HorrorAddicts.net recently published a book titled HORRIBLE DISASTERS. It is an anthology of horror short stories set during historical natural disasters. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to benefit Rescue Task Force, a charity organization that has been providing support to victims around the world since 1988.
Edited by Larriane Barnard, it features a poem by Garth von Buchholz and short stories by Emerian Rich, Mark Eller, Laurel Anne Hill, Michael McGee, Steve Merrifield, Ed Pope, Jennifer Rahn, Timothy Reynolds, Chris Ringler, Heather Roulo, Philip 'Narvaljoe' Carroll, and yours truly.
My story, "Darkness", takes place in April 1815 in the Dutch East Indies during the eruption of Mount Tambora. This eruption was so large that ash from the volcano entered the atmosphere and caused severe shifts in the climate across Europe and North America, well beyond 1816, which has become known as the Year Without A Summer.
The supernatural aspect of the tale centers around the Indonesian creature called a kuntilanak, which is like a vampiric ghost. There are many legends, but typically the kunti is the spirit of a woman who died while pregnant. It can take many forms, both horrifying and beguiling. If it is not stopped, it will kill its victims, usually men -- especially those who wronged them in life, by clawing at them and devouring their organs. There are few ways to stop one, but I'll leave that to you, good reader, to discover by reading my tale.
The story was inspired by the poem of the same name by Lord Byron, which was written in 1816 when he spent that cold, rainy summer in Switzerland with his physician Dr. John William Polidori, and their friends Percy and Mary Shelley. This epic group spent that miserable summer entertaining themselves by sharing ghost stories and even penning a few. Polidori wrote what would become the grandfather of gothic horror stories, The Vampyre. Mary Shelley wrote a fragment of a tale which would eventually become her masterpiece, Frankenstein. If it were not for the enormous eruption of Mt. Tambora, casting its darkness so far, the world may never have seen the birth of romantic gothic literature and horror stories as we know them today.
I invite you to find out more about the book (on sale now at Amazon), enjoy some fantastic stories, and help out a good cause at the same time.