Monday, October 24, 2011


 I am so excited. Today is the beginning of the Coffin Hop Blog Tour This year drew in one hundred talented authors, sharing their tales of the morbid, twisted, frightful and down right scary.  It's an honor to be among them. So all this week, I will be posting my tales of the dark and sinister. I know how excited you must be, but please don't just stop here. There are tons of give-a-ways happening just beyond the click of your mouse. 

I know what you're thinking. Umm, Heaven, you write Paranormal Romance, not Horror/Thriller. Have no fear folks. I'm not changing genres, but I do love writing and dabbling in all kinds of different genres. I too was scared once, when asked by one of my favorite horror authors, Dan Dillard, to join in him a Scare-it-Forward project, along with other thirteen talented writers. I thought I would pass out.

Beyond just being a super huge fan (I have all of his books) and talking to him a few times on Facebook, I never thought I crossed his mind.  He probably has better things and more important people to think about than an silly unpublished wanna-be-writer (Damn that Demon of Doubt). But when I got that message, it didn't matter what he was asking me to do. I was going to do it.  Right off the gate, I agree. I mean c'mon it's Dan Dillard William Castle Who says no to them (Well, besides Stephanie Dillard, Dan's beautiful wife.) 

The next day, I kicked myself in the butt. I was going to have to write a whole chapter of a short horror story. What was I thinking? I didn't write horror. Heck, I wasn't even sure, at the time, that I even could write. And now I agreed to try and keep up with the big dogs? As I waited my for turn, I couldn't help but think this was career suicide before it even started. And then the big day came. It was my turn to write a chapter. 

Four authors had gone before me. I would solely be responsible for chapter five. It was the moment of truth. So, I did what I always do. On my right shoulder sat my angel. On my left, my devil. As I typed each word, they battled each other. 'You can do it!' my angel would holler. To which my devil would reply 'You're wasting your time trying.' Luckily enough, my angel called in for reinforcements. With my husband on her side, their word of encouragement and inspiration drowned out all that my personal Lucifer had to say. 

So, without further ado, I give to you my first and certainly not my last attempt at horror. I hope you enjoy it. For the whole story please check out


Dawn broke bringing with it the stale, dry heat of the desert. The cab of the old truck was quickly becoming an oven, broiling Marleen and Kyle inside. Marleen stirred, nestling her head into Kyle’s lap in hopes it would give her the comfort to fall back asleep. Unfortunately, the beer from the previous night was weighing heavy on her bladder, preventing her from doing so.

Unable to hold her body’s natural morning urges, Marleen hopped out of the truck, letting go of the loose hinged door. The sudden slam startled Kyle out of his dope induced slumber. Another slam rifled through the calm as Kyle exited the parked jalopy.

“What the hell babe?” Kyle said through a stifling yawn as he stretched his masculine form towards the Heavens.

“I gotta pee. I’ll be right back.” Marleen stalked off into the brush. Sneaking a glance behind her to make sure she had as much privacy as you could expect in the barren land. Behind her, Kyle jumped up and down on the back bumper calling for Aaron and Lisa to awake.

A few more paces and Marleen would be clear of any prying eyes watching her as she relieved herself. Her foot planted down on what she thought a fallen Cottonwood branch that felt oddly pulpous and stiffly rolled under her sandals. The branch released a painful moan as she pressed her foot down to solidify her step.

“Ow!” Branches don’t moan! Marleen stumbled back. Unable to correct her balance she landed butt first, scraping the bottom of her oval buttocks and erupting a mushroom cloud of hot orange sand. Through the dust a thin hand appeared reaching towards her. Instinct kicked in overriding her need to expel the pressure on her bladder. Had she had less control of her internal organs she may have just let it go. Marlene’s feet began back peddling with the speed of a road runner, dragging her butt across the desert floor. The echo of laughter broke through her silent terror. Marlene’s feet stopped cycling through the sand.

Her anger rose hotter than the mid-morning sun when she realized she had simply tripped over her brother’s leg as he slept under the umbrella of towering Cottonwood. Kyle and Lisa bared witness to the debacle. Their rolling laughs were just an irritation but the smirk on Grant’s face and unnecessary remark as he reached out to help her up was the final straw.

“Pulling a Grant?” Grant reveled in his slight comedic crack.

Marleen always took advantage of any situation to add further ridicule and embarrassment towards Grant and though he by no means made up for all of the times she laughed at his expense, he felt empowered with his small victory.

Marleen would have none of it. Smacking his hand away, she surged up dusting herself off. A million and two vile names raced through her head as she readied herself to blow up on her annoying, tag-a-long, little brother when Lisa called out.

“Hey is Aaron with you guys?”

Taking in a brief survey of the surrounding area both Marlene and Grant felt comfortable in saying that Aaron was in fact not with them.

“Not over here. Thought he was in the back of the truck with you?” Marleen hollered back to Lisa

Grant didn’t need the reminder of his lovely Lisa sleeping with Aaron. It was the reason he distanced himself from the smooching duo, finding solace in the brush of the river embankment, out of ear shot of Aaron’s overly ape-ish grunts as he mounted the object of Grant’s affection. There he could dream it was he who caressed her creamy soft skin while their dueling tongues battle to a war drum only they heard.   In his dreams Lisa was indeed his and his alone. He just prayed no one noticed the stiffened seam of his short where he wiped away the evidence of his fantasies.

“Dude probably got lost going to take a piss.”  Kyle hooted while he did his own version of watering the plants.

“Well we should go look for him.” Lisa’s seemingly worrisome tone gave Grant an idea. He saw an opportunity like no other to have just a few moments completely alone with Lisa. Maybe that would be enough time for her to see past the boy’s pocked up cheeks, lanky lean build and awkwardness and see that he was her soul mate. It was a long shot but a shot none-the-less.

“I’ll help you look Lisa.”

“Thanks Grant.”  Lisa directed a demure smile Grant’s way. It was the zap he was looking for. He felt now that he alone carried super human powers. He would single handedly defeat any evil that dared presented itself before him. He would find Aaron, forever solidifying himself as a worthy suitor in Lisa’s lavish baby blue eyes.

“Uh…you coming?”  Lisa snapped her immaculate fingers nails in the day dreamer’s face, startling him back to reality.

“Yeah. By the looks of Marleen’s pee-pee dance, I think we should look up stream.” Grant enjoyed the small giggle that fluttered from Lisa.

Marleen bounced in circles squeezing her hands between her thighs, awaiting Kyle to escort her into the sage thickets. A few effortlessly bounds, Kyle’s agile figure made his way to Marleen’s side. The two lovers went off downstream in search of nature’s port-a-potty before beginning their search for their missing friend.

Grant took the lead of the search party of two, in a desperate attempt to prove some unseen manhood, and calling for Aaron as they made their way toward the bottom of the embankment. Grant’s flip-flop gave way under the rocky sloped landscape. The bedrock tore at his thigh as he descended on the gradual incline. Just feet from the water’s edge Grant’s body lost all momentum and came to a still.

Pebbles pummeled his head as Lisa rushed to his aide in perfect Bay Watch form. Grants face turned redder than crimson of Lisa’s bikini.  The feel of her warm skin of her palm grasping his as she struggled to help him up off of his hip, eradicated all feelings of contrition. He was willing to fall a thousand times if it meant her touching him with each fall. In mid pull of his wrist, Lisa suddenly halted all movement.

“Don’t move.” Lisa’s voice was just above a church mouse’s whisper. Steadily she knelt down, picking up a large sandy beige rock. Grant’s attention was diverted from Lisa to the sound of an inner tube slowly deflating. What he found was no inner tube but a thick coil of blackened green scales mere centimeters from his right ankle.

“Okay now!” Lisa called as she hurled the stone at the venomous serpent. Grants scurried up the slope barely escaping the life threatening bite. Before a breath could be caught between them,   an ear shattering scream sent desert swallows fleeing from the trees.

The scream came from Kyle and Marleen’s direction.  It wasn’t the screaming of finding a friend who may or may not have gotten lost. It was the scream of urgency and danger.  Fueled by adrenaline Grant and Lisa bolted towards the area of the unknown emergency.

They pushed through the brush and found Kyle lifting Aaron’s limp but conscious body from the river shore. A discombobulated Marleen stood off to the side with her hands folded in front of her.  Her hands were too dainty to cover the wet ring on the front of her khaki shorts. The blazing sun above baked the aroma of sage brush and urine in air. Marleen had pissed herself.

This would seem like the perfect time to take revenge for the years Marleen punished Grant for being the younger sibling but Grant knew all too well what she must have been feeling. Shortly after his parents’ divorce he experienced a dreadful period of bed wetting on a nightly basis. Though it had been years since he felt the shame of putting on his big kid diapers just to sleep, he never forgot what it was like when someone found out about his nightly gushing’s. No. This one was off limits. No words or commiserations needed be spoken. They wouldn’t help anyways. Grant put his arms around his sister, giving her shoulder a squeeze.

“I thought he was dead.” She said under her breath, just enough that only Grant could hear her.

“Hey G give me a hand.” Kyle’s bulk couldn’t carry Aaron’s dead weight on its own. Grant was hesitant to touch another naked man’s body but he was the better candidate since Marleen was practically catatonic and he definitely didn’t want the thought of Lisa touching it. He had heard enough of her doing that last night.

Grant slipped his head under Aaron’s dangled arm, pulling it over his shoulder. Lisa led the way back to truck while Kyle and Grant struggled getting a semi-conscious Aaron up the lithic, chalky riverfront, Marleen somberly followed.

“eh-uh-gno.” Aaron moaned an inaudible grumble. The motley crew ignored the mumbles of their in capacitated friend. With a heave Kyle and Grant lifted Aaron in to the bed of the Chevy.

“We na-eed ta ga-go. We ha-hafta ta lee-leave.” Aaron’s slowly articulated, warily trying to sit up.

“No way, bud. Not ‘til you sober up some or we’ll all get busted for sure.”   Kyle shoved a bag of deep fried, processed potatoes in his friends lap.

“We have to go now! She’ll kill us all!” A fully revived and panicked Aaron pushed off the bed onto his feet. Ferally he scratched on the handle of the locked truck door.

“What’s wrong?” Lisa gently laid her hand on his back in a futile attempt at soothing the wild Aaron. Aaron violently lashed his back at Lisa, flinging her into a boulder. A fraction of a second was all it took for Grant to be possessed by the full power of rage. Images of murder flashed in his eyes. Before he could register what he was doing, Grant lunged towards Aaron, slamming him into the truck with the hurricane force before pinning him by the collar of his chest against the truck door. Their eyes locked.

“Whoa G. Relax! Damn how much did you have to drink last night Aaron?”  Kyle entered the fray between the boys.

“Eyes so black. Never seen eyes so black.” Sheer terror fought tears for position in Aaron’s eyes. Obviously the four ill-equipped teens were dealing with a person who quite possibly hit his head in a drunken stooper, suffer from heat exhaustion or somehow transformed from normal, well-adjusted, hormone driven teen to a mentally unstable lunatic in a matter of hours.  Whatever the case, Grant knew they needed to contain the wild beast before anyone else got hurt.




  1. Happy Halloween, Heaven! I enjoyed the chapter and had to pause when I saw the name Grant, and that his an angsty teen...we have an angsty teen Grant in our household! Aaaah! Creepy! :) It's wonderful to get to know you during the Coffin Hop!


  2. I forgot to say...also, reading through it's interesting to see the connections between some of the participating hop authors. I see you know Dan Dillard. :)

  3. I never thought of myself as a horror writer, but my first book is "horror lite," for sure. See ya 'round the hop!

  4. Well done Heaven Leigh! Tense as all get-up!
    Now I need to find time to read the whole thing.

    Happy #CoffinHop

  5. Loved it! I too had an angsty teen, however, she is now grown up, married and her daughter now is worse than what she was...(smiling)

  6. Awesome, Heaven! Keep writing that horror!

  7. A great story, you really brought the characters to life.