September 25, 2009

Halloween Read: The Witch Tree

With October just around the corner, thoughts, well at least mine, I confess, turn to Halloween.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed getting scared. No, I don’t enjoy being scared – big difference in real life. But in fiction, a good scare, a few goosebumps, a Stephen King back-of-the-neck feeling is a good thing.

In hard economic times, especially, what beats opening a book or reading a story that’ll have you double-checking to make sure the door is locked and have you jumping at every little sound?

When I wrote my short, THE WITCH TREE, it started with the huge flocks of blackbirds that gathered in the trees at the wetlands in front of my Wisconsin home. By early summer and late fall, usually one tree became a kind of avian gathering spot with tens, twenties, hundreds of birds gathering together in this crazy, screeching mass.

You couldn’t help but wonder… what were they telling each other? What were they planning?

That’s what my character, Jimmy Grayson, wonders in The Witch Tree. He was looking for utopia. Instead he found….them. Jimmy soon is tormented by his own obsession to destroy those that torture him.

It’s him vs. them…. Who will win?

Excerpt from THE WITCH TREE by C.A. Verstraete:

What he noticed first was the sound.

Jimmy Grayson lifted his head from the grimy pillow, stared at the open window, and cringed. The onslaught seemed to come from every direction. He placed a hand over his ear to try to block it out. No such luck. High-pitched screeches, nonstop chattering, the endless wall of freaking sound was making him crazy.

In one swift motion, he threw off the dingy, worn quilt, catapulted from the bed, and rushed to the window. "Shut up!" he screamed, not caring how unhinged he sounded. "Shut the hell up!"

It stopped.

Ahhh. A deep sigh escaped him; an appreciation for the quiet filled him. He exhaled in a soft whoosh of air. The muscles in his neck relaxed as the tension left. His eyes closed almost of themselves-then popped open as the cacophony started up again.
The endless, unendurable shrieks, chirps, and chatters surrounded him from all sides like a blanket. With each passing second, the sound from hundreds of blackbirds increased in volume.

** I dare you to read on! Turn the lights low, get out your
Kindle or Sony ereader, or fire up the laptop and read THE WITCH TREE. Oh, don’t forget to lock the door!

* Buy THE WITCH TREE at Fictionwise
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