Saturday, November 2, 2013




WELCOME TO LATHAM’S LANDING


            Latham’s Landing is a cursed island mansion that dwells like a sitting spider on a long clear lake in the northeastern United States. The stones that make its skeleton are red granite, bleached in spots to white and pink. Lights form at night in its windows, though the electricity there has been off for some time. Winding out from the isle is a long narrow stone bridge that snakes to a house of glass known as The Sea Room. On some nights, The Sea Room also lights up, burning like a pyre of Hell as it welcomes in new victims.
            How many have died on the shores of the island, or within the walls of the mansion are unclear. What is known are the many drownings in the waters just around the island. The shallow water is home to many hidden rocks ready to gore a boat’s bottom. Winds tend to come up out of nowhere, becoming tempests of lightning and rough waves in mere minutes that overturn boats with childish ease. Time passes differently there, the hours slipping away like minutes.
            To those that spend the time to research the haunted isle, there is also one other troubling characteristic: the house changes. Return through a doorway you just left, and you may find yourself in a room that you’ve never seen before. What was once a wall may suddenly have a door…and the door you ran to for escape may suddenly disappear. Part of the house is sunken, or so the tales tell. But more than one fisherman has returned with his catch to report a house that sits up on dry land, no contact with water visible. The tides ebb and flow, is what some say. However, no one who goes looking for the proof of that ever comes back.
            Disappearances stack up back from the owner’s time. Hans Latham was a shipping tycoon who made his fortune in transport. Some say on foggy nights they hear a clipper ship’s foghorn sound on the lake. Others report a ghost ship covered with algae and flying tattered sails, crewed by a host of skeletons. It is hard to say really, what is truth and what comes from fear. For the isle wears an unspeakable menace like a permanent cloak, and none who come close enough to see anything—and live to tell about it—ever tell all that they have seen.
            It is said that the island is able to sense your fears, to reach into your soul and see what most terrifies you...and bring those fears to life. Some people report dead loved ones beckoning to them from the shore. Others tell of haunting music floating on the breeze, plaintive and melancholy. But most report a shadowy male figure that waits on the shore appearing near dusk. He will not answer any mortal’s call, and never leaves the shore. Not long after, a wind often springs up, storm clouds appear on the horizon, and the waves began to heighten. Those who report seeing him—for most everyone agrees it must be Latham’s ghost—don’t fish those waters again, if they make it back to shore. For it is well known the island takes offense with those few that manage to successfully escape its storms, enacting terrible vengeance if they dare its waters again.
            What exactly haunts Latham’s Landing? Certainly Latham himself, and also possibly his wife, who died there. A woman is sometimes sighted near The Sea Room, dressed in flowing gauze with ribbons in her short hair. There are two reported sightings of a ghost child within the mansion, a boy with needle teeth who asks for his missing father. There are still more reports of a crying girl with long hair on the shore. She plays a flute stained with blood. Like Latham, it is said these spirit apparitions come in advance of storms.
            Strangers come from time to time, looking for paranormal activity. They usually say they have experience; that they know what is waiting for them out there on Latham’s Landing. They bring along lifejackets, just in case they get marooned there. They quote that the police are available with an easy call to 911, and that they are not afraid of ghosts. They go, either with permission or without, sometimes sneaking out with oars in the middle of the night. We find their gear, their boats, sometimes even their personal effects. But we never find them. Not alive, anyway.
            You want to go on to Latham’s Landing? Go ahead. Yes, I’ll rent you a boat. I’ve done my duty and warned you. I won’t stop you, though I must insist you fill out this waiver, which says you are liable for any damage to the boat and equipment. Go on, the isle is waiting for you. It already knows you’re coming. I wish you Godspeed where you’re going, and I hope you get there. I don’t think I’ll be seeing you again. If by some 100-1 chance you do survive, you will not be the same. No one is, once they set foot on Latham’s Landing.


Blurb:  Three novella-length tales of suspense and horror of the haunted sunken Isle mansion known as Latham's Landing

The Origin of Fear
Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham’s Landing—an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths—to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

All That Remains
Sandra has come to Latham’s Landing seeking to discover what really happened to her relative who disappeared there years before, persuading her reluctant friend Tina that a little paranormal investigation will be fun.

The Fire Within
A bitter Caroline Stone embarks on a mission to destroy the evil isle estate that took her fiancé, joining with several others also out for retribution. Can the combined fire of their hate triumph over the relentless evil of Latham’s Landing?

Excerpt:

     It was a clear calm night. Carolyn watched the lake waves lapping the shore, then looked out into the blackness.
The cursed house was out there, waiting. Latham’s Landing. It had killed Rob. It hadn’t been any accident. Tonight she was here to settle the score.
She hefted the three 5-gallon cans and five 1-gallon cans of gas into the boat one by one. It had taken a stop at each station on the long journey here to not arouse suspicion. That last place she’d had to buy three, and the guy had taken her name. That didn’t matter though. By tomorrow, she’d have burned all that stood on Latham’s Landing down to the bare red granite.
It was said if you went to the island, you never came back. That was fine. Without Rob, she didn’t want to live. The fire within her raged, its fury poisonous. She would destroy the cursed house, or die.
***
Hours later, Carolyn swam up to shore, then lurched through the waves, choking and sputtering. Coughing up lake water, she went to her knees on the shore, crawling back onto the dry land, her hair a Medusa’s nest, her clothes sodden.
Nothing had gone as planned. The tides that she’d researched had been off, swinging her around the far side of the island where there was nowhere to dock. Stranger, she’d felt a wind on the mainland shore when she’d launched the boat, yet there had been none on the water.
When she’d finally managed to get on the right side of the island, she’d run out of gas. Bewildered, she’d checked the tank to see it was empty. In the lightening sky, her suspicion was proven true. Her watch revealed that the night had passed in what seemed to her several hours. So she’d turned for the shore with the oars, cursing, figuring to come back the next night.
That was when the wind had begun to blow.
At first it was a soft breeze, lightly tickling her neck with wisps of her hair. Then it became stronger, the force intensifying until the boat was rocking in the choppy waves, her hair plastered to her skull from water and wind. Determined, she’d filled the tank with the spare marine gas she’d brought, then cranked the engine to life.
Where the rocks had come from, she wasn’t sure. But the bottom of the boat had peeled away like a can opener had rent it, water spilling in to cover her feet. She’d jumped and began swimming, sure that she’d end up on the rocks herself, another victim of the island. Instead, she’d made it to shore, disheveled but alive, gas containers bobbing beside her in the waves.
She turned to stare at the house, its red granite rock sparkling in the new dawn. “You haven’t beaten me,” she hissed, shaking her fist at it. “I’ll be back.”

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1 comment:

Regina Paul said...

Hey Tara!

Congrats on another new book! ;-)

Regina