John's eyelids flutter, then jerk wide open in the jittery light of the television. The plaid bedspread beneath his face is wet with drool. How long was he asleep?
He sits up with a start. This room—
Groggy, he slides off the bed and staggers toward the console television on the floor, its screen a flurry of static.
The echo of his voice is muted by thick drapes over the two windows and the popcorn ceiling and the shag carpet—a motel room from forty years ago.
"Is anybody there?"
He storms toward the door and tries the knob, but it doesn't turn, not even a jiggle. He pounds with his fists, but there's no hollow thudding sound. He's hitting concrete.
He takes a step back. The windows—the view outside might tell him where he is. He throws the drapes aside, but there is no window. Only a dingy wall.
His knees swim in their sockets. His throat tightens, his chest—he can't breathe. He stumbles over to the telephone—an old green rotary device like his grandmother had when he was a kid. He grabs the handset and stares at it, trying to remember how the thing worked.
He digs his finger into the dial to call 9-1-1. Placing the receiver against his ear, he finds only silence. No dial tone. As if trying to force it into life, he shakes the handset. Nothing. He curses and pounds it against the nightstand. Still nothing.
Then a small, quavering voice speaks on the other end: "What do you need?"
Dark Visions Volume 1 is now available from Grey Matter Press, and it includes my story along with a dozen other creepifying tales. Dark Visions has been selling very well so far, and the publisher has done a great job of promoting it (and its authors) via social media.
Have you ever considered submitting to a themed anthology? It's a great way to introduce your work to a broader audience, and it's always cool to share a table of contents with some of the more well-known names in any genre.
In other news, Christine Rains won a copy of "Harbinger of Arroyo Seco" last week -- thanks for subscribing to my blog, Christine! Who will this week's lucky winner be?
Like many heroes, Coyote Cal was once a boy...
There's a storm brewing over the town of Arroyo Seco, and a sheriff with his uncanny eye on the future sees nothing but trouble for our hero-in-the-making. In love with an older woman and hunted by a gang seeking retribution, young Calvin must walk a fine line between protecting the one he loves and becoming a ruthless killer.
10,000 words - Weird Western / Romance
Originally appeared in Big Pulp Magazine
Now available from Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo Sony