Witnessing a terrible car accident on Portland’s Congress Street, Ryan becomes inspired to help others. The victim of an abusive father, he rises above his demons and earning a premed degree is accepted into UNE’s medical program. All goes as planned, until the ghosts of his past return and his subsequent instability results in his dismissal from school. But Ryan has a plan to get back into the good graces of UNE and be readmitted.
So retreating to a cabin in the woods near Lake Sebago, he continues his medical education. But even the best laid plans don’t always work as intended and Ryan slips into the spiral of delusion, led by his newfound fascination with death. Now, the dark abyss of oblivion has reached out a vengeful hand, arriving in a form not only unexpected but utterly terrifying.
Targeted Age Group:: 18
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always been in possession of a troubled mind and receive inspiration from many sources. Writing horror allows me to release my personal monsters and keeps me sane.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of the time, the characters are purely fictional. Other times, I will use real people as characters, as I know them well enough to harness their personality traits and behaviors.
Ryan continued to feel agitated. He decided to take a step back and review the books and notes from his first semester. He felt that further learning should always include a degree of what has been previously learned. Spending only two or three days paging through them, Ryan moved on and once again began his continued study of anatomy. He scoured the Internet, finding another dozen autopsy pictures. He printed them out and drawing arrows, circles, and descriptions, compared them to his anatomy books. This time, his interest was held for more than a few hours. But over the next day, it occurred to Ryan that he might remember things more efficiently if he drew them on paper. Nothing fancy or grandiose — an organ, the liver, the gallbladder, adjacent ducts and blood vessels, the detailed parts and connective tissues. The last time he attempted drawing as part of the learning process, he found himself frustrated by his lack of artistic talent. Or perhaps he was trying to include too much in the drawings. But the pictures lacked detail and none were taken up close. Ryan was back to square one and as his frustration peaked, he flew into a rage sweeping books, notes, and pictures off onto the floor.
“This isn’t fucking working!” he yelled.
Sitting on the floor, he again considered what his options might be. He had tried to make do with what he had — pictures, videos, and drawings. But without a cadaver, it was pointless. Human anatomy should be learned through anatomy, a guided journey into the workings of the human form.
Ryan’s frustration quickly led to depression and often sat in the living room with his head in his hands. He had no idea how to proceed and began having doubts about whether any of it was worth the work. He was away from his studies for a couple of days while he tried to clear his mind. Maybe that was all he needed — a little time. Maybe he was just trying too hard. Pushing himself too much.
He spent a few days locked away indoors but it didn’t take much time for Ryan to feel the walls closing in on him. He needed to get out for a while and the hiking trail offered little more than a modest walk. But there was a place he always found oddly comforting and ryan got into his car and drove the forty-five minutes to Portland, where he stopped on Stevens Avenue across from the entrance of Evergreen Cemetery. He had always been able to find some degree of peace there and sitting at his usual spot near the hilltop, was able to look out through the pine trees, out over the gravestones, statues, and monuments. Some fairly modern. Others as old as the earth itself. Looking out towards the left, Ryan noticed a green tent pitched over an open grave with rows of folding metal chairs set out in front. A funeral would soon be underway and he wondered if he should go down to investigate. He had never been to a funeral before. Even upon the death of his father.
He sat with his back against the granite façade of the center burial vault. There was no stained-glass, no stylish iron bars. They were plain structures made to resemble caves. Simple and primitive. He looks on as grief-stricken family and friends of the newly deceased arrived, seating themselves in front of a maple casket. Only a few funeral homes sealed caskets anymore. The origin of that particular practice stemmed from legends of long ago, when it was seen as necessary to keep the dead entombed within the earth for fear they would rise and bring havoc to the world of the living.
Ryan was startled from sleep by the sound of loud weeping. He got to his feet and standing slightly to one side of a large pine tree watched with curiosity while an elderly woman was being pulled from the graveside as a casket was being lowered into the ground. He noticed that as the woman was being led away she paused, tearing a small piece of her blouse. He noticed that those assisting her had also done the same. Later, out of curiosity, Ryan would learn that this was a Jewish custom called Kriah and was an expression of deep sorrow. But in spite of the pain he witnessed, Ryan felt nothing, with the exception of curiosity. He waited in the shadows of the pine trees, sitting against a vault at the far end of the row. Soon, the grave workers finished their task, replacing the cold heap of earth back into the grave. The folding chairs had been removed and the tent had been taken down. The only things left behind, aside from the unfortunate dead, was a collection of stones placed on and around the gravestone. Another Jewish custom.
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