HerStoryCalls is proud to welcome Jessica Penot to our blog.
Jessica is a therapist and writer who lives in Alabama with three corgis, her children, husband, and other strange creatures. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including CSM, Summer Gothic, Bound By Blood, and Outer Darkness. Her ghost story columns are published in theValley Planet and White Cat Magazine where she share her love for ghost stories that send shivers down your spine and keep you up at night. She also shares her passion for all things ghostly and haunted at her blog, ghost stories and haunted places.
Currently she is working on her next Haunted America Book for History Press,Haunted South Alabama. Follow her blog to learn about the ghost stories she is chasing and collecting for this fascinating addition to Haunted America. She is also working on the next book in my Circe series. The demon is awake and waiting for her new heroine in the swamps of Southern Alabama. Click Here to Follow My Blog!
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CIRCLE – Dr. Black is a good man with a few vices. He is willing to sacrifice his career for his wife, Pria. He takes an internship at a hick institution in Southern Alabama to make his wife happy, but once he is situated in this old hospital, he finds that old habits die-hard. He is sexually compulsive and easily seduced by his supervisor, Cassie, who takes him to the bowls of the institution and shows him its tragic history. As Dr. Black loses himself in his obsession with Cassie, he becomes convinced that she is the key to Circe’s mythology and magic and a series of bizarre murders leaves him convinced that she has opened the gates to another world. Madness and sanity begin to blur for Dr. Black and he becomes entangled in the mystery at the heart of Circe. A mystery that’s as old as the ancient hospital itself. A mystery that could incriminate Cassie, an old god, or Dr. Black himself.
Visit her at: http://www.jessicapenot.net/
The Inspiration for My Madman
When I was writing Circe, many of the psychiatric patients were inspired by bits and pieces of real people. I had to be very careful not to use too much of one person because I am a therapist and I have to be careful not to violate any of my former patients’ trust. There was one exception to this rule. This exception was Jeffrey Franklin. Jeffrey was not one of my patients so I could use his story without violating any sacred trust. One of my main characters was based almost entirely on Jeffrey Franklin.
I don’t live in a very big city so it seems odd to me that our little town is rocked by mass murders and bizarre killings more than it should for its population. Some time ago, UAH, where I went to college, was devastated by the shooting of 6 professors by a neurobiologist who didn’t get tenure. The week before that a child shot another child at the middle school down the street.
It wasn’t so long ago that another murder shocked our little city. This murder was too close to home. A young man who went to our church, who my parents taught in catechism, whose family my family knew well, decided to kill his family with the blunt end of an axe. Everyone knew Jeffrey Franklin was troubled. He’d been going to counseling and had ADD. He’d been on Ritalin. A friend of mine’s younger brother was best friends with Jeffrey and he said that Jeffrey was an angsty young fellow, but what teenager isn’t? Jeffrey wasn’t that different than 50% of the teenagers I knew. He wore all black and spoke out against authority, but he didn’t horde guns or speak of murder. He didn’t use drugs or torture puppies. He was just another teen that was uncomfortable in his skin.
The night Jeffrey Franklin took the blunt end of an axe and hacked his parents to death, he also did serious damage to his two younger siblings. They had severe trauma and brain damage. One of his sisters was at dance and escaped the attacks, but no one else in the family was shown any mercy. Jeffrey had spoken out many times against his parents but he had always loved his siblings. So when he attacked his three baby siblings and bashed their skulls in with all the strength in his body, it seemed like something monstrous must have taken control of him. The attacks were so brutal that the first responders at the scene of the crime had to leave the house to vomit. Many had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years to come just from seeing the atrocities that had been committed by one young man. That night I watched Jeffrey on the news. He taunted the news cameras and stuck his tongue out at those who were watching him. He had taken the police on a high speed pursuit that had ended in kicking and profanity. Jeffrey laughed, dripping with blood, as he cursed and fought and spit at those who watched.
Three nights later Jeffrey was on the news again. This time he was quiet, penitent. He was remorseful, almost teary. He wasn’t the same boy who had mocked his parents as they lay drowning in their own blood or who had brutally attempted to hack his five year old sister and baby brother to death.
I have always had a theory about Jeffrey Franklin and his complete transformation. The lawyers say it was the Ritalin, but I’ve seen too many people on Ritalin to believe that is possible. The one thing Jeffrey had been getting into prior to his parents death was the dark arts. According to friends, he had been attempting to summon demons and use magic to improve his life. I believe he became too successful and whatever it was that he summoned took hold of him and wouldn’t let him go. Jeffrey claimed he couldn’t remember what happened that horrible night. I’m one of the few people that actually believed him. In Circe, I use my theory to create a character that is able to speak to the demons in the hospital. His character is a psychiatric patient who sees demons everyone believes are imaginary, until it was too late.
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