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Readers' Reviews:

I wasn't so much terrified as entertained. Those scenes in the Wal-Mart had me in stitches.
—Earl Jesson, DC

Three stories from light to dark; sexy ghosts with a sense of humor to a woman-eating spider with none. Not for the squeamish. I enjoyed it!
—Barbara Crowe, Bethesda, MD

**** an entertaining read; just not at bedtime.
—The Purple Page

Synopsis:

Terribly Twisted Tales: A Trilogy of Terror portrays life-changing events experienced by six persons who allowed their passions to blind them to the consequences of their actions; consequences not meted out by their peers, or even the larger society, but by forces and entities from the evil realm of the supernatural.
Mary and Edwin's free expression of their love for each other that feels so right to them is an outrage to Mary's husband who decides to end their adulterous affair violently. Dead to family and friends, they live with each other in a realm inhabited by others whose wrongdoing has sentenced them to an eternity of ceaseless wanderings in their quest for eternal rest.

Rachel Amanda Thompson, leader of a quartet of friends since kindergarten, challenges her friends to a contest that would transcend rigid social boundaries; which one would be the first member of their group to date a young Amish man. Her three compadres opt out but offer their hesitant support as Rachel forges ahead. Determined to surmount all obstacles in her path, Rachel finally wins, but ultimately loses her life in a flood that never was.

Seduction, deceit, and terror are woven together in the third of the Twisted Tales. Rock lusts for America who portrays herself as being pure and intends to remain that way until her wedding night. Rock finally seduces her and discovers he is not the first. What begins as a night of unbridled passion turns into a night of terror, and the light of the new day reveals them to have become the victims of the darkest of evil intent.


From the Book:

Time has little meaning to a ghost; days and nights are not reckoned, neither is the changing of seasons or the passing of years. But ghosts are aware of novelty, and new things were happening all around them.

The Second World War was over and suddenly there were thousands of veterans and their families who needed a place to live. It seemed to the ghosts that the two rows of almost identical little houses now facing each other across the new road replacing the overgrown track that for ages had passed by Stonybrook House had sprung up overnight. Sidewalks in front of these houses bustled with dozens of children of all ages playing noisily. Mary and Edwin now had living neighbors, a whole passel of them.

At first Mary couldn't watch the children at their games; they were too much of a reminder of what she and Edwin wanted but could never have. However, as time passed, Mary began to join Edwin at the window and they watched with considerable interest the children and their parents live their lives

But since the only constants in life are change and death, change was inevitable. The terrible tangle of titles and deeds was at last straightened out and Stonybrook House passed into the hands of the developer who had built the other houses on the street.

At first Stonybrook House fought the backhoe sent to tear it down; it labored hard and harvested little. There was an eerie stubbornness about the house that the contractor perceived rather than experienced in a real sense. But he was also stubborn and would not be deterred from his plans. With the cooperation of the township fire department and a windless fall day, Stonybrook House was saturated with a potent accelerant and torched.

Mary and Edwin fled to the only refuge available to them and rejoined their now bare bones at the bottom of the old cistern. Freezing and thawing had loosened, then cascaded stones from the sidewalls, anchoring layers of decomposed plant matter over the skeletons, all later covered by mud from the now unrestrained sides of the cistern. In the light of the dying embers falling into the basement of the house, the cistern appeared to be only a depression in the ground beside the foundation.
Subsequently the old foundation was back-filled and replaced by a concrete slab upon which another ticky-tacky house was built. The paint had hardly dried when a young veteran and his Japanese war bride moved in.

They were very much in love and their lusty energy began to radiate like microwaves in all directions. It took a while to penetrate to the level of their bones but eventually it did, and Mary was the first to feel it. Her long quiescent body began to respond. She reached for Edwin and felt his response. There was no discussion and therefore no decision arbitrated, they moved in with the current tenants and occupied a small, unused room that someday might become a nursery. The energy generated by the young couples frequent bed boogies enabled Mary and Edwin and they joined the couple in ecstatic sexual romps.

However, it wasn't long before the glorious glow of bodies radiating sexual pleasure began to be replaced by a malevolence that dampened, then extinguished Mary and Edwin's ability. The bond between husband and wife was being stretched to almost the breaking point, but from without more so than from within. Her white Christian neighbors resented having a Japanese woman, rumored to be a Buddhist, in their neighborhood. At first, foul-worded signs were staked in the couple's yard. Then eggs began flying at their new home followed by paint bombs. This hostility fueled the homesickness his bride had tried hard to dampen, but finally gave into, and her husband reluctantly returned her to her parents in Japan. The newlyweds had provided pleasant diversions for Mary and Edwin but they were willing to trade those for having the house to themselves—and they intended to keep it that way.

The first attack on their privacy was by a loan officer from the bank that carried the mortgage on the abandoned house, accompanied by a realtor. They had walked through the house making notes about its condition and were approaching the front door when Mary appeared between the door and their startled eyes. Well not of all of Mary, just her head sagging on her twisted neck and her upper torso with her large, attractive breasts bared, her nipples glowing crimson. The two men stood transfixed, neither courageous enough to tell the other what he was seeing. Mary blessed them with a provocative smile then slowly evaporated from sight. That energized the two men who hastily made for their cars and quickly left the neighborhood.

The loan officer did not mention what he had witnessed to his superiors and suggested that with some touching up Stonybrook House could again become a desirable property. Within a week a restoration crew appeared on site and went to work repairing the damage to the outside of the house. The paint was barely dry when a realtor accompanied by two middle-aged women toured the premises. Mary and Edwin had a brief conference and decided against materializing. Instead they followed the trio around slamming doors, turning water faucets on, and causing the ceiling lights to suddenly glow brightly and then fade away. The young realtor tried to usher the two ladies out of the house as rapidly as possible, but they politely refused and asked to go through the house again. On the pretext of having to locate some papers in her car, the young realtor hurriedly left them alone.

"How many, Maude," one woman said to the other.

"I sense two, Matilda," the other woman replied.

"A man and a woman?" Maude again.

"Yes, and young," Matilda responded.

Maude Reamer and Matilda Henderson were professors at the community college that had become a university as the town became a city. Maude was a psychologist whose area of interest was the Paranormal and Matilda was a cultural anthropologist, also interested in her partner's field of research. On campus, and to a lesser extent off, they were known as the Ghostly Gays.

With almost no recognition from the rest of the neighborhood, Maude and Matilda moved in and began investigating. Mary and Edwin felt them reaching out, trying different ways to make contact. At first they wanted nothing to do with the women, but their constant probing was nagging and made the young couple uneasy. So they decided to scare Maude and Matilda into leaving.

Edwin tried first enveloping Maude in a miasma while she was cooking supper. Maude quickly called Matilda to witness this, but before she got to the kitchen Edwin had withdrawn his presence and the noxious vapors had dissipated.

Mary then tried a different approach, hiding things. This proved to be more aggravating to the owners, but did not prove intolerable. Edwin joined in Mary's mischief by turning on all of the burners on the stove each night; Mary loosened fuses frequently, leaving the women in darkness. Since none of their pranks induced the Ghostly Gays to move, Mary and Edwin grudgingly accepted their presence but stubbornly resisted the professors' attempts to become acquainted.

A decade later Maude and Matilda retired, both honored by the university by being invested as Professors Emeritus. Tired of the New England winters they took adjunct positions at a community college near Tomque, a small town in northwestern Arizona and settled in. But they did not forget about the ghostly residents they left behind.

Stonybrook House again untenanted by living residents, remained that way.

During the decade following the departure of the Ghostly Gays, the neighborhood began changing as many of the young families outgrew their little houses and moved out and up in the world. The new gaggle of residents did not maintain their cheap houses, and marked by blighted yards, ignored gardens, and junked cars, the neighborhood slid into decay. At the same time the city continued to expand its boundaries and what had once been a pleasant suburb became an urban slum.

Urban renewal began to erase its blighted presence. The woods that for so many decades had furnished Mary and Edwin occasional company, fell victim to the chainsaws of the DOT as it was sacrificed to make room for an interstate bypass. The neighborhood was leveled and construction begun on a large mall to be anchored by a Wal-Mart. In the process Stonybrook House was demolished and once again evicted Mary and Edwin who returned to their bones.

Shortly after digging began to accommodate the basement of the super store, the bucket of a backhoe broke into the ancient cistern and as the operator dumped his burden of moldering, muddy matter into an awaiting dump truck, a skull smiled at him from the top of the pile.

All digging stopped.

The professor that had replaced Matilda was called in and he and a select team of his students began to explore the site. Within a month they had uncovered Mary's and Edwin's skeletal remains, enough fabric to gain an understanding of the approximate era that the two were deposited in the cistern, and had concluded correctly that Mary had been throttled and Edwin's skull cleaved in twain; conclusive evidence of foul play.

Local, county, and state police puzzled over the find, and finally declared that since the perpetrator or perpetrators were probably also long since deceased, no further action was indicated. The couple's bones were cleaned, boxed, labeled and placed on a shelf in the biology lab's storage closet where they were soon forgotten.

Disrupted and disturbed Mary and Edwin did not rest easy near their remains. They began roaming around, first in the biology building, and then moved out into other venues. From time to time they did a little mischief to keep themselves amused and the administration confused.

One evening they decided to explore the university library, a large six-story structure gifted by Andrew Carnegie. They glided from floor to floor until they reached the sixth, the repository for the library's older newspapers and periodicals. A layer of dust on the shelves attested to the morgue's neglect.

Mary first became aware that they were not the only entities up there. She called Edwin's attention to the sounds of sex in progress. They glided around a row of shelves to the left of where they were and saw a coed bent over slightly, her hands on a pile of magazines, legs apart as far as her panties down around her ankles would allow, her partner behind holding her skirt up and as deep inside her receptive body as he could get. She was moaning with pleasure.

In response to the rampant sexual energy radiating from the couple, Mary and Edward's incorporeal selves began to gain substance. Mary looked at Edwin and he nodded; she assumed the coed's position and Edwin sheathed his staff in her willing cleft of Venus. The two couples climaxed at almost the same moment.

The ghostly duo soon discovered that this venue was a very popular place for carnal activities. Blankets came out from where they had been stashed behind piles of antique journals in preparation for coupling and now and then even a sleeping bag. Couples of both persuasions appeared almost every day and evening, sometimes only one, sometimes more. Mary and Edwin 'feasted' often on the sexual energy so readily available to them.

The university's newsletter was sent to all retired faculty and a copy containing a short article about what had come to be called ‘The Wal-Mart Dig' came into Matilda's hands. She hurried to Maude, almost overwhelmed with excitement.

"Our ghosts, Maude," she blurted out as she handed her partner the article. That evening they drafted a letter to Matilda's successor citing several of the paranormal experiences they had while living in Stonybrook House and explaining their interest in the bones. Might they be of some assistance in discovering the identity of the dead? Their offer was immediately accepted.
The university gave the Ghostly Gays an office and access to the university's archives where they discovered the papers written decades before by the students in the course on local lore. These anecdotes narrowed their focus considerably and they began a thorough search of all available community records from before 1920.

It took Maude and Matilda the better part of six months but they finally claimed success. They were almost one hundred percent certain that the skeletal remains belonged to Mary Holmes, who had married a Hugh Morgan, and Edwin Oswalt, her stepbrother. The whereabouts of Hugh Morgan after the disappearance of the two young kinfolk was never ascertained.
Intuition and conjecture followed and a picture of two grisly murders fueled by jealousy and hate emerged. Hugh apparently had caught Mary and Edwin in flagrante, and after killing them, shrouded their bodies, weighted them with stones, and sent them to the bottom of the cistern. This scenario was rather easily constructed from the archeological evidence.

The slab for the super store was finally poured, walls put up, a roof laid upon them, doors and windows installed. Then came the shelves and the stock and the grand opening. The city's first discount store was open for business — and ghostly mischief.

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