The Stigmata of Miramont Castle

“The Stigmata of Miramont Castle” is the third of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.

Montcalme-Sanitarium

Photo: Pikes Peak Library District

The Stigmata of Miramont Castle

by Matthew Amorebello

The octagonal room boomed with unseen forces. It reeked of rotten wood and stale incense. The wallpaper was a light blue Fleur-de-lis pattern and had gone untouched since the castle had been built in the late 19th century. Rust lined the metal light fixtures. The pulpit was uneven and inappropriately small. A statue of Christ adorned the southern wall with first light beaming across his cheek. The chapel was the highlight of Miramont Castle.

“The East Wing was completed in 1897,” began Lucinda.

Lucinda was Miramont’s tour guide. She was an older woman, with thick dyed black hair. Her voice was nasal, with a condescending tone. She spoke slowly and deliberately to the sole attendant of that morning’s tour.

“The room was Father Francolon’s dining hall,” she continued. “It was converted to a chapel by the Sisters of Mercy, who assumed control of the estate, after his return to France. They renamed the site ‘Montcalme’.”

“And what does that mean?” asked the elderly guest.

“Calm of the mountain,” answered Lucinda.

Lucinda excused herself from the room, as the elderly woman continued to admire the fine woodwork. She circled about the chapel, imagining herself back in time. She breathed in deeply, and the smell of the room overwhelmed her. She grabbed the pew to steady herself.

It was at this moment she became witness to the miracle. The statue of Christ came alive. The hands, feet, and chest oozed blood, pouring out the plaster statue and onto the wooden floor. The face turned to the elderly woman and smiled. Blood began to pour from his thorny crown.

The elderly woman approached the statue. She blessed herself and thanked God for bestowing this honor upon her. Emotion overwhelmed her and she nearly fainted, limping casually backwards into the chapel wall, scratching the blue wallpaper with her hand.

“Lucinda!” yelled the woman.

Lucinda rushed into the room and witnessed the stigmata. She took out her phone and snapped a few photos of the miracle at hand. She turned her attention to the elderly guest, who was on the verge of passing out.

“Are you OK, ma’am?” asked Lucinda.

The elderly woman cupped her face in her hands, rubbing her temples, then her eyes. Tears streamed down her face. She regained her posture and embraced the moment.

“I’ve waited my whole life for a miracle,” she said. “I can now die in peace.”

At that moment, the elderly woman went limp. She fell to the ground like an anvil, striking the creaky floor below.  She was noted to be lifeless upon impact.  Lucinda called for help, and by the time first responders arrived, the old woman was dead.

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Help Get Terror at 5280′ Off the Ground!

Terror CoverHere at Denver Horror Collective—our frighteningly talented group of horror writers and artists in and around the Mile High City—we believe in the motto: write locally, scare globally.

Which is why we’re all shivers to announce our Indiegogo fundraiser for Terror at 5280’, our horror fiction anthology due out this fall, with stories set around the greater Denver metroplex and Front Range Rocky Mountain communities, all penned by Colorado authors!

What authors, you may ask? Well, how about:

  • Bram Stoker Award-winning horror master, Stephen Graham Jones
  • USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson
  • Hex Publishers owner, editor, and author Josh Viola
  • Foreword by John Palisano, author and President of Horror Writers Association
  • Various Denver Horror Collective members
  • Other Colorado-based horror fiction writers

The print and e-book anthology will run about 250 pages and include roughly 20 stories (the editorial team has already made its selections and is currently editing). Some tales are based on local folklore and urban legends, while others touch on social and environmental themes relevant to the area, such as gentrification, substance abuse and…zombie deer.

As with everything at Denver Horror Collective, Terror at 5280’  is a group effort. So, if you love horror fiction, indie publishing, and/or local arts, will you make a contribution to our Indiegogo fundraiser today!

First Breath by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

“First Breath” is the first of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.

First Breath
by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

[Author’s note: The setting of ‘First Breath’ is loosely based on the cafe and bar Loaded Joes in Avon, a favorite place to write (and sing karaoke) when I’m in the neighborhood.]

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Photo: Lisa Young

It was time I went in search of myself. Everyone has to do it once in their lives. Each of my parents had, years before, and now I felt the pull that said it was my turn. Time to make my own pilgrimage.

They saw me off, standing in front of the house and watching me drift down the road. “Remember what we taught you,” my mother said. “One foot in front of the other. You’ll do fine.”

“Hurry home as soon as you can,” said my father, a wry smile hiding the sadness of parting. “You’ll want to be here when the baby arrives.”

I could only nod, looking first from face to face then down at the place where my unborn sibling waited to be breathed into life. I wanted to take their hands. I wanted to hold them and never let go.

But I couldn’t touch them. I could not even speak. Not yet.

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Jeamus After Midnight Podcast #2: Josh Schlossberg Interview and Folk Horror Discussion

Jeamus_After_Midnight_PodbeanIn this second episode of the Jeamus After Midnight Podcast, Jeamus interviews author and journalist Josh Schlossberg, a damned fine writer who mixes it up with the macabre. Later in the episode we have a brief discussion about the very big subject of American Folk Horror.

Download/stream on Podbean.

Jeamus After Midnight Podcast #1: Brains and Origins

Jeamus_After_Midnight_PodbeanIn this pilot episode of Jeamus After Midnight (sponsored by Denver Horror Collective), artist and author Jeamus Wilkes flies solo in a fifteen minute monologue about creative brains, the origins of stuff, sobriquets, what meaneth “horror”, and the road ahead for the podcast… all with a delightfully creepy, blizzardy soundtrack.

Download/stream on Podbean.

Playing with Fear

– by Bobby Crew

Playing with your fears is the sure way to make them your friends, in my highly-valued opinion, that is. But before I explain… I’ll just show you an example of how I like to play. This prose poem below is how I turned one of my fears into who I now call Big D.

Ryan Eldon Holmbeck

Photo: Ryan Eldon Holmbeck


A Tribute to Big D

I am well acquainted with Big D; we are beyond a first name basis, Death and I. A few times a year he drops by to see me, just to say hello—although sometimes I really wish he’d call first. I always like to clean up a little before guests come over. You know, shove everything in the closet and under the bed, vacuum, wash a few dishes, fill the rooms with sweet fragrance, and buy a bottle of tequila.

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Blurred Lines: Newswriting and Horror Fiction

– by Josh Schlossberg

blood-with-penPeople often act surprised when I tell them I’m both a journalist and a horror fiction writer.

I mean, I get it: In many ways the two fields don’t even occupy the same landscape. In one, shameless hacks make up fake stories to exploit the most depraved aspects of the human experience, while the other is a celebrated genre of literature popularized by respected writers such as Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King.

Seriously, though, while quality journalism presents a spectrum of viewpoints all at once, horror fiction is typically about seeing the world through the biased (even warped) lens of one character at a time.

The mechanics of the writing itself also tend to differ, where spare and simple prose best conveys the facts essential to newswriting, while in fiction colorful word choice and stylistic phrasing amplify a writer’s unique voice.

But the lines can—and often do—blur. Whether it’s an article delving into the gun control debate or a story about swimmers devoured by a lake monster, both crafts are driven by our inborn attraction to conflict.

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