Posted: November 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

GRB betterI’ve noted elsewhere that I’m currently writing two Will Castleton novels at once. We’ll likely see RETURN TO ANGEL HILL, which I’m co-writing with C. Dennis Moore, first, around the end of the year, I’m guessing. That one will combine my Green River and Will Castleton series with Dennis’ creepy, diabolical Angel Hill stories. You can read the prologue in advance here. Then, sometime early next year, we should see PURGATORY BLUES, which is chronologically the second Will Castleton novel, picking up where DEATH SIGHT left off.

And you can read the (current draft of the) prologue to PURGATORY BLUES right here, right now!



by David Bain


Dear John:

My bad time, the period during which I thought I was psychic, started after I nearly drowned trying to rescue my friend Boomer from the waves off Gamer’s Key, Florida. There were those in the U.S. Marshal Service who, shall we say, frowned on one of their underlings claiming a connection with the supernatural. Eventually, after I may or may not have freed a young woman’s soul in a cold case murder, and after I witnessed the deaths of several fellow officers in Arizona – deaths I felt I might have been able to stop because I convinced myself I had a premonition – I was sent to you, Dr. John Q. Headshrinker.

My current assignment in your ongoing “Let’s Get Will Castleton’s Brain Back in Order” crusade is to have me write about any  brushes with clairvoyance we haven’t yet discussed and to keep a journal of any new ones.

Alrighty, then.

Thankfully, there haven’t been any new ones in the intervening years.

I’d thought that it all started with Boomer, but now that you make me think about it, John, there was one other time when I had what people into this stuff would call a premonition, a vision.

It was a dream, in college, at Grand Valley State.

One morning, after a beer-soaked night, sleeping through the dorm cafeteria breakfast, I dreamt of a small, angry animal, its thick fur slick with sludgy, grimy dirt, forcibly burrowing its way up from somewhere deep inside the earth. The creature was all fury, all rage and instinct, snarling into my face as it broke through. Its nose and mouth were bloody as it growled to the surface, ferociously working its short legs and razor-clawed paws. It wanted to dig my brain out of my skull, burrow its sharp, snapping, saw-toothed maw into my guts, feast on my screams. It hated me utterly – and I awoke to a bright late morning as it burst out into the dark, humid, grinding midnight of my dream.

The next night, drunk again – hair of the dog, don’t you know – walking home from the bar in a group with four or five of my fellow wanna-be law enforcement majors, we saw a hunchbacked animal scuttling under one of the lights in the empty grocery parking lot behind our dorm. It was a rat. A huge, sniveling thing, working at some hunk of dropped and rotted food from one of the nearby trash bins.

We ran for the poor, startled beast.

It froze in shock.

Hiking boots and button-down flannel shirts were the fashion that year, the rustic look, a grunge throwback, and I remember the rat stood, raising itself on its hind legs, hissing until the first boot connected.

I still hear that hiss in other dreams – sometimes it will come from a monster, sometimes from the Queen figure who haunts the Gray Lake of my dreams. Other times I’ll be having a normal conversation, at Sheets’ Bakery, say, having a donut and a coffee with my girlfriend Candice. And suddenly Candice will stop mid sentence, smile at me – and her face will transform, her eyes going black, her face going pale as death, her teeth growing fanglike.

And she’ll his at me with all the hatred of that long-ago animal.

My buddies and I kicked the rat around like a soccer ball before it made a limping escape into the overgrowth behind the lot. The rat would skitter across the pavement, try to catch hold of the macadam with its claws, then roll straight into another boot. It was airborne a number of times. It screeched, skittered and screamed. I hadn’t known a rat could scream.

We battered the thing with our feet for probably only a minute or so, but it felt like ten – a joyous raucous decade of minutes as we drunken soldiers chortled, cheering each other on, our laughter echoing off the high brick walls of the dorm, the low slabs of the back of the nightlit grocery store.

The thing was struggling for breath as it lurched away into the weeds. I can’t imagine how much damage it had taken. I can’t imagine it lived – but, then again, rats are supposedly a tough breed.

It wasn’t until the following morning, a wicked hangover chafing at my brain, that I made the connection between my dream the previous morning and the piece of vermin we had kicked within an inch of its life. I was trying to wash the stale paste of too many beers off my tongue when the realization kicked me in the gut.

The reason I’m writing about this in the journal you suggest I keep, John, is that, this summer, I’ve been having that same dream again – the dream I had the morning before we kicked the shit out of that poor rat. I’ve heard its hiss in bad dreams dozens of times between now and then, but, this summer, the rat seems to be snarling deep down in the earth, struggling, growling, madly digging to rise once more to the surface.

And – I know it’s just a rat, just a rodent – but there’s a definite, distinctive, unmistakable tone to its growling.

It wants revenge.

Click to check out more Will Castleton books and stories

  1. […] Read the prologue to PURGATORY BLUES: A WILL CASTLETON ADVENTURE! […]

  2. […] My big project, however, is PURGATORY BLUES: A WILL CASTLETON NOVEL, the direct sequel to DEATH SIGHT. It will also be something of a sequel to GRAY LAKE and WEED, featuring elements of those books as well. You can read the prologue here. […]

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