Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: Split Second

Books are a huge passion of mine. They are an inspiration, a joy, and just plain wonderful. Since they are so important to my life, and to many others who have a passion for writing (and yes, reading), I thought it would be a great thing to give a try reading, reviewing, and critiquing books.

I have found that it is much harder than it looks. Those who are able to tantalize another reader to trying out a book or warn others of flaws without giving much away is difficult. Much like any form of writing, it takes time and a lot of practice and editing to get it right. But, hopefully this first try will provoke some of you to pick up the following series!

Split Second
An FBI Thriller
By Catherine Coulter

The Cove
Now, this might be an awkward place to start. This is actually a book  part of a series, the "FBI Thriller" series. However, Ms. Coulter's books can be read out of order. While many of the crimes and characters and plots can connect to each other and/or reappear, each book is very stand alone.You can start from the middle of the series and be able to understand what is going on with total ease. However, there is a chance that you might be mildly spoiled of previous books if you do so.

I'll start with the series over all.

Each book is following a very serious case. Typically a killer/killers or missing persons. The crimes can be incredibly dark, twisted, and powerful. These are more adult books and deal with crimes that some might not enjoy reading about. The cover to your left is the very first of the series and deals with a gruesome murder, stalking, betrayal, and paranoia. These dark themes are in most every book and though the details aren't typically overwhelming, these are not light-hearted stories. 

The series reminds me a lot of Criminal Minds. It typically focuses around a small group of FBI agents who will be sent across the nation to solve heinous or government-threat crimes. After the first book, it usually follows Detective Dillion Savich, an agent that specializes with computers and computer databases. He has even created a specialized computer system that helps in solving cases (MAX). He is the lead of the team and is highly respected and very intelligent. The team will always have Lacey Sherlock (her actual former-last name, SPOILER: She and Dillion are married right after Book 2: The Maze) and a few members that might weave in and out of the series.

There are usually at least two mysteries per book. Sometimes they are separate and sometimes they are connected together. And sometimes you're not even aware there is a second one till later in the story. But they usually meet up and the resolution can be a wild and spectacular twist or a soft, tense release. But the different mysteries don't take away or buttheads with each other.

Within each book there is always romance. In most all, it is between someone who has become involved in the case (as a victim, by chance, etc.) and another agent (one who, mentioned before, weaves in and out of the series). This most always has sexual tension and, yes, eventually sex. However, the main focus remains on the story and the crime. These moments do not typically take away from the plot nor the characters. The relationships are built up on and, while a bit fast, follow well with the story and how each character is set up. The relationships also have a lot of mystery and tension to it as well and intertwine great with the dark-plot of the story.

But the story does not just have intense drama and sexual tension. Sarcastic and witty humor are blended in on top of the adult romance and the dark crime. Ms. Coulter brings in some other genres and balance them nicely to make what is happening feel realistic. It does not all follow one genre and one genre alone. Because the content can be very heavy, adding in humor or some sweet flirty moments between characters adds a very nice contrast that gives the reader a moment to breathe.

Now, despite the content, the writing style is very easy to read and understand. Ms. Coulter does not have her sentences drag out. They are usually short and sweet and make the story flow. Her writing style for this particular series is very much action-based, but it is not all dialogue. This is something I find impressive because in so many advice articles, classes, and books that dialogue and movement is usually key for action stories. But I find that she brings in far more movement and tense slow silences rather that fast pace action. Of course, she has plenty of explosions, pop in your face moments that take you aback as well.

Ms. Coulter works very well with simplicity. Simplicity is her weapon of choice with her writing style and she uses it very well. This is not, typically, a series that will require a whole lot of thought even as you are working with the detectives to solve the crime. Though you are immerse in the story, you're still part of the audience, watching all of this happen.

Now, there Ms. Coulter is one of my favorite thriller-writers. I really have loved each of her FBI stories and get a lot of amusement and excitement from them. However, to be fair there are some negatives.

Warning, there might be some general spoilers following:

1) While the crimes themselves are very different, emotional, tense, and scary...the subplots are typically predictable. Now, some might like this. I don't have a problem with it, but others might not enjoy the fact that they can predict a lot about the romance or the characters.

2) She'll kill off people, she'll make you feel worry for each character because you really grow to love and care for them. However, she very rarely has a very sad/bad ending. I have not read every book in the series as of yet, but I have read most. And though I LOVE happy endings, there might be some of you who would appreciate a bit more dark realism and sad endings. You more than likely won't get a hardcore one in her books. But, I must say, while the endings will typically be happy, the middle content typically will not be.

3) This is a negative I find with a few different series and it is more of a lack of research and is mainly the book covers. I don't like it when the covers do not have the number the book in the series. True, it just takes a few minutes of research, but it is just a pet-peeve of mine and her books don't have it either. So if you are starting right from the middle, you might not realize it till you start to read the other of the books.

4) This is another thing some people might be split upon, but she will give you a nice background on characters that might or might not have a huge part in the story as a whole. I happen to like this. In real life, the people who might just be a witness to something still have a life and a story. Ms. Coulter likes to tell you about them for a paragraph or two. Some might not like this, maybe finding it pointless to the story and the characters were created just to see the car drive off or something like that. Some might be thrown off, expecting to have another character that would have a lot more to do with that story than they turn out to have.

5) Although it is in not in every book, Ms. Coulter can bring in the occult or something dealing with magic or religion that some might not consider real. If this is ever brought into a book, some might find it a bit confusing and takes away from the story over all that deals with something so serious. Dealing a serial killer that really can give you goosebumps and then be reminded of something almost fairy-tale-like become a negative. I will say, sometimes she works with these themes very well and sometimes it feels to fall a little short.

But overall, I would highly recommend trying her FBI Thriller series. If you enjoy thrillers, crime, drama, and not very complicated pieces of literature these are great entertaining books. Perfect for any day.

Split SecondNow onto Split Second.

Summary from book flap: "The FBI's Savich and Sherlock are not comforted by the fact that the vicious serial killer they're hunting shares DNA with the notorious Ted Bundy. Meanwhile, Special Agent Lucy Carlisle learns her family tree may also be tainted. At least, that's how it appears when Lucy finds a skeleton in her grandmother's attack. Could it be her long-lost grandfather? This discovery of a ring sewn into the body's trouser cuff leads to revelations about her grandmother's obsession with the ornament and a mysterious group called The Protectors. While all this makes little sense to Lucy, she inuits that her discovery is tied to the killer who has Savich and Sherlock in his crosshairs. And only she can save them...."

Snippet of 1st Chapter by Catherine Coulter:

"Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday night

Nonfat milk, Fritos, and bananas, Savich repeated to himself as he pulled into the parking lot of Mr. Patil's Shop 'n Go. It was after eight o'clock, and Savich was on his way home from a hard workout at the gym. He felt good, his muscles relaxed and warm, and he looked forward to playing with Sean, maybe with his new video game, Wonky Wizards. He breathed in deeply, enjoying the bite of fall in the air. He looked up at the low-lying clouds that promised to bring showers in the next couple of hours. Nonfat milk and Fritos and--what else?

There was only one car in the parking lot, which wasn't unusual at this time of the evening. A strange play of rapid movement behind the store's large glass window caught his eye. He pulled the Porsche to the far side of the parking lot, out of the line of sight, got out, quietly closed the door, and walked to the edge of the window. he could see a man inside, his face flattened in a leg of pantyhose, standing in front of the counter, pointing a Saturday night special at Mr. Patil's chest. Mr. Patil, who wasn't more than five five with lifts in his shoes and was at least seventy-five years old, looked petrified. He could hear the man yelling at him, but couldn't make out what he was saying. Then he saw a customer. At the end of the counter stood a man about his own age, wearing a bright red Redskins sweatshirt, jeans, and glasses.

Savich felt his heart seize.

Pressed against the man's legs were two small children, a boy and a girl. His hands were wrapped around their shoulders, hugging them tightly against him. Each child held an ice- cream bar, now forgotten.

Keep it together. He couldn't call 911, and take the chance of sirens freaking the guy out, not with kids still in the line of fire. He quickly ran around to the back of the Shop 'n Go and heard the engine running before he saw the Chevy Impala, tucked in the shadows off the parking asphalt. He saw a woman in the driver's seat, leaning in toward the passenger's side to get a partial view inside the store. Since she wasn't wearing panty hose on her head, she obviously wasn't slated to join the actual robbery; she was just there to drive the man in the store out of here. Savich couldn't see the license plate. No matter. She hadn't seen him. Good.

Forget her, let her get away. He crouched down and ran back around to the front of the store. He held his SIG at his side and began whistling. He opened the door and called out, "Good evening, Mr. Patil," and the man in the panty hose whirled around, his gun leading, as the little girl yelled," He'll hurt you!"
The man froze for the longest instant of time in Savich's memory. Savich saw the father grab the children and hurl them to the floor, and then he fell over them while Mr. Patil hefted a six-pack of beer the man had brought to the counter. Then Savich's SIG was up, and he fired. The rule was always to fire only when you intended to kill, but the bullet didn't go into the man's chest, it went into his shoulder. The man screamed, fell hard to his knees, clutching his shoulder, and the .22 went flying."
As you read, the story starts off rolling fast. You're (re-)introduced to Agent Savich who is thrown into one of the first mysteries of the book. But the main focus is this serial killer who is murdering woman and has a connection to an infamous killer Ted Bundy. Now, this man is NOT from a previous book nor is he fiction. Ms. Coulter uses an actual serial killer. You do not need to read up on him to understand anything in the book, a general snypopis of his crimes is explained. The serial killer is a sort of copy-cat killer of Ted Bundy and is very twisted in their reasons for the killings.

The FBI unit led by Dillion Savich is on the case to find this killer and put a stop to him. Within his team is his wife Lacey Sherlock, Lucy Carlisle, and Cooper McKnight. But before they are able to get a proper start to the investigation, Lucy get's the shocking phone call that her father has suffered a heart-attack.

For a few chapters it is about her life after losing him and the agents concern for her and their investigation. Things are growing slow and worrisome until Lucy discovers a shocking secret and the agents get DNA from their killer. Twists and turns abound for this book!

There are four to five mysteries in total for Split Second. It feels like it has much more than Ms. Coulter's typical books. Usually there are two to three.

The serial killer is the main focus of the book. Interestingly enough it starts off on the second chapter with this investigation. And what a terrifying start it is. You're placed within the mind of the first victim and are instantly involved in the capture of this twisted individual. The serial killer mystery is heart pounding and heart wrenching and keeps throwing so many surprising twists you won't be sure which way to look.

Lucy discovers her grandfather's remains in the attic of her grandmother's house. You, and Lucy, know from chapter three who the killer was (again in a heart wrenching way) but not the why. But the discovery of the body isn't until towards the early-middle of the book. A body is known about but unable to be found.

A mysterious ring found on the grandfather's body. This is the key to the many troubles that start to follow Lucy around and has a special ability that most are prepared to kill for.

How the whole book starts off is the next biggest mystery. An attempted robbery gone wrong or something else? You will watch as Detective Savich solves this attempted murder while balancing having another killer after his life.

Now onto the main things I really enjoyed about this particular book.

Positives (minor SPOILERS ahead)

1) The killer in this book is great. The twists and turns and frustrations are played out great. You're built up to really, really just loathe them and their insanity then right towards then end you start to feel pity! It was done very well and their crimes and actions were sickening and horrible. It made for a good mystery story. You keep reading to make sure they meet their justice and you feel terror and want to scream at the pages when they approach their victims. (btw: just because I say they don't assume it is more than one or less than one.)

2) The background mysteries are really fun. While they might not be the best side-mysteries of hers overall, they are tantizling enough that you just want to know what is going on. What I really liked, and what just made me keep reading in a frustrating 'gah! gotta know!' manner, was how she would bring it in then go back to the main mystery for chapters and chapters then BAM you're reminded about it. And you are reminded in a way that makes you want to forget the other mysteries and then BAM you're back in another. It was fabulously horrible. It really forced me to keep reading it, but in an enjoyable way. I think being "fabulously horrible" should be exactly how a mystery/crime thriller should be.

3) This goes a bit with the 2 point but the build up of tension is done well. It is something I don't think I have ever been disappointed with Ms. Coulter's work. She knows just how long to draw something out before turning your attention to another thing, bringing it back to the focus again, and then resolving it. Now, I will admit sometimes the finish off isn't as good as it feels like it could've been, but typically they are done really well and always so much fun to read about. They also provide a break between the main typically heavier crime.

This will be a good time to transition into the negatives the book posed. While I enjoyed the crimes and the main villain greatly. I found that there were plenty of aspects in the book that was lacking.

Negatives (minor SPOILERS ahead)

1) Remember how I mentioned above about a magic or occult theme may be introduced into the story? Well it is in this book and it falls a little short for me. What the magic is is really fun and how it is connected to one of the different crimes (won't say which one) is very cool. However, something feels lacking in how this "magic" is used throughout the book.

2) The summary is very misleading this time. Typically it isn't, but the summary makes something feels like a big point but I honestly can't even remember it being mentioned.

3) I had issues with the main female of this book, Lucy Carlisle. I found she was a bit flat and was overshadowed by the rest of the characters in the book. She was almost too normal in the sea of some pretty interesting people (like Savich and Sherlock). And the outstanding quirk/flaw she had was more frustrating than interesting. She has trust issues with those around her and keeps lying despite the fact she understands it would be better in the long run to tell the truth. However, she seems to keep things going in a circle or dragging on because she simply does not want to tell those who care about her what she is going through. This could've been a fun quirk, however, I feel like I didn't get a positive impact from it and it hindered me in connecting with Lucy.

4) I was a bit thrown off by Savich's character in this one. Or at least a bit what was happening around him. It might be hard to put into words, but for some reason it felt like there were just constant opportunities for him to cheat on his wife. It is not in his character too, but it felt like more woman were hitting on him and something about the wording in his reaction felt like he was tempted to. I didn't like this since this is really not Dillion Savich that I've known for about...I think this might be the 16th book. So that was a turn off.

Overall, this might be my least favorite of the series so far. It is not a bad book by any means, but it doesn't seem to match some of the great ones like The Maze or Riptide. I feel like with one of the main characters lacking and the magic-theme not reaching its full potential it left a lot to be desired. But it is certainly not something to be passed over if one was to start the series. There were plenty of positives about it that would give a people a lot of enjoyment.

I would rate this book about 2.5 out of 5 stars, but the series over all would have to at least be a 4 out of 5.

I recommend this book and the series to older teens (maybe 17) and above. There are some very dark themes and some sexual tones that would not be appropriate for anyone much younger than the given age.

If you just want a laid back and entertaining book too read, I would recommend this book and series. It is easy to get into, easy to follow, and easy to read. This is not a dramatic-headache book and feels like it could easily be turned into a movie. You want a book you could read probably within less than a week and a good escape? You like mystery and crime? You enjoy some pretty believable and fun romances? Go for the FBI Thriller series!

If you are interested in any of Catherine Coulter's work along with getting some snippets of the first chapters, please check out her website:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finding the Good Enough

Insecure Writer's Support Group--November Edition

Better later than never, right? Just been a hard few weeks so I am a bit behind.

A little bit ago, my teacher for Technical Editing mentioned a good, professional writer can see when something is good enough. And that sounds pretty spot on, in my opinion.

Writers can go through so many editions, rewrites, editing, double-checking, and overall suffering from the lack of perfection. But I don't think a work in process can ever really reach the level of perfection. I'm not sure that level exists for anything in the world. If one was to constantly aim for that they will never be ready to let go of their project.

17, 50, 98 editions and years later and it's still not to the level you's because one hasn't been able to see the 'good enough' and move on. Can anything really ever be perfection? As covered in a previous post, I just don't think it can. An author will just need to know when the project is good enough to submit.

And just because you send it off doesn't mean that it is gone out of twitchy fingers forever. We all know it takes an astronomical amount of luck to get accepted by agents/publishers instantly. You will probably have time to keep learning and to edit a little. But during Spring, I listened to a short-story author speak at the school and he said that there are works that have been published that he could've gone over multiple times, forever perhaps. But he had sent it in and it was published and it was very well received.

OK, I think we can all agree that there needs to be a time where you say "alright, that's good enough" but how on earth do you get to that? If anyone knows an actual answer, please share! I can only assume it is just about training and just pushing the project away.

Perhaps it is just about getting excited or impatient and sending the work in? Though that sounds a bit risky, it does give you a chance to branch out and try to get it read. But if you're rejected, you just started the learning process early and maybe you will be lucky enough to be told what is wrong.

But what if you don't want to send something in before you know that you have reached that good enough? Well, there is the pickle. It could be very personal and whenever you feel that you are ready, however that moment might not hit everyone.

I would say, you probably should rewrite the story more than three or four times and shouldn't re-edit more than MAYBE seven (overall). Once you start reaching those numbers, you might want to step back and start sending them in. In general, if these numbers make you uncomfortable, I would keep it all under the number 10. UNLESS you really do need to completely change up your story, you shouldn't be going overboard like that.

Now is this the right now? More than likely not. This is just my personal opinion.

In truth, I think you must set up a personal limit. Tell yourself you will NOT go over 10, 12, 15 editions or rewrites. Once you reach that number, you will let it go. Maybe you will come back to it, maybe it will be accepted and publishing, or just maybe you need to step back from it for a while and move on to another project.

Now, just to let you know, I am not saying be lazy or not try. Work hard on your project. Give it the love and attention that it deserves. If this is your dream, work hard to make sure that you reach that dream.

Just don't let the haunting thought of perfection control you from ever sending out your work. Just take a deep breath and take the plunge into sending things out once you think you have reached "it's good enough".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Starved Ones

The Starved Ones

The home on Riverspring Drive was infamous throughout the neighborhood. It never had to be described, everyone knew which ‘House’ was spoken of in all the horror stories gossiped amongst the teens. All the homes in the old district looked they could have a ghoul or two prepared to peek through lace curtains, but this one had something especially frightening about it.

It was a two-story parlor house, with basement and attic, it looked like it stepped right out of the Louisiana territory where sophisticated southern ladies were preparing tea while men with impressive handlebar mustaches chatted about business on the large open front-porch. Give it a new coat of pristine white paint, replace the roof, and do some serious gardening and it would look like a spectacular house that anyone would love to purchase.

But that history drove even the best of house-flippers away from its financial prospect.

It was one thing for a house to be haunted (that could actually add value for some), it was another thing to have a tortured history and the intense stench of decay forever engraved in the very structure.

The old house had been a doctor’s office. Patients were tended to on the first floor, family lived on the top, and medical supplies were stashed in the basement. But of course, that is not all the basement held. It would not be a good neighborhood ghost tale if that was the case.

No, it seems there was something else there, and extra space that had been placed in when it was built—or at least when the doctor moved in. Deep in the corner, probably hidden underneath the stairs to block out any traces of light, was a little room with metal bars and a secure padlock.

At first it was said it was a protected storage system for the medical drugs. But it was just a cover up for something more sinister and juicy for a midnight story.

The starved ones lived in that little cell. The human experiment the good neighborhood doctor was compelled to complete and what consumed the house in a curse of madness, death, and demonic torture.


The house had the stereotypical smell of must and rotten wood. Rebecca was impressed that every ghost story and haunted house had it. It must’ve been a required trait. Not haunted if it wasn’t smelly.

She stopped at the grand entrance, her flashlight trailing around the darkness. Ghosts? All she was catching was dust particles she was kicking up with her feet.

Risking a sneezing fit she took a strong whiff of the air. There was no stench of decaying flesh or festering feces. All she got was a small choking fit from dust-bunnies.

Once she could breathe she snorted in disappointment.

This was the infamous haunted house of Riverspring? She should’ve known it was just a ridiculous urban legend. More than likely it had too many foundation problems and that was why no one wanted to purchase the stupid thing. Given the economy it was no wonder no one wanted to take on the expensive project.

Give it another year or two and she was confident a family would be living here and this ridiculous horror story would jump to a house a few streets over.

Still, it was a bit haunting how the inside was left almost untouched. It was as if the original family from 19-something (to her there was nothing remotely interesting that could be considered life before 2001) had simply left the house and all their belongings.

‘Probably was a bootlegger.’ She thought, moving around some cobwebs. ‘Probably was discovered this haunted starving cell was actually a place for, like, moonshine or something like that.’

So disappointing.

What sort of dare was this? This was the only way she could join the dance squad? Walk through a gross old house? Really, hazing these days was getting downright pathetic. At her old school they would have something far more interesting involved.

Rebecca looked over her shoulder briefly, expecting some members from the squad hiding behind curtains ready to jump and with a “GOTCHA”. She should be very careful when going down to the basement. The hazing might come in the form of locking her inside once she was down a few steps.

Even though this place clearly wasn’t haunted she did not want to spend the night in a place that would fill her hair with spiders and have her on allergy medication for the next two weeks.

Coming up to where the basement door was, really how untouched was this place if the location of the door was known, and looked at it with a little apprehension.

“Alright girls.” She called out, looking around. “I’m going down. Don’t lock me in. You do that and not only will I NOT join this squad I will call the cops,” She took out her cellphone, jiggling the lit screen around, “and give them your names. Wouldn’t look pretty on a college resume to Yale if you have a night in jail, would it Kara?”

There was no word from the squad leader or any of the others.

She smirked and stuffed it back into her pocket. Even if the downstairs had no bars there was no way the girls would want to risk it. Kara, with a K not a C, was about to graduate and there was no way she was going to ever risk something like that.

Rebecca shrugged. This whole town seemed a little too goody-goody to do something like that anyway. Yet another bit of evidence to mark on the “This place isn’t haunted” bit.

She turned the old brass knob, it had a floral design engraved in it, and tugged the door open. It creaked and groaned but didn’t put up much of a fight. Her flashlight shined down the wooden stairs and into the dark abyss of the basement.

The sight of the stairs did make her gulp. They looked ready to cave in with just one step. Years of termites gnawing on them left them with holes and cracks. The basement itself, at least from what she could see, appeared as normal and as creepy as any other basement in existence.

True, there were some factors that made it a bit creepier than normal…

Her flashlight made old beakers and equipment gleam. She could see a glass case, a more traditional location for medicine than a cell, with tinted windows and old fashion medical tools lay askew.

She gripped on tightly to the frame of the door and tried to peer over the staircase to see if there really was a cell underneath. But the angle was too awkward. She simply could not see straight underneath unless she wanted to risk making a face-plant with the concrete flooring.

Grumbling she got on her knees and used her trust light to try and peer down between the many holes and cracks. Maybe if she can just take a peek into this cell it would be enough and she could go home and watch some Gossip Girl on Netflix.

She frowned, rubbing her eyes. She thought she saw a flash of white somewhere in that empty space but that was probably just another speck of irritable dust. It was ridiculous; there was so much of it everywhere.

Muttering a few unlady like words she picked herself back up, dusting off her knees and took another look at the empty space down below. She flinched. It was now starting to get unsettling. The stories and the loneliness were starting to sink in.

Rebecca shook it off.

‘Don’t be ridiculous now.’ She fought off the chill wanting to go down her spine. ‘You’re almost done. You go down, shine the light in the cell, and come back out. Super simple.’

And a challenge she was not willing to hide from.

Gripping her phone tightly in her hand she took the first step down the rickety stairs. Each one groaned and creaked, but luckily for her held up. Whoever had made this house really did it well.

The concrete was under her feet in no time and Rebecca felt foolish for being so weird before hand. It was just another creepy old basement, nothing to be afraid of except for earning herself some tetanus if she wasn’t careful of what she touched.

Looking back at where she came from she was very pleased to see the door was still wide open and there was still some light from the outside world peering in.

So far, so good. Just a few more steps, she shines the light inside, and she can go home.

Excited to be free of this she moved over under the stairs.

Shinning her light up she was surprised at what she found. What do you know? There actually was a cell! It fit right underneath the stairs, shaped in an awkward triangle. There were rusted bars raising from the ground and touching the sturdy wood above and there was a padlock. A heavy-duty old fashion padlock at that, with the keyhole in front of the lock rather than underneath.

She tilted her head, her heart skipped a beat, she didn’t actually think there was truth to the rumor. Who would have a cell in their basement?

‘Maybe monkeys. They did a lot of sick animal experiments in that time.’ But it seemed awfully big to hold monkeys. And there weren’t ropes or bars inside so they could hang or swing off of. It made no sense those things would be taken while every piece of furniture and painting, even a tea set, was left upstairs.

Her stomach twisted a little.

One step closer. Another. And a last one.

She was finally at the bars and could see inside. And there was nothing.

Rebecca let loose a breath of air she had no idea she had been holding. Nothing appeared, as she had gotten closer. It really was nothing more than a creepy cell in a creepy basement in a creepy house.

Rubbing her hand over her face, she groaned. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid. This whole mess was so ridiculous and stupid.’

Now done, she turned away. She was going to march back up those stairs and out of this place with dignity and show those bimbos not to challenge a city girl.

Then the putrid smell filled her nostrils.

Rebecca gagged and her hand went over her mouth and nose to keep herself from breathing it in.

“What on earth?” She wheezed. “Did an air vent open up?” If this was the smell that was so infamous she really could understand why no one would want the home. It reeked!

A wheeze from behind made her fingers twitch.

‘Just the vent. Just the vent.’ She chanted to herself. Turning around, feeling like she was trapped in a horror movie, she shone the light back into the cell and discovered it was not as empty as she had left it just seconds before.

Something was hunched in the corner. The body looked somewhat human but with how crooked it was sitting she wasn’t so sure.

Her hand began to shake as she cleared her throat. “K-Kara? You know this is pretty crappy of you to do, right?”

It paused a moment, making sure it heard her voice. Then with weak movements began to turn to face her.

Rebecca nearly dropped the flashlight in horror at the thing.

Whatever it was it was not human. It couldn’t be. Not anymore.

The creature looked white in the light. Not Caucasian but the actual color of snow. If she wanted she could count each and every bone it had inside. Some of the bones were even protruding from the dried and crack surface that was once called skin.

Up along its arms and legs had chunks of flesh missing. And its face, its horrid face, had no lips; just gums, broken teeth, and a black void of a mouth. The creature clearly had them at one point in its unfortunate life but like the chunks from the arms and legs…

Bile was making its way up her throat. Any moment the sausage chili she had for dinner would be all over her clothes and the ground. She quickly covered her mouth taking a step back, her whole body shaking.

The head tilted back and forth slowly. Good god, she could hear things popping as it did the movement.

With a disturbing gargle, or perhaps it was a wheeze; it slowly began to turn towards her fully. The head kept tilting and the neck bones kept popping.

It twisted and groaned, the bones snapping as it maneuvered out between the bars like a disfigured cat. It awkwardly crawled out, dragging its body behind it. There were no eyes, just black sockets—void of a bottom.

She prayed it couldn’t see her.

The creature stopped and began to sniff. It was a raspy breath and she could picture the dried skin flapping around inside of it.

The tears couldn’t even fall and her legs were shaking so bad. There was a feeling of dampness and in the back of her mind she was aware she had just let control of her bladder.

It sniffed again and she felt her legs start to lose all of their strength.

It could smell her.

How could it be real? How could the stories be real? The story of a twisted doctor keeping people starving under his stairs for sick experiments and how they had become so hungry they ate each other and parts of their own body. How their hatred and hunger became so great they became trapped in a sort of madness. And need for food. They always needed to eat something.

Rebecca shook her head.

No, no, no. People simply did not conjoin to become a revenge seeking demon or devil or whatever this thing was. Nor was it possible for them to then become so hungry they feasted the doctor’s family for days only to not be sated.

Impossible. It was impossible.

This thing was not real. It was a sick joke. It was a sick joke played by the girls. They were just better at hazing than she thought.

Another sniff. It was starting to drag itself towards her.

A whimper escaped her mouth as she stared upon the starved one’s horrific face. That was no mask. This was not some cheap silicon and fabric.

Then it let out a roar, it was silent and raspy but she could feel it vibrating through her whole form. And with strength and speed it should never possess crawled towards her, grabbing on to her leg and dug its teeth into it.

Rebecca let out a howl of pain and kicked it away from her. It didn’t do much good it ripped some of her skin with it. Blood was pouring from her right calf, but the adrenalin that came with it pushed the pain out and got her moving.

She was at the staircase in a second and was rushing up towards it. A cry came out as bony hands grabbed on to her bleeding leg and teeth were back into the skin, pulling her back.

Rebecca tried to pull herself out but the hold was painfully tight and each pull just made the teeth sink in worse. Turning around, sobbing, she kept trying to kick it. But it was too desperate, it had tasted her flesh and now wanted more.

She couldn’t hold it back. As she screamed in horror again all her dinner erupted from her mouth and on herself and the creature.

It stopped trying to consume her flesh and sniffed again. It leaned down to it’s own hand that had the vomit over it, taking in a long whiff before it licked it. Again it licked its own hand before it began to greedily sink its teeth into its cracked flesh and feed.

As it feasted on her upchuck she clawed her way out of the door and pushed herself up. She pumped her legs faster than ever in her life. She couldn’t even feel the damage the creature did to her right leg.

She ran out of the house, past all the old homes of Riverspring Drive, and never looked back.

Back in the basement, the starved one kept licking at the mess, hungry for more who will venture in.


This is my first attempt at writing a horror-ghost tale. As you can see, not my strong suit. It takes a lot of skills and talent to tell a haunting spook. The pace, the grip, and the punchline. It is certainly a lot of difficulty. My hats to all who manage to do such a thing and those who are able to do things that spark an uproar of interest (those on CreepyPasta).

Hope this gave some a bit of entertainment!

Happy Halloween to all!