THE NIGHTMARE by George Yesthal

Intro by Renfield Rasputin

It is no secret that in the last few months I have become a fan of George Yesthal’s work. I believe that he captures the true essence of “fear” with this short piece. I encourage all readers to read it slowly, as each time that I review it, I notice something new. There is a certain something in the words that exemplifies a feeling of dread, of a nightmare, of a fearful situation that I, (and I’m certain you as well) have found myself in at one time or another when you raise out of bed and ask yourself “Was that a dream? That is one of my fears and it was too realistic to not be.”

I encourage you dear reader to explore more of Yesthal’s work, but without further ado, I bring you…



It’s 4:15 am and I’m sweating. Awoke from a night terror a few minutes ago and my hands are still trembling. The dream was a manifold compression of nightmare images and situations that would not release it’s hold; dragging and pulling as some subliminal part of my consciousness kept interjecting that fail-safe mechanism that told me it was a dream…only that…wake up.

No good. Every meager and flaccid rationalization failed me as the horror escalated. One cannot feel, taste or smell in a dream I am told. I’d like to know what self professed quasi-pundit put forth that dictum.

In my throes I would awaken, seemingly, to be thrown mercilessly into another tableau manifested by and populated with demons of such horrific countenance and habit as to threaten any semblance of sanity that remained to me.

Half corrupted clutching talons of the dead would tear at me. Guilts of my past that I’d thought long laid to rest would smite me anew.

And then I’d awaken. Or so I thought. Get up, stumble to my bedroom door, step out and tumble again into a pit of endless torment. That shock alone of thinking that I’d encountered the hell that I’d always rationalized did not exist was anathema from which I cringed and fled inward. The shock awakened me again.

Now, at last awake and free of that endlessly cloying and reopening miasma, I find my hands steadying enough to relate this in writing. Certain at last that I am awake an…


It’s 4:15 am and I’m sweating…



For more of George’s literature and tattoo art,


An Old Tale From the Coach and Hellhorse Inn by George Yesthal

 Story by George Yesthal

Terry Provost grew up on the fourth floor of the Coach & Hellhorse Inn. His room was shared by none and because of its small size that was a good thing indeed. His mother Laurie had been a barmaid/server downstairs in the pub for as long as he could remember and he’d heard all the stories growing up. The pub was a popular meeting place where all the local news and lore was shared. He was allowed to bring his shine box into the main room on weekends and made a pretty fair living for a youngster. He was a likable lad and had more than his share of “Uncles” that were also very fond of mum. He’d never known his Da; the man was stabbed to death, right in this very room by a drunken sailor a month before he was born.There was a huge soot-smeared fireplace in the main hall where the patrons would gather on cold nights when the mist poured in off the moor to share a drink and a song and more often than not tell the old haunting tales of the burgh’s macabre history. This is where Terry would be sure to arrive early to secure a place for himself and his shine box so he would be able to listen in while providing a comforting rhythm with the rappa-rappa-snap of his polishing cloth while bending one attentive ear to the tales told by rum-soaked patrons.

On this night it was Harland MacFadden that had the floor and rapt attention of all gathered around. Harland raised border collies and had once been saved from a gruesome death at the jaws of a wolf by his pack of charges and would often tell the tale of that harrowing night. Depending on how far into his cups the old gent was, would determine how much embellishment bubbled fourth so even though the locals had heard the tale often, they would let him go on and then snigger at the audacious lies long after old Harland had retired. Tonight was no different…and yet it was.

When old man MacFadden reached the end of his tale to a round of appreciative applause, he rose and staggered to the bar, mug in hand and old Toddy, his favorite collie, by his side. Half way to the bar he turned and stared into the blazing hearth and did something odd. He continued his tale beyond the ending that all had become accustomed to. “This is something I’ve kept to myself all these many years. A man has no idea how to tell such a thing”. He handed his mug to Laurie, who was right there to accept it saying, “The same lassie, if ya please”, and then shuffled back to his seat by the warmth of the hearth. Sitting, he continued, “Strange this. I’ll not mince me words an’ I’ll tell it straight out. There was something out there on the moor at the edge o’ th’ wood that night. I know what yer thinkin’, ‘the old man’s in ‘is cups’. Well that’s as may be, but I know what I know and I’ll keep it n’ more”.

As Laurie returned with a fresh mug she handed it over to a grateful nod and the old man continued, “I know all these years I’ve said ‘twas the dogs that saved me from the wolf but, God help me, ‘twasn’t so. Them dogs, God love ‘em, run off quick as ya please same as the wolf when what was in them woods approached. I’d been skrtin’ the wood as ya know for some time callin’ me lost collie, Nan. This ya already know. What ye don’t know is I’d seen the night-shine of a pair o’ eyes off an’ on for a while and was scared as a man could be as they were off the ground by pert near seven foot. No animal that. I’ve told ye that the wolf came out o’ the wood but the truth is it came at me from off the moor while I stood transfixed stock-still by them awful eyes.” The old man took a deep pull on his mug and continued, “Golden they were. But a sickly yellow gold. And the face that held those eyes…I see it every time I close me own.” He held his mug aloft. “Don’t sleep much without the remedy”. There was nervous laughter throughout the group.

“The wolf was on me and me dogs were on it. Lasted the briefest of moments before they all run off with the fear o’ the approachin’ bogle drivin’ ‘em on. Me, I was curled up on the ground like a newborn with the fear on me like a stink. Paralyzed, I was. Couldn’t move a muscle. But shake? Oh, how I shook. Pried me eyes open just enough to see it glide in a snake-like pattern o’er th’ moor but getting’ ever closer.” He paused, drew a deep breath and turned to gaze out the smoke-stained window of the pub. Terry had forgotten his shine job as had his patron and the rest of the gathering who waited patiently with expectant eyes and baited breaths. No one knew whether to believe what they were hearing or to laugh out loud.

“As you all know, I go nowhere without at least one o’ me trusty dogs, but I wager none o’ you know I pack this along as well”. He reached into his vest and withdrew a rusty old Schofield break-action pistol and began waving it about. Paddy O’toole reached quickly over Harland’s shoulder and snatched the antique from his grip. Paddy was the pub owner and also the town constable. “I’ll be keepin’ this little trinket behind the bar ‘til you’re ready t’ leave, Mac.” Harland waved an acquiescent hand at the burley man and continued his tale. “Anyway, I take that along with me as well ever since that night on the moor. As I lay shakin’ on the loam, I pried one eye open and the thing was on me. Screwed me eyes tight shut and didn’t open them again after that. Just laid there, awaiting whatever fate had in store for me. But I could hear it and worse…I could smell the rot of death. Like I’d dug open a cairn. That’s how it smelled”. One more long pull drained the deep tankard and he handed it over to Laurie saying, “Keep ‘em comin’, Lassie. I’ve me reasons”.

“The thing ran it’s cold paws over me body an’ head like it was strokin’ a favored pet, all the while makin’ a low guttural purrin’ sound deep in the back of its throat. That’s when it came to me in a blow of shock that I was hearin’ language. The beast was speakin’ to me”. Here he paused, removed his spectacles and withdrew a handkerchief from his vest pocket and began to wipe his glasses which did not need cleaning. He finished this task and proceeded to the real reason for the delay. He wiped his eyes and quickly ran the cloth over his nose and returned it to his pocket. By this time Laurie was at his elbow with a fresh tankard foaming over. “Mac?” He turned and she handed it over.

“Language…can you imagine my horror? The last thing I expected or indeed wanted was commerce with this monster. Nor did I want the knowledge it yearned to impart. I don’t know why I tell this tonight for this is the night of me own death. That is what it gloated to tell. Licked me with it’s tongue just then, it did and I’ve carried the horror of that touch in my dreams and waking moments e’er since”.

Scotty Granger, the local smith interrupted at that moment. “Whoa, just a minute, Mac. Are you saying that this…this creature, demon, whatever, told you that you are going to die tonight? Is that what you’re telling us?”

Harland stuck out his chin in a posture of indignation and replied, “Why, Scotty, did I stutter? Yes, that’s what I’m sayin”.

Scotty snorted a rude laugh, swallowed the last of his ale and set his mug on the hearth while wiping his mouth on his sooty sleeve. “And you believed it?”

Harland echoed Scotty’s rude laugh and retorted, “Let me see if I get this right, Master Granger; you have no problem believing in the existence of my creature but you have a problem with its message?”

The smith brushed past Harland and the gathered patrons saying, “What I have a problem with, Mac, is wasting my time in here listening to the ravings of a deluded old dog herder who’s clearly had too much of Paddy’s ale. I got work awaitin’ and I’m off for it. ‘Night all”. He grabbed up his coat, clapped Harland on the shoulder and was out the door with a slam. Harland uttered an audible “Hrumph!” It was young Terry who spoke up next. “I’d like to hear the rest of your tale if you please, Mr. MacFadden”. Harland smiled and winked at the young shoeshine and continued.

“Well, lad, needless to say, that specter did me no physical harm but the mark it left with me has been a pox just the same. I don’t know to this moment whether what I was experiencing that moonlit night on the moor was my ears hearing or a specter’s evil voice within my very brain but the message was crystal clear. It said, ‘Harland Thadeus MacFadden, ‘twill be at eleven o’ the evening clock, Walpurgis night six years hence that I will visit upon you the end of your mortal stay here in this life. I will come to dance you into whatever hereafter you merit.’ As God and Saint Michael judge me, that’s what it said. Everyone has to die. No one get’s out of this life alive, I understand that and it has never caused me undue stress. What terrified me was how painfully aware I was that this ghoul thrilled in its business”. Here Harland took a short pull and scanned the audience gazing deep into each pair of eyes in their turn and continued. “I did indeed feel in a way that I was being emotionally raped and felt accordingly…dirty because of it”. The room fell completely silent. Harland arose with the aid of his stout cane and shuffled off to the bar leaving the gathering to scratch their heads and exchange questioning glances.

“I’ll be leaving, Paddy”, said the old man. “My tam an’ scarf if ya please”. Paddy handed over the prescribed items and added the old pistol to the mix. “Oh, ya can be keepin’ that, Paddy. Might want to give it a good cleanin’. Don’t think I’ll be seein’ much need of it after tonight.” Here he turned and caught Terry’s eye and signaled him over to the bar where he stood. “Laddie”, he said wrapping his scarf about his neck, “I wonder if ye might be doin’ me and old Toddy here, a great favor”. Terry nodded and waited expectantly. “I’d like ya t’ take in old Toddy and give ‘im a good home, if ya wouldn’t mind.” Terry looked hopefully up at Laurie. “Oh, can I, mum?” Laurie nodded but looked questioningly at Harland who only winked and nodded. As he turned and walked through the door tipping his tam to the patrons, the clanging from the smithy across the street could be clearly heard. The door closed and he was gone into the night.

  • * * * * * ** * *

At around 1: 00 in the morning, Scotty Granger banked the fire in his forge and cleaned his tools, straightened the work area and locked up the smithy for the evening. Turning to the street he inhaled the crisp Autumn air and lit his pipe. He’d always appreciated this time of the evening when everyone else was abed and the world was quiet. The full Autumn moon had nearly set for the evening casting a ghostly glow over the rooftops of the town. He turned and started off for home when his foot caught something in the road sending him sprawling headlong onto the cobbles and scuffing his knee painfully. He picked up his pipe and dug in his vest pocket for his matches. Striking a match on the cobbles he held it aloft to discern the cause of his fall. There lying face up, was the stiff body of Harland MacFadden. There was no blood or evident signs of violence of any sort. He simply laid there…dead.

As Scotty cast his gaze across the street and into the alleyway between the Coach & Hellhorse and Widow McMurray’s bakery, he thought he saw something strange. He rose to his feet and took a few steps closer until he could clearly make out two sickly yellow orbs. He stopped short and sucked in his breath and finally exclaimed, “Well, I’ll be damned”.

A garbled and guttural voice from the darkness responded…”Indeed!”

The Hatchetts by George Yesthal

 As the resident Gothbilly at Horror-Writers it is pretty obvious that I have a soft spot for “hillbilly horror”. Hell, that is practically all I write about! No, these are not your father’s hillbillies! They don’t “shoot at some food and come up with bubblin’ crude”.  These are “twisted backwoods, the wrong side of the tracks, from areas that smart people don’t come round when the sun goes down”, type individuals.   So when George Yesthal sent me a copy of his horror short, “The Hatchetts”, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Houston that I was going to let this one get away! Now, I don’t chew my cabbage twice, so I was obliged to put it on the site immediately and share it with all the Horror-Writers family with George’s gracious permission. So here it is folks, in all the may I present to you, George Yesthal’s  “The Hatchetts”.



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eep in the dark of Texas


Renfield Rasputin  “Gothbilly #1”

<:header>Old Farm

“Shh, listen”. Gary clenched Dora’s tiny hand so hard it was almost painful. As Dora listened she could hear faintly in the distance, the gurgling wail that must have been what Gary referred to. It seemed to be coming from just over the knoll that they were now climbing.

“Aww”, she cooed. “Sounds like a wounded animal, maybe a deer. Damned hunters! They probably shot it and didn’t bother tracking it.” She pulled away from Gary’s grip and proceeded double-time up the embankment leaving Gary puffing to keep up. “Dora, wait”, he called frustrated. Gary knew this area by reputation only, but knew that just over this low ridge lay Merton’s Marsh and somewhere in the vicinity was the old Hatchett farm. Both had somewhat sinister reputations.
Heedless, Dora hiked up her skirt and soon vanished over the berm. Shaking his head Gary broke into a run to catch up. “Shit! Girls”, he croaked in exasperation as he crested the rise.
The old gypsy woman’s face puckered like a prune through the sea of wrinkles in obvious distain as she handed over the amulet. “This should keep you safe, no guarantees. If you’re a righteous man with a righteous cause, legend has it, it will grant you one wish. That’s twenty for the reading, fifty five for the talisman”.

As Dougie Lee’s hand closed around the item he could feel energy coursing through his hand and forearm. He slapped down a c-note and uttered “Keep the change”. As he turned and strode from the opulently accoutered tent the scent of the evening air carried the usual carnival bouquet of popcorn, cotton candy and boiled wieners. Dougie Lee stood for a moment and breathed deep the enticing aroma, letting himself relax. Looking at the pendant that depended from a worn leather thong, he grimaced. The centerpiece was obviously some sort of rodents’ skull intertwined with crimson thread. The eye sockets were stuffed with some kind of herb, maybe Spanish moss. To either side of the skull, laced onto the thong were what he swore were human teeth. “Ugh”, He shuddered as he slipped the awful contrivance over his head where it came to rest morosely against his breast. It held power; he could feel it. “Please do what you’re supposed to”, he told it as he went in search of his parked truck.

Douglas Leroy Walton Hammerli III was the only son of a southern Baptist minister who’d grown up in northern Lafourche County, Louisiana, among Coonass and Cajun influences and had seen the power of the voodoo priests, called Bokar. His father had warned him vehemently that such practices were the province and machinations of Lucifer, himself and to stay clear of it. Dougie Lee had pretty much heeded that advice until tonight. These were drastic circumstances that required drastic means. He’d never resorted to voodoo before but this case was something different than anything he’d previously undertaken. He gripped the amulet and said silently, “What the hell, I wish that I will not be killed”. As he slipped the key into his 1995 Ford F-150 he released the talisman and whispered, “Sorry Papa”. He closed the door, keyed the ignition and turned north onto Highway 1, headed for Mansura.

Bounty hunting was a far more lucrative living than he’d ever earned in his sixteen years as deputy sheriff. He’d only been at it for three years and had already paid off his home in Cottonport, which he was now renting out, and bought an upscale home in a gated community on the outskirts of Alexandria. Last week he took up the trail of Dooley Hatchett. A member of the infamous Hatchett clan who resided on a run-down, nonproductive, overgrown farm on a sand spit in the swamps around Bayou du Lac. It was said they still raised pigs but Dougie could not imagine how they would ever have grown anything there.

The Hatchetts were grist for local rumor mills. Dougie Lee had heard them all: They were a family of monsters through in-breeding. They killed and ate unwary travelers when they ran out of pigs. They were witches and warlocks and danced naked beneath the full moon. They were also said to be un-killable. Whatever the truth was, he knew one thing; there was a $50,000 reward out for Dooley and that meant the boy was going down. A small grin graced his lips as he pulled off the highway into the parking lot of the Louisiana State Police barracks.

Inside, the night officer at the desk recognized him immediately. “Well well, Deputy Hammerli. What you up to, slummin’?”

Dougie Lee grinned. “Ex-deputy, Floyd.”

Officer Floyd LeChamp returned the grin. “Right. I suppose you’re here about ol’ Dooley. Been expectin’ you. I got this together for ya”. He handed Dougie Lee a thin manila folder. “Ain’t much on ‘im.” He was right; the whole file consisted of an address and a witness report and that was it.

Reading the witness report he was not surprised to realize that knew the witness, knew of her anyway. He dropped the file on the desk. “Mame LeRoux? She’s the witness?”

“Yep. Scared the poor ol’ girl half to death too”, said Floyd as he sipped tepid, half-stale coffee. The old Cajun woman had been sitting on her porch at about sundown smoking her pipe when she heard a scuffle in the woods. Suddenly Dooley came storming out of the underbrush dragging a woman kicking and screaming. He proceeded to tear the hapless woman’s clothing from her body and when her struggling continued he clubbed her senseless with the butt end of a huge Bowie knife and proceeded to rape her limp body mercilessly. When he was through, to Ms. Leroux’s shock and horror, the brute cut off her head, stood and held it aloft for poor old Mame’s benefit. This whole tableau took place only yards from the old woman’s front door. She rose in shock from her rocking chair and promptly passed out. When she came to she had to walk almost a mile to the nearest neighbor with a phone.

“The victim?’

“Laura something. Name’s in the file”. Floyd pushed it across the desk. “From over in Norma”.

Dougie Lee reopened the file. Lara Gilquist, wife and mother. “Jesus Christ!” he exclaimed.

“Right? We sent officers out there with warrants but no sign of him…or anybody for that matter. Place looks like it hasn’t been lived in for years. They’re out there alright. There’s pigs in the pen. Damned if we could find ‘em though”.

“Shit! I’m gonna have to stake the place out. Not looking forward to that. Mind if I sleep in the back tonight? I’ll get an early start in the morning.”

“Sure”, said Floyd. “Cell four’s open.

Dougie Lee retrieved his duffle from his truck and repaired to the cell block.
He was off well before daylight after checking his inventory. Map: check, Glock 40: check, S&W M10 back-up: check, M-16: check, Buck knife: check, hand-cuffs: check, lighter: check, waders: check, binoculars: check, bag lunch: check, cell phone: check. He checked and double checked. He decided that the waders would only slow and weigh him down and put those back in the truck’s tool-box. Finally he reached under his shirt for the amulet and repeated his wish. “Please don’t let me be killed.”

After parking the truck and hiking for a few miles he stopped to check the map. Just as he thought, the Hatchett farm should be right over the next ridge. He found a stand of rhododendron on the hill overlooking the farm (if indeed one could call it that), which supplied superb cover and settled in to fan the area with his binoculars. Hours went by without a movement or sound from the farm other than pig grunts and squeals, and it was starting to look like the clan had truly vacated, when he noticed movement. Just before sundown, through the door came the hunched, freakish figure of an elderly man with two buckets. This trollish apparition shuffled in hitching, jerking strides across the muck-sodden yard to the pig pen and dumped the contents of the buckets within, screaming curses at the animals in a croaking, barely human voice.

A cloying dank ground mist had slid in off the marsh from the early evening’s temperature change and Dougie Lee patted the amulet wondering at his good fortune. This fog would provide just the cover he needed to work his way down the hill to the yard undetected. He stealthily crept around the south corner of the house and with his Glock drawn and cocked, surprised the old man. “On the ground”, Dougie Lee shouted. He was not prepared for the sight that greeted him when the man spun on his heels to face him and he gasped and stepped back. The face that fairly stunk of hatred was one out of a nightmare. Covered with warts and pus-running lesions, it bore only one working eye. The other was only a weeping socket. The nose was more like a pig’s with huge running nostrils funneling mucous into a gaping maw that sported only two large tusk-like teeth protruding from the bottom jaw. That mouth presently flew open and the tongue lashed back and forth emitting a blood-curdling roar.

At that moment Dougie Lee could hear commotion from within the house and he turned to his left just in time to see Dooley Hatchett burst from the front door with other ugly family members in tow. Then, with a blinding silver flash, his world went black.
Gary knew this was a spooky place; he’d counted on it. In his mind he saw Dora clinging to her hero and himself stepping up to be the brave knight in shining armor to slay any and all dragons that might accost her. How could she resist him in such a role? What he hadn’t counted on was Dora taking off in search of the poor wounded animal they’d heard bleating just over the hill. But nothing in all his nineteen years had prepared him for the sight that now confronted him.

Dora was sitting on the ground white as snow, tears streaming from wide eyes, mouth moving but unable to form words, pointing straight ahead. As he came up behind her and saw what she was looking at Gary realized that someone had nailed a scarecrow to a huge oak tree. No…not a scarecrow. Holy God! It was a human skeleton draped with gobbets of bloody meat and swarming with flies. The only flesh left was on the head and right arm. That arm gripped a necklace of some sort and finally Gary realized that this was the source of the noise they’d heard, which suddenly uttered the first intelligible words…”One-more-wish…oh God…Let –me-DIE!”

For more of George Yesthal’s work, please visit his site at

The Darkenbog, by George Yesthal

The internet is a helluva invention. If you could travel time back to the 1940’s and tell someone that you had a device in your pocket that could answer any question with a push of a few buttons, check into flights without being there, and see picture of distant lands in an instant it would blow their minds. (Nevermind the fact that you just traveled time.) A few hundred years earlier you would probably be fixed to a fire and burned at the stake for witchery.

On a particular sleepless night in May, while navigating through the Horror Writers’ Twitter , Instagram account, and finally landing on our Facebook  site, I received an instant message at 1:30 AM that one of the HW coconspirators had posted a poem on the page.  Always looking for new talent I dove right into the tale and was mesmerized by the diction, the cadence, and the overall story that unfolded. I immediately wrote the author back to which my surprise he returned the message within seconds. Apparently I was not the only person who suffered a case of insomnia that night. After several messages back and forth  the late night internet wordsmith and I had become rather acquainted and I invited him to share his work with the HW family and droogs alike. Through the internet I had found a an undiscovered jewel!

George Yesthal is a retired tattoo artist, author, and poet. His subject vary from horror, sci-fi, viking mythology, and even political satire. A renaisance man in every sense of the word. Inspired by Poe, Lovejoy, King, and even Roald Dahl, Yesthal weaves tales of a modern sense but with the rhetoric of a Romantic Movement bard.

Without further ado, with his full permission, I will reproduce George Yesthal’s  first posting that he shared with me here for your reading pleasure. I hope that you will read, and re-read it again and again and grow to love it more with each read as much as I have. 

-Renfield Rasputin


The Darkenbog10463-bigthumbnail

If dusk mayhap shall find you

On the road ‘ere it gets dark,

And owls hoot more often

Than warbles the meadow lark

And up ahead, before you creeps

A cloying and deepening fog

You know you must be brave to pass

The haunted Darkenbog.


You’ve heard the old ones whisper

The chilling tales of yore

Of haints and bogies, goblins too…

Of trolls, evil souls and more.

The witch that turns slow children

Into bugs and slug-eating frogs

She too awaits to kidnap you

In the deep and dank Darkenbog.



The bridge ahead you’ve often crossed

With impunity, sun shining bright.

But now far from town, the sun has gone down

And alone, you shiver with fright.

You’ve been warned what can happen to dawdlers

And so you don’t walk, you don’t jog.

No, you sprint for that bridge for youknow that you may

Fall prey to the cold Darkenbog.



Your heart’s filled with fear for you’re sure that you hear

Something wheezing but still keeping pace.

Something hidden from view, still you know it sees you

And you know that you’re losing the race.

The bridge drawing near, you’re just about htere

You can now hear a splash as it slogs

Up onto the path and you feel your foot grabbed

You’re hauled screaming into Darkenbog.



You awaken to hear something really quite near

But you sit very still just the same.

From a ways down the path you can hear children laugh

And you hear someone calling your name.

As you open your mouth your tongue lashes out

And snares a slug sharing your log

You want to go home but you know beyond doubt.

Your home’s now the cold Darkenbog

-George Yesthal


Please enjoy more of the many works of George Yesthal,  see his site