Witch Finger

I don’t really know where to begin. I guess I’ll just start by saying I was attacked last night. At about midnight, I noticed that the moon was full and huge and shining super-bright above my house. It was pretty cold outside, but I like to go out in the late night to hear the quiet. The ice on the lake next to my house makes these great sounds when the ice plates shift. You can’t hear it during the day, but it’s pretty eerie at night. I like that kind of thing.

So I was out listening, walking quietly around the yard, thinking about Chuggie and all his little friends. I got a chill, which was to be expected with the windchill well below zero. But I just kept looking at the moon. It was full and bright, even seemed to pulsate a little.

I walked into the back yard to get a clearer view of it, when I heard a sound. I was right by the trail that leads into the woods. I couldn’t see if anything down the trail, but the sound came again. It was a low moan, like a cat under a couch that’s sick of having its tail pulled. I like to take pictures at night, so I had my camera with me. I pointed it down the trail, and snapped some pics. Only one of them turned out.

I looked at the picture on my digicam, wondering if those were eyes down the trail or just the flash glinting off some ice. For no reason I could tell, the camera shut itself off. The moon went behind some clouds. Everything got very dark. I heard quick footsteps coming at me from the trail.

Something attacked me. SomeONE. She laughed and screamed at the same time, saying something about taking me home to her sisters. I turned to run back to the house, but she jumped on my back. Her fingernails dug into my shoulder and neck like talons. As I ran, I tried to fight free. I couldn’t get her off me.

I remembered the knife in the chest pocket of my coat. I got the blade unfolded, but as soon as I did I tripped on a root. We fell to the ground and grappled. It’s a blur what happened next. All I know is somehow I managed to cut off one of her fingers. She screamed and ran off down the trail.

I brought the finger into the house to put in a baggie so I could show the police, who I figured I’d be calling immediately. Before I could get to my phone I saw the finger had changed. It had turned to wood.

Beyond that, I can’t prove any of this happened. My claw marks and bruises are there, but they don’t show up in photographs. The only footprints back by the trail are mine. She’s back there somewhere, I know that. She’s probably fairly upset with me for taking her finger, but I doubt she’d be foolish enough to come back.

I tried to burn the finger, but it wouldn’t catch. Somebody advised me to rid myself of it as soon as I could, so I sent it to be studied by an occult expert. I will let you know what I hear back.

I’d like to add that the moon wasn’t supposed to be full last night (December 27).

Piers Anthony Full Review

Here is Piers Anthony‘s full review of my book Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater:

“I read the electronic version of The Scarecrows of Stagwater, by Brent Michael Kelley, also titled Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater, in a Kindle edition. You might think with such titles that this is a children’s book. Oh, no, never! This is a literally gut-wrenching horror story, in the sense of guts being wrenched out of living bodies and eaten by little monsters. I’m really not a fan of horror, as mentioned above, but this one held my morbidly fascinated attention to the end. Originality sparkles throughout, and few things are quite what they seem. Chuggie is so named because he is always thirsty and likes to chug liquid. In fact he represents Drought. Usually he keeps his thirst under control, but sometimes he loses it and soaks up a whole lake plus all the fluid in the bodies of anyone near it. He doesn’t say that folk wouldn’t like him when he’s angry, but it is emphatically true. Usually he’s an amiable traveler just trying to get along, but he encounters odd friendly and unfriendly folk. He defends himself from attack with a remarkably effective anchor on a chain. The rulers of Stagwater intercept him before he gets there and tell him not to try to enter it; he can bypass it to the north. As it turns out, we later discover, the townsmen practice torture on a professional scale, mainly of innocent children, and are served by Steel Jacks, robotlike aliens. Chuggie doesn’t quite trust this advice, so bypasses the town to the south, where he encounters an old witch who likes him and becomes younger the longer he is with her, until she’s a truly fetching and seductive young woman. She says she was imprisoned here in the wilderness by an enchantment the nasty townsmen put on her; to escape she needs the goat-faced purse. Meanwhile she fashions animated scarecrows out of whatever is at hand, who act as servants and protection. Chuggie really likes her and wants to take her with him when he moves on, so he goes north of the town to find the purse. That’s when he discovers what the malign townsmen tried to route him through. There’s a desecrated graveyard there with phenomenally ugly monsters. One horror is piled on another without remission, and this continues when he returns to town. So though the reading made me want to take a thorough shower to wash off the gook, I call it an excellent novel of its kind, and believe horror fans should like it very well. It reads like a segment of a longer narrative, and I can’t help wondering what other horrors Chuggie will encounter as he wends his way on.”