Paperback & ebook, 143 Pages
April 6, 2021 by Burns and Lea Books
In the middle of the hall, a massive slab has formed alongside a freshly painted sign, Do Not Enter.
I tap the toe of my boot onto its slick surface, taking one cautious step; my boot instantly shoots out, widening my legs, my other leg collapsing at the knee.
My bottom collides with the ice with a jaw-rattling whomp.
Tears of pain form, and I sit still, trying to catch my breath.
I wipe them away.
Gritting my teeth, I crawl on all fours, constantly readjusting my knees as they slip and slide on the rain-soaked ice.
My skin crawls with memory—of slipping under the ice a few months ago, when I broke through the pond.
The feel of the climbing freeze as it devoured my legs.
As if sensing my distraction, the musical message alters… Come to me.
The sing-song voice humming in my mind’s ear is a mezzo—the voice between alto and soprano.
I hum middle C in my alto, allowing the waves of comfort to wash over me.
I finally reach the other side and hurry forward, my clothes damp and beginning to harden with ice. I pelt forward, past the thick, beveled panes of glass. The light outside is altering as dawn draws near.
My teeth ch-chatter, and I forcefully clamp them together.
The thickened-air ribbon of turning, twirling music enters the wide-open door, and I halt at the entrance.
Ward Six is eerily empty. The wards are frightening when filled with the residents—but remove the souls…
Empty medicine carts; abandoned blankets thrown carelessly over moth-eaten chairs. Mud-streaked floors lead to the solitary cells, their metal doors flung wide, allowing the stench of urine to permeate the corridor.
The harmonic ribbon has vanished, leaving me alone.
I hear them before I see them.
My chest heaves, water flooding my mouth—I taste metallic fear and swallow.
The creaking. The endless whirring.
It can be only one thing.
I whimper but follow the sound, like a rat to its Pied Piper’s call… all in the world fading away.
I see nothing, hear only the grinding of gears.
I reach the massive oak doors, with the metal knocker crafted into a leering gargoyle—the ring in its mouth like captured prey.
I grasp the handles with two hands, flinging the doors open, and step inside.
The massive amphitheater, where Frost performed his treatments. I stare up into the cathedral ceiling heights and gag.
Every machine is activated, humming and shivering as one. A mechanical, hulking house of terrors.
I search left and right so quickly my head spins.
No one. I see no one.
My mind vaguely wonders if the word machination was perhaps somehow derived, given birth, from this very room.
A swirling, spinning chair whizzes by, nearly knocking me over. But I am stupefied, frozen in fear. The memories of this place bind me tight, squeezing around my windpipe, choking me into submission.
A twirling bed rises high into the cathedral heights, plummeting down, up, and down like the undulations of a sea serpent through the surf.
This room is an extension of the man—methodical, mechanical, and cold as iron.
My eyes drop to the floor. Leeches squirm and crawl, falling one over the other on the flagstones—a barrel of them upended. How do they yet live?
Crème of tartar—the purging medicine, flung everywhere, dusting the machines like a newly fallen snow.
And in the corner… his newest acquisition. The electricity chair.
It is said to be the only one of its kind. Pioneered by Frost and Gentile. They were working on the patent when Frost disappeared.
Its circular headpiece shines like a blackened halo.
Only instead of a calling to heavenly life, it grants an irrevocable altering of self… or a black, charred death.
A spark jumps within the halo, and icy water fills my bowels, leaks to my knees, and they crumple. The world blackens. And the final sound I hear is the maniacal cackle.
She has come.
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
February 4, 2019 by Burns and Lea Books
Life for Patient 29 is full of medicated day dreams of a life outside the walls of Soothing Hills Asylum. But fantasies are not all that consume her. A monster roams the halls of the sanitarium she reluctantly calls home and three girls have been found dead. The dead girls share one common thread . . . each was 29's cell mate. As the investigation gets under way, she retreats into her mind, listening to the voices that call to her. She is endowed with the cursed gift of perception. Through it, she hears messages carried upon the notes of music, discerns words hidden among the strokes of paintings, and minds pleadings for help from the corn field outside.
Could the key to the murders lie within 29's broken mind? Mason, an orderly, does not see 29 as a lunatic and as his belief in her grows so does her self-confidence. The possibility of one day leaving the asylum seems less and less like a fantasy. But the monster has other plans for her. Leaving will not be so easy, at least not while she is alive.
About the Author
- One winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and an audiobook of HERE WALK THE DEAD
Ends May 5, 2021