Authors: J. G. Faherty
Copyright ©2012 by JG Faherty
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
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ISBN: 978-1-936564-23-1 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-936564-24-8 (ebook)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011943919
Printed in the United States of America
JournalStone rev. date: March 16, 2012
Cover Design: Denise Daniel
Cover Art: Philip Renne
Edited By: Elizabeth Reuter
is like a plastic pumpkin bucket filled to the top with all of your favorite candies. Loads of gory fun!”
—Jeff Strand, author of PRESSURE and DWELLER.
JG Faherty nails the whole small town horror concept with a King-like flair. I definitely identified with the main characters, both past and present. All in all, I thought it was excellent."
—Michael McBride, author of
Quiet, Keeps to Himself
"With plenty of new twists on some old favorites, Faherty's latest novel provides readers with as much fun in a graveyard as the law will allow. Ancient legends, demonic shadow-creatures and ravenous zombies—what more could you ask for?"
—Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of
DAMNABLE and DIABOLICAL
JG Faherty seizes his readers by the throat and drags them straight towards the grave with
, a nail biter in the tradition of the best scare-'em-ups from the 80s. Faherty's strong characterizations and gripping suspense will leave readers hungry for more."
—Gregory Lamberson, author of
"I've known JG Faherty since he was an up-and-comer. Now he's arrived. Start reading him now - as in TODAY - so you won't have to play catch-up later."
—F. Paul Wilson, author of the bestselling Repairman Jack series.
I want to thank the people who are most important in my life: my wife Andrea, my parents, and my good friends, all of whom have supported me, knowingly or not, during the writing of this book and as a writer in general. They might not like what being a writer means – the hours spent alone on the computer, the travel, etc. – but they are proud of what I do and they’re supportive in the endeavor.
Special thanks as well to the people who made this book possible: Chris Payne and the staff at JournalStone, Michael McBride, F. Paul Wilson, Hank Schwaeble, Jeff Strand, Gregory Lamberson, Shaun Jeffrey, and Stephen Owen. Also thanks to Philip Renne for the great cover art.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the individuals that have suffered in understaffed, poorly-run, and downright dangerous mental institutions across the country. One of these is found in my hometown.
The terrible medical experiments carried out there in the early 1900s are what gave me the inspiration for this story.
I’ve spent countless hours roaming the abandoned grounds and exploring the crumbling buildings, both alone and with family/friends. I’ve read through patient files that described atrocities performed before and after a patient’s institutionalization, set in dark rooms that once served as morgues, shock therapy stations and laboratories. I’ve examined medical and dental x-rays and seen the rooms where children were packed like sardines, patients were washed with hoses, and misunderstood people spent years alone, waiting for visitors who never came.
How could places like that
To urban explorers like me, spending an afternoon in a desolate, run-down hospital, castle or house will always be more invigorating than watching a ballgame on TV.
Thank you for reading.
JG Faherty, March, 2012
Village of Rocky Pointe, 1779
The word rode through Martha’s Tavern on a gust of warm, damp summer air that made candle flames dance and sent more than one man’s hat spinning to the floor. The muggy breeze faded away as the door closed behind Nathaniel Randolph. Tall and thin, with an Adam’s apple so large it looked like he’d swallowed a plum, Randolph glanced around the room, his perpetually wild eyes wide and full of righteous fury.
“Sinners!” he shouted again, lifting one hand to wave the aged Bible he habitually carried. “Ye shall all burn in Hell for your transgressions!”
“Shut your hole, Randolph,” one of the men at the bar called out. His companions raised their mugs and laughed.
“Aye. Go preach someplace else and leave hard-working folk alone, will ye?” called out another.
One of Martha’s ladies approached Nathaniel, her hair mussed from providing pleasure to trappers and tradesmen alike the past several hours. She shook her stained skirt and gave the town’s self-appointed reverend a wink. “Say now, preacher man, if it’s sin you be worried about, allow me to demonstrate how the pleasures of my flesh might just be worth spending eternity with the Devil.”
“Blasphemer!” Randolph held his Bible out like a shield.
More laughter rose from the bar and Martha herself let loose one of her braying honks.
“Suit yourself,” the whore said. As she turned and walked away, she lifted the back of her dress and gave Randolph a quick flash of her pale buttocks.
Randolph scowled and thumped his hand on his Good Book. “Listen to me! Repent before it is too late!”
When no one paid any mind to him, he thrust his well-worn Bible into his pants pocket and left the pub, mumbling under his breath about the folly of sinners.
“Good riddance, ye arsehole!” someone shouted at his back.
Outside the building, Nathaniel took a moment to compose himself, and then went behind a nearby bush where he’d stored a large sack and an oil lantern before entering the tavern.
They had their chance and they chose the path of the Devil. So be it.
He opened the sack and removed an iron bar, which he slipped through the handles of the pub’s doors. Then he took out two large jars of rum and splashed their contents liberally on each of the four walls. When he was finished, Nathaniel held up the lantern.
“Forgive me Lord, but what I do, I do for you.”
Wicked flames burst into life as he broke the lantern against the rum-soaked wood.
And in doing so, he sealed the town’s fate.
* * *
Rocky Point, NY, 1847
Flickering shadows danced against the trees as the residents of Rocky Point gathered outside the clinic. Nearly half the town stood ready, their torches lighting up the clearing until it seemed almost as bright as day.
Reverend Hollister Randolph, the only son of the long-deceased Nathanial Randolph, placed a frail hand on Percival Boyd’s arm. “Is there no other way, Mayor?”
Boyd shook his head, his silver hair turned bronze by the flames. “I’m sorry. We cannot abide lepers near our town. We gave Doctor Charles fair warning; he chose to continue his misbegotten work. Now we have to think of ourselves.”
Turning away from the elderly minister, Boyd raised his hand. “It is time! Burn the sickness from our town!”
At his words the angry mob cheered and stormed forward. Men and women cast burning torches through windows and onto the roof of Effram Charles' Medical Clinic. Within minutes the clinic was ablaze on all sides. Screams echoed from inside the building, growing louder as the fire spread from room to room and the roof timbers collapsed.
Two hours later, nothing remained of the clinic but smoking stone, burnt wood and charred flesh.
The following day, the men of Rocky Point began digging a burial pit.
* * *
Rocky Point, NY, 1922
Dr. Grover Lillian hurried through the maze of tunnels hidden beneath the buildings of Wood Hill Sanitarium, followed closely by Hilary White. The property covered more than forty acres and the tunnels - most used for heat and water pipe access, others built so people could move comfortably between buildings during the frigid New York winters - would have stretched for more than two miles if laid end to end.
“Hurry,” Lillian urged his assistant, as he turned down a side passage that led to the burial area. “We can’t let them find out.”
White said nothing, focusing all her energy on keeping pace with the doctor while straining to retain her grip on the box of papers she carried. Lillian held a similar box, the last of the files pertaining to his small pox vaccine trials.
. Lillian turned the word over in his mind as he jogged along the hard-packed dirt. It carried a foul taste and he wished he could just spit it out.
The very name implies a lack of perfection. And yet those short-sighted administrators refused to understand, bowed to public pressure. What did they expect? It’s a new drug; there were bound to be deaths.
His last conversation with the sanitarium’s Chief Administrator still echoed in his head.
Wirth’s voice had reeked of false outrage.
“That’s more than half your volunteers! We can’t allow this to go any further.”
Lillian clenched his jaw as he relived being made the scapegoat for the medical system’s inherent problems.
Volunteers. Hah! Another way for Wirth and his cronies to cover their involvement. Fifty children, ages twelve to eighteen, all of them suffering from serious mental incapacities. They couldn’t volunteer for a walk in the park, let alone a scientific experiment. Wirth had given him the fifty files to begin with; all minors who had no families to miss them should anything go wrong.
Nothing would have gone wrong either, if it wasn’t for that damn nurse! She'd been loitering in an off-limits stairwell, playing kissy-face with one of the orderlies, when they’d spotted Lillian carrying a body into the sub-basement for disposal. Instead of reporting it to Wirth, the tramp had suddenly found her morals and gone to the police.
Now they had only minutes to hide his research away before the police raided the building.
Lillian turned another corner and stopped so fast Hilary ran into him and dropped her box, spilling papers onto the dusty floor. She started to apologize but Lillian hushed her.