Evil lurks among us. In the blackness of a moonlit forest, a wolf howls. In the dank space of a cluttered basement, something hides in shadow. In your own backyard, a hungry creature wants to kill you. This is the world of Exodus into Evil, a collection of short stories that will take you wandering down a bloody path.
Have you ever felt nervous during a job interview? That's your body telling you to run, as in the short story, "The Chair." Want to know if witches really fly around on Halloween? Discover the truth in "November First." Think tumbleweed are harmless, dried plants, rolling through the desert? Keep thinking that-until one of them bites off a foot in "Tumbleweeds."
Each story has one thing in common: something bad is coming, and evil is on its mind. The sheriff might think he's setting off to help his townsfolk, but the path is never straight in the world of evil. The artist may think a friendly bloodsucker is a creative inspiration, but his work may end up more twisted than he could imagine. Beware the creature in the shadows; sooner or later, it will come for you!
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.27(d)|
Read an Excerpt
EXODUS INTO EVILA Collection of Short Horror Stories
By STANLEY J. BRZYCKI
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Stanley J. Brzycki
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHO AM I?
I love driving along Highway 22 east of Salem. I was headed for a small town called Detroit, Oregon, on a bright, sunny day with all the uncertainty I had ever felt in my life. My name is Mark, and I'm a writer of short stories. I was hoping that the proper inspiration for my first book could be found in the town of Detroit. My home had been Portland, Oregon, for most of my life. I'd been able to generate a good living with my short stories, but I was ready for the next step, a novel good enough so that I could be recognized as an accomplished writer. My parents had a cottage in the town of Detroit and had given it to me before they died last year. I hadn't been to the cottage for years, so I didn't know what to expect. As I pulled into the town, I noticed I needed gas, so I drove into a gas station and was surprised to find a familiar face pumping gas. It was Ed Munson, a childhood fishing friend from when my mom and dad had brought me up here.
"Good grief. Hi, Eddie, how are you, man?"
"Mark, is that you? Jeez, you look good. Are you still writing those stories?"
"Yeah, making a living at it, sort of."
We both laughed hard.
"What brings you up here, Mark?"
"Well, I'm going to try and write my first book, but right now I could use some gas."
"Sure thing, Mark. Let me know if you want to get together, okay?"
"Sure thing, Eddie."
After filling up, I drove my '66 Mustang Fastback to the cottage to settle in. Upon arrival I realized the cottage was in need of a good cleaning, but other than that it felt like a warm place and drew me in with its charm. I emptied my little trailer of all it's belongings and did some looking through the remaining items for items I had forgotten. By early evening I was all settled in. The hairs on my neck stiffened and rose at a strange odor in the air. It was familiar and dangerous! The moist ground concealed my footsteps as I traveled along the path I knew so well. I stayed out of the moonlight for safety.
Mark woke up and rolled over. His head pounded dully as he opened his bloodshot eyes. God, I hate mornings! he thought to himself. Looking at his clock, he realized there wasn't much morning left, about two hours.
Mark thought that he should get up just so he could say he got up this morning, instead of this afternoon, which would have been more to his liking. If he did get those extra few hours of sleep, he might have gotten rid of those weird dreams he'd been having. He moved through the cottage, as if on autopilot, made a bathroom stop (but did not shower—it was his grunge, casual day), and headed for the kitchen. He gave the legal pads a passing glance and the computer a disgusted revolting stare. Mark had always written his stories in longhand on legal pads. For some reason he had a block against writing on a computer; it seemed less personal.
Mark had come up here a few times whenever he was having a tough time writing one of his short stories; it seemed easier to be creative here. Glancing in the fridge, he tried to decide on something to eat. It wasn't so much what to eat as how energetic he was about making breakfast; a big breakfast of eggs, hash browns, and bacon sounded good, or perhaps just a bowl of cereal?
Cereal seemed to fit his casual mood. He sat on his sofa and watched a Perry Mason episode that he never got tired of. At the commercial break, he glanced at his bookcase to the right of his TV. It was a modest five-shelf model about six feet long, and it held mostly two authors: Dean Koontz and his favorite, Stephen King. Mark had read all of King's works and had over half in first-edition hardbacks. Mark secretly hoped to be as good as King one day. Time went by, and the TV droned on. When Mark chose to write, it was like a living force within him needing to come out, with the massaging firmness of a guiding caressing hand.
Mark worked—if it could be called that—for about six hours, shaping words to bring out his ideas. Writing was more of a passion than work. Mark always felt so satisfied when he completed a project. Living by himself, Mark hadn't done much dating since the death of his first wife. He wouldn't have survived had it not been for his writing.
I look through these eyes, and my instincts cause me to shudder with rage. All I am doing is looking toward a forest shrouded in night, the night sounds reaching my ears. The air smells so good, full of the smells of damp earth and fir trees. Slowly I walk along the forest edge. Something is watching me. I feel it. It is cold tonight. My breath can be seen in long white plumes as I exhale. Suddenly I hear a faint noise. My ears prick up, trying to locate a direction of the sound. I head off down the path that leads to a pond I know. As I near the pond, I peer out from the trees. In the moonlight I see a deer standing at the pond edge, drinking quietly. I become aware that I'm drooling. I leap from the cover of the trees, moving the ten feet between me and the deer in two leaps, and landing on the deer's neck. As she goes down, her head underwater, I'm not sure if she drowns or if I broke her neck, but she lies still as I drag her behind the trees and feast. Afterward I wash my face in the pond and vocally let all the other animals know that I am hunting this night.
Mark decided to take a break and go for a walk to the pond. It always helped relax him and clear his mind. As he came around the cottage he noticed one of the screens over the window was popped out. After putting it back in he moved down to the pond and noticed two sets of very large footprints in the muddy trail, the biggest he had ever seen. He was beginning to wonder if being outside was such a good idea. The forest was as still as could be until a voice behind him said, "Hi," scaring Mark and making him jump.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. My name is Mike."
"Boy, did you make me jump. My name is Mark. I came to the pond to relax but got worried when I saw those huge footprints near my home."
"Well, I'm prepared if anything jumps out at us here," said Mike as he lifted his rifle. "Mark, there is a fresh kill, or what's left of it, behind the trees. I live just down this other path, if you ever need anything. By the way, Mark, are you the writer that I've heard about?"
"Yeah, I'm the one. How did you know?"
"Eddie at the gas station likes to talk a lot."
Both Mike and Mark laughed out loud at that and then headed home. But Mark's curiosity got the better of him and he had to take a look at the animal kill. After all, how bad could it be? As Mark looked behind the trees he almost vomited. The sight of the kill and the smell were vile. The animal had been torn apart, with only shreds of the pelt left to identify it as a large doe. What could do this type of savagery?
The next afternoon Mark had a visitor. Mike stopped by.
"Hi, Mark. Could I come in for a moment to talk with you?"
"Sure, Mike. Want a beer?"
As Mark got their beers, Mike started telling him some hunting stories his father and grandfather had passed down over the campfires.
"Mark, I think I saw one of the animals my dad used to tell me about last night at dusk. It was huge—at least two hundred pounds—and black as coal and crossed a corner of my yard."
"Maybe it was a bear."
"No, wrong shape. Too streamlined, and it moved very fast, not cumbersome like a bear."
"What do you think it was?"
"Mike, wolves of that size are extinct now. It couldn't have been a wolf."
"That's what I thought until last night, but we'll see what happens in the near future."
Mike finished his beer and shook Mark's hand, thanking him for listening, and left.
Moving through the woods, I heard the sounds of danger: loud laughing, music, and other stupid sounds. I growled low in my throat. Suddenly, the men on the cabin stoop yelled at me and shot at me, saying they could see my yellow eyes. They missed with their shots, and I retreated, thinking that I would return one day so they could get a good up-close look at my eyes and my contempt for them as I ripped out their throats. Then who would be laughing?
Mark decided he needed to go to his doctor in Salem. His dreams kept coming. He had memory lapses, sore muscles, a temperature, and scratches he couldn't account for. The doctor prescribed him a mild sedative to sleep better and to get more rest. The doctor also recommended checking with the paramedic rescue unit that helped him when he crashed his car previously, to see if anything unusual happened.
Mark was in luck. The rescue unit that helped him out of his car in the crash was ten minutes away, and the paramedic was on duty. Jim King greeted Mark with a hand shake as Mark thanked him for helping him again.
"My pleasure, Mark. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Well, Jim, this might sound like a weird question, but did you or the others notice anything unusual happening around the accident site as you came down to get me?"
"To be honest, Mark, we did notice something, but we dismissed it as the light playing tricks on us."
"What was it, Jim?"
"We thought we saw a large animal next to you as you hung outside your car door, but when we got down to you there was nothing there. If there was an animal, it had to be at least two hundred pounds, maybe more."
"Thanks, Jim, for the information."
"I hope it eases your mind. Take care."
I saw your cabin and heard your drunken laughter. I promised to return and I did. I waited till it quieted down, creeping quietly out of the woods. I couldn't wait. I lunged at the window and crashed it, my body barely squeezing inside the stinking cabin. Three men were there. The first grabbed at his rifle, screaming as I snarled and ripped his throat out. I pounced on the other two at the same time. They struggled under the weight of my body, seeing only my black fur and bloodshot yellow eyes. The last thing they saw was a shower of red from their bodies as I took my sweet revenge. As I left, a man came out of a little house near the cabin with one funny door and a cresent moon cut out of it at the top. I jumped him before he could yell and slammed him to the ground, hearing a loud snap as he lay still, eyes unblinking. It was a good night. I pranced into the forest, swiftly looking for food. I refused to eat these humans I killed. They stunk; eating a skunk would have been more satisfying.
Mark was doing chores around the cottage when he noticed a travel trailer pull up next door. A lady got out with moving people and started unloading. The woman was pretty, and she seemed strong lifting heavy items along with the movers. After the move, Mark waved to her and asked if she would like a cold beer. She smiled and said, "Sure." As Mark took the beers over, he introduced himself.
"Hi, my name's Mark," he said, handing her a beer.
"Hi, Mark, my name's Clara, and thanks a lot." She took a long drink from the bottle. "That really hits the spot."
"Have you been to Detroit before?" Mark asked.
"Yes, my father still lives here, and the cottage I'm moving into just went up for sale so I bought it to be near family."
By this time it was around five, Mark decided to be forward. "Clara, do you hate cooking as much as I do when I'm tired?"
"I sure do. Did you have something in mind?"
"Well, would you like to go to the local café and grab some dinner? It's close enough to walk if you like."
"That would be great. I love walking and the outdoors."
So they took off after changing into clothes that weren't so sweat stained. Clara surprised Mark by linking her arm in his, which made him blush as they walked. Clara noticed.
"Mark, don't tell me you're shy."
"Oh no, I'm not shy. It's just been a while since a beautiful woman took my arm like that."
"Good, I was hoping you weren't shy, and thank you for the sweet words."
Mark could not believe it. Here he was, walking a beautiful woman to dinner after just meeting her as she hugged his arm tenderly; it was like winning the lottery.
After Mark and Clara finished dinner they walked back to Clara's home. It had been a great night, but before Mark could say good night, Clara leaned into him and kissed him slowly on the lips.
"I don't remember when I've had such a nice time out, Mark."
"Do you think you would like to get together again, Clara?"
"Yes, do you like picnics?"
"Let's have a picnic tomorrow, okay?"
"That would be great."
This time Mark pulled Clara firmly against his body, put his arms around her, and kissed her deeply. Mark watched as Clara went inside the French doors of her cottage. When Mark got home he couldn't remember walking up the path. All he remembered was kissing Clara!
The next day Mark went over to Clara's home for their picnic. Clara asked him in, as she was almost ready. Mark noticed a lot of long white and gray hairs around her home but no pets. Clara drove her truck with Mark to the special picnic spot. Mark had to admit that it was beautiful—a large pasture with grass and a stream flowing through it at the base of a forested hilltop. After they set out a blanket and ate, they lay in the sun talking.
"Mark, what do you think about going for a swim?"
"We don't have any suits."
"Haven't you ever been skinny-dipping?"
With that they both started laughing and raced each other to the stream as they took their clothes off and dove in. They both started splashing and playing in the water, goofing around. Then Clara came close to Mark and they held each other for a long time, kissing and touching each other.
"Oh, Mark, you're so wonderful."
"So are you, Clara!"
Mark and Clara spent the rest of the day making love and knowing each other in every way a man and woman can possibly know one another. Little did they know that a pair of eyes was watching them from the forested hilltop.
I didn't think she would bring him to the pasture so soon. With that, the large gray wolf lay down, crossed his paws, and went to sleep deeply.
Today was so sunny as I walked the banks of the large stream. A noise drew me; it was a fisherman lying down and getting a nap stream-side. He snored loudly as I crept up on him. I leaped and landed my full weight on his chest, waking him up and knocking the air from him so he couldn't scream. All he saw as he looked into my deep yellow eyes was anger, and I grabbed his head in my jaws and crushed it.
Mike was in town later in the day and saw some activity at the police station. He decided to stop by and talk to a friend, who informed Mike that some hunters and a fisherman had been attacked. It looked almost like they had been butchered. Mike walked out of the police station in a nervous sweat. The other night he saw what he saw—no imagining it—and he headed home. He got home just in time to answer the phone, at which point his daughter informed him that she had met someone special.
Mike just smiled and thought, I know, dear, good for you.
When Mark got back to his place later that day he was in for a big surprise. The inside had been torn apart. Long black and brown animal hairs were all over the place, and the screen was punched out again. That's enough, Mark thought. He went into town and bought some cameras so that he could monitor the interior of his home. Later that night Mark fell asleep on the couch, and in the morning everything was even more torn up, and the screen was popped out again. Mark went to the cameras, slipped the DVD's out, and put them in his DVD player. What played made Mark's mouth drop open. He watched it twice to make sure, and then he called Mike.
"Mike, it's Mark. I think I need your help, and it's a bit weird."
"That's okay. Come on over as soon as possible."
When Mark got to Mike's place, he asked if he had a DVD player. Mike said yes and took the tape from Mark. They both watched the tape.
"Mike, I swear this isn't trick photograph or anything. It's just as I took it from the cameras I put in my living room."
"This is a lot to take in all at once, but I do understand."
Just then there was a knock at the door, and when Mike answered it Clara came in.
"Mark, I think you know my daughter, Clara."
Excerpted from EXODUS INTO EVIL by STANLEY J. BRZYCKI Copyright © 2011 by Stanley J. Brzycki. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.