Thursday, October 31, 2013


For the first half of third grade my family lived on the Colorado grasslands an hour East of Colorado Springs. Four essential buildings squatted at the crossing of two desolate roads. Two miles later, the school constituted the remainder of the town.

I lived at the school.

My father was Superintendent. With the title came a trailer home on school property to squat in.

Alone in infinite space, I roamed across the prairie, catching frogs in cow ponds, inspecting skeletons in washouts, worrying about snakes. I learned to ride my bike on the empty, undulating roads, riding from nowhere to nowhere. The sky was so big I could see stars twinkling on one horizon while the sun rested on the other.

I once found a nest in a cottonwood tree. I dissected it to see how nests are made. Buried in the prairie grass and feathers and white droppings I found the desiccated bodies of three chicks. When they died one spring, the mother just built the nest over them.

That's what bird nests are made of. Birds.

I befriended a stray cat on our front porch. I fed it, watered it, gave it milk. I squatted on the porch, reached out a hand to pet it. It suffered me, unsure, perhaps feeling exploited. It wavered between fear and physical satisfaction. Then it bit me. I don't remember going to the hospital but I do remember staring at the pinkish strand of muscle hanging out of a puncture wound on my arm. 

Despite the permanent danger of this wild space, there were only two places I was afraid of, one before and one after.

An incinerator hulked behind the school, black as a black hole, the embodiment of death. The school janitor threw in garbage, magically transformed from rotting foodstuffs and dog eaten homework to a thick, black smoke. That had a profound effect on me, that matter could be obliterated.

I was made of matter.

I sometimes sifted through the clinker that fell out of the furnace, trying to determine what it was before it became charcoal glass. Bits of plastic dolls, bottles, wood, light bulbs, reams of paper, but mostly pure carbon blackened beyond recognition. I feared the janitor, not for himself, but for this awesome power he wielded.

Across from our trailer home, the school repaired busses and equipment in a dark garage. We were not allowed in, but one weekend afternoon my sister and I took our chances. The greasy engines and splintered wood held my attention until I was distracted by a blink from the round glass eye of a discarded washing machine. It sat in the back of the shop, hidden in shadows.

I liked how the light played off the curved glass. I was intrigued by the perforated drum just visible beyond. I looked at the wispy smoke rotating inside, forming a face. A face that looked at me.

My parents are to blame for keeping this memory alive. Whenever the topic of spirits or a netherworld encroaches on a conversation, they say, "You saw a ghost once, remember? In the washing machine." It sounds worse in person.

But they’re serious. They believed me when I came home, excited and terrified. They believed me because, though I didn’t remember, I’d seen one before.

Prior to moving to Colorado, we lived in the small village of Chevak, Alaska. My parents taught at the tiny school the government built for the native Inuit. 

When I was three, I accompanied my father on a walk through the village with one of his Inuit friends. The journey carried us outside of town, onto the wet tundra. We happened upon a native graveyard. "Daddy," I asked, interrupting their conversation. "Who are the blue people?"

As my father tells it, I saw blue people standing beside or sitting on the gravestones. I went on to describe one man in particular, a blue man. By my description, our Inuit friend identified him as the village elder who died the prior year.

I worry about that now that I have a son of my own, I know that little kids have a strong imagination, but they are also brutally honest. If my son said he saw "blue people", I would be inclined to believe him.

So when my three year old son stood at the base of our apartment stairwell and said "Do you hear that? Thump, thump, thump,” and described the boy trapped behind the masonry wall in the void beneath the stairs, crying and kicking to be let out…

Ronan Cray
New York 2013

Recently rated Top 10 New Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, Ronan Cray is hard at work on his next novel, Dust Eaters. He lives and drinks in New York City when he isn't holed up in his writer's shack in rural Pennsylvania. He deals with life the same way everyone does - with procrastination, complaints, and the occasional tipper. After travelling the real world, sampling the heat in Dubai, the cold in Russia, and the smog in China, he decided fiction is better. Stay home. Read. Enjoy.

Mr. Cray always has time for a chat.
Check out his blog:
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On this most auspicious occasion, we are pleased to giveaway TEN COPIES of Ronan Cray's bestselling horror thriller RED SAND! There will be FIVE PRINT COPIES and FIVE ECOPIES up for the taking!

To win, change into a bat and hurry on over to our HALLOWEENPALOOZA OFFICIAL FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE! When there, look for today's post announcing this blog and giveaway. Comment IN THAT POST that "I WANT TO WIN PRINT" or "I WANT TO WIN AN ECOPY"!  If you are one of the first ten to do so, YOU WILL WIN!!! 

This is our last giveaway of HALLOWEENPALOOZA 2013 and we wanted to make it special for all you supporters of horror! After all, a par-tay ain't nothing without great guests and you guys have done HALLOWEEN proud!  

And the par-tay ain't quite over! Brian Moreland, Michael Allan Scott, Douglas Wickard, Ronan Cray and Your Mistress of Mayhem will be interviewed on Twitter tonight by the fantabulous SEZONI WHITFIELD! Just use hashtag #WritersKaboodle and follow the action! There's no telling what any of us will say!

So til next time ... a big thanks for participating in our little shindig! May your costumes stay on, may you remain safe from the undead, and may your trick or treat bags always remain overflowing with your favorite candy! 

And lest I forget, BOO!


On this island, there are no survivors.

Lost meets Treasure Island in this riveting account of castaways on a desert island hunted on all sides. A rare blend of breathtaking action, deep character development, corporeal horror, and a believable story line brings this modern adventure to life.

When the cruise ship Princess Anne sinks at night in the middle of the Atlantic, strange, white-haired natives pluck seven survivors from the water. Delivered to a barren volcanic island and forced to work, the survivors disappear one by one as the natives, and the island itself, turn hostile. An old betrayal tears apart the native political structure as a hurricane threatens to bring to life the deadly secret of the island. With time running out, the natives and survivors alike form and break alliances to escape by any means possible.

Fear the natives. Fear the Island. Fear each other. Fear yourself.

If you miss Lost, don't miss Red Sand. All the action, suspense, betrayal, and mystery you could ask for with scenes so swiftly terrifying you'll gasp for air. Deeply human characters draw you in until horribly detailed descriptions end them. You’ll shut your eyes when it happens, but you'll tell everyone about it the next day.

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