Excerpt: When the Night Comes Out
Just 9 days until my new book When the Night Comes Out arrives. It's a collection of horror short stories (and one novella) and, I think, it's some of the best short fiction I have ever written and I am very proud of this collection. Below is an excerpt from the first short story in the book - The Elevator Game. A story about a game involving a tall building, an elevator - and the possibility of an alternate reality of nightmares.
You can pre-order When the Night Comes Out and get it on October 23! Click the cover image or HERE and get your copy. Now, enjoy this portion of The Elevator Game:
The Elevator Game
The hands shot up. Mark walked back to the lectern and started taking the questions. They were the usual ones. The same ones that every time he did this the audience always wanted to ask. It was like they all got together online and planned out what they were going to say, when, and who was going to be the good guys and the bad. There were the skeptics and believers. Often, as now, he did not have to say much, but let them fight it out when certain issues were raised.
It went on like that and he was starting to feel tired, getting ready to indicate just one more question, when the skinny kid with the black beard and glasses perched on the end of his nose stepped up. Mark had noticed him near the back at the room, twitchy and nervous, wearing a parka with a big hood fringed in fur - far too warm for this time of year.
"Yes, you young man," Mark said, putting on his best and most winning smile.
"Hello, Dr. Peterson," the young man said. "What about your brother?"
There was silence in the room. Mark was momentarily stunned and he blinked in surprise. This was not the first time Todd had been brought up, but it had been a while. Todd used the last name "Wilson" for his online activities and the books he wrote, but sometimes you got an enterprising young man, like this one, who dug a little deeper and connected the names. It had been a very long time since someone had mentioned his brother, though, and Mark wasn't prepared. It was always the little podunk college towns where this shit happened.
"What about him?" Mark happened.
"Well, your brother is Todd Wilson, right?" the young man was smiling now as if he smelled blood in the water. "The same Todd Wilson who's become an Internet celebrity by conducting investigations into the paranormal? I believe he's quite successful with his online podcast and YouTube channel and there's been talk of him having some kind of ghost-hunting show on cable."
"Yes, that is my brother," Mark replied. Whenever people brought up Todd they always did it like this. As if the fact that his brother believed and did things differently than him was somehow some kind of accusation about his own work. "What does this have to do with me?"
"How does it feel to have a brother known for investigating the very things you decry?" the young man asked. "Does it bring tension? I guess I want to know what Thanksgiving dinner is like at your house?"
Mark laughed. When he did, so did others in the audience.
"Tell me, young man, do you have uncles or aunts or cousins or siblings that you disagree with? Not about these things, but maybe about religion or politics or things like that?"
The young man shrugged. "Yeah."
"And yet you still get together with those people and you still love them, right? You still manage to have quiet holiday dinners and not come to blows?"
The young man looked a little sheepish. "Yeah, of course."
"Well, that's what happens when my brother and I get together," Mark concluded. "We disagree about how we view the universe, but how my brother chooses to make a living does not factor into my work. Actually, you should read some of his books, they're quite good. I just read them as fiction, whereas he would tell you that they were not."
The young man opened his mouth as if he wanted to say more, but Mark held up his hand.
"Now, I think that's all for tonight," he said. "The hour grows late and I know I'm tired, so let us get to the book signing portion of the evening before I’m up signing books until dawn."
The young man looked disappointed, but soon the rest of the audience was up and Mark was off to the signing table. The line seemed to stretch out to infinity beyond him, and he posed for photos and signed dozens of books. He was expecting that young man to show up and try to continue his conversation, but the fur-trimmed face seemed to have lost interest.
Hours later, when Mark met up with his publicist and they headed for the car that would take him back to the hotel, he ran his hands through his hair.
"I hate when they bring up Todd," Mark said as they settled into the back of the car. "I wonder if they bring up me at his signings?"
This tour his publicist was a young blond girl right out of college. She chewed gum and Mark though her name was Penny, but was never sure so he avoided using her name as much as possible.
When The Night Comes Out is coming October 23, but you can pre-order it today! A collection of horrific short stories of pure terror and the supernatural from Chicago horror author Bryan Alaspa. This is a collection of pure scariness to chill you this Halloween.