Today I am posting the 3rd chapter of my book, The Night Terror. You can read the first two chapters here: Chapter 1 / Chapter 2
You can purchase the book here: The Night TerrorIf you have read the book, please share this blog with others on Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you use. Your help getting the word out is greatly appreciated!! Thank you, Tim. The Night TerrorChapter 3
Aaron Elijah Foster had led an exciting life. He had spent almost a decade as a good, highly decorated homicide detective in Chicago. During his years on the force, he had saved eight lives and helped solve twenty-seven murders. He was highly respected, but all that changed, when Susan was brutally murdered. He and Susan had been married for almost 12 years. In fact, the murder happened just a week before their 12th anniversary. After she died, Aaron lost his desire to work or to live. He could not bring himself to investigate more murders, knowing each one would be torment, causing him to relive Susan’s death.
The night of Susan’s murder, Aaron had heard the call go out over the scanner and rushed home. He was off duty and already travelling home with groceries. He was only a block away when he heard the call so he was the first on scene. When he walked into the
house, he saw the bloody body of his wife on the kitchen floor and the body of the assailant a few feet away. The assailant’s knife was on the floor next to his left hand and his body was lying in a pool of blood. Andy was kneeling on the floor holding his mother’s hand and a 9mm Beretta. Sobbing, Aaron broke down and embraced his son. Within minutes, a squad car and an ambulance pulled into the Foster’s driveway. Aaron explained that he had arrived home and discovered the assailant had attacked Susan. He said he shot the man, but he was actually covering for Andy. He knew it was wrong to lie on the report, but he wanted to protect his son from being questioned. Everything else about that night had escaped Aaron’s mind. The trauma was too much. He was never able to work homicide again.
One year later, Aaron moved to Carbondale, Illinois. He applied for a job with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Park Ranger in Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. This was a far cry from working homicide in Chicago. Life was slower,
everything was more peaceful and the air was clean. He loved the outdoors and believed he had finally found a place he could start a new life. Nature seemed to bring him some peace. Listening to all the forest sounds—the water trickling, the birds chirping, the
squirrels scurrying—gave him serenity. He was enjoying the sights and sounds of nature when he met his second wife, Marcia. She was hiking one of the trails in the park. She noticed him working on a damaged sign and asked him some questions about the history
of the trail. She was gorgeous. As soon as Aaron saw her, he was intoxicated by her beauty. For the first time in years he thought he could love again. You could say it was love at first sight, but mostly he thought she was just really good looking. Aaron was a tall, rugged man who worked out frequently and spent much of his time outside,
so Marcia found him attractive as well.
Marcia Teresa Diego had recently graduated from law school at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU C). She was Latin American and the youngest of three children having an older sister and brother. Southern Illinois had always been her
home. Her parents, however, had immigrated to the United States from Mexico and found work in the farms near Cobden, Illinois. They were very destitute. Growing up in a Hispanic family was challenging. They were very poor and made their living by working hard every day. Many people looked down on them. Marcia’s family had legally immigrated to the United States, but because they were Hispanic farmers, most people assumed they had immigrated illegally. Very few people offered to help the Diego family with one major exception. A local priest became close friends with the family. Marcia looked at Father Benjamin as family, calling him Uncle Ben. This embarrassed her parents, but Father Benjamin said he thought it was humorous. When Marcia was a little girl, Father Benjamin told her that he would make sure she could go to school and become whatever she dreamed of. Marcia said, “I want to make a difference when I grow up. I want to help out those who can’t help themselves.” Father Ben smiled, “I am sure you will do just that little one!”
Marcia had a very difficult life. Her older sister, Stephanie, disappeared and was never seen again. Her parents thought Stephanie had run away because she left the house after an intense argument with her mom. Because they never heard back from her, they concluded she had not merely run away but had been kidnapped or killed. The police had found one lead, but could never locate the suspect. It was as though he had also disappeared. After a few years, it was classified as a cold case, and she was presumed dead.
When Marcia turned 17, Father Benjamin kept his promise. He helped pay her way through college. It was their secret; Marcia told her family she had received a scholarship. Father Ben never said otherwise, he considered it a scholarship from above. Marcia did work as a waitress and paid half, but Father Ben paid the other half
of her expenses for undergraduate work and then law school. After her graduation from law school, Marcia was hired by a local law firm that specialized in offering legal services to the poor. When Marcia met Aaron, it was like her life had reached a pinnacle. Having lost his first wife, Aaron had become gentle. He didn’t seem to take life for granted and he treated Marcia like a princess. This all happened after that first encounter. That day
Marcia first asked for directions, but after talking for a few minutes asked Aaron for his phone number. “Mr. Foster, you have been very helpful. I wonder, however, if I could call you in case I have more questions, about the park, of course.” “Well, Marcia, you can call me Aaron. Since you would be calling me with questions ‘about the park,’ I see no harm in giving you my personal number.” They both laughed and exchanged contact
After a few calls and many texts, they went on their first date. Aaron was so nervous. He assumed that since Marcia was Mexican, she would prefer going to a Mexican restaurant. She was very gracious and accepted and they had a great time. At the end of the date, she asked if she could choose the location of the next restaurant. “Aaron, thank you so much for tonight. If we are going on any future dates, however, I must confess I really like Chinese food.” They both laughed and he agreed to take her out for Chinese next time. They began to date often. They went to see movies, went out to dinner and Aaron began to bring Andy on some of the dates. They were married three months after the meeting in the park. Marcia loved Andy and made every attempt to be the best step-mother possible. For several months, they operated like a perfect family, but as time went on things began to fall apart.
Working as an attorney was very taxing on Marcia who began spending more and more time working. Each case seemed to affect her personally. To escape the stress, she relied more on her friends and less on her family. She wasn’t intentionally leaving them out of
her life, she just felt like she couldn’t connect with Aaron as well as she could with her best friend, Brenda. “I have a very demanding job,” she would say to Aaron in defense of her late nights. Everyone knew that things were falling apart.
Aaron and Andy were almost at Devil’s Canyon Lake, a secluded area within the Cedar Bluff National Wildlife Refuge. Not too much activity took place in mid-October, but Aaron wanted to check on some college students who were camping in the park. When they arrived on Friday, Aaron made sure they didn’t have any alcohol and checked them for signs of drug use. They seemed clean, but he figured that just the fact that it was guys and girls could spell trouble. Sometimes that combination can be intoxicating enough,
especially when camping near a lake. Aaron had asked one of the other Rangers, Kevin, to periodically check on them. Knowing there would probably be some activity, he wanted to prevent them from harming themselves during the night.
As they approached the campground, the first thing to catch Aaron’s attention was skid marks on the road. Parking his truck on the edge of the highway, he climbed out and started to tell Andy to stay inside. Aaron had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t even noticed Andy was sleeping until that moment. Deciding not to wake Andy, he locked the truck doors and walked over to the skid marks with his flashlight in hand.
He followed the skid marks and realized they led off the road. He walked to a tree a few feet away and realized it had been hit by something. Approaching it, he shined his flashlight on it, revealing traces of red paint. His pulse began to race as the sense of urgency increased.
As he looked down the embankment, his flashlight beam bounced off something metallic; he realized it was the wheel of an overturned car in the gully. Running toward the car, he recognized it was a red Mercedes—Marcia’s car. Growing faint, Aaron continued to rush toward the car and slid as he approached it. He got on his stomach and looked into the car. Deflated airbags were everywhere and a roll bar had automatically deployed when the car flipped. He had trouble seeing because everything was so dark, but he could tell that Marcia was not in the car. He felt some type of liquid on the ground and dipped his finger into it. Examining it, he realized it was blood and concluded Marcia must have sustained some type of injury. He could only imagine the condition she must
be in, if she was even alive. “I can’t think like that,” he told himself,
“I must find her.”
For those reluctant to purchase my book, I decided to give you a sneak peak into the first three chapters. You can read chapter 1 here: Chapter 1
You can purchase the book here: The Night Terror Remember, it would make a great Christmas gift. Here is the next chapter... The Night Terror Chapter 2
Andy’s mother, Susan, was a beautiful woman, loving wife and mother, who cared deeply for her family. Aaron and Andy loved her very much. Her life had come to a sudden and tragic end when she was beaten and murdered; Andy was only 10 years old
at the time. According to the police statement Aaron shot Susan’s murderer, but Aaron knew differently; the assailant had actually been shot by son. It was self defense, but this tragic night had changed Andy. He would never talk about it; he couldn’t, he had been mute ever since.
Aaron went back to the bathroom and tried removing the ceramic from his back one last time. He was able to get most of the shards out then took an Ace bandage and wrapped it around his torso as best as he could. He figured he could have it looked at in the morning when he went to work. He began to wonder if his wife would be coming home soon. Aaron had recently remarried but was already experiencing marital strife. His wife had a tendency to stay out late with friends. On an occasional weekend, she would
not come home until the next day. Aaron began to think this would be one of those nights. He hardly ever saw her and wondered how long their marriage would last. In addition to not spending much time with Aaron, she had a very demanding job.The stresses of her job were wearing down her patience and only fragmented their communication more. Aaron became depressed and decided to try to go back to sleep to escape the pain of reality; he just hoped that he would not dream of the monster again.
After 10 minutes of lying awake, Aaron knew he could not go back to sleep. He kept thinking about his failed life, and whenever he closed his eyes he saw a vivid image of that beast and the trail of blood in its wake. He was tormented and could not escape the despair of emotional separation from those he loved. He found himself completely unable to slow his heartbeat. He had a sense of urgency to get out of the house; feeling as though there was something he had to do. He had no idea why, but he felt a strong desire to go to the campground. He remembered his nightmare; the monster had been at the campground at Devil’s Canyon Lake. Maybe that was why he wanted to go or maybe he actually was sensing something wrong. He hoped going would ease his mind. The idea of checking things out, calming his fears and proving to himself that it was in fact a dream offered him hope of attaining some solace. Escaping his torment seemed to be the only way he would find peace for the upcoming day.
Aaron proceeded to the bathroom to prepare for his journey. He took a cold shower; something about the sensation of cold water on his spine made him feel alive. To some degree he liked pain, it energized him and renewed his strength.
While he showered and dressed Aaron debated whether or not to take Andy with him. The way he saw it, he had four options: first, he could wake Andy and let him know he was leaving; second, he could leave him a note; third, he could leave and hope he would be back before Andy woke up; or lastly, he could take Andy with him.
He felt a strong sense that something was wrong but kept telling himself it was all in his imagination. This would be so much easier if his wife, Marcia, was home. Aaron called her cell phone but instead of ringing, it went directly to voice-mail. “Ah, her phone is off,” thought Aaron. He decided she was sleeping at her friend, Brenda’s, house; it would not be the first time. He decided not to call Brenda in the middle of the night; it would
just escalate things. Instead, he wrote a note for Marcia in case she returned while he was away.
Aaron decided to wake Andy instead of leaving him alone. Andy was a gentle young boy with a small frame, sandy brown hair and his mother’s deep blue eyes. He had a face that glowed with innocence. Although he was every bit of 13, Aaron still saw a five year old boy. Andy rubbed his eyes and spoke to his dad in sign language. “What is wrong, dad,” he signed. Aaron audibly replied to Andy, “I just feel that something is wrong at one of the campgrounds, and I am going to check it out.”
He could see fear in Andy’s eyes as if he too were replaying a bad dream. With a look of determination, Andy nodded and signed, “I will get dressed and come with you.” Andy climbed from bed, changed clothes and met his father downstairs. They clambered
into Aaron’s truck and headed for the campground. The time was 12:44 a.m.
Looking for a great Christmas present? How about purchasing a book for that someone special?
I have just the right book to offer - The Night Terror by Timothy McSwain. ;)
In case you have not purchased the book, I will be posting a the first three chapters through this Wednesday. That will give you a chance to check the book out for yourself. To purchase a copy - hard cover, paperback or ebook - go to this link: http://thenightterror.weebly.com/
The Night Terror
By Timothy McSwain
Friday, 11:53 pm
Gripped by intense fear, Aaron could barely breathe.
Ducking behind a tree, he remained as still as possible, trying
to keep his heart from racing as he breathed shallow breaths while
attempting not to be heard. Cold sweat streamed down his forehead,
dripping from the tip of his nose, covering his lips with the taste
of salt. Holding his knees tightly, he tried to steady himself as he
crouched, cold and motionless.
A wind whistled through the trees causing Aaron to cringe; it
reminded him that something destructive lurked in the darkness.
To calm himself, he tried making sense of the events that had taken
place. Time had become indefinable. The terror and adrenaline
soaring through his body created an energized agony. “What is that
thing?” he pondered. He had seen many strange oddities in his life,
but nothing compared to this. His mind kept replaying the image
of dead bodies drained of their blood by this vampire-like beast.
He steadied his breathing, trying to calm himself. “I must keep my
senses. Andy is out there somewhere and I can’t let this thing kill
him,” thought Aaron. He knew his son must be scared to death and
he was determined to find him, no matter the cost.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted. He could hear
something whispering his name but knew no living person was near
him. He could barely see something rustling in the bushes a few feet
away. A loud shriek broke through the darkness, overpowering the
whistle of wind. Aaron could see two eyes eerily glowing, appearing
as bright red orbs enveloped in a sea of darkness. Heart pounding,
body soaked with sweat, he moved as fast as he could. The creature
was moving much quicker and Aaron soon felt its breath on the back
of his neck. In an instant, the creature dug its claws into Aaron’s
shoulder. Feeling his flesh tearing as he plunged to the ground,
he screamed, knowing no one was there to hear it. Managing to
turn on his back, he realized he had made a big mistake: those eyes
were peering directly at him, piercing his soul. Aaron felt vexed,
doomed and panic stricken as he attempted to force the creature off
of him, to no avail. As he flailed, he felt one last jolt of pain before
unconsciousness set in.
Her flowing dark hair glimmered in the light of the full moon
as she sped down the road near Devil’s Canyon Lake in her red
Mercedes roadster. Marcia Foster, a local attorney, had recently
left a party. She felt a kick from the alcohol in her system but
was confident she knew her limit and felt completely comfortable
driving. She loved the feel of the wind blowing through her hair
and the exhilaration that speeding down the road gave her. For a
moment she took her eyes off the road and looked at the sky above
and inhaled the brisk night air. Turning her attention back to the
road, she noticed something or someone in front of her car. Marcia
was driving fast, too fast, and the alcohol had impaired her senses.
Marcia jerked the wheel hard to the right, sending the car into a
skid, spinning out of control. The car collided with the tree and
careened into a ditch. The overturned Mercedes landed just below
the road near the entrance to Devil’s Canyon Lake. As it impacted
ground, Marcia saw a bright flash of light. For a moment she could
feel the blood oozing from her head, but it was only for a moment,
then the world became dark and cold.
Saturday 12:02 am
Aaron opened his eyes. His was still dizzy and his mind fuzzy.
He began to process where he was. He still remembered the creature
and felt extreme pain in his back and head. He squinted his eyes,
trying to see something. Still on his back, he focused on what he
assumed was a branch above him. The odd thing was that it seemed
to be spinning in a circle. As his eyes began to adjust and his mind
started to clear, he realized it was his ceiling fan. He knew he was
in his bedroom but couldn’t understand why he was lying on the
floor. Although his experience seemed real, he rationalized that
it was merely a dream—no, a nightmare. There was still a sharp
pain in his shoulder, as if the creature’s claws were imbedded in
his flesh. He looked around and felt his shoulder. His lamp was on
the floor and shattered into hundreds of pieces, apparently from
him knocking it over when he fell out of bed. There were shards
of ceramic embedded in his back deep enough to cause bleeding.
He slowly stood up and stumbled to the bathroom to care for his
Turning on the light, he stared into the bathroom mirror. The
bright light caused his head to ache even more. As the mirror began
to come into focus, he realized he even looked battered. Although
his face was black and blue, he was not totally surprised; this was
not the first time Aaron had dealt with night terrors. In fact, he
had been dealing with the sleep disorder on and off for almost three
years. What bothered him most was the intensity of this particular
nightmare. He had self-inflicted wounds before, but these were more
severe. As he stood staring into the mirror, the sharp pain in his back
reminded him of why he had rushed to the bathroom in the first
place. Grabbing his first aid kit, he retrieved his antiseptic, gauze
and tape. Removing the shards of ceramic from his back proved to
be the most difficult part of the process. He considered going to the
ER and having a doctor tend to his wound. That would mean
explaining how he injured himself; however, he felt that it seemed
weak to go a doctor for something so trivial. Turning his back to the
mirror and twisting, he was able to remove some of the larger shards
by hand although it was the ones near his mid-back that proved to
be impossible to dislodge.
Realizing he might have awakened Andy, Aaron rushed to
his son’s room to check on him. Andy had the gift of sleeping
through a train wreck, so Aaron was not totally surprised to find
him sound asleep in his room. He took a moment to stare at his
13-year old son sleeping peacefully. It was good to see Andy so
serene, considering how tormented his life had been over the past
few years . . . .
The Night Terror is now available. It is currently available in hard cover, paperback and ebook formats. It can be downloaded onto a Kindle or iPad and is currently not available on the Nook. I am looking into why it is not available on the Nook and trust that will be rectified soon. The trailer for the book is also now on YouTube thanks to Kelin Field. You can see the trailer below. To learn how you can purchase a copy, please click on this link: The Night Terror.Please help get the word out by pasting this blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, MySpace, Digg, ChimeIn or other social networking site. Thank you for your help.PS. I will be on vacation for the next two weeks and the guest bloggers will start posting tomorrow. The first guest blogger will be Todd Williams, so stop by and check out his post. Have a great weekend. - Tim
With the building anticipation of holding my first copy of The Night Terror in my hands, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of anything else to write about in my blog. This event is the culmination of a longtime dream and the beginning of what I hope is a new ‘chapter’ in my life. This is only the first book of many I hope to write and publish. It is a very exciting time and I am in a constant celebratory mode. Since I am experiencing conflict on what to write in today’s blog, I will upload a summary of the book that is included on the back copy of the paperback and the jacket copy on the hard cover…
A park ranger haunted by his past must come to grips with the present. His marriage is crumbling, and his obsession with a previous tragedy engulfs his thoughts. A group of college students decide to go camping together for the first time, but their curiosity propels them into a situation where they find themselves running for their lives. Some travelers stop to relax and have a few drinks but find more than they bargained for. Is the history about Devil’s Canyon Lake true? Is there a ghost haunting the forest? Does a creature ascend from the lake to pull hapless victims into its depths? Lives are held in the balance as something terrorizes those who decide to visit. Will anyone live to tell what happened?
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. - Tim
This is another clip from our trailer. Since the book will be available in June, we will soon release the entire trailer. Enjoy this clip while you wait. -TimPS. If you didn't get a chance yesterday, check out the book's new website: thenightterror.weebly.comUpdate: I received a call from the publisher today. They have the book printed!! They mailed out the first copy of the hard cover and paperback for me to review for any printer errors. Those copies are to arrive at my house within a week. As long as there are no problems, the books should go on sale very soon!!!
Now I am just being down right mean. Here is another picture from my upcoming book, The Night Terror, but it has been altered. See how much you can actually read! Also, I am posting another one of Kelin Field's photographs from the filming of the trailer. This photograph features Blake Stowers. Enjoy!
I have a special treat for my readers today. I am sharing a snapshot of my book, The Night Terror. This is an actual look at one of the pages of the book. It will be in print and on sale soon. I am also sharing a still from our upcoming trailer. I want to give a special thanks to Kelin Field for videoing, directing and editing the trailer. This specific shot contains a still of one of the actresses, Lora Schuetz. It just has an eerie feel to it and I felt it would be a good picture to show with the following excerpt. Enjoy! -Timhttp://www.stratospherenetworking.com/the-night-terror1.html
It has almost been a year since I told people that I was going to publish a book. Since that time, the book has undergone three edits, two critiques and one complete rewrite. I sent the entire manuscript to the publisher yesterday. Based on their timetable, we are looking at 4-6 weeks before The Night Terror hits the shelves, Kindles and Nooks!! I want to thank everyone who has helped make this dream a reality: my family - especially Julie (who painstakingly edited it twice) and my parents for helping provide financial support, Donna Youngblood for editing / critiquing, the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, H.L. Hussmann, and all of my friends who have supported me through this venture. You are wonderful people.
I will be posting updates on this blog as they arrive. Those of you who read this blog will be among the first to know when the book is released. I am developing more information that I will share soon, so keep reading. - Tim