Looking for a spooky read that takes place in Martinsville, and maybe even your own backyard or somewhere you frequent on the daily? Stephen Mark Rainey, an author who grew up in and still maintains a residence in Martinsville on Indian Trail, wrote a book called “Fugue Devil: Resurgence” which is full of a collection of horror short stories.
Local readers may recognize the fictionalized setting of Martinsville, called Aiken Mill in the story, and Ferrum College, which is Beckham College Rainey’s stories.
He said that he has always been an avid reader — so much so that when he was a child in Sunday school at First United Methodist Church, when he was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up his response was to be a writer and artist.
Rainey has been writing for around 35 years. He said he got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia with the intention to be more involved in the art side of telling stories, but as he continued he was “more and more drawn” to the writing side of stories and transitioned from making art that told a story into writing the story itself.
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His inspirations for writing come from a variety of places, from “The Twilight Zone” to H.P. Lovecraft, but one specific inspiration was a supernatural soap opera from the late 60s and early 70s called “Dark Shadows.” He later ended up co-writing with Elizabeth Massie a novel intended to resurrect the series through Harper Collins.
His current book, “Fugue Devil: Resurgence,” contains the original novella “Fugue Devil,” a sequel to it and also other novellas that have been previously published and some that have not. The sequel takes place 17 years after the original novella to tell the story of the same creature who returns every 17 years.
The main character is the brother of a character in the first story and who never believed in the creature’s existence. In this novella he interacts with a movie-maker who has come to town to film the creatures return after all these years.
Rainey said that this story is by far one of the most meaningful that he has even written and that the writing and story are the strongest he has ever created.
While writing this story he was trying to recreate and get the readers to experience a similar situation to one that he experienced when he was younger.
The experience was a continuing night terror he had when he was about 11 years old that took place at his mother’s house in Martinsville. He was out playing in the creek near his house and saw a black shape that he described as a “spidery shape trailing black smoke” in a zigzag pattern across the sky.
His friend Bob Cox was in the dream and had heard of the creature. He told Rainey that if someone is the last person to see this creature, it’s going to kill that person. In his dream he ended up being the last person to see the creature and he suddenly woke up in a cold sweat.
He went back to sleep and the dream picked up where it left off, he said. He was on the hillside behind his childhood house and there was a heavy thumping sound. He then said he saw a beast with glowing red eyes that was 12 feet tall and had the appearance of a mixture of horror creatures he had seen in movies. He then woke up a second time in a cold sweat.
Again, once he went back to sleep, the dream resumed. His little brother wanted to go get his toys from the back driveway of the house but he knew there was a monster out there. The minute his brother goes to get his toys the creature comes out of the woods. Rainey said that in the dream he began yelling at his brother to come back to the house and as soon as he made it back the creature was on the driveway.
He then woke up in a cold sweat once more, he said.
The story itself is very different from the dream, but that feeling of terror that he felt is what he wanted to put into words with his stories in “Fugue Devil: Resurgence,” he said.
“Fugue Devil: Resurgence” is coming out today, close to the 30th anniversary of the first story “Fugue Devil.” The book will be published by Black Raven Books. It will be sold in the Kindle store in e-book format, over amazon in soft and hard cover and Rainey said that he will also try to get it sold in “Books and Crannies” on E. Church St.
Samaire Wynne Provost, editor-in-chief at Black Raven Books, said she was interested in the collaboration because Rainey had “a very worthy story” and is “an even more worthy author.”
She owns Black Raven books with her husband, Stephen Provost. They came to the Martinsville area from California around five years ago.
Aside from her publishing books, Wynne also writes some of her own. “Faerie Misborn,” “The Pirates of Moonlit Bay,” “Romanov,” “Lightning” and “Outsider” are some of her titles, and many of these books are a part of longer series.
Monique Holland is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 276-734-9603.