a dangerous path to a surprising end

A brand new FREE short story from the Eidolon Avenue universe.

A heartbroken widow. An infamous building. A darkness desperate to feed. This is Eidolon Avenue.

Young, bereaved and abandoned, the recent Knickerbocker Crash having taken more than just her savings, Mrs. Artatlan Fogoly considered herself lucky to have found a room to let. But when devout visitors refused to darken her door and an impossible stain appeared on the wall, what had felt like the beginning of something new and wonderful soon became a dangerous path to a surprising end.

The Realtor, an Eidolon Avenue Short, is the tale of how a heartbroken widow turned into Eidolon Avenue’s constant revenant. A siren call for those destined to end their wretched days in that wood, those bricks, that stone. The captive wraith who opened the door and brought the damned home to die.

And what of those wretched damned? Their stories are found in Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast as well as the upcoming Eidolon Avenue: The Second Feast.

This story is merely a glimpse of Jonathan Winn’s work, so if you enjoy this introductory story, be sure to pick up Winn’s Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast, available from Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

You can get it here.

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super-short tales of terror: again

It started as a mark.

By lunch, it burned, snaking past her wrist to wind ‘round the elbow and onto the bicep.

At day’s end, it spanned shoulder to shoulder, a wide band of flaking grey weeping crimson and cream.

Come morning, she stood,

swallowed head to toe,

in the bark of a ravening tree.

***

If anyone ever asks me how I get past writer’s block or get myself ready for the day, I’m gonna lead them to these 55-word shorts.

I love ’em.

predator and prey and Click

Click. The third apartment and third story in Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast. To be honest, I’ve dragged my feet getting around to talking about the process of writing this story. I’ve hemmed and I’ve hawed and, heck, I’m still doing that now! Filling up the page with words, words, words and shifting them into sentences, all so I can put off, again, talking about this story. Fact is, out of all the tales that comprise Eidolon, this was the one I found the most difficult to write. Not the writing of it, I mean. But the psychological tunnel I needed to crawl through to bring it to life. That was the nightmare. That was what literally kept me awake at night. That’s what would – more than once, more than twice – force me from my chair and out the door to get some fresh air while the story waited, mid-sentence, for my return. Because I simply could not handle what the main character was doing. I couldn’t handle the thinking behind it, I couldn’t handle the cruelty behind it, and I couldn’t, for one second more, be the conduit for this monster to continue telling his story.

Colton Carryage. That’s the monster. Tits. Freckles. Teeth. Unnecessary. Those are his victims. These are names, predator and prey, that will stay with me for awhile. That stay with me still. And I didn’t set out to write the story I eventually wrote when I sat down. It took a sharp right into shadow and, despite my trying to turn the wheel back into the light, it insisted on going even deeper. And I certainly didn’t intend for it to be the first book my publisher needed to put a Warning Label on. But Colton’s madness, his cruelty, his insatiable need and dark desires demanded it. Not everyone’s heart or head can handle the horrible secrets that wait in Apartment 1C. Hell, I wrote the damn thing and I’m still recuperating. And that’s all I think I’m going to say about Click.
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I’ve been bad

She watched the stain. “I’ve been bad a long time, I think.” She traced it, running her finger all around the edge. Wondered if it tickled. “I can say that to you because you’re a friend. I think that maybe sometimes I can be sorta bad. Sometimes.”

– Umbra, Eidolon Avenue, Apt. 1D

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Jan 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing

the frozen flesh

A month later the frozen flesh had started to tighten, the nails were coming loose, the eyes had shriveled and sunk, and the barest hint of marbling appeared from her armpits and around her neck. His plaything had become unpleasant.

– Colton Carryage, Eidolon Avenue, Apt. 1C

Eidolon-Click-crop

Jan 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing

horns and hooves and snarling teeth

Her blue lips had kissed the devil then. Found him near the small of his back. Horns and hooves and snarling teeth. Greedy paws clutching a flaming pitchfork, his razor sharp tail whipping the wind. Her lips found him and, her forked tongue licking his skin, had blessed him.”

– Bullet, Eidolon Avenue, Apt. 1B

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Jan 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing

“a killer collection of nightmares”

Eidolon Avenue (front cover)

“Lyrical, poetic, and devastating, Jonathan Winn’s Eidolon Avenue is everything good horror should be. At times, I couldn’t help feeling as if I was reading early Barker, and I can’t think of a higher compliment than that. Pay attention folks, Winn does as his name suggests, and this is a killer collection of nightmares.” – Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy, Kin, and Sour Candy

Eidolon Avenue-full-cover

Eidolon Avenue: where the secretly guilty go to die.

One building. Five floors. Five doors per floor. Twenty-five nightmares feeding the hunger lurking between the bricks and waiting beneath the boards.

The First Feast.

A retired Chinese assassin in apartment 1A fleeing from a lifetime of bloodshed. A tattooed man in 1B haunted by his most dangerous regret. A frat boy serial killer in 1C facing his past and an elderly married couple stumbling and wounded from fifty years of failed murder/suicide pacts in 1D. And, finally, a young girl in 1E whose quiet thoughts unleash unspeakable horror.

All thrown into their own private hell as every cruel choice, every deadly mistake, every drop of spilled blood is remembered, resurrected and relived to feed the ancient evil that lives

on Eidolon Avenue.

Coming January 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

utterly Umbra

Another peek at Eidolon Avenue, due out in early-2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Really looking forward to seeing this book come together. ESPECIALLY the cover! There are some great ideas and some amazing creative back-and-forth going on with that. Sure to be frickin’ amazing. 🙂

And now, onto Umbra! (pronounced ewm-bra)

There was something living in the walls.

Still wearing her only black dress, a rose taken from the cemetery in one hand, her bright pink backpack in the other, she’d watched the stain in her new bedroom. Round and raised in the middle, like a bubble, it was different than the others.

And it was alive.

She’d known it the moment she’d walked in. Had felt it as she’d turned to put her backpack on the creaky bed. Had expected, when she first saw the stain two weeks ago, to see a face, two eyes, lips, a nose and cheeks and teeth, pushing from the wall.

But there’d only been a wide brown circle. A stain that wasn’t a stain. One that wasn’t long and dark like the others. One that hadn’t dripped from the ceiling to the floor. One that sat alone, removed from the others. Just like her.

“What kind of name is ‘Umbra’?” were the first words Gran had said when the big lady with the onion bagel breath first dropped her off. The State had decided this was where she had to be. With her dad as flat as a pancake under the car in the garage and her mom, after belting back her fifth Jack and Coke of the morning, shredding her throat by eating the glass, she’d had nowhere else to go.

“Worthless cunt never could hold her liquor,” Gran had said with a laugh.

Had she known there’d be a new home, a new school, new classes, and new kids, all making fun of the skinny girl with the boney knees who walked too slow and read too much, she wouldn’t have sorta accidentally wished her folks dead.

A sip of Anniversary

Another little teeny tiny peek at Eidolon Avenue, my new book due out in 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing, one of the top publishers of dark fiction and horror.

Why not? Besides, you’ve already had a glimpse of China followed by a taste of Bullet and then a little Click. Makes sense to take a sip of Anniversary, right?

Right.

“I suppose.” Gripping the table’s edge, she hoisted herself back and plopped down into her chair with a deep sigh. “That makes more sense.” The thought rolled through her mind as she reached for her champagne. “Oh, that’s right. I remember. He took a bump to the head, quite a big one, now that I think about it, and knocked himself cold as a cucumber for, oh, how long was it …” A glance down at Benji. “Something like two or three weeks, wasn’t it, dear?”

He ignored her, his eyes on the ceiling above her.

She looked back at Peabody. “Trust me, it was two or three weeks. Just laid there in the hospital bed, dead to the world and snoring like a lumberjack. Took his darn sweet time waking up, too, I gotta say. Found myself envying him toward the end. And then he woke up and …” She shrugged. “Life went back to being life and we went back to messing it all up, time and time again.” She paused. “Though he did seem … I don’t know. Off, I guess. Or somehow different in some way after then. Just not the same.” A small grin for Peabody as she sipped her champagne. “I guess that’s what falling off a cliff will do to you.”

“But that wasn’t the first time,” Peabody said as he placed the champagne back on the table and pulled his salad bowl near.

“Oh no, no. Not at all.” Fork in hand, she tucked into her bowl of watercress. “Now, remember, that was the ten year anniversary. We’d had, oh, I don’t know, maybe …” She stabbed a piece of lettuce as she thought. “I’m not sure, but definitely a few, if not several, tries before then.” She shoved the lettuce in her mouth.

“Really. Several?” Peabody swallowed a bite of salad and then sipped his champagne.

She nodded. “Absolutely. You see, I met my beloved Benji one month – and I was twenty-eight by then, so in the world’s eyes, and that of my family, I was darn near a spinster and utterly without hope – and I married him the next month, and then we spent the next fifty years happily trying to kill each other. By choice.”

“By choice.”

“Of course.” She returned the champagne flute to its place near the untouched glass of chardonnay. “Murder/suicide pacts. One after the other. All of them sincere. All of them determined and, one would hope, well thought out. And all of them ending either dismally or disastrously, take your pick.” She dabbed the napkin to her lips. “Never could get it right.” Napkin in hand, she put her elbows on the table and leaned forward. “And when we got it wrong, boy howdy did we get it wrong.”

“So now it’s Mr. Peabody to the rescue?” The affable stranger, the napkin covering his lap, speared another piece of lettuce.

Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!!!!  🙂