New Excerpt from The Shed

The Shed7Alex started awake and blinked in the moonlight flooding the porch. He unwound from the ball he’d curled into, chilled, muscles aching. He rose and stretched, then wrinkled his nose at a strange smell hanging in the air. Oh God.

He walked to the edge of the porch. Moonlight touched the tips of the pine trees ringing the garden. He drew a breath of the crisp air with its hint of fall, rotten leaves and dank earth and moldering bones.

He pressed the palms of his hands hard against his eyes. “I won’t go in there,” he assured his pounding heart, but the stench teased his senses, drawing him. Unable to resist, he left the porch and trotted down the garden path toward the woods.

Stopping at the edge of the forest, he swallowed a whimper, not wanting to go into the darkness under the trees. The safer plan would be to simply turn around and climb back into bed, waking in the morning safe in Jane’s arms. Mornings were his favorite part of the day. Everything was fresh and new and unblemished. He and Jane usually had their coffee and breakfast on the patio, then spent an hour or so in the studio together before driving up to Fort Collins to see Art Peters.

A bird cried in the branches overhead, startling him. He glanced up, but a flash of dark wings was all he saw of the creature as it swooped under the tree limbs. He ducked into the trees and followed its swift path, careful on the slippery leaves, twigs, and unexpected holes under his feet.

He came to an abrupt halt and shuddered at the rotten air wafting up from an even deeper darkness under the limbs of an ancient oak. Dear God. What could it be? He brought his head up with a jerk at the creak of a board. An old shed stood close by, abandoned, the wood black with age, half hidden in brambles and small trees. Alex’s heart froze, his breath stopped. Terror crept over his mind and he tore his gaze away from the evil structure, snapping the terrible connection.

Heart thundering in his ears, he walked toward the blackness under the oak, dread a cold finger creeping up his spine. An open grave, freshly dug, lay at the tree’s feet. Oh shit. Fear twisted in his stomach as he knelt on the loose edge, shivering as dampness from the soil seeped into his jeans. He gripped the sides of the pit to keep from falling in as he leaned over for a closer look, the dirt cold and moist in his hands. Something was in there.

He closed his eyes, not wanting to be there. He wanted to be back in bed, wrapped in Jane’s safe embrace, not here where he had to look into a grave of ghosts.

“God help me,” he murmured and opened his eyes. Fear strangled his throat. He couldn’t cry out. Could hardly breathe. A child’s face floated in darkness, deathly pale, its eyes huge wells of sorrow. Hair black as raven wings fluttered against white cheeks. Bloodless lips opened and the whisper of a voice floated up to him: “Run.”


Solstice Publishing


As a Certified Mental Health Therapist, Scott Reid has his share of interesting experiences, though nothing compares with the time he spends with the psychic, Alex Elson. Plagued by terrifying images and dreams, Alex turns to Doctor Reid in the hopes of learning to control his visions. Instead, Scott is pulled into Alex’s world, where dreams and reality mix and nightmares are real.

Two young men, brothers, have been abducted from the lake outside of Oakton without a trace of who took them. That is, until Alex receives a silver pocket watch in the mail belonging to the elder brother, a taunt from the kidnapper for Alex to come find them. Alex’s visions turn at once into nightmares. Images flash in his mind of an abandoned well and a terrified, lonely boy slowly dying at the bottom. The shed looms close by, holding a horrifying secret, a dark place Alex’s frightened mind refuses to go.

With the help of Scott Reid, Alex endeavors to control his visions and find the brutalized victims before death claims them. But the watch is ticking away and time’s running out.

About diannehartsock

Author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy/adventure, m/m romance and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer.
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