Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Seven

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting sturgeons, chapter 8, by John L. Harmon

    I am lying alone in the motel bed, a streetlight faintly illuminating the closed curtains.  There is no need to see Stickler Hill waiting for me beyond the window.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Besides, there are more pleasant things to think about.

    My thoughts drift through the rest of my evening with Eddie.  The conversation had become almost overwhelmingly sad, so his suggestion of getting out of Gordon’s sounded good to me.  We vacated the table and Eddie stopped to say a quick goodnight to Val.  She smiled and told us to come again.  Eddie said we would and I just nodded.  A couple of the patrons at the bar gave us a quick wave, which was a stark contrast to when I first entered.

    As we stepped into the warm summer night, I asked Eddie what he had in mind.  He beamed and said we should take a stroll through downtown.  The business district of Sturgeons was our childhood hangout.  A taste of independence from parental supervision because we all assumed that our small town was safe.  Maybe it was, generally speaking.

    Eddie and I walked side by side past the rebuilt versions of our old haunts.  There was the diner where we would grab burgers and sodas.  We always drove the owner crazy when we would spin around on the stools along the counter.  On another block was the candy store, where we would stock up on sweets when candy baked beans weren’t enough. Then there was the theater, our Saturday night escape from small town life.  We couldn’t recall the last movie we saw at The Deco, but it was probably some science fiction-horror nonsense that we laughed at to cover our fear.  

    As we headed back towards Gordon’s, Eddie pondered what we might have missed by not growing up as teenagers together.  He suggested parties and cruising Main Street.  I chuckled at the double meaning and mentioned Saturday night movies would’ve definitely continued.  Eddie agreed, but wondered what else we missed out on.  I hesitated, uncertain how far I wanted to slide down the rabbit hole of what if

    After Eddie prodded me with a gentle nudge as we walked, I started to describe how we might have spent an evening at the age of 16 or 17.   How we would have parked in the middle of a cornfield, both of us stretched out on the hood of a car.  Eddie added that it would’ve been a moonless night so the stars filled the sky.  I suggested the only sound would’ve been the humming of insects and a slight breeze rustling the cornstalks.  We both knew that the night would’ve been filled with laughter, intense conversation and moments of comfortable silence. 

    Before more could be said, we were back at Gordon’s Bar.  We stopped near our respective vehicles and faced one another.  Eddie smiled, maybe a little sadly, and I could see it in his eyes.  He didn’t want the night to end.  Neither did I, but we agreed it was getting late.  We exchanged numbers and he asked about my plans for tomorrow.  I vaguely mentioned visiting a resident at The Golden Dusk and then hitting the library for old newspapers, but I promised we would see each other again.

    Eddie, with his lopsided grin, said he was holding me to that promise.  Then he held me, an embrace for all the years stolen from us.  He expressed how much he missed me and I returned the feeling.  As we slowly let go and said goodnight, I noticed a tear running down Eddie’s cheek.  

    I wipe away a few tears as I turn onto my side in the lonely motel bed.  My phone, in view on the nightstand, lights up and vibrates.  I hold my breath, sensing it will not be Eddie and I’m right.  The brief text feels like a slap in the face. 

Do you know what you’re doing? 

    I reply that I do and then shut off my phone.  Tossing the necessary evil down to the foot of the bed, I curl my legs up to my chest.  The motel room suddenly seems smaller and the bed feels lonelier as I wait for sleep to arrive. 


The HAUNTING continues in…

Chapter nine


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



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Monday, September 27, 2021

Little Library of Horrors!

 We inyrrrupt this blog with late-breaking news! 

Meanwhile at the library, there must have been another total eclipse of the sun! 

A vine grows from a corner and says, “my name is Audrey III”



P.S. click the pic ⤵️ to discover why you shouldn’t feed the plants! …

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


 Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Six

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting Sturgeons, chapter 7, by John L. Harmon

    I am holding onto my glass of beer like a life preserver as Eddie’s question washes over my mind.  What has he heard?  I don’t believe he would pay attention to gossip, but people talk and it’s hard not to listen.  What should I tell him?  I know he doesn’t want a generic I’m fine answer He really wants to know how I’ve been doing. 

    “Well, Eddie, I’m doing ok.  Going back to college in the fall, but…” I pause, trying to find the words.  “It’s been rough.”  

    Eddie nods and I open the floodgates.  I explain how what was left of my family somehow made it out of Sturgeons on that final day, but I didn’t see anything since I was curled up in the backseat.  Then I touch upon how I had to grow up fast in a home with grieving parents.  He asks how they are doing, jolting me into momentary silence. 

    I take a deep breath, knowing there is no turning back.  “My father died last year from a heart attack.  I don’t know if his excessive drinking was the cause but it has been hard on my mother.  She keeps to herself these days, rarely leaving her home.” 

    “Damn, Jimmy, I had no idea.  I’m so sorry.”

    “I guess my family never fully dealt with Tommy’s disappearance.”  

    Eddie refills our empty glasses and we sit drinking in silence.  Discussing my parents reminds me of the countless times I needed my best friend.  When my father was in a drunken rage about the lawman.  When my mother couldn’t stop crying over Tommy.  When I needed someone to talk to in the middle of a sleepless night.  

    “What about you, Eddie?” 

    “I’m doing alright, Jimmy,” he begins with an apologetic look on his face.  “I knew college wasn’t in the cards for me, so I just kept working for my dad after high school.”  

    “When did you move back to Sturgeons?” I inquire, feeling a twinge of residual resentment at my parents for not wanting to return.

    “Oh, we left our temporary home in Haven Creek the minute Sturgeons was rebuilt.”  Eddie takes a drink of beer to hide what sounds like a chuckle, but then suddenly turns somber.  “There’s something I should tell you, Jimmy.  My dad and I swung by the hospital the night before everything went to hell.  We were leaving Sturgeons and my dad wanted to ask my uncle and aunt to come with us, but they refused.  Tracy was still in shock after witnessing what happened to your brother.  They didn’t think she was fit to travel, so they stayed until it was too late.  At least that’s what we heard later.” 

    What am I supposed to say?  That I’m sorry, even though I know Eddie wasn’t close to his cousin.  That I never liked Tracy either and how maybe Tommy would still be here if he hadn’t dated her.  I close the gates on these useless thoughts and instead express condolences by raising my glass of beer, “To those we’ve lost…” 

    “…and to those we found,” Eddie finishes the toast and we clink glasses twice.  After a long drink of beer, he sets his glass down and gazes at me.  A curious look flashes in his eyes as that sweet, lopsided grin fills his face.  “Let’s get outta here, Jimmy.”


The HAUNTING continues in…

Chapter Eight


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



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Cinematic catharsis

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Five

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting Sturgeons, chapter 6, by John L. Harmon

    I am standing outside of Gordon’s Bar.  My father would occasionally come here to celebrate a big win for Tommy’s football team.  Tommy would join him for a triumphant soda, but I never did.  I just heard stories afterwards of cheering, vomiting and even back alley fighting.  The latter being my biggest fear as I open the door to loud voices and music.

    I step inside and it’s as if a switch has been flipped.  All conversations come to a screeching halt and the music dies, throwing the dimly lit room into uncomfortable silence.  The bartender, along with half a dozen customers sitting at the bar, all focus on me.  I glance away, spotting an old-fashioned jukebox, with a croquet mallet mounted on the wall above it.  A tall man is towering over the machine, also watching.  My fight or flight mode kicks in and the choice is quick and easy.  I stand my ground, letting the door close behind me. 

    “Jimmy, you’re here.”  Eddie steps from the neon shadows, a welcoming smile cutting through the tension.

    “Yeah, I’m here, but I hope it’s ok.”  I tilt my head towards the deathly quiet reception.

    “Don’t worry about them.  They’re just cautious.”  Eddie slips into his lopsided grin, putting me at ease.  “Come on, I got us a table.” 

    I follow him to an intimate setting far away from the crowd.  We sit down and I can’t help but think how he cleans up well.  His hair is now parted in the middle, with a cluster of dark strands hanging unbearably close to his right eye and there isn’t a spot of grease on his clothes.  I am about to compliment him when the bartender arrives. 

    Eddie exchanges pleasantries with the curly-haired woman and then introduces me.  Her name is Valerie Danforth and she is only a few years older than us.  I don’t know her, but I recognize something in her eyes.  Something I see when I visit my mother or look in the mirror.  We order a pitcher of beer and she asks to see my I.D.  Valerie studies my driver’s license with the same intensity as Sheriff Johns and I expect her to mention my brother, but she doesn’t.  She simply returns my license, announcing she’ll be right back with our beer. 

    “So, do you come here often?” I ask, trying to avoid a different question turning in my mind.

    “Once in a blue moon, but Val is great.”  Eddie leans forward, smiling proudly, “If anyone here gives me shit, she kicks them to the curb.”

    “I like her already.”  I glance towards the bar as she fills our order.  Maybe I shouldn’t ask, but I want to know if I’m right.  “Did she lose someone ten years ago?” 

    “Yeah, her grandfather.”  Eddie frowns a little.  “He owned the bar back then.  How did you know?” 

    Before I can say more, Val is setting our pitcher of beer and two filled glasses between us.  We both reach for our wallets, but she waves a hand, locking eyes with me.  “On the house for a fellow Sturgeonite.” 

    “I, um, thank you, Val,” I fumble through my gratitude.  She replies with a quick nod and turns to leave.  Watching her walk away, I wonder if Gordon’s Bar is where the irreparably damaged come to forget, or maybe to remember.  The voices and music resume as Val draws closer to the bar and I chuckle a little.  “Guess it really is ok for me to be here.”

    Eddie, either ignoring or forgetting his question, gives me a look that says, I told you so I smirk a sarcastic shut up at him and we can’t help but laugh, making it feel as if no time has passed.  He adds to the feeling by raising his beer, initiating the old routine, and I follow his action.  Clinking our glasses together twice, like we always did with our sodas, we simultaneously chant our childhood toast, “Up and at ‘em.” .

    After a long sip, Eddie sets his glass down and searches my eyes.  “So, Jimmy, how have you been after all these years?”  


The HAUNTING continues in…

Chapter 7

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



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About JLH

Tuesday, September 7, 2021


 Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Four

Now the HAUNTING-continues...


Haunting sturgeons, chapter 5 by John L. Harmon

    I am retrieving a single piece of luggage from my car.  As I close the hatchback, I take another glance at my accommodations.  The three-story turn of the century home, turned motel office, stands proudly in faded blue paint.  Adjacent to the office is a long, urine yellow building of twelve rooms.  Someone has taken great care to retain the seedy, no questions asked vibe of the original business.  Maybe this is why I chose the Teeter-Totter Motel for my stay in Sturgeons.

    The manager either didn’t know me or didn’t care.  He didn’t even ask for identification when I paid cash.  I was simply handed an actual key and told to have a nice stay.  There was no mention of a continental breakfast or paying extra for late night companionship.  All the lurid stories I heard as a kid must have just been rumors. 

    I unlock the door and enter my temporary home.  The single bed centers the small room with a nightstand on the side.  A long dresser stretches out in front of the bed, topped with the essentials: a TV, microwave, and coffee-maker.  There is also a writing desk in the corner trying to add class, but it looks like a relic from a different time.  I just need a place to shower and sleep, which makes this plain room perfect.

    After locking the door, I set my duffle bag down and drop onto the bed.  I have more than physical baggage to unpack, but I’d rather just think about meeting Eddie later.  My buzzing phone interrupts my thoughts, adding to the baggage.  I knew the text message was coming, so I type a quick reply and hope it’s enough.  A few minutes pass and my phone remains silent.  I place the necessary evil face down on the nightstand and close my eyes, trying to relax.

    I open my eyes to the sound of my father’s voice shouting my name.  Eddie is already unzipping the tent as I sit up, fully awake.  We glance at each other and I feel the confusion in his eyes.  For a split second, I worry someone overheard us talking last night, but I don’t think that’s it.  There is something deeply wrong in my father’s voice.  He isn’t just shouting in anger, there’s panic mixed in with each syllable.  

    Eddie hands me my backpack as I step into the blinding light of Sunday morning.  My father immediately grabs my arm and starts dragging me across the Newcastle backyard.  Trying to yank myself free, I demand to know what’s going on.  All he says is that something has happened to Tommy, which only adds to my confusion.  I look back at Eddie and he is standing by his tent, sadness filling his 11 year-old face. 

    I open my eyes and catch my breath, wishing it was just a bad dream, but it wasn’t.  It is my memory of first hearing about Tommy’s disappearance and of the last time I would see Eddie until today.  Conflicting emotions turn inside me as I rub the tears from my eyes.  I gradually notice the shadows on the ceiling have shifted and I reach for the necessary evil.  My phone doesn’t lie at how long I’ve been asleep, causing me to sit up and glance out the window at the fading light.

    A jarring sight envelops my eyes, pulling me from the bed.  I was subconsciously aware of the reminder as I drove through town but I wasn’t ready to see it until now.  Stickler Hill stands immovable in the distance, a scattering of trees topping its highest area.  Bathed in a dim glow from the setting sun, what should be a simple hill is as impressive and menacing as ever.  Maybe more after everything that happened. 

    I step closer to the window, wondering what happened to Tommy after the sunrise breakfast.  Was he scared?  Was he in pain?  Was Tracy Newcastle the last person he saw that morning?  I imagine my brother staring expectantly at me through the other side of the glass, but it’s not time.  There is more to learn and tonight is as much for Tommy as it is for myself.  


The HAUNTING continues in…

Chapter Six

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



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