Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Peter and the Crazies" Chapter 3

What up, folks!

The first two books (VAMPIRE and WEREWOLVES) should be out on Kindle in the next 10 days, FRANKENSTEIN will be out a week after that, and PETER AND THE MUMMY will probably follow about two months after that.

I'll give you more updates soon!


Peter and Dill sat in Grandfather’s truck the next day as they rode to their appointment. Grandfather and Peter were still not on the best of speaking terms, but Dill chattered away the entire time.

“Dude, this is messed up – you know the jump rope song, right? ‘Janey was a little girl – ’”

“‘Who liked to play with knives,’ yeah yeah, I’ve heard it,” Peter grumbled. “What’s the problem? I thought you would’ve loved to go see this place.”

“Why would I love to go see a place for crazy people? I already live in a house full of ‘em.”

“You wanted to find out about the werewolves on Thanksgiving – ”

Dill clapped his hands over both ears. “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!”

“ – so you could tell everybody at school,” Peter finished.

“Dude, we’re going to a place for crazy people. Why would I tell anybody? I don’t want people to think I’M crazy.”

“Too late,” Grandfather muttered from the driver’s seat.

Peter smiled the tiniest bit, though he tried not to show it. He didn’t want to give the old man the satisfaction.

“Hey, you’re old,” Dill said to Grandfather, as though he was just realizing it for the first time. “Did you know that Janey girl in the jump rope song?”

“They were singing that song when I was your age, idjit,” the old man growled. “I doubt there ever was such a person.”

“Well…is there anything else we need to know?” Dill asked.

“Like what?”

“Like Indian stuff.”

Grandfather looked puzzled. “‘Indian stuff’?”

“Yeah, old Indian stories that we’re gonna find out are true after something really bad happens to us.”

“You know…like what usually happens,” Peter said as he stared out at the road.

“Ooooooh, burn,” Dill chortled.

Grandfather glared down at them. Peter could feel the old man’s gaze boring through his skull, but he wouldn’t turn around. Dill, however, cowered behind Peter.

The old man scowled and turned back to driving. “There aren't any Indian legends associated with Shadow Hills, if that’s what you mean.”

“How about anything else?” Dill asked.

“Like what?”

Dill struggled to find the words. “Like…anything I wouldn’t usually want to talk about.”

“Shadow Hills is a very reputable institution,” Grandfather said. “Despite what your idiotic school friends might say, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

“Except for the crazy people,” Dill added.

“There hasn’t been a single breakout in the time I’ve lived in Duskerville,” Grandfather snapped. “It’s a mental hospital that serves a useful function.”

“To keep cra-A-zy peo-ple,” Dill said in a sing-song voice.

“Shut up,” Grandfather snapped, and that was the end of that.

Until they came to Shadow Hills.

They turned off the main route to Charterton and drove down a two-lane road through a mile of forest – and then emerged into an expanse of rolling hills completely devoid of trees. Fields of yellow grass rippled spookily in the wind.

Up on the horizon was Shadow Hills.

It looked like a giant square, two stories high and made of brick. The walls were dotted with regular patterns of windows and the roof was apparently flat.

Two towers rose from the center. They were notable not just because they loomed twenty feet above the rest of the building, but also for their slanted green roofs that gleamed in the late afternoon sun. Each one had a tiny, sharp spike sticking up into the air. And the color of brick in the right tower was slightly different from that in the left.

“Why are those roofs green?” Peter asked.

“They’re copper,” Grandfather said. “Copper turns green over time. There was a fire here 50 years ago, when I was a young man. Lightning hit one of the copper roofs and exploded the tower. After they rebuilt, they put in those lightning rods.”

“That’s the little pointy things?”


“Nobody got out when the roof exploded?” Dill asked.

Grandfather was silent for a long moment. “There were four men who got out. But two were killed and the others were recaptured.”

“I thought you said that there wasn’t a single breakout your whole life!” Peter snapped.

“I said there hasn’t been a single breakout while I’ve lived in Duskerville,” Grandfather growled. “I wasn’t in Duskerville when it happened.”

“That’s a good one, I gotta remember that,” Dill said. “‘I did my homework every night I was at home…except I’m never home at night.’”

Grandfather just scowled.

As they drove closer, Peter noticed that the entire complex was surrounded by a giant chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. At each corner of the fence was a wooden guard tower, thirty feet high. On the tower nearest him, he could see a lone figure standing with a rifle, watching as Grandfather’s truck approached.

“Why does that guy have a gun?” Peter asked, slightly alarmed.

“Duh. To shoot the crazies if they try to escape,” Dill said.


“But they don’t ever escape, right?” Dill asked Grandfather.

“As long as I’ve lived here. Correct.”

“Do the crazies know you moved back?” Dill asked. “I don’t want ‘em saying, ‘Hey, that crazy old dude doesn’t still live here, right? Let’s go escape.’”

Grandfather ignored Dill this time.

Along the road, right in the center of the chain link fence, was a small brick building with a sign above it:


Through the middle of the building ran a tunnel. Two cars could have driven through it side-by-side without any problem. At the end of the tunnel, metal gates stopped vehicles from going any further.

A man in a police-looking uniform came out of an office inside the tunnel and held his hand up. Grandfather stopped the truck.

“Visiting hours are over,” the man said. Peter noticed that he had a gun holster strapped to his belt.

“I’m dropping off Peter Normal and Dill Bodinski to see Dr. Prescott.”

“Driver’s license,” the man said.

Grandfather handed him a card from his wallet, and the guard stepped back inside his office. Peter could see him working at a computer terminal, typing in some words on a keyboard. A printer spat out a colored piece of paper, and the guard carried it back out to the truck.

“Put this in your windshield for as long as you’re on the premises. Do not touch the metal fences, they’re electrified. You will be electrocuted if you touch them.”

Peter gulped.

“Drive up and park anywhere in the visitors section on the left. Dr. Prescott will meet you at the front desk,” the guard finished.

Grandfather took the piece of paper and his driver’s license and nodded curtly.

The guard walked back inside and typed something in his computer. The metal gates shrieked, split in the middle, and pulled back to the left and the right on grooved tracks in the ground.

As the truck pulled out of the tunnel, Peter was shocked to see they were surrounded by chain link fence on both sides – and then, after about 15 feet, it stopped. Peter looked behind him and saw that there were not one, but two chain link fences surrounding Shadow Hills, separated by about 15 feet of grass. The walls of chain link they had driven through were the single pathway between the two fences (the two ELECTRIFIED fences, Peter thought), and the only way out was through the small brick building with the guard and the gates.

Wow, they REALLY don’t want anybody getting out of here…

Grandfather pulled up into a regular parking lot with about 40 cars and stopped the truck.

“Out,” he barked.

Peter and Dill piled out of the truck…only to find themselves staring at Gwendolyn Wainwright.

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Peter and the Crazies" Chapter 2


It was Monday night. Therapy was supposed to be the next afternoon. Grandfather usually picked Peter and Dill up from school, drove them to the appointment in Charterton, and then left. Mom would then come pick them up and drive them home afterwards.

Peter was sitting at the kitchen table picking at his meatloaf and lima beans. Mom was feeding Beth in her highchair. As usual, Grandfather was in his study.

When the phone rang, Peter leapt up from the table and ran for it – mostly to get away from his lima beans. “I’ve got it!” he cried, then picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Hello, Peter, this is Dr. Prescott.”

Even before the psychiatrist identified himself, Peter recognized the slightly high, reedy voice. However, he was shocked to hear him over the phone, since Dr. Prescott had never called the house before.

But after he got over his surprise, Peter felt a bit smug about the smackdown he would be delivering the next day. “Oh, hi. I’ve got something to tell you about – ”

“Excellent, tell me tomorrow, please put your mother or grandfather on.”

Peter held the receiver out and looked at it with a frown. Dr. Prescott was odd, but he wasn’t rude. This stranger on the phone was kind of a jerk.

“Uh…okay,” Peter said into the receiver. “Hold on.”

He walked the phone over to Mom, who took it from him. “Hello?”

Dr. Prescott’s voice was loud enough that Peter could hear him clearly. “Hello, Ms. Normal, this is Dr. Prescott, Peter’s psychiatrist.”

“Yes, hello, Doctor.”

“I have a bit of a conflict tomorrow. I’m going to need to see Peter and Dill at a different location and different time.”

“Um…okay, I guess…where?”

“The Shadow Hills Institute at 5 o’clock.”

Peter’s eyes grew wide.

Shadow Hills was a mental hospital for crazy people.

Who had committed violent crimes.

As Dill would say, ‘the looney bin.’

Peter only knew these things through vague comments made by adults (“Oh my god, I’m going crazy, they’re gonna send me to Shadow Hills”) and whispered stories by kids at school. Some girl in Duskerville had supposedly killed her parents in their sleep 50 years ago; Peter had heard some girls singing a song about her as they jumped rope.

Janey was a little girl

Who liked to play with knives;

The day her parents made her mad

She ended both their lives.

They sent her off to Shadow Hills

They didn’t have a clue;

Cuz crazy is as crazy does

She killed the doctors, too.

After Dr. Veedermeier had tried to kill Peter and Dill, the sheriff’s department had sent him to Shadow Hills.

Dr. Prescott was a psychiatrist on staff there – in fact, he was Veedermeier’s doctor. However, Dr. Prescott normally saw outside patients in an old building near Charterton University. Other than when he testified in court during Peter’s trial, he had never mentioned Shadow Hills once.

Until now.

Mom’s eyes went wide, too. She had grown up in Duskerville, so she probably knew 100 times more stories about the mental hospital than Peter did. “Um, I’m sorry…I’m not comfortable with that.”

Dr. Prescott’s voice sounded impatient over the phone. “I assure you, madam, that the facilities are 100% safe.”

“Can’t we schedule for the next day?”

“No we cannot. My schedule is entirely full, I need to see Peter and Dill at Shadow Hills tomorrow at 5 o’clock.”

“Well then, let’s just skip this week – ”

“Absolutely not, the court ordered weekly therapy sessions for twenty weeks contingent on my final analysis. I need to see them weekly for the process to be effective.”

“I think the court would be okay with them skipping a week for emergencies,” Mom said sarcastically.

“Except you have no emergency, madam, so I will expect to see them at Shadow Hills at 5 o’clock. Drive into the visitors area, I will meet them in the parking lot.”

“Dr. Prescott, I don’t – ”

“Or I will have to report to the court that you and your son are being uncooperative, and I will recommend that the suspended sentence of two years in juvenile detention be implemented immediately.”

Mom looked like she could not believe what she was hearing. Peter stared at her in horror.

“It’s your choice, but I hope to see Peter and Dill at Shadow Hills at 5PM tomorrow.”


Mom stared down at the phone and said a dirty word.

“Yew said uh baaaaa’ wor’, mama!” Beth exclaimed from her high chair.

Peter was pretty taken aback, too.

Mom looked at Peter guiltily. “Sorry. But he’s being a world class…”

She searched for a less objectionable term.

“Butthole?” Peter suggested.

“Exactly,” Mom agreed, then sighed. “Sorry, kid…I guess you’re going to Shadow Hills tomorrow.”

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Peter and the Crazies" Chapter 1

Sorry about the long wait...I've been editing the ebooks for the first three books: PETER AND THE VAMPIRES, PETER AND THE WEREWOLVES, and PETER AND THE FRANKENSTEIN. The first will be coming out in the next week or two...I'll let you know more as the situation develops!

Updates on "Crazies" will be spotty until I've finished the editing process, which will take at least another week...



For the first time since he started seeing Dr. Prescott, Peter was looking forward to therapy. The whole mess with the boogeymen had happened the previous week, and Peter finally had something to talk about: a real, live, honest-to-gosh secret his grandfather had been keeping from him.

Of course, Grandfather had tons of secrets he kept from Peter. Unfortunately, most of them involved curses and other supernatural stuff. Which were things Dr. Prescott didn’t believe in, so anytime Peter mentioned them, Dr. Prescott brushed him off and instead asked, “How does that make you feel?”

But now Peter had found out a secret that even Dr. Prescott couldn’t pooh-pooh: Grandfather had a stepbrother he had never mentioned before.

It just so happened that the stepbrother was evil, and had tried to kill Peter twice now – once with gingerbread men and a second time with a Ouija board – but that was supernatural stuff, so Peter was planning to leave that part out.

And he was pretty sure the ‘my long-lost stepuncle wants to kill me’ part wouldn’t go over so well, anyway.

But that wasn’t important. What was important was that Grandfather had a stepbrother named Fallon! Living in Duskerville! A mysterious relative he had never talked about before!

To be honest, Peter wasn’t that angry about Grandfather keeping secrets. The old man had told him as much after Peter’s stay in the hospital a couple of months before: That’s one of those things I need you to trust me about, boy. Do you understand? That’s one of those things I need you not to ask right now.

Well, actually, Peter was kind of mad about Grandfather keeping secrets, because some of those secrets had a way of almost getting Peter killed. Often.

What he was really furious about, though, was that Grandfather had lied to the rest of the world about it and made Peter look crazy. Or stupid. Or both. He had Peter stand up in juvenile court and tell the truth – and Grandfather told him to INSIST to everybody that it was the truth – and then the old man climbed up in the witness stand afterwards and swore that Peter was making the whole thing up.

That was the thing that really made Peter mad: Grandfather had made a fool out of him.

Worse, Grandfather had betrayed him.

The second thing was that Dr. Prescott, like every adult, believed Grandfather instead of Peter. And so he just treated Peter like he was crazy. Or stupid. Or both.

And the third thing was that Peter hated, absolutely hated, when Dr. Prescott asked, “How does that make you feel?”

Which he did about 150 times every session.

Now Peter had proof that Grandfather lied. Proof that Dr. Prescott couldn’t deny. Proof that would finally shut Dr. Prescott up.

How does that make me feel? LET ME TELL YOU HOW THAT MAKES ME FEEL.

But then the phone call came, and things got weird.

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Peter and the Boogeymen" Page 91 thru 94

Buy the ebook PETER AND THE MUMMY - coming soon on Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords!

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Peter and the Boogeymen" Page 88 thru 90

Buy the ebook PETER AND THE MUMMY - coming soon on Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords!

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Peter and the Boogeymen" Page 86 and 87

Buy the ebook PETER AND THE MUMMY - coming soon on Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords!

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Peter and the Boogeymen" Page 83 thru 85

Buy the ebook PETER AND THE MUMMY - coming soon on Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords!

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Copyright © 2011 Darren Pillsbury. All rights reserved.