"She saw him in the doorway, all glowing and brilliant. His magnificent bronze wings fluttered in greeting. Who said all demons were bad? “Sit down, Dark Lord. I was just having breakfast.”
He looked quiet this morning, which was alright. She didn’t mind carrying the conversation. In fact she didn’t mind anything as long as she was away from her mother’s sick room.
Fifteen years caring for her mother. Listening to a lost life, a life lived and ended sadly when illness and old age finally encroached upon the mediocre life that was there.
“Frances! Frances I want you!”
Frances sighed and glanced over at her demon. “You see, you see how it is?”
Dark Lord told her he understood. He knew because he came from hell and could always recognize someone else’s purgatory. Purgatory because Frances and all the Franceses who are driven nuts get mean and wind up toe dipping in the lake of fire no matter what they do. They get a taste of perdition beforehand. All the damned knew that.
“I know how you suffer, Frances.”
Frances closed her eyes. His voice sounded so caring. He understood everything.
She was being summoned again. She wanted him to go with her, but he rarely did because he scared the old woman. “She sees me you know. She didn’t always but she does now.”
Frances understood that because it took her years of pain and anguish to see him herself.
Her mother called her name again. So she’s off, shuffling her flat feet along the dusty floors toward her mother’s room.
A big smile full of perfectly honed false teeth greet her. “Good morning, Frances.”
“Morning.” Frances replied, reaching for the full bed pan.
Yeah it’s a tough life—no one gets out alive.
It’s early but the room is already hot. It faces the Harlem River and the last river breeze passed out and died somewhere on a Washington Heights’ street hours ago.
“Sleep well?” Her mother doesn’t always answer it depends on her mood or perhaps her increasing dementia. Actually Frances does feel sorry for her, it’s Mom’s purgatory too. “I can put the fan on.”
The fan starts up but it sounds like it’s shuffling cards.
“Can’t you make it quiet? It used to be quiet.”
Quiet, I remember quiet, Frances thinks. It goes with peace.
“No, it’s fucked up, Mom.”
Her mother winced. She hated swear words. “Frances please.”
Ah yes, the famous proclamation declared intermittently that all that is horribly wrong is actually alright.
“I’ll get your breakfast.”
Breakfast and lunch and dinner too, and then it starts all over again with work tomorrow. Perhaps Dark Lord might come along just for fun.
She never took him with her to work before. He was like that, aloof and sometimes difficult to figure out but he did seem to understand her need to have him finally come with her.
“Of course I will go with you, Frances. It is my pleasure.”
Ah pleasure, that was something she was sadly short of. At age forty something she was grossly overweight because her only pleasure came from over-eating, ice cream in particular. Pleasure is pleasure after all.
Ten minutes on the subway and they had arrived.
“This is it, Dark Lord.”
He was very impressed, she could tell the way he was nodding.
Into the lobby they went and across to the elevator. “It’s on ten, Ten East, nuts are us—the psychiatric ward!” She expected him to smile, but he didn’t. “Watch your step!”
(end of excerpt)
In this horror collection you'll find stories of vampires, zombies, murderous midgets, demon clowns, evil dolls, haunted cemeteries, a real shop of horrors, taxidermy gone haywire, serial killers and more!
Your worst fears and nightmares dished up for you with extra helpings of blood-curdling terror!
"There is no doubt that she soars above the endless parade of independent horror authors to shine as a true star in the darkness. With the brilliant anthology House of Horrors she proves why she is a perennial favorite. To put it simply, this is a great assembly of tales anyone would be proud to have in their collection"