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    Walker's Vale
    John Zelenski
    James Cooper moved his family to Walker's Vale, Pennsylvania, in search of the ideal life. What he got was the just opposite. As this small town's eerie history is revealed and repeated, it's clear the devil is in the details and he's waiting for the Cooper's young daughter.

    Price:  $8.39

    book excerpt

    The pungent smell of gasoline burned
    quickly through my nostrils and settled
    deep into my throat. Coughing to the
    point of vomiting, I desperately fought to
    keep myself above the fluid surrounding
    me. On all sides as far as I could see, icy
    golden liquid moved hypnotically in wavelike
    patterns that crashed fiercely with each

    •• 61

    John J. Zelensk i

    roll. The devastating sound of each swell, louder than
    anything I could ever recall, pierced my ear drums as I
    felt warm liquid flow from each ear. Now, in utter and
    eerie silence I found myself alone in this demented sea
    of chaos.

    As I, again, brought my head to the surface, I began
    to feel the waves calm, and the putrid smell was replaced
    with an aroma of what can be best described as a sugary
    mix of sweet bread and warm chocolate. The bitter
    coldness of the liquid also began to warm to room temperature,
    allowing me to float almost effortlessly in its
    midst. Still unable to hear, I watched as two large cylindrical
    pillars rose from the sea and ascended as far as I
    could see into the red vapor atmosphere above me. In
    the center between the columns rose a marble stairway
    that was shaped much like a cubed maze in pattern.
    From the very top there shone a reddish metallic light
    that beckoned me to approach it. I couldn’t explain the
    overwhelming desire to reach the light; I only felt that
    somehow it was drawing me toward it. I lifted myself
    from the watery pit and began to climb this maze, one
    block at a time.

    Higher and higher I ascended, until the yellow sea
    below became like a small puddle. As I neared what
    appeared to be the pinnacle, the light from above began
    to grow dimmer, and the environment shifted once
    again. A bitter cold wind blew from all directions at me,
    as if some force was trying to throw me from the staircase.
    Just as I was about to lose my grip, a small angelic
    being lowered its tiny hand toward me; I desperately
    grabbed on to avoid what would have been undoubt

    62 • •

    Walker’s Vale

    edly my death. As the being pulled me to the surface
    where it stood, I could see that it was neither female nor
    male by appearance and was eight or ten-years-old. It
    had one of the most beautiful and otherworldly expressions
    I had ever seen. Its beautifully formed face sparkled
    with tiny beads of sunlight and its flowing bronze
    hair seemed to float effortlessly above the shoulders.

    I stood in its presence, awed by the majestic quality
    it radiated. As it glided around me, guided by its
    large powerful wings, the creature carefully examined
    me from top to bottom. It hovered behind me for what
    seemed like seconds, and without warning, the being
    made contact by gently touching my ears. A sudden
    rush of electricity flowed through me as I began to hear
    childish laughter from behind. As I turned to face my
    healer, the angelic entity began to transform before me
    into a distorted, hideous monstrosity. It laughed at me
    with an insane ferocity and lunged at me with pincher-like
    claws, obviously trying to tear me into shreds. Thick
    black smoke poured through the monster’s mammoth
    fangs, which reeked of poisonous, decaying elements.

    I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Jesus, help me
    please!” in absolute desperation.

    At once, the creature lunged backward and began to
    twist its body into a serpent-like coil. It released a piercingly
    loud howl as if in extreme torment while it continued
    to writhe and convulse its body. With nowhere
    to go, I decided the only way to escape the beast was
    to jump off of the ledge. With the demon now disoriented,
    I leaped from the edge back into the red mist
    and fell swiftly through the haze, turning end over end.

    •• 63

    As I began to accelerate rapidly toward the liquid bottom,
    I again was overcome with the intense smell of
    gasoline. I tried to reach out to grab either of the pillars,
    only to see them crumble into the sea below me. What
    was before a shimmering yellow ocean was now a black
    moving tide of insects and vermin. I could do nothing
    to stop myself as I fell directly into the cavernous pit.
    Spiders, centipedes, and other forms of bugs crawled
    on and inside me until I could no longer breathe, and
    I started to sink further into their abyss. I continued to
    fall deeper while I gasped for some oxygen—helplessly
    covered in crawling blackness. Until…
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