To be released Thursday, 9/4
I’m excited to announce my first collection of horror and southern gothic fiction short stories, Then Death Spoke, will be released on Amazon Thursday, 9/4.
These are NOT dark stories with “feel good,” happy endings, folks. These are your sick and twisted, double-up-on-the-Prozac stories. True escapism for the gothic *heart.*
To "lure" you in, I've included here an excerpt from one of my southern gothic pieces. The voice is a young teenage girl, battling feelings for a much older man from a very dark past.
Excerpt from, “I Never Met a Soldier I Didn’t Like” by LB Shaw
It was six months later when the unbelievable happened. I was at church and I had to go to the bathroom, but the upstairs bathrooms were full. I ran downstairs to the ones that hardly anyone ever used.
When I came out, low and behold if Eddie himself wasn’t standing there in the hallway, all alone, decked out in his Army uniform and everything. I almost fainted on the spot. Lord knows I had changed a lot since he last saw me, blooming in all the right ways as my best friend’s cousin had once said. When Eddie saw me, he looked at me like he was seeing me for the first time.
“Jolene, I… look at you. My, you’ve grown.” His eyes wandered right down to where they shouldn’t have but where I wanted them to, and I thought if he stared at me forever I’d never get tired of looking at his perfect face.
“Hi, Mr. Winthrop,” I sort of whispered and sort of blurted, still holding on to the formality of respecting my elders, even though in my head, I’d always called him Eddie. “How are you?” My palms were sweating up a storm and I thought my heart would bust right through the lace on my dress and splat all over the church floor.
“Going through a rough time, but I’m hanging on as best I can. How’s life treating you, darlin’?”
Eddie rubbed his hands together as he talked.
“Pretty good, I guess.” I searched his face for some clue that… well, I don’t know what sort of clue I was looking for. He just smiled softly, and I asked him what rough thing he was going through.
“You didn’t hear?” he asked. I shook my head.
“Oh, well don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. It’s all grown up stuff anyways.” He jerked his head around to peer down the dark hallway. “Say, I can’t stick around, but you wouldn’t want to do an old man a favor, would you?”
“Me?” I would have done just about anything for Eddie.
He laughed and asked me to meet him at his car after church, that he had something he wanted to give me.
“It’s something I brought back from Tennessee. It’s nothing bad, but I know your mama doesn’t approve of me giving you gifts.”
I told him I would be there or be square, and all through the sermon I could hardly wait to get out the doors. I looked around for Eddie, but I didn’t see him anywhere. He wasn’t kidding when he said he couldn’t stick around. I wondered what he was doing there to begin with, and why he didn’t just bring the gift inside to give me before he had to leave.
Since Mom and Dad usually went to the fellowship hall after Sunday sermon, I didn’t tell them a thing, just ran straight out to the overflow parking lot across the street where Eddie said he’d be waiting. When I saw his black Dodge, I got so nervous I almost turned back around. I think my heart couldn’t take how bad I wanted him.
I saw him sitting there in the driver’s seat as I came up to the car. His head was hanging down, and for a minute I thought he was asleep. When he saw me, he leaned over and opened the passenger door. I sat down next to him, and he started the car up to run the heat. It was so dad-burned cold. We sat there without saying a word for a good while. It felt so nice, just being near him again, that I didn’t mind the silence.
“I want to be a good man, you know,” he said.
“You are, Mr. Winthrop.”
“I wish you’d call me Eddie.”
He took a deep breath and looked over at the church, like what he needed to say was written on the steeple.
“When I was a little boy, my papa would beat my ass if I breathed wrong. I always said when I grew up, I’d make sure I never hurt no one. Especially someone I love. I really don’t understand how some men’s minds work.”
I looked at Eddie, trying to figure out what he was talking about, but really just having a hard time believing that he was back. I thought about everyone inside the church, and me, just having gotten done worshipping the Lord, sitting out here in the car, in the real world, discussing real adult stuff, my hormones trying to rage me right through the teenage years and into womanhood.
I watched his profile while his stare loomed ahead in the distance, maybe somewhere he wanted to be. I wanted to be there too. Eddie closed his eyes and put his hands on the steering wheel, gripping it so tight it squeaked.