Teaser: This is How He Collects Them

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Denise Alicea

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Date Published:10-13-2023

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A series of haunting nightmares draws five former residents of a New York
City high-rise back to their one-time home. But this is not a reunion. These
five strangers have never met. But they are connected.

The depressed photographer with telekinetic abilities … the
paralegal who reads evil thoughts of strangers … the struggling
author who can predict dark futures … the malicious hypnotist
… the witch’s daughter …

They have met in their dreams, and they have observed the shadows who
follow them until they awaken. Now they want answers. And when the five
board the same elevator at the same time, an ominous reality surfaces. They
did not return on their own. They were drawn back. Drawn by their
nightmares. Drawn by darkness.

Drawn … to be collected.






        The darkness descends, and the witch recoils. She senses it nearby but
cannot visually establish its location. But it is close. It remains trapped
inside The Amalgam high rise, one of New York City’s premiere
structures for the past one hundred years. The witch’s home. Her
powers existed for years under its nose. She fooled it for decades. Made it
believe she was but a mere charlatan taking advantage of the weak

          But the witch is no
fraud. Her powers are real. Her powers are formidable. And she’s been
here the whole time. Planning. Plotting. Over the past couple days, she has
been leaving with her bags full. She is trying to escape before they can
capture her. Escape like the few over the years who fled before the darkness
could consume them. They were among the most powerful ones to cross into its
space. But they have also been located, and like the witch, their powers
amassed together will bring forth a darkness never seen in human

          Now the witch
understands that she has been exposed and is trying to flee to a safer
place. Because even she knows that she cannot stop it no matter how much
information she gathers on it. No matter how many of his minions she

          You no longer fool
me, Witch. It is time to set my gatherers in motion. And your book of spells
will not save you.

          Or your

          Or the others.

          In its century of
existence, The Amalgam has brought forth an abundant supply of those with
gifts the holders never quite understood. Most have been a mere pittance to
that of a true witch – a descendent of one of the most powerful ever

          As it continues to
observe, the witch lingers through the lobby looking from left to right. She
knows it’s watching, and she sprints to the elevator. Other tenants
wait alongside, so the darkness dissipates back. But it’s now clear.
The witch must be top priority before she can escape.

          But once she is
collected, the others will return.

          The plan for a world
of darkness will reach its zenith.

          It’s time to
call them home. It’s time to collect.


About the Author

A writer since grade school, Eric Woods resides in Springfield, Illinois
and finally published his first novel in 2018. Today he has five novels, two
novellas, and one book of stage plays. Most recently, his short story
“The Taurus Bull” was featured in HorrorScope: A Zodiac

If you want to be spooked in person, Eric hosts the Lincoln Ghost Walk in
Springfield (through October). Come take the tour and learn some creepy
tales about the 16th President of the United States!

Eric earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s
Degree in Communication from the University of Illinois Springfield. He
served as a collegiate speech and debate coach for seven years, and has been
a local freelance writer since 2005.


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