Lost in the Dark
by Joe Mynhardt
Looking for something scary to read? Look no further than Joe Mynhardt’s debut story collection, Lost in the Dark.
In this first collection by Joe Mynhardt you will plunge into the bewildering world of werewolves, ghosts, psychos, zombies, demons, evil elves and things that should not be named. Follow five friends to the threshold of hell in “Portico”; walk alongside a young boy bent on killing his brother’s murderer in “The Nature of the Beast”; beware of your own demons in “The Great Wall of Rubin”. These twelve stories will explore the theme of lost hope and the on-going struggle to free ourselves from despair. Are you sure you’re ready for this?
The twelve stories buried within this book’s pages are:
The Great Wall of Rubin
Rubin’s story is one of tragedy and addiction. As a recovering alcoholic on the verge of falling back into old habits, he decides to join an Alcoholics Anonymous group. Certain feelings and memories are brought to light, which forces Rubin to face his demons, which are all waiting for him on the drive home. Expect heart-wrenching revelations and visually disturbing scenes that will stay with you long after you’ve read the story.
Beyond the Ornate Tree
This might be the creepiest Christmas story ever. Jim is scared of Christmas. Don’t ask him why, he really doesn’t know. That’s why he had himself committed to an insane asylum, where Doctor Brown will unlock Jim’s childhood memories, and reveal the source of his fear. What they both discover will leave you shocked and repulsed. You might even fear Christmas after reading this disturbing 1st person story.
The longest story in the collection, “Portico” follows five friends to an abandoned observatory-turned-theatre on top of a deserted hill. The history of the building and its surroundings motivates them to break into the building, especially after they noticed something odd staring at them from one of the windows. Inside the building, their fears and friendships are put to the test as the building’s occupants come to life. As the reader you will get to know all five characters personally, only to see the life ripped out of some as they die in horrific circumstances. The final pages will leave you breathless. “Portico” is also being turned into a movie in South Africa, filmed inside the actual setting of this story. To stay updated, visit the Portico Facebook page.
The Way Back
Thomas Sanders is a veteran paranormal investigator, who has quite a disliking for fancy gadgets and unnecessary technological advances. His wife, on the other hand, loves them. One night Thomas accompanies a group of young ghost hunters through the Eastern State Penitentiary, where he stumbles onto an event that could change the world and leave millions dead, starting with his family.
Always Come Back
A very short piece, “Always Come Back” is a quick journey into the disturbed and troubled mind of William, whose dead wife just doesn’t want to leave him alone. This story will leave you asking, “How did he do that?”
“Fashionably Undead” follows poor old Rupert to a fashion show with his wife (guess who the models are). Rupert is tired of watching his wife flirt with her boss, he’s tired of her fashion industry job, and he’s tired of his own stay-at-home-daddy life. One more fashion show is all it takes to send him over the edge.
Come All to the River of Death
Henry Taylor needs one great photo to establish himself as a great ghost hunter, or so he believes. In his search for this paranormal evidence, he ends up neglecting his wife, and decides to break the law by entering the old abandoned house. Inside he finds out exactly what happened as he strolls blindly into his worst nightmare. This haunted house story is based on an actual building in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Forgive Me Now
Andy’s wife is angry and he’s running out of time. He needs to do something before it’s too late. If he can’t get her to forgive him, the results would be catastrophic, for both of their lives.
Lost in the Dark
The title story of this collection, “Lost in the Dark” is a disturbing tale of young girls being kidnapped by a powerful old man name Wolfgang Demourtes. The Wolf keeps the girls locked up in cages in the basement of his little hut in the dark forest. More of a dark fantasy story, it touches on magic and talents, family issues and friendship, as well as working together to destroy the evil that’s scouring the land.
Rise, Dead Man
You shouldn’t steal from the dead. Someone should’ve told Gerrit that. This chilling story follows drug-addicted Gerrit as he first tries to score his next hit, then fights to rid himself of a haunting presence. Is his drug-induced mind playing tricks on him, or is the old man he robbed taking over?
A funny little 1st person tale of life after the zombie invasion, and how people always find a way to entertain themselves. Anyone up for a good prank?
The Nature of the Beast
Ethan’s older brother was brutally murdered, and he’s looking for the killer. Ethan sneaks out of the house of his grieving parents and faces his own inadequacies as he enters the park where the killer is believed to be hiding. But this is no ordinary killer he’s after. Will Ethan be able to stand up for himself, to fill the void his older brother always occupied? Or will he just be another victim?
By R. Ridgway
I love horror stories. I was not disappointed with this collection. There is an undercurrent of malevolent evil that stalks the well rounded characters in each story. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading as the relentless action takes you into a current of dread and you find yourself pulling for the characters and hoping they will find the strength to survive. These stories are not for the reader who is afraid of the dark and you may have trouble sleeping after reading this tour de force of horror from a fresh author. Watch out Stephen King.
About the Author
Joe Mynhardt is a South African horror writer and teacher. While having dozens of published stories, Joe also tends to a tome of story, movie, comic and stage ideas scraping for a chance to be written. Joe Mynhardt took up writing towards the end of 2008 and has enjoyed remarkable success. Joe contributes to horror fiction in more ways than his own work. He maintains a constant presence on several of the major horror writer’s forums as a contributor and adviser. He’s also a moderator for a foremost writer’s group, Mywriterscircle.com, as well as an Assistant Submissions Editor at The South African Literary Journal, New Contrast. Not to mention the owner and operator of Crystal Lake Publishing. All in all, he keeps his finger on the active pulse of current horror. His influences stretches from Poe, Doyle and Lovecraft to King, Connolly and Gaiman. In his spare time Joe blogs about haunted buildings. In his non-fictional life, Joe is a primary school teacher who enjoys reading, watching movies, and collecting rare coins. After matriculating in 1998, he moved to Bloemfontein, South Africa, where he received an honors degree in Education Leadership and Management. Joe devotes himself to his wife, his work, and to feeding his two dogs. I’m sure if something happened, and he was incapacitated, he wouldn’t mind if his dogs ate him. After all, it would be a shame to let all that talent go to waste.