Keith Rommel takes the top spot at Hellbender Books for December with “The Cursed Man”

Keith Rommel takes the top spot at Hellbender Books for December with “The Cursed Man”

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for December 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
2 2 Dark Entry John Kachuba Supernatural Thriller
3 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
4 The Sinful Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
5 3 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 again at Hellbender Books for January

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 again at Hellbender Books for January

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for January for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Kyle Alexander Romine’s supernatural thriller The Keeper of the Crows was the bestseller for the month once again.  Keith Rommel’s psychological thrillers The Cursed Man and The Lurking Man took 2nd and 5th spots. Keith’s supernatural thrillers, The Devil Tree and The Devil Tree II grabbed third and fourth.

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for January 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
2 2 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
3 4 The Devil Tree Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
4 The Devil Tree II Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
5 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller

Romines was helped by strong ebook sales. Rommel performed well with ebook sales due to his movie deals and Kindle promotions.
.

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 again at Hellbender Books for December

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 again at Hellbender Books for December

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for December for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Kyle Alexander Romine’s supernatural thriller The Keeper of the Crows was the bestseller for the month once again.  Keith Rommel’s psychological thrillers The Cursed Man and The Silent Woman took 2nd and 3rd spots. Keith’s supernatural thriller, The Devil Tree, grabbed fourth. Michael Hawley’s supernatural thriller The Ripper’s Hellbroth was slipped to fifth place.

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for December 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
2 3 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
3 The Silent Woman Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
4 The Devil Tree Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
5 2 The Ripper’s Hellbroth Michael Hawley Supernatural Thriller

Romines was helped by strong ebook sales. Rommel performed well with ebook sales due to his movie deals. Hawley was buoyed by author appearances and activities, including a television program on the Travel Channel.
.

 

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for November

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for November

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for November for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Kyle Alexander Romine’s supernatural thriller The Keeper of the Crows was the bestseller for the month. Michael Hawley’s supernatural thriller The Ripper’s Hellbroth was slipped to second place. Keith Rommel’s psychological thrillers The Cursed Man and The Sinful Man took 3rd and 5th place. Thomas Malafarina placed 4th with his horror novel What Waits Beneath.

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for November, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 2 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
2 1 The Ripper’s Hellbroth Michael Hawley Supernatural Thriller
3 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
4 What Waits Beneath Thomas Malafarina Horror
5 5 The Sinful Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller

Romines was helped by strong ebook sales. Hawley was buoyed by author appearances and activities, including a television program on the Travel Channel. Rommel performed well with ebook sales due to his movie deals. Malafarina also performed well on the Kindle platform.
.

Kyle Alexander Romines’ “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for September

Kyle Alexander Romines’ “The Keeper of the Crows” is #1 at Hellbender Books for September

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. —  Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for September for its horror/thriller imprint, HELLBENDER BOOKS. Kyle Alexander Romine’s supernatural thriller The Keeper of the Crows was the bestseller for the month. Keith Rommel’s psychological thriller The Cursed Man was second.

HELLBENDER BOOKS – Bestsellers for September, 2017 (by Revenue)
Rank Title Author Category
1 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Supernatural Thriller
2 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
3 The Sinful Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller
4 The Devil Tree Keith Rommel Supernatural Thriller
5 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Psychological Thriller

Romines was buoyed by strong ebook sales and author activities. Three of Rommel’s Thanatology Series books placed in the top five, including The Cursed Man, The Sinful Man, and The Lurking Man. His supernatural thriller The Devil Tree, recalling a real-life serial killer from Florida in the 1970s, also made the list.

 

 

"The Silent Woman" is the long-awaited fourth installment in award-winning novelist Keith Rommel's "Thanatology Series"

Vero Beach, FL — Sunbury Press has released The Silent Woman, Keith Rommel’s fourth novel in the Thanatology series of psychological thrillers. The first two books, The Cursed Man and The Lurking Man, have already been made into Hollywood movies and are winning awards on the festival circuit. Both movies are slated for release and distribution later this year. The third novel, The Sinful Man, is scheduled for filming in April.

About the Book:

The past. 

A little girl is nearly kidnapped. A wild man runs loose, terrorizing a neighborhood. An older sister stops at nothing to protect her younger sibling from outsiders. 

The present.

A woman sits in a prison cell, left to rot alongside a ruthless tormentor on a mission to break her. But, little does she know, the prison holds more insidious monsters than the beastly cellmate who steals her food and trades away her belongings for seemingly irrelevant trinkets. 

The past.

Secret murders. A clandestine friendship. A broken pact between sisters. In an effort to cover up a string of devious acts, an unlikely coalition unites to bury their shared dark past. 

The present.

A woman continues to be tortured by her mocking bunkmate, as well as by her own past—and all the things she can’t recall about it. What has she done? Why is she here? Where is she? As she ponders and pieces together the mysteries of her history, she traverses a place that incarcerates her not only physically but also forces her deeper into the prison of her own mind.

 

The Silent Woman: A Psychological Thriller

Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $14.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm) 
Black & White on White paper
204 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064412 
ISBN-10: 1620064413 
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers
For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Silent-Woman-9781620064412.htm

As the Greenland ice melts, something horrible lurks beneath

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Sunbury Press has released the climate fiction (Cli-Fi) thriller Ice Canyon Monster, Keith Rommel’s novella about the consequences of global warming.

What Others Are Saying:
When a Greenland shaman decides to fight back against global warming and the harm it is doing to his people, a powerful series of events unfolds in this cli-fi thriller. Keith Rommel knows how to spin a great yarn!
– Dan Bloom, The Cli-Fi Report

About the Book:
icm_fcHUNGER WILL BRING ANYTHING TO THE SURFACE …
The Eskimo people of Greenland have grown tired of the damage being done to their country. Global warming from emissions that stem from the shipping lanes that run between Canada and Greenland has made people that live close to the coast sick. Cancer, asthma and as many as 5,000 deaths a year have been attributed to this pollution. A single cargo ship in one year burns more emissions than 50 million gasoline burning vehicles.

When Akutak, a Greenlandic Shaman Eskimo, decides to take action against the things that are destroying his country, he uses the ancient arts and creates a tupilak and with it and conjures a curse. Designed in the form of an octopus, this Goliath is going to become Greenland’s guardian and do everything within its power to stop the erosion of the ice sheet.

But not everyone sees the Tupilak Octopus as a champion and they seek to destroy it. But the only way to destroy it is to conjure something more powerful and Akutak may be Greenland’s most powerful shaman.

This novelette is part of the Cli-Fi movement and contains stunning facts surrounding Greenland and the danger this beautiful country faces from big oil to overused shipping lanes. Akutak and his Tupilak Octopus has one message: leave Greenland alone! – Read this highly educational novel with a great fiction story intertwined within the startling facts.

Excerpt:
Akutak knelt down on the hard, cold surface of a mountainous ice sheet that overlooked the valley’s deep ice canyon. A large rivulet carried fast-moving glacial water, and the sound of the running river was loud enough to reach Akutak even at this altitude.

Located in the interior of Greenland, beneath the ice sheet and river flow, was a canyon that snaked around and reached the Petermann Glacier on the northern coast. The water melt also flowed beneath the ice and was released into the Arctic Ocean.

True to old tradition almost lost throughout the centuries, Akutak wore the skins of animals that were captured for their meat. The skins were sewn together by his wife. She was a skilled seamstress and made him kamiks, trousers and anoraks, gloves and a hat. It was her skill that protected him against the harsh elements and kept him alive. Knowing she made the clothing, the frigid cold was of no concern; in Greenland it is said a man is what his wife makes him.

Opening the flap of an animal skin sack that was slung over his shoulder, he peered inside and saw what he had placed there before he left home at first light.

The wind whipped and reminded Akutak that where he was was inhospitable and unwelcoming. But still, he continued to move forward with the plan that took him nearly two years to complete; shrouded in silence even to his kin. What he created and what he was about to do was never shared with anyone else. It couldn’t be because that was the way.

He carefully reached into his sack and pulled out a hand-sized tupilaq. This carefully handmade avenging monster was created to keep people away from his native land, which was shrinking each year because of global warming.

The shaman began to chant in his native tongue of Inuit. He called forth in a repeated rhythmic sound, reciting his desire to make those who caused it to pay for what his country was suffering. He wanted to instill fear and summoned a beast, large and unstoppable, filled with the rage of his ancestors. This beast would do terrible things to keep people away from Greenland.

He looked at the tupilaq, made the traditional way to ensure its effectiveness; the design represented exactly what he foresaw as being the bringer of fear and order, death, and a reluctance to challenge the waters around Greenland. Made from carved bone, dried and stretched skin, woven hair and sinew, the totem even contained parts from dead children.

Drawing himself close to the ridge, each footfall carefully placed so as not to plunge to his death, his chant continued as he looked over the edge and into the clear water. He held onto the tupilaq, looked at his work one last time to make sure it was good enough, and then held it out and released it over the flowing water.

About the Author:
Keith Rommel is the author of numerous fiction thrillers, best known for his Thanatology Series, which includes The Cursed Man, and The Lurking Man, both of which are becoming Hollywood movies. Keith is also a screenwriter.

Ice Canyon Monster
Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
136 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620067222
ISBN-10: 1620067226
BISAC: Fiction / Sea Stories

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Ice-Canyon-Monster-9781620067222.htm

Gruesome murders at Oak Hammock Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.Oct. 24, 2015PRLog — Sunbury Press has released Keith Rommel’s second installment about the Devil Tree entitledThe Devil Tree II: The Calling, a super-natural thriller.

tdt2_fcWhat drives someone to kill? Is it something within them, or an outside force that influences them?

One of Florida’s most overlooked serial killers (Gerard John Schaefer) wrought havoc along the Treasure Coast and Hutchinson Island in the 1970s. His reign of terror consisted of unspeakable acts of torture, rape, and murder by an ancient oak tree. He hanged people there, buried their bodies, and came back often to pillage what remained. It is believed that Schaefer’s evil seeped into the tree and surrounding area, leaving a blemish on the otherwise beautiful nature walk in Oak Hammock Park in Port Saint Lucie. When night descends around the tree, the atmosphere changes completely; hundreds of stories are offered up about personal experiences of a true-life haunting.

Continuing with the legend that is pulled into modern day, Satanists commune by the tree in honor of their fallen idol. Terrible things happen around the tree, which seems to have a certain allure to it . . . making peoplecommit unimaginable acts.

This sick and grizzly legend is so deep, so convoluted and wicked, you won’t believe what you read. Whatever you do, don’t visit the Devil Tree after dusk. You will never be the same. This is not just a blurb for the back of a book, but a warning from many people–including uniformed officers who have come forth to share their experiences at the tree. I have seen both confusion and truth in their eyes.

This is a must-read series for all Floridians and those intrigued by legends, the supernatural, and the occult.

EXCERPT:

tgt2_bandThe big oak tree remained firmly planted in the soil and blocked out the moonlight with its thick overhead canopy draped in Spanish moss. It towered there like a sentinel of bad omens with a history it didn’t ask for and a reputation it couldn’t shake.

A dozen people gathered around, all dressed in long black robes with silk, ropelike belts with tassels and red plastic masks to disguise their faces. Two from the group placed candles around the tree and one followed behind them, lighting the candles. The flicker of candlelight added to the eerie scene that had begun to play out.

Everyone backed away and two others stepped forward. Unlike the others, their masks were white with a bloody teardrop underneath the left eyehole. They brushed away the leaves and acorns that covered the forest floor, sat down on the cool ground, and set a Ouija board between them.

Gentle fingers rested on the planchette, the small, heart-shaped movable indicator, and everyone around remained perfectly quiet. Palpable tension hung in the air as if something wicked shushed everyone with the promise of something terrible to come. The onlookers waited while the two chosen ones who had been called forth spoke to the Ouija board. With that, the ritual had begun.

“We have come here and gathered for you, and we respectfully ask that you give us a sign of your presence,” a male voice said, muted by the mask without a mouth hole.

The planchette started to move slowly, without purpose, and the leaders stared at each other.

“Have you been expecting us?” the female said and shook her masked head.

The Devil Tree II: The Calling
Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
202 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066522
ISBN-10: 1620066521
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers / Supernatural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Devil-Tree-II-The-Ca…

Keith Rommel's "The Devil Tree" based on Port St. Lucie's legend

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.Keith Rommel’s latest novel, The Devil Tree, based on the Port St. Lucie, Florida legend is has been released in hardcover.

tdt_fcAbout the Book:
Back in the 1970s, a series of bizarre incidents occurred at what has since been known as “The Devil Tree.”  Beneath this ancient denizen, evil was wrought by a sick serial killer, calling upon forces most evil and dark.  People were hung there … and bodies buried there … exhumed by the police.  Overcome by superstition, some tried to cut down the tree, to no avail.  Since then, it has stood in a remote section of a local park — left to its own devices — quiet in its eerie repose — until now!

Best-selling psychological-thriller author Keith Rommel has imagined the whole tale anew. He’s brought the tree to life and retold the tale with gory detail only possible in a fiction novel. Action-packed, with spine-tingling detail, this thriller is beyond parallel in the ground it uncovers … one author’s explanation of what may have really been said — what may have really happened — under Port St. Lucie’s “Devil Tree.”

Excerpt:
PICNIC
The past.
The big oak tree had crooked limbs that reached for the sky and a trunk over twenty feet in circumference. The thick canopy above blocked the midday sun, making the air seem ten degrees cooler than the scorching ninety-degree heat beating down from the hot Florida rays.

Port Saint Lucie was a quiet town and seemed to be a world within its own. Dirt roads and cheap housing had the allure to invite northern folks in hopes of escaping the bustle of city life, high costs of living, and the brutal cold winters that took their toll on the mind, body, and spirit.

For Marion, so far the change of pace was nothing short of perfect. The house she lived in was beautiful, her neighbors were pleasant; the air seemed cleaner and the sky a different kind of blue.

Looking at the ground surrounding the oak tree, she thought it the ideal spot to have a picnic with her two children, Bobby and Judy. She had Bobby carry the white and red checkered sheet, which was folded into a neat and manageable square. Judy helped by carrying the wicker picnic basket but struggled with the weight. Neither her mother or her brother offered to help her because she insisted she could do it and didn’t want help from anyone. Headstrong and full of temper, she was a handful.

Marion fiddled with a transistor radio and tried to get a clear signal so they could listen to music while they spent some quality family time on this perfect day out.

“Right here,” Marion said to Bobby, pointing at the flat ground underneath the giant oak. She mopped the sweat from her brow and looked up the hulking trunk and into the intricate weave of branches that was marvelous to the eyes. Spanish moss hung down, and if it wasn’t daytime the oak might have left the impression of a creepy Halloween prop.

Bobby placed the blanket down and did a fine job of getting all the wrinkles out of it. Marion assisted Judy in placing the basket down on the corner of the blanket, and although she didn’t say so, Marion thought she was thankful for the assistance.

She kicked off her shoes and stepped onto the squares and sat cross-legged. The ground was soft enough, and a coolness from the soil seeped up through the blanket, adding to the relief of being out of the direct sunlight.

“Yes, this is perfect,” Marion said, and the radio caught the marvelous chorus of “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles. “Put your shoes off to the side before you step on the blanket,” she told the children. “I don’t want you tracking dirt all over the place before we eat.”

The kids did as they were told and Marion looked around, admiring the spot she had chosen. It was the first time she had been to this particular part of town and was glad she’d come across it. She had seen a couple of fishermen on her way in, tugging on the invisible lines they had cast and drinking Blue Ribbon beer. The men had looked over their shoulders at the sound of her car, but she had pulled far enough into the oversized lot that she couldn’t see them from her space.

The water in the canal looked clean enough to cool their feet if they needed, and the flow of water was slow enough that it posed little to no threat of sweeping them away. But she would decide whether or not they would go into the canal after the children had eaten and if they behaved well enough.

Bobby and Judy sat on the blanket, their legs folded Indian-style just like their mother. Bobby’s face lit up as he admired the giant oak and the things that dangled over him.

“Do you think I can climb it when we’re done eating?”

Marion thought about it. There was no question the tree was strong enough to hold him. But the sharp angles of the branches and clumps of Spanish moss made her nervous. She’d heard something about there being chiggers in moss. Despite the warm weather, she shivered just thinking about those nasty biting mites.

“I don’t know, Bobby, let Mommy think about it,” she said but already knew the answer to be no. She just didn’t want to start the picnic on a negative. “Let’s eat some lunch then afterward I’d like to go down to the water there and have a look. Maybe we can get our feet wet.”

“Neat, Mom,” Bobby said.

Static filled the Zenith 500 transistor radio, and Marion fiddled with the small dial, delicately turning it until the tuning was sharp. The Beatles came back to life and she couldn’t help but sing along in an emotional whisper.

She opened the basket and handed Bobby and Judy their bologna sandwiches, which were cut into fours. The children placed them into their laps and ate neatly and with manners.

“How did you find this place, Mom? It’s really neat,” Bobby said and was unable to keep his eyes out of the canopy. The tree seemed to invite him up the hefty trunk and into the tangle of branches. The vantage point from up there must be spectacular, he thought, and he bit into his sandwich with an ailing whine in an attempt to sway his mother’s thinking.

Marion ignored him and continued to take in her surroundings. Their 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire was parked about thirty yards away, cooking in the midday heat. She grabbed her own sandwich and unfolded the foil. As she sat there, taking tiny bites, a sudden chill rocked her body. The cold that came up through the ground and the shade of the giant oak maybe took away too much of the warmth, she decided. Marion looked at her children with the flesh goosed on her arms.

“Are you guys cold at all?”

“No,” Judy said. “It’s nice here. I like it, Mommy.”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s really neat here.”

The Devil Tree
Authored by Keith Rommel

List Price: $29.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
192 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065884
ISBN-10: 1620065880
BISAC: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Devil-Tree-9781620065884.htm

Port St. Lucie's legendary Devil Tree subject of new Keith Rommel thriller

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.Keith Rommel’s latest novel, The Devil Tree, based on the Port St. Lucie, Florida legend is now available for pre-order on the Kindle platform.

tdt_fcAbout the Book:
Back in the 1970s, a series of bizarre incidents occurred at what has since been known as “The Devil Tree.”  Beneath this ancient denizen, evil was wrought by a sick serial killer, calling upon forces most evil and dark.  People were hung there … and bodies buried there … exhumed by the police.  Overcome by superstition, some tried to cut down the tree, to no avail.  Since then, it has stood in a remote section of a local park — left to its own devices — quiet in its eerie repose — until now!

Best-selling psychological-thriller author Keith Rommel has imagined the whole tale anew. He’s brought the tree to life and retold the tale with gory detail only possible in a fiction novel. Action-packed, with spine-tingling detail, this thriller is beyond parallel in the ground it uncovers … one author’s explanation of what may have really been said — what may have really happened — under Port St. Lucie’s “Devil Tree.”

Excerpt:
PICNIC
The past.
The big oak tree had crooked limbs that reached for the sky and a trunk over twenty feet in circumference. The thick canopy above blocked the midday sun, making the air seem ten degrees cooler than the scorching ninety-degree heat beating down from the hot Florida rays.

Port Saint Lucie was a quiet town and seemed to be a world within its own. Dirt roads and cheap housing had the allure to invite northern folks in hopes of escaping the bustle of city life, high costs of living, and the brutal cold winters that took their toll on the mind, body, and spirit.

For Marion, so far the change of pace was nothing short of perfect. The house she lived in was beautiful, her neighbors were pleasant; the air seemed cleaner and the sky a different kind of blue.

Looking at the ground surrounding the oak tree, she thought it the ideal spot to have a picnic with her two children, Bobby and Judy. She had Bobby carry the white and red checkered sheet, which was folded into a neat and manageable square. Judy helped by carrying the wicker picnic basket but struggled with the weight. Neither her mother or her brother offered to help her because she insisted she could do it and didn’t want help from anyone. Headstrong and full of temper, she was a handful.

Marion fiddled with a transistor radio and tried to get a clear signal so they could listen to music while they spent some quality family time on this perfect day out.

“Right here,” Marion said to Bobby, pointing at the flat ground underneath the giant oak. She mopped the sweat from her brow and looked up the hulking trunk and into the intricate weave of branches that was marvelous to the eyes. Spanish moss hung down, and if it wasn’t daytime the oak might have left the impression of a creepy Halloween prop.

Bobby placed the blanket down and did a fine job of getting all the wrinkles out of it. Marion assisted Judy in placing the basket down on the corner of the blanket, and although she didn’t say so, Marion thought she was thankful for the assistance.

She kicked off her shoes and stepped onto the squares and sat cross-legged. The ground was soft enough, and a coolness from the soil seeped up through the blanket, adding to the relief of being out of the direct sunlight.

“Yes, this is perfect,” Marion said, and the radio caught the marvelous chorus of “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles. “Put your shoes off to the side before you step on the blanket,” she told the children. “I don’t want you tracking dirt all over the place before we eat.”

The kids did as they were told and Marion looked around, admiring the spot she had chosen. It was the first time she had been to this particular part of town and was glad she’d come across it. She had seen a couple of fishermen on her way in, tugging on the invisible lines they had cast and drinking Blue Ribbon beer. The men had looked over their shoulders at the sound of her car, but she had pulled far enough into the oversized lot that she couldn’t see them from her space.

The water in the canal looked clean enough to cool their feet if they needed, and the flow of water was slow enough that it posed little to no threat of sweeping them away. But she would decide whether or not they would go into the canal after the children had eaten and if they behaved well enough.

Bobby and Judy sat on the blanket, their legs folded Indian-style just like their mother. Bobby’s face lit up as he admired the giant oak and the things that dangled over him.

“Do you think I can climb it when we’re done eating?”

Marion thought about it. There was no question the tree was strong enough to hold him. But the sharp angles of the branches and clumps of Spanish moss made her nervous. She’d heard something about there being chiggers in moss. Despite the warm weather, she shivered just thinking about those nasty biting mites.

“I don’t know, Bobby, let Mommy think about it,” she said but already knew the answer to be no. She just didn’t want to start the picnic on a negative. “Let’s eat some lunch then afterward I’d like to go down to the water there and have a look. Maybe we can get our feet wet.”

“Neat, Mom,” Bobby said.

Static filled the Zenith 500 transistor radio, and Marion fiddled with the small dial, delicately turning it until the tuning was sharp. The Beatles came back to life and she couldn’t help but sing along in an emotional whisper.

She opened the basket and handed Bobby and Judy their bologna sandwiches, which were cut into fours. The children placed them into their laps and ate neatly and with manners.

“How did you find this place, Mom? It’s really neat,” Bobby said and was unable to keep his eyes out of the canopy. The tree seemed to invite him up the hefty trunk and into the tangle of branches. The vantage point from up there must be spectacular, he thought, and he bit into his sandwich with an ailing whine in an attempt to sway his mother’s thinking.

Marion ignored him and continued to take in her surroundings. Their 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire was parked about thirty yards away, cooking in the midday heat. She grabbed her own sandwich and unfolded the foil. As she sat there, taking tiny bites, a sudden chill rocked her body. The cold that came up through the ground and the shade of the giant oak maybe took away too much of the warmth, she decided. Marion looked at her children with the flesh goosed on her arms.

“Are you guys cold at all?”

“No,” Judy said. “It’s nice here. I like it, Mommy.”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s really neat here.”

The Devil Tree
Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $7.99
Kindle platform
BISAC: Fiction / Thriller

For more information, please see:
http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Tree-Keith-Rommel-ebook/dp/B0…