The Painted Darkness
by Brian James Freeman
When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his terror by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually, Henry's mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.
Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his disturbing works of art. He loves his wife and his son, and life couldn't be better… except there's something not quite right about the old stone farmhouse his family now calls home. There's something strange living in the cramped cellar, in the maze of pipes that feed the ancient steam boiler.
A winter storm is brewing, and soon Henry will learn the true nature of the monster waiting for him down in the darkness. He will battle this demon and, in the process, he may discover what really happened when he was a child — and why, in times of trouble, he thinks: “I paint against the darkness.”
But will Henry learn the truth in time to avoid the terrible fate awaiting him… or will the thing in the cellar get him and his family first?
Written as both a meditation on the art of creation and as an examination of the secret fears we all share, The Painted Darkness is a terrifying look at the true cost we pay when we run from our grief — and what happens when we're finally forced to confront the monsters we know all too well.
About Brian James Freeman
Brian James Freeman's short stories, essays, novellas, and novels have been published by Warner Books, Leisure, Cemetery Dance, Borderlands Press, Book-of-the-Month Club, and many others. His short fiction has appeared in From the Borderlands, Borderlands 5, Shivers, Shivers II, Shivers III, Shivers IV, Shivers V, Corpse Blossoms, and many other magazines and anthologies. His essays, columns, and interviews have appeared in The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar series from Book-of-the-Month Club, Jobs in Hell, Hellnotes, and Cemetery Dance. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a German Shorthaired Pointer who is afraid of the cats. More books are on the way.
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