Since that first anthology, I've followed Laurita's writing, and found it to be the very definition of professionalism. She can relay a travelogue of her recent adventures with such colour that the reader is almost literally thrown into the shotgun seat and taken along for the ride.
In the next turn, she'll give you a slice of life that is equally believable in every detail and then, without warning, guide you lovingly into a haunted house full of foreboding and terror. When she sets her sights on telling a chilling tale from start to finish, though, it is truly something to behold.
She's a fellow Canadian, she contributed a phenomenal story to last year's "Eight Days of Madness", and she has another story to tell you.
Here is "Extinguished."
~~ 9DOM ~~
He stood silhouetted in the red glow, the smoke from his cigarette mimicking the dark plumes rising from the house. I stopped beside him and stood near the fence, watched flames flicker and climb with increasing hostility. His expression was completely blank. He may have been just another passer-by drawn by the acrid smell and morbid curiosity.
Several minutes passed before he spoke, his eyes never straying from the flames that now flicked through holes in the roof.
“Lived here for twenty-three years,” he muttered.
I could tell that the old farm house and been pretty once, before neglect set in. Even through the black soot and flames the peeling paint and broken railings were noticeable.
“Twenty-three years is a long time,” I said.
He grunted. “Too long.”
Sirens sounded in the distance, too far to make any difference now.
“My wife picked out this house,” he said, then was silent once more.
“Where is your wife?” I asked.
He stubbed the cigarette out on the sole of his boot, threw it on the ground, and looked back toward the house.
~~ 9DOM ~~
Laurita Miller sits in the dark, spies on the neighbours, and writes what she thinks she sees. Her stories are scattered across the web and jotted on scraps of paper. She has trapped some of them on her blog Calling Shotgun.