a look at the film based on the horror novel by Dean Koontz
a look at the film based on the horror novel by Dean Koontz
Book trailer for ‘Brutal Light,’ the dark fantasy novel by Gary W. Olson available now from Damnation Books (damnationbooks.com). If the video intrigues you, come over to BrutalLight.GaryWOlson.com to learn more. Sign up for the newsletter and get a free short story! As for what it’s about… “All Kagami Takeda wants is to be left alone, so that no one else can be destroyed by the madness she keeps at bay. Her connection to the Radiance–a merciless and godlike sea of light–has driven her family insane and given her lover strange abilities and terrible visions. But the occult forces that covet her access to the Radiance are relentless in their pursuit. Worse, the Radiance itself has created an enemy who can kill her–a fate that would unleash its ravenous power on a defenseless city…”
Pros: Gorgeous story with beautiful world background
Cons: Do try to read the series in order!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Pros: Gorgeous story with beautiful world background
Cons: Do try to read the series in order!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Growing up in the 1960′s and 1970′s in England one of my favourite things was buying and reading comics. My favourite comic’s were Valiant, Victor, Shiver and Shake which were ones with War Stories, Horror stories or Science fiction stories.
In the 19th century, story papers (containing illustrated text stories), known as “Penny Dreadfuls”due to their cover price, served as entertainment for British children. Full of close-printed text with few illustrations, they were essentially no different to a book, except that they were somewhat shorter and that typically the story was serialised over many weekly issues in order to maintain sales.
These serial stories could run to hundreds of instalments if they were popular. And to pad out a successful series, writers would insert quite extraneous material such as the geography of the country in which the action was occurring, just so that the story would extend into more issues. Plagiarism was rife, with magazines pirating competitors’ successes under a few cosmetic name changes.
Apart from action and historical stories, there was also a fashion for horror and the supernatural, with epics like Varney The Vampire running for years. Horror, in particular, gave rise to the epithet penny dreadful. Stories featuring criminals such as ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’, pirates, highwaymen (especially Dick Turpin), and detectives (including Sexton Blake) dominated decades of the Victorian and early 20th-century weeklies.
Comic strips – stories told primarily in strip cartoon form, rather than as a written narrative with illustrations – emerged only slowly. Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday (1884) is reputed to be the first comic strip magazine to feature a recurring character, and the first British comic that would be recognised as such today. This strip cost one penny and was designed for adults. Ally, the recurring character, was a working class fellow who got up to various forms of mischief and often suffered for it.
In 1890 two more comic magazines debuted before the British public, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips, both published by Amalgamated Press. These magazines notoriously reprinted British and American material, previously published in newspapers and magazines, without permission. The success of these comics was such that Amalgamated’s owner, Alfred Harmsworth, was able to launch The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror newspapers on the profits.
Over the next thirty years or so, comic publishers saw the juvenile market as the most profitable, and thus geared their publications accordingly, so that by 1914 most comics were aimed at eight to twelve year olds.
The period between the two wars is notable mainly for the publication of annuals by Amalgamated Press, and also the emergence of DC Thomson launching both the Beano and the Dandy in the late 1930s, as previously noted.
During the Second World War the Beano and Dandy thrived, due to the wartime paper shortage which forced many rival comics to close. It is these two titles, more than any other, that have come to define a comic in the British public’s mind. Their successful mix of irreverence and slapstick led to many similar titles, notably Topper and Beezer. However the originators of this format have outlasted all rivals, and are still published today.
During the 1950s and 1960s the most popular comic magazine for older age-group boys was the Eagle published by Hulton Press. The Eagle was published in a more expensive format, and was a gravure-printed weekly. This format was one used originally by Mickey Mouse Weekly during the 1930s. The Eagle’s success saw a number of comics launched in a similar format, TV Century 21, Look and Learn and TV Comic being notable examples. Comics published in this format were known in the trade as “slicks”. At the end of the 1960s these comics moved away from gravure Printing, preferring offset litho due to cost considerations arising from decreasing readership.
By 1970 the British comics market was in a long term decline, as comics lost popularity in the face of the rise of other popular pastimes for children. Initially the challenge was the rising popularity of television, a trend which the introduction of colour television to Britain during 1969 set in stone. In an effort to counter the trend, many publishers switched the focus of their comics towards television-related characters. The television shows of Gerry Anderson had begun this in 1966 with the launch of tie-in comics such as TV21 and Lady Penelope that included only strips related to Anderson’s TV shows. Polystyle Publications already published a TV-related comic for young children called TV Comic, and in 1971 moved into the older market with Countdown (later retitled TV Action).
The teenage market saw Look-In magazine feature strips solely based on popular television programmes. Another strand of the reaction to television was the launch of comics focused entirely on football (soccer being as popular as television amongst boys), with titles such as Shoot and Scorcher and Score. Those comics which didn’t address the issue of television began to close, merging with the few survivors.
However, the boys adventure comic was still popular, and titles such as Valiant and Tiger
Published by IPC saw new adventure heroes become stars, including Roy of the Rovers who would eventually gain his own title. Oldham Press was a company which mainly printed new material that was adventure oriented.
In the 1970s very few boys’ comics in the “slick” format were launched, although Countdown was one exception, launching in 1971 with content similar to TV 21 (which had closed by then) and TV Comic. Vulcan, a reprint title, was another, in 1976. Girls’ titles which had launched in the “slick” format in the 1960s continued in that format into the 1970s; and others, such as Diana and Judy, changed to become slicks. They found themselves in the same market as teenage titles for girls such as Boyfriend and Blue Jeans, which had changed their content and were featuring mainly product-related articles and photo-strips.
Viz began life in 1979 as a fanzine style publication, before, in 1989, becoming the biggest selling magazine in the country. Based upon bad taste, crude language, crude sexual innuendo, and the parodying of strips from the dandy (among them Black bag – the Faithful Border Bin Liner, a parody of The Dandy’s Black Bob series about a Border Collie), the popularity of Viz depended entirely upon a variant of Sixties counter-culture; it is still one of the United Kingdom’s top selling magazines.
The Star Wars magazine lasted into the late 1980s, although it changed its name in line with each movie release. In 1982 The Eagle was relaunched, this time including photo-strips, but still with Dan Dare as the lead story. The comic moved him from the front page to the centre pages to allow a more magazine-style cover.
In the 21st Century there have also been changes in the comics market with a growth in home-grown Graphic Novels and Manga.
There have been hundreds of comics in the UK, including the following A to Z:
2000 AD (1977–current)
Air Ace Picture Library (1960–1970)
Andy Capp (1957–current)
Battle Picture Weekly (1975–1988)
The Beano (1938–current)
The Beezer (1956–1993)
The Big One (1964–1965)
The Boy’s Own Paper (1879–1967)
Boys’ World (1963–1964)
Buster Classics (1996)
Classics from the Comics (1996–current)
Comic Cuts (1890–1953)
Commando Comics (1961–current)
The Dandy (1937–current)
Deadline magazine (1988–1995)
The DFC (2008–2009)
Dice Man (1986)
The Eagle (1950–1969) and (1982–1994)
Film Fun (1920–1962)
Funny (1989-early 1990s)
Fun Size Beano (1997–current)
Fun Size Dandy (1997–current)
The Gem (1907–1939)
Girl (1951–1964) and (1981–1990)
Heven & Hell (1990)
Illustrated Chips (1890–1953)
Jack and Jill (1885–1887) and (1954–1985)
The Judge Dredd Megazine (1990–current)
Knockout (1939–1963) and (1971–1973)
Linzy & Charcol (2006)
Look and Learn (1962–1982)
The Magic Comic (1939–1941)
The Magnet (1908–1940)
Mickey Mouse Weekly (1936–1955)
Monster Fun (1975–1976)
Night Warrior (2005–current)
Picture Politics (1894–1914)
Picture Fun (1909–1920)
Poot! (2009–current, 1980s–1990s)
Prehistoric Peeps (1890s)
Radio Fun (1938–1961)
Roy of the Rovers (1976–1993)
School Fun (1983–1984)
Sgt. Mike Battle (2001–current)
Shiver and Shake (1973–1974)
Sonic the Comic (1993–2002)
Speed (1980 when merged into Tiger)
Star Wars (Weekly) (1978–1986)
The Swift (1954–1963)
Thunder (1970–1971) and (to 1974 with Lion)
Tiger (1954–1985 when merged into The Eagle)
Tiger Tim’s Weekly (1920–1940)
The Topper (1953–1990) and (to 1993 with Beezer)
Tube Productions (2005–Present)
TV Action (1972–1973)
TV Century 21 (1965–1971)
TV Comic (1951–1984)
Vulcan (1975 to 1976)
War Picture Library (1958–1984)
Whizzer and Chips (1969–1990)
My other website is called Directory of British Icons: http://fabprints.webs.com
The Chinese call Britain ‘The Island of Hero’s’ which I think sums up what we British are all about. We British are inquisitive and competitive and are always looking over the horizon to the next adventure and discovery.
Copyright © 2010 – 2011 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author
I have recently decided to write articles on my favourite subjects: English Sports, English History, English Icons, English Discoveries and English Inventions.
At present I have written many articles which I call “An Englishman’s Favourite Bits Of England” as various chapters.
Please visit my Blogs page http://Bloggs.Resourcez.Com where I have listed my most recent articles to date.
Copyright © 2010 – 2011 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.
Pros: Enjoyable stories of odd happenings
Cons: Some predictableness; due to the length of the stories, some characters lacked depth
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Edgar Wright awaits THE SENTINEL Jeffrey Konvitz’s best-selling horror novel was brought to the screen by Michael Winner, considered in some circles one of cinema’s great vulgarians. With the aid of a top-notch cast Winner threw any notion of good taste to the winds, resulting in one of the most non-pc studio movies ever. As always, all the great trailers and trailer commentaries that you desire await you at www.trailersfromhell.com ABOUT EDGAR WRIGHT Writer-director EDGAR WRIGHT is best known for Spaced, the BAFTA-nominated tv series he created with Simon Pegg for Britain’s C-4, as well as the recently-released feature film Hot Fuzz (2007) and the zombie romantic-comedy Shaun Of The Dead (2004). The latter earned Wright a BAFTA nomination along with a Bram Stoker and a British Independent Film Award. Edgar’s latest film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, was released last summer. Edgar just produced ATTACK THE BLOCK and his next is a screenwriting credit on TINTIN THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN (alongside co-writer Joe Cornish). He’s been a very busy lad. ABOUTTRAILERS FROM HELL: TFH is the premier showcase for a breathtakingly eclectic assortment of trailers from classic era films both in their original form and punctuated with informative and amusing commentary by contemporary filmmakers. Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com
Werewolves have been a very influential figure in horror mythologies. However, there is an indivisible space between fact and fiction as to how the human being is connected to these creatures. More on than not, the idea behind the existence of werewolves would fit in both fact and fiction without violating each planes. The explanation of how werewolves came to be is leaning more towards the constructs of man. Ever since mankind has existed, human vision has always been an uncertain mode of verifying the truth, even though it is normally considered to be the most reliable of all senses. People in the old days cannot really make sense of what they see. Even until now, the sense of sight still proves to be quite misdirecting. Do people really see a grotesque fusion of man and wolf in a literal sense? Or did our ancient forefathers leave us with symbolic ideologies to ease our wisdom?
There are three perspectives that define what a werewolf is. They either put together the pieces in one mysterious puzzle, or create their exclusive version of the truth isolated from one another. It depends upon how one views it. These are the following:
I. Cultural or Religious
Shamanism is considered to be the oldest form of religion that dates back from hunting-gathering societies. Therefore, this particular faith has existed before civilization began. One of the main beliefs of shamanism centers on animal worship. Unlike the Abrahamic and Buddhist faiths leaning towards humanistic divinity, shamanism puts animals on the higher plane of spiritual mysticism compared to human beings. This particular religion is prevalent though a bit unique in each indigenous cultures like the Iroquois of North America, the Aztec-Mayan cultures of South America, Aborigines of Australia, Headhunters of Southeast Asia, the Ainu of East Asia and Siberia, and the Druids of Europe. It comes to no surprise that within the jurisdiction of animal worshiping, there is still a dividing line that identifies the good and the evil or rather the harmonious or the malevolent. The worshiping of ferocious nocturnal canine creatures such as the spirit of the bear and the wolf always exude a frightening aura around individuals indulging in it, especially considering the notion that these animal spirits can always freely posses human beings. In the Iroquois legend, the Wendigo is considered to be a kind of evil winter-dwelling shape-shifting spirit corrupting the human heart and compelling him or her to commit grisly acts like cannibalism and frenzied manslaughter. It is believed that the Wendigo possesses attributes that are lupine in nature and it is easy to identify it to the global conception of what a werewolf is.
There is a behavioral abnormality that afflicts mankind that compels him or her to act and think like a wolf in a certain degree. They call this particular dementia as the lycanthropy disorder. This mental illness not only enables a person to inhibit some mannerism that identify him or her with the creature, they also believed that they can manifest themselves into wolves through their own perception of shape-shifting. It is quite a rare tendency that somewhat combines bipolar disorder and random homicidal drives. Another related dementia, more unique yet similar from the previously mentioned, is what some people call the Wendigo disorder. The same violent fits and outbursts occur when a patient is exposed in extreme cold temperature or climate for a long time. They are not only violent, but they have the tendency to be cannibalistic as well.
III. Genetics and Anthropology
Certain physical abnormalities unfortunately occur to some people as their bodies develop. Let’s just say that some people did not grow up normally. It is impossible or highly controversial for one person to be afflicted with a certain mutation that manifests lupine features. Some people may ave pointed wolf-like ears or abnormal irises like that of a dog or a wolf. The most well known case involved twin brothers having thick black hair covering the entire face. It has nothing to do with shape-shifting or ravenous manners and it is scientifically possible. Another related perspective may also lie to the ambiguous theory that the recorded date of neanderthal extinction may be incorrect given that orthodox references are not universally accurate. It could be possible that some of these neanderthals made it in Medieval era and often fought with the people who are more frightened of their appearance rather than their manpower.
About the Author
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June 15, 1959
When Adrina woke that morning, she knew it would be bad. Even before she sat up, the anxiety was on her. It draped upon her shoulders like a heavy wet blanket, and she could nothing to avoid what was coming. She knew from experience that if she tried, she would only make it worse. She puttered around the kitchen of her small apartment, waiting for it to happen. The anxiety made her feel she had to pee frequently, and she found herself sitting on the toilet for half the morning, staring blankly at the tile pattern on the floor.
Adrina called in sick to work. She was on the cleaning staff for a swanky New York hotel and knew she would be useless today. It was better if she were alone, fewer people would get hurt. “You know that won’t matter a bit!” she said angrily to herself. No, it would not matter, but she knew this was not about the hotel, or any of the service staff she worked with. This was personal. With her nails long bitten down to nubs, she began to pace. To the window, to the door, to the bathroom. With each trip to the window, she would peak out hesitantly, afraid of what she might see. It was a pretty June day, but Adrina could not find any joy in it.
On one of her many trips to the bathroom, she looked for a long time at the tired, scared face in the mirror. She had been pretty once, but that had been many years before, and at 68, her black hair had long ago been replaced by grey. Now that was being replaced too, and the few white hairs stood out obviously just as the grey had done, so long ago. With each trip to the door, she would walk almost tiptoe across the carpet, listening for any sound in the hall. She wanted to bring a chair over to the door, so that she could look out through the peephole, but she knew she would look ridiculous. In her youth, she stood five feet tall, but she had been shrinking steadily for twenty years and the peephole was all but useless to her now.
The day dragged on forever, and it was after her dinner when it finally came. There was a loud knock on the door and Adrina breathed in deeply; she was not expecting anyone. Except, that she was. In her heart she knew, that hiding in her apartment, would not stop it from happening. She was about to open the door and there would be someone standing there. And she would know. She would know something that she could not possibly know. Today it would be about death, there was no question. Maybe one terrible death, maybe more, perhaps a lot more. It had always been this way when she was this keyed up. Someone was going to die.
“Let it be me, let it be me,” she repeated to herself as she walked down the little hall. She thought she was ready for death, she was terribly wrong. She paused at the door, afraid of what was to come, but the sound of another, more insistent knock, made her face her fears and open the door.
“Hello, Mother,” Adrina’s son Tomas stood in the doorway. He looked terrible. She had never in her life seen someone with eyes that bloodshot. He had great dark circles under them that were swollen and puffy. He clearly had not slept in a long time, and the dark circles made his sallow skin appear sickly yellow. His normally neat black hair was uncombed and his face unshaven…
Tomas knelt on the hardwood floor of a barren room, facing away from Adrina. The wood of the floor was glossy and looked polished, and was spotless, without a trace of dirt or dust. Adrina was standing behind her kneeling son, holding a heavy, heavy gun in her right hand. It felt like she must have just pulled it out of a freezer; it was almost painfully cold. Her vision focused on the back of his head; his hair was just beginning to show a few grey hairs.
She felt no emotion as she pulled the trigger and shot him in the back of the head. The bullet blasted out of his face, spraying the room with blood and gore. Her vision was cloudy about the edges and tunneled, so that only when he toppled over, onto a girl, did she realize the walls were a harsh stark white. Tomas’ blood stood out brightly against the white of the wall and it ran down the wall in long streaks. Adrina’s vision followed the blood down and pulled slowly back to the two figures on the floor in front of her. Tomas was sprawled face down, over the body of the girl, who was pale as death. His blood was pooling around her and steam was rising from it.
…”Hello, Tomas. What can I do for you?” her voice was a hollow whisper. The nervousness was gone and in its place was only stunned disbelief.
“I need your help badly. I ahh, ahh” Tomas said desperately. He walked in uninvited and began to pace the room, frantically. He seemed to be looking for the right words. “Mother, I…” he stopped again in midsentence, his eyes on the carpet as his mind worked.
The images of the future were swirling around in her mind. The cold, cold gun, the blood flying, the pale girl wearing, what looked to be a long pillowcase. She must have saw wrong that’s all. Tomas had been kneeling and facing away, it could have been someone else. “He’s wearing the same shirt, it will be today,” a voice inside her said.
“I don’t think I c-can hel-hel-help you that way,” she stammered her voice still with only the strength of a whisper.
He looked at her sharply. “What way? What do you know?” he demanded and this question focused her quickly. She could not tell him no matter what. How this could get worse, she did not know. But it would be if she tried in any way to avert his fate, somehow it would be worse.
“I, I, I don’t have any money for you, if that’s what you want.” It was all she could think of to say. It was a poor cover up and Tomas saw through it.
“Why would I want money? Don’t play stupid with me, Mother! I know you have a, um, a gift… powers… or clairvoyance or something. That’s the reason why I am here.” He was angry and stared hard at her. In a moment however, his exhaustion doused the anger and his shoulders slumped. “You know things you shouldn’t. You see the future, right? I’ve known since I was a kid,” he added quietly.
“You call it a gift,” Adrina’s voice became strident, “It’s not a gift, it’s…”
“You can tell me in the car,” he said cutting her off. He gripped her shoulders with both of his hands and gave her a slight shake, “I need you to come with me. You will come, right? It’s Emily.” His red eyes looked suddenly very sad, his face drooping in misery, “She needs you… your, your kind of help.”
Adrina did not think she would be much help to Emily. In the vision, the body on the floor had to be her granddaughter and Adrina was sure she was dead at that point. She had been so pale that Adrina had not even recognized her, and she wondered again how this could get any worse. Adrina drew in a long breath, “I will come and I will do what I can, but… but, I won’t, I can’t…” There was no way she could kill her own son. How was she supposed to help? She did not even know what she was supposed to do, other than pull a trigger. Her mind was starting to replay the vision and she shook her head, hard.
“Good. Do you need anything to… to… you know, bring anything?” he asked. Adrina was confused and thought Tomas meant luggage.
“Where are we going?” The thought of the heavy gun had never left her, its grip had been ice cold, “Is it cold there? Should I bring a coat?”
“We are going to my base on Governor’s Island,” he paused, thinking, “But it will be cold, yes, you will need a coat. Bring your heaviest coat, but do you need anything to… you know…” He was looking at her expectantly, his red eyes darting about her face. “You know, to cast a spell or something”
“A spell?!” she cried. First with the vision and now with Tomas talking spells, Adrina suddenly worried that Tomas might have gone insane. He certainly looked it. She also realized with dawning horror how this could get worse. If she interfered in some way, even by accident, he might go on a rampage, killing who knows how many others. “No. No I don’t think I will need a spell,” she said calmly with a forced smile.
Her abrupt mood change caused Tomas to peer into her face, “Mother, listen to me. Something has happened to Emily. I don’t know what exactly.” He paused blinking repeatedly, trying to hold back tears, “I think maybe… she might be possessed by…” he was looking away from Adrina now, shaking his head back and forth slowly as if his brain could not believe what he was saying. “By a demon I think,” he said in a whisper.
He was not crazy and worse he was telling the truth. She knew it. For the second time in ten minutes, she knew. Goose bumps broke out down her arms and back and she shivered momentarily. There was a demon. How was this possible? “It’s important you tell me everything you know,” she said.
“Everything? Ok, ok, well, there have been weird things going on in that house for a while. Really, since we first moved in.” He was talking quickly and it seemed to relax him at first. “Small things, like the furnace wouldn’t stay lit and things would go missing and sometimes odd sounds in the house. Like that. But… but, it was the other day, Friday? What day is it?” he asked her.
“Monday dear,” she said calmly. Her voice was calm but her body was beginning to shake. It started in her arms and hands, but soon even her chest felt like it was vibrating. She went to the couch and sat down.
He blinked a few times and then rubbed at his eyes. Adrina could imagine how gritty they must feel. “Lord, it was Friday night. That long.” He sighed, a great tired sigh, “Emily had a friend spending the night, and I guess something happened.” His mouth hung open and he shook his head in bewilderment, “I don’t know what. I was in bed with Mary, when I heard a scream. It was a scream like someone was scared to death… and… and …and it was coming from the attic where Emily’s room is. I was up and running out of my room… when I heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs down the hall. I stopped, I figured the girls were going to come tell me about a mouse or spider or something. However, it was Emily’s friend. She raced down the stairs; our bedroom is on the second floor, remember? Well, she raced right past the landing and down the next set of stairs in a blur.”
“I went to the landing and was about to call down when I felt the cold coming from the attic. It was like winter up there. I was shirtless, because it had been a warm night and now I was starting to shiver. I went up the stairs and everything was dark up there. I turned on the hall light when I got up there, and… and.” He stopped talking and Adrina saw that he too was shaking now, and his eyes were large and far away, seeing whatever it was in the attic. “And the hall is only about fifteen feet long. And Emily’s room is on the far right. And there are a couple of other rooms and… and… and.”
“And what was in Emily’s room?” Adrina prompted him.
“I went to her doorway. I saw her lying on the floor and it looked like she was on fire, you see?” He was looking at Adrina now, nodding her head to get her to agree with him.
Adrina was horrified at the thought of her granddaughter on fire. “Why was it so cold if she was on fire?”
Tomas shook his head, “I thought she was on fire, so I ran to her, thinking to smother the flames, but there were none. I was just putting my hands out to grab her when I touched it.” He had his hands out in imitation of himself. They were shaking badly and for the first time she noticed that he had a bandage on his left hand. He balled them up and held them to his chest, “I screamed, I know I screamed. It was the coldest thing and … and …the deadest.” His eyes were far away again. He started to weep, “It sucked on my hand. It was dead, it wanted me.”
Adrina watched him cry, feeling bewildered. She did not know what he meant by his last sentence and she was sure she did not want too. She reached out for him and he cried against her for several minutes. When he had settled somewhat she said, “What happened next, I need to know.”
He blubbered again but this time savagely, “I am such a coward! I almost ran away and left her. I had fallen over when… when I touched it. If I hadn’t I would have ran, I know it.”
A dreadful thought occurred to Adrina, “Did you get her away from… the…it?”
“Yes.” he said. The exhaustion was back, sucking the energy out of him and with it came an uncaring attitude. “It was like smoke that seemed to start about a foot over Emily. It was over her…her…her chest. So, I sort of crept to her feet and gave her huge yank. I did not think it would follow me, I didn’t think it could move. I pulled Emily to me and picked her up and ran.” He sat down on Adrina’s old couch and put his head in his hands.
Adrina shook her head sadly, she suddenly realized she had been crying and did not know when she had started. She slid closer to her son, “Tomas you did everything you could. No one could have done better. I love you, I love you.”
“What can I do?” His red eyes looking into her black ones, “How do I save her?”
“Save her? I thought you said you grabbed her and ran.”
“I did, I did, but she hasn’t woke up… she’s in some sort of coma! It’s the demon! Emily is freezing cold to touch, they have these electric blankets on her constantly, but she doesn’t get warm. And when you touch her…” He paused, his fingers in the air touching something that wasn’t there, “You feel the heat pull out of you, like she is sucking it from you somehow.”
Adrina’s head overflowed with too much unwanted information. She felt like throwing it up or crying it out. She wanted to make some tea, then later go to bed and stay there where it was safe. Instead she said, “I will go with you and I will do what I can, I fear it won’t be much.” Besides killing her son, she did not know how she was going to be any help at all.
The trip from Queens, through the city was actually slower in the car, than if they had taken the subway. Traffic had them crawling along and Adrina had nothing to do, but stare out the window as her anxiousness built up in her. Every few seconds, her hand would wrap itself around the ice-cold grip of the gun. There was no sound with the vision and she wondered if the gun would be loud. Would it wake the neighbors? Would the police be called? Did she care? She decided that she didn’t. She was on her way to kill her son, how could she care about anything else.
There was just one part of the trip when the anxiety left her mind. It was during the short ferryboat ride from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Army base on Governor’s Island. She got out of the car and stood looking out at the beautiful view. The last light of day was setting just to the side of the Statue of Liberty, which looked toy like with the distance. The other view, down the length of the boat, was New York City, brightly lit just for her enjoyment or so it seemed. The lights made the city look alive and inviting and she wished momentarily that she was young again, and that her worries would just flit from out of her and drift out to sea, down the Hudson River. She breathed in the sea air and the weather was perfect, just the right shade of warmth and she wanted it to last, but the ride was short and Tomas honked his horn in a hurry to be killed.
The day had been one of the longest in her life, but now that the end was drawing near, time sped up with a dizzying pace. In what felt like seconds, they were pulling up to the church to collect the priest and she knew right away, that he was not going to attempt a real exorcism. Tomas pulled up, but did not stop the engine; he hopped out quickly, “Are you all ready?” he asked the priest. She felt it then, it came in little bursts: Tomas had pressured the priest into doing an exorcism; The priest did not really believe in demons or Hell for that matter; the priest would go through the motions and perform Last Rites but in Latin and would not do the needless exorcism; he would then go home and have some strawberry ice cream and watch the late news.
Father Menning was a small slim man; he wore the simple black attire of his calling and carried nothing but a single book and a black bag that reminded her of a time when doctor’s would make house calls. He looked concerned and was nodding gravely, just about to speak when Adrina asked, “May I help you with your things?” She climbed out of the car slowly. Father Menning looked confused. “I can carry your vestments and maybe the censer?” Adrina did not wait for the priest but started to move slowly toward the church.
Tomas hurried to catch up saying, “Right, just tell me what I can carry for you.” The priest stood for a moment contemplating and then sighed. He went to unlock the church. Adrina unfortunately knew the basics of exorcism.
Once they entered, the priest bustled about with Adrina always nearby offering suggestions, “Do you have an olive branch? Holy water is best used with an olive branch, rather than this …ah”
“That is an aspergillium, and it will work just fine.”
“You should wear the proper vestments, you know. The violet from the Easter service will be good. Besides it will be cold,” her mind strayed to the cold gun and she rubbed her hands together as if they were already freezing.
“She’s right, you will want to bundle up,” Tomas said. The priest almost started to protest the wearing of the Easter Vestments, but stopped. For the first time he looked to be taking this seriously. Father Menning, with Adrina’s supervision gathered his necessary accoutrements and piling into Tomas’ car, they next made their way to the islands one small hospital. Again, Tomas left the car running and hopping out, disappeared into the building.
Father Menning tried to make small talk, which aggravated her to know end, but again Tomas was quick and back in a wink. How he was able to get her out of the hospital, she had no idea. He laid the cold dead body of Emily across the long back seat of the Buick, and Adrina recognized the pillowcase that the girl wore, but she saw now that it was only a hospital gown. “She’s still alive…I know she may not look it, but she still is.” Tomas said to the priest, who had shrunk back away from the girl’s body looking disgusted. Adrina reached out and touched her granddaughter, but pulled her hand back, rubbing it. It was there. Beneath her skin, the demon was hiding just below the surface and the touch had been as cold as sin.
Time seemed to compress in on itself, like the cars of train in a head on collision. Adrina had barely put on her seat belt before she saw Colonel’s Row, where her son lived. All the other homes on the Row were lit up and pretty in the night, but his was completely dark and foreboding. As they pulled up to it, she could see that Father Menning finally understood. Just touching the unnaturally cold bricks of the house, left no room for doubt, in her mind and she watched as he marveled at the frost, which continually formed and evaporated on them.
He was a brave man and seemingly firm in his faith and at the urging of Adrina, he baptized them and heard their confessions. She wanted to confess about the gun and about her plan to shoot Tomas in the back of the head and drench the wall with his blood, but could not. She kept reminding herself that it would be worse, that somehow it would be, but more and more she wondered if her vision had been a mistake. That had never happened before so Adrina swallowed her anxiety and went in to house following the priest.
She had been a part of four exorcisms in her time, two of which that had been real. They had been terrifying, hair-raising experiences, but she knew, it was the priest and Emily, who were in the most danger. She assumed her role this time, would simply be to act as an assistant to the priest and an executioner for Tomas, and she had surprisingly little fear. Father Menning had the censer smoking in minutes and the fragrant smoldering spices filled the kitchen as he began exhorting loudly in Latin. She did not speak the dead language and her mind wandered after a few minutes. It did not wander too far, however since the house had a cold sinister feel to it. The kitchen was far darker than it had any right to be and Adrina took solace at the small glow of the brazier. She followed around after the priest who carried the silver container of holy water, which he used liberally.
Tomas who was standing in the dark holding his daughter, became impatient, “The demon is upstairs, in the attic.”
“Colonel, it’s best to go slowly. We’ll be up there in a few minutes.” Father Menning was a man of his word and he slowly went up the back staircase speaking in Latin and spraying the place with the water. Adrina and Tomas carrying Emily, followed him up the stairs to the attic, and still there was not a great fear in her. It was only after they entered the room and Father Menning had ceased speaking and stood staring in mute horror that she felt it.
The demon appeared to be a tremendous column of black and grey smoke. She thought, at first it had a vague spiderlike shape with many thin arms and legs, but this was an illusion. What she had at mistakenly thought to be arms and legs, were actually tendrils of smoke. These started as barely visible wisps, a few feet from it, but then they seemed to gain mass and thickness as they streamed toward the “body” of the demon. It looked to have a head too, and that was the worst. In the head was a terrible opening, a hole from which nothing could escape. It seemed to drink from this world through that void.
“Do the prayer again,” Tomas demanded. The sound of his voice seemed to be muffled and far away. The priest started his incantations again “Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei…” the Latin words barely registering on Adrina’s ears. She felt lost and useless, and she had stark terror running through her. She had no purpose here, except to die horribly. She wanted to look away, she wanted to run away, but neither was an option. She was being forced to stare into the black pit of the demon’s face. She would stare and stare until she was used up and what happened after that, she was deathly afraid to find out. She hoped she would die before that could happen, but she was certain the demon would not allow it.
She could only stand there and see what the demon wanted her to see, and think what the demon wanted her to think. For the moment, it wanted her to see the surprise it had for her. She was allowed to see the smoke of its body flowing up and around it, and nearer to the interior, she saw it came together to form a flowing liquid gruel. In the foul gruel, there were shapes and it hurt Adrina, deep in her chest to see these. An arm, a face, part of a torso. These would form out of the vile fluid and then sink back in. The face was the worst. She knew the face. Pain would grip her heart when she saw the face, screaming in silent agony. It was the face of her granddaughter Emily. The demon had Emily’s soul and was letting it surface so that Adrina could feel her pain too. The demon was enjoying this, but it was a malicious evil joy and it was horrible to feel that sort of joy.
The demon was drawing them slowly toward it. Everything was being gently pulled into that black pit. Even the smoke and gruel that made the demon’s body flowed continuously up and into the black void. The air around them coursed into the thing and it was like a wind at her back. It was gently pushing her, so that she leaned back away from the demon. Adrina could feel the heat from her own body running off her, streaming into the voracious pit. She could see her breath flow to the demon. The pit was feasting. Feasting on Tomas, feasting on the priest, but right now it was gorging itself on Adrina. The demon had opened her mind like a can of peaches and was savoring each morsel of pain, of fear, and especially of sin.
Adrina suddenly remembered the first time her mother sent her to kill a chicken for their evening meal. She had been seven years old and a little scared, but wanted to prove herself. Adrina had gone to the coop and grabbed up the largest bird and had carried it to the old tree stump. The small axe was lying in the grass. The head of the axe was stained with rust and blood. There were little pieces of old flesh on it. The axe looked like a dead thing itself. Adrina grew afraid to touch it, worried it would move, worried it was not quite dead, and that if she reached for it, it would bite her. The bird squawked in irritation and Adrina jumped. She screwed up her courage and bent to grab the axe. It was warm. Her hand drew back and she cast a look back at their tiny shanty, but her mom was not visible. The axe had felt warm, as if it were alive. No. It was just a thing, a thing lying in the sun. But it felt like an evil hungry thing that enjoyed the death it caused. What else would it enjoy? Fear gripped her and Adrina nearly ran inside with the chicken. However, she knew her mom would be angry. She would just do it and not think about it.
Swallowing hard, Adrina grabbed up the little hand axe, and discovered not only that it was warm but it also had a nasty smell about it. She laid the chicken down as she had seen her mom do countless times and brought the axe down hard. The axe turned in her hand and hacked into the chickens back and shoulder. Blood exploded out of the bird and it bounced about in her grip, squawking in terrific pain. Adrina was confused at what had happened and felt unexpected pity at the pain she was causing. She was forced to step down on the bird to hold it still. The axe was hot, drenched in blood now and as she raised it a second time, she saw it was smiling a gory, blood-dripping smile. There had been no notch in the axe before, but now one was plainly visible and it looked to be a wicked, hungry, toothy grin.
Horrified, Adrina swung the axe down a second time, but again the axe turned to the side. This time she struck its back dead center and she had to pry the axe out of the bird that was still squawking terrifically and drenching Adrina with its blood. The axe did not want to let go of the bird, it seemed to have a hold of it. Adrina had to work it back in forth in the frenzied bird before it would come out. The wide grin was larger and bloodier. Adrina knew what else the axe like more than death, and that was pain. Death could happen in an instant but pain lasted longer. Adrina threw the axe from her terrified. She let go of the chicken and it tried to run, but it veered off sideways, falling over. The axe lay grinning in the sun enjoying the spectacle. The chicken took a long time to die, flopping about in delectable agony. Adrina stood drenched in blood and crying…
Adrina gasped. She was back in the almost silent room with the mumbling priest and the demon. Her stomach rolled over, she was going to be sick. She was still staring at the silent black nothingness in the demon’s face, her throat started to work up and down. Yes, this was good…the demon wanted her to throw up, but not just yet. It enjoyed the gorge coming up in her throat and the heaving of her stomach. It was like chamber music playing in the background at its cruel banquet. Adrina tried to fight it, but it was no use and she then tried to force herself to vomit. However, the demon was enjoying this too much; vomiting was like death. It ended things. Not only that, there was always a moment after getting sick, where she would feel just a little bit better, even if for a second. Kind of like the feeling, she had just at the end of being raped. Maybe sometimes it is more than just a feeling of relief.
“Wasn’t there just a bit of pleasure in it?” The thought that came to her, unbidden could not have been hers; it had to be the demon’s. “No, you liked it!” It had to be the demon. It had to be.
“No, no, I didn’t like it, it was…” Adrina cried aloud. She wanted not to remember the rape. However, the demon wanted it from her, and as she stared, she was powerless to stop it. The demon could force itself into her mind, so that she felt wide open, like an open book… open as her legs had been the first time with Butolask.
“No!” she screamed. However, the demon sucked the sound directly from her throat, so that she barely even heard herself.
Her legs had been pried open brutality with a harshness that seemed unnecessarily sadistic. Her mind screamed but she was afraid to make even the slightest noise, she had been warned. And she believed he would keep his promise. He had held the long knife between her legs and had asked which she wanted in her, him, or the knife? He told her if she chose him, she would have to ask nicely…in the end, she begged him. The nails of his right hand dug deep and cruelly into her flesh. Adrina had fought hard, before he brought out the knife, but her skinny fourteen-year-old body was no match. He was small but he was strong. He did not look it, but he was. Adrina had foolishly thought she did not need to be careful around a small man, a man her own size.
He gripped her around the throat with his left hand and squeezed. Hard. Her face turned red and swollen, the veins bulging, her eyes bugging out of her head. Her world started to go black around the edges of her vision. Butolask said something to her, but she could not tell what. His face leered at her, just above her, smiling. She felt a stinging on her face and then again. He was slapping her but it was a distant feeling. As he relaxed his grip on her throat, she became aware again. He wanted her to be awake. She felt him lean his weight on her left thigh, and with his right hand, easily pried her leg back. He was too strong.
He ripped into her then. It hurt badly. The pain shrieked inside her. She felt something rip in her and she felt the blood. Adrina was afraid for her insides. He grunted and rutted and the pain was very great, but her fear that she was torn up and ruined inside, occupied her almost completely. She tried lifting herself up and back but he gripped her throat harder. When after an eternity, he finally came, it burned terribly. The stinging pain was unbearable and she cried out despite his warnings. He continued for a few moments and the pain lessoned. With one final spasm he was done. He pulled it out and the relief was so intense, that… that…
“Mother! Mother!” There was someone calling to her from a great distance. It sounded like she was at the beach and the wind was whipping away the shout, almost before it reached her ears. A hand grabbed her roughly and tried to pull her around, but the demon’s gaze from across the room was like a magnet and there was no denying it. Her body turned, but her head and neck, twisting horribly was forced to continue to stare. A hand came down in front of her vision, mercifully blocking the sight of that foul unending void. Her mind was suddenly closed to the void, but the demon was still all about her demanding more, hammering at her. It had just been enjoying the time she had killed her first son, Stephan. Oh yes, that was a long, slow agonizing memory. Adrina was being forced to remember every terrible detail of it and the demon wanted to make sure she would not forget Stephan’s wife, yes she was dead too.
“Mother! Look at me!” She felt slow and stupid and old. Every one of her sixty-eight years pressed down on her as if they were bricks. She had no strength to turn around, to face away from the demon. It was almost too much even to stand and her legs began to shake.
Suddenly and mercifully, the presence of the demon, beating at the edges of her mind lifted. She was no longer its focus and it had looked away. Adrina fell to the floor, on her hands and knees and vomited. She vomited again and then retched repeatedly. The vomit drew her eyes to it with ghastly fascination. The half-liquid runny mess was draining toward the demon as if it was running down hill. It reached the base of the smoking demon and started to drip upward into the smoke. Adrina began to gag uncontrollably at the sight, unable to breathe. Tomas grabbed her up in his arms from behind and lifted her off the floor, turning her away from the demon. He held her briefly, but as she began to breathe easier, he spun her around and yelled into her face “You are ok. Can you hear me?” She looked into her son’s face. His eyes were so terrifically red and blood shot that they seemed almost inhuman.
She shook her head viciously back and forth, the visions, the horrific feel of the demon rampaging through her mind, slowly slipped away to haunt her just below the surface, but at least she was starting to think for herself. It was then that the priest screamed, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! Please! Please, I didn’t mean it!” His face wore a look of fearful desperation and his eyes seemed to spin madly in their sockets. “No! No! Please I didn’t mean it! Take her instead!” He got up from his knees and swaying like a drunk, he came at Adrina. Tomas gave him a quick shove away from his mother and Father Menning fell to the floor still screaming and begging for forgiveness. As they watched in horror, he started tearing at his own eyes frantically and blood stained his fingers.
“Mother, what do we do?” Tomas was desperately afraid and his eyes stayed glued to the priest as he mutilated himself. She knew they had almost no time before there was nothing left of the priest. After that, it would be one of them. And Adrina knew that the demon would go for her again, she still had so much pain left to agonize over.
“I don’t…I…,” she said hesitantly. There was one thing she could do, but the consequence was too great, and in her mind, she saw again the gun in her hands and the blood spraying the wall and knew that was her penalty for the unnatural act she was considering. She could save herself or…
“Run,” she said so quietly that she could barely hear her own voice. She was fighting a losing battle against her fears. There was no way she could run; she would have trouble even making it to the door in the state she was in. He was the only one with any chance of getting out alive.
“What!” He looked like he had shouted it, but this too she could barely hear. She looked at the Father Menning and he was no longer clawing at his eyes, they were gone, but now he was turning a fantastic shade of deep red. There was almost no time left.
“Run,” again, she said it too quietly almost whispering and he bent his head down so that his ear was next to her mouth, “Run.”
“You need to speak up!” he shouted and Adrina knew that if he did not start running in the next couple of seconds, he would not make it, but she was so afraid to be left alone with the demon, that she hesitated.
But then there was no more time, she had waited too long. Her eyes were drawn to the priest and he was now a repulsive purple color. Her son would never make it out of the house alive. She had killed him with her cowardice and there was nothing left to do but to save herself.
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About the Author
The Author of The Trilogy Of the Void lives in beautiful Colorado with his wife and 2.3 children. Along with writing he and his wife own an LED lighting business, Light Energy Designs.
Book trailer for ‘Brutal Light,’ the dark fantasy novel by Gary W. Olson being published 12/1/2011 by Damnation Books (damnationbooks.com). If the video intrigues you, come over to BrutalLight.GaryWOlson.com to learn more. Sign up for the newsletter and get a free short story! Sign up before 12/1/2011 for a chance to win a signed paperback edition or a PDF edition! As for what it’s about… “All Kagami Takeda wants is to be left alone, so that no one else can be destroyed by the madness she keeps at bay. Her connection to the Radiance–a merciless and godlike sea of light–has driven her family insane and given her lover strange abilities and terrible visions. But the occult forces that covet her access to the Radiance are relentless in their pursuit. Worse, the Radiance itself has created an enemy who can kill her–a fate that would unleash its ravenous power on a defenseless city…”