Paul is a raging alcoholic whose addiction suddenly manifests itself one
cold Utah night in the form of a beautiful woman. Terra Drake, at first,
seems warm and inviting, but she soon shows him the horrors sheíd
beset upon his small town, the murder of his next-door neighbor, the
bewitching of his hairstylists, the freakshow the county fair had
become, and the damnation of his priest in the new Church of Flies.
Sheís in cahoots with another demon, the Hooded Darkness, who stalks
him at every turn, and the more he drinks, the more horror he sees and
the more he blames them for the misery that has befallen small-town
America. As his warnings to citizens and friends go unheeded, he strikes
out on his own to defeat this ultimate evil, to save the world before
hell itself comes calling.
the e-book NOW
the paperback NOW
E-book is also
the e-book from the TWB Press bookstore
the author the highest royalties)
one or all these formats
mobi, & epub
making the payment to PayPal, on the last page, be sure to click the
link that says "Return to TWB Press" so you can download the
HARD TO SAY WHEN it all started, when the bottom fell out of every facet
of normal life in the empty jar called earth, in a small mountain town
called Duncan. When the demon woman Terra Drake raced through nice and
wicked like, when she tore out the hearts and souls of anyone coming
near. When she told me she wanted to live in the real-time rage she
called anger management. When neighbors turned into monsters, priests
into warlocks, and ghosts rummaged through the night like rat savages in
search of something sick to fill their hollow guts. When ghouls roamed
the streets with nowhere to go but into the frozen underground to feed
on the dead voles and the worms that fed on their carcasses. When
carolers sang in chants so vile and filthy all the Christmas lights in
town burned bright red until each bulb split apart like a mad boil. When
the frightful chill of night seemed to never end, when the vastness of
endless ink blasted out across the mountains, faces like spewed flashes
of tortured, dying flames...all a blur of furious black gushing through
every surrounding like dead tornadoes filled with dead tornado things,
all of them swirling in messy, bloody, glorious dead gore that pummeled
the deep Winter frosts of an eternity in the making. Only laughing gods
did more than howl like wolves that anguished under the moons that
splashed its reflection across the void of space to illuminate
everything below. I wondered if there was any real meaning to any of it.
But I get ahead of myself.
A few years ago, Iíd heard
about Terra Drake on the news, before the pandemic, a strange and
terrifying woman who had allegedly killed some rich tech writer out of
Houston. Death by sexual insanity. Literally. I resonated with this
because Iíd done plenty of technical writing myself, and now, as an
editor, I could appreciate what the guy did for a living. I also went
back and forth to Houston myself on a regular basis. Work, family.
Whatever. Nothing was ever proven about the murder; it was her word
against the dead manís. Didnít matter how gruesome the scene.
Another rumor claimed sheíd taken the place of another manís wife
who transformed into Terra Drake herself, fighting to the death in a
bloodbath where the husband faced her in his living room, shotgun in
hand, and she fought back with only talons and teeth. So the story went.
When police and EMS found him, theyíd said his body looked like some
hideous hybrid of a giant metal insect fused together in what was once
his human side. Not a soul knew what the hell had caused such a
Kafkaesque freakshow, other than a colonoscopy that had gone terribly
awry. Drake herself had survived the manís twelve-gauge blast, and
sheíd healed to a point where not even a scarís trace remained.
Like I said, just a rumor.
Tabloid trash at best.
Then again, maybe the tabloid
trash was anything but.
After a few weeks researching
all I could find about this fascinating murderess, allegedly so, I found
myself in a Covid moment. One of those we were all feeling as 2020
kicked our teeth down our throats, one healthy tooth at a time. I was
walking up and down my driveway, shoveling snow, wondering when the
virus would actually effect my life. When would it murder someone I knew
and loved? Anna, my estranged wife...it had been over a year since Iíd
heard a word from her. Maybe she was already dead. Wouldnít have
surprised me. Mother or dad? Sibling or friend? My brother, Marion...was
he dead or alive? I didnít know because I hadnít called him in
years. How would Covid slip its way into my career, which was nearly
resurrected from all the decades of ruin Iíd put it through with the
ole drink and drug combo?
Covid continued its joyous
menace as a political weapon, or medical tragedy; I could take my pick.
Folks had begun to care not one shitís whisper, but I wanted to know
where itíd been in my life. Why hadnít it reached out to give me a
nice warm, ďHello, Steven. Iím here. Are you ready to blow out the
Iíd just landed from
another long Houston trip, sitting inches from people wearing masks on a
sardine-packed jet with signs everywhere telling us all to stay six feet
apart. If this was the worst Covid had for me, then Iíd take it.
Now, being back home at the
ranch, in the small town of Duncan, Utah, sacked back in the mountains,
made things seem even more the curious as to the hows of Covidís
Iíd sent a text message to
my next-door neighbor, Stan Smitts. Let him know I was back. Thanked him
for watching after the place. Blah, blah. But, it was Covid that
answered back; I just didnít expect it.
ďIím in the hospital.
Emergency room. Covid positive, but glad youíre back.Ē
Stan was 65 years old,
overweight some hundred-plus pounds, maybe six-one, and an alcoholic as
fierce as Iíd ever been. In fact, that was the first thing that
Heíll certainly go
through alcohol withdrawal thatíll surely kill him before the virus
Over the next few weeks Iíd
texted with him daily, checked on how heíd been holding up, sent him
positive messages of hope and cheer.
approaching, and Stan canít even suck down a brandy, so he may as well
have some digital joy.
Several days before
Halloween, maybe it was more like a week, it was already feeling like we
were deep into Winterís hollow eyes, but Fall had just begun, when
Iíd come back from Houston, an over-nighter, and hadnít even gone
inside to unpack and freshen up, because I immediately started throwing
down rock salt to keep the walkways clear and shoveling the snow that
had already fallen. Thatís when Stanís beastly white 4 x 4 creeped
down his massive black-top driveway.
I didnít think he should be
driving, but who cares what I think? I set down my shovel, raised
my hand in welcome, and watched his truck inch so close to my wood fence
that I wondered if heíd ram right through it. Mufflers growled at me.
The electric window whirred slowly down. I stepped over the fence to the
passenger door to greet him.
When I saw him, I heard Covid
ask if I was ready to blow out the candles. Asked me if I was ready for
the horrid tale of a Hooded Darkness, his dreadful dance with Terra
Drake and their worshipping gang of thieves. I heard the warning
of the not-so-distant future, the terror of the demon womanís rape of
my town, all of small-town America, my friends, and my own mind that
would surely give my tormented halls of loneliness and anguish a good
ole horror show, for sure.