Macabre Sanctuary: Prepare to Be Spooked!

It’s almost Halloween! What better time for the release of an anthology that is sure to make you shudder, guaranteed to send goosebumps along your spine? Just looking at the cover gives me the chills!


I don’t usually write horror, but in 2009, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and enter a contest with a horror story I’d written. It was a flash fiction category at the Arkansas Writers Conference and I figured I could handle the 250 word limit. My story was titled “Initiation,” and it won 2nd Place.

A few months ago, Staci Troilo of AIW Press sent a call-out for an anthology of horror stories. “Why not?” I thought, and decided to expand “Initiation.”

Here’s an excerpt:

“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
Bradford Jones paced between Jake and Todd, sneering. “I’m not so sure either of the two of you are man enough to be members of the Skull and Jones.”
“Oh, I am, Supreme Chairman.” Jake nodded, eyes cast to the ground, lest the founder of Rockview High School’s secret society sense his fear.
A so-called farm club to the infamous Skull and Bones of Yale, the Skull and Jones, too, was so exclusive and clandestine, nobody knew the name of a single Jonesman—that’s what the members were called—except of course, everyone knew the name of the founder.
Who more appropriate to be Supreme Chairman of the society to which every freshman hoped to gain entry than Bradford Jones, a senior from Rockview’s most well-to-do family, quarterback of the football team, and presumptive valedictorian. Word on campus was that Bradford Jones would be leaving podunk Rockview, headed to Yale in the fall.
Todd replied in a deeper voice than Jake had recalled ever hearing before. “Supreme Chairman Jones, I have never been more ready for anything in my life.”
Oh, great. Jake’s reply might as well have been a lowly beetle, now squashed beneath Todd’s foot. Only one of them would be granted access to the Skull and Jones and Jake had to admit he was off to a shaky start. How he was even selected for such an organization, he’d never know. Todd was president of the freshman class and a star player on the junior varsity basketball team. What did Jake have to show for himself, besides taking honorable mention in the science fair?
Still, according to anyone who knew anything, acceptance into the society guaranteed success, possibly for life, especially if it would help him get into a school like Yale.
“Now, here’s the first test, plebes. What’s our motto?” Bradford Jones asked.
They both replied, “Anything to be a Jonesman.”
“Say it again.”
“Anything to be a Jonesman.”
“Again. Louder.”
Jake deepened his voice, though it cracked once. “Anything to be a Jonesman. Anything to be a Jonesman.”
Bradford Jones hovered over Jake, hands clasped behind his back. “You do understand the requirement to successfully complete an initiation of my choosing before you’ll gain entry into our ranks?”

If you’d like to read the rest of the story, or one of nine other spooky short stories by nine talented authors, click HERE to download the Kindle version.

FREE for a limited time!

For information on other authors:

Joan Hall:
Mae Clair:
Jan Morrill:
Staci Troilo:
Pamela Foster:
Stacy Claflin:
Michele Jones:
K. E. Lane:
Harmony Kent:
C. S. Boyack: (Lisa Burton)

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7 Responses to Macabre Sanctuary: Prepare to Be Spooked!

  1. Staci Troilo says:

    So glad you decided to break out of your comfort zone, because your story is wonderful.


  2. Mae Clair says:

    Jan, I absolutely LOVED Initiation. Fab story with a kick-butt ending. Kudos to you!


  3. Joan Hall says:

    Jan, I loved your story. The ending totally surprised me. I didn’t see that coming. Like Staci, I’m glad you stepped out of your comfort zone!


  4. Loved the story. Challenging ourselves in writing or whatever we do is always a bit scary, but improves us.


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