“This work of fiction is based on the legend of the demon in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. It was conceived in the uncanny mind of author Robert A. Powell, for a chilling and convincing explanation of strange and unusual tales surrounding the unexplained forces at work in that area.”
The folks in a tranquil, and somewhat isolated community, in the foothills of Appalachia, make a startling discovery when they unearth a makeshift grave filled with mummified bones, representing approximately a hundred bodies. They first believe it is an ancient Indian burial mound. However, scientific data reveals positive identification, which links to several recent unsolved mysteries within the area.
Jeri Jacks, the editor of the local newspaper suspects Sam Pent, a local celebrity, of being a demon, disguised as a man, or possessing a human form, who sucks the living energy out of the people in this area in order to survive. She discovers that Srpent is the ancient name used by the Devil himself when he walked incognito among men and believes he has now returned. Jeri shares her astounding revelations with Sheriff McNeal, who already suspects Sam is involved in the mysterious deaths, but cannot find definite proof.
As pieces of the puzzle fall into place, it is determined the next mass catastrophe will take place during the July 4th celebration at the golf course near Sam Pent’s house. Sam has bonded with his neighbor, Carole Jackson and her two young daughters.
Suspense mounts, as it is revealed Sam plans to accompany the innocent young family to the fireworks show, where Sheriff McNeal has determined the Demon will strike next.
Targeted Age Group:: Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I was in my teens I spent my summers with my grandparents on their farm in the rural foothills of Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, near the Red River Gorge.
The Gorge was a favorite playground for the youth of the area, and each year I heard different chilling tales of mysterious happenings and tragedies in the area. Some were simply horrific accidents, and others seemed like exaggerated horror stories.
All were supposedly true, but they were definitely uncanny. With my teenage imagination, I began to explore ways to combine these incidents. Tales of mystery that had no obvious connection and that were not even relayed as such.
I kept notes over the years and at one point hit upon the idea that all these had to have been caused by one force of some sort. The key was trying to develop a motive and then come up with a way these unlikely mysteries could unravel from a single spool.
The Demon was my answer. So now, I had to create a supernatural creature or being that would be believable and then justify his actions to fit the motive.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Since the inspiration for my novel came from an actual community, I drew upon my memories of the time spent there and people who had impressed me for the major players as well as the occasional interjection of comic relief to make my setting accurate to the time and location I needed to accomplish my task.
I used the actions and personalities of people that reminded me of the most typical example for the particular position being portrayed, and in a few instances I used traits from more than one person to create an individual role.
My characters were not developed from the people in the tales I heard that had inspired my story, they actually evolved from the people who surrounded me during those days when I was hearing the tales. They really had nothing to do with any of the actual stories themselves.
Culver City was a placid, rural community, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
The night was quiet, and desperately dark. There was hardly a whisper of activity, especially in the alley behind Donovan’s Hardware Store. Only the 60-watt incandescent bulb above the rear entrance offered illumination, and it was barely enough to distinguish the tattered sign, “Donovan’s Hardware – Deliveries.”
The large two-story building was an old structure, with no windows in back. The door opened on to a 4 x 6 stoop, five steps above the parking lot.
When the small door slowly opened, a shimmer of light from inside solemnly spilled into the darkness.
James Donovan, handsome and debonair, was the 19-year-old son of the store owner. He came strutting out the door with two co-workers, Mark and Sharon.
James always closed the store on Thursdays.
Their jovial mood shattered the solitude of the night. James reached inside and flipped the switch to turn off the interior lights. The light immediately dimmed to a glimmer. The lone street light around the corner of the building gave Mark and Sharon guidance. They joked and laughed, as they walked down the steps and headed toward the corner.
James faced the door, searching for the right key. As Mark and Sharon turned the corner, they looked back at James, and waved. He made a sort-of half-wave gesture as he continued to fiddle with the keys.
They were out of sight. James watched the corner of the building for a few split seconds. In final desperation he held the large ring of keys up to the single light bulb. He continued to fumble, unable to understand the problem. He had done this many times, but the keys all looked the same. Frustration set in.
He tried two or three keys in the dead bolt. No luck. An uneasy feeling flushed over James. He sensed a presence. He stopped, hesitated, then quickly spun around, as if ready to confront someone on the stoop with him. No one was there.
His eyes frantically searched each distant corner of the darkness. He looked everywhere, everywhere, but saw nothing. Only the pitch black emptiness. James was not satisfied, and he returned nervously to the task of locking the door. The situation was now very serious. James periodically looked over his shoulder, as he continuously tried key after key.
James stopped again, and stared searchingly into the night. Could that possibly be someone across the alley? He concentrated. Was it an obscure silhouette of a man? No, there was no one there. He turned back. Besides, it looked more like a serpent than a man; standing up like a man; dressed like a man, except for that cloak.
James shook his head. He was either hallucinating or going stark raving mad. “Just find the damned key,” he muttered to himself.
Success. Finally the door was locked. James stood up straight. Satisfaction. He proudly turned to head down the steps, when a feeling of apprehension grasped him like a thunderbolt.
He stopped, mesmerized. His eyes locked on the serpent-like silhouette. James was terrified, frozen with fear. A speeding ball of light flashed through the pitch black night. There was a brilliant, explosion-like flare on the stoop, then total darkness settled back in.
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