Haunts and Hellions

Harkening back to the glory days of gothic romance that had us up reading all night, HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents: 

Haunts & Hellions edited by Emerian Rich

13 stories of horror, romance, and that perfect moment when the two worlds collide. Vengeful spirits attacking the living, undead lovers revealing their true nature, and supernatural monsters seeking love, await you. Pull the blinds closed, light your candle, and cuddle up in your reading nook for some chilling—and romantic—tales.

With stories by: Emily Blue, Lucy Blue, Kevin Ground, Rowan Hill, Naching T. Kassa, Emmy Z. Madrigal, R.L. Merrill, N.C. Northcott, Emerian Rich, Daniel R. Robichaud, Daphne Strasert, Tara Vanflower, and B.F. Vega.


An excerpt from Haunts & Hellions


Kevin Ground


Lincolnshire, England

Like weary old men resting on the walk home, the headstones in the disused cemetery lean this way and that. Some so tangled in leafless brambles and nettle stalks as to be almost invisible. Others, loosened by wind and weather, stand at any angle nature dictates, flecked with moss and lichen. Unreadable messages of remembrance lost in the shadows of late autumn are overshadowed by dripping branches of the giant horse chestnut trees that hold the small cemetery in near permanent shade come summertime, and depressing dampness come winter. Spiky fruit and fallen leaves form an ankle-deep blanket over the rough grass around sunken graves.

Long since abandoned for burial purposes, the ornate entrance gates—held fast by stout chains and padlocks—stand sentry against the outside world. Red with rust and unopened in years, they secure the cemetery against unwelcome visitors. Likewise, the drystone wall marking out the boundaries of the cemetery shows every sign of neglect. Hung about with assorted greenery growing over and between the heavy stones in places near twice its four feet height, with spindly malnourished branches poking desperately skyward in vain search of sunlight.

Within the cemetery at the end of a short, gravelled path, middle distance between the gates and the wall at the rear, stands a small, church-like structure. Stone built with a domed roof and arched stained glass windows, the church’s wooden entrance doors arch at the top in similar style to the windows. Heavy iron hinges held by square headed nails are hammered hard into the woodwork. The wording carved into the stone plaque above the door is barely legible. The domed roof blanketed in thick damp moss, leaks green stained rainwater down the building beneath, giving the stonework a sickly pallor reminiscent of something mouldering as it aged.

Indeed, the entire cemetery has become a monument to disuse and neglect. The small chapel of rest, for that was the purpose of the green streaked building, squats like a sleeping beast amongst the headstones, damp and dark within. A small stone altar lies beneath the windowless back wall, standing unadorned and sombre in its undressed state. The four rows of wooden straight-backed bench seats set on either side of the entrance aisle, are covered in a nauseating riot of fungal growth. The flat board lying on two wooden trestles in the space between the altar and the seats, is home to a curious shape. Lying beneath what seems to be the remnants of a winding sheet, the edges of the heavily stained material hangs almost to the mould-ingrained stone floor.

In this area alone, nothing grows. The mould and fungus, creeping and blooming in every other space, leaves the board and the shape beneath the sheet alone. It’s almost as though they knew better than to disturb the recumbent figure for fear of its displeasure. Well it might at that, as the figure beneath the sheet keeps her sadness close and her melancholy anger closer still. The reason why the cemetery has long been abandoned lay silent now, consumed by the circumstances of her despair, her misery as palpable in the air as the rank smell of decay from the rotting woodwork of the chapel seats.

Bones, grey and brittle, lay on the board, no more than leftovers once life departed. Except in the case of Maudaleen Moncrief. Life had not departed, even in death. It had endured, as a contradiction against all that is natural. The body rotted, the bones dried, sadness and anger remained, beating unheard in a fleshless breast, strong and bitter in her broken heart.

“Maudaleen, Maudaleen.”

To read more, read Haunts and Hellions at: Amazon.com