Trips to the Edge: Tales of the Unexpected

Trips to the Edge: Tales of the Unexpected

by Diane Wing

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Overview

Kick back and enjoy this mini-anthology of spine-tingling short stories from Diane Wing, author of "Thorne Manor And Other Bizarre Tales" and "Coven: Scrolls of the Four Winds."



  • Another Walk in the Park: A familiar walking path leads to a disturbing encounter in an unexpected realm.
  • Dark Hollow Road: A grieving sister searches for her brother on a road notorious for missing persons.
  • The Restaurant: An adventurous foodie couple are consumed by a life-changing meal when they explore the peculiar cuisine at a mysterious new restaurant.
  • Wrong Directions: Jealousy prompts a technological genius to conjure a diabolical solution to deal with unfaithful husbands.


Raves for Trips to the Edge

"Prepare yourself for some chilling late night indulgence: Diane Wing continues to serve up tasty, elegant tales of spiritual mayhem and revenge with a modern flare. It's all included - hair raising action, mystical quandaries, chilling surprises, karmic debts and unexpected twists of fate. A must read for all true lovers of the supernatural."

--M. Ashcraft, Oakland, California



"Diane Wing's stories lead you to one seemingly obvious conclusion, and then she throws a flaming curve ball you slowly recover from. She sucks me in and as soon as I think I have it figured out, she turns the story in an unexpected direction, leaving me with chills and the sense that the world is not always as it seems."

--Antoinette Brickhaus Philadelphia, PA



"Trips to the Edge is surely that! Visually mesmerizing and breathtaking. If Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin wrote a book together, it would read like Trips to the Edge."

--Annette Sadelson, Baltimore, MD



Diane Wing is a multi-published author of dark fantasy fiction and enlightening non-fiction. She has a Master's degree in clinical psychology and years of study and experience in the realms of the occult, metaphysics, and Eastern philosophy. She grew up on Night Gallery, Dark Shadows, and Tales from the Darkside, and the supernatural has always been a natural part of her life. She is the founder of the mystery school, Wing Academy of Unfoldment, and host of Wing Academy Radio.

Learn more at www.DianeWing.com



Book #3 in the Modern Gothic series

from Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615992621
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Publication date: 01/10/2015
Pages: 46
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.11(d)

About the Author

Author, teacher, personal transformation guide, and intuitive consultant Diane Wing, M.A. enjoys exploring the mysteries of life and the way that people experience themselves and the world around them. Wing's books create a transformational experience for the reader while incorporating a bit of the unexpected. Many say that her fiction has a sense of Karmic justice rendered within the realm of the unknown and that her non-fiction brings about a heightened awareness of the self and the world to enhance understanding of our own internal transformations.
Wing sees connections between things that seem disparate to others and can help you see their significance in your life. She's an idea person who helps you shift your perspective to see yourself and your life in a whole new way and is a master at bringing magick into the everyday. She wants to live in a world where people feel inspired and motivated to evolve beyond their current way of being. As a Perspective Changer and Blockage Buster, she's a wiz at helping people find their Inner Magick to help them be happy in the present while creating their ideal future.
To that end, Diane Wing created a body of work focused on knowing the self at a deep level in order to build self-trust and self-confidence. Her books, both dark fantasy fiction and enlightening non-fiction, hold lessons based in Universal and Magickal Law and energetic consciousness. Her games, Pathways and Insight Stones®, are systems of metaphysics designed to facilitate self-discovery, develop intuitive ability, and to enhance self-awareness. The emphasis of her school, Wing Academy of Unfoldment, and of her radio show, Wing Academy Radio, helps students and listeners learn ways to take metaphysical and personal development concepts and apply them to everyday life in their own distinct way. It's about going deeper and seeing the patterns of your life.
According to Diane Wing, "Ever since I was little, the world felt magickal. [I use magick with a "k" to differentiate the magic of an illusionist or stage magician from the magick that includes your intuitive abilities and tapping into the flow of the Universe). The world was beautiful and mysterious, filled with things to learn and experience. The path led me to become a lifetime student of metaphysics, mysticism, magick, and spirituality and to achieve a Master's degree in psychology...and it all shows up in my writing. You never know what's waiting around the bend.
"The world still feels magickal to me; every act of nature, every energetic exchange, every new discovery is perceived through the eyes of wonder. I now understand that self-knowledge is the key to all magickal operations; the discovery of our own Inner Magick is essential to living in concert with the Universe. We are the Magician, as in tarot, orchestrating and creating life in accordance with our true self."
Diane is an avid reader, bibliophile, lover of trees, and a lifelong learner. She's also pet parent to a sweet little Shih Tzu.

Find out more at www.DianeWing.com

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Another Walk in the Park

It was just another walk in the park. A gentle summer breeze blowing, rustling the dense leaves on the trees. The occasional chipmunk suddenly bounding across my path and disappearing on the other side. Butterflies flew alongside, guiding my journey. I followed the same path I had countless times before, knowing what was around the next bend, changes only made by the seasons.

The big old oak ahead was mostly dead; yet refused to go quietly. Its twisted trunk, bulging bark, and thick, broken branches gave it an angry, evil countenance and dual personality when viewed from the other side, where its skin was smoother and new branches sprouted from the top of the broken trunk. There was a large opening at the base that I could fit inside easily to experience the spooky tree from its core, yet never did. It seemed an invasion to enter through this spirit portal. Out of respect, I looked in, but maintained our separateness.

Teenaged black walnut trees danced in a circle to mark the boundary of a large grove, a sacred space that seemed to have an energy all its own. The grass grew thick, awaiting park employee intervention to trim it back. Just to the left, a four-foot high, rough-hewn headstone proclaimed that this was the site of the Winterton Mansion, circa 1785. There seemed to be an energetic residue left from the mansion, accompanied by a sense of foreboding. I had walked up to the stone many times, yet felt an invisible barrier that prevented me from moving past it and into the walnut grove.

A friend of mine was with me on one of my woodland walks and as we stood before the headstone, she commented that the house does not like attention drawn to it and prefers that visitors disregard its presence. The story goes that the house burned down and that the area is haunted. Some park visitors have smelled smoke and heard screams. My visits had, up to this point, been uneventful, having established good rapport with the trees and nature spirits in the area. Yet there was always an underlying sense of an alternate dimension, of layers waiting to be discovered, and of the distant past wanting to be remembered, waiting to be explored.

While usually approaching with great respect and reverence, this time felt different. It was as though the barrier was thinner, and the area was no longer off-limits. My feet were on the dirt path, but the grove beckoned me to visit, to experience, to cross into another time, another place. All six senses were on alert, prickling from past encounters with the area, teetering between honoring its solitude and an intense curiosity drawing me closer. Something tickled my ankle, and I realized I was standing in the overgrown grass halfway between the path and the headstone.

The headstone glared at me in silence, daring me to come forward, to break the seal and the unspoken agreement we had to remain apart. I telepathically assured this sacred space that I meant no harm and asked if I was being invited in. The answer flitted through my mind. I was to proceed at my own risk. Nothing would prevent me from being drawn into another world, if I chose to move forward. My choice, my responsibility. I became intensely aware of the sounds of creatures and leaves and wind. A butterfly came close to my face and fluttered off, as though reminding me that transformation was inevitable, warning me that once I took the next step, there was no turning back and nothing would be the same again.

Could I pass up the chance to explore an otherworldly realm? With all of my fantastical literary journeys, was I willing to engage in the unknown for real? Another step and the familiar background music of nature died, replaced by a sinister hush, as though the world, as I knew it, no longer existed. Now I was in the kingdom of yesteryear, a time forgotten and supposedly put to rest. Yet there was no rest for this grove, this tragic site that held within it the pain of those who perished in the fire. Wondering if I could turn back and reenter my own world, I surprised myself and committed to this journey by taking another step forward.

I found myself in a field surrounded by shrubs. The ancient oak and black walnut trees did not exist, for I was in a time before their planting. It was dusk, and fireflies were beginning to twinkle. Something shimmered a short distance away. The air felt dense as I cautiously approached the apparition. It began to solidify, first with an outline, and then filling itself in, as though an invisible child sat filling in the lines of a coloring book.

What emerged was a massive farmhouse, painted a muted taupe color with deeper brown-gray trim. Ornamental posts held up the wraparound front porch. Rocking chairs sat waiting to accommodate the home's inhabitants.

Despite its solid appearance, I questioned if my mind had conjured it using all the speculations and imaginings of the house that occupied the tranquil grove my many walks past. A sizzling wave of electricity washed over me, making my skin prickle. I took a step back to see if I could get out of the electromagnetic field and rubbed my arms to get the hair to lay flat.

I could not take my eyes off the house as the pulsing energy continued to bombard my head and chest. With each beat, the house seemed to pixilate, as when a television set goes on the fritz. The sound of electricity running through power lines accompanied the throbbing — the house and energy in perfect synchronicity as it hit me over and over. My hands began to numb, and I realized my legs were shaking. The constant hum of the energy tormented me, and I wished it would stop. My nerves jangled from the barrage of impulses. I took several steps backward and finally disengaged from the energy.

Eyes were on me, and my eyes rose to the center window on the second floor. A pale man watched as I disentangled myself from the force field. He wore a sinister, satisfied grin, and I understood that it was his intention to cause discomfort. My reaction had pleased and amused him. My desire to return to my own time overwhelmed me, and I ran the way I had come, hoping to go through the barrier once again.

When I found myself beyond the entry border and was almost run over by a horse-drawn carriage, a sinking feeling took over my body, and I fell to my knees. The driver did not even acknowledge me, as though I did not exist in his world. By all rights, I should not have. But the grass I lay upon felt real enough. The anomaly crushed all sense of logic and reason. The house had let me in, but would not allow my return ... just yet. There was something that beckoned me back. The man in the window was not finished with me.

My chest heaved, and it was difficult to catch my breath as panic at being forever trapped in this time warp overcame me. I knew instinctively that the longer I delayed returning to the phantom dwelling, the more extended my stay would be. Heart pounding, I pushed myself up and brushed off my hands. Looking up, I saw the face was no longer in the window.

With a deep sigh of resignation, I built up the courage to take a step toward the spectral house. The air around me pulsed in waves as I moved slowly toward the well-cared-for farmhouse. If it had existed in my own time and dimension, I would have been excited to visit the historic property and explore its secrets. Yet, having stepped through the invisible portal and into another plane of existence brought a foreboding that begged caution.

I stood before the front porch, the house completely solid, and gazed at rocking chairs that invited me to sit while I contemplated the dilemma of entering the house. The first step creaked as I stepped onto it; the second step was firm underfoot and maintained its silence. Two more stairs, and I was on the porch, staring at the front door. My guts shook at the thought of entering, so I gave myself respite in one of the rockers. It was comfortable but not comforting as I tried to rock my way into a state of relaxation.

Back and forth, gently rocking, daring not to think, the old boards of the porch creaked under the movement. I wanted so desperately to be back in the park on the side of the energy field that held my life. Daring to close my eyes for a moment, my ears perked up at the sound of the front door whining as it slowly opened. I leapt up from the chair to face whatever was about to emerge, but nothing came forth. I took small steps to glance into the darkness beyond the threshold, preparing for the worst.

Light did not pierce the shadows within the gaping doorway. I crept closer and could see dust swirling in the faint light coming through the back door window. A straight, steep staircase to my right led to the second floor. Whatever had opened the door was hiding, and I feared it would jump out and attack with ferocity. Heart pounding as my thoughts continued to worsen, I forced myself forward. Would it grab me? Was the pale man in the window waiting, armed with a knife or a gun, poised to harm me at the first opportunity?

Silence greeted me at the door. No movement. A dank smell of wet, burned timber wafted toward me. The quiet held me hostage; reluctance stripped me of all courage, as I waited for something to happen. So unnerving was the hush that I called out a meek and questioning hello. Was I crazy to hasten the inevitable or just tired of being frightened by the unknown? At least if something emerged, I could deal with it.

No response. I called out again, a bit more boldly this time, and finally received an answer.

"It's about time you grew a pair instead of sounding like a wimp."

The voice came from the top of the stairs. I gazed up to see a dark silhouette, his arm holding the newel post. I took a step closer. Dim light shone from the window at the top of the stairs and his form came into focus. It was the pale man I had seen in the upper window.

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me. Can't be here unless you have balls."

He sounded matter-of-fact, as though everyone knows that to cross into another dimension there must be a certain amount of courage.

"I'm not sure how I got here," I stammered.

"Well now, your curiosity dragged you in here. You've been past this place so many times I've lost count. Was wondering when you were finally going to break through."

The thought that he had been watching me each time I walked through the park made me shiver.

"How do I get back?"

"You don't."

"What?"

"You're not finished what you need to do here."

"And what exactly is that?" My voice reflected my thinning patience.

"Come on in, and I'll give you the tour."

All I wanted was to go home, but it sounded like that was not going to happen until I complied with his instructions. Rudeness on my part was not going to help my cause. I gingerly stepped across the threshold. My host was now halfway down the staircase. He wore a plaid shirt, overalls, and work boots. He looked to be in his early forties. His common appearance belied the hypnotic energy that radiated from him. I tried to look away, but his eyes held me in place.

He waved his hand toward the sparsely furnished living room. The austere handmade wood furniture lacked cushions to make guests feel welcome. It smacked of the desire for the briefest of visits by outsiders. A shadow, the shape of a woman wearing the full skirts of the time, moved across the wall and disappeared through a doorway. The man seemed not to notice.

"What is your name, sir?" I asked, hoping for a clue as to what was going on.

He turned toward me, a glimmer of secrets in his eyes.

"Jasper Winterton. This has been my home for centuries."

He offered no additional explanation and turned to continue the tour. Bewilderment set in. It was the name on the headstone. How was any of this possible?

Jasper moved through the doorway where the phantasm exited. I reluctantly followed, heart pounding, ears buzzing from the rush of blood. I had no desire to discover what happened to the apparition and hoped that it was not waiting for me.

The doorway led into the kitchen. The walls had smears of dark ash across them.

"This is where it started," Jasper said with anguish in his voice.

"Where what started?" "The fire. Killed my wife and daughters. They didn't have a chance."

All I could do was nod in sympathy. I looked around. The walls and floors were solid enough. But the smell of wet, burned wood persisted, reflecting the tragic history of Jasper's home. He was tied to this place out of remorse.

"I'm so sorry to hear that."

"Not at all. It happened just as I planned ... well, almost as planned," Jasper said matter-of-factly.

My eyes widened as I stared at this murderer.

"As you planned?" I stammered.

"Yep. The kids burned up in the fire, but my wife, Lola, got out before the smoke and flames got her. She took her own life later. Couldn't tolerate losing the girls."

"But you lost everything ... your family, your home ..." "Those things weren't important to me. They were holding me back."

I rubbed my hands and noticed how cold they were. I silently prayed for protection. His casual attitude made my chest feel tight. I swallowed deeply and summoned my courage. This man didn't like wimps.

"So how come you're still here?" "I'm required to stay here," he said.

"Required?"

"It was the price I paid for freedom many years ago. And I plan to have my freedom once again! Time for you to see the second floor."

My heart sank and my stomach quivered. There wasn't anything good waiting for me on the second floor.

"That's okay, I've seen enough. I think I'll just be on my way," I said as calmly as I was capable of.

"There's no hurry. You can see it now or you can see it tomorrow. Doesn't matter much to me."

"I won't be here tomorrow."

"What makes you think that? You're not going anywhere."

"I'm expected at home. They'll come looking for me."

"They can look all they want, but they won't find you. You're in my land now, son."

My head dropped. Fear, frustration, and sorrow mingled together and made my body start to shake.

"Now, now," said Jasper, "You need to get over it. Just accept it for what it is."

"And exactly what is it?" I hollered.

"Well that's what I've been trying to show you. Follow me."

Jasper turned and walked through the doorway, through the living room, and out into the hallway. He stood by the stairs waiting for me to follow. My legs refused to move, and the shaking made me feel unsteady. I gulped air and closed my eyes, trying to calm myself. The longer I resisted Jasper, the more I delayed leaving this place. I opened my eyes and saw the female shadow figure pointing toward the doorway. That was the motivation I needed to hurry out of the kitchen, run through the living room, and breathlessly join Jasper at the foot of the steps.

"She's quite persuasive, wouldn't you say?" Jasper chuckled. "C'mon up and meet the rest of the family."

He waved to me to follow as he trudged up the well-worn wooden stairs. His solid footfall landed on the center of each step where the finish showed wear; a creak sounding every so often. I grabbed the top of the newel post and treaded lightly behind him, watching the unfamiliar steps as I walked. Looking up, I saw him waiting at the top, arms crossed, tapping his foot. I picked up the pace a bit.

As I neared the top of the staircase, he walked to the left and down a dim hallway, then stood in front of a door. The shaking intensified again, and I worried that my legs would give out on me. I steadied myself against the wall. Jasper pushed open the door and light flowed into the space. He gestured for me to enter the room.

I slowly approached the doorway and became aware of the quick, sharp breaths I was taking. I peeked around the entry and saw twin beds, each with a female child sitting, and both quietly staring at each other. Their dresses were a dingy gray color, faces smeared with ash, ribbons adorning their messy hair, and eyes blank.

"These are my daughters, Megan and Polly." Jasper said with disdain.

They did not turn to acknowledge me; just stayed eerily still.

"They're much easier to deal with in this state." Jasper commented. "They won't give you too much trouble."

I looked at him, mouth gaping.

"What do they have to do with me?"

"You're their new caretaker."

"I don't think so."

"It'll give you a second chance, like I got."

"At what?"

"At safeguarding children. My wife, too, can't forget about her."

"What are you talking about?"

"I know you said it was an accident, but when you left your son in that hot box on wheels, you intended to kill him."

"In my car? That was an accident. He climbed in the back and fell asleep. I didn't know he was in there. Helen should have been watching him." I defended myself with the same line I used on the jury, but Jasper had nailed me, when the authorities couldn't.

"Come now, son, kids are a nuisance. You had better things to do than to deal with a kid and a woman who tricked you into marriage. Sins of the flesh will get you every time."

"She was pregnant. It was the right thing to do." I spouted my rehearsed objection. I had always resented Helen for lying to me about being on the pill; but how did Jasper know that?

"She couldn't bear the loss of her boy, so she took her own life. You succeeded, son."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Trips To The Edge"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Diane Wing.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, 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.

Table of Contents

Another Walk in the Park,
Dark Hollow Road,
The Restaurant,
Wrong Directions,
About the Author,

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