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In celebration of this month of Halloween, check out this trailer for REINHEIT!!!

 

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Bewitching Book Tour: REINHEIT

Reinheit Banner 851 x 315

Good evening boils and ghouls, if you haven’t already seen on the various social medias I tend to infect, my debut novel is currently on a book tour through Bewitching. Though Reinheit has bounced around from place to place, this will be our first official blog tour. Bewitching is also hosting a rafflecopter of the book, with a chance to win 2 FREE signed copies of Reinheit. The tour started Monday. Never too late to join in the fun and check out some of the spotlights, guest posts, and later interviews this week.

And, as an extra bonus and because I love October so much, the price of Reinheit has been lowered for this week only, from $2.99 to $0.99!! Only on eBook. Paperback is available, but not on sale. Here is some info on my book, released with Booktrope this past summer.

Title: Reinheit
Author: Thomas S Flowers
Genre: Thriller
Published date: July 29, 2015
Publisher: Booktrope
Publishing: Forsaken Imprint

3D Reinheit PB2
Book Synopsis:
Rebecca Moss never questioned the purchase of the strange seductive armchair. She wanted to please Frank. But the armchair has a dark purpose. Nazi officer Major Eric Schröder believed fervently in Hitler’s vision of purity. Now the chair has passed to Frank, an abusive thug who has his own twisted understanding of patriotism. There are those who want to destroy the armchair, to end its curse. But can the armchair be stopped before it completes its work?

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Excerpt:

Chapter 3
The Eastern Front, Lithuania. July 1941.
The armchair moaned delightfully as Major Erich Schröder sat. Outside, the sun burst into the mountain ridge, filling the sky with brilliant orange and red flames. Schröder watched out the open window from his seat in front of a dormant fireplace. He poured a glass of Berentzen Doornkaat schnapps from the decanter he had brought with him from home. Helen had packed it for him, wrapped with last month’s funny pages. One of the strips discarded in the waste bin revealed a valiant rosy cheeked Dutchman named Conrad, demonstrating the power of solidarity in the factory workforce. The energetic and turbulent rhythm of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony floated into the room from some far off record player in the barracks. Love this performance. Schröder closed his eyes and sunk farther into the armchair. The cool leather and haunting harmony of Beethoven set his mind at ease, comforting his weary bones. The comfort abated his thoughts, for the moment at least, of what lay ahead and the unordinary expectations levied upon his young shoulders by high command.
Expectations? he thought. God help us. Schröder lifted his glass and took a long gulp, biting down against the burning sensation crawling in his throat. Expectations… Horrible, horrible expectations… But it must be done. Himmler has given the order, and so it must be. Ein Völk, ein Reich, ein Führer. For we are one people, one nation, of one leader…
Schröder had believed in the vision for a thousand-year Reich ever since he was a young boy, serving in the Hitler youth movement, following in the shadow of Herbert Norkus, the child martyr. Schröder believed in his führer fervently and demonstrated so by enlisting in the Waffen officer program when he became of age. And that strong belief made him stand out from among his peers to become a full party member of the Schutzstaffel order, the dreaded and feared SS. And even after receiving his first orders, being forced to follow on the boot heels of the regular army into the Eastern Front, he retained his faith in the great commission, the plan to save Germany, to bring the Fatherland into rebirth, renewal, into purification…but at what cost? he wondered.
“Major?” called a strong male voice from outside the door, interrupting Schröder’s thoughts.
“Who is it?” asked Schröder. He took another long swig before rubbing the cold glass against his temple, struggling to abate the crest of an emerging headache.
“Lieutenant Braun, sir.”
Ah, yes, Braun. The thought of the handsome lieutenant was not unpleasant. Unlike the rest of the old reservists assigned to his unit, Braun was different, younger than Schröder, which wasn’t saying much. But Braun is local, Schröder recalled, just like the other swine. Well…the lieutenant must be the exception, proving not all of Lithuania is as ghastly as it appears. Perhaps there are some redeeming qualities, he thought with a hungry smile.
“Enter,” Schröder finally answered. His face returned to its narrow coldness. He brushed his short-cropped, wavy, blond hair to the side. He crossed his legs and stared into the fireplace, as if contemplating a fire.
The door opened. Schröder listened to the marching of feet coming to a halt directly behind the armchair. He guessed there were at least two men, uniforms flat as iron, brown as earth, with burning red armbands and swastikas on each muscular biceps. The last being a fantasy, of course, most of the men under his command were police reservists from the rural portions of the country, not at all the physique of physically disciplined soldiers. Well, except for Braun. He is most certainly fit. Schröder took another gulp from his favorite schnapps, quietly fantasizing Braun’s undergarments, waiting on either of the reservists to speak, but no one did. Only silence, except for the ice cubes ringing against his crystalline glass.
“What is it?” Schröder asked impatiently, his breath on fire. His head felt dizzy.
“Sir…” began Braun, his voice boyish but prudent.
“For God’s sake, spit it out,” Schröder barked.
“The delivery, sir. It has arrived.”
“Delivery?”
“The cases of schnapps, sir.”
“Oh, yes, good,” said Schröder taking another swig, nearly killing the glass. “Assign a small detail and unload some of the boxes into one of the storage rooms. Keep the rest on the truck,” he ordered with heated breath.
“Yes, major.”
“Use the quartermaster’s room, if you must. When you’re finished, have the rest of the company form up in the courtyard,” Schröder ordered. His mind began to drift between his nearly empty glass and the sound of crows squawking about outside the window, desperately searching for a place to nest before winter. A strong breeze found its way inside. The odor of pine and spruce filled his quaint personal quarters decorated with yellow flower wallpaper and a quaint single bed covered in soft linen sheets. An old quaint oak dresser and vanity sat next to the bed, and a small quaint circular kitchen table, also made of solid oak, sat on the other side of the fireplace. The burgundy leather Queen Ann high back armchair was last of the furniture.
Schröder waved his hand in his usual form of dismissal. He listened to the snapping of boot heels as the men shouted in unison, “Sieg, Heil!”
“And, lieutenant…” Schröder added.
“Yes, major?” asked Braun.
“Keep it quiet.”
“Sir?”
“I don’t want a bunch of questions about why we have the liquor on the truck. I want this done quickly and quietly, understood?”
“Yes, sir.”
The men filed out, leaving Schröder alone again. He sat there and took another sip of schnapps, watching the dead untouched logs with little interest. Outside, the sun had fully disappeared behind the mountain ridge. The sky was black. His mind went to the hundreds of boxes of cheap apple liquor in the cargo truck outside in the courtyard. The men will need it, after today, he thought. After tonight, and the next night, and the night after that, and so on and so forth until this madness is over. Until the solution has been answered. When the vermin are eradicated, removed, liquidated from the purity of the Reich. The rats, the money-grubbing Jews, stabbed us in the back in Versailles, but never again. Schröder smiled weakly and took another gulp, finishing off the glass with a grimace. The ice was cold, but the liquor burned going down, warming his otherwise empty stomach. Licking his lips, he slumped deeper into the armchair. The cushions felt more than welcoming. The Queen Anne was soft, yet sturdy, dependable, and dare he say, comforting? Yes. Yes, even in a waste of a country as Lithuania, given nightmarish orders. Yes, even here, something as simple as a chair could be comforting. It whispered to him. The tall backrest shielded him from the world and told him everything was going be fine. The voice lingered with Schröder like a fat dark cloud caught in a valley before a storm. Where have you been? he wondered. Who last sat on you? Who else have you comforted? Who will you comfort when I’m gone? You’re mine, you know that? You’ll always be mine. His thoughts teased real jealousy.
Schröder recalled when the armchair had first arrived. He remembered when Himmler, the führer’s shadow, had delivered it personally from Latvia. A gift, supposedly, for Schröder’s first command. Himmler arrived in the dead of night and Schröder had thought it odd for someone of his stature to take the time to visit someone new in the order. Or perhaps that was the reason for the visit. Did he come to inspect me, my men, our resolve? Schröder waved the thought away with his empty glass. Does it matter? Was it really so strange for a man like Himmler to drop in, even unannounced? No. Schröder knew of Himmler’s obsessive reputation and the simple fact that the man commanded all of the SS, including all the Einsatzgruppen units, with the entire final solution for the Jewish question residing on his shoulders, was warrant enough for paranoid examinations. I’d do the same thing in his place, Schröder believed. How could he not? While the regular Waffen army served a purpose, driving back the vile communist filth, the Einsatzgruppen, the killing squads, as rumored to be called by some of the men, were given orders of the upmost import. On our shoulders alone sits victory for Germany. Only through us can Himmler succeed and thus Hitler’s final solution be answered. Only through us can the one-thousand-year Reich be achieved. So, when an officer like Himmler drops in unannounced, bearing a gift for your recently awarded commission, you do not turn him away, and you most certainly do not ask questions, Schröder weighed, pouring another glass of schnapps when his door thundered yet again.
“Major?” called Lieutenant Braun in his usual vigor manner.
“Yes?” answered Schröder.
“The detail is done and the men have begun to form up, sir.”
Schröder peeled himself begrudgingly from the armchair. His skin felt as if it were being ripped away from the leather. It was difficult, more than it should have been, for Schröder to get to his feet. It was as if gravity were working against him. The more he moved, the more he didn’t want to move. He hesitated to leave the warm comfort of the high-back armchair, or the warm breeze from the window, or the bottle of schnapps, or even his lonely late-night fantasies of a bare-backed Lieutenant Braun in his chambers. Schröder pictured the young lieutenant naked, erect, pulsating with heat, and smelling of plums. But Schröder knew he had no time for fantasies such as those, not now. Now he had a job to complete, the commission, and until then he would not be able to return home to Munich, to his beloved Helen, and their faux marriage, and her ravenous breasts and plump lips he absolutely had no desire for. But, despite his pretentious social mask, of which he so often hid, that fairy tale existence was more enjoyable and pleasing than the cold nothingness of Lithuania. At least in Munich he could have something more than fantasy. Full moons he could sink his teeth into and lustful adventures out on Blumenstraße’s dark avenue, where men and boys overfilled his cup. A place where names were never asked, never given. Or at least not real names.
God help me if anyone ever found out. He shuddered. They’d stich a pink badge on a pair of rags and send me on the midnight train to Dachau, or worse. Auschwitz-Birkenau. And what would poor Helen think of the charade? That her husband loved the taste of cock? She would be absolutely abashed! Schröder let loose a faint dry laugh despite the remnant fear of being caught lumped heavily in his heart.
There was another soft knock at the door. “Sir?” asked Braun. “Is everything okay?”
“I’ll be out in a moment,” the major barked.
Schröder pulled himself from the comfortable armchair and smoothed out the wrinkles in his black uniform. He noticed a scuff mark on the toe of his otherwise perfectly gloss black boots. Frowning, he crossed over to the small table, set down his empty glass, and picked up a rag. Kneeling, he polished out the blemish in quick sweeps. He stood and looked himself over in the vanity. Satisfied with his appearance, Schröder opened the door to his room. Lieutenant Braun was just outside, alone, and snapping to attention. One hand shot down to his side while the other flew upward, palm down, fingers held firm together and straight, as one might imagine how the Romans may have saluted Caesar.
“Sieg, Heil,” shouted Braun.
Schröder returned the salute, smiling on the inside. Licking his lips. At least there was more than just the lieutenant’s physique and beautiful bright blue eyes that he admired. Braun was, if anything else, dedicated, loyal, and obedient. Qualities one should always surround themselves with.
“Sir,” Braun’s arm returned to his side, “If I may, why have we assembled the men at such an hour?” he asked, nodding toward the dark sky outside the hallway window.
“Judenfrei,” replied Schröder.
Braun did not mask his confusion.
“Do you believe it is possible?” Schröder added, almost singing.
“To be free of Jews? Yes, major.” Braun still looked confused.
“How?”
Major Schröder knew the young lieutenant could not answer. How could he? He had only the slightest idea. A rumor, at best…as for the particulars in how the Reich would free themselves of Jews. Only the higher echelons knew. Most assumed the same fate the POWs met, when the Communist sympathizers and partisan survivors had been gathered to the labor camps, and would think this seemed a possible solution for the Jews as well. Made sense. To collect them and then transport them off to the camps as well. But how can that be? Schröder thought. Of all the camps, certainly they could not hold all the Jews in Lithuania, nor all the POWs, gypsies, criminals, or homosexuals, all of the Reich’s undesirables. There were too many enemies and simply not enough room for them all. Certainly, Braun has mulled through all this.
“Well, lieutenant?” prodded Schröder. “Let’s hear it.” The Major smiled foxily.
Braun looked white, befuddled in his confusion. He almost seemed to laugh. Perhaps a sudden idea had sprung to mind? A terrible idea? Whatever the cause, the lieutenant remained silent. Is he thinking of what I’ve been ordered? Of mass extermination? All of them? Schröder could sense the lieutenant’s unease. He looked flushed and short of breath. He knows. He simply doesn’t want to say it out loud. It would be too horrible, unfathomable to say out loud, the major thought. He understood because he felt the same unease within himself, the unease of exterminating an entire people. The annihilation of European Jewry. The weight of killing not just the men, but women and the children, both the very young and the infirm. But we must, for the nation. For the purity of the Reich.
“Lieutenant, I am going to tell you something that will not be easy to hear. In fact, it’ll be damn near impossible to hear,” Schröder began. “But we must. Such courage will be needed if we are to succeed in our mission…for the purity of the Reich.” Yes, Erich, keep telling yourself that. But at what cost? How much are you willing to pay? At the cost of your own soul? Your sanity? Schröder pushed his weakness away. “Our goal will require the strongest will. Tonight, we will march toward Kovno, arriving at the break of dawn.” Schröder paused. He took a deep breath. “We will then begin the process of eradicating the vermin from the Kovno ghetto. For the purity of the Reich, the infestation must be absolutely eradicated. There can to be no survivors, lieutenant. Do you understand what I am saying?” Schröder watched. Waited.
Braun was a ghost, as white as death. “We are to…kill them, major? All?”
“Is it villainess to put down a diseased dog? Or is it an act of mercy?” asked Schröder.
Braun was silent. He nodded quietly.
Schröder nodded as well, but said nothing. They said nothing for some time. Neither would look at each other. In the silence, Schröder could hear voices stirring from outside through the second floor hallway window. In the courtyard below, Bravo Company was beginning to wonder, no doubt, why they had been ordered into formation at such a late hour in the night. Schröder oddly began to wonder himself what Helen was doing back home. Meeting up with a friend for dinner, perhaps? A male escort? That would be something, he thought numbly. Finally, Schröder looked at Braun, who stood as a specter in the hallway. Schröder wanted to embrace him, to hold his firm chest against his own, to feel the panicked and disturbed heartbeat in rhythm with his. Schröder wanted to brush Braun’s slicked black hair, to part his lips and pull Braun close, and feel his large bulge and well-manicured hands. But Schröder pushed away the fantasy. Instead, he told Braun of Himmler’s orders, the commission of the Einsatzgruppen units. That they were to enter the Eastern Front, in four separate commands. In Kovno, Bravo would herd the Jews into the town square, dividing the men fit for labor from the rest.
The laborers would be ushered to the train yard, destined for Höss’ newly operational Auschwitz camp, while the others would be marched into the nearby forest. They would dig graves deep enough for a city municipal bus and then the Jews would strip. And the brave, ordinary men of Bravo Company would aim their shot with bayonet and fire into the base of the skulls of countless girls, boys, hags, gimps, and the sick. The infants would be bashed against the side of walls to make quick use of their time. One round per Jew… God forgive us, but this is how the Reich will be judenfrei. This is how the Reich will become pure again, Schröder thought, his hands quaking terribly. He gave one last longing look into his bedroom, his gaze settling upon his high-back armchair.
‘I can do this, I have to do this, and so it must be done,’ a strong whispering voice reassured him. With his eyes still on the chair, tracing the elegant blemishes were blotches of brown grew darker and then lighter, Schröder exhaled, “Ein Völk, ein Reich, ein Führer,” just audible enough for Braun to hear him.
Braun snapped to attention, still ghostly, and threw out his right arm, “Sieg, Heil!”
Schröder returned the salute vigorously. And then the two abandoned the hall to join the men of Bravo Company outside in the courtyard. Nearing the tall pine door entrance, Major Schröder stopped and turned.
“Have my armchair loaded into one of the cargo trucks,” Schröder said. “The Queen Anne will accompany us to Kovno.”
Braun did not question the order.
Schröder did not explain.

 

Thanks for taking a look and I hope you enjoy the rest of the tour. Be sure to get your copy of Reinheit now while the sale lasts!


Reinheit found new home with Forsaken!

forsakencover

Greetings boils and ghouls! Just wanted to make an official announcement with my dedicated blogketeers that Reinheit (my debut novel) has been picked up by Booktrope under their newest imprint, Forsaken! Reinheit will be revamped by a select and talented team with a tweaked book cover and buffered editing. By joining the Forsaken team, I am hoping to get Reinheit in as many hands as humanly possible, spreading the good gospel of hauntingly seductive armchairs! Stay tuned for more announcements as details become available. As of right now, Reinheit is still available as a first edition on Amazon in both eBook and paperback. I’m aiming for a re-release of Reinheit this summer, in which case, the first edition will no longer be available for purchase. This is exiting stuff!! I am psyched for what the future holds!!


Reinheit: A Horror Novel – New Promo Video

So, in full disclosure, I’m a novice to all this book promotional stuff, and I’m especially inexperienced with video productions. But, with Reinheit being my debut novel, I felt it deserved a 30 second promo ad, at the very least. Hopefully it doesn’t “feel” like an advertisement, but instead, a mystery you would like to solve. Or a horror you want to explore. If you could, please watch this 30 sec clip and either comment here @ MachineMean or leave a comment on the YouTube video comments section. I want to give a special shout out to Nicholas Conley, author of “The Cage Legacy,” for offering his awesome perspective and review of the book. You can check out Nicholas’ blog for updates on his upcoming novel here.

Cordially yours,

Thomas S Flowers


An Insider’s Look at Reinheit

Good day my friends! With the holidays approaching, I’d thought it best to make good use of some of my free time and introduce a few tidbits regarding the recent release of my debut novel, Reinheit. If you haven’t read yet (somewhat presumptuous that you will eventually be a reader, or at least I hope), no worries. There will be no major spoilers found here. My aim is to give a little insight behind the curtain on some of the subject matter discussed throughout the book. And perhaps some insight into what inspired me to write the macabre story in the first place. Reinheit was released back in early October and I’ve hinted on some of the story via “sneak peeks,” however, I have yet to actually discuss the book from an author’s perspective. So, with great joy and anticipation, I give you an insider’s look at Reinheit. Enjoy!

As I said before, Reinheit was released back in early October. The length is roughly about 164 pages on the Kindle app and the genre is horror thriller. But this information you can find on Amazon. You’re here, I hope, for something deeper that isn’t included within the strict confines of a blurb. For starters, what does Reinheit even mean? Reinheit is the German word for purity or uncontaminated. If you have read the book, the choosing of the title may make more sense now; however, if you have not yet read Reinheit, allow me to explain. Purity and contamination are key themes throughout the entire book. From start to finish, those meanings play a role. I cannot go into too much detail, but allow me, if you will, to show you what I mean through some of the characters you’ll find within the pages.

Major Eric Schröder: As an Nazi SS officer, his character deals with purity in a very real and terrifying sense. His secret life also plays into notions of purity and contamination.  He is a true believer in Hitler’s vision of the Third Reich, the Thousand Year Reich as some have called it. He believes almost without question, though at times he does doubt the methodology in victory. Schröder is in command of one of the Einsatzgruppen units. These units are real and a tragic part of history. Made up of everyday men, regular blue collar folks, these units followed behind the regular German army into the eastern front and “liquidated” entire Jewish ghettos. The Einsatzgruppen were the solution before Concentration Camps turned into killing camps, before the gas chambers. In writing the story, I needed and wanted to use Schröder’s character to give a foundation of sorts for the theme purity. To show how notions of pure society can lead to terrible things. And while Schröder is a vile character for the horrifying things he does or orders others to do, he is, in his own way, a sympathetic character because of the secret life he is hiding, even from his own beloved SS. Or I should say, a secret hidden especially from the SS.

Frank Moss: a really, really, really loathed Frank’s character. I had to tap into some really dark places and imagine some really horrible things. Frank, much like Schröder, has a “different” look on life. He’s a traditionalist in the worst kind of way. An abuser and gets off on the suffering of others, especially his wife, Rebecca. When writing, originally, Rebecca was going to be the mechanism with the armchair, the carrying on, of sorts, of historic sin. However, when Frank’s character began to develop more fully, it became apparent that he would be the ideal host for the armchair to latch on to. Rebecca was simple the obstacle, in a way, that came between Frank’s later mission and those he aimed to hurt. The only sympathy for Frank, that I found, was his family history. His father was a drunk and a fiend. The idea of Frank becoming just as his father was, is a common motif and a tragic reality. I’m talking statics, of course. Not ever abused becomes the abuser. Frank and Schröder are both linked together in the story as antagonists.

Weber’s Auction House: okay. The idea that places and things can absorb the essence of those it interacts kinda terrifies me. I mean, what If someone really vile cherished a particular piece of furniture? Or what about a building surrounded by tragedy? What would happen to those places and things if that were true? That the corruption and tragedy lived on in these things? The armchair itself was born from this notion, as you see from the very get go in the book, Schröder owned the armchair that eventually comes under the possession of Frank Moss. Weber’s auction house became the go between with the past and the present. As it seems, the armchair was drawn to particular places equally as scarred as itself. The chapter dealing with Weber’s auction house was my favorite. I love the idea of historic echos, how strong emotions like tragedy can ripple through time and shape a place. The idea that I played with was what happens to our past civilizations? Are they really gone? Buried beneath us? Or does something, an essence you might say, live on?

Braun: Despite his past, I really enjoyed writing Braun’s character. He is the main human connection between the past and the present. He was part of the Einsatzgruppen unit under the command of Major Schröder, and carried out many damnable actions. And, in a way, he really never learned from his own mistakes. He is the very definition of a conflicted character trope. And a very tragic one, at that. His character is linked with Rebecca Moss, but represents how protagonists are not always heroes and they do not always succeed. Despite his failings, I believe his was a brave character, if not perhaps a little mad!

Clyde: You will not see Clyde much in the story. He is a very minor character, among many. However, he does represent an important aspect of the theme, purity and contamination. His character also represents the idea of the sins of the father kind of motif. Different from Frank’s abusive father, Clyde’s dad was an intentional abuser, though not with fists, but with words and the things he shared with his son. Clyde also became a catalyst for the end…on that, I cannot reveal too much. Clyde was also a fun character to write. A real creep and simpleton. But dark and dangerous all the same.

Why did I write Reinheit? And what is my style of horror?

Well…to answer this let me ask you what you think/feel when you hear the word NAZI. What comes to mind? Typically, when one thinks of the word Holocaust and the word Nazis, we think “blood thirsty Jew hating maniacs,” right? Well…as it actually turns out, the Einsatzgruppen, and all Nazis for that matter (or most, I should say) were just regular folk, ordinary men and women who believed in their particular cause, as murderous and heinous as it was. There are many scholars and historians and psychologists that argue for the precise causality for such brutal actions as seen during this time period; however, how can there be only one cause? I think Hannah Arendt said it best, that “the sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” In the end, perhaps maybe it all boils down to our culture and how we see the world, which is a precarious conversation in and of itself. It is my opinion that when we distrust our systems, we distrust ourselves. When we see other people as them and not us, we separate everyone and everything into boarders. We no longer see people as just that, people. The Einsatzgruppen has taught us a lesson that came at a terrible price, yet the world ultimately continues to function all the same. We still think in terms of us and them. Or as one of my history professors once put it, “We think in terms of othering.” Or as John Carpenter, a true legend of terrifying horror, once said, “The camp fire story is an easier one to sale. The enemy is out there, not us, in the woods, away from the fire. The other story is harder to tell. Where we say we have met the enemy, the enemy is us, we are the enemy.” Though, as hard as it may be, I honestly, unequivocally, believe that horror is one of the best mediums in which to have these kinds of discussions. I write horror because I love the genre and because it is the most honest expression of social commentary — period.

My style in horror I’d say is realism, because “storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” I love monster stories, but the best monster stories deal with the banality of it. The real horror is that we all in some capacity are capable of committing horrible acts, either it be cutting someone off on the highway or cutting someone off with a chain saw. Evil is something banal that lives within each and every one of us. The difference being how we react to said evil. Do we control ourselves or do we allow the beast to roam free?

Well, I believe I’ve made this post about long enough, wouldn’t you say! I hope you enjoyed this little insider’s look. Reinheit is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99. I’d love to gain you as a reader. If you have already read, please stop by Amazon and leave a comment. All writers thrive on feedback, but it is especially important for indie writers such as myself. Feedback is how we gauge if what we write reaches its mark. If there are things we should improve upon or things we need to keep doing. And, honestly, it is always nice to hear someone enjoyed the tale. This is something all storytellers cherish.

Thanks!

Thomas S Flowers


Reinheit: Excerpt

In the spirit of Halloween, as I, and I’m assuming most of you do as well, love this particular season of fright, I wanted to do something special and offer an excerpt from my recently published book, Reinheit. The following excerpt is from the very beginning, so it does not give anything away, but hopefully it does instill the mood and tone of the books entirety. Others have reviewed and have called Reinheit a dark thriller, heavy, and full of difficult conversions. Inspiration for Reinheit came from several different facets. Here are a few.

1. Reality. While ghosts and goblins and witches and werewolf’s and aliens and vampires are fantastic stables of horror, sometimes reality can be even more terrifying. Reinheit draws its heavy dark energy from the norms of the world. The story follows two time lines: 1940’s and present day 2014. The bulk comes from present day, while the 1940’s segment highlights the power the armchair has over particular people. It also showcases the historical context of the reality in this story, as well. The reality used in the context of this book include: The Holocaust, Einsatzgruppen, Nazis, hate, abuse, fear of the other, us verses them, immigration, and school shootings. Intrigued yet?

2. My Horror Modus Operandi: When I first started writing horror, or I should say, when I first starting taking writing horror seriously, I read up on what master horror authors had to say on the craft. I forget who actually wrote this, and this is probably terrible paraphrased, but the jest of some of the best advice I read was: “Write what scares you. If you are terrified, freighted, and find writing the story difficult because its so damn spooky, it’ll come across to your readers, and even though they may not fear the same things you do, they’ll understand your fear and feel it. By reading your story, they will become terrified as well.” This is the best advice I’ve ever read and I can’t even reminded who wrote it! But anyways, it makes sense, doesn’t it? If your not afraid, why should your readers be? The subject and context of Reinheit terrifies me, the conclusion of a “us verses them” world is troublesome and, speaking from my own personal experiences, and experiences read from history, can lead to horrible things.

Okay. Well, without further ado, I give you the excerpt from Reinheit. Enjoy!

Reinheit

An excerpt

Copyright © Thomas Flowers. October 02 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 1942

              It was cold. The room was cold. His body was cold. Schröder buried his icy fingers into his armpit. It was no use, his entire being shivered. He sat, staring into nothing, into the cold dark pit of a fireplace. The coals had longed burned out. Pillars of white grey smoke slithered up into the chute. Where am I? He wondered, but could not yet recall. The room was — familiar. And so was the armchair he was sitting. His mind tittered on a sea of confusion. He felt nauseated. Getting up on numb legs, Schröder peered out the adjacent window and down into an open courtyard. There was a single road made up of loose dirt and pebbles that lead –somewhere, he could not be for certain. The path was swallowed by the same pitiful darkness that seemed to consume everything around him. The moon above was fat, perched upon hazy grey clouds. Its color was an eerie shade of emerald green, casting strange slender shadows on the pine trees that lined the perimeter of the grounds below. The unnatural green light came in through the window, painting the flower print wallpaper, the floor, the door, the fireplace and the armchair. This is all wrong…

Schröder looked back over at the armchair thinking he’d heard a soft moan. It was a terrible yawn, both sad and haunting. He turned and saw – something, a shape in the emerald green, peeking just over the edge of the high backrest of the chair. Is someone sitting there?

“Hello?” he called.

No answer.

Whispers grew from the armchair, the sound of a thousand mumbling and hissing voices talking all at once. The whispers crawled over everything. It penetrated the walls, along the floor boards, slithering up his frozen body, scratching, clawing into his ears. The voices became screams, louder and louder. Schröder crept closer to the shape.

“Excuse me?” he called again, sounding weak. His teeth clinched. This isn’t right…wasn’t I just sitting there? Who is this? Who is this? How did I miss them?

Still no answer.

Schröder began to gag. He smelt the putrid and nauseating stink of rot – of some dead thing, bacteria, perhaps, blooming in hideous black and purple-green flowers, evaporating into the air in sulfuric fumes. His eyes watered. He could not breathe. Yet, despite this sudden lurching in his gut, he was compelled toward the decomposing muck, compelled to discover who it was, what it was, and why it was sitting in the armchair.

               Do I know you?

Schröder approached the armchair. He gazed down at the body of — a man. He was young, slim, and not unattractive. He wore a black uniform and a red armband with a swastika at the center. His boots were polished to a high shine. His hair was blonde and unkempt. He was not shaven. Blonde stubble grew on the chin. The man’s eyes were wide and opaque as milk. His skin smooth and chalky.

“You…” Schröder started but trailed off. He was dumbstruck by those blank lifeless eyes glaring into some unknown place and time. My God! Slowly, the face came into focus. The corpse was petrified in a horrifying scream, distorted beyond imagination. Once red lips, now chalky white, pulled back and stretched beyond human limit. Schröder stepped back. He knocked over an empty bottle of schnapps on the floor. It rolled and pinged against the stone frame of the fireplace. With wide eyes, Schröder examined the man’s face. On his forehead there was a gapping black hole of mangled flesh and tissue and splintered bone. You? He thought. What happened here?

Schröder moved away from the armchair, unable to look at the dead man and the blood spattered against the tall backrest of the armchair, and those awful cloudy eyes. A growing feeling of unease began to take over. The whispers that seemed to come from every crevasse of the armchair continued its pursuit. The deafening moans scratched at the center of his brain. Schröder felt a trickle of warmth flow slowly down his face. He jerked from the sudden sensation. With a trembling hand he reached up and touched his head and pulled back. His fingers were black and simmering green from the moon. With soiled fingers, Schröder traced the path and felt parts of his skull were missing. He pushed his fingers deeper to see how far the damage went. At the center, he touched something grotesque, wet, and malleable.

Schröder snatched his hand back. He screamed. He tasted smoke and ash. There was a dry itch at the back of his throat. He was shivering harder now, struggling to deny something too horrible to be true.

“It can’t be,” he hissed, turning back to the dead man in the armchair. It’s not me! It can’t be me. This is impossible. I am not dead.

Silence.

The armchair stopped whispering. The room was still. Cold. Dark.

The door began to move. Behind the vibration came a chorus of sorrow, pain, agony, and despair. The sounds grew in the waves emanating from the hallway, just beyond the door. It was the shrill of women and men calling out, and other softer voices, frightening sounds of infants wailing, and children crying, and the infirm pleading – they all bellowed in despair and in thrashing fits of anger. The oak door quaked violently. The wood exploded in a deafening boom. Schröder shielded himself in a protective cradle. He fell back toward the armchair.

Silence.

He peered over the top of the armchair. He watched in horror as dozens, hundreds, thousands of shambling dead things came in through the broken door. The cream of their eyes locked with his. The dead quickened their pace. The bodies shimmered in the emerald green of the moon, which seemed closer now, just outside the window, as if it were peaking in and laughing at his misfortune. The dead bore no clothing, except for the mud and moss and earth that clung to ruined flesh. The worst of them were the mothers – carrying bruised blue and purple babies still suckling at the tit. The dead reached with bone chewed fingers, grasping for some bit of flesh to call their own. Schröder could not move. He stood petrified as these – things – people (perhaps once) came for him. The corpses pulled and heaved him up into the air. Schröder looked down into the armchair. His dead body was smiling up at him. He screamed and was carried through the door. Schröder desperately wanted to kick and throw himself off, but his legs and arms would no longer work to his will. He was silenced. His muscles congealed in the sack of his skin.

Outside, Schröder watched as the building he was carried off from ignited in a brilliant blaze. The red of the fire grouped together with the emerald green in a queer sundry. He watched from on top the dead mob as the fire quickly spread. Glass shattered. Flames licked from the windows. He could hear men screaming from inside. Are there people in there? He wondered. I don’t remember seeing anyone… Schröder was hauled down the dark pebble path and then the scene faded and dissolved and he found himself in a dark forest, lush with spruce and pine. The dead things with dirt caked nails scratched and bit his flesh. Voices howled in low roar from below.

“Why…”

“Please…”

“Spare my children…”

“Spare us, please…”

“Mercy…mercy…mercy…”

“No….!”

Schröder wanted to scream. His heart felt burdened. His body shivered against the frigid grasp of the desolate things hauling him along the way. The march continued along a path through a maze of cold damp mist that hovered waist deep from the ground. Some of the haze dissolved into something oddly familiar. I know this place, he thought. I’ve been here before. Schröder clutched at his clothing from a gust of distant memory, as if a ghost had walked over his grave.

The parade of corpses halted. Schröder peered down and saw a large wide mound of earth, swollen over the foliage. The shambling things tossed him upon the ground. The dead stared in terrible silence. Thousands of soupy eyes looking at him, judging him. Why are they judging me? He wondered. Schröder laid there on the ground, unable to move. And then the mound began to quake – shifting – shuddering – dirt peeled and rolled off the makeshift hill. Blue-grey rotting hands came up from beneath. Reaching, they took hold of Schröder before he could crawl away. Rotting hands pinched his wrists and ankles, grabbing at his uniform. One tore off his swastika armband while the other ridged fingers began to pull him under.

“What is going on!” he screamed. “Why are you doing this to me? What have I done? What have I done? Answer me, I demand you answer.”

Schröder watched in terror as the dead hands became arms, and then torsos, and finally heads with white hideous eyes that burst like grapes. The teeth were broken, bodies naked and covered in puss, grabbing onto him, taking him further beneath the earth and mound. The dead smelled yellow. He wanted to scream. He had no voice. Schröder watched powerless as the dead things pulled him into the grave. His legs sunk under. Then his hips. Then his soft belly and arms, till only his head remained above the surface. In a shrill muffled cry that echoed across the cold misty forest Schröder disappeared with the dead into the pit.

The End….

If you like what you read and what to check out the rest, you can get the full version of Reinheit here.

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