Archive for July, 2014

Deep Dark Woods — An Excerpt

Posted in Excerpts, Published Works, Storefront with tags , , on July 25, 2014 by Ty Schwamberger

      After scurrying about to set up the tents and gear the rain suddenly subsided. A light mist was all that was left of the downpour. It was light enough that no extra protection from the elements was needed. A few rays of sunshine shone through the grey clouds and reached the forest floor.

      The first order of business after securing shelter, as any good outdoorsman would know, was to search for wood to build a fire. The fire ring had already been generously left by the last inhabitants of the campsite, so they wouldn’t need to worry about searching for rocks. They would need a supply of firewood and plenty of it. This might have posed a problem for some that weren’t schooled in the ways of the outdoors, but not for Jake. He had been a Boy Scout for many years when he was younger. During his time in the scouts, Jake even advanced to become the Scout’s highest honor, an Eagle Scout. He knew how to survive off the elements if needed and sure as hell knew where to find dry wood even after it rained. Even though he hadn’t been camping since college, he had no doubt that he still remembered all the skills and possessed the aptitude it took to survive and take care of his family out in ‘the wild’. Though, the idea of having the family truck nearby didn’t hurt his confidence any.

      Grabbing his trusty bowie knife (the same one he had had since high school and the one he used to fend off the attacking pigs from his and his wife’s camping trip back in college) from a backpack, he made sure the girls were comfortable at the campsite, kissed each on the forehead, sheathed the knife on his hip, and headed into the trees. Right before he turned behind a cluster of trees and went out of sight, he peered over his shoulder, saw the girls watching him, and gave them a big wave. Even from the distance he could tell that both had worried looks on their faces, but they were smiling anyway, and waving back.

      “So, what do you want to do?” Sam asked.

      “Heck if I know, Mom. You’re the one that has been camping before, not me. How should I know what to do? I mean, do we paint our faces with mud and run around the fire once it’s built or what?”

      Sam laughed. “I don’t think that is quite what your Dad had in mind. You’re making it sound like Lord of the Flies or something.”

      Sam wished she hadn’t used that book reference. It made her think about the last time she was in the woods…the boars, the blood, the first time she and Jake had ever…

      “Anyway,” Sam continued, “I think it was awfully nice of your dad to plan a family getaway, even if it is in the woods.”

      “What do you mean, ‘even if it is in the woods’, Mom?”

      Sam really didn’t want to tell her daughter what had happened her first and only time camping, but figured she’d better. It might help save her life one day, Sam thought to herself, as she began the story.

      Once the story was finished, Alexis replied with “oh, my God” and looked behind her. She didn’t want any wild animals sneaking up on her, especially nothing that could stick and then slice her into a hundred pieces. She knew she could handle a squirrel, a deer, maybe even baiting a worm on a hook to go fishing in the stream that her father said was close by, but nothing that looked mean and could cause her any real harm. Sure, she knew that if she accidently stuck herself with an old, rusty fishing hook that was dried with worm and fish guts she might catch something, but a shot in the arm could cure that. It would be nothing close to having a wild pig chasing her, rearing its head back, plunging its horns into her…

      “Sweetie…are you ok?” Sam asked, shaking the girl’s leg.

      “Huh, what? Oh, sure, Mom…I’m just peachy.”

      The rest of the time Jake was away, the girls made themselves useful by setting up some equipment and goods: cooking pots and pans, eating utensils, jugs of drinking water, citronella candles and a few other odds and ends. Sam lit the candles when they were finished. The last thing she needed, besides another little piggy showing up, was to be eaten alive by mosquitoes. After they were finished, they sat down on a few upturned logs surrounding the cold fire ring and stared at each other.

      Sam finally broke the silence.

      “So, sweetie. Tell me more about Greg.”

      “Geez, Mom. Do I really have to?” Alexis muttered.

      “Well, of course you don’t have to. But, believe it or not, I remember how it was to be twelve and have a boyfriend for the first time and think he is the love of your life. I know you think I’m old and all, but even I remember who my first kiss was with…it was your father, of course,” Sam said, giving her daughter a quick wink.

      “Yeah, sure, Mom. Like I really believe that it was Dad. Especially since I know you didn’t meet him till you two were in college. So it must have been someone else that you had your first kiss with.”

      “Hey, now. Didn’t your teachers ever tell you to never answer a question with a question? I’m here to talk to you openly and honestly but…”

      “I know, I know…”

      “Okay, so?”

      “Greg, yeah, okay…sure, he’s okay. He’s cute and all but I’m not so sure about the whole kissing thing, though,” Alexis lied.

      “You have never thought about what it would be like to kiss him?” Sam asked.

      “Well…I don’t know…geez, Mom.”

      “Okay, okay…you don’t have to tell me. But, let me just say, that all guys are after one thing and one thing only…and that thing is–”

      “Okay, Mom, geez…I gotcha…I know. I know you don’t have to say IT.”

      Grinning at her daughter, Sam said to herself, I really hope she waits till she is ready…girls today

      She looked past Alexis and into the woods where Jake had vanished some time ago. She was starting to get worried about him but didn’t want to let on to Alexis that her father might be in trouble.

      I’m sure he is fine. I hope. He’s either having trouble carrying back all the firewood he found or can’t find any. Shit. If he doesn’t find any dry wood what will we do? It will be pitch black at night without a fire burning; we won’t be able to see if some animal wanders into the campsite. Hell, the thing would be able to…

      Sam didn’t want to think about the consequences.

      She got up from the log she had been sitting on, strolled past her daughter and looked into the deep woods. She hoped that Jake would walk out of the trees at any moment, carrying a night’s supply of firewood, but for some reason didn’t think it would happen.

      Something was wrong.

      She could feel it.

Advertisements

Deep Dark Woods — Released!

Posted in Published Works, Storefront with tags , , on July 5, 2014 by Ty Schwamberger

Deep Dark Woods_cover

Crowded Quarantine Publications (UK) has officially released my 400+ page monster novel, Deep Dark Woods, in both Trade Paperback and Kindle. Below is the decription and how to order a copy.

Jake Jennings thought a camping trip would be a great way to reconnect with his family. But when he mysteriously disappears after heading off in search of firewood, his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Alexis, are left all alone in the woods, searching, hoping, and for the time being, surviving.

Four college friends are on their way to spend a weekend in the woods for a college research project and, of course, a little partying. But as they near their destination, they are run off the road by another car. After losing one of their number in the crash, the friends must find a way back to the sanctuary of their school.
 
Park Ranger Carl Stevens has been on the job for eight long years, through good times and bad. Just when he thinks it couldn’t get any worse, his tedious life is turned upside down when he almost hits a girl, running from the woods and into the middle of the road. But that’s the least of his worries, especially once he hears what she’s been running from.
 
Can an everyday Park Ranger save the girl, find the missing family, and stay alive long enough to celebrate?
 
Because not everyone survives what’s lurking inside the deep dark woods…
 
Available in Trade Paperback:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

Publisher (UK)

Available in eBook:

Amazon (Kindle – US)

Amazon (Kindle – UK)

“Piticul” (Gnomus)

Posted in Foreign Editions, Published Works with tags , , on July 4, 2014 by Ty Schwamberger

Revista de Suspans_No 18_2014

Revista de suspans is a Romanian horror zine who first translated my short story “One Brew Too Many?” in September 2013. They have now translated and published my short story “Gnomus” in their new issue.

“Gnomus” is a 2,200 word short story. The tale centers around Steven whom is newly retired and is becoming increasingly annoyed by his wife’s “to do” list. Little does Steven know Deborah has an unique way to make sure he completes everything on her list.

Below are the links to the story in both Romanian and English.

“Piticul”

“Gnomus”