by Ronald Kelly
It's dark. Crickets chirp in the black of night, accompanied by the lonesome call of a whippoorwill. On the front porch of a ramshackle house, pale moonlight reveals two forms in rocking chairs, facing one another. Just you and the storyteller.
You are uneasy at first, a little nervous… but for what reason? After all, they are only tall tales and folklore passed down from generation to generation. Just a bunch of ghost stories and strange yarns conjured up for your entertainment. Or are they? Perhaps, in some dreadful way, they are based more in fact, than in fiction.
You sit there in silence for a long moment. You contemplate making an excuse and taking your leave. But it is too late. In hushed tones, the storyteller begins. The crickets grow disturbingly quiet and the whippoorwill is replaced by the far away howling of a dog. Or something vaguely — and sinisterly — similar.
Then the storytelling session begins. And the darkness about you grows even darker…
The children of an itinerant farm family are secretly terrorized by a deranged handyman with a fetish for stone-honed steel and a deadly question upon his whiskered lips…
A Southern gentleman discovers that his demure and delicate wife suffers from a horrible physical ailment that originates not from without, but within…
An infamous and dangerous gator reigns fear and death upon the dark swamps of Black Bayou and, for one unfortunate Cajun, turns its underwater lair into a watery Hell…
Two Atlanta homicide detectives discover that a recent rash of cold-blooded murders — and the grisly trophies collected from the victims — lead to a horror born of cold winds and insanity…
A popular rockabilly star shares the secret of his sudden rise to fame and the awful price he has paid to attain success…
A prodigal son returns to his hometown to find that nothing has changed… or has it, due to some hidden and forgotten evil from centuries past?
An eager fan of horror films travels cross-country in search of his favorite scream queen, only to find that some infatuations should be left unexplored…
And there are other tales, just as dark and disturbing. Tales that roll off the storyteller's tongue like a smooth and subtle poison… dragging you downward, further downward into the shadowy depths of a dark and disturbing imagination.
In his first short story collection, Ronald Kelly spins an array of unsavory tales that could only beat in the dark heart of Dixie.
Come, have a seat on the ol' front porch and experience the blackness and depravity that lies, hidden but alive, amid the kudzu and magnolias south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
- Cemetery Dance Publications, July 2013
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