Tag Archives: horror

The Woods by L.V. Gaudet

The Woods

The Woods

It is an ordinary forest, as far as spooky looking woods go, filled mostly with craggy twisted oak trees, their gnarled branches reaching like skeletal fingers and deeply wrinkled cracked-bark covered trunks. The trees cluster together, their branches twisted and tangled together, daring any to enter their midst.

The land here lies low and wet in the spring, leaving the stand of trees a small island of cragged haunted-looking trees bordered by stick-like saplings and sparse tall yellow grass invaded by wild roses with their sharp thorns standing in a shallow bath of melt water throughout the springtime months.

They are far from a silent woods. A small stretch of thick growth surrounded by fields of crops interspersed with some areas abandoned to grass, weeds, and stray crop seeds. Against one side of this stretch of trees, amidst the farm fields, is also nestled a small happy community. The woods team with life, red and grey squirrels, rabbits, mice and voles, and a range of birds. With the damp ground, the woods are a haven for frogs and toads, and of course, the ever-present blood-sucking mosquitoes.

It is a typical small town community lying nestled against the miniature forest. It grew from centuries old land of grasslands mixed with forests. The old forests and grasslands were slowly chopped down, turned over, and settled as the world slowly populated with mankind; the landscape of humanity changing from hunter-gatherers to farms, towns, and villages.

Eventually towns and communities grew together to become cities, family homesteads populated into small farming communities, and untouched land became rare pockets of unsullied old growth forests scattered about in tiny fragments bordering farm fields and stretches of small community homes.

Some of these tiny pockets of untouched woods still hold secrets. Some of these secrets are perhaps best left that way.


The woods sit silent and brooding, an ugly tangle of dead looking leafless skeletal branches that look like they belong in a darker and more sinister world, the world of the dead. The clouds hang heavy, dark, and grey on this day; a suffocating thick blanket hanging low in the sky to cast a pall over this small piece of the world.

The snow still lies heavy and wet here where it takes longer to melt away, crystalline flakes shrinking and melding into a dirty slush as the temperatures slowly warm. In time, the snow will vanish and be replaced once again by the murky stagnant melt waters that will take a few months to dry up.

Most of the rodents, birds, and other small woodland creatures are conspicuously absent on this day, having chosen to hunker down and wait out this gloomy day. Nevertheless, a few squirrels and birds still flit about the skeletal trees.  A small rabbit nervously twitches its nose as it sits motionlessly waiting to find out if that sound was a predator.

Two children playing in their back yard off the woods dare each other to go exploring into the spooky trees.

“I bet you can’t go to the fallen tree,” Kevin smirks, the older and taller of the two boys.

The younger boy blanched, his stomach turning sickly, but stares stone-faced at the fallen rotting tree laying nestled within the narrow strip of woods beyond their yard. You can see the tree only because there are no leaves on any of the branches.

“I am not going to let you know how scared I am,” he thinks. He can already smell the mossy rot of the long dead tree, although he has never been near enough to it to catch its odor. It smells in his vivid young imagination like death and decay and something even darker. He watches a small red squirrel flit around the trees, untouched by the dark brooding sullenness and the spooks, ghosts, and monsters his mind screams must surely lurk hidden inside these scary woods. He swallows.

“Can too,” he said, his voice cracking with fear. “I bet you can’t go stand on that old stump,” he countered.

The old stump is a rotting remnant of an even older fallen tree that has long ago vanished into the mud and scraggly growth of the woods. The stump remains, standing defiant and threatening beyond the fallen tree now laying discarded and tangled in the woods, sharp splinters and points of shattered wood sticking up as though waiting to impale any foolish boy who tries to climb it and falls. Its wood is soft and crumbly now with rot, the sharp jagged edges unlikely to be capable of impaling anything for years.

Kevin humphed at his younger brother. He is just as scared, but is not going to let his little brother know that. He nervously hikes up his pants, which did not need it, and steps forward on a mission. He marches purposely into the woods, careful to keep his back to the younger boy so he will not see the paleness of his waxy fear-filled face.

With a scuff and a shrug, Jesse reluctantly follows his older brother.

A little red squirrel scampers up to the high branches as they pass, pausing to chitter down angrily at the boys.

They reach the first point, the fallen tree Kevin dared his younger brother to venture to. It’s no victory for either boy.

On a forced march of pride, determined not to reveal his fear of some silly trees, Kevin continues on. He crawls over the fallen tree, its rotting length sagging with a soggy cracking beneath his weight. His forward march slows more the closer he comes to the wicked looking ancient broken stump.

He stops; staring at the stump like it is some otherworldly thing. He dares not touch it, yet also dares not refuse to touch it, lest Jesse think him weak or afraid.

Unable to let his older brother face the woods alone, Jesse follows. As he draws near the old stump where his brother has stopped to stare motionlessly at it, he notices something unusual looking at the base of the stump.

“What’s that?” Jesse asks nervously.

Kevin pries his eyes from the stump to look lower.  He kneels down, reaching for what lies there.

“Don’t touch it.” Jesse’s voice is a little too shrill.

“It’s nothing.”  Kevin picks it up, turning it over in his hand.

Jesse turns at the sound of a cracking branch.

The boys are never seen again.


Follow The Woods installments


L.V. Gaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are
where the bodies are


What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?


The McAllister Farm-cover 1



Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Indigo Sea Press:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.



Book 3 is in progress, title to be determined.  The third book will bring the characters of Where the Bodies Are and The McAllister Farm together for an intense climax.  You are pulled deeper into the mind of the killer as he spirals further into madness, and will find yourself rooting for him as he faces a bigger challenge; he has competition.  A new killer comes on scene, bringing a new level of evil and cruelty.  You will learn the fates of the McAllister Family, and maybe the secret pasts of Detective Jim McNelly and everyone’s favorite unscrupulous reporter, Lawrence Hawkworth, will be revealed.


Links to purchase this and other upcoming L.V. Gaudet’s books


Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary



Follow L. V. Gaudet:

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LV Gaudet, author


Filed under L.V. Gaudet, writing

What makes a good bogeyman? by Ginger K King

Merriam-Webster defines bogeyman as : a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children.  Wikipedia explains the various manifestations as : a non-specific embodiment of terror.   Have you encountered a good bogeyman in the books you have read, or the movies you have seen?  Is your favorite the expressionless face of the masked man, the ever extending, razor tipped fingers of the monster plaguing Elm Street, or the sewer dwelling end to George Denbrough in Stephen Kings IT?

The notion of a bogeyman has many context, historically as the figure used to threaten children, and more contemporarily the face of terror, in the next chiller-thriller film or book.  I am thinking about those characters that we ourselves draw up from the authors descriptions, or those we see on the big screen.   Some horror movies speak directly of the existence of him, and a movie [quality debated]  was even named for him.  In John Carpenters Halloween, [the night He came home] the characters explain the evil they think they have destroyed; [after Michael falls off the balcony] Laurie: Was that the boogeyman?  Dr. Sam Loomis: As a matter of fact… it was!  As a fan of the original film, I must say that the delivery of the line by Donald Pleasance, makes it even more chilling.

For me what defines a good bogeyman has a lot to do with his character.  Yes bogeymen have character.  Some are intelligent, some are witty, and some are just plain weird.  I prefer the intelligent and witty over the weird.  That moment when he nearly outsmarts the female lead [I like a smart female lead even more], or when he plays his own personal brand of practical joke makes or breaks the character for me.

The level of suspense that a bogeyman is able to achieve is his chief selling point.  Does he show up in a shadowy back yard and stare up at the window and then with the sway of a sheet in the wind disappear?   Where did he go, is he coming back?  Draw out the terror will you… Or does he show up as a pair of yellow eyes in a storm drain holding balloons?  I have been afraid of clowns ever since Pennywise made an appearance.

On a cold October night that fear was busted.  When some friends convinced me to go through the worst haunted house in our area, I was the last in our group, and no I didn’t like that at all.  We started out by a large shrub with a man seated in a chair opposite the shrub.  While we were trying to figure out if the man was real, or fake… the real scary people came from behind the shrub.  When I turned to face the house, Michael Meyers was just to my right.  I admit I was startled a little, but the guy playing him was too short.  I know about Michael Meyers, and this was not Him.  So I casually ask him how he is to disarm him.  You know when you are in these places, if you act scared, they try to scare you even more.  Almost half way through I was finally terrified because we were in a very large or long room/hall with absolutely no lights, no sounds.  The anticipation of the next scare was worse than… oh wait… no it cannot be.  A room full of Pennywise clowns.  Three to be exact.  Flashing lights extremely loud, and chainsaws…..Oh my goodness, and I am the last in the pack…when all of a sudden, maybe to disarm his own fears, my friend who was the lead in our pack does something so strange.  I am laughing as I write this.  He starts to dance, yes I said dance.  Unbelievably, they stop, they don’t know what to make of him.  They pulled up their masks and laughed saying.  Thanks dude… this is tiring.  Then we went on and finished the terrors, as there were a few more chainsaws and masked men…  Three Jason Voorhees at the very end chasing us out of the barn with chainsaws.  To this day my favorite part of that haunted house was the clowns.  I am not nearly as afraid of them as I once was.  At least until I read IT again…

What is it for you that makes a bogeyman, a good bogeyman?


Filed under fiction, writing

Outside the Box


She cannot escape.


Her prison is about two feet wide by a foot high by six feet long. The air feels heavy and the darkness is complete. If she did not know any better, she would swear she was in a coffin.


However, she does know better. She has been in the “box” before. Each time she has acted out, her doctor treats her to a session within a sensory depravation chamber of his own design.


He swears this helps to stabilize extremely disturbed patients. Her doctor says that the “box” simulates the womb and when a patient is released from the box, it symbolizes a rebirth.


Time becomes timeless as hours or days or weeks pass. Without light as a reference point, she cannot tell if it is night, day, or in-between. She can hear nothing except the sound of her own thoughts.


The claustrophobic feeling she usually has in the box is missing. She does not feel terrorized by her prison; she simply feels trapped.


An era of her life seems to pass by as she waits for her release. At some point, she does not know when, she hears a noise that grows steadily louder and shakes the box with each pounding tremor.


At last, she begins to see light coming in through the edges of her prison. This is different, she is thinking, as the sound and shaking grow more intense.


Suddenly, all is quiet. She begins to pound on the box and demands to be released. Someone must hear her, for the door to her box is opened and the sun shines down upon her.


The sun shines down upon her. To what trickery has her doctor exposed her? What new treatment has he imposed? She should be able to walk out of his damned box; instead, she has to climb and try to hoist herself up to escape the pit in which the box was placed.


Where are the attendants who usually offer her a beverage and a cool towel after releasing her? The only people she can see are looking down into the pit and ignoring her requests for help. She will report them to the doctor and tell him to relieve them of their sorry duties.


Finally, a hand reaches down to help her out of the pit. As she turns around, she gasps in horror at the site of a thousand graves. Her doctor had buried her as part of his malicious treatment of her disorder; she will see that he is arrested upon her return.


“These are different people,” the man with the helping hand tells her. “You will get used to them, and, eventually, bored by them.”


“Who are you, sir?” she asks.


“Adrian Masterson, at your service,” he says with a bow and a flourish. “Now, a quick education, madam. You are no longer imprisoned and may freely roam wherever your heart desires.”


“The doctor has released me?” she excitedly asks. “I am truly free to leave?”


“Oh, most assuredly. You do not have to go back to whatever hospital you came from.”


She looks at Mr. Masterson suspiciously. He does not even know where she had been a patient.


“Who are you, sir?” she again asks.


With a sigh, the man answers, “I am whoever I wish to be, as are you. I can go anywhere I wish to go, as can you. I am free to do whatever I wish, as are you.


“You are no longer bound by any ties to this world. Come,” he says as he puts a hand on her shoulder, “I’ll show you.”


As he turns her around to face the pit from which she has but recently escaped, she sees the dusty skeletal remains inside. If this was the new type of treatment her doctor recommended – being placed inside the “box” with a corpse – then, she would definitely have his license.


She looks closer. The skeleton is wearing her dress! The same dress she is wearing at this very moment. How dare the doctor use her own clothing on . . .


A sickening feeling of disbelief is replaced by an equally sickening feeling of belief.


“I am dead,” she declares. “I am dead, but why am I not in heaven?”


Adrian Masterson looks at her with pity and says, “The gates of heaven closed long ago. Now, we are wandering souls who simply . . . wander. Some go back to their homes, some explore the world or the ocean or space. We can go anywhere we want.


“But, we are not temporal. You will never eat again, nor touch any of the living. If you do, your spirit, the only essence left of you, will weaken with each touch. Eventually, you will simply disappear.”


A crowd gathers above the open grave as they prepare to move the coffin and remains to another resting spot. The cemetery had become overcrowded, the older graves exhumed, and the remains buried in a mass plot in order to make way for new deaths.


She is overcome with emotion. She would rather disappear than to spend eternity wandering the universe as a restless spirit.


The man tries to stop her as she heads to the crowd of workers. She shakes him off and begins touching the living men, one by one. With each touch, her essence becomes fainter and fainter.


Adrian sighs. More than half of the newly awakened souls go that way. They cannot abide the thought of spending eternity in their new ethereal state.


As the woman grows so faint he can barely see her outline, the last expression on her face as she disappears is one of terror.


Shrugging, he turns away. She made her choice, but he feels slightly bad as she had not given him time to explain that, although heaven’s gates are closed . . .


Hell’s are not.


J J Dare is the author of “False Positive,” the first novel in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy.


Have a Scary Halloween!



Filed under books, fiction, life, writing