Medium roast coffee to espresso... Yes, I have a darker side, and it's quite strong, so if you like a darker brew, read on.
Here's an excerpt from my short horror story Past Midnight available only in Aphrodite's Apples SPELLBOUND anthology...
The path which led through the oak grove was overgrown with brambles and looked as though it would not allow nosey explorers down its length. This forest, which had once appeared inviting, was now sinister, a sensation I somehow found most seductive. Fear threatened, but I liked it. Enticed by the sense of danger, I'd squared my shoulders and plunged into the shadows beneath the branches.
I had not plunged far before the trees began to touch me.
Thin, low hung branches laced themselves in my clothing and hair, the supple tendrils pulling--urging--hastening my progress as they pulled me along with the night breezes. Gnarled roots cropped up to push my feet along the path. The bushes and young seedlings turned at my passing, clearing a path, but one sapling, which I pushed aside, swung back and slapped my rear with such force that I pitched forward and landed hard on my knee. The resultant gash ripped down to the bone.
"Dammit!" I growled, wiping my hands on my pants as I stood. "So fucking clumsy…"
I spat curses as fast as the cut poured blood. I limped on, looking for a place to rest and tend to my wound. About twenty yards from the old stone fence, I stopped to doctor my cut. The antibiotic ointment stung like hell, and the bandage hardly fit, but eventually I stopped the blood from trickling into my wool sock, and so I allowed the forest to lead me on.
The giant trunks thinned out somewhat along a drive now choked with saplings. The young trees bent eagerly beneath my touch as I made my way to the front gate. When I reached it, I stood for a moment, savoring the goal which I had chased after for so long.
I looked over at the sprawling house, cedar sided, the windows covered by shutters, and white pillars to either side of the door like white fangs to the gaping maw of hell.
It was certainly sullen, seemed as if it was waiting.
The gate hung from a broken hinge, and thumped uselessly against the river stone fence that scarcely held back the encroaching forest. I lingered another moment on the outside looking in. Suddenly, I was not so eager to partake of its shadowed secrets.
Perhaps, I thought, my grandmother was right. Maybe this place is cursed…
I looked down at my military surplus watch. The green digits cast an eerie glow over my exposed wrist. .
"Don't go in them woods past … Nothing good'll come."
My grandmother's words echoed in my thoughts. I had always disregarded her warnings as the ramblings of senility. But now, standing alone on the empty path, the hairs on the back of my neck began to rise. I felt a presence. It was as if someone, or something, was watching me, creeping up behind me.
Goose pimples crept across my flesh and tightened my scalp. Whatever occupied the path with me was too close. I could almost see it in my mind, reaching out a fetid hand to touch my shoulder… My breath came hurried and shallow. The still night air brushed past my face, as though in the wake of movement, and then my senses went haywire.
I was not alone.
Something else inhabited the woods, and it was evil.
The door of the house beckoned, offered me safe harbor. Forsaking common sense for feigned safety, I bolted through the swinging gate, and ran flat out for the porch and the front door. I jumped up the steps – one and then two. My sneakers, damp with dew, skidded across the mildew-covered wood slats of the porch. I crashed down hard on the same knee that I had just recently injured.
The bandage peeled off as I struggled on the slick surface, and the slimy green growth was grounded into the abraded skin. My guts rolled in response to the clammy muck, and my heart raced in dread--I was deathly allergic to mold, and now would need to use my allergy meds.
"Dammit!" I spat once more.
The answering silence was unnerving as it swished through the mists...
Here's the link if you're interested in reading more in a story of family heritage and karma come full circle...