Over the past few weeks, you’ve likely seen me posting several updates about the Edge of Oblivion anthology. I’ve been enjoying chatting with other authors about their stories featured in the collection, but I haven’t really done much speaking about my own; and I work in marketing for a living, folks. 🙂
Edge of Oblivion
First let me say this about the anthology: I love it! It’s chock-full of engaging, twisted and sometimes creepy tales by some of the most creative writers I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. Whether you enjoy Twilight Zone-caliber mysteries, time-bending head scratchers, post-apocalyptic tales of futures to come, traditional ghost stories or pornographic sci-fi (yes, I’m looking at you, Tony), there is a little something for everyone.
On a personal note, I read Keri Knutson’s “Jingle, Jingle” right before bedtime. I would strongly advise against doing that. 🙂
So, that brings us to my contribution: “The Tunnel.” Tony Healey, the man behind the Edge of Oblivion anthology, was one of the biggest supporters of my short story compilation Strangers. He contacted me last year and told me about his vision for a speculative fiction anthology. He’d been kicking around the idea as a fundraiser opportunity for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
I was beyond flattered when Tony said that “The Tunnel” fit perfectly within his vision and asked for permission to include it. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, especially since all proceeds were being donated to charity. I’ve heard from readers that “The Tunnel” was their favorite Strangers story, so I welcomed the opportunity to get it out in front of a new audience.
Strangers on a Train
The concept behind “The Tunnel” was pretty basic. From my own travels, I have heard a plethora of local legends and myths about particular towns and buildings. One that really stood out for me was the tale of the Moonville Tunnel in Ohio.
It’s a great story in its own right, but being a writer, the gears started spinning. Using the real world history of Moonville as inspiration, I wrote “The Tunnel,” which explored the dark side of a seemingly innocuous train ride from Cleveland to Cincinnati.
A young artist named Colin swaps stories with Herbert, an old-timer with a love of the rails, to entertain themselves over the long trip. However, a series of strange events occur as the train nears a tunnel known to locals as the Starlight Mile.
Show & Tell
The Edge of Oblivion anthology is a steal at $2.99, but don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a quick taste of what you can expect!
An excerpt from “The Tunnel”
“Well then, what about you, Mr. Herbert?” Colin shut his notebook and set it down beside him. “I imagine you’ve heard some great stories in your day. Do you have a favorite?”
“I’ve traveled far and wide for many years. I have heard thousands of different tales, but if I did have a favorite, I think yours may have just topped it.” Herbert removed a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his nose. “However, now that you mention it, I think I do have one that’s appropriate. Let me ask you, do you like scary stories?”
Colin reigned in his jubilant expression and looked at the old man cockeyed. “Um, I guess so.”
“Splendid! Then I think you’re really going to love this one. It’s a story that originated in Ohio. Come to think of it, it happened on this very train route.”
Colin rolled his eyes and said, “Please don’t tell me this is going to end with a train car full of blonde bimbos and a hook stuck to the outside door handle.”
“Of course not,” Herbert said. “This is a story about the tunnel.”
“What tunnel? We’ve already passed through several.”
“Indeed, young Colin, there are many tunnels on the path ahead, but nothing like the Starlight Mile.”
“I’ve never heard of that and I’ve lived in Ohio for years.” Colin folded his arms across his chest.
“Well, no, Colin. I wouldn’t figure that you had. The story reveals a time in history that Ohio would rather forget, but us old timers? We know the truth.”
“Are you sure?”
“Ah, I always appreciate a good skeptic. You want proof, and I will oblige. I want you to count to thirty and then look out the window. If I’m telling you the truth, you will see a hill lined with old stone markers.”
Colin humored the old man and counted off to thirty out loud as Herbert looked on. When Colin reached the number thirty, he turned to the side and looked outside. “All I see are a bunch of trees, Herbert. I’ll give you credit, though. You had me going for a—”
Colin stopped short after a break in the trees gave way to large mound of earth. Stone markers littered the path up to the top of the hill, just as Herbert had said.
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