UPDATE | “NIGHT Descends”

A collection of suspenseful stories, most not previously available in print

The paperback version is available for order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble is offering a discounted price of $9.90 (this can change quickly, though).

Stay tuned for updates and more information on ordering signed copies of the hardback special edition.

92,229 words in two novellas, three novelettes, and five short stories. In hardback (special edition, color interior–signed copies available) and paperback.

About NIGHT Descends

“You master duality, Dennis.”

–Lena Kindo-Kamara

See more reader comments about the stories in NIGHT Descends

I have literally hundreds of comments and reviews from readers about my writing. But perhaps the one above sums things up best. Many of my stories are about dual meaning: of the light and dark inside people, and of life when darkness and despair are conquered by bright hope and fairness. They touch on the Yin and Yang of things in our world. Each exist to give sense to all we do and who we are as humans; we can’t have one without the other.

And each of these stories offers that meaning to the reader. In them, there’s things most of us have faced: fear, uncertainty, injustice, fading hope, love lost and death. All the dark things that are part of life. But, they—these stories—are offset with courage, sureness, righteousness, faith. And perhaps most importantly, the beauty and purpose of love and belief in oneself.

Some of these stories, marked with [M], for Mature, have some degree of sexual tension, violence, and coarse language. But they are not gratuitous or used just for shock or titillation. I’m a better writer than to have to rely on that cheap method. How I choose to describe a scene or setting, what’s going on and what the characters say or do… has a place and reason in the—their—story. I hope you’ll give those stories a read since I believe they include some of my best writing. Following are brief descriptions of the stories.

Through a Lens of Dark & Light:

Two letters from dead women…

A camera from a dead man…

That’s all that Robert Sterling, a once renowned photojournalist, had to guide him; to help him redeem and resurrect his life from two years lost in a drunken downward spiral.

Was the young girl he could only see through the camera a ghost haunting him from a past he didn’t want to remember or was she leading him toward a new future? Did she exist or was he going crazy just as his mother had forty years ago? To find out, he had to go back to the small town he’d left nearly four decades ago; a place he’d forgotten, full of memories he’d buried. To where, when he was 18 years old, someone had tried to kill him for what he’d done. To where he found and lost his first love.

Blinded:

Morgan wondered what had happened to her life.

Sure, you have a responsibility to take care of sick family until the very end. It’s what you do for those you love. After her mother died, all she had left was an uncle she was once close to but they had drifted apart. And her life had become a routine of working in a meaningless, mundane, job with no future and very little energy for anything else. She just couldn’t break out of it.

Then a mysterious, burning, mark appeared on her chest the same day she got a call that her uncle had disappeared in what she discovered was one of the most haunted and bizarre regions of our planet, the Hoia Baciu forest in Romania. People have experienced the inexplicable, disappeared and died there for centuries and after a cursory search local authorities had given up trying to find him. He was the only family she had left so she decided she had to find him even if it meant doing things she’d never done before. It’s what you do for those you love.

Much of the story is set in one of the most paranormally active areas of the world. In a region, rife with legends that have resulted in derivative stories, books and movies that have delightfully scared generations of us going all the way back to, and even further beyond, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Most of us realize and have learned that behind many legends and myths are often some truth. Through the ages men have searched for objects and beings of power, told about in stories and folklore, that could help them dominate mankind or benefit them in some way. There is so much we’ve still to learn about our world and its past. We’ll find that some of what they searched for exists. The legends, though warped and muddled over eons, have some truth in them. Strange things are out there in our world to be rediscovered. And sometimes… feared. Some of what we may come to find that’s been lost… would have been better left buried and forgotten.

Morgan discovers this firsthand. She finds out what’s in the Hoia Baciu and that it’s been freed, mistakenly, by her uncle. She has to save him and also prevent a powerful, malevolent, demon from being able to walk, at large, in our world. What she doesn’t know is that the demon wants her to come and find her uncle. It’s waiting for her…

All That I Am:

A savior held unconscious for years is awakened on the brink of an invasion.

Iris, a messenger intending to warn and save mankind, didn’t make it in time. Injured, found by a cruel, depraved, man she was locked away in a secret room where she remained unconscious amidst a swirl of vague, painful, memories of when she’d been human. She’s awakened to blood and violence to find that instead of the three decades of preparation she was to deliver humanity, the world doesn’t know it’s on the brink of an invasion. One that will enslave mankind, turning them into livestock for the predators that had destroyed her planet. Could she still fulfill her most important purpose… the critical part of her mission? And could she become human again?

The ShadowRipper | Damnation:

Rick Blackerd had known small pieces of the family legacy since the day before he turned 10 years old.

But for the last 20 years, he hadn’t received any real answers. His mother died giving birth to him and father had shut him out to focus on Daniel, his older brother. Then he got the message that Daniel, the favored son, had died in a car crash. And he knew it was coming—passing to him. Something that he’d had no part of since the day his father told them about the family journal and only some of what was in it. Twenty-four hours after Daniel’s death, Rick’s world changed and his life with it.

His new world was full of things normal humans couldn’t see. Each person’s shadow carries within it an identity and the essence of who they are—good or bad. For 451 years, his family had hunted and destroyed the darkness that hides within much of humanity; the one-person-at-a-time malevolence that creates the evils of the world. Now it was his duty and responsibility. He couldn’t avoid it, the minute his brother died the change started.

A loner much of his life and after the change even more isolated, he discovers there are those who will stand by him. Even when they find what’s expected of him is far more than he, and they, ever imagined in his worst nightmares. If he fails, our world will spiral down into ever increasing misery and hate.

Union Station:

Elizabeth Holloway lived two lives… one in the light, one in the dark. They started and ended at Union Station.

It was 1943… dark times with a world at war… and it was the kind of murder police didn’t put more than a token effort into investigating.

When a friend is killed and Beth finds she’s next on the killer’s list she has to take things in her own hands. Despite the risk of her hidden life being revealed,  she has to avenge her friend and defend herself.

The Candle:

What if you could give someone you love one more hour of life?

The passion of love bursting into flame is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave.

The House of Sorrow and Pain:

All sailors have stories to tell… but would he live long enough to tell his?

A young sailor leaves his ship during a port call in Italy and meets a girl. She’s beautiful and seductive; far and away the most alluring woman he’s ever met. And she wants him. But he’s in an old country. It is a land of ancient city-states, and città morte, dead cities sprinkle the countryside. Once thriving and vital, now no one lives in them and the keening of the winds through the ruins are their only sounds. Even for towns and cities that live, in almost every one, there is a legend, sometimes distorted far from its origin of a casa stregata, a haunted house. Some are deathly still, lonely cenotaphs, mere empty markers of some immoral past. Others contain souls that sleep awhile and awake… hungry.

Night Noises:

Listen in the dark too long and you’ll hear sounds… but what is real and what is imagination?

As a young girl, Cindy used to have nightmares about things in her closet, monsters hiding that reveal themselves in the deep dark of night. She thought she’d grown out of that. What happens when they come back… for real?

The Crossing:

There comes a time when the light and dark side of a person are truly revealed and events don’t go as expected.

“I’m bound for the broken promise land. To meet my demons and get back my upper hand. Long man can’t catch a soul like mine. Miracles are just too damn hard to find…” –Elle King, Ain’t Gonna Drown

The Boy Who Got Away:

It’s funny with twins. They often ask questions they seem to have reached consensus on through some nonverbal means of communication.

 Dad?”

I looked over at Alpha and Beta. “Yeah, honey.” I looked up from my notepad to see them glance at each other and then nod their head like, ‘Go ahead ask him.’

“What is it, girls?”

“Do you believe in…” Alpha used the remote-control to point at the TV and pause the show, “ghosts and demons?”

I put my mechanical pencil down [I handwrite story and scene notes with a Staedtler Graphite 771 or a Faber Castell Pearwood E-motion] and set the lap desk on the Ottoman by my chair. I turned so I could see them both. “You know about what happened to me in Italy?” [Which is told in another story.]

Alpha nodded her head. Beta asked me, “But what about when you were a kid?”

“I can tell you about a boy and what happened to him. Want to hear it?” They nodded so I told them.

 

 

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