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Witch-Water.

by Edward Lee.

DEDICATION: For Don D'Auria. Thank you for making my professional dreams come true for the past ten years. I owe you bigtime.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Foremost, I must acknowledge the great British horror writer M.R. James (1862-1936) whose work, as many times as I've re-read it, continues to entertain me in a way that I can only describe as superlative. The bulk of James' work, I believe, demonstrates something very close to a model of perfection in the field, while there are numerous of his scenes which I deem as among the scariest ever written. (If you haven't read James, do.) This humble novel is my contemporary tribute to Mr. James, wherein I've taken the liberty of, in a sense, sequelizing my two very favorite stories by him, "A View From A Hill" and "Mr. Humphreys And His Inheritance." Personally, I rank James as second only to H.P. Lovecraft as the most unique, influential, and important author to ever wield a pen in the horror genre.

Next, I must acknowledge the following for their loyalty, support, help and encouragement with regard to my career: Don D'Auria, Wendy Brewer, Dave Barnett, Bob from Melbourne, Larry Roberts, Sergeant Andrew Myers, Bob Strauss, Corie Fromkin, Robert Price, Thomas Bauduret, Greg James, Qwee, reelsplatter, Joey Lombardo, Scott Berke, Alex McVey, Sandy Brock and Tony, Kyle N., Sheri Gambino, Tastybabysyndrome, Shroud Magazine, Monrozombi, Zombified420, sikahtik, rhfactornl, wm ollie, Konnie, Dianna Busby; Gorch; Jeff, Rose, and Carlton at Deadite; Ashton Heyd, Bob Chaplin, Southern Blood, Hexsyn, KK, Kim, Jan, Bartek Czartoryski, Michael Preissl, K in D, TravisD, Dancingwith2leftfeet, Dathar, eubankscs, brownie, and mypaperpast, Big T, brownie, drunk yorks.h.i.+reman.

CHAPTER ONE.

(I).

Like stepping from one world into another, Stewart Fanshawe mused. Manhattan was hours behind him now, and the turnpike's monotonous panorama of asphalt, concrete, and flurries of cars had suddenly lapse-dissolved into a scape of plush foliage, hundred-foot-tall trees, and shaded, curving forest roads. Fanshawe had to catch his breath from all that green, green that seemed bright to the point of surreality. The more distance I put between myself and New York, the better... His black Audi glided around each tree-lined road, with brilliant sunlight bursting in through myriad leaf-laden boughs. Gorgeous out here, he reflected. All this stunning scenery made it difficult to keep his eyes focused on the road, yet he welcomed the distraction.

Distractions kept his mind off the memories.

The car sucked down to the clean pavement through each deep, winding turn. New Hamps.h.i.+re, indeed, was another world.

Fanshawe was fifty but looked forty, which he attributed to good genes, exercise, and a prudent diet. He was also, either by luck or apt.i.tude, phenomenally wealthy. His eyes widened behind the leather-sleeved wheel. I've got everything any man could want, so why...

He

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