In honor of the Halloween season, I'd like to share something spooky with you tonight.
I sold a short story called 'The Powerful Bad Luck of DD Dupree' to Abyss&Apex back in 2004. It's one of the few stories I've set in the so-called real world. It takes place in 1974, in a small Southern town very much like the one in which I grew up.
It centers around a curse. A very Southern sort of curse, one born of drunken hatred and a wasted life. I was, and am, very proud of the scene in which DD Dupree comes face to face with the source of his infamous bad luck. It's probably one of the best scenes I've ever written.
You can read the story by clicking the link HERE.
Or, you can sit back and listen to the story being read aloud, by yours truly.
Here's the link to the audio version. Just follow it, and click the red PLAY arrow by the title. No downloading, no messing about with apps or podcast stuff. Just click play.
Several of the people and places in the story are based on real people, and real locations. The Browney Woods was actually called the Old Dump Road, and it was a community open dumping ground, the kind of 1970s environmental horror that would never be allowed to exist today. But back then, people simply collected all their trash and drove it down the winding dirt road, until they saw an open spot in the heaps of rotting trash. Then they pulled over, dumped their garbage, and went their merry way.
I always hated that place. It stank. No, it reeked. And there was something in the air, below the fetid odor of decay. Something injured. Something angry. Something that almost welcomed the decaying, the cast-off, the unclean. I always felt eyes upon me there. Cruel, hungry eyes, eyes that looked out of a face shaped by Hell itself.
I still believe something dark crept among the dunes of trash. Today, the heaps of garbage are gone. Bulldozed flat, covered with hard red clay. It's a subdivision now, peppered with cheery red brick houses. I doubt any of the homeowners know what lies beneath the clay.
I don't ever drive that road.
Wade Lee, he was real, too. He lost both his legs and one arm to a corn picker, and he was given a tin-roofed shack as compensation. As a kid, I drank from his rain-barrel, talked to him on his porch. He wasn't bitter, and I suppose that was why I always suspected he had magic of some kind. Maybe he did.
I hope you enjoy the story. And if it raises the hair on the back of your neck, or causes you to look up when the wind moans as it rushes past, well -- that's a Halloween gift, just for you.