THIS WAY DARKNESS: LATASHIA FIGUEROA
Remember your first horror movie? Yeah, the one that caused you to lose your little mind and run out of the theater screaming? The one that made you sleep with the lights on until you entered college? And then suddenly it was your roommate that you worried about and made you sleep with one eye open? How about the first time you went into a graveyard to see a real life ghoul? And one came out at midnight and chased your little punk ass all the way home? What about your first home and the first time you took your shovel and dug a hole in the basement so that you could bury your first … oops! TMI! Well, today we have another first you’re gonna remember! It’s a new, up-and-coming writer of horror that you’ll be discovering in our Daily Book Giveaway!
Her name is Latashia Figueroa and she’s written one wham bam thank you ma’am kind of horrorfest! It’ll cause you to dive under the sheets and swear you’ll be good (you won’t!) and sleep with a meat cleaver on your nightstand … just in case! It’s called THIS WAY DARKNESS: Three Tales of Terror and it’s been racking up wowza kind of reviews faster than bodies pile up in a Tobe Hooper flick—and that’s lightning fast!!!
Of course, since it was Latashia’s first time out, she didn’t know about my reputation for being “persuasive.” She was under the misapprehension that she could hold out on me!!! Oh, hell no!!! Not when I’m running HALLOWEENPALOOZA she can’t!!! A transmogrification into my favorite werecat creature proved I wasn’t taking no for an answer!!! And, no, the Friskies she put out on her porch did not deter me!!! Well, not much, anyway!!! After a quick munchie-crunchie, I was back on the job and yeowling on the fence until she agreed to put up FIVE ECOPIES for grabs!!! That’ll teach her and sorry about blowing out your eardrums, Latashia!!! And I did such a good job that Latashia agreed to write you all a story!!! It’s called ASHES and it’ll give a sampling of what she’s all about!!!
So you snooze, you lose, Lizards! Crawl on over the FB Official Event page and enter by commenting “I Want to Win” in today’s October 20th Daily Giveaway post. Somebody’s got to win and it might as well be you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Latashia Figueroa gives two reasons for her love of horror:
One, the house she grew up in was believed to be haunted. Two, as a child, Stephen King often told her bedtime stories. Pet Sematary was the first. And although her stories may be disturbing, Latashia assures she is perfectly normal. Her husband disagrees.
This Way Darkness is Latashia's debut short story collection.
She is currently working on a novella.
Beyond writing, Latashia loves the arts, is a self-proclaimed wine snob and is obsessed with roller coasters. She lives on the east coast with her very supportive husband.
You can connect with Latashia on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LatashiaFigueroaAuthor Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118359123238710645944/posts/p/pub
THIS WAY DARKNESS: Three Tales of Terror
“Latashia Figueroa is an exciting new voice in horror. Her dark fiction lures you into a world that seems normal, captivates you with characters you can root for, and then, before you know it, her stories wrap icy fingers of fear around your heart and pull you deeper into a chilling darkness.” – Brian Moreland, author of The Devil's Woods and The Girl from the Blood Coven
From the Author
For every action there is a reaction. For every cause there is an effect. And there is a reaping for he who willingly hangs that black curtain over the heart refusing to let in the light.
Therefore, you will find no happy endings here.
Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone:
Robert and Linda desperately want a child but are unable to conceive. Linda will do anything to get pregnant. Robert’s love for his wife brings them to an unconventional decision. They put the miracle of making a baby in the hands of a witch.
After her mother dies from cancer, Lorna Powel realizes she does not just fear death, she hates it. But there is someone who understands Lorna's disdain for her fragile mortality. He knows because he has been watching her for a long time, waiting in the shadows to offer an alternative to death.
Brad Levee has joined eleven others on a life-changing spiritual retreat that was promised to bring them closer to God. But the charismatic leader, Aleister, has a different plan for his followers that will shed blood. And Aleister isn't the only one Brad should fear.
by LATASHIA FIGUEROA ©
Ashes sauntered across the street. Winter was approaching, she could always tell by the cold ground beneath her paws. She ran quickly onto a porch, the home now familiar to her. Ashes waited for the human to open the door and place the giblets near the corner of the porch as she had done for the past week. Ashes never tried to sneak inside the female’s home. She had tried once before, with another human. He was less than happy. Ashes received the bristles of a broom to her furry body, and left outside to the elements, alone.
The felines’ previous home had burned to the ground, her human’s with it. Ashes barely escaped with her life. Now, she had no one to call her own, no one to care for her. She ate from the trash cans. She slept in doorways, cardboard boxes and damp abandoned buildings to keep warm. Ashes had become an alley cat, like so many others. She was surviving but missed the touch of a human.
Ashes liked the human who fed her now. There was something different about this one, something special. She didn’t receive many visitors. The ones that came left quickly as if they didn’t want to be seen with her, Ashes observed. And when the human fed her, she always took the time to stroke the feline. Ashes liked the female’s touch even more than the food. Ashes felt more than the gentle strokes across her back; she felt magic in this humans fingers.
The warmth of the sun diminished as it set and a frost bitten wind caused Ashes body to curl. The feline settled in the corner of the doorway waiting for the human to place a meal before her, desiring her comforting touch. The feline’s stomach tightened. Hunger began to set in. Ashes scratched her paw against the door a few times but no answer. Perhaps the human was away. Ashes thought about the large trash can just thirty paw steps away but the night had become too cold, the journey seemed longer than usual. She decided to stay and wait for the human she had secretly called her own.
Voices in the distance riled Ashes from an uneasy sleep. She stretched and let out a yawn. She could see two humans approaching; they were male, one of them a bit larger than the other. The smaller one swayed as he walked. Humans were such unbalanced creatures, Ashes thought as he watched their stride. Their faces looked angry. When the feline saw they were walking directly in her path she ran from the doorway and sat crouched at the corner of the porch.
The loud knocks to the door startled Ashes but she did not run away. She watched them cautiously. Both males banged on the door. Why were they here?
Ashes the cat was glad her human was not inside the home, she didn’t like the way these males looked. The banging on the door became louder, it irritated the feline. Ashes reconsidered the large trash can, the food that was there, waiting for her. She turned to leave but before she could jump away, the familiar sound of unlatching the lock from the door halted her. Ashes walked behind the males and examined the human she had waited for. Her hair hung long, her frame much smaller than the males that stood before her.
“We told you, we want you outta here.” The male swayed as he spoke.
“You’re trespassing. Get off my property.” The female tried to shut the door but the large male stuck his foot in the doorway.
“We know who you are,” the other said, “we know what you do, we all know it. And we want you out.” His voice was low and threatening.
Ashes could see fear in her humans’ eyes. She recognized it. It was the same look her previous humans had as their home burned down around them. Ashes watched helplessly, unable to save them. The feline stealthily ran past the males and across the females’ leg and inside the home. Ashes jumped on a small table near the door. If this human was in trouble, the female she claimed as her own, she would not run away.
“We know about you. You’re husband told us stories. You’re an evil woman, a witch, and we want you out!” The male that spoke began to edge his way inside. Ashes could see her female struggle to shut the door.
“Get off my property!” The female yelled but the men pushed their way in, causing the female to fall to the floor. Slamming the door shut, one man grabbed the female’s legs, the other her arms.
“We’re going to barbecue tonight.” One of them said, laughing as they lifted the female with ease.
“Let me go— someone help me!”
Ashes watched her female struggle and cry. She had seen enough. The feline released a low deep growl. One male dropped the females’ legs.
“What the hell…?
Ashes released another growl, this one longer and deeper than the last.
“Kill that damn thing.” Ashes heard one of them say; yanking the females’ hair hard. She let out a scream.
Ashes hunched down low, her fury set and ready to be released. The feline could not contain it. She leaped off the small table, knocking it over and landed on the male closest to her. She dug her nails deep into his neck.
“Get it off!” He screamed, trying to pull the feline off himself, each time he pulled, Ashes dug in deeper. The man was strong, his grip tight around Ashes’ slender body. He could kill her with one hand. But she did not relent, she dug her claws in deeper and the cat could feel his pain in his screams.
“Kill it, kill it!” The male yelled. Blood released from his neck like water from a faucet. The other male released the female and ran after Ashes. She released her grip and with ease she slipped past him, perched on the arm of a chair. She sat waiting for his next move. He was larger than the other; the feline knew he would need to be taken down quickly.
When he lunged for her, Ashes pounced with all her strength and landed on his face, claws on either side of his cheeks. She gripped his face tighter each time he pulled. His shrieks vibrated beneath her belly. The male pulled Ashes hard, his hands around the cat’s chest. The pressure was too much; Ashes lost her grip and the large male threw her hard to the floor. The impact stunned the feline, dizzied, she ran into a corner. Ashes tried catching her breath, her muscles ached. Both males writhed in pain. But one stood, swaggering toward the feline, dripping blood onto the floor. Ashes hissed as the man moved in closer. She would go for his leg this time. She let out another hiss and positioned herself to pounce once more, but there was no need for her to.
His head dropped in front of Ashes. She had been so focused on him she had not seen her female standing behind him, hatchet in her hand. His eyes were wide, his mouth gaping. The female turned to the male who pulled her hair. His neck and face bloodied and scarred he tried to make it to the front door. Ashes watched the female smile and swing the hatchet at his leg and the male was down. His screams bellowed throughout the small home. But they were cut short. The female swung the hatchet again, taking off his head as well.
Ashes stood back and watched the woman standing in the middle of the living room, still holding the hatchet, now bloodied in her hand. The cat did not approach, she waited. The female crouched down, dropped the hatchet to the floor and held out her arms. Ashes did not hesitate. She leaped into the females lap.
“You saved me. Thank you, dear friend.” The female stroked Ashes the cat, nudging her nose against the feline’s neck. And Ashes could feel the human’s warm breath on her body. She purred beneath the female’s touch.
The sun was just beginning to rise when the female finally finished cleaning the home. Ashes could do nothing to help. But the female’s smile assured Ashes she had done enough. The cat listened to the stories the female told her while she cleaned. The cat didn’t understand all of the things she said; stories of ancestors, black magic, and spells, but Ashes found them fascinating. And she knew she was right about this one, she was special. When the sun was up there was no traces of blood in the home. The bodies buried beneath the crawl space. The same place, the female told Ashes, she had buried her abusive husband a year ago.
Ashes sat on the edge of the tub and watched the female bathe. She hummed a lovely tune as she washed away the dirt and blood from the previous night. When she was done, she cleaned the tub and ran the water once more.
“You’re turn,” the female said, lifting Ashes into the tub of warm water.
Ashes hated water. When would humans understand that cats could clean themselves just fine?
Curled on the lap of her female, who sat across from the lit fireplace, Ashes lay content. The sound of the crackling fire and the caress of her human, relaxed the feline’s achy muscles.
“I’m glad you’re here.” She heard her human whisper.
“It’s fitting, I suppose,” the female smiled, “a witch is supposed to have a black cat.”