Terror in Time

A Collection of Eerie Tales

by Edale Lane

Terror in Time - Melodie Romeo
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 2.99 USD
ISBN: B07YYL9831
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 218
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First edition: $ 12.99 USD
ISBN: 1698977670
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 186

When history meets horror, will evil prevail?

Terror in Time is a collection of nine eerie tales of the macabre and the unexpected that will chill you to the bone. From Celtic lore and ancient evils, to ghosts, voodoo, and legendary creatures, these stories are sure to please the horror enthusiast and history buff alike. It even includes the obligatory spoof taking zombies where no zombie has gone before!

So lock your doors and turn up the lights, for you never know what evil lurks in the shadows, and settle down for a good night of exploring the darker side of history and the human mind.

Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Tropes: Abandoned Place, Beyond the Grave Communication, Burial Ground/Cemetary, Dark Enemy, Demonic Possession, Haunted House, Hunted, I See Dead People, Mad Scientist, Person in Distress, Possession, Powerful Artifact, Roguish Thief
Word Count: 70,536
Setting: various
Languages Available: English
Excerpt:

Cursed

 

 

Mississippi Delta, 1922

 

That evening Levi Busch struck out into the woods near his home with his double-barrel shotgun and a blue tick hound named Rebel. “Go on, Reb, tree me a coon,” he instructed. “The four-footed kind this time,” he added with a laugh. There was plenty of moonlight when they started out, but it seemed to get darker with every step. Soon Levi couldn’t see his dog ahead of him anymore. “Rebel?” he called. In the distance he heard the unmistakable bay. “That a boy!” Levi tried to speed up, not wanting his prey to escape. But the forest was an unfamiliar maze of vines and roots. Though cruel branches smacked him in the face and angry thorns tore at his tan coat, still he pushed on, shotgun in hand.

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At once he felt a heaviness, like a trap had closed around him. Now the night was completely dark and he was closed in on all sides by a thick feeling of dread. It was becoming hard for him to breathe. “Rebel, come back boy!” he called, his voice exhibiting an uncharacteristically frantic timbre. He tried to move a foot, but it was caught. It was as if the forest had become his enemy, stalking the hunter, trapping the interloper, and now it wanted to extinguish him.  The young man swore under his breath and tugged with all his might to free his foot from the iron-like jaws of the thicket’s snare. He didn’t want to admit that he was afraid, but terror gripped his heart like nothing he had ever felt in his nineteen years.  At last he tore his foot free from its entanglement and lunged forward to take a step using the butt of his gun to steady himself, relief just moments away. KAPOW! The sound echoed through the woods and a nearby covey of quail flew up from the ground. Levi’s decapitated corpse dropped limply to the forest floor. The gun had gone off with both barrels when he leaned on it breaking free of the tangle and blew his head clear off.

 

Two days earlier

 

“A curse on you! A curse on you all!” cried Lilly Mae Johnson, hot tears streaming from big, round eyes down wet, chocolate cheeks. Her thin, work-worn hands trembled and her petite chest heaved up and down as she stood in the presence of the sheriff and the sons of three prominent members of the small Mississippi Delta community.  On this brisk autumn morning she had just accused the three young men of murder – a most serious charge for a black woman to bring against any white person, much less the county’s three favorite sons.

“There, there, Lilly Mae,” comforted Charlotte Anderson, mistress of the cotton plantation where Lilly Mae lived and worked. “I’m sure that Sheriff Patton will conduct a thorough investigation and bring the responsible parties to justice.”  She took a step closer to her tenant and put her arm around the distraught woman.

“That’s right, Little Lady,” the sheriff agreed, speaking to Mrs. Anderson, not the sharecropper. Charlotte steamed behind her pleasant façade. Don’t “Little Lady” me, she thought.

Buck Patton was a fixture in the county after twelve years as sheriff. The balding man of forty pulled up his pants that continually sagged despite all efforts to the contrary because of a round pot belly that hung precariously over his belt. A limp in his right leg caused by an old injury had kept him out of the Great War. “But I am sure Lilly Mae is mistaken about who she saw,” he reasoned. “After all, it was night. It couldn’t’ve been these boys.” Buck spread his arm in the direction of the young men.

First was Levi Busch, the nineteen year old son of a local police officer. His athletic build was testimony to his fame as a high school star. Currently he worked at the county Feed and Seed and had never been in trouble. Tall, blonde, baby blue eyes, clean cut, and general charm all added to the appearance of his innocence, but the confident smirk on his face gave Charlotte reason to question.

Beside him stood the lawyer’s son, Robert Livingston. Also nineteen with curly red hair and a freckled face, he had been his class’s valedictorian. He attended the prestigious University of Mississippi in Oxford when he was not home on break.

Last was eighteen year old Cotton Farley, the shortest of the three, with his hands jammed deep into his pockets. His aura was not as confident as the others’ and his brown eyes darted about nervously.  His father’s father came from Ireland a McFarley but dropped the “Mc” to avoid discrimination. Cotton’s father was the well-respected doctor who cared for most of the county’s white residents. Charlotte’s keen brown eyes noticed his nervous behavior. If the three boys didn’t kill James Johnson, they did do something for which they were trying not to be caught.

“I know their families,” Sheriff Patton continued. “They’re good, church goin’ people. It’s pretty evident that someone killed James, and that’s a shame, a real shame. I hear he was a good worker for you and your husband. Now you take Lilly Mae home so she can make arrangements with her church. I can’t promise results in a case like this, but I will conduct a proper investigation, you can be sure.”

Charlotte knew Sheriff Buck Patton to be an honest man who did his job effectively for the most part, but she also knew how the “good ole boy” system worked. She feared that nothing would be done; however, she did not want Lilly Mae to lose hope.

“Thank you, Sheriff,” she replied cordially. “I know you will.” She turned the smaller black woman who was overcome with emotion and began leading her toward a green Pierce Arrow Coupe parked on the gravel drive in front of the brick Sheriff’s Office.

But Lilly Mae turned her head one more time and shrieked, “A curse on you all!” before succumbing to sobs.

As Mrs. Anderson helped her tenant into the automobile, the sheriff turned a serious gaze on the three boys and spit his tobacco on the ground. “Tell me straight up,” he spoke in a stern voice eyeing each lad. “What do you know about this lynchin’?”

“Nothin’,” Levi replied quickly. “We don’t know nothin’ – I swear.”

“Prob’ly some o’ those klansmen,” Buck sighed. Known as the Second Ku Klux Klan, the revised organization was reignited in Atlanta, Georgia, after the film “Birth of a Nation” that aired in in 1915. This Klan was better organized, had members in all states, and was anti-Jew, anti-Catholic, anti-black, and anti-foreigner. They gained considerable power across the south and mid-west.

“Whoever it was must have been young,” Buck reasoned, “for Lilly Mae to think they was you. Come on boys, help me out, here. Surely you heard somethin’.”

“Well.” Robert hesitated, and then glanced at his two friends. Levi’s eyes were burning into him while Cotton looked down at his feet. “I heard – and now, don’t take me wrong; it’s no reason to kill someone. But I heard James’d been actin’ uppity since he came home from the war, like just because he was a soldier he was as good as everybody else. That’s just what I heard,” the clever youth added innocently.

“Huh,” Patton grunted and spit again. “Prob’ly those Wimbley cousins,” he supposed. “Three of ‘em, one with red hair. An’ hell, Chester Wimbley, patriarch of the family, is a grand wizard in the Klan. I’ll have to check on their whereabouts. But boys, listen up good,” he demanded once again in a severe tone. “Don’t you be lyin’ to me. Maybe there were circumstances; maybe he had a weapon and you boys were just defending yourselves.”

“Sheriff Patton,” Levi stepped forward with a sincere expression. “We wouldn’t lie to you, sir,” he promised.

“That’s right,” Robert echoed, his green eyes meeting the sheriff’s.

“Cotton?” Patton asked.

The shy, awkward, chunky teen looked up sorrowfully. “Honestly.” He paused and swallowed the lump in his throat. “I hope you catch whoever killed him.”

COLLAPSE

Several of the stories include one or more LGBTQ characters while the others do not. If you are interested in reviewing this collection, please contact me for a complementary copy.

About the Author

Edale Lane is the pen name used by Melodie Romeo for her LGBTQ literature to differentiate from her more mainstream stories. Melodie Romeo is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida. Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver with Prime, Inc. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, (https://www.facebook.com/VladANovel) an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, and Less Than Three Press. She has a son, Peter and daughter, Michele who both serve in the US Army, a daughter-in-law, Jessica and two grandsons, Mark and Asher. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna. Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime.


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