Locked away to die in the basement of his mother’s tavern, an infant thrives in darkness, becoming the very nightmare dreaded by settlers in colonial Leadestown, deep in the mysterious Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
Freeing himself from his prison, this special child grows into a dreadful apparition terrorizing the night until he encounters a witch who knows his dark secret.
Their fates bound together, she teaches him the ways of the wilderness revealing even the secret of how to travel through time.
A savage conflict with the settler
forces him to flee into one of the magic holes that carries him into the future.
There he meets one who binds herself to him, heart and soul and he dares to imagine that he is capable of loving a human being.
Is he man or beast? Angel or devil?
Explore the pages of JERSE DEVIL, CURSED UNFORTUNATE and learn about this creature from the dark swamps, where wakefulness blurs into nightmare and reality and legend are one and the same.
“Because of this curse …someone innocent, someone I love will die,” I howled the words.
I gritted my teeth in frustration. Was there no way out for me? I had actually started to believe I could somehow live in this world. When I was with Donna, I felt like I could be a part of this world instead of relying on an elusive dream place to escape into. I had begun to feel alive in a good way. There had to be a way to spare Donna.
“If I must die to save Donna, that’s fine with me.”
“That’s good,” the witch noted. “Come to us now if you think you’re ready to be a hero.”
Then she vanished altogether.
I ran away from the circus, oblivious to the commotion erupting around me on the boardwalk as the humans reacted to my presence. I followed Donna’s scent along with a second, much stronger scent. The wolf.
I caught up with them at the end of the wooden walk, near the tunnel I’d traveled through to reach this place.
I wondered why none of the humans noticed the wolf with Donna. There she stood, plain as day, hovering around Donna, their shapes intermingling and becoming one, then blurring before becoming two distinct forms again.
Nearby, humans strolled by, eating ice cream cones like it was nothing unusual for a wolf to be smothering a human girl on the boardwalk.
“What’s wrong with you?” I shouted. “Do something to protect her. Why don’t you help her?”
“We exist in a bubble of another time. I’ve used a great deal of my strength to create this and it will only last a short while. Long enough for us to meet like this, probably for the last time in this life. Only you can see us as we are,” the wolf replied.
“They see a boy and a girl kissing one another.”
Donna barely breathed.
“Well, I’m here now,” I snapped. “Take me and let her go.”
“This human really means something to you, beyond mere kindness,” she said, genuinely interested.
“I love her,” I said quickly.
“Love! What do you know about love?”
I edged closer, hoping that if I kept her talking, I’d be able to get Donna away.
“I know enough about it to know that I’ll do whatever you want because I don’t want her to die. She has a full life ahead of her…what do I have?”
“That isn’t love.” The wolf sneered. “What you really mean is: look at me giving myself to save her but feel sorry for me too.”
“Have it your way.” I was close now. “Only let’s get this over with.”
“Not so fast. You have no idea how long I’ve waited.” She eyed me slyly. “So you think you know what love is.”
“I’m trying to understand.”
“Listen to yourself. ‘trying to understand’,” she mocked me in my own voice.
“Take me instead,” I insisted. “I’m not afraid to die. Let her live and you would get what you want.”
“Oh I’ll get what I want in any event. This makes it more interesting. I want it to be more satisfying than just killing you and that’s that. I want you to know the full extent of the suffering I’ve endured.”
I heard the dogs again.
“And they too have waited a long time to exact their own bloody vengeance for what was done to them.”
The wolf glanced at me with clever eyes and ordered me to step back.
“Let them decide your fate,” she said. “Do you understand?”
“I don’t think you do.”
“Do I have a choice?”
“You always have a choice. You can turn and run. Find the hole you first came through to reach this place. It will take you away from here. They will be thwarted for now but you can never stop running.”
“Of course, you will lose the girl forever,” she said.
Those eyes glowed wickedly. “I see you hesitate. I will help you make up your mind. The girl will die a slow agonizing death. That is just. After all, love for love. Hate for hate. Life and death for life and death.”
As she spat out the word “death”, the witch calmly clamped her teeth into Donna’s throat. That innocent girl writhed in pain and reached out, only to grasp nothing. I could not reach back to touch her.
I cried. I screamed. I roared with rage. And this time, when I changed into the monster, I believed that I would never again be anything else.
“Why. Sad. Blood want. Revenge.” I croaked.
The witch vanished as the wind picked up, moaning and howling all around us and I helplessly crouched over Donna’s body, which then vanished as well.
Then I heard the dogs calling wildly over the wind as they sped my way, their bestial challenge ringing in my ears. I responded with a roar of my own.
Why had I hesitated? If I took the coward’s way and ran from the dogs, Donna would be lost to me forever. The chance was slim but perhaps I could still save her life if I defeated these dogs.
Then I would take Donna through the hole and escape to another time. There would be no reason for the witch to hold Donna then. We would leave these dammed barrens and seek my dream place.
I ran. I ran but not away. This time, I ran to save my beloved. If the witch wanted me, she’d have to come and get me.
I smelled them coming, an ancient, powerful smell, unlike any dogs that ever walked this world. This time, the cursed dogs would find me and we would settle this…but on my terms, in my place of choosing for our combat.