My editor recommended that I post some of our cutting room floor excerpts from the manuscript on my blog. I was digging through some of them and came across something that's perfect for Halloween. So, here is a story from the manuscript FREAK which is not going to be in the finished book. Very fun, and all true. It took place when I was in high school with my best friend Carol.
Carol's parents had bought her a car. We spent many a lazy afternoon driving around the back roads and dirt lanes between Briggsville and the neighboring towns. Autumn approached, and endless rows of corn started to tassel in the fields. That's when we found the voodoo house, as we liked to call it.
A favorite habit was to find old farmhouses and see if we could get inside and explore. Unlike my brother Frank, who had turned me on to the idea, we didn't look for things to destroy. Frank had burnt, demolished and torn apart innumerable abandoned houses in his quest for destruction. Even today, decades later, he drives around, tool in the back seat, looking. His favorite things were houses with crystal doorknobs, which exploded under one blow from a hammer, or furniture, which could be used as a battering ram to tear apart walls and knock down doors. He and his hooligans once shoved an old grand piano straight through the wall and bay window of a beautiful, lonely old house.
Carol and I spotted the voodoo house on top of a hill. It had a dilapidated old barn with a caved-in roof behind it, but there was nothing of interest in there. The dirt lane was overgrown with weeds and the grass was waist high. Perfect. We parked as close as we could get and climbed the rest of the way.
Rotten and sagging, the porch groaned under our careful weight. I found a side window partially open and we wiggled inside.
Rosemary's Baby and Race with the Devil combined inside that freakish house. Who knows what sad grannie and grandpa haunted that place, appalled by what had become of their once lovely home. Carol and I wandered the first floor in superstitious silence, our hair standing on end.
Pentagrams were etched in black graphite on the walls and floors of every room. Occult magazines and Ouija boards lay in messy piles in the living room and several small, controlled fires had been lit on the floor, surrounded by a ring of stones. Eight inch squares had been cut through the ceiling and upper floors directly above the burnt wood, apparently to allow the smoke to escape. Demons and goat's head monsters, drawn on newsprint, were taped on the four walls of the living room, and decapitated birds lay burnt in the green fireplace. Worst of all, though, were the baby dolls.
That's all for now. Will write another installment tomorrow!