Here you may scroll down to read a few excerpts of G.R. Wilson’s published work, and upcoming publication. Subscribe to his newsletter to receive more excerpts, full short stories, and news!
Excerpt from The Night in Newbrooke Infirmary
Not much scared me when I was twelve. I laughed at the scary movies my classmates lost sleep over, did dangerous skateboard tricks—stuff like that. The abandoned Newbrooke Infirmary, though? That scared all of us. It also made the perfect spot for an initiation rite. See, some of the older kids ran a “Secret Society” of sorts. Nothing with Satanic rituals or anything like that: they just had this secret cave in one of the local parks, down near the river, where they held “meetings”. Obviously, it was just an excuse for them to drink, make out, and act “cool”. Regardless, I thought it’d be fun to join. The biggest pull for me was that my then-current crush, Samantha, frequented these gatherings. And since my friend’s older brother was a member of this clique, I figured I was a shoe-in. However my friend was a bit of a goody-two-shoes, so he didn’t come along. He was a lot smarter than I was. It was a Friday night. After I told my mom I was sleeping over a friend’s house, I pedaled off onto the moonlit pavement. I soon met up with four of the older kids on the street-corner nearest the school. We exchanged a couple quick nods before we rode our bikes through the crisp autumn air. It was plain-as-day how nervous I was. I felt a knot forming in my stomach, and my palms were getting sweaty. Every time I tried to dry them off, the older boys looked back and snickered to each other.
After about twenty minutes, we rolled up on the other side of our small town, where the streetlights ended. We were right outside the abandoned “hospital”: the Newbrooke Infirmary. Our little town had a sluggish economy, so the Infirmary wasn’t the only boarded up, graffitied building on the street. Still, guarded over by a looming bell-tower, the low, brick structure was closed for more than lack-of-business.
I learned the reasons for this piecemeal, from my grandfather, my dad, other kids. The place was built immediately after the First World War by doctor-turned-pastor Benedict Holt. The Newbrooke facility had nurses and a couple other doctors—like a normal little hospital—, but it also housed a religious institution of Holt’s own creation. For this, he relentlessly sought converts both within and without his fortress-esque complex. Doctor-Father Holt also thought it was his mission from God to rid the world of uncleanliness. He felt so literally as well—he was scared of even the smallest amount of dirt or dust. It was his obsession: his nurses spent half their time exterminating insects, even those outside on the windowsills or the front lawn.
As I was in thought, Martin—the leader of the cool kids—grew impatient. “You listening, dweeb?” he hollered. His cohorts snickered again. “Oh-huh-yeah!” I yelped out louder than I intended. It felt unwise to make much noise on that abandoned street, and not just for fear of waking the few elderly or homeless residents. My heart beat faster as I looked up at the building’s bell-tower. It was just simple, flat, rough brick all the way up, polluted here and there by thick vines of ivy. “You know what you have to do. We all did it, now it’s your turn if you wanna join,” Martin said as he pulled a white candle and a box of matches out of his backpack. “Go in there, up the bell-tower, and show us the lit candle through one of the windows. We’ll see it. Then blow the candle out, and come back out here. Simple.” he concluded with a cocky smirk. I took the candle and matches, hoping no one noticed the slight tremor in my hands. “Got it,” I said as I put on what I hoped was a confident face. “Piece of cake.” After we walked to the front of the building, Martin began prying one of the spray-painted boards off a nearby window. Moments later, there was a square hole where the board was. As I leaned over enter it, my nervousness spiked. I felt my pulse pounding in my neck while goosebumps formed on my limbs. I took one glance back at the outside world and the smirks of Martin and his gang.
Not wanting to chicken out, I climbed into the hole without a second thought. Seconds later, Martin “closed” the board behind me. I was engulfed in darkness. I peeled off the cobwebs that tickled my face and arms and stood stock-still. I then breathed a sigh of relief, as there were no spiders on me. The air was thick with dust and moisture too, and surprisingly a bit warmer than outside. Each breath—no matter how shallow—included a strong musty odor. When my eyes adjusted, I noticed I was standing in some sort of lobby or waiting room. I lit the candle to see better. The light was dim, but it managed to comfort me a little. There was a rectangular outline on the dusty floorboards where a receptionist’s desk once stood. On a wall close by, I also noticed some words. Written in faded stencil beneath the outline of a vacant cross, they read “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.” Reminded of crimes said to have been committed in Newbrooke, the irony of the Bible verse gave me a chill…
Excerpt from Fang and Claw
Entry 3: Spent half the day helping campers check in, make their sites bear-proof etc. Weather was clear this morning, drizzly and dark again now. The highlight of the day, was when I got in touch with a local cop named Dave, from town. He’s a hunter, too, and gave me his account of what he’s seen of the strange deer deaths. Says last week, he came across a clearing, filled with dead deer, including several large bucks, with their spines snapped and clawed. It was hard for him to say just how many animals it was, since their scraps and bones were so scattered. Dave tried to describe the stench too…that it made him nearly gag, and was more than just the normal smell of death and early decay, that there was this underlying acrid odor, a mix of pure sulfur and pure, fresh blood…he said the smell was almost like a physical presence over the clearing, it made him physically nervous at the time, like something was watching, he said. He ran back to his truck as fast as he could. I could tell he didn’t enjoy talking about it. We agreed a bear couldn’t do this. Dave also told me, multiple dogs have gone missing. Folks in town are getting nervous. I want to get to the bottom of this before someone’s kid turns up strewn across a clearing. Dave and I agreed to keep in contact about anything new concerning our little “monster”. Damn, is it ever dark outside…I’m glad I’m armed. I’m gonna do a quick perimeter check to ease my mind, read a bit, then hit the hay. Looks like this post may be more exciting than relaxing!…
Excerpt from The Witch’s Ghost
A few hundred years ago, in a village in the woods of New England, the people lived in fear and loathing of a witch by the name of Mabel Manson. The townsfolk only saw Old Mabel one or two nights each month, when she’d plod down the dirt road from the dark forest, carrying only a black walking stick in her hand and a bag upon her back. Like a “typical” witch, she had long and scraggly gray hair, a crooked nose, and greenish-gray eyes that seemed like they could see right through to your deepest secrets. The witch dressed in black, always with a hood up.
The reason Mabel left her woods at all was to purchase supplies from one “abandoned” and lonely house on the very edge of the village. Mabel needed certain supplies for her spell-casting and potion brewing: flowers and mushroom caps and strange “leftovers” from the other town businesses; bones, grease, hair, and the like, which Mabel would refine into bottled and powdered forms. The makeshift merchants Mabel visited at that lonely house were some of the most brave and curious children of the village. And, this was the real reason for all the distrust and anxiety over the witch, Mabel paid for the supplies in secret lessons: lessons on the bloody, romantic, and glorious tales of ancient history and medieval legend, the scientific and mathematical knowledge of the Greeks, and worst of all, music.
While the adults would mutter prayers as they glared accusingly at the witch on her monthly visits, (and some of the most God-fearing children joined their parents in such expressions of disgust,) many children could barely contain their excitement that Mabel’s fascinating teachings would be theirs’, just as soon as they could sneak out to the “Witch House” to meet her. Mabel often brought cookies, too, the most delicious gingerbread cookies the children had ever had. It was no wonder the good and pious adults hated her! While the village’s previous minister had attempted a “turn the other cheek” strategy against Mabel’s intrusions, trusting in his flock’s capability to reject such foul and earthly teachings and focus on their scripture, one day that minister died and a new one, by the name of Tilling, took his place. Minister Tilling was more of a “fire and brimstone” sort of man, and wasted no time in riling up the anger against Mabel the witch, that “Hand of the Devil”. He urged from the pulpit that parents take closer watch over their children, and most importantly, be on the lookout for any demonic activity.
Sure enough, people began to notice all kinds of “demonic activity”: livestock dying, lost farm implements, bad weather, lice. Of course, no one wanted to point out that these sorts of misfortunes had happened long before the witch even started to visit, and weren’t happening at any higher rate, but, the idea of Mabel casting foul magic upon the town from her lair deep in the woods filled the village with an even deeper dread and hatred. Still, for a few more months, Mabel made her visits and taught her lessons; rumors spread that she was even starting to teach some of the older girls tips on bewitching the handsome young men in their lives.
That was the last straw. Four “spies”, two boys and two girls, all nasty and unaccomplished in any other talent, sent by the more paranoid parents to see just what exactly went on at Mabel’s gatherings, reported back greatly exaggerated and lurid stories, ripe with carnal sin and demonic possession. The parents gathered a mob, led by their fanatical minister Tilling, and set out to destroy the witch…