Three years ago today, a friend of mine, Jonathan Pongratz, released Reaper, a horror novella. I’d like to share with you about Reaper, an excellent story, and give you a brief introduction to an up and coming author.
How do you fight a monster?
Halloween night, 1992. Promised the allowance he’s always dreamed of, Gregory has to babysit his little sister Imogen and hand out candy.
That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement. Before Imogen was taken from him by that terrifying monster.
Now, Gregory has to scramble to put the pieces together before it’s too late. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? Can he save his sister, or is she already gone forever?
I shined my flashlight on the wooden steps leading below, doing my best to stay calm as a frigid chill raised goosebumps on my arms and legs. There’s nothing down here but your stupid little sister. Monsters don’t exist. You’re being a baby.
Ignoring my own thoughts, I forced myself to begin my descent. Each step on the rickety stairs gave a loud squeak that made my heart pound and skin tingle. My flashlight continued to guide me down the steps, but the further down I went, the more it seemed that the darkness was getting thicker. Was that even possible? It’s all in your head.
By the time I reached the bottom of the steps, my nerves were rattled. Imogen had better be down here, and she better be ready to go. I was done playing these stupid games.
An awful smell rose on my left. I turned my light to it. On top of an old wooden table was an ornate black lantern. Wisps of black smoke came off it, but no light. I gave a good sniff and instantly recoiled.
Who lit this terrible thing? This was ten times worse than the stinky candles Mom lit every year. I plugged my nose and gave the contents of the lantern another glance. Inside was a grey-looking candle with weird flecks of black stuff molded inside of it. My nose crinkled. Whatever it was, I didn’t care. I needed to find Immy.
I turned back around to the rest of the basement. “Immy? Immy!” I shouted. I thought I heard a scuffle up ahead, so I shined my light that way.
Numerous toys littered the floor and old furniture covered with large white sheets took up most of the space in the basement. Something about the odd shapes the unwanted stuff created creeped me out, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I stood still, listening in the darkness. Was that … breathing? It was faint, but what else did I have to go off of?
I maneuvered around a cluster of covered couches, wiping my sweaty palms on my pants as I ventured towards the back. Ahead of me were small rows of sheeted items, but one stood out to me, one particularly little-girl shaped.
I smirked. Nice try, Immy.
I crept up on my toes, and as soon as I was within arm’s reach, I yanked the white sheet away. “Aha!” It was a rusty standing birdcage. But I could’ve sworn … Damn it! I kicked the nearest couch and wandered aimlessly to vent off my frustration.
What could I do to draw Immy out? Talking to her wasn’t working; I’d already tried that. I could try the candy route, but the bucket was all the way upstairs and she could hide again by the time I got back. I supposed I could knock stuff around until she emerged, but then I’d have to clean it all up or Mom and Dad would kill me. I walked up to an uncovered desk and wiped my finger along the top, inspecting the layer of dust on my forefinger. Maybe I could scare her out.
Suddenly, something grabbed my ankle from under the desk. I shrieked and yanked my leg back as my heart pounded.
Peeked your interest? If so, check out Jonathan’s trailer: https://youtu.be/UtilAuPJdSc
Reaper is available as an ebook via multiple outlets: http://www.books2read.com/reaperhorror
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