“THE THREE RULES OF STONE HOLLOW” and 5 More Freaky Fiction Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness

THE THREE RULES OF STONE HOLLOW” and 5 More Freaky Fiction Horror Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: It’s “Thriller Thursday” when I share fictional stories of the strange and macabre! I used to call this Creepypasta Thursday, but after going to so many conventions and expos and explaining what I do on Thursdays, I had a lot of deer-in-the-headlights looks when I said “creepypastas”. I guess they’re not quite as well known as I thought. No matter – I still use creepypasta stories on Thriller Thursdays, along with the horror and strange tales that are sent to me that fit the “fiction” mold.
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“My Friend Jeremy” by Randy Hogan
“The Day Maw Died” by Luther Kross
“The Basement Door” by Janine Franks
“The Bogbody Boogeyman” by H.J. Taylor
“Home Wreckers” by Reitman Rhyasen”
“Stone Hollow” by Jerrod S Smelker from the book “Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters and Macabre: Series One”: https://amzn.to/3Rpi4S8
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Visit the Church of the Undead: http://undead.church/
Find out how to escape eternal darkness at https://weirddarkness.com/eternaldarkness
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Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music provided by Alibi Music Library, EpidemicSound and/or StoryBlocks with paid license. Music from Shadows Symphony (https://tinyurl.com/yyrv987t), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), Kevin MacLeod (https://tinyurl.com/y2v7fgbu), Tony Longworth (https://tinyurl.com/y2nhnbt7), and Nicolas Gasparini (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) is used with permission of the artists.
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
Trademark, Weird Darkness®, 2022. Copyright Weird Darkness©, 2022.
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PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT…..

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

Coming up in this episode… it’s Thriller Thursday, where I share fictional stories of the strange and macabre! I used to call this Creepypasta Thursday, but after going to so many conventions and expos and explaining what I do on Thursdays, I had a lot of deer-in-the-headlights looks when I said “creepypastas”. I guess they’re not quite as well known as I thought. No matter – I still use creepypasta stories on Thriller Thursdays, along with the horror and strange tales that are sent to me that fit the “fiction” mold.

If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, my newsletter, enter contests, to connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!

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This first story I think I may have shared in the past, but I can’t quite remember, so I’m sharing it here again because it’s definitely worth a second listen anyway.

STORY: MY FRIEND JEREMY by Randy Hogan==========

It was summer 2000 when my family decided to buy a house in a beautiful neighborhood in North Carolina, We were originally from California but my dad had just been recently relocated by his job to help oversee a new office opening up on the east coast. The difference between life in California and life in North Carolina was night and day because the people in Carolina seemed to live life at a slower pace and enjoy everything around them including the company and friendship of their neighbors whereas the people in California lived such a faster pace lifestyle they never seemed to acknowledge other people unless invoked, I had to get used to everyone saying hi and introducing themselves and the fact that I was going through my awkward teen years did not help the uncomfortable feeling of meeting new people. Even though I had trouble being social I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to make new friends, however I was bummed to hear that most of the kids my age had gone off to summer camp right before we had moved and then I meet Jeremy. I had been exploring my neighborhood when a strange boy my age came and introduced himself, the reason I say that Jeremy was strange was due to how he was dressed, in a very faded outfit that looked like it was from the 50’s and Jeremy had a very pale complexion and dark rings around his eyes but nonetheless I was relieved to meet someone my age. I asked Jeremy how long he had lived in the area and he said since he could remember, I also asked where he lived and he pointed to a more worn  down house than all the other houses I just took this as his family was possibly poor but that did not matter to me as I was happy to just meet someone my age, he took me around town and introduced me to some popular local spots , however I noticed that everyone would look strangely at us whenever we were talking . When I would mention it to Jeremy he would just shrug it off as me being paranoid about being new, as the first few weeks went by I only saw Jeremy every other two -three days and every time I saw him he would be standing near the park looking over at a exposed drain pipe that led to the local river and when I would ask him what he was doing he would just completely ignore the question and the even stranger part was he always had the same outfit,but I again just brushed it off as having a friend was nice and I didn’t want to offend him by being rude.  But things suddenly began to become strange when Jeremy wanted to play more dangerous games like cliff jumping into the river which had to be a good 20 story drop And I would continually decline seeing the danger of doing so but Jeremy would get a sick look in his eyes that grew more disturbing every time he brought up the subject. One afternoon I was walking back from the store getting some things for my parents when I saw Jeremy by the drain pipe and I have to be honest I did try to hide from him due to his increasingly odd behavior but he noticed me and came up to me , the moment he reached me my stomach was in knots I mean I might have actually been a tiny bit scared of him because I didn’t know what he would do this time around and my insight of worry was redeemed as the moment Jeremy walked up to me he went into a yelling tirade about how I was a bad person for not being there for him and how I was like all the other kids in town just there to ridicule and humiliate him, I became very nervous as I could tell there was no reasoning with him and for a minute I thought he would throw me to the ground and start punching my face and my parents would later find me laid out on the pavement in a mess of groceries and blood. I was lucky enough that Jeremy became distracted again by the notion of jumping off the drain pipe and before I knew it my heart sank to my stomach and my face turned pale white as in the blink of an eye Jeremy jumped off the drain pipe and into the rapid currents that feed out to the river a mile downstream. I ran to see if I could see him resurface but nothing so I dropped the bag of groceries and ran to Jeremy’s house to alert his parents what happened but when I got there the house was decrepit and rotting with no sign that anybody has lived there for many years , freaked out I then ran to my parents who happened to be talking to one the neighbors and when I told them what happened the neighbors face had turned as pale as mine , the neighbor explained that Jeremy had died back in 1955 when he had jumped off the same drain pipe and drowned, they explained that Jeremy was bi- polar and in those days there wasn’t enough medical attention for people with that condition and the fact that Jeremy’s family was ashamed by him and the other kids teased him ruthlessly did not help out matters any , and the only reason Jeremy jumped in the first place was to gain acceptance but it only led to his demise, Jeremy’s mom and dad tried to sell their home after what happened but potential buyers kept saying they felt an angry presence in the house so they sold it the bank and it sat empty for years with people sometimes reporting seeing a young man walking in and around the house. To say I was speechless is a understatement I mean the one potential friend I make is a ghost but my nightmare had not yet ended as a few weeks later once school had started I made some actual friends and they invited me to hang out by the river after school to fish I accepted and later that day we went down to the river to fish and everything was going great we started playing a game to see who could throw a rock further and the main goal was to try to make it to the other side’s shore which was about 150 yards apart and as I got up for my turn I dropped the rock out of my hand in pure terror as on the other side waving to me with that same sick look in his eyes accompanied by a disturbing grin, I turned and ran all the way home and have never gone near the drain pipe or the river since…..and I haven’t seen Jeremy .

STORY: THE DAY MAW DIED by Luther Kross==========
I’ll never forget the day my maw died. She held on longer’n any of us expected she woulda, but eventually, death comes for us all. He don’t care how, or where, or when. When it’s time to go, welp, it’s time to go.

It’s not that I was shocked when Dr. Peterson called to tell me that she’d taken a turn for the worse. I was in denial. We all were. But, I knew. The second I recognized his voice, I knew why he’d called. I knew that Maw wasn’t long for this world, and like a good and dutiful son, I packed myself up in my car and drove for the city. For the hospital where she would spend her final moments.

Everybody was there when I showed up. My brothers. My sister. My aunts, uncles, and cousins. It pained me that Paw couldn’t be there with us, and my heart sank when I realized that it would be my responsibility to tell him that Maw had passed on. I dreaded that conversation, more than the moment my Maw would draw her final breath.

I held her hand ’til the very end. From the moment I crossed the threshold of her room, ’til her dying breath left her lips. It’s such a strange thing to be holding onto someone like that when their soul leaves their body. I could feel her go. There was…a change in the air. A drop in pressure or something like that, and then, she was just…gone.

The room erupted in howling cries of pain and grief. Aunt Geraldine ripped open the door and screeched into the hallway. Nurses came running, shoving us all out of the way. I simply smiled, patted Maw’s hand, and stood up to move out of their way. A few tears ran down my cheeks as I watched the nurses confirm what I already knew. Maw had finally passed on. She would suffer no more, and for that, I was grateful.

The drive home was spent in pure silence. I turned the radio off and left myself alone with my thoughts. I was sickened by the fact that a part of me was glad to see Maw go. I mean, no one should have to suffer the way she did, and that part of her journey was finally over. But then, my thoughts would turn back to Paw and my gut would twist itself up into knots. I had no idea what kind of commotion he might cause when I broke the news to him. Lately, he’d been a right thorn in my backside. I just hoped that he wouldn’t send me to be with Maw prematurely.

When I got home that night, Paw was already agitated. I think he knew about Maw, somehow, before I ever uttered a word. He was standing in the darkest corner of the living room, his back facing me. He rocked, gently swaying on his feet. He did that sometimes. Scared the crap outta me when I woke up to find him standing in the darkened corners of my bedroom that way. But, I could never be mad at him. He was my Paw. My blood.

“Paw,” I called out, closing the front door behind me. “Paw, we need to talk.”

He stopped rocking and stood completely still, his eyes boring holes into that dark corner.

I flopped down on the couch and took a deep breath, rubbing my eyes with the palms of my hands. “It’s about Maw,” I said, and before I could even move my hands away from my eyes, Paw was standing over me, boring into me with his cold, gray eyes.

After a few moments, I realized that his intense stare was his way of telling me to continue, so I did. “I-it’s about Maw,” I stammered, unsure how to say the words. “She-” I sighed deeply and tears broke free from my eyes. “She’s dead, Paw! Maw’s dead!” My body racked with sobs and I broke down into a blubbering mess right there on the couch. When I finally found myself again, I looked up to see Paw sitting in the chair across the way with his head in his hands. I could clearly see that he was sobbing, but there was no sound. My heart broke all over again, watching him suffer in silent torment, but I knew what I had to do. It was time.

“Paw,” I said, reaching a shaking hand towards him, “there’s something else you need to know.”

He looked up at me then, his eyes red-rimmed and full of those awful, silent tears.

“You’re dead too, Paw. It’s time for you to go now.”

STORY: THE BASEMENT DOOR by Janine Franks==========

I grew up in a sleepy country town in my grandparent’s old colonial farmhouse which my mother inherited.I was raised to be respectful and mind my manners but when I was outside playing with my friends, I was a rambunctious eight-year-old girl. I loved to explore the farm and pretend l was a detective but my parents said the basement was off limits. When I was a teenager,  my mother told me the only time I was allowed in the basement was to do the laundry as she was older and had difficulty going up and down the stairs.  I noticed in the back of the basement there was a door that was nailed shut, I asked my mother about it and she said STAY clear of that door do you understand, after that day I was banned from the basement and the laundry was done at a family friends house.  As the years passed both my parent’s health declined and they passed away two weeks apart. After the funeral services, I was approached by a tall lanky man who handed me an envelope and said “ your parents told me to give this to you upon their deaths “.  Still in shock from losing both parents I forgot about the envelope given to me, wiping the tears from my eyes I opened the envelope and to my surprise, it was the deed to the old farmhouse. Now that the house was mine I could do and go where I wanted and the first thing I did was remove the nailed boards from the basement door. I opened the door in haste as I was anxious to see why the boards were placed. At first it seemed like a normal musty room but as I stepped into the the room I saw a swirling glowing orb of light against the wall. I was hesitant to touch the orb but I overcame my fear, as I touched the orb I fell through to the other side. I couldn’t believe my eyes the landscape was all wrong, there were no houses or roads. I walked what seemed like hours and  I finlly saw the inhabitants of this land, they were Neanderthals.  I hid behind some bushes as to not draw attention to myself and saw all types of dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers and other species that were supposed to be extinct. My heart was racing and I made up my mind to head back to try and locate the entrance from which I entered. I walked and walked finally I found the entrance, I stepped into the glowing light and I was back in my basement. I boarded up that door and never told anymore my experience. I am 78 years old now never married or had children in fear they would discover what was on the other side of the door and leave strict instructions in my last wil to demolish the house upon my death.  Now I know why my parents banned me from going anywhere near that door I regret I opened it till this day.

BREAK==========

More horror fiction on this Thriller Thursday edition of Weird Darkness, coming up!

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: THE BOGBODY BOOGYMAN by H.J. Taylor

The night was hot, air thick and soupy, The subtle change in the temperature from day to night wasn’t enough for a man to notice. A soft breeze was welcoming, but not nearly sufficient. The rifle in his hand was slippery from the sweat, he wiped his hands one at a time, holding firmly on his rifle with the other, something which he done so much the whole front of his pants where now wet and muddy. He moved slowly, ears fine tuned to the various sounds of the night, crickets, small rodents and the high corn stalks rubbing against one another.  He moved with purpose, every footfall where it should be, a soft and delicate crunch of dirt. His leather vest and khakis making a soft sigh as the cornstalks brushed against him. The moonlight was bright, but scattered, Luna, passing in and out from behind the clouds, like a child behind mommas dress, the dark rain clouds turning twilight to complete blackness, he pushed his Stetson back to better see above the rolls, his target was said to be massive.  He sensed a clearing coming up, the change in sounds told him so, the rustling of the stalks sounded different, fine tuned. He stood scanning the field from behind a roll, just out of sight. He seen nothing but a field and a small barn in the distance, and more corn beyond it. He slipped out of the stalks as silent as a ghost and as fearsome as satan himself. rifle up, eyes leading down the sights, a full clip and one ready to kill. Fine tuned. He seen movement between the boards, something moving like a shadow, the black was blacker, his instincts took over immediately, and he hunkered down low, not unlike that of a jaguar, he slithered as if he was a serpent slowly but with purpose, until he was a foot from the old shabby boards of the barn, he seen nothing now and heard less, it knew he was there. As he stood looking in threw the cracks, he was almost positive it could smell him. The “bogland monster” they called it in these parts, the mucky ground and the things smell, a smell of rotten eggs are what has given it its name, the creature has been seen eating corpses of murder victims left in these Irish bogs, digging up long dead corpses and hanging them from trees and slaughtering campers and hikers, the monster has caused a panic and now he must go. The creatures alleged appearance is that of a large humanoid spider, but the eyewitness accounts are rarely reliable, the human memory is very fickle, and those left alive to tell are usually decades apart.

He slid around the corner and positioned himself beside the door, his breath so shallow, anybody standing next to him, would think him dead, He stood there, waiting for a sound, anything to give away its location. Waiting and waiting, his eyes closed, body still and the only sound he made was his heartbeat.

His meditative state opened up his surroundings, every minuscule sound was amplified and pinpointed, a mouse running across the roof, roaches inside, he could hear them and he knew where they where. A chitter ! His eyes opened, with a start, a sound unlike anything he ever heard before, came from within the barn, and he knew it was it. His eyes opened and he turned to confront it.

As he raised his leg to bust open the door it exploded outward! Shrapnel tore into him, and the bulk of the door smashed into him as he went airborne,  he began to lose consciousness immediately.

The impact with the ground woke him up, and he began to roll rifle still in hand. The creature landed where the monster hunter lay a split second before. The roar of this beast was said to of been heard 12 miles away, and family dogs went berserk. The beast looked like a massive praying mantis, and a human somehow procreated and birthed this monstrosity. White flesh stretched across long bones, jointed bulbously, it had a face not a even a mother could love. A mixture between a dog and hornet, a mouth lipless and full of jagged teeth, eager to shred the hunter to ribbons. The hunter only got a split second look before the monster screeched, the hellish sound resemble the sound of bending metal, the sound a ship makes when it rubs the dock, or runs aground. The hunter covered his ears and fled, ducking behind a haystack he peered out and looked longingly at his rifle currently being trampled by the creature 3 toed hind legs.

The Hunter quickly assessed the damage, the shrapnel tore into his hip and legs, but nothing too serious, after plucking out what he could, he quickly sprinted for the barn, the bog monster roared, and started bounding after the Hunter, the gait of its legs, was fifteen yards, it covered the distance to the door in no time, the Hunter, seeing that he wasn’t going to make it, drew his Bowie, and launched himself, at the beast. The Bogman, not expecting the hunter to suicide himself, was caught off guard, his long slashing forelimbs, had no time to come up and defend, the hunters blade went hilt deep, into the monsters upper chest, it slashed this way and that, only to cause the blade to shred, whatever it has in there. the monsters screams deafened the hunter, the mantis like face of this creature was trying to bite the hunter, it’s snapping beak like mouth inches from the hunters head, but he hung in for dear lifeThe Hunter held on for dear life as the bogman spun around, and around, terrified and going berserk, the hunter knew now was the time to try and kill it, he wrapped his legs around the Bog monster and started stabbing as blood and something else started gushing out, covering the hunter, the smell was that of piss, excrement, and ginger, the hunter tried to scream as he gagged the puss/blood mixture from his mouth, he stabbed with all he had and the blade stopped, lodged in bone, he left it and used it to launch himself with his feet away from the monster, he landed and rolled to his feet, he was losing this fight, and now unarmed he had no chance, with no more time to ponder he cut out and hurried towards the barn, he bounded up the haystacks and rolled into the loft, hoping to hide and catch his breath, but no sooner had he got to his feet, the beast burst through the wall with a screech that blurred the hunters vision, he ran for cover, careful to miss the holes above the stalls, the monster began tearing the floor to the loft up in search of the hunter, he knew he wasn’t getting out, reeling backward way from this nightmare, he stumbled over something and fell and landed with a solid pain in his ass his salvation landed in his lap it was as if he knew what to do with the pitchfork before he even registered what it was, he was on his feet bounding toward the Bogman with the fork held aloft screaming like a warrior from hell, he lept from the attic and drove the forks into the monsters face stopping it’s destruction, the beast thrashed and screamed but was unable to escape the hunter.

He rode the creature to the ground and stepped out of the stinking mess, but not before wrenching his blade out of the Bogman, he looked into the sun as it was coming up over the rolls, he took his chest strap off and carved a notch into the cowhide, #45 he sighed and nursery his hip, he looked up again in awe of this Scottish morning. The morning birdsongs was beautiful carrying itself across the fields with the morning fog, he marveled at the landscape, and relished at how much this looked like the flat lands of his native Kentucky, he retraced his steps to his horse and cart, after feeding the beast and thanking her for not running off after hearing the monsters call, on many occasion he’s had horses throw him at the first scent of the undead. he pulled the cover off the content in the bed revealing his pack and bedroll, and portable point to point communication box, the wonders of the modern world never fails to impress the hunter, his first day on the job he was wisked away underground, to only emerge 3 thousand miles away mere hours later. After cranking the device several dozen time, it came alive with a series of beeps whines and grinding, after he turned some nobs and aligned the antenna on the headset, and placing it over his ears he began to speak into the receiver “Hunter 1212 incoming stats, copy?” he stood waiting for the reply that never took long “1212 waiting come back” he fiddled with the knobs to make sure he was on the right frequency confident he was he brought the speaker to his mouth “control, confirm your copy” after a beat the box lit up and on the faceplate the number 001 flashed “1212 this is momma Dog, copy loud and static free, standing by for stats”

The crisp voice of the young man the hunter met on only on one other occasion came through the headset, and this time like everytime his voice was something he had a hard time believing he was actually hearing, this young man was sitting in a building under 12 foot of ice 200 miles north of Juneau Alaska, and he could hear him as if they shared the same patch of Scottish grass.

“The creature labeled VD 0976, is confirmed eliminated, I need a cleaning crew and a team to explain the it’s call, the sound was like that of grinding metal”

The hunter pulled a pair of glasses with the same antenna as the 2 on the headset and put them on “copy that 1212 a team is readying in Inverness and will be there in approximately 3 hours, please stand by” he adjusted the thick glasses and plugged the massive adapter into the coms box, it rattled and beeped “ready when you are Momma dog”

He depressed the large black button on the top of the box and the glasses glowed a blinding light and he was swept back to the moment he kept from the hayloft, the hunter slumped into the cart, his horse grunted at him the perspiration dripping into his eyes made him wince “imagines coming in 1212, and they are magnificent” the hunter stood back up and removed the “shades” his eyes now watering, and his vision blurry, he hated the glasses, he never understood the importance, he’d been reprimanded for not getting the images sent in, even when he failed to capture or eliminate the target, this tech was borderline witchcraft, he could see how this type of thing could work, with electricity, telegraph and those sputtering vehicles, technology is the real currency of this world, with the right amount of money, one could cook anything up “got what you need?” The hunter asked “these bifocals give me a headache” another flash from the bifocals sent him zooming into a pulsating light, and through the light he could make out a shape writhing.

After putting all his equipment up he led the horse back to the barn, making sure to avoid the monster, horses and abominations don’t mix. He began setting up his tent, these cleaning crews take their time.

STORY: HOME WRECKERS by Reitman Rhyasen==========

The house was sinking.

That is how Victoria’s husband, Jose Luis Torres, explained it in Spanish to his wife. The company built their house and the surrounding places on soil it knew was too soft. Insurers would not pay for the damage; they said it was the builder’s fault. The standoff slashed the value of the houses, so the neighborhood hired a legal firm and they were suing the homebuilder. Torres was the last name on the plaintiff list.

The home invasion occurred at 2:15 a.m., three weeks after their lawyers filed papers at the courthouse. Neighbors reported hearing music so loud and menacing that they feared going outdoors. Those who did peek through their curtains found darkened street- and porchlights.

At the Torres’s front door, two intruders in masks and Kevlar used a ram to force their way into the Torres home. One cleaned out the upstairs safe while the other intruder shot-gunned Jose Luis in bed but left Victoria alive and unhinged. Sentries in head and body armor grouped around the truck that blasted the gangsta rap. By the time anyone called the police after they heard what might have been a gunshot, the music had stopped.

The attack shattered Victoria. The police investigation pointed to her husband’s involvement, but Victoria dismissed that.

She blamed the homebuilder for her husband’s death. To her broken way of thinking, the intruders had not been cartel mercenaries sent to recover and punish; they were assassins paid by the builder to murder her husband and stop the lawsuit.

Several nights a week, she relives the ordeal inside the house, her only connection to the United States. The scene begins the same way every time, and once it starts, its course is sure, like a stone sinking through water. Gangsta rap resounds from the driveway, jolting the black-haired woman upright and stopping her breath in her throat. She stares with dread across the living room from the couch where she lies each night without sleeping, the sheet snug under her chin.

The truck roars rhythms that send the house staggering backward like a palm tree bending in a dust storm—the couch under her trembles like a nervous cat, and the arcadia door shivers in its track. Victoria’s cry is a keening sound.

Outside the window, the leggy bougainvillea sags against the porch alcove. The sky is at peace, the night humid and silent, the street empty except for the guard parked at her curb. The world beyond her windows does not share Victoria’s horror.

Iron-booted feet dash up the sidewalk, and the front door claps open before the widow can gasp. The walls bow outward. The foundation bends, and the frame twists. The vaulted ceiling threatens to collapse and bury her.

Victoria pulls up her shoulders and screams. The swollen-faced, wild-haired woman shrieks, but the maelstrom drowns the animal sound. A torrent of epithets shocking and wicked pierce the cyclone that opens and puckers every corner of her house, then footsteps hammer up the bare wooden stairs. A gunshot explodes inside the master bedroom, which Victoria has not entered since that night. Boots thunder down the stairs and then out the door.

The air inside chases the pounding sound. Oxygen gushes from the collapsing house like air from a punctured lung, leaving the gas of gun smoke in its place.

The walls suck inward, the door crashes shut against the jamb, and its deadbolt shoots into the hole. Iron fingers grip Victoria’s chest and squeeze the last air from her. She cannot inhale. Her mouth gapes, but her closed throat provides nothing, not a molecule of life. She gags on her tongue and lurches toward the front door, but her thighs and knees crumple without warning, and she flops to the floor. She drags herself across the carpet, eyes bulging and mouth working, crawling on elbows through wet sand. Her heart pounds in her ears.

At the front door, she lunges at the handle and pulls herself up. She fumbles at the deadbolt with numb fingers. She throws the door against the stop and dives through it just before it rebounds against her ribs. On the porch, the cement sidewalk dissolves into black water, and the widow falls face forward into it.

The builder, Victoria reasons, having killed her husband, is trying to scare her out of the house. However, she has promised to the memory of the murdered man to spoil the homebuilder’s scheme for as long as the house stands or until they confess their plot in front of her neighbors.

But there are no neighbors; they have fled. No one hears her screams.

There are no cars on the street except for the security car that parks at the curb in the early hours of the morning and the phantom gangsta truck that glides past it, unwitnessed. The security guard has witnessed, though, each of Victoria’s dives to the concrete porch that has swollen and scarred the widow’s face.

Her story about the builder wanting to scare her away is the same every time, and she tells it the same way every time, as if she’s telling it for the first time. She repeats it while she presses tattered fingernails together in front of her face to hide the cracked lips and broken nose below her swollen forehead.

Even when the guard points out that there isn’t a bit of wood or stucco missing from the house, she holds fast to the only argument she can follow. The security guard admits that the house tilts backward, but that, he knows, is caused by the soft soil, the reason the subdivision is as vacant as Chornobyl.

In the last week of September, the house itself puts an end to the matter. Stressed by unseen agents, the house folds inward. It leans ever more away from the street until the roof beam splits. The rear of the two-story dwelling caves toward the center while the roof sags like wet cardboard.

It is then that the guard feels he has cause to act. He calls the city inspector, who condemns the house.

“The house is unsafe,” the building inspector tells the widow through a Spanish-language interpreter. He hands her the order. “You will have to leave for your own safety. The company will be forced to demolish it.”

The widow exults.

“I have been right all the time!” she spits into the face of the inspector. Her eyes are feral, black, and scorching. “The builder has wanted to tear down my house; at last, they have admitted it!”

The widow’s retort bewilders the city inspector, but he keeps his face bland.

Victoria leaves. Now that the truth has been told, she can go. She departs the United States in her black sedan with savage hair blowing free and drives south to the Sea of Cortez. She can picture her home’s rocky bay, smell the green, salty sea, and hear the cries of the black-winged gulls that float like kites in the wind.

The wailing ceases, but the sodden house lingers. One morning it shudders. The front half drops to the ground, followed by the rear, which pitches on top. It is a ragged heap of debris and a shower of dust in fifteen seconds.

There isn’t much left for the company to do. A tractor scoops up the remains of the property and pours them into a dump truck. By the end of the day, the demolition crew has tidied the foundation.

At dusk, the cement slab lays in the long, narrow lot of the murdered man, as clean as a grave marker.

BREAK==========

One final story for our Thriller Thursday is coming up, when Weird Darkness returns!

<COMMERCIAL BREAK>

STORY: STONE HOLLOW, by Jerrod Smelker==========

The three rules to live by are simple in Stone Hollow; be courteous to your neighbors, keep your house and yard looking good, and don’t go outside after dark on Halloween…ever. Most follow these simple rules…some don’t…and that’s a shame.

Jeff Connor had just moved into the Stone Hollow subdivision on October 4th. The two-bedroom house on 761 Maple Street was a quaint pale yellow house with green shutters and a brick fireplace. The yard was adorned with maple and pine trees along with a few bird feeders and a birdbath.

Fall had come early, and already, the leaves had turned to brilliant oranges, yellows and reds. Some of the leaves were on the ground, but most were still hanging tight to the trees. The weather had been pleasantly cool and it seemed to rain every other day.

Jeff was a single guy in his late 20s. He’d moved to Grand Blanc from Oregon for a better career opportunity. He wanted to live near the city but not in it. Some place quiet with friendly neighbors and thoughts of one day raising a family. Even from day one, his neighbors waved to him and said hello whenever they passed.

Stone Hollow was on the outskirts of town. It was a subdivision cut out of the thick woods back in the late 1950s. There was only one way in or out. The railroad had tracks that ran to the north of the area, and part of them ran directly through the subdivision. Most of the time it was quiet, but once a night, a freight train would come through. Residents were used to it. Some would even hum along to the whistle as it traveled through.

Halloween was coming soon and the residents were busy decorating for the holiday. Every house had some type of decoration. Some were scary while others were comical. Pumpkins adorned every porch or patio, and fall wreaths hung from every door. It was always the tradition in Stone Hollow to decorate for Halloween.

Jeff’s direct neighbor, 90-year-old Mrs. Maxine Taylor or Grammy Maxie as most called her, sauntered over to Jeff’s early Saturday morning of the 21st with a full welcome basket. Just as she did every time a new person or family moved into the subdivision. She was sweet that way. She was sweet in every way actually. Just a little bit of a woman with thin long gray hair and a slight limp because of failing hips. Maxie was the official unofficial welcome wagon to the newcomers of the area who always had a large basket full of goodies: homemade cookies, coffee, coffee mugs, cinnamon rolls, crackers, candy and the local newspaper.

“Hello, Mr. Connor, are you getting ready for Halloween?” She gently placed the basket at Jeff’s feet.

Jeff was putting out a few new Halloween decorations he purchased the day before. “Yeah, I think I’ll buy a few bags of candy to hand out.” He stuck a small scarecrow into the ground.

“What’s this?” Jeff picked up the basket and began to rummage through the contents.

“Oh, just a little welcome to the neighborhood package for you, Mr. Connor.” She gleefully smiled and held open her arms for a ‘thank you’ hug.

He hesitantly thanked her and gave her a light hug. He figured if he hugged her any tighter she would break. He had to bend down quite a bit because she was quite short. He noticed she smelled like a combination of sugar cookies and baby powder. It reminded him of his own grandmother.

Her cheerful tone turned slightly serious as she placed her hand on his arm and looked directly into his eyes. “You know of the three rules here Mr. Connor?”

“Yes, my realtor read them off to me when I bought the place. They seemed pretty reasonable, but that last one I’m not so sure about. What exactly does that mean?”

“Well, Mr. Connor, That last rule is quite an important one I assure you. I’ll get my grandson George to stop over and tell you about it. He only lives two houses down.” She turned away smiling and walked towards her house.

“You can call me Jeff, you know!” He shouted. She just waved at him and disappeared inside.

Jeff shook his head in a state of confusion, adjusted his ball cap and then went back to placing his Halloween decorations. He didn’t necessarily decorate for himself as it was more for entertaining the neighborhood kids. Jeff was never really into Halloween, even as a kid. Sure, he participated in Trick or Treating with his schoolmates, but a half-filled sack of candy was good enough for him. He usually retreated home early when his friends would stay out later and hit every house they could: some more than once.

Later that afternoon, Jeff was finishing up the decorations and setting a few pumpkins on his front porch. “Hello, neighbor!” he heard from behind him. It was George. “I’m George Taylor,” He reached out to shake Jeff’s hand. The two men shook hands and introduced themselves.

“Heard Grammy Maxie paid you a visit this morning.” George adjusted his hat.

“Yes, indeed she did. She gave me a very nice welcome basket too.”

George smiled, “Yeah, she’s a sweet one. God bless her.”

The two enjoyed small talk and got to know each other. George even helped Jeff hang orange lights on his porch. George was a tall man: about six foot four with strong squared shoulders and squared jaw. Clean shaven, even his head, except for a larger than life red-haired mustache that covered most of his lips and face. His voice was deep but pleasant. George was a good man; a hard-working family man, with a wife and five kids.

“Did Grammy Maxie tell you about the three rules?” George folded up Jeff’s ladder to put away.

“She did but said you would explain the third rule to me. I didn’t quite understand what it meant,” Jeff wiped his hands off with a rag and reached for two beers from the garage refrigerator. He opened them and handed one to George.

“It’s simple really,” George began to explain as he took a sip. “Halloween is fun and exciting for the people of Stone Hollow, especially the kids. We come together as a community and enjoy the day as friends and neighbors do. But when the sun begins to set, we depart the streets and yards and head for home.”

“Wait, isn’t trick-or-treating usually at night?” Jeff took a swig of his beer.

“Normally for most communities but not ours.” George’s firm tone continued. “Everyone knows that in Stone Hollow you celebrate Halloween and trick-or-treating in the light of day. At night everyone goes inside, locking all of the doors and windows. No one comes out until morning. Ever. That’s how it works here, Jeff.”

“Ah, ok.” Jeff‘s body language and tone were slightly of a mocking manner; essentially brushing off the seriousness of George’s message. “And why is that?”

George stood straight, moved in a little closer to Jeff and looked directly into his eyes. “Do you really want the truth, Jeff?”

“Yeah, sure,” Jeff said playfully. He really did not understand the serious nature of rule three and in his mind already brushed it off.

George began to enlighten Jeff after taking a seat on the front porch steps. His knees creaked as he sat and removed his old worn straw hat. George took a deep breath as Jeff sat beside him. Both men taking a long drink of their beers.

George began, “When Grand Blanc was settled in the spring of 1822, the settlers were told by the local Indian tribes to never venture into the deep woods, especially at night. They described horrible things that would take place to their people from something they only referred to as ‘The Creature’. They described it as something that could change in size, from a foot tall to ten feet tall. It was like part wolf, bear, and ape with thick hair, a dense, heavy tail, long muscular arms and razor claws. They said it had empty black eyes with a massive mouth filled with hundreds of large teeth.” George stopped, took a long swig of his beer and groaned.

He continued, “When anyone entered the deep woods, they would never return. Except for one young Indian boy who went into the woods with his father only to reappear hours later covered in blood…his father’s blood. The young boy described the creature and spoke of the ear piercing howl it made as it tore his father apart. The Indian medicine man and chiefs placed a curse on the woods to hold the creature at bay. For many years no one ever ventured into the deep woods at night.”

“So, Stone Hollow is now in the middle of these deep woods?” Jeff clutched his near-empty beer bottle.

“You are correct Jeff. We are smack dab in the middle of what were the deep woods. Now, we’re a subdivision with homes, driveways and flower gardens. In the 50s when the subdivision was built no one really knew about the creature or they chose to forget…can’t block progress you know.”

“Well, so it’s only on Halloween night that something happens now?” Jeff asked as his body began to get restless.

“People believe today that when the medicine man and chiefs placed a curse on the land and the creature, the curse held it…except for one night a year: Halloween.” George took a final swig of beer, emptying the bottle.

“Come on, George! This is the new millennium. Do you really expect me to believe some scary story like this? Especially so close to Halloween?” Jeff stood up, retrieving his bottle of beer and shook his head. “Good one, George. I’m sure all the newcomers to the subdivision hear this same story.”

George stood up and handed Jeff his empty beer bottle. “Lots of people have lived here for years with no issues Jeff, some for generations because they followed the three simple rules. Those who don’t follow the rules usually aren’t around very long. The guy who owned your house before you…he wasn’t around very long.” George shook Jeff’s hand and grinned.

“Well George, I appreciate the words of wisdom and the fair warning, but I think I’ll be okay. I don’t plan on going anywhere, and I certainly don’t believe your urban legend either.” Jeff smirked assuredly.

“Suit yourself, young man. Suit yourself. Happy Halloween!” George waved goodbye as he walked down the driveway towards his own house.

Halloween morning came to Stone Hollow, and already the kids were in costume walking the streets. Parents were handing out candy along with cider and donuts to all the neighborhood kids. Neighbors were talking and passing dessert and casserole dishes to one another. It was a crisp, cool fall morning with just a hint of sunshine pouring through spaces in the thick gray clouds.

Jeff was up, drinking his coffee and handing out candy to anyone who stopped by; and that was every kid in the neighborhood. He enjoyed watching them laugh, dance around and show off their costumes. A few of his neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves if they hadn’t already and offered homemade treats.

Twice Jeff asked sarcastically if anyone had seen The Creature. Once asked, the neighbor’s demeanor went from happy to irritation and avoidance. Jeff thought this was strange and even though he didn’t believe in it, thought it best not to mention it again. It was not his intention to alienate himself after only living in the subdivision for a month.

The day was wrapping up with children all full of sugary candy, cookies, donuts, with cider and pop to wash it all down. Most of the neighborhood was back to their homes talking and laughing. Rain clouds now blocked the slight sunshine and a light mist started. The breeze was feeling a bit on the chilly side and colorful leaves were sailing to the ground. Jeff grabbed a sweatshirt and a book and then settled onto his porch to relax before having dinner.

As night enveloped the subdivision, Jeff sat on his porch eating the slow cooker chicken and dumplings a neighbor had dropped off for him. He noticed the neighborhood had gone quiet except for the securing of doors and windows all around him. Within minutes there was complete silence. No birds, no animals, no people, no nothing. Even the breeze quelled, and the leaves stopped moving. Only silence. Jeff swallowed his last bite of dinner hard.

“This is ridiculous!” He said to himself out loud. “You people are nuts!” Jeff set his bowl and spoon down and walked off his porch into his yard. His neighbor’s doors were closed, windows shut, and blinds drawn. No lights were on except for a few street lights glowing here and there.

“Yup! Happy Halloween everyone!” Jeff yelled out. He began to walk the neighborhood as if he hadn’t a care in the world. He walked by Grandma Maxie’s house and looked toward the house. She was standing in the front window; candles lit behind her. She looked out at Jeff, placed her finger in front of her lips and whispered “Shhh” shaking her head from side to side.

Jeff being arrogant and unafraid took no heed of her cautionary message and shouted “Happy Halloween!” as he smiled, waved and strolled by.

Soon, he was a block or so away from his house, close to the railroad tracks. There were no street lights near the tracks; only a thick tree line and large bushes.

Jeff’s non-belief and pride had the best of him. He didn’t believe George’s story and he showed no fear walking through the subdivision.

The sky was as black as he’d ever seen, except for a few stars and hazy moonlight. Jeff felt a distant breeze and could faintly hear the leaves being tossed around the ground. The hair on his arms began to rise. His mind began to wander and wonder.

His self-assured attitude changed to meek in a matter of seconds. His stomach tightened. He could feel someone watching him. He could sense there was something in the bushes in front of him. He realized he was no longer alone.

Panic filled his mind and body. His stomach turned and he began to sweat. He kept trying to rationalize the sounds coming from the bushes and the feeling of being watched. There’s no way what George talked about is true, he repeated in his mind. For a second, he thought perhaps George took the attempt to scare him to another level. It’s probably just George in the bushes, he thought.

Jeff could hear the nightly train coming. He could see the train’s light in the far distance and could hear the clacking on the tracks. “Time to go,” he said under his breath, but he didn’t move.

The bushes no longer generated the commotion he heard moments ago. He could only hear the train now rushing by. Although the train was next to him and booming, his ears began to deafen. He could only hear his heart-beat. It was beating faster and faster.

He felt every hair across his body stand firm. He could feel something directly behind him. He felt solid, heavy footsteps in the grass approach and stopped just behind him. He looked down at the ground in front of him. The faint moonlight cast a shadow of himself and then a much larger shadow overpowering his own. The sounds of the train were virtually non-existent. Instead, he could hear teeth clenching and then grinding just behind him. His stomach dropped and sweat covered his face. His heart beat hard in his chest and he felt like he was choking.

The train was there, right there, only a few feet away. He could jump for it, grab the train and escape. He thought. The train speeding by made his hair blow in his face yet the clamor was absent.

He wanted to run. His mind raced, but his legs were numb and his spine frozen. He could smell blood waft from The Creature’s breath. He could feel the heat from its mouth next to his ear. His body began to tremble and his palms were ice cold. Run damn it! RUN! He kept saying to himself, but he knew…he knew it wouldn’t do any good.

The train passed him and quickly disappeared into the distance. Its whistle faded like the hope of escape. A raspy, guttural growl, as if it came from the depths of Hell, now pierced the air. Jeff’s body quivered and almost collapsed. He could sense the creature growing in size behind him.

Jeff’s body tightened as tears began to make their way down his sweaty face. Claws tapped his shoulder and then dug in. Pain began to envelop his upper body and he could feel blood start to make its way down his torso.

As he turned his head and body to face The Creature, the scent of sugar cookies penetrated his nose. He started to scream, but then he heard a soft, familiar voice, “Shhh.” He looked up and stared directly into The Creature’s hollow eyes. “What the… Grammy Maxie?!”

Today, there’s a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard of 761 Maple Street if anyone is looking for a nice place to live in Stone Hollow. Only three simple rules to live by.

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SHOW CLOSE, CREDITS, A LITTLE LIGHT, AND A FINAL THOUGHT==========

Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! And please leave a rating and review of the show in the podcast app you listen from – doing so helps the show to get noticed! You can also email me anytime with your questions or comments through the website at WeirdDarkness.com. That’s also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, shop the Weird Darkness store, sign up for the email newsletter to win monthly prizes, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Plus if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY – or call the DARKLINE toll free at 1-877-277-5944.

Stories on Thriller Thursday episodes are works of fiction.

“My Friend Jeremy” by Randy Hogan

“The Day Maw Died” by Luther Kross

“The Basement Door” by Janine Franks

“The Bogbody Boogeyman” by H.J. Taylor

“Home Wreckers” by Reitman Rhyasen”

“Stone Hollow” by Jerrod S Smelker from the book “Wicked Harvest: Michigan Monsters and Macabre”: https://amzn.to/3Rpi4S8

WeirdDarkness™ – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, Weird Darkness, 2022.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

And a final thought… “Having a specific meaning and purpose in your life helps to encourage you towards living a fulfilling and inspired life.” – Vic Johnson

I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.

 

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