The town of Saltlick Bluff is famous for an urban legend. Does the spirit of a young girl wait on a misty cliff-hugging highway for her ride to the prom?
In the house on Beech Street a terrible tragedy occurred. Now neighbors won’t look at the place as they pass. Those who live nearby draw their blinds and shutter their windows after dark. What are they afraid of?
Hale Hallow Woods seems sinister and menacing even in the light of day. Does a thirst for revenge beat near its dark heart?
The answers lie within these pages, just waiting to send a chill up your spine!
Buy Links: Amazon US
The Roller Grille was the real deal. An authentic drive-in restaurant with car hops on roller skates delivering trays of burgers and fries to people parked outside. It had been in business for decades. Other than a fresh coat of paint now and then it hadn’t changed from the day it opened.
Tyler, Andy and Jacob threaded around the cars and pushed through the glass doors to the diner. A hostess dressed in a fuzzy sweater and a poodle skirt guided customers to booths covered in red vinyl. A candy-colored jukebox blared from a corner. The laughter and chatter of the crowd was louder than the music. Tyler noticed Shay jammed into a booth with her friends. He raised a hand in greeting but she ignored him.
Andy pointed to the long soda fountain. “There’s room over there.” Tyler nodded and they each claimed a stool.
“What’ll it be?” Randy, the soda jerk adjusted his black bow tie and gave them a toothy grin. The boys ordered shakes.
Andy whirled around once on his stool and stopped to face Jacob. “So do they have any place like this in Phoenix?”
“No. This is pretty cool.” He looked around and his eye settled on a wall of photographs. “Who are those people?”
“Those are the prom kings and queens from the high school,” Tyler answered.
“Wow there’s like a hundred of them. What’s the deal with those two?” Jacob pointed to a black and white photo that was larger than the rest.
Tyler slipped into telling the story that everyone in town knew by heart. “That’s Johnny Tonnarro and his girlfriend, Samantha. He was like a rock star a long time ago. He got killed in an accident off Yetter Point.”
“It was a foggy night. He drove his car off the cliff and got squished like a pancake,” Andy added. “His girlfriend waited for hours in the cold for him to show up. She was all dressed for the prom and crying like a baby.”
Jacob gazed at Samantha’s sweet face. “That’s sad. What happened to her?”
Tyler lowered his voice for effect. “She drowned a year later on the anniversary of the accident. She was down on the jetty throwing flowers out into the ocean, those stinky white ones…gardenias. A wave swept her off the rock. Some people say they’ve seen her.”
“Seen her? What do you mean?”
Andy took up the story again. “Every year around this time her ghost waits out on Thorne Road near Highway One for Johnny to pick her up. Just standing there crying.”
Randy placed the shakes in front of the boys and joined in. “This time of year the evenings are usually foggy,” “They say she waits just off the edge of the road in the mist - lavender gown, white gloves, and gardenias in her long, blonde hair.”
Jacob’s mouth dropped open and his eyes grew wide. “Really? A real ghost? You’ve seen her?”
Taylor and Andy couldn’t hold back their laughter. “Nobody’s seen her,” Andy snickered. “It’s all made up. Not the accident part but the ghost part.
Jacob frowned. “So Samantha didn’t really die?”
“Oh, yeah. She died alright. She drowned. But only little kids and tourists swallow the ghost story. You have to be a real lamebrain to believe it. Last year the town newspaper offered a ten thousand dollar reward for anybody who could get a photograph of her. There were a lot of fakes but nobody’s earned the money yet.”
Still grinning, Tyler turned to take a sip of his milkshake and caught a glimpse of Shay. She was staring toward the entrance. If looks could kill, her eyes were lethal weapons. Tyler followed her gaze.
“Uh oh,” he whispered and his smile faded. His brother was holding the door open for Anilla Jacoby, Shay’s arch-enemy. Anilla beamed up at Lane and slipped her arm through his. The couple slid into a booth. Shay stood and stormed toward the door without looking at them.
“This isn’t good,” Tyler muttered.
A moment later his phone beeped. He read the text. Come outside now. We need to talk. Shay was waiting for him as he pushed open the door.
“I thought I would die of embarrassment. I can’t believe he would show up here in front of everyone with that airhead hanging on him like that. Now I know why he’s been avoiding me.” She turned on Tyler. “How long has this been going on?”
“Don’t ask me. This is the first time I’ve seen him with Anilla.”
“He needs to pay a price for humiliating me like that. I want to embarrass him in front of all of his friends!”
Tyler shifted nervously. “Shay I don’t want to…”
“Think of something!”
“Look, Shay. Maybe you should just let it go. He’s my brother. I can’t …”
“I’m not going to let this go, Tyler.” She leaned in and growled. “You’re with me or against me. And trust me, if you want to survive high school you don’t want to be against me. I can make your life miserable.” Shay turned and stomped away.
Excerpt from Spine Chillers, by Q.L. Pearce
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016
From the Author:
I have been a horror fan for most of my life. When I was very young my family moved to a small island in a bay near St. Petersburg, Florida. There were probably a dozen kids on the island and we became close friends. On the first Saturday of the month we would ride our bikes to the local drug store to tank up on cherry Cokes and buy the latest comics. While my friends picked out Archie, or Superman or Casper, I forked over my allowance for House of Mystery and Strange Tales. It didn’t take long for me to start writing my own stories, which I would share with my friends whether they wanted to hear them or not. I actually got into some trouble when a neighbor lady complained that I was giving her daughter nightmares.
Fast forward a couple of decades. The island was a continent away and I had realized my dream of becoming a writer. I wrote nonfiction and educational books for children. I loved what I was doing, but there was still a special place in my heart for creepy tales of horror. I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to write my first book in the popular short story series, Scary Stories for Sleepovers. I remember sitting down at the dining room table and thinking about what that all-important opening tale should be. My mind drifted back to the island and something that had happened. Something that still frightened me.
It was a particularly warm summer. My friends and I spent most of our days splashing around in the bay, avoiding the horseshoe crabs and other denizens of the shallows, or barreling off the end of a barnacle-encrusted dock into deeper waters. One of the girls, I think her name was Patsy, had an older brother who had built us a rickety wooden raft that floated on empty oil drums and was anchored in about thirty feet of water. Unlike the nearby sparkling white sands and cerulean waves of the Gulf of Mexico, the waters of the bay were dark and greenish lined with sea grass and mudflats. We used to imagine that it was populated by strange, alien, bottom-feeding creatures. Swimming out to the raft was always a race, and we stayed bobbing around at the surface.
So of course, a boy dared me to swim down to the bottom. I was never one to turn away from a challenge so I agreed to do it. Before I dove in he added another element. I had to bring up a handful of mud to prove that I had actually made it. Everyone was adding in their two cents and laughing. I took a deep breath. To this day I remember how the water felt as I plunged in. It was sun-drenched and warm at the surface. As I kicked down it grew colder and darker. For a moment I could hear the muffled laughter of my friends and then…silence. The visibility was so poor that I was surprised when my outstretched hand touched the bottom and sank a couple of inches into the mud. I closed my fingers around a handful feeling the urge to take a breath. I turned toward bright water, when whatever it was in my hand suddenly squirmed and wriggled. Releasing my unwilling captive I screamed taking in a gulp. I struggled upward trying not to gag, and somehow made it back to the surface. Gasping and coughing I pulled myself up the rope that hung along the side of the raft and rolled onto my back staring up at the sun and my friends who were circled around me.
“I did it.” I wheezed.
“Yeah,” someone said. “Where’s the mud?”
So years later I sat in my living room with a blank computer screen in front of me, writing my first scary short story. I thought about what might have been in my hand, what I had disturbed in the mud so long ago. In my imagination it grew from what was probably a frightened little mud-dweller into something bigger…scarier…and I typed the title, Swimming Lessons.
What people are saying:
"Spine Chillers: Hair-Raising Tales is a unique blend of fear and fun - a collection of haunted worlds you'll find yourself returning to again and again. Pearce reveals her secrets masterfully - and each one packs a spookier punch than the last." -- ALISTAIR CROSS, BESTSELLING AUTHOR
"Adapted from her writings, this illustrated book tells the courageous story of Zitkala-Sa, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin. Capaldi has illustrated the book throughout with richly colored paintings that capture the essence of the accompanying storyline. Assimilation into the dominant culture is not glossed over but handled in a delicate manner that accentuates the enormous obstacles Bonnin overcame. Bonnin is portrayed as a strong woman who fought not only for Native American rights but also for women's rights. Bonnin's gifts as a speaker, author, and musician helped to persuade people to believe in the power of her message. This title will fill the gap in most libraries of strong, non-stereotypical Native American role models. A bibliography and further readings are included." -- LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION
"Capaldi and Pearce document the life of Gertrude Simmons, an author, musician, and activist best known by her pen name, Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird). Drawing from semi autobiographical stories that Zitkala-Sa wrote for the Atlantic Monthly in the early 1900s, Capaldi and Pearce eloquently describe her experience at a Quaker boarding school, where she laments the loss of her culture, but also develops passions for violin and women's suffrage. Reconciling her new identity with her roots, she writes and stages 'The Sun Dance Opera; and advocates for Native American rights. Capaldi's understated illustrations integrate solid colors and doll-like characterizations with reproductions of period materials, while appended information on Zitkala-Sa rounds out this fascinating portrait." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Books by Q.L. Pearce
Mysterious Encounters: Mysterious Disappearances
Mysterious Encounters: Mothman
Mysterious Encounters: Reincarnation
Mysterious Encounters: La Llorona
Mysterious Encounters: Ghost Hunters
Scary Stories for Stormy Nights
More Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs
Still More Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs
Even More Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs
Super Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs
The 25 Strangest Mysteries in the World
50 Scariest Places and Strangest Mysteries
Blood Moon Harbor (co-author Francesca Rusackas)
Gross Science Experiments
Monsters: The Furies
Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-Sa, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist
About the Author:
Q.L.Pearce is the author of more than 120 books for young readers, from picture books to YA, as well as film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time.
Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala Sa (Carolrhoda Books, with co-author and illustrator, Gina Capaldi), received several awards including a Carter G. Woodson Book Award gold medal from NCSS and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medal.
Her fiction includes the popular middle grade series, Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs italisize (Price, Stern, Sloan). Q believes strongly in the value of scary books for young readers. When asked what credentials she has which qualify her as an expert in this area she replies, "I was a child once. That was very scary."