Steven Marshall Horror
"Stephen King is the emperor of horror, Marshall is the law!"
-New Blood Magazine
Rituals of Terror
Journey into an enigmatic world where superstition and the supernatural intertwine as one; a paranormal paradox where restless spirits and demons encounter the world of blood and bone. Where innocence and corruption collide and equilibrium transforms into a delirious pandemonium.
About the Book
A man finds himself trapped in a skipping dream in which he is dying and cannot wake…Recently learning of his wife’s infidelity, a lawyer has a strange encounter with a women he’ll never forget…A butcher falls victim to a new flesh eating disease that’s found in the beef tongue he is serving…Deep in the heart of a sunless forest, a strange breed of hybrid mutant cannibals fancy human flesh for nourishment and must survive the cold winter. Facing extinction, they have to abandon their withering habitat...or at least die trying!That’s only the beginning…
A small town sheriff investigates an elderly widow recently bereaved by the loss of her decapitated husband…A teenage girl tries to escape from domestic violence, only to be greeted by two escaped psychiatric patients, who will show her real violence…Two innocent souls in the 1692 Salem witch trials are falsely accused of practicing witchcraft and are treated accordingly by the villagers…Finally, a boy’s worst nightmares come true when he learns his grandma is coming home from an insane asylum with her invisible guests.
A twenty year curse has befallen unto mankind, unleashing new deadly diseases to eradicate the masses through their own selfish indulgences and pitiful addictions. The plagues are weaving a tapestry of terror and havoc into our worst nightmares. And their epidemic culminates when mankind succumbs to their most accessible vulnerabilities that peril them into oblivion.Scene from the novel
Yvonne held her hands over her mouth, with her eyes bulging in awe. Shock chilled the marrow in her bones as both of the creatures climbed out of the water and hobbled toward Leo, who lay there motionless on the ground. She stepped back slowly as tears began to blur her vision. Silently she whimpered, trying not to be heard, but found it difficult to digest the anguish that churned inside her. She loathed the idea of watching him being ripped apart, but she was indeed powerless.
As she backed up further, she found herself standing with her back against a tree. She panted fiercely out of breath as her mind danced with frantic thoughts. She was so weak that her knees started trembling uncontrollably, barely able to support her body weight in her traumatized state. She felt her back scraping along the coarse edges of the tree and almost succumbed to blacking out but couldn’t even achieve that. Suddenly from behind, a large silencing hand wrapped around her mouth with such vigorous constraint she couldn’t even part her head from the tree. So dominating was its grasp that when she screamed, tension swelled in her throat and her cheeks bulged with the air from her lungs, but it was scarcely heard over the roar of the falls. She felt four long claws digging ferociously into her right cheek as its webbed, scaly hand stayed tightly compressed over her mouth. Nightmarish as it seemed, she kindled no hope that she might have been dreaming. She couldn’t even muster the energy to open her mouth, as the hand suppressed her head against the tree with the maliciousness of a vise grip. Opening her mouth seemed to be more difficult than wedging apart the jaws of a steel trap after decades of rust. But when she finally did, she bit down hard on the soft flesh between its thumb and index finger so triumphantly that a chunk of flesh dropped on her tongue like an old half-melted chunk of caramel. Realizing instantly what it was, she spit it out, but couldn’t move her face. She thought it bizarre that no scream or reaction came from the exquisite pain she inflicted. The hand neither twitched nor pried itself from her mouth. It did, however, loosen its grip with just enough leeway to allow her to turn her face to the left; still, she couldn’t free herself. The creature managed to hook a claw into her right ear while her left cheek was conforming to the wrinkles of the tree. Using her right foot and all the strength of her leg, she was able to spring off the trunk and break away. She ran back toward the water, her lobe severed in half and blood trailing everywhere.
The creature’s claw tensed and dug deeply into the tree, scraping off solid fragments of bark, while she clumsily darted away, on the verge of tripping at any given moment. Not even having enough time to steal a quick glance at Leo, she ran toward the direction of the falls; her mobility now regaining a steady, quick-paced momentum. She was confronted with limited means of escape, yet two paths were immediately visible to her, both of which would drastically impede the speed necessary for her escape: it was either up the slopes of the waterfall or into the water. To her right, no path was visible but rich wilderness was plentiful. Instinct forbade her from chancing that route. She would either be a vulnerable target for tripping and falling or worse, she might plunge into the perilous clutches of something even more macabre.
From behind, she could hear short-bursted grunts and long-striding thunderous steps, snapping branches and aggressively pursuing her. She turned, almost by instinct, to at least see the face of her unrelenting predator. In doing so, she stepped awkwardly, which further aggravated her twisted ankle. As she stumbled backwards, her thighs became tightly wedged between two large rocks along the base of the waterfall. She looked up and screamed a wailing cacophony, as there was just enough light remaining to renounce its heinous configurations.
Like the creature that had attacked Leo, this one had the same waxy, scaly flesh and deformed features. But worse; its right eye was festering severely like a freshly popped zit and its pupil was forever looking downward. The left eye, however, was a beautiful sky blue; almost looking as if it belonged on someone else. Its hair was flimsy and dilapidated like used steel wool and there was a bald spot on the side of its head where the left ear was conglomerated like cauliflower under melted wax. Varicose veins and protruding blood vessels pulsated along its temple, which led out to a small reservoir of a blood clot behind its ear. Acid burns and dried wrinkles marred its face as it snarled, revealing its foaming dirty teeth and blackened tongue.
Certainly if Yvonne never burned her energy in praying, or never dedicated herself to religious faith, she would have been more than delighted to start now. Seeing she was wedged between the rocks, the creature approached slowly, almost purring in its growl. She desperately tried prying herself free, but was too awkward to gain the momentum required for the task. She looked up and saw the creature hulking over her; spreading its webbed fingers and extending its claws. Powerless and frantic, a shrill cry filled the valley before her world faded to black.
© Copyright Steven Marshall 2005.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or republished by any means without the prior permission of the author. This is an original work protected under U.S. law.