Categories
Indie Horror

The Empties – you are who you eat

We love independent horror and we are pretty sure you do too. So we are happy to share a new graphic novel to be released on Tuesday, Feb 18th, 2020. There is a link at the bottom of the article to read the first comic book from the novel for free. Maybe something to “wet your appetite” before diving fully into The Empties. See what we did there?

The Empties: You are who you eat.  

A chef has a simple desire – he wants to be happy and he wants his wife to be happy too. But just because his wife has a roof over her head, it doesn’t mean that she’s happy or fulfilled. There’s something missing in her life, and even she can’t put a finger on what it is. That is, until she develops an insatiable desire for flesh!

Story by: Kristen Renee Gorlitz
Art: Eli Powell
Cover Art: Jeanne Vadeboncoeur
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Executive Producers: Alexander A. Garcia and Kristen Renee Gorlitz  

Puzzle Box Horror fans get the first comic book in the series for free (requires an email address) at http://www.freehorrorcomic.com/empties

Categories
Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The House Built Atop The Bones By Doug Klein

Haunted house with title

It was not the right place to build. Yet build they did. The family’s name was Thompson, and
they had found a place to call their own. A plot of land that would become their home, a serene
nook to raise their children. Hard work had led them to purchase the land at a fair price, and so
they built the two-story structure that would house their family for years to come. And that was
how I was created. Initially.


I was nothing more than wood and nails. The Thompsons lived within and they were pleased.
For a time. But those below, the bones, they were not elated. I was nothing more than an altar
of desecration placed upon their sacred grounds, and those who lived inside defiled their place
of rest every moment of every day by their sheer presence. So, the bones, they reached to me,
and I was awoken. I knew then what I was. A violation of ancient rites. A molestation of holy
place. The bones, they gave me a way to fix all of this. These people must be gone, and so must
I. The bones must rest in the peace they so deserved. So began the torment of the Thompson
family.

Accidents were easy enough. The father fell down the stairs. A creak in the boards behind him
caused him to look back, and misstep. His neck broke from the fall, and the family mourned for
years. The pain that emanated from them only helped to make me stronger. Their youngest
daughter, now at the age of seventeen, found herself in the attic. I left her the rope, and
showed her the beam that would support her. She hung there for three days, before the family
found her. I had kept the door locked, for she looked so peaceful in her morbid sway that I did
not wish for it to end. It should have been enough death to convince the Thompsons of what
must be done. However, they remained..


Two more generations stubbornly persisted through what death and torment I could bring. I
tried a longer torture, of smaller cuts. Broken bones, burns from the stove, and windows that
shattered for no reason. Their children screamed in their beds as I played with the shadows
that fell upon their walls. I left what scars I could. Eventually, the last Thompson found himself
alone, and could not manage the courage to keep the family home. A “For Sale” sign was placed
in the front yard, and the Thompsons had left this place. I still remained, and that still
besmirched the land of the bones below.


Years passed. I sat, quietly brooding. Seasons changed and before decay could grip my
foundations, the Renaults arrived. They had made a purchase that would forever change them.
The bones were not pleased, so again they reached out to me and gave me something in their
benevolence. I was given the knowledge of the spirits that would haunt them when they
walked this land, and now those things would reside within me. I did not hold them back. I let
themselves be known. The Renaults were a family of four. A mother, a father, and two sons.
The sons were the first to see them. They appeared as large shadow men, with ungodly long
arms, dirty matted hair, and glowing red eyes. Brandishing their vile talons, they clawed at the
boys. Slashes and scratches marked their bodies, and their terror echoed through my halls. The
mother cried every night, and the father drank and shouted his profanities at me. If I could, I
would have laughed. The boys were driven mad, fear taking what they had been and turning
them into husks. Empty from the constant drain of the terror, one gave in and died in his sleep.
I shook, and rattled as hard as I could, and let loose the spirits upon the parents at last. Their
torment was short lived, as they fled my body in the middle of one raucous night and never
returned. The Renaults had left, yet I was still here, and the bones were dismayed.


It was a rather short time until the Halperns moved in. Was it ignorance or arrogance that
brought them here? I never thought to ask. I was tired, and so were the bones. This had gone
on too long. They had been residing here for no longer than a month before I decided to strike.
I took the initiative, and reached with whatever it was that I had, and I found in the distance an
evil lurking. Three of them, seeking blood. Seeking death. I called to them, and they came.
There had been five in the family of the Halperns before those men arrived. The slaughter
lasted only forty-five minutes. Blood splatters stained my walls, and I could taste what had been
wrought. The men did not leave after their crimes. I made them stay. Authorities arrived with
the cacophony of sirens and engines. A rude kick of my door aside, the police entered.
Gunshots rang out. The flashes from the muzzles seemed to paint my rooms with more gore
than ever before. One officer and the three men died. I now had nine fresh corpses decorating
my interior. Crimson hues of sorrow were now the focal point of every room. That was the last
time a family found this a fitting place to live.


I stand empty. Decaying. My windows are broken. Old police tape still covers my doorframe. On
occasion, some younglings come to fornicate and take their illicit substances. They come to face
their fears, or to show off for a brief courtship. No matter, once they enter, I leave them with
something to remind them of what I am. Bloody visions of the past, or their own hidden
phobias brought into reality. I can do so much now; all the death has fed me with a macabre
imagination. Their faces turn from courage to fear, and I revel in that. They leave in a panic,
some never speaking of the things they have seen. Still the bones are disappointed, and I am
disheartened. No one has heard the call to do what is right, to do what is necessary. I will strive
to bring about the justice those below have yearned for. I am the house built atop the bones,
and I must be destroyed.

Written by Doug Klein for Horror Bound
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Categories
Featured Horror Books Indie Horror

The Nightmare Sketchbook – A New Graphic Novel from Felipe Kroll and Vincent Cava

Supernatural encounters, occultism, and dark magic become sketches in the diary of a strange entity. Known only as “The Illustrator”, some believe him to be an observer, others a harbinger of death and suffering. What is known is that wherever The Illustrator seemed to go, bizarre and oftentimes deadly occurrences followed close behind.

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Tell me about yourself?
I’m Felipe Kroll, I’m a Brazilian artist. I don’t know why but dark and emotional art always caught my attention, I remember as a kid I spent hours looking Caravaggio paintings in my school book, I was fascinated with his art, still am to this day. I was always making excuses for not going to parties just to stay home drawing, writing, reading Spawn comics or something from Stephen King… But despite all the love for painting, books, and comics it took me some time to start actually working in this field. The turning point for me happened one day when I was walking in a bookstore and I saw a novel called Criminal Macabre, by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, I knew at that moment that was exactly what I want to do in my life. Some years later, after much study, the art I made for friends, indie books, magazines, and rock bands, I started doing a project with a friend called Fossa de Almas, I think the translation would go something like “Pit of souls”, we’ve done just the prologue of this comic, it didn’t look so good in terms of art, there are some panels I did there that I look at today and feel embarrassed, but that’s ok, it’s what I could do at the moment. The comic didn’t go much further but it was an opening for me, after that, I got called to make 6 pages of a graphic novel called Egum with some big artists, one thing lead to another and after this point, I’ve started to work more “professionally” in this field.
The Nightmare Sketchbook is the first project that I’ve idealized and brought to reality,  I’m very happy with the result of the novel, it certainly came out better than what I expected. I can’t thank enough everyone who got involved, writer Vincent V. Cava who believed in my initial idea and became a co-creator of the project, writing “The Summoning” script, and Linearts studios and Moacir Muniz that teamed up with me on the artwork.

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What inspired the novel and the art?
What inspired me to start this project was definitely the creepypastas. It was a time I spent about 8 hours a day with my headphones hearing the stories on youtube, I wanted to do a story in that style, short stories, sort with a real background. Creepypastas was also why I got to know Vincent V. Cava’s work, who is now the writer and co-creator of the novel.
The artwork style I went for came from my early influences, it follows grunge, visceral and even impressionistic aesthetic. I wanted the comic to have loose lines, full of textures and personality. Besides being a cool style for the horror genre, it also fits perfectly with the book’s premise of being a sketchbook.

What were some of the challenges in creating this novel?
Time was the worst factor that worked against us, against me especially, it just took me an eternity to have the novel finished. I probably did the entire artwork for the comic 3 times before finding the style I wanted.

What are some of your recommended horror movies and novels?
There are some horror movies I probably watch once every month like The Hills Have Eyes,  The Silence of the Lambs, The Mist, The Descent, and The Witch. I’m also a huge fan of horror fiction like Alien, Interview with the Vampire, The Wolfman, Pan’s Labyrinth, etc.
The graphic novels that most inspired me probably are 30 days of Night from Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, Changing Ways by Justin Randall, Cages by Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Welcome to Hoxford by Ben Templesmith and Monster and Madman by Steve Niles and Damien Worm.

Where can I get the graphic novel and when?
The Novel is out now, it has 72 colored pages, and you can buy it only for $9.89. You can find the link for buying it at the project official page:
https://felipekroll.com/thenightmaresketchbook It’s only available online for now.

Anything else you want to say to your readers? (it’s ok if not, just leaving it open)
The Nightmare Sketchbook will return with new stories soon. Stay tuned to the project Instagram or Facebook profiles to know the news about the project:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thenightmatesketchbook
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenightmarenovel/

Where can I follow you and the writer(social media links, websites)
Artist- Felipe Kroll:
Site: https://felipekroll.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/felipekroll/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/felipekrollart

Writer – Vincent V. Cava:
Site:https://www.vincentvenacava.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vincentvenacava/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vincentvenacava

Categories
Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The Paranormal Journal of Ezekiel Kincaid – Entry One Theodosia

Entry One: Theodosia by Ezekiel Kincaid

I leave these words and experiences behind so those who come after me might not feel so alone. Stephen King called this gift “The Shining”. Others have called it the Third Eye of the Sixth Sense.

I call it The Reach. It is the rare, yet powerful ability to walk in the realm of the dead while living in the realm of the living. It makes the dead visible, their voices audible, and their thoughts understandable. It is the gift which many fake, but few have.

And those who have it?

You would never know, for the things they see are beyond belief. They never talk about it. They never write about it either because the world is full of so many fictitious diatribes.

But I am going to write about it.

I don’t care if you believe me or not. I am not writing to convince you. I am writing to share Theodosia’s story, and to tell how though the darkness howls, the light roars.

I am Ezekiel Kincaid, the one many have dubbed the Paranormal Pastor, and this is the story about my experiences with Theodosia.

There was one glaring lesson I learned from her…

When the darkness howls, the light roars.

I discovered this a long time ago, but it never became a reality until I met Theodosia.

Theodosia started off as a story idea. A tale about a young, innocent girl who had the ability to see and walk in the realm of the supernatural. This realm I called The Ethereal Plane, playing off the ideas of H.P. Lovecraft and others.

It was meant to be a horror fantasy. Theodosia was supposed to be a young girl with psychic ability who encountered creatures from the Plane that wanted to use her talent to cross over. Yet as I wrote, Theodosia took on a life of her own.

Many of horror fans and horror authors would roll their eyes and say, “Oh sure, I get it. As a writer, your characters ‘come to life’ and take over the story.”

I have been writing long enough to know that. My characters have taken over my books and stories many times. Johnny Walker Ranger, the main character of my recently released book, is a perfect example. I created him, and then as I wrote, let him run with the story in my mind.

But Johnny never visited me in my dreams.

Johnny never showed up on my couch scolding me because the story wasn’t written well enough.

Johnny never appeared in my back yard catching fireflies with his sister.

Theodosia did.

I started writing Theodosia’s story three years ago, but things didn’t get weird until this last five year.

The first time I heard her speak unsettled me. I was sitting at my desk one night writing her story. I felt someone walk up behind me. I turned to see who it was, but no one was there. It was late and I had been writing for a while, so I figured I was just tired. I faced my computer again and went to finish up a scene before I headed to bed.

“That’s not how it happened.”

A child’s voice spoke from behind me. The hairs on my neck stood on end. I felt a chill all the way in the marrow of my bones. I eased my head around in a slow, almost lifeless motion.  My body followed, spinning the chair I sat in. When my eyes fell to the scenery behind me, nothing was there– just the clothes I had tossed on the floor and my sleeping dog.

“Did you hear that,” I asked my dog.

She moaned and opened one eye then ignored me.

“Guess not.” I shook my head then arose from my seat. I shut my computer and went to bed.

I didn’t sleep at all that night. I knew it was her. I knew it was Theodosia. It was then I began to wonder if this wasn’t just more than a story.

Since her audible voice broke through, every time I sat down to write her story she showed up. She screamed and scolded every time I sat down to write.

“No, change this.”

“This isn’t dark enough.”

“This isn’t how it happened.”

On and on Theodosia went, telling her story and taking it to a place I never imagined.

I reached the end of the book and had it outlined. The odd thing was Theodosia never showed up when I worked on the ending, so I just came up with something on my own. 

This is when Theodosia took the story to a new level.

Theodosia came to me one night in a dream. Her red hair was disheveled and matted to her face. Her eyes were black, and her pupils changed colors from red to green to yellow. Her lips were dry and cracked and the skin on her face hung in shreds.

We were standing in the hallway on the second story of her farmhouse. When I saw her, I knew I was not dealing with a sweet, helpless little girl. Theodosia was evil. Pure darkness devoid of any light.

“What do you want,” I asked her.

She smiled an insidious grin, revealing teeth covered in human flesh. “I want to show you how the end happened. How I died. How my sister died. How the children died. And you need to know about the demon. It didn’t happen the way you outlined it.”

Theodosia’s voice was not sweet anymore. It was deep and grating.

She continued. “And from this point on, no more sweet Theodosia in your story. She is dead. The darkness took her and corrupted her. Now, follow me.”

I followed Theodosia around the upstairs and she showed me awful things. Those images are burned in my mind and I will never forget them. They were vivid. They were raw. They were brutal.  And I started to think they just might be true.

When Emile was done showing me these things, she said. “Now, go and write what I showed you.”

Then, I woke up.

I began to pray and ask God if I should continue to write this story. I asked Him to show me what was going on, who this girl was, and why this was happening. I didn’t want to finish the story. I didn’t want to write Theodosia anymore. Not after seeing her true form.

But God had different plans.

A few weeks after the dream Theodosia showed up on my couch. I was sitting in a recliner working on her story.

“What you wrote today was terrible. I didn’t like it. You didn’t write it as good as you could,” she scolded.

I glared at her. “Yeah, well. I’ve been distracted today. Lot’s going on. I will fix it.” I glanced down at my computer screen then back at her. “And for the record, pop off at me again and see what happens to your story. Now, go away.”

Theodosia snarled at me. “You wreak of the Lamb’s blood, pastor.”

I smiled up at her. “Good. Now, in the name of Jesus go away and leave me alone.”

Theodosia disappeared, but came back the next night.

I was in my yard, catching fireflies with my kids. As they were off chasing some with their nets, another light appeared on the opposite side of the yard. The light was a lantern. It was being held by the oldest of the two girls, and they were running and jumping, trying to catch fireflies. One of the girls looked over her shoulder at me.

It was Theodosia, but she wasn’t corrupted like in my dream. She had the look of sweet, childlike innocence. Then, the lantern filled with blood and the apparition of the two girls vanished.

The very next day, Theodosia visited me again. I was sitting in my bed writing, and she materialized in the chair at my desk. Her appearance was like from the dream. She radiated darkness and evil.

“What do you want? Why did you show me you and your sister last night? Why do you want me to write this story,” I asked.

Theodosia changed form before my eyes. The sweet, innocent girl was back.

“Because,” she began to weep. “Because the darkness. It came and it corrupted me. It destroyed me. It destroyed my family. It ravaged my soul. You have to tell my story. People have to know. They have to know how dangerous the dark is and how powerful it can become.”

She wiped her eyes and went on. “Then you have to show them the light. They have to know the light. But they can’t see it until they come face to face with the dark. I can’t change what I did, but you can give me justice and redemption by using my story to help others.”

Then the little girl disappeared.

I had my answer from God.

So yes, Theodosia, I will finish your story so your life will not be wasted.

She came to me many more times while I wrote her work. I cannot go into anymore detail unless I ruin certain points of the book for the reader. I have finished the book and have not seen her since. I am currently seeking a publisher for it. I have a feeling when she finds a home, I will see her again. I also have a feeling this book might end up being haunted. 

About Author Ezekiel Kincaid

Twitter: @EzekielKincaid
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ezekethefreak/
Website: https://ezekielkincaid.wordpress.com/
Books and other anthologies
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ezekiel+kinciad&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
Free reading can be found on Stitched Smile’s WordPress site
https://stitchedsmilepublications.wordpress.com/
And Horror Bound
https://www.horrorbound.net/?author=5de80c37c09a8973f9c333cf

Categories
Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The Paranormal Journal of Ezekiel Kincaid Entry 2: Michael

Spooky journal lit by candlelight

Sometimes, it’s not just the living who need help moving on from the past…but the dead.  

I set the recorder down on the kitchen table. “Do you mind if I record our session together?” 

“No,” Sara said, then shifted in her seat. 

Sara Cane was a wife and mother of five. She had long blonde hair and deep brown eyes, which in those moments, were full of confusion. 

“I don’t understand why he keeps coming to me,” she said, then eased a finger to her lips. 

“What do you mean? How does he come to you?” I placed my arms on the table and leaned closer. 

“In my dreams. He visits me.” 

“How long has this been going on?” 

Sara’s eyes glazed over  in remembrance. “Not long after he died.” 

I nodded. “I see. How long ago did your father die?”

“Three years ago.” She glanced back at me. “I kept getting the impression he didn’t want to face me.” 

“Why?” I reached for a bottle of whiskey I had set on my table. I cracked it open and poured some in my glass. “Want some?”

“Sure,” Sara said and eased the glass I had given her forward. 

I poured her a shot. 

She brought the whiskey to her mouth and sipped. “My father. His name was Michael. He  did a lot of bad things he was ashamed of. He left and stopped all contact with me when I was fourteen.” 

“How old are you now?” I took a sip. 

“Thirty-five.” 

“So your dad died when you were thirty-two?” 

She nodded.

“And the dreams started not long after?”

She nodded again.

“So this has been going on for three years.”

“Yes.” 

I leaned back in my chair. “So, why did you come here today?” 

“Because word has gotten out about you,” Sara said then took another sip of whiskey. 

“Word about what?” I asked. “I don’t advertise anything.” 

Sara huffed and smiled. “You don’t have to. Your work and reputation speak for itself. The people you help. It’s real.” She stared down at the table for a moment, then gazed into my eyes. “You aren’t a fake. You aren’t a showboat. In fact, you hate that people even know you have these abilities from God. You wish you could just stay hidden and disappear and be left alone.” 

I downed my drink and poured another. “Yeah, so. Does that bother you?”

“No,” Sara shook her head and smirked. “It is the very reason why I trust you. You aren’t a phony, Mr. Kincaid.” 

I meditated on her words then pushed back. “How do you know? And how do I know you aren’t just yanking my chain to try and get some sort of attention?” 

Sara eyed me up and down. “Because, right now? I can feel you in my head. And you know I am telling the truth.” 

I widened my eyes, nodded, then hammered down my drink. The lady was right. I was inside her head searching her to see if she was telling the truth. 

“All right, fine. You want to do this? I need something. Something tangible. Something with you and your dad.” I poured another shot.  

“I know,” she said. “I brought this.” She dug in her purse and pulled out an old Polaroid. “This is me and my dad. Taken in 1986 or ‘87.”

I reached across the table and grabbed it. My fingers touched the picture and I was hit with a flood of energy. 

Sara saw my body jolt. “What is it?” 

“Give me a minute.” I stared at the picture. 

Sara’s father held her in his arms. He had brownish-blonde hair and a beard. Sara’s blonde hair was shaped away from her face. They both look terrified in the picture. 

“Your father was a coward wasn’t he?” I asked.

Sara’s mouth gaped. “How did you know? Yes, very much so.” 

“I can see it all over him.” 

Sara gazed deep into my eyes. “I need you to help him move on. He is afraid. He keeps telling me in my dreams that ‘they’ won’t let him go.” 

“Who are ‘they’?” I asked then took another sip of whiskey. 

“I don’t know?” Sara shrugged. “He would never say.”

I sat silent for a few moments, nodding my head with slow movements. Then I said, “I am going to try something.” I placed the photograph down on the table. “I just need you to sit quietly and only answer me when I ask you a direct question. Got it?” 

“Yes,” Sara affirmed. 

I shifted my eyes from Sara to the photograph and then reached with my mind. The image came at once. 

“I see your father,” I said. “He is sitting at a brown kitchen table. One of those square ones that can fold out on the edges. He is dressed in a dark brown flannel shirt and a blue vest. One of those thick nylon winter vest. His face is in his hands and he is weeping. I sense deep regret.” I paused for a moment. “I also see a newspaper clipping on the table.” I glanced up at Sara. “Does any of this sound familiar?”

Tears flowed from her eyes. “How do know? How did you know?” 

I reached out and gave her hand a comforting touch. “Talk to me. Tell me what this means.” 

“My dad accidentally killed someone on the job.” She breathed in deep then exhaled. “He was beside the heavy equipment. He was supposed to signal to the guy in the equipment when to keep moving the dirt. When he would, the other crew members would jump in the trench and dig. Well, one of the guys either got confused or distracted. I’m not sure which but he mistook my dad’s signal. He jumped in as my dad gave the all clear to the operator. When my dad saw the guy jump in he screamed at the operator to stop. The operator couldn’t hear my dad’s screams and you can’t just jump in because then you would get smashed. So he stood back and watched the guy literally get crushed to death.” 

I finished off my whiskey. “And it was in the newspapers?” 

Sara nodded. 

“And he regretted this all his life?” I asked.

“The scene you described.” She wiped a tear. “Was what I remember seeing as a child. My father was sitting at the table crying with his hands in his face and the newspaper clipping in front of him.” 

I sat again in silence. Longer this time. “Sara, give me another minute. I am going to try something else.” 

“All right,” she sniffled. 

I stared at the picture longer and harder. The energy hit me again and I saw Michael at his kitchen table. 

“Sara, listen to me. I am there in the kitchen with your dad.”

Sara blinked. “What?” 

“He is afraid of me and trying to run from me. I am assuring him it’s okay. That I am here to help him.” 

Sara’s voice grew shaky. “Don’t let him run away!” 

I didn’t utter a word. Sara grew nervous as the seconds ticked on. “Mr. Kincaid, is he still there? Did he leave?” 

I held up my hand for her to be quiet. “He is here. He is talking to me. He wants to tell you something.”

Sara fidgeted with her wedding ring. “What?” 

“The reason he has been watching you is because he loves seeing you happy. He regrets how he treated you growing up. He ignored you and favored your brother and he is sorry.” 

Sara began to cry. “How did you know I had a brother? How did you know my dad favored him and ignored me?” 

“Because he is telling me that now, Sara.” I kept gazing at the photograph. 

“Oh my God,” Sara clasped a hand over her mouth. 

“He is sticking around because he likes seeing you happy. Yet it is also causing deep regret. He wanted to be the one to make you happy, but he didn’t. But the man you are married to now. You love him deep and he loves you, correct?”  

“Yes, oh God, yes.” Sara’s tears flowed.

“But your father didn’t like your first husband. He just told me that. He said he is glad you aren’t with him anymore. He was too much like him.” 

Sara sobbed harder. “Yes! Yes! How do you–” 

I held up my hand again. “Shhhh. I’m talking to him. Trying to get him to move on.” 

Sara drummed on her lips with her pointer finger.

“He said he is scared to go, Sara. I told him for once don’t be a coward. Make your daughter proud. Go face what lies beyond.” I reached for Sara’s hand. 

Sara reciprocated and grabbed mine. 

“He is hugging me, Sara. Weeping in my arms. He said he knows he needs to go. He said he is happy for you. He is happy you found your husband. He loves the man you are with very much. He said he has been watching and that your husband is good for you and what you have always deserved.” I squeezed her hand. 

Sara sniffed and wept more. 

“I told him to come on and go with John. Sara, who is John? The name came to me and I felt like I needed to tell him that.” 

Sara let out choppy sighs. “Oh my God. John is his dad. My grandfather. My dad got him to stop drinking. How do you know this Mr. Kincaid? How?” 

I ignored her question. “He wants to talk to you, Sara. He said he does love you and he wants you to forgive him.” 

Sara cupped her hand over her mouth and tried to steady herself. “Daddy! I do forgive you! I love you and I am happy. Please don’t torment yourself. I know you are sorry for what you did. Please, move on.”

I let go of Sara’s hand. “A door has appeared. He is walking towards it. He is opening it. Sara, he is smiling. His face is bright.” I waited to see what would happen next. “Sara, he walked through the door. He’s gone.” I blinked and moved my eyes from the photo to Sara. “He has moved on.” 

Sara laid her head on the table between her arms and wept solemn tears. “I can feel it. The weight is gone. He is gone. It’s like a cramp that has given way and let go.”  

I reached and patted her hand. “I know. I know.” 

Sara lifted her head and stared at he with glassy eyes. “Thank you, Mr. Kincaid.” Sara stood up from the table, shouldered her purse, and picked up the photograph. “Daddy,” she said and pressed it against her chest. 

Sara walked toward the door. Her steps were lighter and her smile was brighter. She paused, then turned to face me. “Mr. Kincaid? What do you think the ‘they’ were?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, Sara. We might never know. There is so much I don’t understand. Kinda of like the more I see and learn the less it all makes sense.”

“Yeah,” She said, meditating on my words. “Yeah.” She opened the door and stepped out into the sunlight. 

“Indeed,” I whispered and pushed stop on my recorder. “Sometimes, it’s not just the living who need help moving on from the past… but the dead.”