Scream Horror Magazine


Posted on: September 30th, 2023
Ever drive through an abandoned town on the way to your destination? I’m talking about one of those towns still standing for a few blocks but are eerily vacant. Yeah, me too. There must be a story behind why all the people left, or have they?
That was something haunting my thoughts during a trip to Philly accompanying my dad on his annual meeting of the Jaycees. At the time, it was just the meanderings of an eight-year-old boy with a burgeoning imagination. Still, I wondered. The cascade of maple trees careening past the window distracted me enough to set any further curiosity aside. Those helicopters were fun to catch on a windy day.
“Jud, what are you most excited about?” mom asked, turning around from the front seat of the green paneled station wagon.
I shrugged my shoulders as I saw my father’s eyes meet mine in the rear-view mirror in anticipation of the answer.
This being my first real trip away from Kinston, it was all an adventure. The dilapidated town we had just passed through was the first of many distractions, I hoped.
“Dad, where do you think all the people went from that town?”
He paused, tossing the last of his cigar butt out the window, then rolled it up with the crank handle. Handing me the empty glass tube housing his favorite cigars, knowing I found all sorts of uses for them, he grunted one of those, not quite sure responses before making something up. Those kinds of answers preserved the parental all-knowing expectations we kids sought.
“Guess work dried up, or someone came in and bought up the land. Lots of redevelopment these days. They’re working on the Kinston Flood Plan as we speak, part of what I’m presenting at the meeting,” he answered.
It would have to suffice. Dad spoke with such confidence, I nearly expected to see an entirely new super village, maybe even flying cars on the way home. Little did I know then, the reason was ominous. Way darker than I could have ever anticipated.
Funny how memories work. That was nine years ago. Nearly a decade passed before the malignant cancer that corrupted the mystery town made its way to Kinston. My town. No warning, just an all-out assault of things not even my imagination could conjure or yours would accept. Be very wary of bumps in the night because you could be next. Next to be turned into a ghoul or parts to keep one alive.
How do I know this? Simple. I was there…

(The first two books of the Kinston Crew Series, Olath’s Bride and The Ballad of Colt Sturgess by author Fred Terling, are now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

Learn more about Fred Terling:
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