Wednesday 17 June 2020



1.) When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

I wouldn’t say there was any defining moment, when the realization came to me. I recall writing weekly stories, in elementary school. The teacher would assign us a topic, and the class would write a short story. Almost every week, the teacher would read my story aloud to the class. I had no idea why she chose my stories, but I began to get a sense she saw something in me.

It was a few years later, in grade seven, that we were required to write a poem about spring. The teacher read it aloud to the class, and I found out later he’d read it to all the teachers in the staff room. He came to me and said I should try to get it published. This surprised me. That anyone would consider what I write to be worth publishing.

I had no desire to write, back then. I did it because I was told I had to. It was when my teachers praised me that I started to feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure from it. I’m not sure if that was what sparked this love of writing, but I found myself in a moment when inspiration would strike, and I just had to get it down. I would write poems and, at first, had a couple published in local poetry books. I then submitted them to contests and had several published in anthologies in the U.S., Holland, and the U.K., under Lauren Hunter.

I started writing short stories, as the ideas came to me, and then I had an idea for a novel. I worked on it on and off and finally finished it, but it wasn’t until I wrote a few more novels, and tried to find a publisher, that I truly considered being a writer. It was when my stories were accepted and published that I really began to see myself as a writer.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to be published, to consider yourself a writer. I’m saying I didn’t think of myself as a writer, until that happened. I don’t need to be published, to be a writer, but knowing others are reading my stories, and getting some sort of pleasure from the experience, gives it meaning for me. It adds a depth to the process, knowing it will be read. That it will reach into the hearts and minds of people who will laugh, or cry, or feel moved by my words.

Over the years, from time to time, we may doubt ourselves, and question ourselves, but the desire remains, and the ideas continue to flow, whether they’re published or not.

2.) How long does it usually takes you to write a book?

I’ve written a 120,000 word novel in four weeks, an 85,000 word novel in nineteen days, 50,000 words in twelve days…If I’m doing nothing else but writing all day, every day, I can get a lot done. It’s when I get into a zone that I can’t wait to write, the moment I awake—and when I’m too exhausted to focus, at the end of the day, that I regrettably realize I must stop. I usually write around 5,000 words in a day, but I have written 8 to 9,000 words in a day. So, depending on how long any given short story is, I can write them in one day.

3.) What would you say your writing style and techniques are?
I know dialogue pushes my stories forward and immediately pulls the reader into the action, so I tend to focus on that. I’ll use narrative to help set mood, create tension, and to build the world around my characters—but not so much that it takes away from the momentum.

4.) What is the most important thing for you to communicate with your readers?

I want them to relate to my characters, no matter if they are good or bad. I want them to become part of the story, as if there, in the midst of the joy or despair…for them to feel what the characters are feeling. I want them to know the characters, as if they are alive, and to cry at their loss, or rage at the injustice. I want them to come away from the story having experienced something that touched them on some level. Perhaps, left them with a thought, a feeling…a memory.

5.) How do you find your inspirations?

Now that is a really hard question for me. So many times ideas will literally come to me out of thin air. They just pop into my head, and I find myself excited about the story unfolding before me, and I need to get it down. There have been times, when watching a particular movie based on a book, that I find myself moved to write. Their creation inspires me to create, as if through the images I sense their desire, their process, their drive and excitement. It reminds me of that passion, that need to express, that thrill of living within the world of my characters, as if one of them, as if I know them…as if they’re real.

6.) What do you enjoy the most when you create a story?

When I start a story, I may have the plot worked out in my head, as to where I want the story to go and what it’s about. It tends to be a fairly general idea. I then start to write it, and as I am writing it, the characters and the story take on a life of their own. I don’t know what my characters are going to do or say, until the moment they say it. Yes, I have an idea what I want them to do and where I want them to go, but as to exactly what they will say or do to accomplish that…is a mystery to me. It’s a lot like reading someone else’s story, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. The things that will pop out of my characters’ mouths will make me gasp or laugh out loud. The words come into my head, in that moment, as they’re speaking, as though overhearing a conversation.

There have been times when I started to write one story and it became something else entirely. It goes off in a direction I never planned, and I go along for the ride, wondering where it’s taking me. For me, it’s an exciting and mysterious process.

* * *
Author Bio and Links


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 40 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 and horror, to fantasy and science fiction, from short stories and novellas, to 100K+ novels.  

Author Links:

Amazon Author Page 
Goodreads Author Page

Facebook Profile


Wednesday 18 March 2020

As not one person has asked for a free PDF of The Hitch or The Empty Room, 
I have removed them from this blog, and shut down the email account

Should anyone purchase a copy of one of The Darkening Series, 
or one of the Road's End Series, and still wish a free PDF, 
please pm me on my FB account 

and provide proof of purchase.

Thank you

Friday 31 January 2020


A horror paranormal short story by

This book contains extreme graphic violence and strong language.


A killer is on the loose, in the small town of Brandford…only this killer isn’t human.

Brent Taggart, a hunter appointed by the Ares Council and the Morhem Collective, is tasked with removing Vorahn—creatures hiding in plain sight—who kill humans. Taking out the Graemwor Patriarch brings a bastard son back to the small town. Looking for revenge, he begins to kill women, hoping to flush out his father’s killer.

Only this Graemwor has bit off more than he can chew.

Sunday 1 December 2019


The final installation of the horror, paranormal trilogy
The Darkening 

The Araphym
The Darkening Part III



Michael's daughter, Claire, is now eighty and a widow. In the twilight of her life, she has come to accept a quiet and uneventful existence.

But that is all about to change. For Claire is the Araphym, an immortal, human hybrid, and the only thing standing between Cagas, king of the underworld, and the total annihilation of the human race. Only problem is Claire doesn't remember...

Will Claire come to realize her place in history as the Araphym, or will life as she knows it cease to exist?

Warning: This book may contain language and violence which may be offensive to some readers.

* * *

“Mrs. Lawson has a pretty garden.”
Claire cast a smile in the direction of her Great Green Macaw, as it sat on its perch on the front porch. “Thank you, Ta-lin.”
“Not at all.”
She chuckled to herself and dropped a cushion on the cement path. “Now if these eighty-year-old knees will keep working, it will continue to be a pretty garden.” She kneeled next to a flat of marigolds and grabbed the garden trowel. Stooping over the earth, she dug a hole and placed the single marigold into it. Drawing the soil in around it, she then patted it gently.
“Pretty flowers.”
“Yes they are, aren’t they? Samuel always did love when I planted marigolds.” She sighed. “If only he were here to see them.”
Ta-lin barked like a dog and Claire turned.
A man leaned over the white picket gate.
She squinted, adjusting her straw hat down over her eyes. “May I help you?”
“I’m your neighbor, Dale Coleman.” He thrust a thumb at the street to his left. “This letter was in my mailbox. I believe it’s yours.”
She climbed to her feet. “Funny. I thought I knew all my neighbors.”
“Moved in a couple of days ago. Into the old Peterson place.”
“The Petersons moved? I didn’t even know their house was for sale.”
The man shrugged and held out the envelope.
“I’m sorry. Where are my manners? I’m Claire Lawson. Please, do come in and have a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade.”
He tipped his hat and opened the gate. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Ta-lin squawked. “Duck, Claire.”
Claire turned to Ta-lin.
“I need you to duck. Now.”
Her brow crumpled, as Ta-lin stretched his green wings out at his sides, the feathers knitting together as they grew and extended out into great leathery appendages. His eyes glowed yellow, his beak protruding into an elongated snout. He opened his mouth as long sharp teeth glistened in the sunlight.
Claire’s jaw dropped. “What the f—”
The dragon-like beast leaped from its perch and swooped directly at her.
Claire screamed and jumped back—falling onto the cement pathway as Ta-lin swooped over her. She brought her arms up, as he flew into the man.
The man pulled a knife, his eyes now red.
Ta-lin’s claws ripped at his throat.
The man plunged the knife up into Ta-lin.
Ta-lin screeched and sank his teeth into the man’s neck, as they both fell to the ground. For a moment, they were still, and then Ta-lin rolled onto the grass. The six foot wings retracted, as feathers once more formed. “Claire…”
“Ta-lin?” Claire stared from the man to the parrot, and then slowly crawled to Ta-lin’s side. Blood flowed from the gaping wound, and Claire reached instinctively for it.
The moment her fingertips touched Ta-lin, a glow surrounded him, the wound closing and knitting as the blood disappeared. The scrapes and blood on her hands and knees vanished.
Claire gasped, and a blinding flash of light surrounded her. The light faded, and she was standing in a park. “What’s happening?” She staggered back. “What is this?”
A girl waved from a sandbox.
“That’s…me.” She spun to the bench behind her. “Oh my God. Mom? Dad?” She gulped. “But…How can this be?”
All motion ceased, silence surrounding her.

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.