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Authors: Weston Ochse

Halfway House

BOOK: Halfway House
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Weston Ochse





San Francisco



Copyright © 2014 by Weston Ochse


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.


JournalStone books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:





The views expressed in this work are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.






JournalStone rev. date: September 12, 2014


Library of Congress Control Number:


Printed in the United States of America


Cover Art & Design:
Elderlemon Design


Edited by:
Aaron J. French





On Weston Ochse

“Horror fans will be drawn in by Ochse's cool, collected writing style and then blown away when he peels back reality's skin to uncover the supernatural terrors lurking just beneath the surface."

Publishers Weekly


"Weston Ochse has always been a wised-up, clued-in, completely trustworthy writer of high-action fiction that deserved a wider audience."—
Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author of In the Night Room


"Weston Ochse is perhaps the fiercest and most direct of the latest generation of dark fiction writers. I watched awestruck year by year as the bright candle of his talent grew into a roaring bonfire of brutally honest output, matched only by his deep empathy for the human condition."—
Rocky Wood, author of Stephen King: A Literary Companion


“Weston Ochse is to horror what Bradbury is to science fiction — an artist whose craft, stories and voice are so distinct and mesmerizing that you can't help but be enthralled.”—
Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man


“Weston is one of the best authors of our generation."—
Brian Keene, Bram Stoker Award-winning author The Rising

“Weston Ochse is a mercurial writer, one of those depressingly talented people who are good at whatever they turn their hand to.”—
Conrad Williams, August Derleth and International Horror Guild Award Winner

On SEAL Team 666:


SEAL Team 666
affords the same pleasures as Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series or Christopher Farnsworth’s
Blood Oath
and its sequels: namely seeing supernatural beasties receive a good old military-grade beating…. Ochse’s army background lends authenticity to this snappy, fast-paced thriller.”

Financial Times of London


On Grunt Life

Weston Ochse writes hard-nosed fiction with more grit and imagination than most authors could ever hope to muster. When he turns his skills to tales of the military, the words sing with the truth of personal experience.
--Christopher Golden, #1 New York Times bestselling author of SNOWBLIND)






Thanks for the very special help I received from Jesus Gonzalez for making the Spanglish sing; from H Casper for Keeping the God and the Elvis straight; from Bob Straus, Godfather to
Scarecrow Gods
and keeper of my foul mood; from Drew “Malvolio” Williams for his foptacular yellow garters; from John Urbancik for his first read; from Kevin McAlonan for cold insights and warm scotch; from Nanci Kalanta for her constant interest and attention; from Paul and Shannon Legerski, Eunice and Greg Magill, and Barbara and Dirk Foster for letting me into your homes and lives; from Bob Fleck for doing agenty things; Aaron J. French for doing edity things; Chris Payne for doing publishy things and from the people of San Pedro for making it a very special place in my heart and memory.


Most of all, thanks to my wife, Yvonne, for absolutely everything.




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37







Chili Lily Cactus Eater,

Goblin Monster Dog,

Pester Ghost Cactus Eater,

Evil Ghoulie Sonar Brain,


Elvis Paper Dog












February 25, 1942





Just after midnight, Los Angeles-based radars track an unidentified airborne target 120 miles out to sea. At 02:21 hours, as the target reaches within a few miles of the coast, a blackout of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas is ordered by Regional Command Authority. Shortly afterward, this mysterious object being tracked along the coast between Catalina Island and the Port of Los Angeles vanishes. At 02:43, planes are reported near Long Beach, and a few minutes later a coast artillery colonel spots thirty planes at ten thousand feet over downtown Los Angeles. Three squadrons are sent to intercept. At 03:06 a balloon carrying a red flare is seen over Santa Monica and four batteries of antiaircraft artillery open fire, blanketing the skies with flak.

Near San Pedro, a hot air balloon appears out of the mist, heading for shore. This is the original object that has disappeared from radar, forgotten in the chaos of other sightings. It sets down in the shallows of a secluded cove. A Japanese demolition crew wades ashore, their targets the cannons of Batteries Farley, Merriam, Leary, Barlow and Saxton—the teeth of America’s West Coast defenses, and the single greatest deterrent to a planned invasion. In silence, the Japanese soldiers march single file onto American soil, each eager to demonstrate the superiority of Mother Japan, even if it costs them their lives.


*  *  *

She feels their presence like insects crawling along her skin. Giving one last brush at the dolphin’s thoughts, she soars, disembodied but as powerful as ever. What is this intrusion? She’s heard the sirens. The lights went out hours ago. Has the war come to America? Has the war come to her land?

Rising higher and higher, the mother sees the lights of humanity dotting the spur of California she calls her own; people, her people, huddle in their homes, afraid of what might come with the sirens. Their fear torments her. She can’t will it away, but wishes she could. Like the mother she is, she’d willingly take each and every one of them to bed, whispering courage and contentment, magic from her breath.

She remembers when her father brought her here, his arm engulfing the coastline as he pointed to the horizon, his words forever etched in memory.
This land is our birthright. No one can take it from us if we don’t want them to. Our power is to the land. Anything else is selfish and wrong

A familiar light draws her attention.
. What is her daughter doing out this late? And with someone else? The mother moves toward the pair of lights, noticing how they merge and separate, then merge again, then separate.


Remembering the gypsy boy from the ship and the way he’d watched Reisa with his dark eyes, there is no mystery at all as to what her daughter is doing now.

But that isn’t what she feels.

Fighting her instincts, the mother slows. She reminds herself that her daughter is an adult and deserves privacy. Her own father’s words send icy stilettos of clarity through her worry.
Our responsibility is to the land, and we must not lose concentration. Distraction, any distraction, could be the end of it all

The mother almost turns away when the feeling comes again, stronger now, like spiders snipping her bare skin. She attunes herself to the land and searches. Finally she finds them, six men marching near where her daughter lays with the man.

Giving way to those maternal instincts, she rockets toward her daughter. Flying across the tops of palms, slicing through clouds, skimming over rooftops, her screams go unheard to everyone except the birds. All along the land, everything avian takes wing, her spiritual cries like gunshots to their tiny racing hearts.

But she is too late.

BOOK: Halfway House
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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