A perfect read for Halloween? Into the Darkness, a collection of stories.

A poem from the collection, just a small sample.

The whistle of the teapot
precedes the smell of the tea:
precedes the taste of Earl Grey, heady and rich, sans sugar or cream.
You hear it first.

Like the dogs of Pavlov fame
salivate at the ringing of a bell, the jangling note triggering in their bodies
a reaction.
A reaction for what is not yet, but that which is to come. They smell before they smell.
Taste before they taste.
They hear it first.

The chirp of a phone
smarter than most. It triggers a reaction. A searching dance to determine its origin.
The location of the tiny assembly of metal, plastic, and glass that next is touched,
hinged open or finger swiped to see
who called, who sent a message, who might even in a small way
care. A digital part of a very real life filled with very real pain that all we want to do is share.
Not willing to be alone, we try even distantly to connect.
We hear it first.

The racking of the slide, the chambering of a round
precedes the louder sound.
The smell of cordite in the air. The heat of the muzzle pressed against the temple, burning dying flesh.
The feeling of falling, striking the floor. The whooshing sound as one flies upward
through the atmosphere, leaving this world, traveling through a darkened tunnel toward a light laced with the smell of heavenly flowers or sulphuric flames.
No one knows which.
The sounds of death, heard first.

The organ plays
The choir sways
The music falls upon the ears of those assembled. Amazing Grace comes from rounded mouths
soprano throats, baritone diaphragms. With all they are they sing, some with tears, some with smiles.
A guitar joins in, drums, a violin. The words not only touch those who do believe, but those who’s god is only hope.
For whatever the fate of the soul that once rested here, it is sure it will need grace whatever’s next.
Hope is heard last.

I am deaf.
Deaf to whistles, bells, guns, and hymns of grace. Sound
Means naught to me.
Vibrations of air, mechanical and rhythmic. Dull. I do not need to hear. I need not smell, for smell does bathe in both rotten and sweet. I would forgo all rather than these endure.
Blindness is a blessing, for with beauty comes the horrific. I need not to see to know that both exist.
And touch? Both smooth and rough, slick and sharp? Need I to feel these to know some cut, some please, some bring only pain?
Nor do I wish to taste. Sweet and sour, both sickening to an extreme. Those I can and will do without.
You may call me senseless.
I miss none of them.

Almost. At times, in the dark, I think I might hear something.
Note of music, or scratch of a claw on stone? I know it’s only my imagination.
But sometimes what I miss most
is sounds.