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Sample Chapter – Campout

Campout

A Dark Fantasy Novel

Sample Chapter 1

Johnny Berg pressed down on the brake pedal, bringing his bike to a rasping halt as the tire scratched a deep gash in the gravel. The smell of fresh mown summer hay from the field on one side of the road filled his nostrils. The June heat of summer had brought a fresh coating of perspiration to wet his shirt. Summer vacation was just starting and already the boys were searching for fresh adventures. Johnny was twelve and at an age that adventures came readily to mind.
His friend, Jim Wester stopped beside him. Jim was a couple of years younger than Johnny, however, the boys hung together because they were neighbors and the only boys that lived along the rural highway that went past their houses.
The boys peered through the summer heat at an abandoned road that poked into the forest, disappearing in a mysterious shadow of darkness.
“Let’s go down that road, Jim,” Johnny said.
“Wow, you can hardly tell it’s a road, Johnny.”
“It’s an old county road that has not been used in a long time. It goes through to the road that the Hicks farm is located on.”
Jim nodded and replied, “I know where it comes out. The other end is as overgrown as this end is. I wonder why they stopped using it.”
“It goes through Laughery Creek,” said Johnny. “Old Charley Nudson said there was a little town back there at one time, right along the creek.”
“It looks like its open enough to ride our bikes through,” said Jim.
“Some of the farmers use it to get to the back of their farms,” Johnny said.
“Have you ever been back there, Johnny?”
Johnny shook his head and answered, “Nope. Grandpa was telling me the other day that him and his friends used to go back once in a while to swim in the creek. But they stopped after a while.”
“Why did they stop?”
Johnny hesitated, and then said, “He didn’t really say. Let’s go on back. I want to see that swimming hole.”
With that, Johnny pedaled off and entered the road with Jim in close pursuit.
The burst of speed did not last long. The roadbed began to descend into the creek valley and became a series of rock ledges that the bikes could not negotiate easily. There were briars and roots obstructing their path. They had to stop frequently to lower the bikes down from one ledge to another.
“Apparently the tractors don’t come back this far, Johnny,” Jim observed as he stopped to survey the abandoned road ahead of them.
“Apparently not,” Johnny said in answer. “We are almost down the creek, though.”
Indeed, they could see water ahead of them through the underbrush.
The rest of the way down was a bit easier as the terrain leveled out as they reached the creek.
“There is the crossing,” said Johnny, pointing to a spot below them. “They slip scraped the banks away. You can see the road continue on the other side of the creek.”
Jim nodded as he wondered, “I wonder where the old town was.”
“I don’t know. Charley said all that is left are stone pillars they used for foundations for some of the buildings and a couple of boarded up old wells.”
“The boards on the wells will be rotted away by now, Johnny.”
“Uh, huh,” the boy agreed as he dismounted his bike. He flipped the kickstand down and rested it on the bedrock slab they were standing on.
“Lets see if we can find it.”
Jim extended his kickstand, put his bike beside Johnny’s, and followed the older boy as he plunged into the forest beside the old road. In just a moment he stopped.
“Here it is,” he said, pointing to a rectangular configuration of stone pillars that jutted up from the forest floor. There were several other remains of similar type scattered along the old road.
“It looks like there may have only been three or four buildings here,” said Johnny.
“There may have been some on the other side of the road,” Jim said as he surveyed the area.
“Maybe. We can look later.”
Johnny walked to the edge of the bank and peered down musing, “This would be a great place for our summer camp out, Jim.”
“It would, but it is a bit hard to get to.”
“We can work on the road, Jim. I saw some spots that we can make it easier to get our bikes down.”
“That would be a lot of work, Johnny.”
“We have all summer, Jim. We usually have our big camp out in August. That gives us almost two months to get a campsite ready down here. Heck, we can camp down here ourselves a couple of times.”
Jim nodded and said, “It does sound like fun if our parents let us.” His face clouded at the thought.
Johnny glanced at Jim saying, “We can’t tell our parents,” he said. They won’t let us camp down here. We have to keep this place secret. It can be our own little hideaway.”
Jim’s face lightened as he said, “That would be neat. No one comes here. We can make a secret camp here. But what about your grandpa? We have to ride past his place to get here.”
Johnny thought a moment before saying, “We can work down here on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Grandpa always goes into town to see his friend Bill Watson on those days. They spend the afternoon talking and always go out for supper at The Dinner Bell and he doesn’t get home until at least seven o’clock. That gives up plenty of time to ride over, get his tools and return them before supper.”
Jim nodded and said, “I like that plan. We should do it.”
The two boys walked about the abandoned town. At length Johnny stopped on a level area near a huge beech tree.
“We can put the tent up here, on this bank overlooking the creek. There is a pretty good hole there that I bet is chock full of bluegill,” Johnny said.
“Yup, we can catch some fish and cook them over the fire. I see a good spot for a campfire on that sandbar. There are a lot of old logs and limbs to use for firewood and we can swim in there when we are done fishing.”
“This is going to be a great spot, Jim. I can’t wait.”
The afternoon was wearing on and the two boys had finished their exploration.
As they got on their bikes, Jim glanced back towards the deserted town and asked, “I wonder why they abandoned this town.”
Johnny shrugged as he replied, “Charley Nudson said that something scared the people off. He didn’t say what.”
Jim shot a quick glance at Johnny and queried, “You mean this place is haunted?”
Johnny, knowing Jim’s aversion to all things supernatural, said carefully, “He didn’t say haunted. He just said something scared the people off. But that was a long time ago, Jim. This place has been deserted for a hundred years. The log cabins that were here have rotted away and all the wooden structures are gone. Whatever scared them is gone a long time ago.”
He glanced at his friend and observed, “This will be a great place for our camp out, Jim.”
Jim, with an unsure smile on his face said, “Yeah, it will. When do you want to start working on that road?”
“Tomorrow. I can’t wait to get us a path down here.”
Their summer project set, the two boys made their way slowly back up the road.
The beech tree near where the boys had laid their plans held a secret of its own. Its innards had, over the many years it stood here, hollowed out, forming a cavernous crevice within it. This crevice, dark and damp, was large enough to hide a person. From this crevice, a figure stepped out and watched as the boys moved off. It watched as they faded from view, listening to the creaking of the bicycle chains as they strained from their labors of propelling the boys up the hill.
The eyes were not happy at this intrusion.


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Campout

Campout
Demons Wait in the Cemetery
Description:

An abandoned town, a forgotten graveyard and sleeping demons waiting to trap the unwary await a group of teens preparing for a memorable summer campout.

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Also in this Series
The Wizard’s Magic Pipe
Demon of Death
A Stranger Lurks
Gatherer of Souls
Campout
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Available in multiple ebook formats and softbound

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Sample Chapter – A Stranger Lurks

A Stranger Lurks

Sample Chapter

Chapter One

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Memories fluttered around Margaret’s mind like the butterflies hovering over the buddleia bush. She remembered that it was her mother’s favorite flower. Those were long gone, but the fragrant sweet peas survived, covering the slope below the old house. Black eyes Susan’s, Queen Anne’s lace and other wildflowers also occupied the formerly well-kept lawn. Trees had encroached here, as well. Nature threatened to swallow up what remained of her parent’s life.
Her girlhood home had vanished in a cloud of smoke and fire. Its charred remnants remained, littering the blackened stone foundation. She turned to face the other structure that remained. The round barn built by her great grandfather remained in good shape over a century later. Its stone walls and wooden shingled roof had withstood the storms, rains and snow which nature had thrown at it.
She glanced at the watch on her wrist. He would be here soon. Their appointment was at ten o’clock and it was now five minutes before the hour. She walked down the overgrown sidewalk to her car, parked at the base of the hill below the neglected home site. The July sun was starting to beat down, promising a scorcher of a day.
The southern Indiana forested hills surrounded the old farm. It was a beautiful spot. Additionally the property was close to town and on a good road, not too far off the main highway. It should bring a good price. In some ways, she wished she could sell some of the memories with it. Some of those memories she would like to shuck off and bid farewell.
Selling this place was not something that came easy. It had been in the family for generations. Another glance at the unkempt lawn and fields told the story, though. It was time to let go. She could not keep it up anymore and since the death of her mother, she had lost interest.
The crunch of rubber tires on the gravel driveway announced the arrival of the realtor. He was on time, anyway. She watched as his car bounced down the driveway and pull up beside hers. His arrival marked the end of another chapter of her life. Another would soon open.

Reuben Steen slowed down as he approached the driveway and turned in. He saw that the seller was there awaiting him. Behind her, he could see the old round barn. It was an imposing structure that dominated the scene before him.
He slowed still more as his car bounced. The neglected driveway had grown a good crop of potholes and muddy water splashed over his newly washed car.
Damn, he would have to have it washed again.
His mood brightened as he drew up beside the other car and saw the attractive brunette who awaited him. He had seen her before in the diner he frequented and also at the library. He had not known her name, but now he did.
He opened the door and smiled as he extended his hand.
“Margaret Dreu? My name is Reuben Steen,” he said as he shook the smooth, firm hand she extended to him.
“Yes, I am Margaret Drue,” she replied. “But my friends all call me Peggy.”
“Nice to meet you, Peggy,” Reuben said. “I think I have seen you working in the library.”
“Yes, I handle the kid’s reading programs so I mostly work afternoons and evenings. However, through the summer we switch to a daytime program. I think I have seen you in the library at times in the evening.”
“Yes, I sometimes go in there for research. The courthouse closes at four o’clock. Sometimes I can find the information I need for a property in the old town records in the library. I think I have also seen you in Benny’s Diner.”
“I like to eat breakfast in there. He has some divine Danish rolls. Wanda recommended you to me when I told her I wanted to sell the old farm. She said you sold her brother’s house and he liked you.”
“I will have to give Wanda a bigger tip the next time I go in there.”
“Yes, you will. I am sorry about the driveway but I haven’t been maintaining it. A few months back someone set fire to the house. I thought if the driveway was in bad shape it might deter other trespassers.”
Reuben glanced up the slope at the burned out farmhouse.
“Darn shame,” he said. “It was probably just kids out on a lark.”
“The house was pretty well shot, anyway. No one lived in it for years. I took an apartment in town when Mom moved out and to the nursing home. I needed to be near her. This was too big a place for me to rattle around in anyway. It has become a party place for the local kids. I guess I will have to put up a locked gate to keep them out.”
“At least they didn’t burn this barn. This is a great building. You don’t see many round barns around anymore. I love the windmill on top.”
“My great-grandfather built this barn around 1900. Purdue University was touting it at the time as a great time saver. Grandfather added the windmill later on. He laid a pipe from the well by the house. The windmill pumped water into some big water tanks on the third level. A pipe fed water back to the house. We had great water pressure.”
“Ingenious,” said Reuben. “Does the windmill still work?”
“As far as I know it does. I don’t know about the pump. The water company laid water lines past here a few years back, so there is city water available making the well unnecessary. It is still up by the house, though.”
Reuben pulled a notepad from his pocket and jotted it down, saying, “I will take notes as we go.”
Peggy opened the door and Reuben followed her inside.
“It is wonderful in here. The stone foundation keeps it nice and cool,” said Reuben.
“They built the first level into the side of the hill which rises behind the barn. It is always cool in here in the summer, and warm in the winter.”
Reuben turned in a slow circle, taking it all in.
“It is like a huge, circular tunnel.”
“This lower level was where we kept the livestock. This outer circle goes all the way around the stable area. You can see the openings for the stalls. They pulled wagons in here to load manure on. You could run the cattle around from one stall to another without going out into the weather. You could also run a team of horses around it without having to back up. Of course, my dad had a tractor. It wasn’t on of the big ones you see now. It was small enough to navigate around in here.”
“This was one efficient barn.”
“Yes it was. But the one reason my great grandfather built it he wouldn’t talk about much.”
“What was that?”
“It was an old superstition. The old timers said that in a round barn there weren’t any corners for evil spirits to hide in.”
Reuben laughed and said, “That would be true. There are no corners in here.”
As they walked, one stall door was open. Reuben glanced inside.
“This is the one my father died in. He was forking manure out into the spreader when he died. Mom found him when he didn’t come in for lunch.”
Reuben glanced at a pitchfork that stood against the one wall.
“He left it right there. He had a heart attack. None of us felt like moving that fork, so it is right there where he left it. Mom sold the cows after he died.”
“This place holds some bad memories for you, then?”
“It does. However, it holds many good ones too. One of our cats had kittens in that manger. I wouldn’t let Dad use it until they were big enough to move.”
She smiled, her voice deep in memory, “It was my favorite cat. She was a big calico I named Butterboot, because she was white and black with huge yellow splotches and white boots.”
“It does sound like there were good ones then, too.”
“We were happy here when I was a girl. It is the later ones that are bad. Dad died. Then Mom took sick and I had to take care of her. An aunt moved in to help when I went to college. I moved back after college. Then my aunt got sick and died after that. Mom had a bad stroke and had to go to the nursing home. I moved into town to be near her. That was three years ago and Mom has since passed on. It has set empty ever since. And as you can see, it is too much for me to take care of. So I decided to sell it.”
“I will try my best,” said Reuben. “But it is a slow market right now. It may take some time.”
“I understand,” said Peggy.
They walked down a passageway to the center of the barn.
“This was the feeding area,” Peggy said. There are chutes which they dumped the grain and feed down here, and hay and they lowered the straw using a winch fastened on the roof.”
They climbed a spiral staircase that rose to the second level.
“This floor has a ground level door. They brought the wagons in here for unloading. They raised the hay to the haymow with a winch. They stored grain in the second level.”
“It sounds like an efficient way to farm.”
“It was. Dad still used it. But now, with the larger equipment and different way of housing the animals, it is obsolete.”
Reuben again turned in a circle, studying the barn.
“It looks like the structure is still good. It seems to be the old mortis and tendon construction.”
“It is all native timber.”
Reuben wrote some more in his notepad, musing “I can see this having commercial applications. It would make a great winery. This second level could be a restaurant, tasting room and gift shop.”
“I had the same thought.” Peggy replied with a smile. “It looks like we are on the same page.”
“I think we are,” said Reuben. “I bet there is a great view from up there?”
“There is,” said Peggy as she began ascending the stair. Soon they were looking out one of the windows at the hilly landscape that surrounded the barn.
“This is a great piece of property,” said Reuben. “I would like to get it on the market as soon as possible.”
He looked at the center of the barn. There is where the water tank was. There was a large enclosure near the tank. A door, fastened with a latch, faced him.
“What’s in there?”
“That is where the pump was, as well as tools and other things they needed up here. It still has everything in it, as far as I know.”
Reuben pulled on the latch. The door would not budge. “
“It must be stuck,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be.”
Peggy tugged on the door, but it remained jammed.
“H’mm. It seems to be stuck pretty well,” she said.
“I will have to come back later,” said Reuben. “I forgot my camera. I think I left it by my computer at home. I will bring a few tools along and see if I can get it open. I would like to see that pump.”
The two moved back to the window.
“I will draw up the contract this afternoon,” said Reuben. “Can you stop by the office tomorrow morning to look it over and sign it?”
“I don’t go to work until one o’clock. I can stop by in the morning.”
“Great. Let’s say around 10:30, is that okay?”
Peggy nodded. “I will stop on the way to work.”
“Good. I will get the photos later tonight, and if we can get the paperwork done in the morning I can have it listed by afternoon.”
“That sounds great. The sooner the better,” said Peggy. “It may sound crazy, but the last time I came in here a few days ago, I was alone. It seemed that I felt an evil presence here. I haven’t come back until now.” She shuddered visibly.
The two walked back down the staircase and back to their cars. They stood talking for a while, as Peggy indicated the property lines and told him more things about the property.
After a bit more conversation, they got in their cars and both bounced out the driveway and into town.

In the enclosure in the haymow, the reason the door wouldn’t open waited. As he heard the car doors close, he opened the door and walked to the outer edge of the barn. He watched as the cars drove out the driveway.
It was she. His Margaret. She looked just the same as she looked many years before. That man would be coming back. He would be waiting.
Evil does not always need a corner in which to hide.

A Stranger Lurks

Always at a distance, he lurked, waiting.
The stalker would marry her. He would consummate that marriage with blood. To kill her was better than letting that other one have her.
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Sample Chapter – Demon of Death – Chapter One

Demon of Death

Sample Chapter

Paul R. Wonning

Chapter One

Jason Derr clicked on his calendar and studied the posts. The rest of the day was open. The computer clock read eleven thirty. It had been a busy morning in his small office on Main Street and the afternoon would be a pleasant relief. He decided to take an early lunch and then come back and work on the policy applications he had written up in the morning. He minimized the screen. Cindy’s face peered at him from the desktop. He smiled as he thought of her. Her name was Lucinda Meir, but everyone called her Cindy because she hated her real name.
She would be on duty today, making a perfect excuse to eat lunch at the German Haus where she worked as a waitress. He ate there often. He hit on her several times before she finally agreed to go on a date with him. They had been together now for about five months. He could see her over lunch and perhaps even make a date with her for the evening. He put the computer to sleep, got up from his desk and locked the door on the way out after changing the door sign to “Back at 1:00.”
He crossed the street to the restaurant. The sun was shining and it promised to be a warm day. It was too nice a day to spend cooped up in his office. He walked up the ramp to the entry, opened the door and walked in. The place was just starting to fill up with the lunchtime crowd but there were still numerous tables available. Cindy saw him as he stood in the waiting area. She smiled and walked over to greet him.
“Hey, Jason,” she said, her eyes sparkling with pleasure. “Do you want a table?”
Jason nodded, and Cindy led him to one near the rear of the dining room. He watched her hips swivel in the short dress she wore as she strode along. She had her long black hair drawn back into a ponytail and silver hoop earrings that jingled at each step. She slid a menu on the table as he sat down. He ran his hand over the back of her smooth nylon clad thigh as he slid into his chair. She gave him a menacing look as she gave his hand a light slap. “Not now, finger man.”
“Sorry Cindy, but you look so damned fine I just can’t resist you.”
The menacing look disappeared, replaced by a sly smile. “Hey, I get off at 1:30. How about we hook up for the afternoon?”
A warm thrill ran through Jason’s body. “That sounds good, Cindy. I have had a crazy morning and could use a bit of a break. Should I pick you up here?”
“Yes, my car is in the shop until tomorrow. Mary was going to take me home, but you can do that.”
Jason nodded, saying, “That will give me time to tie up some loose ends in the office.”
“I’ll just walk across the street and meet you there, then. What do you want to eat?”
Jason glanced at Cindy, a mischievous smile on his face as he whispered, “You.”
Her eyes narrowed as she replied, “You can’t do that here, steam boat. What sort of food do you want?”
Jason glanced at the menu and answered, “I’ll just have the special. That will be quick. I can eat fast and go to the office to finish up.”
“Okay,” she said. She swirled and walked away. A few minutes later, she returned with his food. She put the plate on the table and bent to give him a light kiss as she did.
Jason caught the faint scent of her coconut body oil as her lips brushed his. He took her fingers in one hand and peered into her eyes.
“God, I love you,” he said.
She smiled and purred, “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
“Just one.”
He watched her as she walked away. The afternoon had suddenly taken on a quite different flavor.

They rode along the country road, Cindy’s hair flying free in the breeze. The band that had held it in the ponytail lay on the console between them. She had slipped her shoes off and sat, one foot tucked up under her thigh as the convertible hummed along. Her pretty voice was singing along with a song playing on the radio. Jason wanted it to be this way always.
“You could have at least taken me home to change,” she said.
“I have this thing for waitress uniforms,” he replied.
“Where are we going?”
“There is a little quarry pond just off this road I know of. We can toss out a blanket and just lie in the grass and enjoy the day.”
“Don’t the owners ever come here?”
“No.”
He slowed the car and turned in a narrow gravel lane. Jason could hear the faint rush of the grass in the green strip in the middle of the lane hissing as it brushed against the bottom of the car.
“It doesn’t seem like too many people come back here.”
“They don’t. The owners live in Ohio and only come here on holiday weekends in the summer.”
The reached the end of the lane and Jason pulled the car into grassy spot which overlooked a small lake.
“This is a beautiful spot, Jason. And quiet.”
She slipped her shoes back on, tied them and then brushed her hair back behind her shoulders with both hands.
“This convertible is wonderful, Jason, but it makes a mess of my hair.”
“I think your hair looks wonderful.”
“You would,” she said. She opened the door and got out of the car. She walked to the edge of the pond and asked, “Who mows it?”
“There is a neighbor who likes to come out here in the evenings to fish. He takes care of the place for them. He keeps a close eye on the place on weekends now, to keep the partiers out.”
She stooped to smell some pink flowers that were blooming at the edge of the water.
“These smell divine. I wonder what they are.”
“My mom likes to garden. She has some like that in her flowerbeds. I think they are sweet peas.”
They watched as a butterfly landed on one. Its wings pulsed as it drank the nectar.
“I don’t know what is prettier,” she said, “the butterfly or the flower.”
Jason opened the trunk and pulled out a large blanket.
“Welcome to my pad,” he said as he spread it out over the fragrant grass next to the water. He pulled a cooler from the back seat and laid it beside the blanket.
“I had time to pick up some cold beer at the liquor store,” he said as he reached inside, pulled two out. He untwisted one and handed it to Cindy. She raised the bottle and took a generous drink, the bottle gurgling as air bubbles replaced the liquid inside the bottle.
“That is good,” she said as she sat the bottle down.
Jason took a sip of his.
Cindy sat down on the blanket and took another pull.
“Gosh, Jason, it is quiet out here.”
“We could be the only two people in the whole world, Cindy.”
“Yes, you can’t hear anything except crickets and those cicadas singing in the trees.”
They drank their beers in silence, enjoying the sun and the light breeze that rustled the leaves on the trees.
“It is getting a little warm,” Cindy said as she finished the beer. She reached down and began untying her shoe.
Jason reached for her hand and pulled it away.
“I want to do that,” he said. “I want to take my time with you.”
Their eyes met, both sets filled with anticipation.
He pushed her back on the blanket and kissed her. He felt her hand at the back of his neck as she pulled him closer. He could smell her fragrance and feel the softness of her hair as he stroked it.
He unbuttoned her blouse and felt the warmness of her breasts as he stroked them. The nipples hardened under his gentle caress. She rose slightly, allowing him to unbutton her bra. He removed her blouse and then the bra, laying them in the green grass by the blanket. He unbuttoned the skirt and slid the zipper down. She tilted her buttocks and he slid it off. Then he untied her shoes and removed them. Running his fingers along her long legs, he reached the top of her pantyhose. He pulled them down, sliding them off her soft, pretty feet. He ran his eyes over her, as she lay naked in the shade of the tree.
He removed his own clothing and lay beside her. They made gentle love in the soft breeze of the summer afternoon.

When Jason awoke, he felt Cindy’s soft fingers caressing his cheek. He sat up.
“How long did I sleep?”
“Not long. I did too. But I heard some fish slapping at the surface of the pond and I woke up.”
Jason sat up and looked at the water.
“Why does this pond seem different than other ponds? I don’t see a dam.”
“It is an old quarry pond.”
“What’s a quarry pond?”
“They used to quarry limestone here in the old days. When they quit digging out the stone, it filled with water. There are lots of these around here. Limestone underlies this whole area.”
“The water looks nice and clear. We could go swimming.”
“We don’t have suits.”
“Who needs suits?”
Cindy stood up and walked to the edge of the water. She sat on a large rock at the waters edge.
She looked back at him and noted hesitation on his face.
“What’s wrong, Jason? You look afraid.”
“This pond is haunted.”
Cindy smiled and teased, “Haunted? I have never heard of a haunted pond.”
“They say a man hurled himself in here a long time ago, drowning himself. They say that on dark nights, you can see his ghost as it moves along the surface of the water.”
“Cool, a haunted pond.”
“I saw the ghost myself, Cindy.”
Her fascinated eyes focused on his as she said, “You actually saw this ghost?”
“Yeah. A few of us came out here one Saturday night when I was in high school. We had beer and were having a good time. It was summer and it was a warm night. A couple of the girls suggested skinny-dipping. We all stripped down. Just as I started to get in the water, we saw it.”
“What did it look like?”
Jason paused, remembering.
“It looked like a face. A horrible face. It was sort of misty and illuminated by the moonlight.”
“What happened?”
“We watched it as it sort of slid along under the water. Then it just sort of sank and disappeared.”
“Did you swim?”
“No, we all got dressed, gathered our stuff and left.”
Cindy smiled and said, “End of the party.”
“That’s not all, Cindy. There have been a couple of other drowning accidents here, too. Both were young men and both were good swimmers.”
Cindy touched the water with a bare toe.
“It feels nice and cool, Jason. It would be fun. I have never been skinny dipping before.”
She plunged both feet into the water and said, “Ooh, that feels good, Jason. Come on. It will be cool.”
Jason hesitated. The deaths, after all, were had been a few years ago.
“What about the ghost?”
“Jason, what you saw was mist rising over the water in the moonlight. You had all been drinking.”
“But we all saw it.”
“It was mass hysteria, Jason. One of you thought you saw a ghost and the others thought they saw what you saw. There is no ghost, Jason.”
“What about the drowning deaths?”
“Drownings happen, Jason. Maybe they had been drinking. Maybe they got cramps. There are a lot of reasons, Jason.”
Jason looked at Cindy as she sat on the bank, her long dark hair flowing over her naked shoulders. He caught a glimpse of her breasts as they glowed in the late afternoon sun.
“Okay, we’ll do it.”
Cindy smiled and pushed herself into the cool water. She began swimming towards the center of the pond.
Jason sat on the edge, and followed her in. He swam just behind her. She stopped and stood up.
“There is a big rock out here, Jason.”
Jason was soon standing beside her. They were in the middle of the quarry pond. All around the forest loomed. He could see his little red convertible parked under the tree by the lane.
“Neat,” he said.
Cindy found the edge of the rock and sat down. The water immersed her from the waist down. Water dripped from her nipples, creating small concentric rings as they impacted the water. Jason jumped back into the deeper water, swam in a circle, and approached Cindy who smiled at him from her perch on the rock.
She reached for him as he approached. He felt her arms around him. She bent and they kissed. His feet found a ledge to stand on. Their eyes met. He could feel his body reacting to her body. He felt her long legs encircle him.
They kissed again. She moaned as he entered her.

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Demon of Death

Demon of Death
Patiently, the demon drifted in the still, murky water as it waited and watched. Jason made love to Cindy on a rock in the middle of the haunted pond. His lust sated, Jason relaxed. It was the last moment he would be happy. The demon struck.
Its first act was to kill that which Jason loved. That was just the beginning of the horror.
The supernatural, occult fantasy fiction thriller, Demon of Death, reveals the depths of depravity of demonic possession. The demon resurrects inside Jason’s body to launch a murderous rampage of death.

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Sample Chapter – Short History of Mail Delivery – Forerunner of UPS Established

Sample Chapter

Short History of Mail Delivery

1907 – American Messenger Company Established – Forerunner of United Parcel Service
18 year old entrepreneurs Henry Casey and Claude Ryan started the American Messenger Company on August 28, 1907.
James Casey (March 29, 1888 – June 6, 1983)
The son of Henry James and Annie Sheehan Casey, James was native to Candelaria, Nevada. The family moved to Seattle, Washington in 1897. His father, a miner, became incapacitated while he was young of miner’s lung disease. Thus Casey quit school at age 11 and started working as a delivery boy for the Bon Marche department store. He improved his $2.50 weekly salary by taking work at a tea store, eventually making $6.00 a week. His younger brothers also assisted in supporting the family by working as well. Casey took a job with the American District Telegraph where he met Claude Ryan. In 1902 his father died. Casey and two friends started a messenger service they called the City Messenger Service, however they business did not succeed. Casey and one of his partners in the messenger service migrated to Nevada to try their hands at mining, however they did not succeed in that endeavor either. Casey moved back to Seattle and partnered up with his friend, Claude Ryan.

The two borrowed $100 and started another messenger service they called the American Messenger Company on August 28, 1907. They started with two telephones, two bicycles and a staff of six boys. Using the motto, “Never promise more than you can deliver, and always deliver what you promise,” this business succeeded. The partners, having previously worked as messengers and delivery people for American District Telegraph and other businesses, they knew the city well. They put up signs all over the city with their phone numbers. Their rates, from 15 cents to 65 cents to deliver a message or 25 cents an hour to run errands, were good enough to cause their business to prosper.

In addition to delivering messages and running errands the partners began delivering packages for department and other stores. The company merged with McCabe’s Motorcycle Delivery Company in 1913 and became Merchants Parcel Delivery. The new company acquired a Model T Ford, painted bright red. They brought in Charlie Soderstrom, who was the head of delivery drivers for one of the leading department stores in Seattle. Soderstrom added the automotive expertise the company needed and originated the concept of painting the company’s vehicles brown, a color that did not show dirt and grime a vehicle acquired by driving on the dirt and gravel roads of that era.

The company continued to grow, gradually taking over the delivery trucks of leading department stores as they acquired their delivery business. They made parcel delivery their specialized business and after World War I ended, they sought to expand beyond Seattle. They acquired Motor Parcel Delivery, based in Oakland, California in 1919. In 1925 the company reorganized and began using the name, United Parcel Service, whose familiar brown trucks deliver packages across the United States. After his death in 1983 Casey was interred in Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline, King County, Washington.

Sample Chapter – Short History of the Post Office – Street Address History

Sample Chapter 
Short History of the Post Office
Street Address History
The practice of governments assigning street addresses arose not from the need to provide accurate mail delivery as much as the need to create a system to collect taxes, take censuses and record males eligible for conscription into the military. The practice has its European roots in the first known system devised in Augsburg, Germany in the 16th Century. A similar system arose in France during this same period. House numbering systems emerged in sporadic bursts in France, England and Germany over the next couple of centuries, however it did not become common practice until about the middle of the 18th Century. There is evidence that the people resisted the assignment of house numbers during this era. Numerous accounts exist of residents smearing freshly painted house numbers with mud and filth in an attempt to  thwart the new system.
In the United States
One of the earliest systems in the United States was in New York when apparently the British attempted to impose a system sometime after they captured the city in 1776. Philadelphia apparently led the effort after the revolution when they devised the system of odd numbers on one side of the street and even numbers on the others. They came up with this system in order to conduct the first census in 1790. One problem city planners had was that construction of new buildings after addresses for a city street had been assigned. This often necessitated the need to renumber an entire street Philadelphia also devised the decimal system in 1856, a system that assigned 100 numbers to each city block and made street numbering and renumbering much easier. Cities across the United States quickly adopted these systems. The need for accurate mail delivery sped the process of address assignment after the Post Office adopted free city delivery policies during the Civil War. In the United States there is no national system of assigning street numbers, though most use the even/odd system and decimal system. Address assignment systems can vary considerably across the nation. The development of the 911 emergency system in 1968 led to the elimination of the use of the rural route system of addressing houses and the assignation of individual house numbers for rural residences as a means to allow emergency personnel to find houses quickly.
© 2020 Paul Wonning