Read a sample chapter from “The Bucktown Babies”
by Janine R. Pestel
The Bucktown Babies, a supernatural paranormal thriller, was released on February 1, 2017, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Apple iTunes, Kobo, and through several other retailers. Currently, it is available exclusively on Amazon.
Here is a synopsis:
Johann Gunter, a former priest whose sister has been taken by a demon, travels to a small farming community that is experiencing an alarming outbreak of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Knowing this is the work of a demon, Gunter prepares to fight the monster, hoping to save the town. Before he can finish his investigation, however, he finds out his cover has been blown, and an unlikely person steps up as an ally. This is the first book in the Father Gunter Demon Hunter series.
Please enjoy this sample chapter.
DISCLAIMER: The Bucktown Babies is a thriller and contains scenes that may not be suitable for younger readers or those who are faint of heart.
The two begin once again to examine the tiny corpse. After only working for a few moments, it becomes apparent to the two men a small sound is coming from somewhere very close. The murmur starts off almost inaudible, but slowly grows louder. Johann and Robert look at each other, confused.
“Do you hear something?” Johann inquires.
“I think so,” Robert answers, looking around the room, “Where is it coming from?”
“What does it sound like to you?” questions the former priest.
“Sounds, to me, like,” Durling states, glancing around the room, “Little children singing ‘Ring Around The Rosy.’“
“Yep,” Johann agrees, as he begins to slowly walk to the refrigeration unit, “That’s what I hear, too.” He glances at the coroner and makes a gesture, pointing toward the refrigerators.
The two approach the refrigerators; Johann is holding his flask of holy water at the ready, and Robert is clutching the cross. The closer they come to the units, the louder the singing becomes. The song repeats itself over and over as though taunting the two men. The hair on the back of Johann’s neck stands up from the tension. The sound of the singing gives him mental images of children playing in a playground and singing. But, knowing the only children in this room are all deceased, causes his pulse to quicken, and his heart to pound in his chest.
Without warning, several of the refrigerator doors open and the body trays slide out; causing Robert and Johann to stop in their tracks and stare in disbelief. In front of them are four little corpses, standing up and all singing in unison the “Ring Around The Rosy” nursery rhyme as living children would do. They are holding their arms outstretched as though trying to hold hands, and bouncing up and down as though trying to dance together in a circle.
“The son of a bitch is still here,” Johann declares, looking around the room. Durling nods in agreement and holds the cross up in front of himself; his hands are trembling, and sweat beads on his brow. He stands with his legs as close together as possible, for fear he may urinate in his pants.
“Come on out and fight, you coward,” Johann shouts.
“Johann, don’t,” Robert whispers, not wanting a confrontation, if at all possible. Johann glances at him, surprised by his remark.
In answer to his command, several extremely sharp instruments levitate off a table and fly toward the two men. Johann spots the approaching projectiles at the last second and surveys the room for something to use for cover.
“Look out,” he shouts, as he ducks for cover under a gurney, causing Robert to do likewise. The sharp missiles fly by the two, most of them missing by mere centimeters. One, a very sharp scalpel, makes contact with Robert’s hand, cutting the coroner.
“Damn it,” the coroner mutters, as his crimson red blood drips on the floor from the small gash on the back of his hand. He grabs the sheet off the gurney he is under and rips a piece off to wrap around his injured appendage. The two men are now each under separate stretchers, a few feet apart.
“You okay Bob,” Johann questions.
“Yeah,” Bob answers, “But damn it, does that hurt. We gotta get out of here.”
While the two contemplate their next move, more and more instruments begin to fly around. Almost as though a tornado invaded the room. All the while, the deceased infants keep singing the song, louder and louder with each chorus. The air in the morgue fills with so many projectiles flying about; the danger is too high for the men to leave the relative safety of their hiding places.
Metal items crash into the walls. Glass beakers and bottles with fluids like formaldehyde shatter and explode. The noise from all the destruction here is growing louder by the moment. Robert becomes worried someone might happen by in the hallway, and discover all the ruckus and come to investigate. As though in answer to their plight, this time, when the song gets to the part “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down,” everything in the air comes crashing down to the floor with a thunderous crash. The four little corpses remain standing, and the sound of children laughing replaces the song.
“Now,” Johann shouts, seeing their chance, “Go, go, go.” The two quickly emerge from under the gurneys and run as fast as they can for the door. All the while, the sound of the child laughter rings in their ears and haunts their thoughts. Now, becoming so loud in their heads, as to be almost maddening.
“This way,” the coroner yells as they exit the morgue, “We need to go out the way you came in so we can leave inconspicuously. I don’t want to have to explain if anyone heard all that. Just make sure we walk and don’t look up at the cameras, in case they’re on.. We certainly don’t want to attract any undue attention.”
“Good idea,” Johann agrees.
The two men escape into the now darkened parking lot and begin running, with Robert leading the way to the waiting minivan.
“You run pretty fast for a chubby guy,” Johann asserts, almost struggling to keep pace with the rotund coroner.
“And you have quite the mouth for a priest,” retorts Robert, almost out of breath.
“Former priest,” Johann corrects. They finally reach the parked minivan and quickly board.
“I’m getting too old for this,” Robert mutters, trying to catch his breath.
“If you’re going to partner with me, you better get used to it,” replies Johann, “We’re going to be doing a lot of running, jumping… All sorts of fun stuff.” Robert glances at him, almost as though getting second thoughts about his decision to help Johann hunt demons.
They sit together in the vehicle for a few moments, catching their breath. The coroner removes his glasses from his face and cleans the lenses of the sweat which has accumulated on them He puts his spectacles back on and hands the cleaning cloth to Johann so he can do the same with his glasses. As the former priest cleans his glasses, Robert starts the car, and they leave the hospital grounds.
“You okay to drive,” Johann questions, putting his glasses back on and glancing at Robert’s wounded hand.
“Yeah,” responds the coroner, “I’ll be okay. Just hurts like a son of a bitch.”
“That’s a good amount of blood,” the former priest states, noticing the large red area on the otherwise white cloth.
“That’s alright. I’ll make more,” Robert quips, trying to put a little levity into the situation.
“Just be careful of your speed. We don’t want any cops right now,” the former priest warns, realizing they are traveling a little fast.
Robert glances down at his speedometer. He is driving seventy miles an hour, and they are in a forty mile an hour zone. The coroner lifts his foot off the gas pedal to slow down. He glances at Johann and smiles nervously, sweat making the skin on his face shine.
“That would have been a problem,” Robert murmurs.
Johann covers his face with his hands, then brings them down as people do when they are tired.
“What the Hell was that,” he questions, “I mean, what the Hell was that? Dead babies are singing ‘Ring Around The Rosy,’ things flying in the air, trying to kill us. I mean, what the fuck was that?”
“We’re getting too close,” Robert answers. “We’re getting too close, and the demon’s getting scared.”
“No. You can’t scare a demon.”
“Then, why would the beast do that,” Robert inquires.
“I don’t know. But I do know what it wasn’t,” Johann asserts, looking at Robert, “That thing wasn’t Abyzou. She only kills infants., and that thing was trying to kill us.”
“Then who was it, if it wasn’t Abyzou,” questions the coroner.
“I don’t know. Maybe the bastard that has my sister. Something bigger is going on here. I just wish I could find out what.”
A pair of bright, circular headlights appear in the rear view mirror and grabs Robert’s attention. They seem to come from nowhere, and they are gaining on the minivan, very quickly.
“I think we’re about to become reunited with our friend from the hospital,” Robert warns, staring in the mirror and pressing down on the gas pedal.
Johann turns around and gets a glimpse of the headlights, recognizing them instantly as belonging to a Dodge Challenger. He reaches for his seat belt and pulls the strap across his body.
“Better buckle up,” Johann warns. Robert puts his seat belt on, too. The former priest keeps vigil in the side view mirror as the headlights grow ever closer.
“Guess I’m going to find out,” he whispers, mostly to himself.
“Find out what,” Robert inquires.
“I’ll tell you later,” the former priest states, bracing for an impact, “If we live.”
Robert glances over at Johann, confused, at the moment the oncoming vehicle makes contact with their rear bumper. The impact is hard enough to push the minivan forward, making the tires screech slightly and the occupants lurch back in their seats. The engine of the attacking car roars as the vehicle tries to push the minivan off the road.
“Can’t this thing go any faster,” Johann yells.
“What do you want,” Robert shouts back, “It’s only a God damned minivan.”
Robert struggles to retain control of the vehicle as the car behind them remounts the attack. This time, lifting the rear tires slightly off the road and dropping the minivan back down again. The van swerves to the right, and rebounds quickly to the left as the coroner fights with the steering wheel; sawing his hands back and forth. Johann sits quietly in his seat, trying to remain as calm as possible while being tossed from side to side. He reaches up and brushes his hair back, to keep his mane from getting into his eyes. One thing he hates is when his hair gets in his eyes and blocks his vision.
“I gotta remember to get my hair cut when this is over,” he states. Robert glances at him, apparently caught off guard by the remark.
“I think we have bigger problems right now,” the coroner quips.
The Challenger allows a little space to grow between the two vehicles, before starting to move to the left of the minivan. The car drives into the side of the Caravan as it reaches the rear tire, causing the vehicle containing the two demon fighters to slide and fishtail out of control.
“Hold on,” Robert bellows, as he steers into the slide and the vehicle does a complete three-sixty spin and continues forward, in the direction they were originally heading. As this was happening, the black Challenger disappears into the night.
“Thank God that’s over,” Robert declares, relieved. The passenger compartment fills with the pungent aroma of burned rubber as tire smoke seeps in and fills the air. Robert and Johann roll down their windows in an attempt to let the smoke escape.
“It ain’t over yet,” Johann warns, stiffening in his seat. He is watching a pair of bright headlights approaching them at a high rate of speed. “It’s gonna try to ram us,”
Robert tenses as the lights draw closer and closer. They are about to pass, when the oncoming vehicle swerves into their lane. The coroner tugs hard on the wheel turning the car to the right, at the same time slamming his foot down on the brake.
The assaulted minivan careens off the road and onto a dirt shoulder. The vehicle scrapes along a fence and sideswiped a tree, knocking off the right side mirror, and sending shattered glass into the minivan. Johann, seeing this coming, closes his eyes and turns his head away, so the glass doesn’t hit his face. The sound of the headlights breaking and small branches torturing the metal skin of the van cause Robert to wince as though in pain. With a loud explosion; the right rear tire blows out, and the vehicle, as though showing mercy, slides to a stop.
Robert and Johann wait a few moments before emerging from the wrecked minivan to survey the damage. A trail of rubber and small pieces of metal and glass offer evidence of the attack. On the ground, a few feet behind the car, are some parts from the side of the vehicle which blew off when the tire exploded. The centrifugal force of the forward motion of the vehicle must have caused them to continue forward after leaving the Caravan. The two men look up and down the road, but find no sign of the attacking car or, thankfully, any car for that matter.
They both lean up against the vehicle to recuperate. The air is still and the night is eerily quiet. The only sounds are the leaves rustling in the slight breeze, crickets, and an owl somewhere in the distance. The fragrance of honeysuckles is in the air, and the floral scent mingles with the odor of hot brakes and tire smoke.
“Well,” Robert starts, “We’re only about a half mile or so from my place. I suggest we get back in the van and limp home. Better that, than to leave this thing here and have the cops find it and ask questions.” Robert takes a cigarette out of the pack in his pocket and lights it up, his hands noticeably trembling.
“By the way,” Robert adds, as he takes a puff on his cigarette, “What was it you were going to find out?”
“Oh, that,” answers Johann, “I was wondering last night what would happen if I let that car hit me. Father Tuttle told me the car was a phantom, so I was wondering if the son of a bitch would hit me like any other car or only pass through me.” He runs his hands over the marks on the bumper where the Challenger made the first contact, “I guess I have my answer.”
Robert finishes his cigarette and stamps the butt out on the ground. The two demon fighters re-board the beat up minivan and proceed to drive, albeit very slowly, back to the perceived safety of Robert’s house. When they make it back, Robert parks the damaged minivan on the side of the house where it can’t easily be spotted from the road. Well out of the way of prying eyes.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this sample chapter. This book is available as an eBook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, Inktera, and other fine retailers. It is also available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other retailers, and will soon be available as an audio book on Audible, Amazon and Apple iTunes.
Author of The Mons Connection and Infected and Other Short Stories as well as short stories in the scifi / occult / horror genre(s) and an upcoming paranormal / occult series. Always interested in science fiction, action adventure, and comedy, Janine tried her hand at writing a book back in the 1970s but did not have the direction she needed to complete it. Now, many years later, she has the drive and direction to write a complete book. Her only regret is that it took her this long to get going. Find her on Facebook.