Category Archives: demons

“A Terrible Beauty” Published at Unfading Daydream

Unfading Daydream Literary Magazine

A Terrible Beauty by Paula Cappa,  Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dear Readers:

I am happy to announce that my newest short story, A Terrible Beauty is now published at Unfading Daydream, a literary magazine  founded by LL Lemke and Adelei Wade. They have been successfully publishing speculative fiction since 2017.

 

The October 2019 issue’s theme is possession.  Twelve short stories in this edition bring you into worlds of ghosts, ouija board, psychic phenomenon, enchanting princess, and more.

In A Terrible Beauty, you will discover the power of quartz crystals, a young man Charlie Crowe, an entity known as Datan, and the endearing Li’l Clare.

Here is a peek.

The trap opened at sundown. Inside of a great, clear crystal swirled the presence of a bat. No; I call it a bat, but this was no flying rodent in any earthly sense. It only appeared bat-like. What I immediately learned was that this odd presence claimed she could eat men like air.

Being an ordinary man, I shuddered.

I say she, although I was not at all certain of the gender, because something about the curves and cleaves, the quivering grooves of the grim shape, reminded me of a woman. My experiences with women were quite limited in my rather over-protected twenty-one years of life, but I remained an admirer of the starlet Marilyn Monroe, and who could better exemplify a model for feminine cleaves and curves?

When I asked this presence how she could do this—eat men, that is—she released these thoughts into my head:

“I tap the temples, neatly plucking a section of brain matter, seizing the shafts of lightning therein, and absorbing the essence of the man like a sponge into my crystal. Then I plant the human head into an ice gulch and let it vegetate like a cabbage.”

I recalled pulling my cap lower around my ears as her thought—actually a thought-noose—nearly made me cry out.

 

Speculative fiction is a genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world but in very important ways. These stories explore the human condition. The term was coined by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in 1948.  This genre includes unproven theories, ‘what if …?’ scenarios, fantastic elements, action hinged to the realm of science fiction and to horror. It’s for readers who want to believe in the impossible and the unknown. In these stories, the sky is not the limit.

Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall is probably one of the most popular speculative fiction short stories. And of course the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

What I love about speculative fiction is that you are in the real world but you are not in the real world.   A Terrible Beauty brings you into that space between reality and unreality. As a writer, this can be really challenging because the story, characters, action must be totally convincing and carry a deep sense of suspense.  This is a story about what could be, not what is. My readers here of Greylock, A Dazzling Darkness, and Night Sea Journey, as well as my other short stories, are familiar with such imaginary realms of the supernatural.

 

You can purchase the magazine here on Amazon.com Unfading Daydream Issue Possession October:

 

Are you a speculative fiction fan? What are your favorite authors or stories? Please post a comment! And if you do read A Terrible Beauty, I’d love to hear your feedback.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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Forbidden Pleasures of the Vampiress

The Lady of the House of Love by Angela Carter (1979)

Tuesday’s Tale for Halloween  October 22, 2019

 

How about a haunting fairy tale for Halloween? Come meet the Countess. Let’s go Gothic in a decaying castle with “shadows that have no source in anything visible.” Who lives in the castle? A beautiful somnambulist who helplessly perpetuates her ancestral crimes. Think Sleeping Beauty but as a vampiress who lives in a tower in Transylvania. A bridal gown, blood red roses, Tarot cards, forbidden pleasures, claw-tipped hands, and  fatal embraces—”her claws and teeth have been sharpened on centuries of corpses.”

 

The story is written with such beauty and horror, it’s perfect for Halloween. I won’t spend time on the plot (a young officer in the British army comes to her castle, lured by the Countess’s mute old maid), because the following tasty quotations from the text are just too delicious.  What a master of language and style Angela Carter is! You will be transported.

“Too many roses bloomed on enormous thickets that lined the path, thickets bristling with thorns, and the flowers themselves were almost too luxuriant, their huge congregations of plush petals somehow obscene in their excess, their whorled, tightly budded cores outrageous in their implications. The mansion emerged grudgingly out of this jungle.”

“She offered him a sugar biscuit from a Limoges plate; her fingernails struck carillons from the antique china. Her voice, issuing from those red lips like the obese roses in her garden, lips that do not move–her voice is curiously disembodied; she is like a doll, he thought, a ventriloquist’s doll, or, more, like a great, ingenious piece of clockwork.”

 

“She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening. She has the mysterious solitude of ambiguous states; she hovers in a no-man’s land between life and death, sleeping and waking …”

 

Are you anxious for more pleasures of the senses? This story is 5 stars. I loved it.

 

Read the short story here at Short Story Project:

https://www.shortstoryproject.com/story/lady-house-love/

Listen to the audio here at YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6qrwIE4jNE

 

Author Angela Carter was named one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945” by the London Times. A prolific writer of fiction, Carter is best remembered for her collection of short fiction The Bloody Chamber, in which this story was published. Angela died in 1992.

 

Want to read about some of the most famous female vampires?

Click here:

Top 10 Female Vampires

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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Jasper Peacock, Mystery of the Unknowable

Jasper Peacock by Paula Cappa

READING FICTION BLOG

Published at Coffin Bell Literary Journal of Dark Literature

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery    September 3, 2019

 

 

What is the mystery of the unknowable? Is it the inner realm of consciousness? And might there be a ghost residing there?

Come meet Jasper Peacock, a famous artist, who knows how to make the darkness conscious.

 

 

Click on this link at Coffin Bell   https://coffinbell.com/jasper-peacock/

to read my newest short story online. If you love dark fiction, I encourage you to read the other shorts published in this literary journal as well.  And don’t be shy about LIKING or SHARING! Thanks to everyone who reads this blog regularly, reads my novels and short stories, and supports my work!

 

Coffin Bell is a new quarterly online journal of dark literature, which reaches readers in 104 countries.

Editor-in-Chief Tamara Burross Grisanti is a writer, editor, and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in New World WritingEunoia Review, Chicago Literati, Former Cactus, Corvus Review, Pussy Magic, The New Mexico Review, and The Literary Hatchet. She lives in Buffalo, New York, where she spends her summers dreading the winters.

“Coffin Bell publishes new and emerging voices alongside established writers. I’m a believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s assertion that “fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. We [at Coffin Bell] nominate for the Pushcart Prize, the Best Small Fictions, and the Best of the Net Awards.”  —Tamara Burross Grisanti

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Haunter of the Dark: A tale of woe for Halloween

The Haunter of the Dark   H.P. Lovecraft (1935)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 24, 2017

 

Gulf of night. Shroud of dust …

“I see it—coming here—hell-wind—titan-blur—black wings …”

We are in Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Blake, a writer and painter, is currently writing a novel on a witches cult in Maine. In his newly rented room, his desk window gives him a view of a vacant and deserted  ‘ould church on Federal Hill. This is a man wholly devoted to dream, terror, and superstition. The dark church fascinates him and his imagination begins to take over. Or is it his imagination? He decides he must go inside this church to investigate the crumbling black spires and mesmerizing windows that seem to keep calling him.

What if …  this church was previously a place of devil worship, something along the lines of the Starry Wisdom sect back in 1877? The members of the Church of Starry Wisdom believed in the Haunter of the Dark. Who is the Haunter? He is summoned from the black gulfs of chaos, a powerful evil that was banished by light.

What if … inside this dark and shadowy church there existed a glowing crystal, an ancient artifact known as the Shining Trapezohedron that could summon evil power, summon an actual creature, out of depths of time and space?

What if … this evil creature knew all things?

 

 

And what if  … this Haunter of the Dark knew YOU were watching it?

This story is said to be the last story written by Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and  is a sequel to “The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch. I consider it to be one of Lovecraft’s best for prowling around an abandoned church and exploring leftover cults. It is classic horror, a foreboding story, perfect for a Halloween read. The writing is 5-star with evocative images, atmospheric, and high suspense.

 

 Note on Starry Wisdom: The cult was founded in Providence, Rhode Island circa 1844 by the archaeologist and occultist Professor Enoch Bowen. The cult used a sacred relic known as the Shining Trapezohedron to summon the Haunter of the Dark, who demanded outrageous sacrifices in return for limitless knowledge of the universe. The cult had a membership of 200. More  at MeasureLesseons: https://measurelesseons.wordpress.com/pulling-the-strings/church-of-starry-wisdom/ 

 

 

Read the short story at HPLovecraft.com.

Listen to the audio (1 hour), read by the famous David McCallum, and wonderful for your Halloween party. Go to The Haunter of the Dark at   YouTube.com 

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”  H.P. Lovecraft

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

 

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Smoke Is Fatal to Evil Spirits

March 13, 2017

Ancient wisdom tells us that smoke is fatal to evil spirits. Have you ever burned sage to drive away negative energies? Ever burned the blooms of a Smoke Tree?  The flame flies in wild circles. The scent, sweet and spicy. Christians burn incense to purify churches and altars; they scatter the smoke in all directions, hence the expression ‘holy smoke.’ Capnomancy is form of divination, a reading of the shapes of smoke as a sign of what will happen soon. I love candlelight and bonfires, watching the smoke curl into haunting shapes, light-winged, like an Icarian bird or …

 

Or like a firehawk …

 

Let’s get dreamy for a moment. Henry David Thoreau said “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”

Come with me. Move into sleep, as through a veil. Let the dream do its dreaming.

Enter into a night journey where airy Smoke Trees grow.

Sit down beneath the fluffy grayish puff-blooms. Rest on their vanishing shadows.

Are you breathing a bit of smoke yet? Inhale the alluring scent and let it take you into the beyond.

In the distance is a cemetery garden. Do you see it?

Curling grass, ferns and flowers, flights of hawks are soaring.

 

 

The weight of the air is suddenly cool and white.  A strange woman is walking the paths. Will you follow her through the Smoke Trees?

 

 

Kip Livingston carried a jar of sea lavender through the cemetery paths high above the sea. Raymond Kera followed but kept several paces behind. Some of the headstones were scoured white from salt winds. Smoke trees interrupted the skyline with their frothy grey plumes and deep purple leaves—must have been twenty of them among the graves. Raymond remembered smoke trees from childhood when he was sent to stay with his aunt in upstate New York for a month. He had been permitted to pluck one bloom and spent the morning blowing away the seed heads one at a time. As they floated off, he saw them as little angel ghosts with glowing heads. He had chased the smokey ghosts all the way to the street, giving his aunt the scare of her life.

Just at that moment, he desired to yank down a plume and do the same. Ridiculous, but tempting.

He watched Kip approach a headstone and place the lavender on the grass right under the engraved name  of her grandfather Achab David Ze’leim. She stood there all soft and flowing in her summer dress with the dull sun at her back. Her lips moved slowly; she fingered her necklace, cast her eyes down to the earth, tucked her head as if listening. Then suddenly her hand swung down like a broken paw.

Giving her plenty of privacy, Raymond sat on a nearby bench. He let the puffs of the smoke trees soothe him. He might have closed his eyes, if only to escape all of what happened that morning. That claw. Did she dismember the demon? Or was it another illusion? Or another dream of her evil firehawk?  Are her dreams so powerful that when she opens her eyes, when she becomes awake, the images are realized?

Kip waved him over. “I was thinking of Aunt Agatha, just now.”

“Is she buried here too?”

“Her ashes are buried in the garden at Abasteron House. Aunt Agatha was the sweetest woman. She wanted to tell me the secret. But she said it would frighten me. So, she took it with her to her grave.”

“A family secret?”

“I don’t know. Admitting you even have a secret half reveals it, don’t you think?”

Kip slipped her hand into the crux of Ray’s arm and hung on to rest her face on his shoulder. “Grandfather died bravely, you know. He walked the beach every day at noon, even up to the last week he died. He especially loved the winter sun.”

Raymond gave a nod to be polite. Achab David Ze’leim’s headstone was a massive hewn square rock with a lion claw as a mounting at each corner. Simple lettering. Name, dates, and the old man’s last words: Every word emanating from God creates an angel.

“You think that’s true, Kip?”

“What?”

He pointed to the epitaph.

“Why not? It’s from the Talmud. You believe in angels, don’t you, Ray?”

“I do.”

“And demons?”

“You mean your demon?”

“It’s not my demon, Ray.”

“Well, it’s your dream.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Then whose dream is it?”

She looked away. “The dream is dreaming itself.”

“Why would you think that?” Thunder rolled over the smoke trees. The puffs on the trees didn’t look so angelic just then—more like dried up cobwebs about to crack.

Kip answered after a moment. “Grandfather.”

 

 

Come into the Night Sea Journey with Kip and Raymond. Walk among the cemetery smoke trees. Angels. Demons. Be awake in the dream as it dreams itself into reality.

An Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner, 2015.

Amazon.com

Amazon UK 

Barnes & Noble.com

Smashwords

U.S. REVIEW OF BOOKS  “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with, if not better than, a Dan Brown novel.”

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

READERS’ FAVORITE REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Marvelous, atmospheric and, oh, so very, very good. Profound, vibrant, and intensely moving. Highly recommended. Brava!”

Published by Crispin Books

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Night Sea Journey, 99 cents, November

Last weekend (November 6, 7, 8, 2015) for this sale at 99 cents for Night Sea Journey. This supernatural mystery recently hit the Amazon best seller list for 4 days in occult and supernatural genres.  After winning an Eric Hoffer Book Award this year, Night Sea Journey has connected to readers who love to explore fiction about the mysteries of the subconscious mind, art, and spirituality … and a firehawk.

Eric-Hoffer-Award-Seal

U.S. Review of Books “Stunning and absorbing plot on par with—if not better than—a Dan Brown novel. Truly an outstanding read, Night Sea Journey is one book that is hard to put down!”

ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD, 2015. “This romantic fantasy is propelled by gorgeous language and imagery…angels and demons…The grime of inner city Chicago, the tranquility of the Rhode Island coastline, and the depths of a phantasmagoric ocean are the stages for this conflict.”

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW ★★★★★ posts “NIGHT SEA JOURNEY is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride, impossible to put down, a fast-paced thriller.”

READERS’ FAVORITE REVIEWS ★★★★★ “Marvelous, atmospheric and, oh, so very, very good. Profound, vibrant, and intensely moving. Highly recommended. Brava!”

★★★★★ Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Gives 5 STARS. “A talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.”

 

Come meet Kip Livingston’s firehawk  …

FireHawkdreamstime_m_3134182

 

Trade Paperback Published by Crispin Books

Buy the eb00k     $2.99

Buy the trade paperback  $16.95

Amazon.com

Amazon UK 

Barnes & Noble.com

Smashwords

Apple iTunes

CappaNightSeaJourneyERICHFinalSept (1)

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The Devil Prefers the Sonata in G Minor

The Devil’s Trill,   Giuseppe Tartini (1769)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 15, 2015

paganini

Come meet Giuseppe Tartini, the devil’s son, in the city of Padua, Italy. Giuseppe lived from 1692 to 1770 and is remembered famously for his violin Sonata in G Minor, known as The Devil’s Trill. Besides Giuseppe’s technical skills and the poetic qualities of his music, he is revered  as the godfather of modern violinists. He produced 200 sonatas and concertos but not a single one is comparable to The Devil’s Trill or as famous. Here is his true story as told to French astronomer Jerome Lalande and published in the Voyage d’un Français en Italie in 1769.

“One night I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I desired: my new servant anticipated my every wish. I had the idea of giving him my violin to see if he might play me some pretty tunes, but imagine my astonishment when I heard a sonata so unusual and so beautiful, performed with such mastery and intelligence, on a level I had never before conceived was possible. I was so overcome that I stopped breathing and woke up gasping. Immediately I seized my violin, hoping to recall some shred of what I had just heard; but in vain. The piece I then composed is without a doubt my best, and I still call it “The Devil’s Sonata,” but it falls so far short of the one that stunned me that I would have smashed my violin and given up music forever if I could but have possessed it.”

giuseppe_tartini_devil_s_sonata

Some say it’s just legend. Some say this is a fiction. Some believe that dreams bring us to unknown worlds, just as music does, and that Giuseppe  was touched by the devil when he composed and played this sonata. The sonata is said to have no autograph on the sheet music written in Tartini’s hand.

And what about Paganini? Did he sell his soul to the devil to master the violin? That story is for another Tuesday.

If you like short stories about supernatural music, here is one that will strike the perfect note.

The Music of Erich Zann by H. P. Lovecraft.

Erich Zann is a Renaissance viol-player and a mute with a wrinkled satyr-like face. He lives in the one-windowed garret of the peaked boarding house on the Rue d’Auseil and every night plays his music. Our narrator in this story is a university student of metaphysics. The city is probably Paris, but the name  is not confirmed. The student takes a room in the boarding house on the Rue d’ Auseil, which is a steep and narrow street, a cliff actually that lies beyond the dark river, beyond the bridge made of dark stone—a perfect metaphor for the edge of madness that defines the story.

Read The Music of Erich Zann at HPLovcraft.com.

erichzann565

 

Listen to the audio, read by Mike Bennett at YouTube.com

 

 

For you film fans, watch John Strysik’s adaptation in two parts (total time 17 minutes):

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeMNDhTWJ-o

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqQWrZFHouA

Oh, and one more thing—while we are talking supernatural music from the other side—do keep in mind  my supernatural thriller about the dark powers of music, Greylock. Release in October.

Pianist Alexei Georg harbors a dark secret—he finds an old Russian sonata in a 19th-century sea chest. When Alexei plays this handsome music, a creature of darkness appears in the audience, in the aisle, and on the stage with him. This is no ghost.

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GREYLOCK … coming soon …

when the leaves fall.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Filed under dark fantasy, demons, fiction, horror, horror blogs, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural music, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror