Nightvine is an amuse bouche of short, dark stories including
the tale of an elderly woman who goes shopping
for cat food, an Army Company with a rash of AWOL’s, and the story
of a nurse who shares a plant with
special patients. These pieces are for fans of the macabre in this
homage to The Twilight Zone, Tales of the
Crypt, Night Gallery and the work of Charles Addams. The
stories in this collection are for lovers of horror
and horror surprise, every day people in situations that do not
always have an every day ending.
stories are included in “Nightvine.” Following are excerpts from
two of them.
Pride of Vera Lake”:
Today Vera was forced to leave the house. A winter storm had raged
for almost a week, knocking out power
and snowing everyone in. She wasn’t so concerned for herself, but
the cats needed food. They were so
hungry. How Herbert had loved those cats! They were such a comfort
now that he was no longer there to
watch over her.
Shoving a hand down into the left pocket of her winter coat, she
pulled out a thick pair of gloves just as two
cats the color of a well-worn basketball, emerald green eyes shot
with streaks of silver and gold, appeared out
of the now darkened parlor and began to brush up against her legs.
“There, there. It won’t be long and I will be back with something
wonderful for you,” Vera whispered, the
cats looking up at her, then moving quietly on down the long front
hallway toward the kitchen in the back.
Stepping into a large old fashioned kitchen, the clerk set the bag
on a table in the center of the room. Although
there was plenty of afternoon sunlight streaming through the
windows, the room was just as spooky to the
young woman as the much darker hallway had been.
She started to turn when she heard a soft noise in the hallway
behind her. Whirling, she saw nothing. “Old
lady, is that you?” she finally called out. When there was no
reply, the clerk took a step back, then froze as
she heard a low growl, a deep, guttural noise coming from the
darkness of a corner where she could see large
eyes glistening, eyes the size of a man’s fist, deep emerald and
shot with flecks of silver and gold.
“Lady…,” the clerk began as a cat stepped from the shadows, tufts of
stiff orange fur sticking up in wild
clumps from a lean muscular frame standing the size of a medium dog.
Under the window behind Sergeant Bloch was a table. At first Peter
thought the table had been covered
with a dark cloth, but as his eyes adjusted he could see that the
table was actually covered with a mound of
dirt. The earth had been carefully molded into a miniature complete
with tunnels and miniature roadways,
small plastic jeeps, tanks and GI figures made of molded green
plastic like Peter had played with as a kid.
“Do you know where Arnie is?”
“When a soldier doesn’t obey the rules, he not only makes it hard on
himself but on everyone else in the
Company,” Bloch began.
Peter started to speak when Bloch held up his hand.
“Let me finish.” Stepping over to the table, Bloch reached down and
began to aimlessly roll one of the small
jeeps back and forth over the rutted roadway tracks. Leave it to
stern and creepy Bloch to still be playing
with Army men while actually in the Army, Peter thought.
“So that soldier needs reeducation, needs to get back to basics. He
needs to learn to respect authority and
“Cut the crap, Bloch. Where’s Arnie?” Peter said as he stepped to
the table and grabbed the Sergeant’s
“I believe we can all be good soldiers, Corporal Jenkins. Here.”
Bloch picked up one of the tiny figures on the
hillside of dirt and handed it to Peter. “Go on, look at it.”
Peter stared at the tiny figure in his hand while Bloch
lifted something else from the table.
Opening his palm, Peter looked at the piece of plastic colored Army
green. It was just like any of the hundreds
he had lost or melted in the sun with a magnifying glass. Closing
his fingers around the toy, he lifted his arm to
slam it back against Bloch’s chest but was stopped by the Sergeant
shooting his hand out and grabbing Peter’s
wrist, holding it tightly.
“Say,” he began in a low, harsh voice, “this private had a problem
with drugs and I was his Commander. I
would have to discipline him, make him know who was in charge.”
Bloch’s voice dropped even lower as he
stepped closer to Peter. “I suggest you take a close look before
you throw him.”