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I have started a new feature on my blog, called Author Spotlight – Guest Posts. As you can see from the image above, I am looking for themed posts about fairies, myths, and magic. If you are an interested author and would like to be featured on my blog, please click HERE to find out more. ~Colleen~
My guest author today is Andrew Joyce who writes historical western fiction that transports you back to the glory days of the old west. He also writes some scary short stories that are so strange and unusual they might creep you out. Hang onto your seat, because he has a story to share with you!
Author, Andrew Joyce
My name is Andrew Joyce, and on occasion, I’ll write a book. I mean, what the hell? I ain’t got nothin’ else to do. But sometimes, when I’ll get struck by lightning … so to speak … I’ll write a short story. Going back a few years, I’ve been struck by lightning quite a lot.
Having all these stories lying around really irked my editor. So, for two years she’s been badgering me to put them into book form so people could read them. And for two years, I told her that would entail a lot of work, what with editing and everything.
Finally … she wore me down. Originally, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups was supposed to be a two-volume set. But I wanted to get it over with. Hence, I put them all into one tome (218,000 words—enough for three books!).
Half the stories are fiction, and half are nonfiction. As stated in the blurb, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres.
Here’s one story from my book. I hope you enjoy it.
By Andrew Joyce
They are always with me. At times they appear out of the ethereal mist, and other times they speak directly to my mind. I wish they would leave me to myself … but that they will not do. No, first I must do their bidding.
They come in the night and stay until the black sky fades to gray. When the stars leave the sky and the clouds to the east turn pink, I am allowed my rest. But I ask you, what respite can a murderer have? At their behest, I have killed again this night. And I will continue to kill until they go back from whence they came.
I remember the first time they came to me. It was a little over a year ago, and since then I have killed twenty-nine people. Please do not think me insane. I assure you these beings are real and not imminent. At first, I, too, thought myself demented and delusional when they stood before me, telling me they came to save the human race, and to accomplish their mission, certain people must die. They explained that the demise of the race was not impending, but if action was not taken, and taken soon, it would be too late to set things on a course to ensure the continuance of mankind.
You are probably wondering if you do not think me crazed, why they cannot do their own dirty work. That is a very good question and one I have asked of them. They, of course, are not of our time and space. They appear—when they appear—as diaphanous specters; they cannot manipulate physical matter. Thus, I have become their instrument here on earth. Where or when they are from, I do not know. And why out of all the billions on this planet, I was chosen, I know not. But it has been a long night, and I must sleep. I will continue this at a later date, and continue it I shall, for I want there to be a record of my actions and the reasons for them.
I am back. It has been two days since my last entry in this journal, and tonight they had me kill again. That makes thirty people—thirty innocent people … men, women, and children—I have dispatched from this world. Yes … I am sorry to say they have had me kill children. However, I was told that after tonight there would be no more need of my services. The human race was safe for the foreseeable future.
I refer to my tormentors as they or them because I do not know what they call themselves. Their form is vaguely human … two arms, two legs, and a head of sorts atop a torso, but their gossamer appearance precludes calling them human.
Tonight’s victim was a man in Moscow. I was directed to him and given his name. I then set about their business. I was told that his son, yet unborn, would one day invent something that would cause the death of billions. Being told the purpose for this particular death was a departure from the norm. I had never been given rhyme nor reason for any of the others. The man’s name and the names of the other twenty-nine, including where and when they died, are in the addendum attached to this missive. I remember every one of my quarries.
I guess I should have mentioned this earlier, but my victims were scattered around the world. I do not know how they did it, but one minute I was in my room behind a locked door, and the next minute I was standing in a foreign locale with the name of that night’s victim swirling through my brain. Then into my mind came the place I could find him or her in the city, town, or hamlet.
Now, the thirty-first person will die. They, at last, have left me to myself. I am now free to end this the only way it can be ended—with my death. I’ve been saving and hiding my medication for quite a while now; there is enough to kill me three times over. May God have mercy on my soul.
I affix my hand to this document this 3rd day of June in the year of our Lord 2017.
• • • • •
When Dr. Allen had finished reading the above, he turned to Dr. Harris and said, “Interesting, but why have you brought it to me? We both know that the man was a certified, delusional schizophrenic. How long have we had him here at our institution?”
Dr. Harris hesitantly answered, “He’s been here at Oakwood twelve years, sir.”
“Well, there you have it. It’s too bad he took his own life; it doesn’t help our reputation any, but these things happen.”
“Yes, sir. However, there is something I think you ought to know.”
“I’ve taken the liberty of investigating a few of the names on Fitzgerald’s list. It’s taken me three weeks, but I’ve verified eleven of the deaths and their time and place. They all correspond with what Fitzgerald has written.”
Dr. Allen straightened in his seat, glanced at the papers in his hand, then looking Dr. Harris in the eye, forcefully said, “Preposterous! If there is any correlation, he read of the deaths in the newspaper or heard of them on the television.”
“Excuse me, sir, but Fitzgerald had no access to newspapers. He was denied them because they would agitate him to no end. And the only television he had access to was in the day room where the set is perpetually tuned to a movie channel.”
“That still does not give credence to this fairytale,” said Dr. Allen, waving the Fitzgerald papers in Dr. Harris’ direction.
“No, sir, it does not. However, there is one more thing I think I should make you aware of. My sister is married to a Russian physicist, speaks fluent Russian, and lives in Moscow. I called her about the last name on Fitzgerald’s list. She made a few calls for me, and it turns out that Fitzgerald was dead before the body of the man he mentions was discovered. And just one more thing, sir. The man’s wallet was found in Fitzgerald’s room. I have it if you’d like to see it.”
Turning a color red that is not in the regular spectrum, Dr. Allen shouted, “NO! I DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE DAMN WALLET!” Handing the Fitzgerald papers to Dr. Harris and with ice in his voice, he said, “Burn these, burn them now. And, if you value your position here at Oakwood, you will never speak of this matter again … to anyone. Do I make myself clear?”
Dr. Harris accepted the papers with a meek, “Yes, sir,” and walked out of the room. When he was in the hall and by himself, he muttered, “I’ll be goddamned … the old bastard is afraid.”
But Dr. Harris did not burn the papers. He placed them, along with the wallet, in his desk drawer and locked it. He had some thinking to do. As he started on his rounds, a quote of Shakespeare’s kept repeating itself in his head. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
©2017 Andrew Joyce
More about the author:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.
Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.
If you enjoyed this story, please check out his new book below.
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Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger’s hexastich, Abhanga, and diatelle poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and in “Hedgerow, a journal of small poems,” and in various other online publications. She’s won numerous awards from participating in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, a yearly 99-word flash fiction contest sponsored by carrotranch.com, an online writing community. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen has published a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020” published by Plaisted Publishing House. Colleen Chesebro’s poetry blog is called Word Craft – Prose & Poetry at https://wordcraftpoetry.com/ Her author blog is found at https://colleenchesebro.com where you will find her poetry and short stories.