You may or may not believe in the old gentleman known variously as Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, or simply the devil -- but it is impossible to deny the existence of evil in the world. And all those arguments about whether evil originates in the fires of Hades or in the smoldering heart of humankind don’t change the fact that evil has always been with us – and, most likely, always will be.
The stories you are about to read are about evil, in one form or another. Several of them give evil a supernatural origin, but others place it squarely in the lap of ordinary (or maybe not so ordinary) human beings. Some of the people you are about to meet will overcome the evil that confronts them, while others won’t be quite so fortunate. Either way, all of them are going to be changed by the encounter.
These stories are best read late at night, preferably while you’re alone in the house. I recommend leaving only a single light on. Try to use a reading lamp that illuminates the page while throwing the rest of the room into shadows – shadows where anything might be hiding.
Later, as you lie in the iron dark, waiting for sleep, perhaps you’ll start to wonder if there really is a Devil, and if this is the night he might choose to come – for you.
I wish you pleasant dreams.
Well, no – not really.
Justin Gustainis has been an Army officer, speechwriter and professional bodyguard. He is currently a college professor living in upstate New York. He is the author of The Hades Project, Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, Hard Spell and Sympathy for the Devil. He has also published a number of short stories, two of which won the Graverson Award for Horror in consecutive years. He is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.