Still here, and pecking away

I’ve really let this place down over the last few months. I’m sorry for that, but there are reasons why. I’ll glance off some of those when my 2021 Assessment posts later this month.

I’ve created a lot of new material, but as part of various blog tours, it’s been hosted elsewhere. I figured I owed you guys something, so here it is.

I’ve been dabbling with a side project for months, but not taking it too seriously. It’s a space opera that could lead to a trilogy. I have about a third of a novel so far, but today I decided to start another one.

This plays into my two at a time history, and since I’m at a wall on one project, this gives me a way to stay somewhat productive. I never really do this, but here is the first effort from today’s work.


The single-room farmhouse stood deep in the forest. Leaves covered the sagging roof, and clumps of moss anchored to the sides. The door dangled from a single hinge and allowed leaves to blow inside. Rays of sunlight shone through the roof and dust motes swirled in the beams. The windows had long disappeared leaving the room open to weather from multiple directions.

The old bed was nothing more than a frame and rusty springs after all these years. A rack of simple farming tools hung on the south wall, and a cracked old trunk stood at the foot of the bed, it’s brass fittings long ago turning green.

Light swirled unnaturally between the chest and tool rack. It moved in and out of form, but eventually resembled a human, casting its own light into the dark corners of the cabin. Moving about the room it grew in size, then staggered like someone wounded. With great effort, it managed to open the chest.

After pulling on cracked leather boots, denim jeans, and a plaid shirt it rested, looking for all the world, like someone had placed the clothing on the floor in a pattern.

The following day, the spirit pulled on leather gauntlets and a long canvas duster, then chose a sickle from the tool rack. As it grew in strength, it went outside to cut dried grass which it stuffed down its pants or into its shirt. Insects took up residence in the stuffing, but it kept working. As the sun set, it walked back inside, only its head missing from the apparition. The area of its head glowed red in the cabin’s darkness like some kind of angry god.

The spirit removed an old burlap sack from the trunk, then pulled it over his head. He twisted the bag until a face fit over the front. Triangular eyes glowed like the fires of hell from behind the mask. The loosely stitched up mouth also glowed, and served to strengthen the terrifying visage. He pulled a thick, hemp drawstring closed around his neck. Next he selected an old canvas hat from the chest. It had been carefully waxed to retain its shape in all kinds of weather. It had a broad, bent brim and tall, pointy crown, like those traditionally worn by witches.

A canvas trug was the last item inside. He spread that across the bed springs, then piled all the tools on the square of material. There were handles on opposing corners, which he grabbed to create a carrying case for the sickle, a scythe, sheep shears, grafting knives, saws, axes, and hatchets.

He kicked the remaining door off on his way outside. Pushed the crown of his hat back toward his shoulders, then stared at the nightime sky. “Now where is that Goddamned hat living these days?”


Would you read something that started this way? I’m calling it “The Midnight Rambler,” after a favorite song of mine. With that last bit of dialog, and the book title, you can tell where it’s going to fit in my catalog.

Interaction along the tour has been great, but there’s something to be said for meeting all of you here. Leave me a comment. Do you have an ear-worm now?


Filed under Writing

41 responses to “Still here, and pecking away

  1. Ooh, sounds like The Hat is going to have his hands full with this character!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Start with the spirit, if even a whisper. Let us hear it, even as a non-voice. Grunts. Ahas. Yes… feel the scythe bounce in its “hands” Mmm. Otherwise we just invested in scarecrow manufacturing “as told by” for one line of dialog. My .02. And throw the word “then” out the window. Even with Lunar Boogie being an exercise in watching the author jam I’d buy another Hat just because the premise rocks. Turn it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It sounds very interesting. Thank you for sharing, and keep on! Have a beautiful weekend! xx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’d read it! That last line was a clincher for Hat fans. Sounds like this one will be a lot of fun!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Love the creepy atmosphere of the scene. Really gives that final line more impact. I’d say it’s a perfect opener. Could work as a closer for a previous volume too, which makes it even better.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wow, Craig! What a compelling start. To answer your question – YES, I would definitely read it. In fact, I didn’t want to stop. I want to know what vendetta this spirit has with The Hat. Well-done! Thanks for the update!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m intrigued. By the way, I like your background image. Perfect for the recent release of Lanternfish.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Awesome, but not a friendly ghost, I guess?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m hooked. I’d read this! I’m thinking the Hat with his attitude has annoyed this spirit somehow:) Imagjine that. The backstory has to be a lot of fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow! This is one hell of a way to announce new work, Craig… truly compelling!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. D.L. Finn, Author

    Yes, I definitely would keep reading. It already surprised me it was looking for the hat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Victoria Zigler

    Great to see a check-in post of sorts from you, and I hope at least some of the things keeping you so busy have been good. I’ve been sharing your promo posts around via the sites they’re featured on, so I hope it’s helped at least a little. At least I can say I tried. Oh, and, yes. I would read a book that started that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mar

    I’m definitely intrigued! You’ve painted quite a picture, Craig. I think the opinions are quite unanimous & we all would gladly read The Midnight Rambler.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m all in for a showdown between this guy and the hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful descriptions and truly creepy. Can’t wait until the apparition meets The Hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You have my attention. I would read this. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Liked by 1 person

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