Horror at Terror Creek Prologue and Chapter 1

Horror at Terror Creek Prologue and Chapter 1

And now, we finally get to it … that little piece of bum from the “Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham” … TODAY, you get the Prologue AND Chapter 1 from Horror at Terror Creek!

Enjoy your last little bit of Frankenfiction … I hope you enjoyed the ride!


The stranger had been waiting in the clearing of the woods for the others long enough to retreat into his yo-yo training. He had completed seventy different tricks before they arrived. It was the tall form who showed up first. He hovered in the shadows, kept his face hidden, but the stranger knew who he was—and it was not a bad case of acne he was hiding. Though, that would have been pretty hard to look at, too—the stranger knew this man’s ugly secret was indeed aesthetic. It’s written all over his face, he-he-he, the stranger smiled to himself. He stuffed his yo-yo back inside his man purse.

Samuel arrived next. He was not afraid to be seen, so he stood apart from the shadows of the trees that wiggled as if they were mere cardboard stands flopping back and forth in the wind. The stranger nodded to Samuel and to the form that hovered among the trees. He had been waiting for them long enough to retreat into his yo-yo training. A lost art, to be sure.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” the stranger began when he knew his audience was listening. “Tonight, you have gathered to hear a tale, and I have come here to tell it. It is a tale of a town—a town called Terror Creek. Most sensible people would avoid a place called Terror Creek. It seems obvious to do so. Its warning is carried right there, in its name. But the little town contains a population. Perhaps their only excuse is that they were born there—”

“Come on, now, get on with it,” Samuel complained. “You called us here for more than a history lesson.”

“True,” the stranger conceded. “We are here to secure the future. Our future and the future of Terror Creek. It is a heated future . . . heated, like hot, bubbling cheese on a fresh bun and thinly sliced roast beef . . . perhaps with a tangy mayonnaise-horseradish based sauce—”

“All I need to know is who to lead here,” Samuel spat out suddenly. “Who will trigger these events?”

“Someone who will draw others,” the stranger replied. “Someone the coven will want. Someone who will draw others the coven will want.”

“Pretty face?” said a voice in the shadows.

The stranger smiled. “Couldn’t hurt. The Devil works in mysterious ways, just as God supposedly does. Samuel, you will know her when you see her. She will be innocent. She will have bright eyes that hope for a bright future. She will have hair the colour of cheese—”

“Satan’s sardines, man, what is it with you and cheese?” Samuel whined.

The stranger smiled patiently, then continued. “She will bring the horrors, and they will end them. They will end it all.”

There was a pause as Samuel and the dark mass standing in the shadows waited for more from the stranger, but when nothing came, they made awkward faces and shuffled off. The stranger remained a while, producing a sandwich not unlike the one he had recently described, and tucked in.

Chapter 1

Fanny Punn flicked her gold, shoulder-length hair away from her face with a casual and unintended grace. She scanned the books before her one last time before sweeping them up in her arms and rising from her seat at the desk in the university library. She did not know it, but her Professor of Local History 1692—1869 watched her admiringly from the nearby doorway leading out into the vestibule. When she raised her eyes, ready to head out, she noticed him standing there.

“Still getting ready, I see,” he stammered from the archway.

“Oh!” Fanny exclaimed, pulling her books involuntarily closer to her chest. “Professor, you surprised me.” She smiled her beaming smile that always seemed to fill any room she was in with light. She noticed the professor’s cheeks flare slightly. She loved how awkward he was. Had she not already met the love of her life, she might have considered this man, though he was quite a bit older than she. And she had never learned the man’s full name. He was Professor S. Redd or “Professor S” colloquially, to his students. How silly. She couldn’t very well consider someone when she knew so very little about him, anyway.

“I’m sorry, Fanny,” the professor replied, his eyes dropping to the once vermilion carpet, now turned a more rustic barn colour with age.

“No, no,” Fanny said, stepping forward, closing the gap between them. “I was distracted. I’m completely absorbed in thoughts about the ghost towns, and the mysteries of Terror Creek!”

“That’s why I was hoping to catch you,” the professor continued, his eyes no longer averted. “I wanted to make sure you were able to get a reservation at the Athame Inn.”

“Yes. I spoke with a lovely woman named Ligeia.”

“Ligeia!” the professor exhorted, though he had meant to be a little less conspicuously enthusiastic.

“I know, just like Poe’s Tomb of Ligeia. Wonderful isn’t it?” Fanny replied, thinking she knew the reason for her professor’s excited ejaculation.

“Certainly gives the place atmosphere,” he replied, his eyes darting away again.

“I don’t think a place known as Terror Creek needs any extra atmosphere, but it’s fun all the same.”

“How long do you expect to stay?”

“At least two weeks. Maybe a little longer. I’ve never been there before, and I have no idea what kind of information I’ll be able to dig up on the ghost towns in the area.”

“I take it you’ll be accessing the archives in town?”

Fanny shifted her weight, preparing to remain in conversation about her beloved Terror Creek. “Yes. And I hope to speak to the locals, too. You never know how long families have been there and what folks might know about the history of the region.”

“What do you know so far?”

“That the surrounding villages were just as lively as Terror Creek, some had grown larger, in fact. I know that about 175 years ago, people from Garret Mills, Marlborough and Craggy Fields began disappearing. Then the same thing started to happen in Brook Valley and Dacre a quarter of a century later. No one knows what happened to those people. The little towns dwindled away until everyone was gone, except for the population of Terror Creek. And that’s the way it’s been for the last three decades. What an enigma! I can’t wait to find out more. Maybe I’ll even crack the case!”

Her professor smiled slightly—maybe more of a smirk—at Fanny’s elation. It was not as if he wasn’t already aware of all of this. But she didn’t know that, not for sure. He was her history professor, so why shouldn’t he know? Who is to say whether or not one’s thesis happens to also be an area of expertise on the part of the professor? And he was pleased his most prized student had taken an interest in this specific area. “Don’t forget to look into the children, specifically,” he almost whispered to her.

“The children?”

The professor straightened up suddenly and tugged at the bottom of his sweater vest. “That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.” He looked at her sideways and smirked again in an attempt to look clever and . . . how would she put it? Enigmatic.

Fanny had been about to take notes from him and seemed marginally crushed by his response. She put her notebook away. He changed tack. “So, do you feel you are looking into ghost stories of the region or simply empty towns?” He wished her to board that train of enthusiastic verbiage once again.

“Both, maybe,” she replied, the energy returning to her aura. “Mostly reasons why there are so many abandoned towns around Terror Creek. But it’s creepy, because Terror Creek survives alone. So, I think a few folk tales along with hard facts and history are going to end up mixing together. I expect it will make for a somewhat creative thesis. Thank you for giving me such leeway.” It was Fanny’s turn for her cheeks to burn, just a little.

“Remember to keep an open mind and listen to all sides. There are all sorts of different people in Terror Creek. Some are . . . eccentric.” That’s when he noticed the shift in her eyes. She was realizing that, perhaps, this really was his area of expertise.

“You’ve been there a lot, I take it?” She pressed him just a little.

“Oh, some.” He felt evasive, now. “During hiatuses and religious holidays you’ll usually find me there.”

“Any stories to tell?”

“Oh, no. That would be cheating.” He winked at her.

Fanny laughed softly. The golden curls on her head bounced delicately, their highlights triggered by a finger of light reaching into the room. “Well, it was worth a try.” Her winning smile returned to her lips.

The professor’s awkwardness reappeared with a nervous laugh. “A student like you need not cheat. You’re in the top five percent of my class, Fanny. You’re an excellent student. I’m sure your thesis will be exemplary.”

“It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately.” Fanny breathed, her eyes fixed on some middle distant point. “I don’t even have time for wedding planning.” Her eyes moved back to the professor. “Vincent says I’m more excited about Terror Creek than I am about marrying him.” She suddenly felt like she was at confession.

“Try to make time for all your needs, Fanny,” the professor replied quietly.

Was that a trace of regret that flickered across his face? Fanny found herself wondering whether the professor had ever had a great love. He was unmarried, she knew that, but not much else. “There will be time when this is done,” she conceded. “Meantime, I can’t help it. I’m rapt!”

The professor once again stared at the carpet, and he smiled wryly. Footsteps in the vestibule drew closer. His eyes flashed up to Fanny’s, and his smile widened before he turned on his heel and rushed out. Fanny saw him nod curtly as her fiancé, Vincent, with her best friend close behind him, walked into the library to meet her.

“Hey, you!” Fanny exclaimed as she put aside her books and threw her arms around her stereotypically tall, strong fiancé.

Vincent lifted her easily off the ground and their lips touched—delicately at first, then the lip lock became more involved.

When they finally parted, Vincent spun her in the air and then placed her right back in the same spot he had found her. “I’ve missed you. I hardly get to see you anymore. And now, you’re going away! What will I do while you’re gone?”

“Oh, I’m not gone for long, then when I’m back, my thesis will be that much closer to finished.”

“When do I get you to myself?”

“Soon . . . soon . . .” Fanny cooed to Vincent as she leaned in for what she hoped would be another long kiss.

After waiting a beat, Fanny’s best friend, Rosemary, piped up. “If you two hear a huge pregnant lady plodding around in the background somewhere, it’s just me.”

Fanny broke away from Vincent. “Sorry, Rosemary,” she said with a sweet smile. Vincent’s smile looked more repressed.

“Aw, don’t worry,” Rosemary said, patting her belly, swollen with child. “I know how it is when you’re in love.” She winked, and as she did, her husband, Christopher, entered briskly.

“So,” Christopher sighed, already bored, “you ready?” He was looking at no one in particular.

“Honey,” Rosemary said to him in a confidential tone, “we just got here.”

“So?” Christopher griped in a decidedly nonconfidential tone.

Rosemary looked quickly to her friends with apologetic eyes. “We . . . uh . . . there’s a class we have to get to . . .”

“Yeah,” Christopher interrupted, “and then the game. It’s getting late. We gotta go.” Christopher turned and exited the library, then the vestibule, then he was almost out of the building.

“Just a second . . .” Rosemary called to him, scrambling to catch up, the weight of her pregnancy slowing her considerably. “Wait for me . . .”

Christopher glared back at his wife as she struggled to catch up. “Don’t make me wait too long. All I ever do is wait for you.”

Fanny felt deeply uncomfortable for her friend. Her Vincent was so perfect and so attentive, and Rosemary’s husband was such a boor. His looks and physique matched Vincent’s, but his attitude . . . that was altogether another story. Rosemary turned around in the vestibule. She seemed torn between her husband’s demands and saying goodbye.

“You don’t have to worry about me, Rosemary,” Fanny called to her. “I’m packed, my bags are behind the desk, I’ve got my maps and GPS, the car’s in the lot, and it’s got a full tank.”

“I just wanted to see you off, you know, since I won’t get to see you for two weeks,” Rosemary replied, taking a few steps back towards the library. Christopher, almost out the door of the building, dropped his head and sighed audibly.

“Yeah.” Vincent chimed in. “I’m going to miss her, too.”

“I’ve got my cellphone. If there’s no reception up there, I’ll try to call from the inn’s landline. I’ve got a lot of research to do, so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me too often. I’ll probably be engrossed!”

“Call me when you get there, though?” Vincent requested.

“Of course!” Fanny replied brightly.

“And maybe call me at meal times. And before bed. And in the morning,” Vincent rattled off.

“This place, Terror Creek,” Rosemary interrupted, uncertain of when Vincent’s requests for phone calls would end, “it sounds macabre! It’s surrounded by ghost towns, and the road that runs through it is hardly ever travelled on . . .”

Rosemary’s tone was one of worry, but Fanny simply couldn’t feel any differently about it than the way she did. “Yes, it’s fascinating. I’m so excited!”

“Not to mention Halloween,” Rosemary continued in her previous, worried tone. “It’s tomorrow.”

“That will just add to the ambience!” Fanny exclaimed, feeling an extra thrill of elation play upon her spine. Funny, most people would find that foreboding, but she felt palpably giddy. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

Rosemary walked back into the library and pulled Fanny into an embrace. “Yeah, I know.”

The friends smiled broadly at each other, and Vincent looked on happily. Christopher thumped his forehead against the wall next to the building’s exit.

“Are you ready?” Vincent said most seriously to his fiancée, a hand on each of her shoulders. “Have you got all your bags?” Fanny nodded. “All the clothes you’ll need?” Fanny nodded. “Warm clothes?” Fanny nodded, a smile breaking through. “Toothbrush?”

Fanny laughed and took a hold of her boyfriend. “I’ve got everything! Stop worrying. I’ll be fine. This is going to be fun!”

Vincent smiled back at her, taking in the light she exuded. He gathered up one of Fanny’s bags from behind the desk where she had been working. Fanny followed his lead by taking up her purse and laptop bag, in addition to the books she had set aside. Rosemary turned and stared expectantly at Christopher, motioning towards Fanny’s one remaining bag.

Christopher did not move from his chosen post. “What? You’ve got two perfectly good arms.”

Rosemary attempted to laugh off the comment as her friends looked on with frowns. “Well . . .” Rosemary motioned to her stomach as she tried to convince Christopher to help. “The doctor said I shouldn’t be lifting, or carrying anything heavy . . . please, honey?”

Christopher scoffed and strode back into the library, a sulk stuck in the corner of his mouth. He grabbed Fanny’s last bag in a huff and marched right back out again. Vincent gave Fanny a significant look, avoiding Rosemary’s gaze. He then followed Christopher out into the parking lot with Fanny’s other bag.

“Have a good time, Fanny,” Rosemary said rather sheepishly. Fanny smiled back at her, this time with considerable awkwardness. Fanny opened her mouth to say something— there was so much she wanted to say to Rosemary about Christopher—but she thought better of it. This was not the time or place. She gave a little wave and exited.

Rosemary remained and watched her friend go. She found herself wishing she could leave, too. She sat down and rubbed her belly. Outside minutes later, she heard the sound of a car motor purr to life, then heard it drive away.

You know you want to read the rest of this soon-to-be classic horror-comedy story…buy Horror at Terror Creek now, straight from the Triple Take online shop! 

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