Magic Man Plus 15 Tales of Terror
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by A.P. Fuchs
Description: 15 Tales of Darkness Lie Within this Thrilling Collection of Horrific Adventure
The Magic Man comes when you least expect him. Give him what he wants and he'll grant you your heart's desire, but are you prepared to pay the price?
A mother of two is en route to take her kids to the babysitter's when darkness envelops her car and covers the world in blacks and grays.
No matter how many times Sharon tries to beat the Spinning Room, someone always dies, unless she can find a way to conquer this tower of terror once and for all.
Jimmy learns plenty about his life when he encounters an evil version of himself in his car's rearview mirror.
A trip out to the family cabin is not what it seems and cigarette-loving Robert is granted the chill of his life.
It's dinner at the Michaels's Estate and Terrance Michaels must face the truth of what goes on beneath his house's roof.
Father Haldo has heard every sin imaginable. He just wasn't prepared to enter Booth 2 for this particular round of confessions.
Imagine waking up surrounded by damp soil only to find yourself in a room with half-buried bodies, faces sticking out from the dirt, and mysterious creatures called Benders. That's exactly what happens to Gary Smith when he finds himself in a place under the earth.
Bernie Calhoun knows nightmares, and the one he had about the Man in the Woods when he was a boy still haunts him to this day. To make matters worse, he realizes he might have brought something back with him into the real world long ago.
These tales and more await you within.
Gathering material spanning a decade, A.P. Fuchs shares his nightmares.
eBook Publisher: Coscom Entertainment, 2010 2010-07-09
eBookwise Release Date: July 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [317 KB]
Reading time: 199-279 min.
When the strange man approached Barry Snyder, he seemed to have appeared from nothingness. Barry was rounding a corner in the Exchange, the old part of Winnipeg, when the peculiar man stepped out from the shadows beneath an awning and extended a thin hand toward him.
"I can make her come back," the stranger said.
It took Barry a moment to realize the man was talking to him. There was no one else around.
"Excuse me?" Barry said.
"I said, 'I can make her come back.'"
Barry thought for a moment. Margaret? Is that who he's--No.
He eyed the man quizzically. The fellow wore a tight-fitting purple suit, with white candy stripes running vertically all the way from the collar to the pants' cuffs. Long brown hair hugged his face like a scarf, and a purple fedora, without the stripes, topped it all off. A wide white feather stood up proudly from the fedora's headband, something similar to the quills folks used to use as pens. The man's clothes reminded him of a magician's outfit, the kind that entertainers wore at carnivals.
"Sorry," Barry said and stuffed his hands in the pockets of his autumn coat. He walked around the man. A weight descended upon him, the reminder of losing Margaret heavy not just in his heart, but all over. "I'm not interested."
The words "bring her back" brought Margaret's memory to life. Barry had dated her in high school and for two years after that, while both attended the University of Manitoba. Barry had studied psychology and Margaret was in education. Toward the end of their second year, Margaret announced she didn't want to be with him anymore. He couldn't understand it, what with the talk of marriage and all. Turns out a week later, when he asked some of her friends if they had any ideas as to why she left him, Margaret was seeing another guy by the name of James Fielder. Worse, she had been seeing James behind Barry's back.
His heart shattered.
Margaret's betrayal haunted him for years until one day he gave up on the hope that, given a miracle, Margaret would come back to him. This was the very same day he found out Margaret and James got married and moved away to somewhere in the States.
The years went on, but Barry never forgot her, never forgot that girl with the blonde hair and dark eyes who he dated for four years. But that was just a memory, now. Even so, Barry never forgot her, never let her go. Not completely. Not a day went by when he wouldn't look up into the sky and pick a cloud, wondering if, by chance, Margaret was looking at the same cloud somewhere else. Of course, he knew that was impossible. Cloud cover ranged from region to region, so there was no way Margaret, if she was looking at a cloud, was looking at the same one. Regardless, the idea she might be gazing at the same puff of white in the sky was encouraging. It always calmed his aching heart.
There were times when, while in bed, tears dampened his eyes at the thought of her. He never stopped missing her, never stopped thinking about her.
Never stopped loving her.
He was thirty years old now. He was on his lunch break from work and nipped down to the Exchange District for a coffee. That's when he rounded the corner and met the man in the purple suit, saying he could bring her back.
When Barry was thirty paces away from him, the man called after him.
"I can bring her back, Barry. I promise."
Barry stopped in his tracks and glanced over his shoulder. The fellow looked straight back, hands raised shoulder-high in an apparent offer of friendship, his purple suit clashing with the browns and grays of the buildings.
Barry turned and kept walking, Margaret's face hovering in the fore of his thoughts. Whenever he thought of her, he always pictured how she looked during that second year of university, so full of youth and eagerness, excited to start a career as a teacher once she graduated. Sometimes he would think about what she looked like now, eight years later. She would look the same, but there would be a maturity about her, an evident expression containing wisdom from the years.
Suddenly, the man stepped in front of him. "I can bring Margaret back, Barry."
How--? He looked back over his shoulder. The spot where the man had been standing was empty. "How'd you--how'd you do that?"
"Doesn't matter," he said. "What does matter is I can bring her back. You want Margaret back, don't you? You want to be with her again. You can say it isn't so, but it's written all over your face. Your eyes gloss over immediately upon hearing her name. When I look at you, I see her."
"How do you know that? How do you know my name?" The whole thing was surreal, like being stoned and experiencing life through a fog. How often Barry had wished someone would walk up to him and guarantee just what this man said. How much he had wished someone would say they would bring Margaret back into his life and assure him their relationship would never end again.
"I've heard your prayers," the man said. "I can do this for you. If you let me." The man's hands were still raised, open, evidence of trust.
Heart beating hard and quick, Barry exhaled slowly. And, for a moment, he didn't care if this was real or not, if he was dreaming or awake.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm whoever you need me to be. I just want to bring her back, almost as much as you."
Magic Man, Barry thought.
"Magic Man?" the man said. "Well, I suppose that's as good a name as any. Magic Man, it is."
"How did you--"
The Magic Man offered a warm smile. "You don't need to know, but do know that I'm here for you."
Barry swallowed the lump in his throat. If this was truly happening, then this was his only chance to see Margaret again. To take back what James Fielder stole from him. What the Magic Man had in mind to accomplish such a thing, he had no idea. But, like earlier, he already decided to go along with it, no matter how strange this all was.
"How . . . . How do you plan on doing that? How do you even know about her, anyway?" Barry said. The wind picked up and swept through his thinning brown hair. He smoothed it back down with his palm.
"Like I said, I've heard your prayers. You wanted someone to make that ache in your heart go away. You wanted someone to simply say, 'Here you go. Here she is. Now go and be happy.' Well, I'm that someone. I can bring her back."
For a long moment, Barry considered his offer. Perhaps the Magic Man really could do what he said? After all, he somehow vanished from where he had been standing and suddenly appeared in front of him. No one could do that. No one human, anyway.
"Are you . . . God?" Barry asked. It was a foolish question, one that escaped his lips before he could restrain it.
The Magic Man laughed. "No, Barry, I'm not. And I'm not the devil, either, if that's what you're thinking. Which you are, by the way."
Barry's spine tingled. He did just think this guy was the devil.
"I'm just a good Samaritan," the man said, "and I want to help you." The man looked him in the eye. "What do you say?" He extended his hand for a handshake.
Barry thought of Margaret and how his heart burned when she said she didn't want to be with him. He thought of the sleepless nights for months afterward, kicking the sheets and bringing his fists down on the mattress, wondering why she left him for James. He never hated her, but was only frustrated by the ever-present pain she caused. He remembered dating other girls and how he ended those relationships because they never felt right, none of those girls ever measuring up to the standard Margaret set. Remembered his all-consuming desire to have her back, anything to ease the permanent pain in his heart.
"Sure," Barry said. "Might as well. I've got nothing left to lose." He took the Magic Man's hand in his. "You gotta deal. Anything for Margaret."
Barry had been here for so long, he didn't know what day it was. Worse, he didn't even know what year it was. Nearly every calm moment was spent regretting meeting the Magic Man. And nearly all moments, even during the searing pain of the Magic Man's torture, were spent thinking of Margaret.
It had been a long road.
Barry prayed it would soon be over. After meeting the Magic Man in the Exchange, the moment after shaking the Magic Man's hand, Barry knew he made the wrong decision. Yet, it couldn't have been completely wrong, could it? No.
This was for Margaret.
It was all for Margaret.
It would always be for her.
That day in the Exchange, the Magic Man led him around the corner and then around another into a back alley. Steam rose from the sewers and the alley was dark, even for the middle of the day. Garbage and old newspapers littered the ground, stirring in the light wind that swirled through the alley like water in a funnel.
"Wait right here," the Magic Man said.
Barry stood and watched the man in the white-striped purple suit squat down before a mound of garbage next to a BFI bin. With a thin hand, he pawed at the pile, pushing the garbage aside, revealing a rusted iron handle. The man turned it to the left, then all the way backwards in a circle. There was a low ka-chunk that echoed through the ground. Barry felt the same dull ka-chunk in his chest.
His heart skipped.
The man glanced over his shoulder and winked at him, then, curling his long fingers beneath the bottom rim of the BFI bin, the man hoisted the garbage bin up at a forty-five degree angle. Then he let go, and the BFI bin remained suspended in the air, without any support save for its opposite end that was still planted on the ground.
How--Before he could finish his thought, the man gestured with a finger for him to come closer.
Hesitantly, he neared him. The Magic Man must have caught the caution of his steps because he said, "Don't worry, Barry, I'm not going to bite you. You're just going to have to trust me. I can bring her back, but we have to go someplace first."
Barry stopped walking. "Where?"
The man eyed a dark area beneath the BFI bin. "Down there. I need you to do something for me. If you do, I'll bring Margaret back. If you don't, you can walk away now, no harm, no foul, just a missed opportunity."
Margaret. Anything for Margaret. I don't want to go with him. But I will. He knew my name. He knew about Margaret. I've never see him before in my life. I'll take a chance. Might as well. I've got nothing left to lose. Legs shaky, he approached the Magic Man. He took his hands out of his pockets just in case the Magic Man tried something, perhaps attempted to rob him.
"Tell you what," the Magic Man said, "I'll go in first. That way, you'll know I won't try anything." He gave Barry a knowing grin, one telling him he knew what Barry was thinking.
The Magic Man got on his belly and wriggled feet-first toward the dark spot beneath the dumpster. When his feet touched the shadow-like patch, the patch swirled, as if made of liquid, and the Magic Man's black and white spats disappeared into the goo. Soon he was waist-deep, and then was gone.
Barry stared after him wide-eyed then glanced down the alley, wondering if anyone was looking on. Nobody was around, not even a stray cat.
"What am I doing?" he said as he got to his knees and mimicked the man's movements by going on his belly, wriggling back feet-first beneath the dumpster.
The bottom of the BFI bin was a mere inch or two above his back and Barry's muscles ached with fear the dumpster might somehow fall off its invisible support and come crashing down.
"Come on, my friend," the Magic Man said from somewhere beneath him.
Friend? Barry peered over his shoulder, into the darkness that was the sharp crevice where the dumpster balanced on its rear rim.
Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath in an effort to calm himself. "Okay," he said, "here we go." He pushed against the pavement with his palms, feeling the cool syrup of the black goo through his shoes as his feet swam through it. Soon the thick cold of the goo was against his shins, then his thighs, his waist, his stomach, chest, shoulders, face, and, finally, arms and hands.
There was a ka-chunk when he dropped to the stone floor. He knew the dumpster had fallen back into place on the pavement above, the latch presumably locking itself.
Darkness surrounded him.