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My Real Life Horror Story, A Guest Post and A Giveaway from Rob Blackwell

  Hi, peeps! Let me introduce you to ROB BLACKWELL, a brilliantly spooky horror writer, whose debut novel A Soul To Steal I reviewed last year and absolutely loved.
Me and Rob, we seem to have started a tradition of scary guest posts close to Halloween. Last year we talked about the nature of fear and mythology in Rob's book.
This year he is sharing a creepy story from his past... 

The most chilling tales are the true ones.
Most of the time when I write scary stories, I’m using my imagination. But one night several years ago, I was living one. 

My family and I were spending the night at a remote cabin deep in the North Woods of Michigan. The house is miles away from civilization, off a long dirt road that few others visit. I’ve always felt safe there, but every so often I’ve had the same nightmare: someone lurking outside the house in the dark, watching me.

On this particular evening, though, I wasn’t thinking about that. My parents had gone out for the evening to a neighbor’s house a few miles down the road. My infant son was in bed and, thankfully, already asleep. My wife and I had just gone to bed as well.

 When I heard the phone ringing, I assumed it was my parents telling me they were heading home.
I got up, a little groggy but not quite asleep, and answered the phone. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard next.
“I’m going to kill you,” the man said. 
The weird thing about that moment was how unreal it felt even while it was happening to me. My first response, instead of fear, was sheer confusion. You want to kill me? Why? I’m really very nice. 

When I didn’t respond immediately, the man grew louder—and angrier.
“I’m going to f*cking kill you!” he said again.
I stood there in stunned silence and started watching the woods. The thing about the North Woods is that it is pitch black out there. Looking out the window was like staring at a black wall. I couldn’t see a damn thing. I was acutely aware that there really could be someone out there and I wouldn’t know.

“Who is this?” I finally asked.
“Did you hear what I said? I’m going to kill you!”
“Oh, I heard you,” I replied. I have a knack for sarcasm in virtually every situation, even ones in which my life is being threatened.

I ran through possibilities in my mind. First, it could be a kid playing a prank. In college, I had a friend who called up local businesses and complained about the customer service. Granted, that was a long way from calling someone to threaten them, but it was certainly possible.

But it didn’t sound like a kid. The man’s voice was deep and the anger in it appeared real. I didn’t know why he was mad at me, but there was little doubt he was.
The next question was the more worrying: did he know where I was? I stared out into the darkness again and flipped on a few lights.
My family was in a dispute with one of the neighbors. Could it be him? Could the caller be mistaking me for my uncle?
But then the situation just kept getting weirder. 

“What are you doing in my house?” the man demanded.
That comment threw me off balance. Again, the sense of unreality crept in. Am I really having this conversation, I thought.
“I’m not in your house,” I replied.
“You are in my f*cking house!”
“Where do you live?” I asked.
But he wasn’t coherent enough to respond. Instead he launched into a tirade about his wife.
“What are you doing with my wife?” he asked.

As disturbing as this was, some part of me felt relief. At least now I realized it was probably just a wrong number. There was no killer lurking in the forest, waiting to strike.
I tried to assure him I didn’t know his wife, but he didn’t believe me.
“I’m going to kill you, do you know that?” he said. “I’m going to come over there and cut your f*cking throat. You hear me?”

At that point, I hung up. I admit I was shaking. I tried to reassure myself that he had just dialed the wrong number, but the man sounded crazy. Would it matter if it was a case of mistaken identity if he just showed up here?

I did the only thing I could think of, and dialed *69—a phone trick that lets you trace an incoming call. I wrote down the number and called the non-emergency police number.
I told the deputy the story. By the time I got off the phone, I started to relax. 
 That’s when I saw the lights in the driveway. 
Just moments after a man had repeatedly threatened my life, someone was driving down the road toward the house. 
I looked through the drawer and found the biggest knife I could.
Since I was a kid, I have always written scary stories. I honestly can’t tell you why—it’s just how my brain works. Give me a weird situation and I will spin it into a horror novel within a few seconds. I don’t even want to—I just do.

If this were a story, I knew how it would end. The man in the car would be my caller—confused, angry and out for blood. By the time police arrived, all they would find were bodies and a note.
“I told you I would kill you,” the note would say. It would be scrawled in blood.
I stood there holding the knife, watching the story in my head. 

Fortunately for me, sometimes real life takes a decidedly less dramatic turn. The car coming down the drive turned out to be my parents, back from their dinner date.
Meanwhile, the police tracked my caller down and eventually convinced him he had called the wrong number—and instructed him he probably shouldn’t threaten people’s lives. 

Strangely, the guy later called me back—and apologized—something I certainly didn’t expect.
“I just assumed you were with my wife,” he said. “I’m sure you understand.”
“You probably should have checked first,” I replied.
“I’m sure you understand,” he said, growing angry again.
“Oh, yes,” I said. “Easy mistake. Happens all the time.”

In the end, it was nothing but a wrong number. Yet I’ve never forgotten how it felt to hear someone threatening me as I stood in a remote cabin with my family sleeping nearby and no one to help. It was a reminder of just how suddenly life can change on you. One minute it’s normal, the next it becomes a horror story. 

Because I’m a writer, I also can’t help wondering what happened next. I worry about the man’s wife, a point I made to the police when I spoke to them. 

It’s hard to be a good judge of character over the phone, using only tone of voice. But when that man said he was going to kill me—I believed him. He sounded like a ticking time bomb. I worry when he will go off and who will be there when he does.

Rob Blackwell is the author of A Soul to Steal and its sequel, Band of Demons.  
He is a journalist who currently serves as Washington Bureau Chief for American Banker newspaper.
A native of Great Falls, Va., he has previously worked as a reporter for the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Eastern Loudoun Times and a columnist for the South County Chronicle.

He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

A serial killer on the loose, two reporters in his sights, and a legendary ghost haunting the town...

How far would you go to catch a serial killer? For two local reporters, the cost may be their souls.

Lord Halloween, a vicious murderer who targeted Loudoun County, Va., twelve years ago, has returned. Quinn and Kate, two community journalists, race to uncover his identity before a promised bloodbath on Halloween. But to stop him, they may unleash a far darker threat--and pay an unimaginable price.

The past is always at your heels…

Quinn O’Brion and Kate Tassel, two community journalists, tapped into a dark power last Halloween in order to stop a vicious serial killer. But they are still grappling with their new abilities—and wondering if what they unleashed may soon consume them.

While they confront what they have become, a new threat is hunting them—a force that could destroy their whole town.

Band of Demons continues the epic story of The Sanheim Chronicles, a trilogy that blends mystery, suspense and urban fantasy.

Rob is giving away TWO of his ebooks to ONE lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 


Blodeuedd said...

Good scary post, sets the mood this night

Cathy Keaton said...

Oh my gosh.... That is some freaky shiz right there, Rob! I love how you handled his insistence that you "understood" he made a mistake. "Oh, yes, of course. So normal for my life to get threatened over the phone." He was just a ticking time bomb. His wife was right to not be around, lol.

Rob Blackwell said...

Thanks Blodeuedd!
Cathy, it was just so unreal. I tend to respond to most things with humor and sarcasm so by the second time he said, "I'm SURE you understand," I was like: "Sure. Sure, I do." He's apparently not a guy you want to anger.

Petra said...

I think out of all the different creatures in the (paranormal/horror) world, people are the scariest. Nice guest post! :)

BookandmovieDblogger said...

Actually excited for Book 2.
So hope to win. Thanks Rob for the story and have to say real worried about the man. He's definitely a ticking time-bomb.

Rob Blackwell said...

Petra, you hit the nail on the head. In my books, it's people -- not ghosts and the supernatural -- that are what you need to worry about.

Thanks, Cassandra. I think about that guy every so often and wonder what happened next.

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