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Lost in the Dark is a collection of twelve horror stories by South African horror writer, Joe Mynhardt. Lost in the Dark might be his first collection, but after more than 40 published short stories in numerous magazines and anthologies, it will certainly not be his last.
The overall theme for Lost in the Dark is one of lost hope and man’s struggle to retain it.
What follows is a brief introduction for each of the twelve stories within the pages of Lost in the Dark.
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. More details on that at a later date.
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?
Joe Mynhardt is a South African speculative fiction writer and teacher. While having dozens of short story publications in several magazines, e-zines, websites and anthologies, Joe also tends to a tome of stories, comics, plays and movies scraping for a chance to be written. His influences stretch from Poe, Doyle and Lovecraft to King, Connolly and Gaiman.
In his spare time Joe blogs about haunted buildings and the horror writing craft. He is a moderator at MyWritersCircle.com and an Assistant Submissions Editor at The South African Literary Journal, New Contrast. He is also the owner of Crystal Lake Publishing.
Read more about Joe and his creations at www.Joemynhardt.com or find him on Facebook at “Joe Mynhardt’s Short Stories”.
You can follow Joe Mynhardt on the following links:
Movie page: http://www.facebook.com/PorticoTheMovie
Lost in the Dark launch: http://www.facebook.com/events/440848249269795/