Benny Writeman was a peaceful artist who lived in a small Indiana town with his lovely wife, Autumn. But, when his wife is murdered, then returns from the dead and reveals her murder must be avenged before she can truly rest, he drags her ghost across the country on the hunt for the vampires responsible. With the help of his brother, Jack and their father, Frank, they leave an ever mounting trail of carnage behind as they confront nightmarish creatures around every corner, only to discover a heartbreaking truth at the end of their journey.
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The Seasons Change Series follows one family's lives as they're thrust into the secret world of vampires, werewolves, and other nightmare creatures.
Autumn Writeman was leaving work late once again.
She stepped through the double doors of the Writeman Bank building and into the cool night air. Fall had finally come to Indiana with the suddenness of a snapping twig under silent footfalls, in an October that had been unusually warm up to that point. It was less than two weeks until Halloween and it had been so warm that the leaves were late in turning. This night however, the trees were bright and colorful even in the dark and the bank parking lot was littered with foliage that sped across the pavement making a scraping sound that might make some cringe, but Autumn found it beautiful.
A smile touched her lips at the thought of the impending holiday, and her husband’s childlike excitement as the night of tricks and treats approached. Benjamin Writeman (Benny to his friends) not only loved Halloween, he was also very fond of the time of year. He even managed to find a girl named Autumn to marry.
Multi colored leaves raced around her feet in the breeze and she was suddenly hit with a parade of childhood memories. Jumping in a pile of leaves her father had just raked up, helping her mother carve a jack-o’-lantern, going trick or treat dressed as Princess Lea, or Casper the friendly ghost, or Dracula’s bride. She supposes that she loves fall just as much as Benny.
Standing next to her car door, Autumn began the nightly ritual of digging through her purse in search of her keys. Benny often made fun of her inability to throw things out, though she often complained that he threw out to much. Just as her hand closed around her keys a strange feeling came over her, as if just for a moment, it was well into winter rather than mid fall. She shivered hard and suddenly, a rapid flapping sound forced a slight scream from her throat. Turning quickly she scanned the area and saw nothing but the empty parking spaces behind her. Moving faster now, she slid the key into the door of the little black pick up and got behind the wheel, quickly closing and locking the door behind her. Autumn hated leaving work at night, the parking lot (and the building too, now that she thought about it) always gave her a creepy feeling that she couldn‘t explain. However, working late was a common occurrence this time of year, with Christmas shopping right around the corner. Of course that wouldn’t be a problem had she not been demoted two months ago, but the bills had to be paid and Benny hadn’t sold any paintings lately.
The truck belonged to Benny, a little Mitsubishi that’s been through hell but just keeps on running anyway. Her car, which is only three years old, is in the shop once again. And, of course, every time she did have a problem with her car, he would say the same thing; “I told you not to buy American.” He had told her this, but for some reason she couldn’t remember, she hadn’t listened.
She keyed the ignition, threw the transmission into drive, and pulled out of the parking lot. Soon afterward, Autumn had forgotten about the strange feeling that came over her and began singing loudly with the Dead Poetic CD Benny had left in the stereo. In their younger days, Benny and Autumn were what some people would call “Gothic”, and although their taste in music hasn’t changed a lot, the way they dressed and the way they thought about the world had changed immensely. After all, you can’t wear black eye makeup and lipstick along with buckle covered clothing if you’re going to be a “Financial Assistant” for a major bank and loan.
She kept the black hair, though the clothing and make up were reserved for concerts and parties. Benny, for the most part, didn’t change much over the years. He kept the black hair as well, and wore it shoulder length, often hiding most of his face to give people the impression he was a brooding artist. In truth, he was a kind hearted joker that liked to keep his romantic side just between them.
She pulled into the driveway of their old, two story house and shifted the little black truck into park. Getting out she smiled again as she looked out at the Halloween decorations that Benny had put on the front lawn at the beginning of October (the indoor decorations were put out in late August).
There was the white sheet stuffed with old clothes and tied to a tree to resemble a floating ghost. There was the plastic skeleton lounging in a lawn chair and looking as if he had had a few too many martinis. As she stepped onto the porch she noticed the shadowy ghoul that stood by the tree and…stopping in her tracks, she stared at the dark figure in confusion.
“That wasn’t there before,” she said softly to herself. She opened the door and started to call inside for Benny, then remembered he was out shooting pool with his brother.
She looked back at the dark ghoul for a moment and wondered if Benny had gone out and bought more decorations. Turning to walk into the house, her attention was immediately returned to the dark figure when she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye.
The ghoul was now walking toward her.
Autumn ran inside the house and locked the door behind her. Her heavy breathing was the only sound in the chilly darkness of the home. After a few minutes, Autumn edged toward the window and peeked through the curtain. The ghoul was gone. Was he ever really there at all?
She was tired, very tired, and coming home to an empty house always made her feel a little jumpy anyhow. She took a few calming breaths and then walked down the hall to the kitchen. Flipping the light switch up, she began to step toward the fridge before she realized the light hadn’t come on. She tried the switch again, and twice more after that. Still no lights.
Looking around the room she noticed the microwave clock was dark, and the absence of that familiar refrigerator hum made the entire house seem as quiet as a graveyard at midnight.
Movement caught her eye from the doorway to the dining room on the opposite side of the kitchen. It was the dark figure from the front lawn, the ghoul with the red eyes shining out from his deeply shadowed face. Had she noticed his eyes before? She couldn’t remember, at that moment everything seemed dreamlike and hazy.
Autumn turned and took two steps toward the door but froze when she saw that the man had somehow moved fast enough through the living room to block her escape. Without thinking, she darted up the stairs, ran down the hallway and locked herself in her room. As she ducked behind the bed, she reached beneath it and almost immediately found the wooden baseball bat that Benny kept there for just this type of situation.
She laid there for a long moment with the bat held tight against her chest, listening for any sound from outside her door, but no sound came. Slowly, she got to her feet and peered out the window. There was no movement on the lawn, besides the Halloween decorations blowing slightly in the wind. She could see the Mitsubishi sitting in the driveway like a distant beacon of hope that seems impossibly out of reach. Oh, how she longed to be in that truck right now. She wondered if she could drop from the window without breaking a limb, and if so could she make it to the truck without being seen, or at least caught by the stranger?
Suddenly, she heard the noise she had been waiting for, only it didn’t come from outside the room, but from the dark corner across from her. Slowly, she turned and looked in the corner to see the same red eyes staring out at her from the shadow. A whimper escaped her lips as she brought the baseball bat up into a swing position.
The man finally stepped out of the shadows and Autumn was amazed to see that he was not a dark ghoul at all, but quite the opposite. His skin was very pale, his hair was long, falling mid way down his back, unnaturally straight and so blond it was nearly white. He was wearing a light grey suit that looked very expensive and in his right hand he bore a cane that appeared to be used for more of a decoration than any visible handicap. He walked over to Autumn and stopped two feet away from her, meeting her gaze with his calm, radiant, red eyes.
“What?” Autumn whispered, the baseball bat wavering uncertainly in her hands, “What do you want?”
The man only continued to stare at her, showing no emotion on his face.
Autumn began to feel very calm, and very sleepy. The bat fell from her hands with a loud clunk as it hit the hard wood floor. She felt lost in his eyes, those bottomless red eyes. She had never felt so relaxed in her life.
The man slowly raised the cane, resting the lower end in his left hand. The handle looked to be silver and was crafted into the shape of an Asian dragon. Wrapping around the hilt was a giant serpent that came up to meet the dragon face to face, as if some epic battle was about to begin between the two. Then, gently, he pulled on the handle and the cane came apart to reveal a long blade that was hidden within. He raised the blade high and paused for a moment, then brought it down across Autumn’s throat.
Seconds later, Autumn died.