Wednesday, 30 January 2019


The Darkening Part II

A Horror/Paranormal Novella
by E. H. James


Cornelius Blackwell’s great, great grandson has inherited Raven 
Manor—his first order of business…tear up the floorboards with 
the protective symbol. You see, like his great, great grandfather, he 
too wants to make a deal with the devil. However, not only is the 
Darkening once more opened, but a gateway from the underworld 
is created, and creatures begin to spill out into this dimension.

Aware the Darkening has been reopened, Rosario prevents any 
more creatures from entering this world, but not before the Source 
casts a malevolent net around Raven Manor. Drawing the life’s 
energy from the people inside, the Source will create a tipping 
point, allowing his world to blend with this one. Only Rosario has
an ace up her sleeve, and she intends to use it.

Will an exodus overtake the world as we know it? Or will three 
unsung heroes step into the breach to save us all?

* * *
Book Trailer

* * *

Chapter One

Hank shot up in bed. For a moment, he sat clutching the blanket, his heart racing. He grabbed a pen and notepad from the bedside table. Holding the pen poised to write, his hand trembled. The empty white sheet glared up at him. The fleeting images even now abandoning his thoughts.
He sighed and tossed the pad and pen back onto the table. Throwing the blankets aside, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Tiny clawed feet clicked on the wood flooring, as they scurried in the shadows.
He turned, but there was nothing there. He half shrugged and snatched the pants and shirt from the chair by the bed. Yawning, he strolled into the washroom and relieved himself. He washed his hands and splashed cold water on his face. Pressing his palms onto the cold porcelain of the sink, he raised his head. On the window sill behind him, there was a ball of fur about the size of a kitten. Its hair was scraggly, and it had no tail. “What the…?”
The creature shifted on short legs, its red eyes staring up into his. Baring long needle-like teeth, it leaped from the sill straight at his face.
Yanking the towel from its rod, he then swung. The creature and the towel landed upon the floor in a snarling lump. He ran from the bathroom and slammed the door. “That was not real. That was not real. This is not happening.”
Snarls continued to come from the other side of the door, followed by claws running on tile, and then a thump against the door. Tiny feet reached out from under the door, and he jumped back.
He shook his head. “It’s fine. It’ll be fine…as long as I never have to take a leak or maintain any semblance of sanity.” Closing his eyes, he swallowed. “Not real. Not real,” he muttered.
He walked into the kitchen and reached for the tap. A black mass, about the size of a cat, flew out of the shadows straight for him. He grabbed the frying pan from the drain board and swung hard. There was an odd thunk, as metal struck solid. Whatever it was, it hit the wall and slid onto the floor. It lay still for a moment and then moved.
“Fuck this.” He grabbed his wallet and slipped on a pair of running shoes. Snatching his keys from the table, he then raced into the hall. He wasn’t waiting to find out whatever the hell that thing was. He closed the door and locked it. Gathering himself, he stepped back.
Something breathed, and slowly he turned. It was his neighbor Mrs. Baldwin’s German Shepherd.
“Mrs. Baldwin, you forgot Jeremiah in the hallway again.” He reached to pat the dog, as she came out of her apartment, accompanied by Jeremiah.
Hank froze, his eyes turning to whatever lay at his feet. The creature stirred. Its head lifting, it rose on bone-thin legs.
The stench of rotting flesh drifted from matted, wet fur and filled the hallway, as it raised its pointed snout. Gelatinous goo oozed between its teeth, forming a puddle on the carpet. Its stare locked with his. “Holy mother of…”
The creature sprung and knocked him to the floor. Bringing his arms up, he screamed.
“Mr. Jamieson?”
Lowering his hand slightly, he peeked up at Mrs. Baldwin. She was touching his arm—the beast no where to be found.
“Are you all right?”
Tugging his disheveled shirt, he pushed up against the wall. “Sorry, I thought I saw something in the shadows.”
She smiled down at him and patted his shoulder. “It’s all those readings you do, dear. You really must take care of yourself.”
He climbed to his feet. “You’re right. I need to take a break. Thank you.” Taking the stairs, he made his way to the front entrance and out onto the street. Pressing his hand to his chest, he fell back against the brick wall. “You’re losing it, Hank.”
Stepping from the wall, he opened his eyes. He wasn’t in front of his building anymore. Before him was an apartment block. Its front doors were falling away from their hinges—years of abandonment and neglect leaving the paint cracked and peeling. He glanced from side to side. “How the hell did I…?” He drew his sleeve up off his watch.
One minute had passed.
“Keep calm.” He laughed. “Who am I kidding? I always knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would be this soon.”
A hand came to rest on his shoulder. “You’re not losing your mind.”
A woman stood to his left.
She vanished.
He closed his eyes and then opened them. “Jeez. Now I have hallucinations telling me I’m not hallucinat…and who’s Rose?” The apartment building was no longer falling to ruin. His gaze followed the lines of the freshly painted doors, as they stood straight on their hinges. “What’s happening here? What is this place? Why do I…know it?”
Slowly, the doors opened. “Come inside, and I will tell you why.”
“Look, whatever kind of ghost you are, if you think I’m going in there, you have another think coming.” He turned away only to be facing the apartments again. “Okay, that’s…”
“Cross the threshold, and all will be revealed.”
Hank’s shoulders drooped. “You’re not going away, are you?”
“I didn’t think so.”
“I am sorry, but you’re a part of this. I need your help. I alone cannot close the Darkening.”
A man’s face flashed through his mind. “Michael? Why do I know that name?”
He ascended the steps and crossed the threshold into the grand entrance. The moment his foot touched the marble floor, people appeared going about their day.
To his right was a woman.
“I’m Jenn. Are you moving in?”
“You’re still thinking about it. Gotcha. You don’t want to rush these things. Have a look around. Check things out.” She grinned. “Well, I can tell you one thing. There are some really great people here. So, if you’re looking, this is the place to be.” She continued out the front door, vanishing as she passed over the threshold.
He sighed. “Nice touch. Make me feel guilty by introducing me to the all-American girl next door.”
“I did not send her. And she is not a ghost.”
He turned. Before him was the woman from the street. She touched her finger to his forehead, and a surge of images and memories flooded his mind.
He lost his balance, and she grasped him firmly by the arm.
“I…remember. Michael. The void. His girlfriend.” He clutched her by the shoulders. “He succeeded. He got her out.” He whooped and pumped a fist in the air.
The woman smiled.
“Wait. Why did I forget?” He paused. “This is a different timeline. One in which I never met him. Because…it never happened.”
“The memory still exists, buried deep within your psyche. You just needed a trigger.”
He blinked. “I know you.”
“You’re remembering the other timeline.”
“No. I mean, I know you.”
“I am Rosario.”
“Funny. I was going to say Rose. But you don’t let anyone call you that, except…Tommy. You prefer to be called Rosario, and you are…”
“You’re blocking me.”
“No. Your mind is absorbing the memories. It will take time. It would not be wise for me to rush you.”
He cast his gaze over the front entrance of the apartment. “What exactly is happening here?”
“What you’re sensing is the Darkening. You remember it as the void that took Mr. Caulfield’s girlfriend, Elaine. They closed it, sealing it off. Only the new owner removed the seal, when he had the symbol in the wood floor boards torn up and taken away. By doing so, the Darkening has been reopened. But, not only is it open, the doorway has created a passageway from the other side to this. Creatures have begun to escape into this world.”
Hank’s brows rose sharply. “Creatures? They wouldn’t happen to have red eyes, long sharp fangs, and smell of death?”
“Dear God—” he took a step toward the front door “—they must be creating havoc.”
“Not yet. But, they soon will, unless we do something to close the Darkening once and for all.”
He spun. “What do you mean, not yet? I came across three, between my bedroom and the hall outside my apartment.”
“They were drawn to you, because you’re vibrating on a similar energy to them. By that I mean you can sense, hear, and see the Darkening and everything connected with it.”
“When you met Mr. Caulfield you saw into his mind. You connected with his consciousness and life energy. And when you did, you also became connected to what he was experiencing.” She directed her eyes to the front door. “You can see and interact with those creatures as real entities of the other world here, because when their energy and yours comes into contact, you are both in an in-between state of awareness. One in which you both exist in that moment. So, yes, they can hurt you. And the larger ones can even kill you.”
He gulped. “So because I can sense them…?”
“While in your presence, they become real to you, and your world becomes real to them.”
“That’s why it couldn’t pass through the door, and I could hit the one in the kitchen with the frying pan.”
“Precisely. And when Mrs. Baldwin touched you, her energy attached itself to yours and disconnected you from the creature in the hallway.”
His brow creased. “Exactly when did the Darkening open again?”
“It has only just happened.”
The crease on his brow deepened.
“Then how is it they could have come to you so quickly? They’re out of phase with this dimension. Physical reality doesn’t exist for them here…yet. Only when they come into contact, with one such as yourself—”
“Do they become real.”
“That is correct.” She pulled up. “That’s why I brought you here. When with me, you’re safe from harm. These people here, in this apartment building, are trapped in a world that exists outside your world. The Darkening is drawing on their life energy to strengthen the connection between the two worlds, and to fully open the doorway. And once it’s done taking all they have to give…”
“They will die.”
“Yes. They’re unaware their world is no longer the world you and I know. The moment I sensed the Darkening open, I came immediately. My presence has stopped any more creatures from escaping, but those who came through before I arrived are now in this dimension. To return them, I must seek them out. And that is something I cannot do. I must remain here holding the Darkening at bay. Only those, like you, who’ve seen this other world, or sensed its existence, are in danger, for now.” She hesitated. “But there is another way to return them to the Darkening…and that is to close it.”
She turned her head to the staircase. “The Source sensed my presence and knew I was preventing any more creatures from escaping. Before I could stop it, he created a bubble around this apartment building, with the intent of solidifying the doorway between the worlds. Once he’s taken their life energy, there will be a shift, and the Darkening will spill out into this world.
“Should I collapse that bubble, and rescue those people, I would have to engage the Source, and the ensuing battle could tear both worlds apart.”
“So these people are dying and don’t know it. And if you try to rescue them, not only could they die, but everyone on the planet.”
She nodded. “I have the power to stop it. But my power, combined with the Source of the other world, would create a catastrophic event.”
He lowered his head. “You’ve brought me here to get Michael.”
“Yes. Mr. Caulfield, Detective Henderson, and you will be able to breach the bubble and enter the other world to close the Darkening.”
Hank cleared his throat. “Uh…me?” He laughed. “You’re kidding, right? I’m just a psychic. I’m not some underworld warrior. The best I can do is make a hole as I run through the nearest wall, unless that’s considered a super power.”
Rosario smirked. “You’re far more than you realize, my dear man. Just as Mr. Caulfield and Detective Henderson had to be convinced they were more than they believed, when they had to engage the other world the first time, so must you.”
“No, really. I don’t—” Before he could finish his thought, Rosario once more struck him on the forehead. A rush of color and sound flew through his mind, as images and knowledge unveiled itself to him. He staggered back and fell to the floor. The wooziness subsided, and clarity once more returned. “That was…I don’t know what that was.” Slowly, he stood. “What a rush.” He lifted his gaze. “And I thought my nightmares were scary.”
She pressed her hand to his chest, and he flinched, jumping back.
“What did you do?” He pulled his shirt open. On his chest was a mark burned into the skin.
“This will protect you, as you travel through the underworld. You never need worry it’ll be blocked or removed. It’s part of you, now and always. It’ll enhance the abilities you already possess, as well as more firmly connect you to the knowledge within you.”
“I remember.” He came close. “You. This. All of it.”
Her gaze met his, and she touched her hand to his cheek. “Then you understand. You and I have a special connection—one that allowed me to reach out to you and bring you here.” She turned her head. “I must remain here. I need you to reach Mr. Caulfield and Detective Henderson, and make them remember who they are and what they are capable of. You need to reawaken their warrior within.”
                                                        * * *

Thursday, 22 February 2018



A Horror/Paranormal story
by E. H. James


Michael Caulfield’s dreams are all about to come true—a new apartment with the woman he loves… an engagement ring in his pocket.

Only Michael has no idea his idyllic existence is about to come crashing down. The apartment is over a Darkening—a vortex between this world and the next. Created when the original owner made a deal with the devil, and opened years later, when an unsuspecting woman holds a house party with a psychic.

Now everyone who comes into prolonged contact with the Darkening is pulled in. Only no one remembers they ever existed. That is until Michael comes along. Not only is he not taken, but he is the first mortal to know of its existence. Only there is no one who believes him…or is there?

* * *
Book Trailer

* * *
New York, 1925

“And how is my little man tonight?” Amanda Bridges knelt before her son. “My you’re getting big. How old are you now, twenty?”
Tommy giggled. “No, three.” He struggled to hold up three fingers.
Amanda tweaked his cheek.
“You ready, honey?” Henry Bridges stood in the bedroom doorway, all six-foot-two of him bedecked in his finest suit, his short, black hair slicked back in a state of perfection. “Hey, little man.” He winked at Tommy. “You be a good boy for Rosario.” He stepped back to let Amanda pass.
“You look pretty, Mommy.”
Henry grabbed Amanda around the waist. “Yeah, Mommy, you look pretty.” He grinned down at her.
“Down, tiger.” Lowering her voice, she leaned in. “We don’t have time for that. We’ll be late.” Henry demonstrated his best impression of Tommy pouting and Amanda laughed. “Now come, or Mrs. Hamilton will be wondering what has become of us.”
Rosario gripped the talisman from under her sweater. “Gloria Hamilton? You are going to Mrs. Hamilton’s?”
Amanda pressed a smile to her lips. “Not now, Rosario.”
Henry frowned. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” Amanda patted his chest.
Henry looked from Rosario to Amanda. “Something’s going on here. And I’d like to know what it is.”
“Please, Missus.” Rosario tightened her grasp on the talisman.
Amanda spun on Rosario. “No. I will not discuss it. This conversation is over.”
Henry stepped in front of Amanda and took her by the shoulders. “I’ve never seen you this upset.”
Forcing a smile, she pulled up. “Yes, well I wouldn’t be, if Rosario didn’t keep bringing it up.”
Henry swung around. “Rosario?”
Amanda stepped between them. “Not now!”
Tommy whimpered, and Henry drew Amanda out into the hallway. “Tell me what’s going on.”
“Ever since Mrs. Hamilton sent the invitation to tonight’s party, Rosario’s been acting strange.”
“What do you mean, strange?”
She crossed her arms, avoiding his gaze.
“Amanda, clearly this is upsetting you. Now tell me. What did she say?”
She waved her hand. “Oh, it’s all just a bunch of nonsense. You know how she can be.”
He took her by the shoulders once more. Lowering his head, he tried to catch her gaze. “Ignore her. Yes, she’s young, but she’s great with Tommy, and that’s all that matters.”
She nodded. “You’re right.”
“Of course I am. When am I not?”
She pursed her lips and pressed up against him. “Why do you think I married you, for your looks?”
He slipped his arms around her and kissed her.
She pushed him playfully. “Careful. You don’t want to smear my lipstick, now do you?”
“There’s nothing I’d like to do more.”
She clucked her tongue and shook her head. Running a gloved hand over her blonde bob, she lifted her chin and slid her arm through Henry’s. “You’re right. I’m not going to let her ruin my evening.”
“There’s my girl.” He chucked her under the chin.
“Missus?” Rosario stood in Tommy’s doorway.
“We’re going now, Rosario.” Amanda brushed past her, and Rosario ran after them.
“Take this, please.” Rosario held out the talisman that never left her neck.
Amanda stopped. “You’re offering me your necklace?”
“Please.” Rosario nodded.
“I can’t take that. It means the world to you.”
“Yes, but you need it more.” She dangled it before Amanda.
Amanda held up her palm. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“If you’re going to Mrs. Hamilton’s, you need this more than I.”
“Okay, that’s it.” Henry scowled. “Look, I know you mean well, but you’re upsetting my wife, and I won’t have it. Do you understand?”
Rosario bowed her head. “Yes, sir.”
“You’re great with Tommy. You really are, but if this keeps up, we’ll have to let you go.” Henry shook his head.
Tommy started to cry.
“Now look what you’ve done.” Henry turned to Tommy’s room.
“No, let me. I know how to calm him.” Amanda went into Tommy’s room. Tommy was on his bed hugging his stuffed bear. “There, there.” She removed a silk handkerchief from her purse and wiped away his tears. “There’s my brave little man.” She sat on the bed. “I tell you what. Why don’t I make something just for you and no one else? How does that sound?”
Tommy stopped crying.
“That’s my good boy.” She moved to the mirror, braiding a small section of hair. Taking the scissors from the play table, she then cut the braid. “Fetch me a pen and ink, would you, Rosario?” She untied the blue ribbon from the stuffed bear’s neck and wrote across it: ‘I will love you always, Mommy!’ She drew a heart and kissed the ribbon, leaving a lipstick mark. “Here, you want to help me?”
Tommy smiled.
“You hold this braid, while I tie the ribbon.” She wrapped the ribbon around the braid and tied it with a bow. “There now.” Fastening the ribbon and braid to Tommy’s pajamas with a safety pin, she then hugged him. “Wear this next to your heart, and Mommy will always be with you.”
She kissed his cheek and walked from his room.
Rosario stood silently, as Amanda and Henry walked down the hall.
* * *
The chauffeur brought the Lincoln to a stop before the New York townhouse.
Amanda climbed from the car and tugged her fur collar snug around her neck. She shivered, and Henry paused.
“You all right?”
She tucked her arm around his. “I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine.”
“It’s a chill, nothing more.” She studied his expression. “The way you’re looking at me, you’d think someone walked over my grave.” Henry stared, and Amanda snickered. “It’s just an expression.” She drew a finger down his cheek.
She admired the bow windows that extended up to the second floor. The townhouse’s windows were open, the Charleston drifting out into the night from the Victrola inside. They ascended the front steps. The doors opening, as Mrs. Hamilton crossed the marble floor of the grand entry.
“Darlings.” She was dressed in black. The feathers from her headband waving above her, as she came gushing toward them.
The man by the door took their coats and Henry’s hat, and then disappeared without saying a word.
“I’m so glad you’re here.” Mrs. Hamilton did the double cheek press she was known for. “Everyone’s here, don’t you know. And I have a special surprise.” She escorted them into the drawing room. A number of people were chatting among themselves. As they entered, all conversation ceased. “Amanda and Henry have arrived.” She guided them across the room. “I believe you already know everyone.” She stopped before a woman on one of the sofas. “And this is Madame Baranovsky.”
Madame Baranovsky lifted her head. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Mrs. Hamilton beamed. “Madame Baranovsky is a medium and has agreed to hold a séance for us. Right here, in this very drawing room.”
The smile fell from Amanda’s face, and Henry chuckled, prodding her with his elbow. “You’re not thinking about what Rosario said, are you?”
“Of course not. Don’t be silly. This is all in good fun. Nothing more. I know that.”
“Good to hear, but you know you’d be more convincing, if you stopped crushing my fingers.” He patted her hand.
“It’s all the rage, don’t you know. I brought Madame in special for this evening.” Mrs. Hamilton clapped twice, and six big men appeared carrying a large table. They set it down in the middle of the room and then placed ten chairs around it. She waved, and they vanished through the doorway as silently as they came. “Everyone, if you would please be seated. There’s no time like the present.”
They all pulled out a chair and sat, grinning at one another as Madame took her place at the head of the table.
Mrs. Hamilton lit candles and placed them in the table’s center. Turning off the Victrola and the lights, she then sat at the table’s foot. “There now, I think we’re ready.”
“If you would all hold hands, please.” Everyone held hands with the person on either side of them. “Now, everyone relax and close your eyes. Clear your minds of all thought. Feel the energy, as we seek to communicate with the other side.”
Amanda’s heart pounded, and she opened one eye. Henry was peeking at her. Squeezing her hand, he winked. Smiling, she closed her eyes once more.
Madame began to hum, her breaths coming slow and deep. “Spirits, are you with us?”
“Is there anyone there?”
The table shifted, and they all gasped.
Henry gaped. “Jeez! This thing must weigh a ton, how—”
“Shhh!” Madame raised her chin, and the room again fell silent. “Who are you? Who has come to us this night?”
The table lifted a foot off the floor and dropped with a bang. The candles fell over, and the room fell into darkness. They all screamed, and Amanda jumped back, her chair falling onto the hardwood floor.
“Amanda, where are you? The lights. Someone get the lights.”
Glass smashed on the floor, and the lights came on. Mrs. Hamilton stood next to the switch. “It’s all part of the séance.” She smiled, but her face was white as a sheet.
It was clear to Amanda that Mrs. Hamilton didn’t expect what had happened. It took six large men to lift that table and carry it, and here it had risen on its own.
Mrs. Hamilton walked back to her chair. “If you would all take your seats?”
“I’m not going near that thing.” Amanda grasped the doorknob, but it wouldn’t budge. “This door is locked.”
“What?” Mrs. Hamilton came over and took hold of the knob. True to Amanda’s words, it did not open. “Gerald? Why is this door locked?”
There was no answer from the hallway, and Amanda ran to the other door. It too was locked.
“I’ll climb out the window, if I have to.” She took a step toward the windows, and the table split in two. Each half flew across the room, as guests dodged out of its path. The two halves crashed into furniture, as chairs splintered and ornaments smashed. The Victrola started to play on its own. “Henry?”
Henry grabbed Amanda and held her tight. “What’s going on here?” He turned to Madame, who’d been sitting quietly this whole time.
Slowly, Madame raised her head. Her eyes were black, as she stared out at them.
Amanda buried her head against Henry’s chest.
The floor opened up, the wood splintering and cracking as it flew out into the room. The hole beneath was black and bottomless, and furniture and carpets began sliding into it.
“Henry!” Amanda wrapped her arms around Henry’s neck.
Henry ran to the windows, pulling Amanda behind him. Guests were dragged across the floor toward the hole. Amanda screamed. He lifted her up onto the sill. “Quick. Slide your legs out and drop down.”
His hand was wrenched from hers, and he flew into the hole. “Henry!” She reached for him, but he was gone. “Henry, no!”
Everything in the room was slipping into the hole, as Amanda gripped the window frame, her knuckles white. A blinding flash filled the room and surrounded her…and then everything fell into darkness.
* * *
All around Rosario, toys were vanishing from Tommy’s room. Clothing and furnishings disappeared.
Darkness, not unlike a black mist, crept under the door and across the floor.
Rosario fastened the last button on Tommy’s coat and adjusted the talisman around his neck.
Tommy pointed at the darkness under the door. “What’s that?”
“It’s nothing.” She lifted him into her arms.
“Where are we going?”

Rosario hurried through the side door. “Some place safe, sweetie. Some place safe.”

* * *
Author Bio

E. H. James has always been fascinated by the unexplained. Wanting to delve deeper into the unknown, James has read and researched in the areas of parapsychology and metaphysics, for the past forty years.

Taking those first hand experiences, involving the unexplained, James has woven the real and imaginary together into stories of the strange and bizarre.

James' stories range from the paranormal to horror, to fantasy and science fiction, from short stories and novellas, to 100K+ novels.