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C.M.C. Dobbs Books

Never Fear: Anthology

The Tarot: Temperance

A few months ago, I was asked to contribute a horror story for 13 Thirty Books November anthology: Never Fear – The Tarot: Do You Really Want To Know? I was delighted to contribute, but in the back of my mind knew that there was a possibility that not all of my readers would embrace the opportunity to read a horror story, hence the reason I decided to use my maiden name as a pseudonym for non-romance stories: C.M.C. Dobbs. I was delighted and accepted the challenge, but the challenge was far greater than I’d imagined.

Fun Fact #1: I ended up writing eight different horror stories until Lance Taubold mentioned the cult aspect of the card and everything clicked.

Fun Fact #2: And the very cool thing about this anthology is that the Tarot cards chose the authors! When they came to my name, the card they drew was the 14th Major Arcana Card: Temperance.

Fun Fact #3: I don’t watch horror movies other than the classics from the 1930s with Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Boris Karloff. Then there’s that model my brother built when we were kids of the Creature From the Black Lagoon…scared the you-know-what out of me.


Chapter One

She watched in horrified fascination as the black-robed man with the face of an angel tilted his head back and raised his hands to the moon-dark sky.

“Beelzebub! We ask that you find favor with our offering.”

A low murmur sounded as the black-robed figures surrounding her repeated his words. As the name he called registered, she tugged at her bonds in desperation. The devil? They were calling on the devil?

Where was she? How did she get here? Why was she wearing a white cotton robe?

The cold granite slab at her back chilled her to the bone. The man held a wicked-looking blade high over her chanting in a language she didn’t understand. The voices joined in until the chanting reached a crescendo, and she knew this wasn’t a nightmare—she was their offering!

Her screams drowned out the chanting as the sacrificial knife flashed in the firelight a heartbeat before it plunged down into her chest with deadly accuracy tearing through flesh, blood, and bone.

Unimaginable pain seared through her. Her life’s blood gurgled in her throat, gushing from the hole in her heart, staining her pure white robe. Her sight grew dim as a blessed numbness swept up from her toes as her heart slowed and she drew in her last breath.

“Beelzebub has accepted our offering and consecrated her blood!” When their cheers resounded through the clearing, he filled a ram’s horn with her blood and drank deeply. Filling it again, he passed it to his left, filling and refilling until everyone had partaken and not a drop of blood remained.