Monday, December 12, 2011


So stay tuned, PAC fans -- within the next few weeks, I will post the PAC Squad novel that was so offensive, even by 80's action novel standards, that it ended my father's writing career.

Until then, some marketing:

This is the first few pages of WRATH OF THE PUMPKIN GOD, now available for FREE on Smashwords. (Amazon doesn't allow authors to give works away for free, you can buy it for $1.99 there.)

The sky in the east began to lighten slowly.

Jack Rayon hung in the darkness, staring at the stars as they dimmed with the coming of the sun. The growing light illuminated the low clouds with a blood-red light, and there was finally enough faint illumination for Jack to see the other members of the Paranormal Activities Control Squad.

There was wizened gnome-like Dr. Venerius, snoring harshly and drooling all over the dirty white lab coat he habitually wore. Next to him was Tina Bouffant, still lovely in her battered state, her huge pile of red hair strewn with hay seed. There was Bobby Fedora, his battered felt snap-brim mercifully fallen over his brow to cover his face. There was Sachet Saperstein, his canary yellow Bill Blass suit streaked with dirt as his face was streaked with tears.

All of them were, as he was, strung up on great crucifixes of corn shucks and barbed wire.

They were all unconscious, heads slumped on their chests. Only Jack was awake. He had stayed up all through the night, watching the high-peaked roof of the distant black barn. . . awaiting the coming of Silas Klosterheim, the King of Corn.

“We should never have come to Kansas,” whispered Jack through bloody lips.

* * *

Outside of a 7-11 in Junction City, Kansas, Raynar looked at the map in the dim light of dawn, cursing softly to himself.

The Sparrow Brothers come out of the store, tearing open the plastic safety cap of a bottle of ephedrine “white crosses,” the long-haul trucker’s best friend. They tossed double handfuls of the small white stimulants down their throat, washing them down with Dr. Pepper.

Raynar concentrated, trying to get a psychic reading on the missing members of the PAC Team, but something was deflecting his psychic signals, blocking them, some great and un-nameable Force, a power beyond reckoning.

It had all started a few weeks previously when the PAC Squad computer began getting readouts on unusual goings-on in Wichita, Kansas.
A biker gang calling itself the Satan’s Nephews was at war with a Jamaican drug gang known as the Slimy Tide, the two battling over the city’s lucrative drug trade. This in itself was nothing to interest the Paranormal Activities Control Squad, the US Government’s primary unit in charge of dealing with supernatural enemies.

Yet the way the drug war was being waged was highly unusual.

Six members of the Slimy Tide gang had been found dead; in fact they had been torn to ribbons by some powerful animal. Hairs found at the scene could only be identified as wolf hair; but the bite radius and size of the claw marks were far out of proportion to any normal wolf.

Eight members of the Satan’s Nephews had been found dead, also; yet their bodies had been completely unmarked. No cause of death could be determined by the coroners. However, small doll-like replicas of the bikers, impaled with pins, had been found during a recent police raid on a Slimy Tide clubhouse.

Finally, two days previously, several members of the PAC Squad had been dispatched, and had not been heard from since.

“Want some?” asked Johansen Sparrow, offering Raynar a handful of the white pills.
Raynar shook his head as he pulled on his seatbelt and folded the map. “They might affect my psychic powers adversely,” said Raynar grimly. “And I have a feeling I’ll be needing the full extent of my psychic ability today.”

* * *

The lower rim of the sun cleared the horizon, and Jack could see Klosterheim’s distant gothic barn clearly, and the skeletal water-tower and squat grain silos beyond. The other PAC Squad members were still silent and motionless in the humid dawn.

A cold fist clenched Jack’s stomach. Far out in the corn, he could see the black peaked hat of Silas Klosterheim wending its way through the still stalks of corn towards the clearing.

He glanced at the others. No use waking them; they would soon be far more awake then they would ever wish.

Rayon looked out over the field at the road; the Chrysler Lebaron must have been moved into the barn during the night. Goddamit. That had been Jack’s last hope, that a passing state trooper might have seen the car.

They had been driving through the great vast expanse of cornfields that is Kansas, Dr. Venerius’s shortcut leaving them totally lost somewhere near a town called Burden.

They had turned onto a dirt road, when suddenly the Chrysler got two flat tires. Pilling out of the car, they found that several boards with nails in them had been buried in the dust, a very literal version of the ‘tourist trap.”

The kindly old man in overalls and straw hat walking down the road did not arouse any suspicion in any of them, even Tina Bouffant, the blind psychometricist, who could touch any object and receive psychic impressions from it.

The old man agreed to call the AAA, smiling and acting in a manner reminiscent of the early Andy Griffith, but had insisted that the PAC Squad first accompany him back to his farm for “vittles.”

They’d accepted equinamously enough, all being very hungry, and he led them through the corn towards his farm. The giant crucifixes of twisted cornhusks that they passed had only slightly unnerved them.

But suddenly, Klosterheim had disappeared into the corn.

They had shouted for him, thrashing their way through the gigantic stalks, which seemed to be pressing on them, moving and whispering in a somehow malevolent way. They thrashed forward, beginning to panic as the sun sank slowly on the red horizon.
Suddenly, Sachet Saperstein screamed as he came face to face with a scarecrow, a crude and ugly thing of sticks and straw and burlap. He breathed a sigh of relief, though, when he saw it was “just” a scarecrow.

But then the scarecrow grabbed him, cackling evilly.

More scarecrows appeared, leaping from the corn wielding pitchforks, and that had been that for the surprised and overwhelmed PAC Squad.

A dozen shrilly cackling scarecrows had swarmed over them and carried them off towards the huge crucifixes, which stood in a terrifying sort of “corn Cavalry” in the center of the field.

Silas Klosterheim had been waiting for them there, his overalls and straw hat gone, replaced with a tall black peaked hat and starched Puritan collar. He said nothing, but the scarecrows moved as one, seeming to obey his commands, binding them tightly to the crucifixes with wire.

As the hot Midwestern sun sank on the horizon, Klosterheim lectured them about the anger of Gaia, the wounded earth mother that refused to bring rain to his parched fields, and of the evils of Reaganomics and gigantic corporations which brought the banks and IRS men down like vultures upon the American independent farmer, the backbone of the economy.

“Sacrifice! That’s what the Earth Spirit demands!” screeched Klosterheim. “Tomorrow at dusk, you die! Until then, the corn will drink your sweat and tears!” He left them there, ignoring their plaintive pleadings, his high hat weaving slowly away through the whispering corn.

The scarecrows stood watch, as stiff and straight as real scarecrows, except that they mockingly moved against the wind when the breeze would blow against them. The whispering corn after a while seemed to be saying “Blood for the Harvest God, blood for the Harvest God.”