Excerpt: Murder at Maple Grove

How far would you go to save your family from bankruptcy and dying? Would you enter the house of horrors?

 

Cindy von Hentschel brings us a horror mystery:

Murder at Maple Grove

 

You know that little voice inside you that tells you not to do something? Yeah, well when you’re a twenty-year-old young woman you think you know everything, but you don’t, and you should listen to that voice. I didn’t and what I encountered was hell.

I was sitting under the shade of the big weeping willow in momma’s front yard, trying to figure out a way to pay momma’s bills and save her from going into bankruptcy and foreclosure, when a FedEx truck pulled up. I received a packet of papers, and an old key from my grandfather’s attorney stating that I, his least-favorite granddaughter, was the new owner of Maple Grove, an old antebellum mansion that had been in our family for several generations.  I heard it was unsellable because it was supposedly haunted by the family mysteriously murdered there at the turn of the century.

Feeling confused, excited and a bit unsettled, and as I didn’t have to work that day, I decided to go check the old place out. This may be what saves momma. We needed the money to pay for momma’s medical bills. She was sick with cancer and couldn’t work. I’d been working long hard hours but it was never enough money. Maybe we could live there after the bank took momma’s house.

It was about a 30-minute drive from home. I called momma to tell her where I was going, so if she needed me, to call me on my cell. Momma warned me to be careful. She and my grandfather had never gotten along, though I never knew why. Sadly, he never wanted anything to do with me.

#

As I pulled into the driveway there was a long line of maples on either side; thus the name Maple Grove. There at the end of the drive stood a big, beautiful mansion. It was white, had four columns in the front with six wide steps leading up to a huge wraparound porch.

For an old place, it wasn’t run down. I mean, the yard needed tending to, grass needed mowing, weeds pulled, hedges trimmed; all in all, it wasn’t that bad. I took the old key out of the packet, walked up the steps to the front door when a burst of cold air blew by me. I was startled to say the least, already feeling uneasy, but the clouds had started forming on my way there and I knew a storm was brewing. I opened the door and stepped in. It was beautiful. A large open foyer, a magnificent winding stair case right in the middle leading up to the second floor, and large doors on either side of the entrance. As I stood there, sweeping the room with a glance, I wondered who walked these floors before me.

I walked in, closing the door behind me just as it started to rain. Thunder cracked loud and close and I jumped. I flipped the light switch; glad the caretaker made sure the electricity was on for me. It flickered a bit before coming to life. I opened the large double doors to the right of the stair case to find what could only have been a ballroom. It was a bit musty, and dust flew around, and it was empty so I closed those doors, and went across the hall to the others and opened them into a large living area with a fireplace and windows looking out over the lawn. Behind this was a beautiful dining room, empty like the others. Beyond that was a large turn-of-the-century kitchen and a wash room/mud room that brought me back to the front, where I found a smaller library filled with books, some in good condition.

As I was getting ready to step foot on the stair to make my way up, I heard whispering, then running; softly, but loud enough that I froze. It had sounded like a child running, but I knew that couldn’t be true. I had the only key to the place and it had been locked up tight. After standing there for a couple minutes, I didn’t hear anything else. It must have been a raccoon or something lurking around. I slowly walked upstairs, when I thought I heard it again, the whispering.

I stopped, listened; nothing, just the wind brushing the branches of a tree on a window. Coming to the top of the stairs, I decided to turn right and go down the hallway. The first door opened into a large musty room with a fireplace, another room and connected to the last one was a bathroom with a claw foot tub.

I found a door leading to the attic: well, what I thought would be the attic. It led up to what looked like a very old nursery. Two old twin sized beds were in one corner, and an old wooden rocking horse. This was the only room with furniture in it, and the only room that couldn’t have been used in at least a hundred years.

The rain outside had settled down, so I opened the two large windows in the room to let in some air. As I stood there looking out, the hairs on my neck and arms stood up, because a cold breeze chilled me from behind, and I knew I wasn’t alone. I slowly turned, to see a young girl of about ten years with long dark hair and dark eyes, standing there looking at me with a cute puppy in her arms. I smiled. “Where did you come from?” I asked.

But then I noticed she was wearing a white dress that went to her knees, a pink pinafore, stockings, black boots and a large pink bow in one side of her hair. Then her eyes got darker and she was dripping wet. The wet turned dark red and pooled at her feet. She pointed to the rocking horse, then she was gone.haunted barn dreamstimes cindy 5

 

 

To purchase T-Rex Moon, Halloween 2015 issue, and read more of Murder at Maple Grove click here:

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Excerpt Collar City Vampyres

Sink your teeth into author and editor of T-Rex Moonzine, Ruth J. Burroughs’

 

Collar City Vampyres

 

It’s darkest night in Albany, New York, a small city, the capital, on the Hudson River. It’s hot. It’s summer. It’s the year 1987 and the city is teaming with hungry vampires. But the two hoodlums stalking the young couple don’t want blood. They just want money for drugs. One has a knife and the other a gun. The young couple are drunk and stumbling down the dark alley. Mobile phones are few and far between and aren’t walking computers. Pay and rotary phones and mechanical cars have not gone extinct. And the pay phone was rotary, and by the time Cecil the Vampire Hunter, found them they were dying, and each number seemed to take forever to dial: nine-one-one.

Cecil stanched Kit’s bleeding with his jacket and made Lorraine halt the flow of hers with his shirt, then he stood up and stumbled over to the payphone. He searched his pocket, pulling out a handful of change. His hand shook and coins fell to the ground. He grabbed a plain Washington Liberty quarter, snapped up the handset and slipped the coin into the payphone. Dang. It wasn’t a push button one. His hands shaking, he dialed nine-one-one. Vladya answered, rolling his Rs, “What is your emergency?” he asked. “It’s me, Cecil. I’ve got dinner. They’re dying. 186 Sheridan Street, Sheridan Hollow, Albany, they’re bleeding out, so be quick about it.”

 

 

Earlier that day:

 

Dr. Kit E. and Lorraine, live in the building adjacent to the black artist Cecil, and can hear one side of his argument with Reggie, his deceased husband and ghost through the shared wall. Kit and Lorraine live in the same building with, three artists, two musicians and one playwright and thought they were all wonderful and crazy. For months Cecil Von Troy has been trying to convince them to move uptown and out of the violent neighborhood, whose peaceful denizens desperately wished they had the funds to leave. He told them that Sylvester von Albany was dead; Cecil was trying to cover both territories; he couldn’t protect them. But they didn’t want to move.

Emile Goldstein, the up-and-coming Tragicomedy playwright, lived here in their loft; so did the two Russian painters Polina Aleksandrova and Alisa Borisova. Jose Betancourt had his own sculpture gallery in the same building, and there were the soulful cellist and the lady with the wind instruments. And none of them were vampires, nor had any vampires attacked them, not even bats. They’d overheard his arguments with his dead husband and knew he was the Vampire Hunter for both Troy and Albany. Or at least, he thought he was. And they were charmed by it all.

Dr. Kit E. Purington just finished his studies at Albany Medical Hospital and was ready to start rotations and Lorraine Justice was studying at Albany Law school nights and working paralegal during the day, but they were both dirt poor; just scrapping by and loved every minute of it. They loved the easy walking distance to Washington Park, the state legislature, the south mall, the restaurants and all the drinking establishments.

Later tonight they would go out on the town. They hadn’t given any blood to the local Sheridan Hollow Neighborhood Association and the winged creatures of the night, restlessly perching near the Gargoyle sculptures at the rims of the skyscrapers, were getting hungry. And to them, Dr. Kit and Lorraine looked like dinner.cat jack lantern moon33

T-Rex Moon is a print only magazine and can be found exclusively at the Blurb. T-Rex Moonzine is not available in electronic format. Some of the reprints may be available elsewhere. This is the first time Collar City Vampyres has been published.

Find the rest of Collar City Vampyres here:

 

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of Ruth J Burroughs and other authors

Ruth J Burroughs is the editor and publisher of T-Rex Moon Magazine, or T-Rex Moonzine. The editors will pay 7 cents a word for new stories and poems, and 3 cents a word for reprints. This is the 2015 Halloween issue coming out a bit late in February 2016. With the exception of one story this issue is comprised of reprints.

To save money the artwork will be solely by me, Ruth. I am an award winning fine artist and hope you enjoy my scribbles and crossword puzzles.

T-Reggs is a female tyrannosaur and the mother icon of my T-Rex Moonzine magazine.

T-Rex Moon is looking for slush readers. Please contact the editors at T-Rex-Moon@outlook.com.

The next theme will be the Easter Bunny Rabbit as science fiction alien or otherworldly if your story tends toward fantasy. Until I can raise money for the next issue SUBMISSIONS are CLOSED.

Submissions guidelines coming soon.

 

Yours truly,

~Ruth~

 

Ruth J. Burroughs

February 17th, 2016