Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Powderfinger & Wyndwrayth by Keller Yeats





Powderfinger
Nick Swann Investigates Book 1
by Keller Yeats
Genre: Horror

"Powderfinger" is a present-day scary horror story set mainly on the decrepit, abandoned but soon to be redeveloped, bank of an old canal between two towns. It centres on an old tar works known as Raven's Gate. Nick Swann is a world weary mid-forties widower and Assistant Probation Warden at St Joseph's Hostel for young male criminals, situated overlooking the canal and Raven's Gate. A woman is brutally killed on the bank opposite the Hostel on a night when Nick is on duty. Nick believes his lads had nothing to do with it, though consequently Nick is suspended for issuing too many late passes at once. Then another woman is killed and Nick becomes drawn into discovering the culprit. He works with DCI Findlay and DS Deacon as the murder toll rises. Together with help from his old friends Alan and Hugo, Nick's research uncovers a long series of similar murders in the same area, stretching back through the centuries. "Powderfinger" as the killer is dubbed, appears to be some kind of ancient mellifluous, malevolent, murderous being that attacks anyone it considers to be disturbing its peace and quiet. Eventually, as the story climaxes, Findlay, Deacon, Nick and Alan set a trap to lure "Powderfinger" to his doom and rid the area of this beast once and for all. Yet, traps can swing both ways.

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This jaunt in the moonlight, down the canal, had not been a smart move.  She was feeling very vulnerable.  Debra chastised herself, as her blood chilled. She should have waited for the bus, or even tried to hail a cab and now, anything could happen. She glanced back again into the darkness. Nothing, but the creepy sound kept on getting closer and with the proximity narrowing, the volume of this unknown scrapping grew in her ears. With growing alarm, she realised her instincts had been right all along, there was something on the path with her! Something malevolent.  A sudden feeling of dread overwhelmed her and she started to run.  It was only a matter of covering a hundred yards, perhaps a little more to Jenkins Walkway and then another hundred and she would be on the up ramp. From there, it was just a few more paces to the main road and she would be safe from whatever it was, behind her.
As she ran, so the ominous cacophony following her, increased its pace. The distance between Debra and her would-be unseen assailant was closing fast. A flood of abject panic started to overwhelm her, it caused her to carelessly trip on an unseen stone and she stumbled forwards on the uneven surface but did not fall.  Debra, somehow regained her balance and her headlong flight continued unabated towards the cobbled incline and salvation. Behind her, came the weird scraping sound of her pursuer, forming a curious kind of harmony with the beating of her own heart. Her unseen tormenter, was gaining ground, quickly she continued her desperate flight along the towpath, towards Jenkins’ Walkway. The muscles in her legs, were burning and her breathing was becoming ragged from all the effort. Yet still, the sounds of her assailant’s pursuit along the gravel, grew louder with each passing second and she could run no faster. It was then, with a sickening realization, she knew ‘it’ was going to catch her before she could make her escape.
The pounding of her own blood coursing through her temples, grew louder and louder in her ears and just as Debra took one last great gulp of air, to get her to the span of Jenkins’ Walkway, she felt a huge thump in her back, from a powerful blow. The burning pain was excruciating and Debra let out a muffled scream as she felt the intense agony flowing through her stricken body, but she did not fall to the ground. Something was preventing it, holding her up. As she writhed and wriggled in her burning torture, Debra vaguely realised that she was suspended above the ground. As her feet kicked at the thin air seeking some purchase, she looked down towards the hard ground in puzzlement. Protruding from her chest, she saw the four white spikes, that had pierced her body from the rear and were now sticking out through her chest. Then, almost instantaneously from the left side, something reached out and slit her throat, cleanly and swiftly. Just as Debra Foxx died, she thought that she saw the four white blades, that were piercing her chest, holding her aloft, disappear. She screamed silently, one last time to the heavens, at what she could see, out of the corner of her eye standing there on the towpath, grinning mercilessly, before it released its hold and let her riven body fall to the ground, like a discarded rag doll.
Her murderous assailant, then effortlessly rolled her lifeless body into the water, with a soft “splosh.” As the ripples died down, the water once more resumed its previous peaceful condition, as if nothing had ever disturbed its tranquility and an enveloping silence returned to the darkness along the canal bank. 






Wyndwrayth
Nick Swann Investigates Book 2

This is the second horror novel in the Nick Swann series. This scary story finds Nick now living in an old stone farmhouse on the lonely and mysterious shores of Llyn Isaf, in Wales. He becomes intrigued by its mist-covered lake island, Ynys Y Niwl and its dark, ancient and long deserted mansion, Wyndwrayth.

Its moldering edifice holds many secrets and treasures, some of which draw Nick and his old friend Alan, into dangerous realms. Death stalks the island and as the dangerous spectral figures of The Millar of Souls, The Paladin and Gideon reveal themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern between reality and dreams. 
As the death toll rises, Nick finds himself, along with his new partner, Wendy and her Wolf, Mir embroiled in a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive.







“Inland, to what?” He cried out loud, as it seemed to him there was no break in the unforgiving foliage. Fog Island was quite large, as far as lake islands went, measuring roughly eight hundred yards in length, by two hundred and fifty, in width. Nick reckoned that he must have already covered at least half of its length by now, without seeing anything which promised him an easier path into the centre. He was about to give up and head back to Venezuela, when he spied a narrow gap in the tangle of tree limbs and creeping vines.
“Hmm,” he muttered. “Don’t get your hopes up, Nicolas, it’s probably just an animal track,” he said and then, suddenly stopped when he realised it was too wide for a rodent or bird. The island was supposed to be uninhabited and if that was so, how did the whatever it was that made the track, get here? He looked back along the trail, that he'd just taken, to the shoreline and from there, out across the expanse of water beyond. From shore to shore, there was a great deal of rather deep and very cold water, too much for any local animal to traverse, to reach the Island without a boat and there seemed nothing to sustain them anyway.
'Indigenous?' Mused Nick but dismissed that proposition, it was hardly the Galapagos. “Aye well, perhaps it’s a long-lost family of Velociraptors, or a wee Welsh Nessie,” he depreciatingly whispered in the rather pitiful Scottish accent. “Rats, plural!” he expounded as if a light had suddenly been turned on. “Of course, now why didn’t I think of that earlier?” Nick stated confidently, as if such a revelation was somehow novel. “Rats,” he said again, as he looked down at the trackway and attempted to estimate their size and number, by gauging the width of the path he was following. “They’re big buggers too,” he muttered, as he walked slowly onwards, his eyes darting from side to side warily….. “and there must be a lot of them….”
As he moved deeper into the hinterland, following this ‘Rat-way,’ Nick noticed that the air grew ever warmer and the humidity was rapidly rising. Underfoot, the ground became increasingly boggy and a thick layer of moss now replaced the slippery, pebbled landscape of the shoreline. There was a strong smell of mulchified and rotting vegetation in the dead air. Nick was starting to question the wisdom of coming here at all. ‘Maybe I should have told somebody I was going to come here today,’ he considered. ‘It might, after all, have been the wisest choice,’ he cautioned himself as he stepped into what could only be described as the prefect, Fairy Glen.
The red and white caps of Fly Agaric mushrooms, grew abundantly amid the bows of a surrounding copse of Silver Birch trees and in the short grass beside them, what appeared to be thousands of Psilocybe Semilanceata, better known as the liberty cap ‘shroons' he’d consumed in great numbers, when he was a younger man.
“Look at them all,” he gasped and he bent down to pick a few, for old times' sake. In his murky past, the discovery of this number of ‘magics,’ as they were parochially known, meant a couple of V.H.S Videos and a night or two of belly laughs. ‘They were indeed great days,’ Nick thought absentmindedly and smiled.
He didn’t know it at the time but he had inadvertently stumbled onto, what was the old croquet lawn of the once great house and as he looked up and over to the right, there stood the ivy-covered ruins, of ‘Y Wake Gwynt.’
“Wow! So, you really do exist…,” he smiled to himself.
Only a limited amount of dappled sunlight made it through the overlapping branches of the trees, crowding in on the observer, creating an intense feeling of claustrophobia. Nick sat himself down on the nearest piece of flattish land and after rummaging around in his ‘sack, withdrew his trusty old Ordinance Survey Map and laid it out on the mossy grass before him. According to the map and judging everything by the rule of thumb, he reckoned he was almost in the very heart of the island. Nick stopped and looked all around, for any sign of another living soul but nothing moved in the silent space. All around the old lawn was a thicket of knotted ivy and interlocking tree branches, which created the illusion of helpless imprisonment. It was almost as if the gardens, were still being tended by a ramshackle gardener, who had some unspoken ambition, which would be revealed only by the passage of time.
Strangely, as he’d approached the central area, a slight and somewhat sporadic breeze could be detected, drifting in from a South-Westerly direction. Since, this was a more comfortable area of the island, he decided to take his lunch here on this long-lost croquet lawn, before pressing on with his exploration. Taking his time, he ate his egg sandwiches, some biscuits and drank his coffee whilst smoking one of his pre-rolled joints. There was still more than enough time to take a closer look at the ageing mansion, glimpsed beyond ‘the green wall’ that lay between him and the dishevelled stonework, of ‘Y Wake Gwynt.’
Finished, he moved to secure the weighty rucksack into its position on his back and shrugged, to locate the straps that were trying to bite into his shoulders. Then, Nick stopped his struggling as he realised that since he was the only living creature on this island, there was no need to carry it. ‘Unless you account for the apparently massive Rats,’ he thought and just to be sure, secured the sack with the rest of its provisions, high up in a nearby Oak tree.
“Figure that one out, sucker’s.” He said with a self-satisfied sense of superiority, even though he hadn’t seen one of these imagined adversaries all morning. Confident his supplies were secured, Nick took his first step towards ‘Y Wake Gwynt.’ Eagerly, he sought any place to gain access to its inner sanctum.

Keller Yeats is a writer with a love of history and music. He has written several published articles about rock music and several unpublished short stories. He drew upon his years of experience working as a Probation Warden, for his first published novel, "Powderfinger." A horror story with a supernatural twist. "Wyndwrayth" is his second novel in this Nick Swann researches and investigates series, with more to come. In addition, he is a published graphic artist and a qualified, though no longer practicing, jewellery maker and designer. He now lives together with his wife, a Siberian Husky, a Welsh Collie and three cats, in a cottage by the sea in Anglesey.

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1 comment:

Marcy Meyer said...

I enjoyed the excerpts. They sound really good. Thanks for sharing.