The 9 Ghosts of Samen's Bane


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This book is fast-paced, unpredictable and an absolute hoot to read. I highly recommend it!


The only constant in life is death. For Adrian Dillard, death has become an unwelcome companion. Nine unwelcome companions to be exact. Killed in a tragic train derailment over century ago, the ghosts of nine children have taken up residence in Adrian’s psyche. Using him as a conduit for their incredible abilities, Adrian is put through arduous training to face off against The Nine’s ancient enemy Samen, Lord of Evil Spirits. But Adrian knows he isn’t being told the full story. Soon, the dead children seem to have other motives, and the appearance of other supernatural creatures calls everything Adrian has learned in to doubt. He must uncover the truth behind it all and try to avoid death while trying.

Mild mannered Adrian Dillard decides to join a venture to revitalize passenger train travel at the suggestion of a good friend and entrepreneur. Everything seems to be going well until a tragically fateful night leaves over a hundred people dead and Adrian becomes a vessel for 9 young ghosts. The dead kids have a mission to complete, but need the help of a person who is still alive to carry it out. Adrian is hesitant and afraid, but he is more afraid of what the spirits that inhabit his body will do to his pregnant wife and young son if he does not do what they ask.

They come to him in dreams at first, but soon they manifest themselves to explain how they need Adrian to vanquish their evil enemy – Samen. Appalled at the thought that he has to play a part in an epic battle of good and evil, Adrian resists. He defends his reluctance by reminding the 9 that he is a mere mortal, unequipped for a showdown with the devil. They quickly assure him that they each have supernatural powers that they can teach him use to vanquish their enemy. Even though he is scared silly, he has to try. So begins his transformation from dad to demon hunter.

This is not your classic story of good and evil. First of all, kids are in charge of the plan to eliminate Samen. Granted they have super powers, but they are still unruly children at times. Adrian is the perfect choice to go from zero to hero because he has a lot at stake. Unfortunately, his reluctance and gentle nature make him an unlikely savior. The deeper he gets involved with the 9, the more questions he has. His intuition is telling him that they are hiding something from him. Little things begin to not add up, especially when he does a little investigating on his own. Will this get him killed? He doesn’t know, but what will happen to the world if he doesn’t at least try?

The 9 Ghosts of Samen’s Bane is fast-paced, unpredictable and an absolute hoot to read. Of course, there are dead people milling about, and there is a force that is trying to end mankind. There is also humor in the juxtaposition of Adrian battling with dead people during the night and going Christmas shopping at the mall with his family.

If you are a fan of Christopher Moore, you will love this book. This is the first book I have read by Schneider, but will not be the last. Luckily, he is a prolific writer, so he has a list of books just waiting for me – and you – to discover.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

Reviewed by

I began reviewing books on a now defunct website, GenReview in 2011. I now review books on my website, as well as for Penguin First To Read, Netgalley, Maryglenn McCombs, book publicist, Bookish First and Killer Nashville. I also review books for various authors that send me their books.


The only constant in life is death. For Adrian Dillard, death has become an unwelcome companion. Nine unwelcome companions to be exact. Killed in a tragic train derailment over century ago, the ghosts of nine children have taken up residence in Adrian’s psyche. Using him as a conduit for their incredible abilities, Adrian is put through arduous training to face off against The Nine’s ancient enemy Samen, Lord of Evil Spirits. But Adrian knows he isn’t being told the full story. Soon, the dead children seem to have other motives, and the appearance of other supernatural creatures calls everything Adrian has learned in to doubt. He must uncover the truth behind it all and try to avoid death while trying.

The Train Station


It started with death. From then on, death would hang over my head like the grim whispers of autumn leaves rustling in the breeze.

The entire night played out in my head countless times since it happened. It began at a party. A grand re-opening ball for an old train station in a little town called Butterfield, Ohio and ended with the violent death of over a hundred innocent people.

I should probably explain more about myself. My name is Adrian Dillard and about three years ago, a friend of mine came to me with the crazy idea of revitalizing the passenger train industry. We both had quite a bit of money stashed away and decided to invest in this venture, along with a few other investors we’d recruited. This friend, Phil Mallory, had everything planned out already. He called it “an all new way to see the country” even though it was being done on one of the country’s oldest means of travel.

It was when I brought this point up to him that he began to get excited. He started naming off all these ideas that he had to make the experience completely different to other passenger lines. It sounded like a five star hotel on train tracks, with large, lavishly decorated sleeping quarters, a high class, and very expensive restaurant, as well as an old west themed saloon complete with high quality furniture and pool table. Okay, so that last one was a bad idea, but if the train stopped long enough you may have been able to get a game in. We toyed with the idea of adding a swimming pool, but decided even if it were possible it probably wouldn’t be very well received.

About eighteen months ago our line started up and things were going well. The money started rolling in and soon I came up with the idea of re-opening old abandoned train stations along the route. Admittedly, there weren’t many, but I had noticed a few on our travels and I thought the passengers would get a kick out of stopping by some old landmarks here and there. People like that sort of thing, don’t ask me why.

The first of such re-openings was to be in this northern Ohio town called Butterfield. The station was completely refurbished, and an old west style ball was planned for the re-opening.

Being so busy with this business venture I had spent very little time with my wife, Michelle or our four-year-old son, Luke. So, I decided to bring them over from Indianapolis for the week. They were both excited to go to the ball, but if I’d had some way of knowing about the horrible tragedy that would occur that night, I would never have brought them.

The frightening images are still burned into my mind even now. 

I couldn’t have known though. After all, it was just a freak accident and of course there is no way to predict something like that, at least no way that I knew of at the time.

One hundred and seven people died that night, but it isn’t their deaths that haunt me. It isn’t the fact that the re-opening of the station was my idea, or that I’d helped organize the ball and the arrival of the train. It isn’t even the fact that I had ignored all the superstitious stories I’d heard from the locals going into the re-opening.

No, what haunts me the most is the one thing I know that no one else is aware of. That it was my son who caused the whole thing.


I awoke in my bed feeling groggy and confused. With great effort I sat up and stared around the room, searching desperately for the clock radio. I found the blurred, red numbers that read 8:45pm, or was my mind only telling me it was 8:45pm. I don’t think I could actually see the clock.

A woman’s laugh traveled up the stairs to my room. I remembered that my wife was having a party of some sort.

A scrapbook party?

Yes, that seemed right, a scrapbook party. How she loves to take her photos and put together scrapbooks. She’s really quite creative with it all. I must have dozed off while trying to stay out of their way. Can’t have a man crashing the scrapbook party after all.

Now, however, they would have to put up with me, because when my hunger awakens, I must heed its call. 

I slowly pulled my limp body off the bed and began to move down the hallway, dragging my half sleeping feet like a zombie in a blood bank. 

Wait, that’s not right, is it? Zombies don’t drink blood, they eat brains, right? I don’t know. I’ve never been much of a horror movie buff.

Nevertheless, I felt very much like I was moving through molasses, or deep water.

When I made my way down to the kitchen, I peeked into the living room to find Michelle, only no one was there. I still heard their voices, as if they should be standing right in front of me, but the room was empty.


I remember wondering where Luke was.

I then went to the kitchen and was surprised to see my grandfather sitting in a chair, against the wall.

“Grandpa? What are you doing here?” I asked, my voice sounding tired and muffled in my own ears.

He opened his mouth as if to reply and an earsplitting whistle escaped from deep within his throat. I immediately put my hands over my ears in a feeble attempt to drown out the sound. It didn’t help at all. Then it dawned on me what the noise was.

A train whistle.

A great crashing sound erupted from behind me and I turned to see a steam locomotive ripping through the kitchen window. Everything slowed down and I could see the number of the locomotive.

No, that was impossible, it just didn’t make sense. Not here! Not now!

How could I have read the number?

How could I have smelled the coal burning?

How could I feel my bones being crushed as the train made contact with my body?


I sat up with a shot. A strange, choked scream trying to escape my mouth. Michelle’s hand suddenly gripped my shoulder and I realized I was just having a nightmare. The nightmare. 

“Honey, are you alright?” she asked quietly. Her voice a comforting whisper. Calming.

“Yeah,” I answered, my own voice most resembled a hand full of gravel in a blender. I placed my right hand on hers, “It was just a dream.”

“The same dream?”


It was then I realized my breathing was still heavy and I’d sweat a small pond through the sheet and my pillow case. I stood and walked toward the door.

“Go back to sleep,” I called back to her without turning. I felt an inexplicable shame from the dream, “I just need to get some air, then I’ll come back to bed.”

She flopped her head back down on the pillow and I could hear her snoring again before I reached the end of the hall. I stopped at Luke’s door and quietly eased it open. He was lying face down with his butt sticking straight up in the air, snoring just as loudly as his mother.

Taking care not to make too much noise, I crept down the stairs and into the kitchen where I put on a pot of coffee. Michelle and I both knew there would be no getting back to sleep for me after the dream, I don’t know why I say that I’ll be coming back to bed every time.

I threw on a flannel robe and a pair of insulated slippers and went to the cabinet for my favorite coffee mug. A big, green, ceramic one with a polar bear on the side and little snowflakes surrounding the surface.

With my coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other, I walked out to the back porch and sat down in the old wooden rocking chair. The first light of sunrise was looming on the horizon and falling gently on the changing leaves in the surrounding woods. Soon the last lingering memories of the dream were washed away by the brilliant color of the sky and trees and the chilly November air.

Two hours passed before I heard a small, tired voice from behind me. “Hi, Daddy.”

I sat up halfway and turned to see Luke staring at me from the other side of the screen door. “Well, good morning, big man. How’s my favorite little nerd.”

“I’m not a nerd, you’re a nerd,” he replied with a grin. He still wasn’t quite able to articulate his r’s and the word came out sounding like “nud”.

“Is your mother up yet?”

“No, and she’s snoring really loud.”

“She is, huh?”


“Well I know somebody else who snores really loud.”



“No I don’t, I’m a little kid and little kids don’t snore.”

“Well, you may be right about that one, my man. Whatever the case may be, we need to go drag your mother out of bed.”

Luke put his hand in mine and together we walked upstairs and into the bedroom Michelle and I shared. Luke jumped on the bed and proceeded to bounce up and down and chant, “Wake up, Mom! Wake up, Mom! Wake up, Mom!”

Michelle began to stir and a low groan arose from her throat. “I don’t want to get up,” she moaned.

“Well you have to or you’re going to be late for your appointment,” I said. “C’mon, there’s piping hot coffee waiting for you downstairs.”

Michelle slowly sat up, her long red hair hanging in a tangled mess around her face, and growled. “You know I’m not allowed to drink that stuff.”

“Yeah,” I chided, “I just like to rub it in. I find it amusing.”

“I’m glad one of us does,” she shot back as she shuffled into the bathroom.

“Luke and I will go down and make breakfast,” I called to her through the door.

“K,” she shouted. At least she’s past the morning sickness, it didn’t seem to last as long with this one as it did with Luke. We decided not to know the sex of the baby this time, but either way we were having trouble coming up with a name we were both happy with.

Heading back downstairs with Luke following closely behind me, the vision from my dream of the train crashing into our window flashed into my head and I suddenly found myself afraid to go into the kitchen. The fear was so real that I actually stopped in the doorway and stared at the kitchen window.

“You okay, Dad?” Luke’s voice snapped me out of my trance. I looked down at his face, small and full of concern.

“Yeah, Luke, I’m alright. I was just thinking about a weird dream I had last night.”

“Was it the one about the train coming into the kitchen?”

“Yeah, I…” I stared into the boy’s eyes and a disorienting feeling washed over me. As if I were staring into my own eyes set in the face of some alternate version of myself that had just stepped through a magic portal from another realm. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Bizarro World Adrian Dillard. How could he know about the dream, I hadn’t told anyone about it besides Michelle. Only one way to find out.

“Luke, how did you know about my dream?”

“I don’t know, maybe I had the same one,” he said, “Can I have some chocolate milk?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, sure you can,” I poured his milk, added the powder, and began to stir it with a spoon.

I was just about to ask him about the dream again when Michelle came down the stairs shouting; “How are my boys doing down here?” She had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and was dressed in the maternity overalls that I always thought looked incredibly cute on her.

Luke looked up at her with a smile, “We’re fine. Look, Mommy, I got chocolate milk.”

“Mmm, that sounds yummy. Can you make me some, Daddy?”

I guess I didn’t hear her right away. I soon felt her tugging on my shirt sleeve. “Hey, you awake in there, chief?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m sorry; I was off in my own little world.”

I looked back at Luke to find him studying me as if I were some strange new species of baboon. I rubbed my hand through his hair, which was kept short and neat like mine (only his was a bright red instead of my dark brown, a trait he no doubt got from his mother) and assured him that I was fine. After another few seconds of staring he wondered out into the living room and turned on cartoons.

Suddenly, I felt Michelle’s hand close over mine, “Are you sure you’re alright, honey?”

I couldn’t bring myself to meet her gaze, keeping my head down, I focused on starting breakfast. “I’m fine, really.”

“It’s been almost three months since the accident and you’re still having this same dream, I think you should give a little more consideration to seeing a psychiatrist.”

“I’ll think about it, but don’t hold your breath, You know how I feel about those people. Besides, it’s not even the dream that bothers me but the impending financial backlash that I can sense just waiting around the corner.” 

My last statement wasn’t exactly true, the dream actually ate at me almost all the time. How could it not? Every detail is the same, every single night, right down to a tee. It seemed less like a dream and more like a vision, or possibly a metaphor for something I was supposed to figure out but couldn’t quite grasp.

As far as finances went, sure I was a little worried about possible lawsuits that may come from the families of the deceased, but being a lawyer, Phil was handling that end of it completely and he had told me repeatedly that there was nothing to worry about.

It was now Michelle’s turn to stare at me with concern. I searched desperately for something to change the subject.

“Leia!” I blurted.

“Excuse me? Did you just address me with another woman’s name?” Michelle asked with confusion.

“If we have a girl, we should name her Leia.”

“Luke and Leia?” she asked with a smile “I don’t think so, pal, you’re lucky you got to name the first one Luke. We don’t want to announce to the whole world that their father is a giant Star Wars nerd.”

“So, Chewbacca is out of the question for a boy?” I said jokingly.

“Way out of the question,” she laughed.

We sat down to our breakfast and for the most part, my dream was forgotten. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that the weird stuff really started happening and I couldn’t help but think that something more might have happened the night of the accident. As if amid all of the wreckage, something was missed.


By 9:30 that morning, Michelle was off to her doctor’s appointment and Luke and I had returned upstairs to get ready to visit my sister, Molly, for her birthday. I was in the bathroom shaving, something that had become a daily ritual for me. I couldn’t help but long for the thick beard that once made its home on my face. Going into the train venture, Phil thought I would look much more professional without the facial hair.

When Michelle and I had first moved in together, we both worked at a little video game store. I was the assistant manager and made just over six bucks an hour. We lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment, we had no car and got to work by riding our bikes when it was warm enough, or trudging through the snow on foot. Those were simpler times and I must admit, I sometimes wish we still had such simplicity in our lives. Now it’s a mortgage, car payments, car insurance, home improvements, credit card bills, and shaving my chin every morning to look more professional.

I miss my beard.

Luke was in his room playing with toy cars and acting out crazy story lines that he concocted in his imaginative, little head. For the most part I wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying, until his tone changed and I noticed he sounded more like he was having a conversation with someone. I decided to turn the sink off and listen to him for a minute.

“No, I’ve never heard of that place……I don’t know……If you want me to, but I’ll have to ask my daddy if it’s okay first,” I couldn’t help the smile that stretched across my face. Luke had never shown signs of having an imaginary friend before, but I guess this is about the right age. The conversation continued; “You want Daddy to come too?……OK, when will we go?……How soon?……Who is Samen?” There was a pause after this. “Why does he want to kill everything?” It was here that my smile faded and I went into the room to see what Luke was up to, with the sudden, terrible feeling that I’d walk around the corner to find someone in there with him.

“Hey, Dad,” Luke blurted out as I appeared in the doorway. I looked carefully around the room and was relieved to find no one but my son inside.

“Who were you just talking to, Luke?” I asked.

“A boy,” was his only reply.

“A boy?”


“Do you know what this boy’s name was?”

“No, he said we’d all be introduced to each other later.”

“What’s going to happen later, Luke?”

“He wants to take us somewhere. He said we didn’t have to worry about finding a way there, he would come and get us when the time is right.”

“Where are we going?”

“He didn’t say, but he did say we would be traveling by train.”

I suddenly felt a foreign terror threatening to run up my spine and twist my mind down a never ending staircase of insanity. With great effort, I pushed it all away, telling myself it was all coincidence. Luke couldn’t possibly have known about my dream, and his imaginary friend is just that; imagined.

“DAD!” Luke’s voice snapped me out of the whirling thoughts. “Why do you keep looking like that?”

“I’m sorry, big man. What do you say we get dressed so we can go over to see Aunt Molly for her birthday?”

“Are they going to have cake and ice cream?”

“Of course they are.”

“Oh yeah! Let’s get going.”

Soon we were on the road and deep into a game that was played often while we drove. It was up to me to name the make and model of every car that passed us and it was up to Luke to see if I’d miss any.

His imaginary conversation was still eating at the back of my mind, but I felt bringing it up again would only frighten him, and I was already frightened enough for the both of us.

When we pulled up to my parents’ house, I could see that everyone had gathered in the backyard, so Luke and I grabbed the large gift bag out of the back of the SUV and made our way through the opened gate at the side of the house.

“Mamaw, Papaw,” Luke sang out as he ran to hug his grandparents.

I handed the present over to Molly and wished her Happy Birthday and the first words out of her mouth were; “You look horrible! Haven’t you been getting any sleep lately?”

My sister has always been the type to worry too much about everyone else.

“No, not really,” I replied honestly, “but we can talk about that later. Go on and open your present.”

“Okay!” she shouted with a smile. As she peaked into the bag a look of confusion clouded her face, “What is it?”

“They’re massage oils,” I said, “maybe you could get old Danny off his ass to give you a massage. Where is Danny, anyway?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear? We broke up like a week ago.”

“Really?” I said, possibly with a little too much joy in my voice.

“Yeah, it’s over, but hey, I’ll just have to save these for my next boyfriend.”

I wasn’t looking forward to meeting the next boyfriend, but she could only move up from Danny. What a worthless pile he was. I often referred to him as “The Jobless Wonder”. He was the type of guy who was always on the lookout for some lonely woman to keep him while he wasted away in front of a computer screen playing the latest massive multiplayer online role-playing game. For far too long his latest “lonely woman” had been my sister.

“Hey, Dad,” I said, turning my attention on my parents. “How have you been?”

“Oh, I can’t complain.”

My Dad was a man of few words, which are the best kind of people, as he’s been known to say. At sixty years old he still had hair that would make Wayne Newton envious. It was full and black and was only showing gray around the sideburns.

“Mom, how are you doing?” I asked.

“Oh, not well. Not well at all. I’ve had blurred vision lately and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go blind within the next few weeks. I talked to your Aunt Jill about it and she’s been trying to get me to smoke the pot, says it will help ease the pain. Well, you know how her kind is, never happy unless they’re using some kind of mind-altering substance. So, I said, ‘No, there is no way you’re going to get me hooked on the drugs,’ and you know what she said to me? ‘I don’t do drugs, I just smoke weed’. I just hung up on her, I didn’t want to hear any more of that bull.

“Where’s our Michelle, she didn’t come with you?”

My parents, two peas in a pod, as the saying goes. “She had an appointment today, but she’s going to meet us here as soon as it’s over.”

“Oh good, it’s been so long since I’ve seen her. I bet her belly is getting big.”

“Oh, it’s huge,” I said. With that, my mother walked off toward the back door, presumably to fix herself a screwdriver. Any gathering, no matter how small, was an excuse to break out the orange juice and vodka.

I turned to my father and noticed for the first time that he had his gas grill out. “Dad, it’s like 50 degrees out here, isn’t it a little too chilly for a cookout?”

“Only rain and snow could keep me from a barbeque,” he answered plainly.

“Yeah, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of those burgers,” Molly added.

“That’s right,” my father continued, “this is my baby’s birthday and she gets whatever she wants.”

“Dad,” Luke interrupted, “can I go play in the sandbox?”

“Sure, Pal, go ahead.” Luke ran off toward the little sandbox that my father had built for me when I was a boy, with Molly and me trailing close behind.

“So what’s going on?” she asked, abruptly. “Why aren’t you getting any sleep?”

“Oh, it’s silly,” I replied, looking away from her so she couldn’t see my face as I felt the burn of embarrassment rise to my cheeks.

“C’mon, tell me.”

I finally forced myself to look her in the eyes, “I’ve been having this really strange nightmare lately, the same one every night, and it just scares the shit out of me.”

“Adrian, you’re 32 years old, shouldn’t you be past the point where you let bad dreams get to you so much?”

“Well, you’re 28 years old, shouldn’t you have moved out of your parents’ house by now?”

“Hey, I’m getting close; everything is starting to come together for me. I just wanted to make sure I was financially ready.”

“Right,” I said sarcastically. It was customary for us to pick on each other a little. Our sworn duty as brother and sister.

“Seriously, though, what’s the dream about?” she asked.

“I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Okay. Might make you feel better, though.”

“Yeah, that’s what Michelle thinks. She wants me to go see a shrink.”

“That might just be a good idea,” she said, her tone suddenly sincere. “If it’s bothering you that bad, you might want to take her up on that.”

I didn’t reply. Seeing a head doctor was absolutely the last thing on earth I wanted to do. It was no secret that I didn’t care for them and that was partly why I didn’t want to go, but the bigger reason was that I wanted to see just what these dreams were trying to tell me. Of course, that was something I couldn’t admit to anyone. If they knew that they’d forgo the shrink in favor of the looney bin.

“Mommy!” Luke’s shout broke the silence. I turned and saw Michelle walking through the gate with a big smile on her face.

Luke jumped out of the sandbox and ran to his mother, wrapping his arms around her leg as a greeting.

I walked over and planted a kiss on her cheek, “How did the appointment go?”

“Great,” she answered, “everything’s as it should be.”

“Good,” I said. This was only the second appointment that I’d missed, but I knew the doctor was very impressed with the growth of the baby as well as Mom’s health.

“You’re just in time,” my dad interjected. “Everything is ready, grab a plate and dig in.”

We all formed a line from the picnic table and soon tore into another delicious meal prepared by the master of barbeque. I felt very hungry for some reason and ended up eating until my stomach was as bloated as an oil tycoon’s bank account.

After the meal, we stayed a little longer, my father and I in one room of the house talking politics and sports, while Michelle and Molly were in another room with my mother talking about whatever it is women talk about. Luke, for the most part, stuck to a spare room of the house that was the epicenter for toys and children’s books, emerging once in a while to attack one of us with a toy sword or push a little dump truck through the rest of the house. Of course, the cake and ice cream got him out of the room the longest.

By four o’clock we had said our goodbyes and were on our way back home, with Luke and I in the SUV and Michelle following close behind in her car. The “name that car game” was forgotten during the return trip, replaced this time by the new drawing pad and pack of crayons that was given to Luke by his grandparents.

For some reason, I had turned on the radio to see if the local stations might be playing anything good. Within minutes I was cursing under my breath at the repetitive, nonstop, parade of crap that polluted the airways, wondering sarcastically if we had somehow driven through a time warp when Indy’s so called “New Rock” station played three songs in a row that were hits when I graduated high school fourteen years ago. With a frustrated sigh, I clicked the radio off and studied Luke in the rearview mirror.

“What are you drawing back there, Big Man?” I asked.

“I’m drawing myself with a sword,” he answered, “and Jeffery with a shield.”

“Oh yeah?” I continued only half paying attention to the conversation as we sat at an unbelievably long red light. “Who is Jeffery?”

“He’s the boy that was in my room today.”

This took my attention off the red light and focused it fully on my son in the rearview mirror.

“So, you know his name now.” It was more of a statement than a question, but Luke answered it anyway.

“Yeah, he told me while we were at Mamaw and Papaw’s house.”

“Did he tell you anything else?”

“Yes,” Luke thought about this a moment. “He said that we will be leaving tomorrow and that if I wanted you to come, we should both prepare ourselves.”

“Prepare ourselves for what?” I inquired, almost afraid to hear what Luke’s response might be.

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “He told me it would be a short trip and it shouldn’t take very long, then we would be back home.”

I didn’t push the subject any further; I instead asked if he was looking forward to going to kindergarten next year.

He answered with a simple yes and at that time I realized that we were pulling into our driveway.

I couldn’t remember the drive from the stoplight to the house, only the conversation I’d had with Luke in the time it took.

Was I looking at him in the mirror the entire time?

I didn’t know.

Is it possible I’d driven that route so often that I could do it without paying close attention?

Highly unlikely.

Then, what?

I kept asking myself; what was happening to me? And what was happening to my son?


Later that night, something occurred that was both disturbing and a great relief. A relief because it verified that I wasn’t losing my mind and that someone else besides my four-year-old son, finally witnessed one of the strange occurrences that had been plaguing my life the past few weeks. This one was by far the strangest to date.

After the three of us had arrived back at the house that night, we went inside and sat around the kitchen table, pulled out some construction paper and began to create little Christmas ornaments. Thanksgiving was only two weeks away and the following night we would have our yearly tradition of putting up the Christmas tree and decorations. With Michelle’s due date being December 20th, we also made a few nice things for the new baby.

A couple of hours went by before Michelle stood and said she was having major hunger pains. With that, the two of them retired to the living room while I stayed in the kitchen to start the spaghetti. I had just set the pan of water on the burner when I heard Luke screaming from the other room.

When I came around the corner to see what was going on, the grinning specter on the television was the first thing that caught my attention. The man called himself “Sammy Terry” (get it, cemetery) and he was the host of a night time program on a local station that showcased a different classic horror movie every night when I was a kid. Every once in a while, they would bring him back out for some promotional stunt.

As Sammy’s eerie voice rumbled out through the room, I looked at my wife to find Luke with his face buried in her rather large belly.

“The man on TV scared him,” Michelle said, stroking his hair.

“Luke,” I said, “he’s nothing to be afraid of, just an old guy with a lot of make up on.”

The camera zoomed in on the pale face and dark eyes just as Sammy began to emit that famous creepy laugh. I stepped forward with the intention of turning the channel, but as I did, Luke suddenly turned around, and pointing at the screen, yelled; “YOU GO AWAY, NOW!”

Seemingly with the sound of his voice, one of the end tables that sat on either side of the couch flew across the room and smashed into the TV. The screen shattered, the old set tilted backward and then fell forward to the floor with a crash. Sparks popped out of the back, followed by a tendril of smoke that floated up like the final breath of some colossal, dying creature.

“What the hell was that?” Michelle asked with a nervous shake in her voice.

I crouched down to look Luke in the eyes. He seemed to be just as surprised by the event as we were. “Luke, was that your friend Jeffery that smashed the TV?”

“No,” he said in a mousey voice. “It was one of the others.”


“Why did they do it?”

“They thought I was in real trouble, Jeffery says it’s very important that no harm comes to me.”

Michelle only sat back on the couch and looked at the two of us as if we had just assaulted the Pope.

I turned my attention back to Luke. “Hey, Pal, would you like to play a game upstairs in Mommy and Daddy’s room before dinner time?”

“Yeah!” he shouted, the prior events of the evening seemingly forgotten with the prospect of playing the new Star Wars game he had gotten a few days earlier.

“Alright, go on up, I’m going to talk to Mommy for a minute, then we’ll be right behind you.”

As he ran up the stairs, Michelle called out to remind him to hold on to the rail as he went. I felt amazed by her concern for the boy’s safety even through the shock and confusion she had to be feeling.

We had bought a new glider chair in preparation for the new baby. I reached over, slid it around to face my wife and plopped down with a heavy sigh. I knew it was time to come clean about a few things.

“Adrian,” she started, “what’s going on?”

“Well, that isn’t the first strange thing that has happened today, although it’s by far the strangest. I’m just glad you were here to witness it too, I was beginning to question my sanity.”

“What else was there?”

“It started this morning, when Luke mentioned some specific details about my dream. Things I haven’t told anyone.”

“How did he know?”

“That’s what I asked him. He thinks we may have had the same dream, but I don’t think that’s it.

“Then, later on, I was shaving and I heard him talking to someone in his room. I thought it was just an imaginary friend, but he started to say some odd things, and he mentioned the name Samen. Does that name mean anything to you?”

She thought the name over a moment, then said; “No, it doesn’t.”

“Whoever this person is, Luke asked why he wanted to kill everything, and was asking when they were going to go somewhere, although I couldn’t pick up where.”

“Jesus, this is too fucking spooky.”

“There’s more. On the way home from Mom and Dad’s, he drew this,” I handed her the drawing Luke had done in the car. “He says the boy with the shield is named Jeffery, and that this boy told him that tomorrow, he’s going to take Luke and I somewhere, and that although it would be a short trip, we should be prepared.”

“Prepared for what?”

 “I don’t know.”

She stared at the drawing, “What do you think?”

“All I can tell you is, since the accident, I haven’t felt…right. I mean, besides the dream, it just seems like there is something out of place that I can’t quite put my finger on.”

“What are we going to do?”

“The only thing we can do,” I said, standing up. “See what happens tomorrow night.”

She looked back down at the drawing and I noticed she was still trembling. “Go on upstairs,” I said, “I’ll clean up this mess and bring dinner up shortly.”

I helped her to her feet and watched as she climbed the stairs. I had left out the part about me driving home without looking at the road, I wasn’t sure if that was connected to the occurrences with Luke and I felt that she was already worked up enough without adding that little tidbit.

After cleaning up the broken television and tossing the shattered pieces into the garage to wait for trash day, I finished the spaghetti and took all three of our plates upstairs. A few hours later, I helped Michelle put Luke to bed. She went to bed shortly afterward and I found myself searching the web for any mention of the name Samen.

I found nothing, but kept looking anyway, not ready to go to bed for fear of having the dream again. Eventually, my weariness won out and the dream did return.

About the author

A writer of multiple genres who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. After trying for some time to break into the comic book industry with his artwork, D.A. Instead decided to focus fully on writing. He signed with Poe Boy Publishing in 2020 for his upcoming novel, Staff of Set. view profile

Published on June 20, 2020

Published by Poe Boy Publishing

70000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Horror

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