the hard work of a farm boy and football player. But, as far as he was concerned, he belonged to Christina and no one else. Of course, he noticed other attractive girls, but his devotion was to her alone.
Deenya Vaughn stared at the front page of the Covenstown Press. She scowled at the picture of Officer David Hine on the page. She really hated that man. The headline above his head made Deenya want to laugh out loud.
OFFICER DAVID HINE SAVES THE LIFE OF A YOUNG GIRL.
And in the subheading:
CONSIDERED A HERO.
Deenya groaned at the unfairness of it all. That case was hers, and she almost cracked it. But, thanks to Officer Hine for duping her, she lost out big on this one. She gasped and looked around the pumpkin patch in frustration. Her feet were freezing, and wisps of fog came out of her mouth in huffs. She wanted to toss the newspaper on the ground and stomp on David’s stupid face, but the patch owners probably didn’t want her littering, and they didn’t deserve it anyway.
Her mom Elena called and came over with a cart full of pumpkins. Deenya’s eyebrow raised in question instantly. Now what? She hoped that her mom wasn’t expecting her to carve all these pumpkins. Unfortunately, she had been given the boot by Chief Vaughn, her dad, and superior. Well, not exactly the boot, but he didn’t want her coming to the station for at least a week. So with Halloween in the next two days, she decided to head to a party with two of her friends. Tucking the newspaper under her arm, she ran over to help. The older woman smiled and thumped one of the pumpkins.
“Which one do you want? Do you want them all or just one… or two?”
“Mom, are you serious?”
Surveying the cart, Deenya picked out the smallest one and another that was easier to carry. Elena gently sat the pumpkins on the ground, and with a hand on her hips, she gestured towards the pumpkins in her daughter’s arms with a frown.
“But you know your father wanted us to get the biggest one.”
“Well, Dad isn’t the one that has to carry these big lugs back to the car and get them into the house, is he?”
Elena giggled silently as Deenya went to the owners and paid for the pumpkin. All the while cursing David the whole way back to the car. Thanks to him, she was sure that she would be doing desk work for the rest of her life once she returned to work. And was convinced she probably wouldn’t be able to work on high-profile cases again. As usual, her mom wanted to enjoy the experience of having her daughter drive her around and quickly got into the passenger side. This fueled Deenya’s annoyance even more, and she sighed while putting the pumpkin in the backseat.
“Where to now?” Deenya asked, getting into the car and hooking her seatbelt.
“Well, I have to go pick up my medicine from the pharmacy,” Elena replied with a sweet smile. “Then I have to get the beef for the stew tonight.”
Deenya sped out of the parking lot. She would head to the pharmacy first. For some reason, she thought she’d need medicine for migraine in a couple of days.
The Minotaur Princess, Kiretana, rushed into the atrium room in the center of the Minotaur Heir’s labyrinth prison, where he spent most of his time. “Tauran, the witch found her!” The princess looked around in dismay as he struggled to his feet.
Lowing in pain, he told her, ‘She is in the labyrinth somewhere.’
“What did you do?” Kiretana demanded with her hand on her hip, and head tipped in judgment, her expression accusing with her lips pressed together in a twisted scowl.
‘What did I do?! I don’t know. I smiled at her because I was happy, and she attacked me,’ he mooed in the language of his beast, remembering how his One crouched in terror, then punched and kicked him before throwing him across the room. His clawed hand cupped his bullness gently. It would be bruised for days.
“With your smile, she probably thought you were going to eat her.” Snorting, Kiretana laughed in a very un-princess-like way, then gasped when they heard the stone door moving. “I’ll try to find her. Keep Mother busy.”
She sprinted in the direction where she could smell the terrified female, grinning to herself because she was happy his Daisy was a fighter. A strong and compassionate queen was just what the kingdom needed after her mother’s cruel reign. She followed the scent back and forth as she listened to the murmurs of her mother and her brother’s bellowed denials. After a few turns around the circling corridors she was shocked to find herself at the crevasse that led to her room. Quickly, she squeezed through the gap and tumbled out to find her father and a wizard talking in her bedroom.
“Who are you?” she demanded, halting the discussion between them.
“I am Oren Oleander. I came about your mother’s petition, but find what she wants to be done abhorrent. It cannot be accomplished without erasing your brother’s mind completely.” The wizard bowed to her. “Princess Kiretana, if you are seeking your brother’s soul-half. I sent her to the home of my mother’s family. She will be safe there until the autumn equinox.”
“Can you send me to join…” Kiretana started to ask as her mother, and another wizard rushed in.
“Where is she? Where is that common cow?” Queen Dejanira shrieked as she glared at Oren. “Wizard Oleander, what are you doing with my family? You refused my request.”
“Queen Dejanira, the thing you are requesting is too dangerous.”
“More dangerous than my son losing himself to his beast as my husband did? I do not think so. Tauran may choose from the royal stable; there are many heifers of high status families in his harem.” She glanced at the guards and her warlock. “Seize them.”
The king bellowed and lowered his head, pulling his daughter behind his bulk as the queen’s warlock pointed a wand at them. “Sominatosa minotaurus!”
“Stop!” Oren shouted as the two minotaurs collapsed unconscious, then Dejanira shattered a potion bottle at the warlock’s feet and Oren yelped in surprise. Within a second, he was engulfed in flames. A few moments later, only a pile of ash remained.
“Seal him in a bottle,” Dejanira ordered, “And toss it in the sea.”
“Yes, my queen.” The warlock scooped up the ashes, putting them in a blue glass bottle, and retreated as two burly minotaur guards hefted the king.
“Put my husband in with our son,” the queen ordered.
“And what about the princess?” A third asked as he picked up Kiretana gently.
“Put her in the harem. If she doesn’t choose a mate from among the royal lords by the summer solstice, she can join her father and brother.” Dejanira hissed, then turned around the room. She opened a secret drawer and pulled out one of Tauran’s sketchbooks, flipping through the pages until she found several of the common cow’s human face. She tore the pages out. “Show these to the guards. Find this girl and bring her to me. She is in the palace somewhere.”
Trigger Warning: Pregnancy Loss
She was late. She had been for three weeks now. But she wasn’t really holding her breath after seven years of dashed hopes. It was only a few weeks back they had decided to stop trying, which is why this came as a shock more than a surprise.
She hadn't taken a test and didn't have the two lines to validate what she already knew. But knew she did.
Despite herself, her heart started to pound, and with a shaky hand, she swept the liner on her eyes. Her lips were compressed, her mouth grim. She had stopped smiling ages back.
But what terrified her were her eyes. Bright and soulful, full of hope.
Taking a deep breath, she looked at the bathroom floor. Hope was a terrifying thing. She didn't want to be hopeful again; she didn’t want to hop onto the roller coaster of soaring ecstasy and crash into her soul-crushing reality. So instead, she learned to accept her fate.
But now, she was late. Sooner or later, she would have to bear the consequences.
She resisted the urge to cover her womb with her hand to protect the new life inside her.
Suddenly, the hair on her nape stood up as she felt it, the shadow always lurking behind her.
She had felt its presence before, a dark figure just out of the periphery of her vision. But she didn't know what the shadow wanted with her. Why did it always find her when she had new life growing inside her?
And never left her until she was alone.
She squeezed her eyes shut at the unfairness of the situation and dug her hands into her scalp, pulling her hair with all her might. “Stop! Please!” she implored the shadow. “Please leave my baby and me alone!”
She collapsed on the bathroom floor, sobbing like a baby.
The tap dripped a staccato as it echoed throughout the empty house.
About the Authors
Asa Swift is a police officer in Indianapolis and has been in law enforcement for thirty-four years. He is married to his wife Janet and they have three sons. Ready for something new and having a creative side, he took to writing horror, his favorite genre of books and movies. Born in Hartford, Indiana, despite getting a late start in writing, he improves every day. Swift enjoys fishing, firearms, cooking and his grandchildren, and of course, HORROR! As a means of continue writing, he keeps his grandparents close to his heart and mind for always encouraging him to not give up.
Brandon Ebinger is a horror/dark fantasy author who lives in upstate New York with his fiancé and two cats. He holds a BA in creative writing. He enjoys horror films,Gothic rock and punk music and video games. He is a huge fan of haunted attractions, and spends October as a haunt actor. Brandon has written four horror/dark fantasy novels, Ash, Hollow Hills, The Afflicted and Rose. He has also published a handful of short stories within the genre. He has recently finished his most recent novel Broken Night and is at work on a new one.
Phil likes to point out he was one of the last children born before man walked on the moon. He’s worked at Australia’s National Dinosaur Museum, the Australian War Memorial, National Film and Sound Archives, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, London’s Natural History Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago and The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Published in newspapers and magazines across the globe, Phil is the paleo-author for the world’s longest running dinosaur magazine, The Prehistoric Times. He’s also been a comic shop manager, a cinema projectionist, a theatre technician and gutted chickens for a deli. All of these influences seem to make an appearance in his writing, especially the chicken guts bit. His first novel Brotherhood of the Dragon contained another Amun adventure, while 2020 sees the release of his WW1 trench murder mystery, Golgotha.
Draven is an author who writes paranormal/supernatural which includes vampires and werewolves, and ghosts. Her works include The Immortals Saga vampire series and the Bane Werewolf Colony series. She’s working on a revenge crime series of short stories and a science fiction series. She’s a graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. She has experience with script-writing, comic writing, and game writing. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading books, specifically paranormal romance novels and watching anime. She loves to listen to classical music, rock music, and kpop.
M.M.Ward - Mama Magie Ward- Farm mom and author who writes as part of my stroke recovery. My stories are a walk between shadow and light. I write stories about and for those who have been through much. There will be triggers for survivors, things I would wish on anyone, but sadly, these are the trials many face in today’s world. Some of will overcome, some will succumb, and I encourage all to seek help. Weep, cope, reach out. You are not alone. There is always the choice... Become Better, not bitter. #MMWard
J. D. Edwards
J. D. Edwards is the award-winning author of The Faerie Chronicles, Killing Time, The Soul Reaper, Dry Bones, and Indomitable. His writing awards include The Charl Ormond Williams Fund, The Ohio Genealogical Society, Notebook Publishing’s #IndieApril, and Lulu’s Share Your Scare Writing Contest. Since 2012, J. D. Edwards has published over 60 genealogical articles in the United States and Great Britain, winning over a dozen historical writing competitions internationally. Future projects include historical fiction books set in the 18th to 19th centuries and further fantasy series regarding Faerie and Celtic Mythology.
Sayali (who cannot pronounce her own last name), has been writing from childhood, starting from poems and essays that won her acco- lades to writing murder mysteries for her gang of girls. Embarking on a technical career after college made her appreciate her world of mystery and make-believe even more. She dove into romance as a teen and mostly writes stories about strong, relatable characters who meander their way into love. Her books also contain suspense and mystery, with a lot of plot twists that keep the readers engaged. Sayali is married to her college sweetheart and has a cute kid. She writes when her imagination gets the better of her and her charac- ters demand to be written about. It’s the only way she can stay sane, though anyone who has seen her daydream and talk to herself, will disagree. Sayali can be found on FB, Twitter and Instagram, chattering away to all within earshot.
Ashe Woodward is a horror writer from Ontario, Canada. She has been writing spooky stories since she was old enough to type on a Commodore 64. She lives with her husband and their menagerie of pets and poisonous plants.
For more information visit: Editingle Indie House