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Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash


The sun sparkling on the sea behind him in a dancing promise of hope fed into the lie that is the beach paradise. The breeze barely breathed on the softly swaying palm fronds. It was perfect. Each second we faced off it felt increasingly too perfect. Off.

This man, who refused to give his name, stood resolute in his defection from the normal. His eyes were narrowed in determination, or perhaps against the sun. His face held no real emotion. Not anger or determination. He just was.

“It’s all a lie,” he said. “Your world. The sea, trees, even this.”

He knelt and scooped up a fistful of sand. He stood again and held the fist out towards me as though I should take it. I could only stare at that closed fist. He waved it towards people in the distance, roaming slowly up the beach.

“They are a lie. Toxic.”

“They’re just people,” I said.

He shook his head slowly at my foolishness. He seemed saddened by my failure to see. This man, this stranger in a weakened paradise, thrust his fist toward me again.

“You would take strength from this… this false promise of a better tomorrow. It never gets better. It’s just another today. This earth,” he started letting the sand fall in a slow stream from his hand, “is weak. It’s is poisoned, pale.”

“It’s pale because it’s sand.”

He stared at me, pale sand trickling in a soft sieving from his fist.

My focus on his face and that falling sand, I did not see the twitch of his shoulder muscle preceding his body moving until it was too late. He had me by the shirt, fabric twisted in his fist as he yanked me off balance towards him, holding me up with seemingly impossible strength.

“I will show you then.”

My mouth gaped open in silent shocked protest; he rammed his fist at it. I was certain he meant to punch me in the teeth, but instead he was shoving sand into my mouth. I choked and gagged on the surprise of it, on its crunchy grittiness and the though in my head of its uncleanliness.

The sudden lurching of my heaving stomach felt like a gut punch. My eyes watered and my limbs felt weakened.

He released me then, letting me fall limply to the ground where I mewled and pawed weakly at the sand. The same sand that was inside my mouth, my throat. I coughed and it was sucked into my lungs, choking me with its grainy dust.

The burning foulness set in then, my tongue and mouth on fire, the sand eating through taste buds like dull acid.

Pawing at my mouth only made it worse. Mewling and simpering weakly in the sand, the granules clung to my hands and I only managed to shove more inside my mouth. My throat screamed with it and I moaned, gasped, inhaling it deeper into my tortured lungs. I couldn’t cry out. Could only gasp weaker as the strength and all of my feeble fight left me.

I lay in the sand softly moaning, stomach dissolving and lungs struggling. My nose was pressed against the sand, breathing in its subtle saltiness.

“If you are still here tomorrow you will be dead,” he said simply. “This place will poison you.”

He walked away and did not look back.

I would have swore I was already dead.

The Woods Chapter 1: The Dare (1985) by L.V. Gaudet

The Woods – Coming Soon!

The Woods

Chapter 1: The Dare



It is an ordinary forest, as far as spooky looking woods go, filled mostly with craggy twisted oak trees, their gnarled branches reaching like skeletal fingers and deeply wrinkled cracked-bark covered trunks. The trees cluster together, their branches twisted and tangled together, daring any to enter their midst.

The land here lies low and wet in the spring, leaving the stand of trees a small island of stick-like saplings and sparse tall yellow grass invaded by wild roses with their sharp thorns standing in a shallow bath of melt water throughout the springtime months.

They are far from a silent woods. A small stretch of thick growth surrounded by fields of crops interspersed with some areas abandoned to grass, weeds, and stray crop seeds. Against one side of this stretch of trees, amidst the farm fields, is also nestled a small happy community. The woods team with life, red and grey squirrels, rabbits, mice and voles, and a range of birds. With the damp ground, the woods are a haven for frogs and toads, and of course, the ever present blood-sucking mosquitoes.

It is a typical small town community lying nestled against the miniature forest. It grew from centuries old land of grasslands mixed with forests. The old forests and grasslands were slowly chopped down, turned over, and settled as the world slowly populated with mankind; the landscape of humanity changing from hunter-gatherers to farms, towns, and villages.

Eventually towns and communities grew together to become cities, family homesteads populated into small farming communities, and untouched land became rare pockets of unsullied old growth forests scattered about in tiny fragments bordering farm fields and stretches of small community homes.

Some of these tiny pockets of untouched woods still hold secrets. Some of these secrets are perhaps best left that way.


The woods sit silent and brooding, an ugly tangle of dead looking leafless skeletal branches that look like they belong in a darker and more sinister world, the world of the dead. The clouds hang heavy, dark, and grey on this day; a suffocating thick blanket hanging low in the sky to cast a pall over this small piece of the world.

The snow lies heavy and wet, crystalline flakes shrinking and melding into a dirty slush as the temperatures slowly warm. In time, the snow will vanish and be replaced once again by the murky stagnant melt waters that will take a few months to dry up.

Most of the rodents, birds, and other small woodland creatures are conspicuously absent on this day, having chosen to hunker down and wait out this gloomy day. Nevertheless, a few squirrels and birds still flit about the skeletal trees, a small rabbit nervously twitching its nose as it sits motionlessly waiting.

Two children playing in their back yard off the woods dare each other to go exploring into the spooky trees.

“I bet you can’t go to the fallen tree,” said the older and taller of the two boys.

The younger boy blanched, his stomach turning sickly, but stared stone faced at the fallen rotting tree laying nestled within the narrow strip of woods beyond their yard. You can see the tree only because there are no leaves on any of the branches.

“I am not going to let you know how scared I am,” he thinks. He can already smell the mossy rot of the long dead tree, although he has never been near enough to it to catch its odor. It smells in his vivid young imagination like death and decay and something even darker. He watches a small red squirrel flit around the trees, untouched by the dark brooding sullenness and the spooks, ghosts, and monsters his mind screams must surely lurk hidden inside these scary woods. He swallowed.

“Can too,” he said, his voice cracking with fear. “I bet you can’t go stand on that ole’ stump,” he countered.

The old stump is a rotting remnant of an even older fallen tree that has long ago vanished into the mud and scraggly growth of the woods. The stump remains, standing defiant and threatening beyond the fallen tree now laying discarded and tangled in the woods, sharp splinters and points of shattered wood sticking up as though waiting to impale any foolish boy who tries to climb it and falls. Its wood is soft and crumbly now with rot, the sharp jagged edges unlikely to be capable of impaling anything for years.

Kevin humphed at his younger brother. He is just as scared, but certainly is not going to let his little brother know that. He nervously hiked up his pants, which did not need it, and stepped forward on a mission. He marched purposely into the woods, careful to keep his back to the younger boy so he will not see the paleness of his waxy fear-filled face.

With a scuff and a shrug, Jesse reluctantly followed his older brother.

A little red squirrel scampered up to the high branches as they passed, pausing to chitter down angrily at the boys.

They reach the first point, the fallen tree Kevin had dared his younger brother to venture to. It is no victory for either boy.

On a forced march of pride, determined not to reveal his fear of some silly trees, Kevin continues on. He crawls over the fallen tree, its rotting length sagging with a soggy cracking beneath his weight. His forward march slows more the closer he comes to the wicked looking ancient broken stump.

He stops; staring at the stump like it is some otherworldly thing. He dares not touch it, yet also dares not, lest Jesse think him weak or afraid.

Unable to let his older brother face the woods alone, Jesse follows. As he draws near the old stump where his brother has stopped to stare motionlessly at it, he notices something unusual looking at the base of the stump.

“What’s that?” Jesse asked nervously.

Kevin pries his eyes from the stump to look lower.  He kneels down, reaching for what lies there.

“Don’t touch it.”

“It’s nothing.”  Kevin picks it up, turning it over in his hand.

Jesse turns at the sound of a cracking branch.

The boys are never seen again.


McAllister Series:

Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre?
Disturbing psychological thriller
Learn the secret behind the bodies.
Take a step back in time to meet the boy who will create the killer.
Everyone is looking for Michael Underwood.
Sometimes the only way to stop a monster is to kill it.












Other Books:

The Garden Grove project is a hotbed for trouble. Who wants to stop the development?
They should have let her sleep. 1952: the end of the paddlewheel riverboat era. Two men decided to rebuild The Gypsy Queen.
12 years ago four kids found something in the woods up the old Mill Road. Now someone found it again.
Coming Soon!

All Stories Are Linked

Sure, you say.  If they are written by the same author they are linked by that.

But, perhaps it is more than that.  A shared experience, for we all share the world experience through social media, printed media, movies and film, art, stories told and written, and living life in general.

Could we, on some deeper level, be tapped into a hive mind?  Is that how all these twisted ideas weirdly get into writers’ heads?

Do I believe hive minds really exist? Yes, in bees.  Maybe in beings living on foreign worlds.  But, every random thought is a possible story twist and every story twist has a potential to be revisited in another story.

Just as the real world is separated by surprisingly little degree of separation, so too can the same be found in stories.

Stephen King’s books hold secrets waiting to be found.  Little bits of connection to other stories.

I like discovering these little connections between worlds that seemingly don’t touch, hidden in the pages of a book.

The Gypsy Queen has connections to two stories.  One published, and one you may find in my brief sharing of short and flash fiction pieces, a story that will come out in fuller length.  The only hint I will give to this second story is always look to the skies when death is near.

The Gypsy Queen is a new release, waiting for your discovery.  Her dark past will not be forgotten.

And while I have ideas that won’t sleep to tell the pre-story, and there is the question of the old man and his beloved Josie, who has fallen victim to the Gypsy Queen’s dark past, I am already finding myself being begged to write a continuation.  Will the Queen prove to be a jealous mistress?  And what of her link to Darius?  What secret does that hold?  Will you discover it in the Gypsy Queen?


Excerpt from The Gypsy Queen by LV Gaudet

“Travis blinks. He rubs his eyes and closes them, silently praying for the world to come back to him. A part of him deep inside is afraid that admitting that fear will make it true that the world is gone.” -The Gypsy Queen



Cover Reveal – The Gypsy Queen

Cover by Erskine Designs


paranormal drama thriller


When a young man with an enthusiasm for get rich quick schemes discovers an old abandoned paddle wheel river steam boat he has dreams of the riches and glamour she will bring.

His best friend and unwilling business partner sees only rot and decay in the old boat.

The Gypsy Queen’s dark past will not be forgotten.

Garden Grove: 7 Rusty Plowshare’s Scheme – Rusty by LV Gaudet

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

“So, the skull wasn’t good enough, huh?  Oh, I’ve got something better than that, much better,” Rusty Plowshare muttered bitterly.

The old man nodded to himself.  His chin, white with unshaven whisker stubble, caught and held a piece of loose straw in the stubble when he came away from the stacked bales of hay he was digging between.  The straw bales were sagging with rot and greyed with age, their fibres breaking down over the years they had sat idle.

He turned away, rummaging through one pile and then moving on to another.  Rusty moved with arthritic slowness, the skin on his thin arms sagging from age and loss of the underlying muscle mass of youth.  His face, leathery from decades of working in the sun and wrinkled with age, gave him a crazy old man in the mountains look instead of wizened with age.

He was in the old barn, its interior packed with an amazing amount of clutter of every description.  It is unbelievable the old man can even move around in there, much less search the place.  The old packrat collected anything.

There are cats everywhere too, cats of every age and description, some looking very unhealthy, all feral strays that had made this barn their home.

“Now, where’d I put it?” he muttered to himself.

It wasn’t in the narrow space of a double wall between two stalls.  He moved on to search somewhere else.

“Maybe behind the loose board in the wall?”  He pried the board off and looked.

“Ah, I know, under the floorboard!”  He moved and stooped over a floorboard, pulling it up to look beneath.  Most of the barn floor is an open dirt floor.  However, one end of the barn, for reasons known only to the old man and his predecessors, has a rough floor of old two by fours that are now soggy with rot.  One part of this section, in the dark shadowed recesses of the corner, hides a small makeshift cellar dug into the ground beneath the floor, the rest of it covering part of the dirt floor that makes up most of the barn floor.  This particular floorboard covered a gouged out section of dirt just deep enough to hold its small treasures wrapped in rotting cheesecloth.

But what he is looking for is not there.


“I know it’s here somewhere,” Rusty grumbled.

Noticing the carelessly dumped loose soil marking the spot where the skull had been dug up from, the old man reminded himself, “Got to stamp that down some, won’t do to have anyone finding it.”

The old skull had been buried in the barn for a very long time.  Of course, the rest of the body was there too, along with the tool used to kill the man.

It’s very possible the man buried so many years ago in the dirt of the barn was old Rusty Plowshare’s great great grandfather.

He did not really know for sure.  There was more than one body buried beneath the old barn through the generations of his family that lived here.

His great great grandmother’s husband, the man whose family name he carried, did not really know for sure either when he bludgeoned the young man to death in a jealous rage in that year after the then young couple was married.

If the rumours spread that day so long ago by a group of busybody old women making trouble where they had no business putting their noses were true, rumours of the wife’s alleged infidelity and possibly questionable pregnancy, then those were the remains of his murdered great great grandfather.

Or, the young man may have been an innocent victim of a husband’s jealousy and a bunch of busybodies making trouble where there wasn’t any.

Only his great great grandmother knew the truth.

She was buried beneath the woodshed some years later, after failing to provide her husband with an offspring that was undeniably his in his mind.  She had given birth to more children after that first boy, but her husband could not let go of his suspicions.

There are many dark secrets in his family’s history, and Rusty Plowshare knows where each one of them was buried.

It also could have been someone else.  Rusty had heard stories passed down about his great great grandfather’s violent temper.

“Ahh, there you are!” he cooed.  “Beautiful.”  He pulled out a round wrapped bundle and held it up as if presenting it to the watching eyes of the dozens of felines witnessing his moment of triumph.

“I know just what to do with you.  If you don’t stop them from digging out those woods, nothing will,” he said.

“I know just what to do with you,” he repeated happily.





Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon:

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

The McAllister Series

where the bodies are


Where the Bodies Are

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


The McAllister Farm

HuntingMichaelUnderwood - final - media copy


Hunting Michael Underwood




And  for the teens and middle years kids who like middle years/teen drama and monsters, a fantasy psychological thriller.

Garden Grove: 6 Vandals Strike Again – Stanley by LV Gaudet

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

When Stanley returned to Garden Grove he went directly to the trailer office.  Pinching the padlock loop just above the block shaped lock mechanism between the blades of the lock cutter; he squeezed the lock cutter arms together angrily with more force than was needed.  With a little resistance, the blades pinched and cut through the lock, and the lock clattered to the ground.

He picked it up, removed the loop that still held the door latched, and went inside.

His snarl of outrage could be heard across the jobsite.

Inside the trailer was clear evidence someone had gained entry and gone through files.  Files and papers had been scattered everywhere.




Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon:

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

The McAllister Series

where the bodies are


Where the Bodies Are

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


The McAllister Farm

HuntingMichaelUnderwood - final - media copy


Hunting Michael Underwood




And  for the teens and middle years kids who like middle years/teen drama and monsters, a fantasy psychological thriller.

Garden Grove: 6 Vandals Strike Again – Dave by LV Gaudet

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

At the hospital, Dave McCormack and a few of the other poisoned workers are being discharged.  Being the slow process that it is, the discharges ran over the span of a number of hours.

As the men left one by one, they stopped in to wave a goodbye and crack the usual jokes about hospital food to the other men sitting in their rooms dressed to go home with their hospital issue plastic bags holding their personal effects of cards, well wishes, and stuff that was supposed to entertain them during their temporary hospital incarceration.  They made their rounds of the men who would still be in the hospital for a few more days or weeks, the ones who were allowed visitors anyway.

Dave was one of the earlier releases.  He made his rounds with his worried wife at his side fussing over him and looking like she was going to cry over every man they visited who couldn’t go home just yet.

Dave almost cried himself while he visited some of the men he’d worked with, spending long hours labouring and joking, the casual after work Friday beers shared, and now looking like death hovered within reach.

Two men who were supposed to go home in a few days had worsened and were moved into intensive care.  It isn’t looking good for either of them.

One of the men originally in intensive care had been moved to a regular hospital bed after improving considerably.

Another was taken off life support, his quality of life ruined and showing little brain activity.  But his body is still too stubborn to pass away.  His heart kept ticking, his lungs feebly collapsing and expanding.  The doctors are sure he will not survive.

Dave walked out of the hospital into the bright cool afternoon with an exhilarating feeling of release mixed with a heavy heart.  He feels like he has just been released from a prison, although he’d never actually had the prison experience to compare his feelings to.

He also walked with the weight of an entire injured crew on his shoulders.

He isn’t the foreman.  It is the foreman’s job to take responsibility for the safety of the men on the crew.  But he feels the guilt just the same.  He is the most senior man on the crew after the foreman.  He feels just as responsible for the men’s safety, especially the green ones.





Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon:

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

The McAllister Series

where the bodies are


Where the Bodies Are

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


The McAllister Farm

HuntingMichaelUnderwood - final - media copy


Hunting Michael Underwood




And  for the teens and middle years kids who like middle years/teen drama and monsters, a fantasy psychological thriller.

Garden Grove: 6 Vandals Strike Again – Stanley by LV Gaudet

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

As dawn broke over the horizon, adding an orange glow to the darkness, trucks and cars started lining up along the still unpaved road going into the Garden Grove site where new homes would soon start sprouting from the ground.

The large sign at the entrance announcing the coming of sleek and stylish homes and the promise of country-city living in the new Garden Grove Meadows development sported a new and rather rude crudely drawn caricature of what appeared to be intended as the foreman overseeing the job.

Stanley Rutthers stopped his truck to look at the vandalized billboard sign.  He shook his head with a chuckle at the drawing of himself splashed across the sign in large swatches of paint in a color that suggested someone had bought the wrong paint and rushed to the store in horror for a new color, leaving the unused paint to eventually find its way here.

“Kids,” he muttered.

Yelling from the site caught his attention.

He continued on into the jobsite to park closer, wondering what he will find this time.  This constant vandalism has gone well beyond being tiresome.

He parked near the scene of the commotion where one of the men was pounding senselessly on the door of one of the blue plastic portable toilets and swearing loudly.

As Stanley got out of his truck, the man ran off down the road, jumped into a truck, and tore out of there, the truck’s tires spitting dirt as he gunned the engine in a big hurry.

Stanley watched him go and stared down the road in mute surprise for a moment after he was out of sight before he turned and looked at the men standing around, their reactions ranging from laughter to shock and fear.  It was obvious there was an issue with the toilets and the man really had to go.

He headed over to them to find out what is going on.

“The doors are all glued shut,” one of the men said as he approached.

Stanley turned and walked away shaking his head.  He did not know if he should laugh or cry.

He walked towards the little portable trailer that serves as a jobsite office, digging his keys out of his pocket on the way.

Stanley paused just before reaching the trailer, looking around.  A chill feeling of dread ran down his back and the words of an old saying from his childhood, “someone just walked over my grave,” came to his mind.  He’d heard the phrase many times in response to that sudden unexplained shiver that sometimes takes people by surprise.

He has the uneasy feeling that someone is watching, and that it is not just a casual observer.  He can feel the intent to harm in that stare and for just a moment he could not shake the feeling that he was the mouse the cat is about to sink its claws into.

Stanley turned and stared at the section of woods that they had not yet cleared.  He has a sense he is being watched from there.  He studied the woods, looking for any sign of movement.  There is none except the muted shaking of the trees’ branches in the wind.

The uneasy feeling would not go away.

He continued on and stopped at the trailer door, grasping the padlock in one hand and bringing the key to it.

The key resisted going into the padlock.  The keyhole seemed to be blocked by something.

“Glue?” he wondered.  If someone glued the toilet doors, they could have glued the lock too.

He knelt down, examining the lock.  He thought he saw something pink inside it.

He tried shoving the key in again.  There was resistance, but he could force it part of the way in.  He could not get it even half way in.

He pulled the key back out.

Some kind of pink substance came out in small chunks, scraped out of the lock by the key.

He sniffed it.


“Shit!” he muttered.

Stanley is in a foul mood now as he headed back to his truck.  He has to go to the company office for a pair of bolt cutters to cut through the padlock and a new lock.

“Hey, what are you going to do about the toilets?” one of the crew called after him.

Stanley paused and turned back to meet the expectant stares of his men.

“Hell if I care,” he grumbled.  “Cut the damned doors off.”

He was turning away again and thought better of it.  These guys probably would cut the doors off.  He turned back to them again.

“I’ll get the office to call the company to bring out new ones.  They can cut their owned damned doors off.”

He turned away and went to his truck, driving out of there a little too fast in his anger.




Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon:

Garden Grove Cover - McNally - front cover

The McAllister Series

where the bodies are


Where the Bodies Are

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


The McAllister Farm

HuntingMichaelUnderwood - final - media copy


Hunting Michael Underwood




And  for the teens and middle years kids who like middle years/teen drama and monsters, a fantasy psychological thriller.

In the darkness monsters lie.

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