Happy 2023! It’s almost release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Mark Edward Jones with his story, Hell is Empty…
Three characters in Hell is Empty later play roles in the Detective Henry Ike Pierce series.
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The worse monsters are human.
A man’s wife dies unexpectedly in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and his teenage foster daughter, Miomir, comes under suspicion after four of the girl’s classmates die by poisoning. Professor Filíp Nekola must protect his younger wards, siblings brought to him six years earlier when a government assassin, Karanosz Tasev, killed the children’s parents. A detective appears, offering information that Tasev seeks Miomir.
Nekola is detained by the Czech government’s secret police, the StB, and the children are left alone with Miomir and her friends. They witness the teenagers performing a dark ritual to destroy Miomir’s enemies. Filíp Nekola must escape the secret police, rescue the children, and stop the assassin Tasev before he steals another life. The worst monsters are human.
A Friday the 13th Short Story: 13 authors ~ 13 suspenseful stories. Murder and mayhem on Friday the 13th… Find each story in the series on Amazon.
Pipe smoke blanketed Stepan Hrubý’s face. The boy flapped his hands and made a show of waving away the pungent haze.
Filíp Nekola clenched the pipe’s bit with his teeth, pulled off his right glove, and yanked his handkerchief from a pocket. He wiped his eyes, then glanced down at his companion. A smile broke across his face as he stroked the boy’s dark hair. “Three months today, young man. She grew so fond of you and Eliska.” Filíp shook his head and sighed. “My dear Berta.”
Stepan rubbed his hand along the top of the marker’s rough granite stone. “Sorry, Papa Filíp. Remember, though, the best day of the year is coming in twelve days.”
Filíp nodded. “Yes, Christmas is coming, and it will be my first without her.” He wiped a cheek. “But we will try to make it merry.”
The boy pulled his winter cap tighter around his ears. “Yes, sir. It is Lisky’s and my favorite holiday. Why do some people not celebrate?”
“You are speaking of Miomir?”
Stepan frowned, thinking of the older girl the Nekolas had fostered. “She is one, but many stores have nothing in their windows. Lisky says—”
“Never mind. So … where is your sister?”
Stepan shrugged. “She likes to look at the gravestones.”
Eliska emerged through leafless bushes near a marble bench. “I am here.” Stepan’s sister kneeled next to him and examined the dates, touching them as she read. “April 3, 1927, and September 13, 1974. Are those correct?”
“Yes. The stone carver did well.”
“Barunka is a funny name,” Stepan said, then covered his mouth. “Sorry.”
Filíp nodded. “Yes, she did not like it—a family name, I believe, and it is why I called her Berta.”
“I like the black stone,” Eliska said.
“I do, too.” He smiled. “Thank you both for coming with me.”
Stepan smirked. “We wanted to come with you instead of staying with the witch.”
Filíp put a finger to his lips and scowled, determined to act as if he did not feel the same. “No, no. We should not talk about Miomir in such a manner. She is sixteen, and teenagers are rebellious, among other things. I am sure she grieves in her own way.” He took each child’s hand. “My feet are freezing, and I do not doubt yours are, too. Come along. The taxi is waiting.”
Mark retired from higher education finance in 2017 and started writing as a new career. The first of the Detective Henry Ike Pierce series, Peculiar Activities, was published in October 2021. The second in the series, Shadowed Souls, released on Halloween 2022. A Gentleman from the Darkness was his first short story, and his first in a Friday the 13th series.
Find all 13 stories at this link: A Friday the 13th Story #3