Welcome to My World

When you open an Eric R. Johnston novel, you are transported to a place of dark creatures and dreadful nights. There is no hope and no escape; only despair. Enter if you dare.

Series of Darkness

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Halloween Treat: 9111 Sharp Road, A Haunted House As Never Seen Before

9111 Sharp Road, a tale of a haunted house, a haunted school, a haunted town, a haunted family, but most importantly, a haunted little girl.

Amanda's life changes when her father dies, but she doesn't anticipate the horrors she must confront after moving in with her gramma in the small town of Orchard Hills. The entire town is a cemetary, for one. For two, her new home has to be 150 years old, if not older, with many, many creepy things about it, like the strange door on the second floor that leads directly outside to a deadly fall. She thinks maybe the door once led to a balconey that has decayed and fallen over the years. That is until she hears ghostly cries from the other side of it, cries saying, "Please, Amanda, let us out!"

The horror only increases as strange humanoid bats look in at her as she sleeps.

What is going on? And does it have anything to do with how her dad really died?

Available for a short time for 99 cents as a kindle ebook, 9111 Sharp Road is the treat you will want for yourself this Halloween season.

Here is the first Chapter of 9111 Sharp Road:

Chapter 1

Not long after Dad died, Mom told us we had to go live with Gramma. She said we couldn’t afford our house anymore.
Gramma lived in a big, old house in a far off village I had never heard of called Orchard Hills. Gray—just like in an old photograph—two stories tall, big windows that looked like giant eyes, and a foundation of mortar and stone, it was the creepiest house I had ever seen. Just something about it made me think there was something strange lurking behind every window, things even older and creepier than Gramma herself.
We weren’t that close to Gramma. In fact, my six-year-old sister, Lori, and I had never even met her. Mom always said she had a few screws loose, that maybe she wasn’t all there in the head, perhaps suffering from dementia and was possibly dangerous.
But we had nowhere else to go.
Coming into Orchard Hills on our moving day, the first thing I noticed was there didn’t seem to be anything in this village that was separate from the cemetery. There were tombstones as far as the eye could see. 
“Mom,” I asked from the passenger seat, “is this entire town just one big grave yard?”
She began crying, but didn’t answer me. I assumed she was thinking about Dad. This was going to be tough. I really missed Dad, and I was going to miss all of my friends. I could feel the tears beginning to well in my eyes. I looked away to hide my face.
“Mom,” Lori said from the backseat, “Amanda’s crying.” Sometimes I just wanted to punch her little face in.
“I’m going to kill you!” I screamed, unbuckled my seatbelt, and turned around. Tears were streaming down my face, my eyes, swollen. I couldn’t see, but that fact didn’t stop me from trying to land a punch.
“Help me! Help me!” Lori cried and undid her own seatbelt. She was trying to open the backdoor.
“You’re not going anywhere!” I screamed.
And then I was flung against the dashboard, my head cracking into the windshield.
“Listen, both of you!” Mom yelled, crying. “I am not having this. You two will behave yourselves or else. You got it?”
We never pushed Mom to be specific with her “or else” threats. It used to mean “or else Dad is getting involved.” Now it meant “or else you’ll have to live with the fact you made me cry.” Both Lori and I shut up, turned around, and sat back in our seats.
We continued going up the road in silence. This road seemed to be as close to Main Street as anything, in fact, I think it was probably the only road in this entire town. According to a sign we passed, it was called Sharp Road.
Eventually we came to the house as the gravestones thinned out. “Ninety-one eleven Sharp Road,” I said, reading the house number. “That’s our new address. Sounds creepy.”
The day was stormy, with rain threatening to wash us out as we ran our stuff from the car to the house. The lawn appeared as though it hadn’t been mowed in decades, perhaps centuries, making the trek between the car and the house difficult. The weeds literally reached up to my chest.
The front door opened up into a dining room with wooden floors and white, plaster walls. Directly to my left, I saw something most peculiar. There was a toilet and an old-fashioned bathtub in what looked like a closet not ten feet from the dining room table. How odd. The thought of an open bathroom next to where we were expected to eat our meals made me want to hurl.
 “Come in, come in,” the woman I assumed was my gramma greeted us, wearing, strangely enough, what looked like sheepskin died pink. She grabbed me in a tight squeeze, pushing the breath from my lungs. The perfume she wore stunk worse than anything I had ever smelled before. I tried to push her away, but my hands just pushed into rolls of fat and sweat.
“Nice to meet you, Gramma,” I grunted through a flabby arm.
She finally released me and looked at me in the queerest fashion. “Amanda, you look just like your father.” Everyone said that. I had long brown hair just like my father.
“Mom, what room is mine?” Lori shouted from behind me. She was carrying a pile of pillows and blankets that were taller than she was.
“Whoa, Lori, what are you doing?” Mom said, rushing in from behind her. She managed to save the falling tower of pillows just before they spilled over everywhere.
“Good save, Mom,” I said, finally managing to pull away from Gramma. I immediately went to her aid. Not because I wanted to help her, but because I just needed an excuse to get away.
“What room is mine?” Lori asked again.
Before we could venture off to find bedrooms, Gramma bounded upon us with arms wide open, “Come here. I wanna hug you both. How are my grandbabies?”
Get ready for round two, I thought as I braced myself.
She swept us both into a fanatical hug, squeezing tightly, and seeming to offer no hope she would ever let go. “I could just eat you both up.”
For a second, I thought she was actually going to make good on her “threat.” Maybe my mind was just playing tricks on me, but for a second, I was sure she had my entire ear in her mouth.
“We’re good,” I grunted. Mom wasn’t exaggerating. This woman was loony tunes.
She squeezed us a bit harder, pushing my face into her armpit. It was disgusting. All that flab with its disgusting taste of sweat laced with salt and bacteria. I couldn’t breathe. Lori struggled too, but she was smaller, so she managed to duck out from under Gramma’s beefy arms. I cried for help, but my voice was muffled by jelly rolls.
“Mom, can you let her go, please?” Mom asked.
Gramma held on to me for another few seconds and then finally let go. I breathed heavily, as if I had just finished a five-mile sprint. “What a couple of lovely, delicious children you have here.” Her choice of the word “delicious” concerned me a bit, especially when I looked into those crazed eyes.
Mom and Gramma began talking about things I had no idea, nor any interest in learning, about. While they talked, I walked in the family room off to the left of the dining room. There was what looked like a wood-burning stove to my left, with a couple of rocking chairs in front of it, and a rack full of logs beside it.
There were at least fifteen deer and coyote heads mounted on the walls. Disgusting.
“Mom,” I called back to her, “this place is weird.”
“Honey, your gramma and I are talking.” Her voice was somber and lonely. I really wished Dad were here.
Across from the stove was a doorway that led to a set of stairs heading up to the second floor. Mom had said on the way here that our rooms would be on the second floor.
There really wasn’t any point in going up to my room empty-handed. “I, uh, need to go get more stuff,” I said under my breath and headed out the front door.
The car didn’t have a lot in it. Moving into a house where someone already lives creates the issue of excess furniture. Mom insisted we leave most of the stuff at our old house, so there were mainly just boxes of books, some video games, and clothes.
Gramma and Mom were still talking as I came back in. Lori was standing there with pillows and blankets in hand, having recovered them after hugging Gramma. She looked like she was waiting for directions to our bedrooms.
I told Lori to just follow me upstairs, that we would just choose our own rooms, since I was sure Mom wouldn’t be in the mood to help us, and I wanted to stay as far away from Gramma as possible.
We went up the staircase. Walking up those steps produced the most amazing sort of echo; the sound of light, but heavy-sounding steps down an empty hall.
It just sounded so cool, yet it made me a little uneasy.
The upstairs was a rather large, L-shaped corridor with five rooms off of it. It looked as though Gramma hadn’t been up there in years, if ever. Cobwebs filled every corner; dust coated the floor. There was even a door that led directly outside, not onto a balcony, just outside to a thirty-foot fall and a broken leg or two.
“Is that the door to the hospital?” Lori asked, dead serious.
“What? No, it’s….” And then I realized she was joking. Door to the hospital, ha, very funny, Lori.
“Yeah, because if you walk through it, you’re going to the hospital.”
“I know, Lori, I get it.” I had to admit that it was a pretty funny joke, especially for a six-year-old. “I guess we’ll just have to call this ‘the door to the hospital, eh?’”
“Never mind. It was your joke. If I lost you, that’s your own fault. Hey, why don’t you take that room down there?” I pointed to our left past what must have been the smokestack from the wood-burning stove.
The room I chose was at junction of the L, just past that “door to the hospital,” or as I would think of it, “the door to nowhere.” It had green wall paper covering broken plaster. I had never seen a house this old, and I had no idea before moving in there just how strange old houses could be. The windows, too, were strange. Everything looked wavy, as if the glass was defective.
I threw down my bag of clothes. There was a bed set up in the room already, and by the looks of it, it had been in there for quite a while. The covers were neat, the pillows fluffed, but a cloud of dust billowed into the air as I sat on the bed. Gross, but tolerable, I supposed. I laughed out loud as I thought about how disgustingly awful it was.
I could hear footsteps coming to my door. They were a bit lighter, so naturally, I assumed they were Lori’s. “Lori, check this out.” I stood and went to the door, but there was nobody there.
Strange. I felt hairs sticking up on my head and my neck, and my heart started beating faster. I wouldn’t exactly say I was scared, but….
“Amanda, hey look at this!” Lori said, jumping out of her room directly to my right. The smokestack blocked most of my view of her room.
“Lori, you scared the bejeebies out of me. Is there anyone else up here?”
“I don’t know, but you gotta look at what I got in my room!”
My heart-rate slowed a bit as I entered her room. It was a lot like mine, except with pink walls instead of green. But most noticeably, there was a white pipe running from the floor to the ceiling. Lori jumped on it as if it were a fireman’s pole and attempted to climb it. She managed only a foot or two, but then slid back down. “Isn’t this awesome?”
“I wonder what it is,” I said. “Looks like some sort of plumbing.” I thought for a second. What room was directly below this one, where that pipe might have come from? Being so new to this house, it took me a second to remember that it was the bathroom. “Lori, you know what that is?”
“It’s the main pipe for the bathroom.”
“It is? Ew. Does that mean there’s poop and pee in it?”
“Sure thing. Also has farts.” I heard from Mom later that day that it was a vent stack, sometimes called a stink pipe, that carries gases from the septic system to the outside so that it doesn’t back up into the house. These pipes were usually in the walls, not jutting up from the floor in the middle of the room.
“That’s gross. I don’t think I want this room anymore.”
“Tough luck, chum. You gotta play the hand you’re dealt.”
“Huh?” she said with an exaggerated look of confusion.
“I don’t know. Just sounded good.”
I turned to leave Lori’s room but paused as I saw a dark shape walk past the door. “Lori, did you see that?” I cried. It wasn’t your regular shadow. This had more substance to it. “It was like a—”
“Ghost!” Lori screamed, finishing my sentence.
I don’t know what came over me, but before I knew it, I was rushing out into the hall to get a better look at whatever it was. There was a man walking away from me, toward that strange door to nowhere, as if he aimed to walk through it. He was dark, almost impossible to see, but I could barely make out his clothing. He was wearing one of those hats you see all the men wearing in old movies, as well as a matching suit.
And then he was gone.

If you enjoyed this first chapter of 9111 Sharp, you can download the rest here for 99 cents.