February 19, 2010

The spark of an idea

The idea for this novel came from a song by Genesis: HOME BY THE SEA. For those of you who don't know the song, basically it is about someone who breaks into a haunted house. Once inside the ghosts will not let him leave until he has sat down and listen to the story of their lives. House on Butcher Harbor is my idea of what could happen if ghosts insist you listen to them. I hope you enjoy the story. If you haven't heard the song, but like stories about haunted houses, you might want to check out the Genesis song as well.


This is the start of House On Butcher Harbor blog site. Hope that it will grow as people decide to read my book. It is an unpublished work, so the entire book will only be available once published. I may allow people to read the entire book as long as they agree to post comments here to help promote the book.

February 18, 2010

Chapter Two

Tires crunched along the road as Deputy Raymond Dogg drove his police cruiser into the cul-de-sac at the end of the Penninsula Road. This was the only place the deputy could find peace during the busy summer months at Butcher Harbor. Summer season was in full bloom and the natives were restless due to the summer storm, which had trapped the visitors inside their rental cottages, town restaurants, and bars for several days. There would be a lot of calls tonight: bar fights, domestic violence as cooped up husbands picked fights with their wives, while the locals argued over parking spaces with the tourists they needed to help them survive the dead winter months.
The deputy glanced across the peninsula at the lights that dotted the beach and surrounding port. It was a sight he never tired of, even while the rain pelted his windows and the wind buffeted his cruiser. On the opposite side of him was the ocean, black and rolling. Fierce waves threw sea water up onto the peninsula; heavy spray hit the cruiser even though he was parked twenty feet from the rocky edge.
The deputy turned his windshield wipers off, allowing the rain and sea water to wash across the windshield freely. He placed the cruiser in park and reached for his canvas cooler on the back seat floorboard. A thermos was on the seat next to him. He poured himself a cap full of his mother’s famous coffee; Lila’s coffee, roasted with just a bit of her secret ingredient. Of course everyone knew it was just cinnamon, but no one that frequented her restaurant ever let on that they knew. Coffee breaks like this one were the highlight of the deputy’s night. The taste and the smell brought back wonderful childhood memories of his dad sneaking him sips of coffee when his mom wasn’t looking.
Enjoying the aroma of the spiced coffee, the deputy scanned the peninsula to his right. The only thing on the peninsula was the Templeton House, a quarter of a mile away. To add to the oddness of the dark, stormy night, the widow Templeton appeared to have every light in the house turned on. Perhaps she was using the light to ward off the loneliness of the storm.
Mrs. Templeton, he knew from previous coffee breaks on the peninsula, rarely kept more than one light on at a time at night. He assumed it was because she was on a very tight budget. That could be the only reason anyone would be foolish enough to burn only one light in that particular house at night. Rumor had it that the house was haunted. Mrs. Templeton was said to be loony from all the ghosts she allegedly kept company with within those walls. Indeed, her very own daughter had left shortly after Mr. Templeton passed on. It seemed she couldn’t get out of that house fast enough.
Stories passed on from generation to generation told of a time when pirates inhabited Butcher Harbor. The pirates, supposedly the first to settle here, built the house upon the craggy shore from parts of shipwrecked boats. Bosts the themselves had scuttled. They then used the house to lure unsuspecting sailors to their doom. Then the pirates looted the shipwrecked boats, hauling the booty inland to the real pirate hideout away from the shore, protected from the sea by the peninsula. The harbor was named for the blood bath the pirates created at sea and on land.
It was said that a mob gathered and finally drove the pirates off, extinguishing the lights of the house, thereby saving countless seaman a brutal death. Tales of strange sights and sounds followed the house to this day. The list of the missing and the dead grew with each telling, yet for some unexplained reason, the house was always occupied.
Elizabeth Templeton's father had electricity ran out to the house. Modern technology and an end to pirateering prevented further incidents with ships. She could run the lights in her house as she saw fit. Elizabeth used very little light at night.
Tonight the brightly lit house helped to add an eeriness to the dark, stormy night. Templeton House captivated Raymond as he stared at the two story beach house in the distance. He wondered what it must have been like to grow up in that house. Remembering the teasing Elizabeth’s daughter Claire had taken in school. Raymond decided maybe he didn’t really want to know. He had put up with his own hazing with a name like Dogg. And now that he was a deputy, his friends, and not so good friends, loved to give him lip service about his name on a daily basis. And when it came to names, the town's name- Butcher Harbor- was a thorn in the town's back side and they made sure anyone living in Templeton house knew it.
Raymond ate half his sandwich, saving the other half for a later coffee break. He drank the last sip of his coffee. After he placed the cap back on the thermos and the canvas cooler on the floor behind his passenger seat, the deputy turned the windshield wipers back on. A huge gush of salt and rain water whooshed away. When the windshield was clear, he pulled the cruiser back onto the road.
“You have a good evening Mrs. Templeton," he said to himself as he passed the house on the way back to town. He gave a little salute to the brightly lit house as he passed by. Before him awaited the chaos of the night. The deputy smiled. He looked forward to the summer nights in this beach town.
As he drove toward town the deputy took one last glance at the Templeton house in his rear view mirror.
“What the hell!”
The wheels of the cruiser locked up nearly sending it off the road. Dogg fought to bring the cruiser back under control.
“Harbor two to base,” he called in to the station.
“This is Base. What’s up Dogg?” the soothing woman's voice of the third-shift dispatcher teased.
“I’m not sure. The lights of the Templeton house are flickering on and off.”
“Maybe the ghosts are having a hurricane party like the rest of the Harbor tonight.” Dogg thought he could hear a giggle in her voice. Chances were more likely that some drunken tourist were playing a prank on old Mrs. Templeton.
“I’m going to check it out,” he said, throwing the cruiser into reverse. Of course there was always the possibility that the house, and not the summer folk, was the cause of the trouble at the Templeton house tonight. Dogg didn't believe in ghosts, but the rich history or the house, the endless disappearances and deaths made him leary. Just in case, he called back to base.
“If you don’t hear from me in ten minutes, send backup.”

Chapter One

The summer storm battered Templeton House, set on Butcher Harbor Peninsula. It was the only house that stood on the peninsula of this tiny North Eastern town. Rain pelted the old glass windows and the weather worn roof as a gale shook the very foundation of the old beach house. Inside, sixty year old Elizabeth Templeton stood in the living room in a crazed state, a carving knife in her trembling hand. Her striped house dress hung loosely on her tiny frame. She had a haunted look in her eyes. She waved the carving knife around as if to hold off some attacker. There was no one in the room with her, at least no one living that is.
“I asked you to stop this ruckas for just a while- STOP! Is that too much to ask?” Distress wrinkled her face. Tears streamed down her cheeks unchecked.
Voices of the unseen filled the room. Some were fearful for the old woman, others egged her on. They wanted her to kill herself. Then she would join them in their tortured world, being trapped in this house of the damned. Each one of the hundreds of souls trapped in the house needed her in one way or another to help dispell the torment and anguish of their lives. Dead or alive she listened to them. She heard the stories of their lives, and by this they were somehow able to stay alive, stay in the world of the living.
“Do it,” a haggard old woman’s voice coaxed.
“No, wait!” cried the soft pitch of a young boy. “Don’t listen to her," he pleaded. The boy needed the old woman. She took up for him and protected him against the angry mob of ghosts that occupied Templeton House. Elizabeth listened. She was like a mother to him. He couldn't stand to loose her too.
“Haven’t I been here for you? All of you?” Elizabeth pleaded, her eyes wild with fear and pain. On any other day Elizabeth would have delighted in listening to the ghosts desperate stories. They had become her friends, her family. They were all she had left in her world with her husband passed on and her daughter who had moved away, fled the house of ghosts. But tonight, with the storm raging and she needed a break. She was getting too old for the constant demand of her attention. They required too much from her these days. She just needed a little rest, a break to recharge her frail old body and mind.
The storm wasn't helping either. Each time the old house was slammed by the insistant wind she was afraid it would crumble. While she knew she need not worry about the house, it was strong as ever, it was old like her, she was afraid that it too could not take the pounding of the storm. She was afraid that it too might be weary on this trecherous night.
“Yes, join us,” cried many voices from all around the room, indeed from every room in the house, the voices even coming from the very walls of the house itself.
“Can’t you be still for just one night and give me a little peace?” Elizabeth cried out moving the carving knife from side to side as if it could keep the voices at bay.
“No,” the room shuddered with the cry of many voices in many languages as yet another blast of the gale outside battered the house.
Tears streamed down her face. She was tired. Her mind was weary and she needed rest. They were not about to give it to her. They were so needy- all of them. They were sucking the life out of her. Exhausted, Elizabeth held the carving knife to her throat in one last attempt to quiet the voices for just one night.
“I’ll do it. I swear I will,” she threatened.
“Yes,” hissed the haggard old woman’s voice again, “Do it you weak old bag of bones.”
“No please,” the little boy pleaded, “I’ll be quiet. I promise.”
“Do it!” the old woman hissed yet again. “Do it you filthy whore. Useless bitch.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath. The voices grew louder, fighting to be heard over one another.
“I can’t take this anymore.” She fell to her knees between the sofa and the coffee table. She sobbed into her trembling hands, still clutching the carving knife. The voices wouldn’t stop. She knew they couldn’t.
“Join us,” they whispered.
A shrill cry pierced the room as Elizabeth Templeton lost what little was left of her mind.
“STOP!” she screamed. Then she slit first her left wrist, and then her right. Tears mixed with the blood as it fell into her lap, discoloring her striped house dress. Cheers of joy and cries of anguish echoed around the room simultaneously. The house had won and lost its battle with the living.
Outside the endless waves beat upon the shore, while rain pelted the rugged exterior of the house, drowning out the voices inside. Only the flickering of the lights betrayed the secret the beach house held within its walls.


This blog has been designed to promote my new novel HOUSE ON BUTCHER HARBOR. Check out sample Chapters and more here!