On my Substack, Time Zone Weird, I released my first subscriber-exclusive story, a horror novelette titled “The Reaper’s Maze.” The story follows five troublemaking teens who go trick-or-treating on Halloween night. At one house, a neighbor dressed as the Grim Reaper invites them to traverse a cornstalk maze in his backyard. Amid the twists and turns of the haunting maze, the teens discover the neighbor is more than he appears, and his Grim Reaper costume may not be a costume at all…
I originally wrote “The Reaper’s Maze” around Halloween time in 2016, but never knew what to do with it. At ~11,000 words, it was too long for most short story publishers but too short to publish as a stand-alone. I’m planning to release a collection of horror stories sometime in the near future, but this wouldn’t fit tonally with the other weird fiction and cosmic horror. “The Reaper’s Maze” was an early horror story for me, before my taste and style became more weird and cosmic. So after an editing polish, “The Reaper’s Maze” went to Time Zone Weird.
Note: While my previous Halloween story, Trick or Zombie Treat was written to be acceptable to younger audiences (like a PG-13 movie), “The Reaper’s Maze” has more mature themes and explicit language (like a rated-R movie).
Another Halloween treat from Time Zone Weird is my fictional movie review of Halloween 78, featuring a time-traveling Michael Myers. It is the first in what I plan to be an ongoing series of fictional reviews of movies that don’t exist (yet). Jorge Luis Borges and his fictional reviews of books that don’t exist served as inspiration.
And of course the ebook and paperback of Trick or Zombie Treat remain available on Amazon. I appear to have been ahead of the curve with that book, set in 1998 with plenty of nineties nostalgia, something more and more movies and television shows are doing. I suppose the 90s nostalgia trend was natural as Millennials come of age. I am planning to eventually produce an audiobook for Trick or Zombie Treat, perhaps in time for next Halloween. Until then…
Traverse the tricks and turns of The Reaper’s Maze,
and at the end you will be rewarded with a treat.
Make a wrong turn, however;
and risk being lost forever.
Revenge is sweet.
— “The Reaper’s Maze” @ Time Zone Weird
P.S. I used Stable Diffusion to create the cover art (then added the pic of the Grim Reaper over it). Here is an alternative cover I made a couple years ago, before AI image generators.
And here is some more AI art I experimented with: