HorrorScope — Sample Chapter 3

Excerpt from Chapter 3  of HorrorScope by Gian J. Quasar

“Silence of the Peacocks”

When the moon is in the Seventh House

And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets

And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius



Fireworks burst over the shipyards at Mare Island, off San Francisco Bay, over a regatta of ships in the estuary. The detonations lit the sky. The house tops of Vallejo glowed many colors and then retreated back into dark silhouettes. Cheers rose with every burst, awed praised cooed with each fabulous sequence of explosions. Sparklers sizzled in driveways. Whistling petes shrilled through middleclass neighborhoods. Barbeque smoke and its flavor— hotdogs, ribs, hamburgers, Americana— mixed with the heavy smell of cordite. It was late night 4th of July in Vallejo.

Americans had much to celebrate. July not only marks high summer, vacations and fun, but America was still supreme. She was leader of the free world. Despite the anti-war protests and strange counterculture, Americans still basked in their glory of having won WWII and in continuing to keep the “Reds” at bay in the current Cold War. The Great Generation was firmly in charge. Shaking its collective head at the youngsters of the baby boom, it was still very tolerant. Even hippies were celebrating. Maybe they weren’t too “far out” yet. Perhaps the antiestablishment mood had made the founding fathers even more appealing. They too had been rebels. All Americans were excited about the upcoming moon walk. Man was about to take a giant step. And it was an American step. It was a time to party, and everybody likes that.

Vallejo was a blue collar town, but it was also a city a on the bay, which gave it a little more opportunity for pageantry. Vallejo always sponsored a boat regatta and a massive firework display. There was little fancy in Vallejo, but it was an old town tied to the ship building yards at Mare Island, the Navy, and a way of life geared with the rustic fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

At an opposite to the tempo of men, ships and the sea, were the surrounding grassy foothills. One of Vallejo’s major landmarks was Blue Rock Springs Park. As a therapeutic destination, the springs went way back in popularity to the 19th century. A cultivated green park had been built around the springs. In summer time it was a green oasis amidst the golden chaff of summer’s dried grass. Giant and ancient eucalyptus flourished by the springs, and oaks dotted the brown hillsides like giant green umbrellas.

Aptly named Springs Road was the main road east of Vallejo to Columbus Parkway. Even in 1969 there was little out here. The main destination was always Blue Rock Springs Park or the new golf course built almost across from it. Turn north at Columbus Parkway, pass the only other crossroad out here—Lake Herman Road— and soon a grove of giant eucalyptus formed a canopy over the road by Blue Rock Springs Creek. Light filtered wildly through the shadows of the rustling leaves. Then there was a brief clearing. On the left, there was the new two story golf course clubhouse. Wisk like a dragonfly over knoll and descend into a cleft in the bosom of the foothills. Here under another canopy of clutching eucalyptus was Blue Rock Springs Park on the right.

Nestled within the grove of trees was the parking lot. It was more or less just a wide spot in the road. Two rows of cars could fit, back to back. It was completely open to Columbus Parkway.

Beyond this Columbus Parkway held nothing. The road climbed the slope of the foothills and eventually came down toward nothing but a convenient half cloverleaf in Highway 80 on the outskirts of eastern Vallejo, the main highway from the Bay Area to Sacramento inland. To the south of the park Columbus Parkways was a long snaking tail that wound through the brown, dry grassy hills and meadows to finally end at an onramp to Highway 780.

In summer everything was dry and natural out here except the green vistas of the golf course or the wooded serenity of Blue Rock Springs Park.

At night the area had a foreboding air. Darkness clutched the road under the canopies of eucalyptus. Within the curve of the road, in the cleft of the bosom where the park was located, a car would sink into darkness, its headlights retreat in the inky pool over the road. There was a lamp in the park near the parking lot. It stood out like a weak lantern pestered by the shadows of the eucalyptus leaves dancing with the foothill’s bay breezes.

Festivities were ongoing this night, so that the park was neither quiet nor foreboding. There was more than room. Any major outdoor event was centered at the park. The park was huge. The slopes of the foothills here were green and manicured. Winding paths led to more stands of giant eucalyptus. Up on the slope was an old wooden house, now used by the caretaker. Peacocks nestled up here. They sat on beds of dried eucalyptus leaves and mewed over the vista. Pools of the springs were deep green. Their bottoms were impenetrable to the eyes because of the blurred reflections of more giant eucalyptus. One pool was spanned by a fancy wooden walking bridge. It was rustic and meant to be rustic. The tarmac of the parking lot was edged with uncut, raw boulders. It was a rustic, country park, outside of town and sporting an old style timber sign with the park named painted in golden yellow.

As it grew late this night the partiers at the park had thinned out. Columbus Parkway and the park grew lifeless and dark. The brown hills sank behind the ink of country night. The clusters of trees strengthened their clutch over Columbus Parkway. Soon the plaintive cry of the peacocks faded.




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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

HorrorScope– Sadistically Gunned

I began the art of writing by learning screenplays. I never got an agent, though, except once when young because I had an “in,” but I ended up living real life plots and dangerous adventures. Aside from a Murder She Wrote episode, nothing really got forwarded to producers. The vivid, scene-by-scene imagination needed to conceive a motion picture, however, I have found is indispensable in investigating crime. Each action must be imagine when recreating it in order to conceive what happened and who is responsible. I bring this approach to nonfiction writing in an attempt to accurately though not melodramatically illustrate what truly happened.

In HorrorScope, the case chapters open with what in film would be called a teaser or prologue. They usually end with a dissolve or the credits and then the plot tempo commences.  The following is the prologue for the Faraday-Jensen case, which is Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned.” It’s still rough, but it serves to help bring you the flavor of what it was actually like on that freezing December night.

It’s reality, not drama. If it is dramatic it is only because the incident was. I’m tired of crime cases being rushed past the reader because they serve only one purpose. This is to introduce the author’s “suspect.” The ZODIAC Killer is somewhat glorified, and he is so because he has become the real life comic book arch villain– hood wearing, jesting, boasting– something worthy of Gotham. But he must be presented as he really was: cold blooded, cowardly, ruthless.


Prologue for Chapter 2 (“Sadistically Gunned”) — HorrorScope by Gian J. Quasar.

In the darkness, at night, in the country, everything is in suspended animation. Trees, scraggly and bare, emerge from the inky anonymity only momentarily in the glare of passing headlights. Bushes are arthritic. Fence posts as rigid as grave markers. Darkness bites into the headlights. The subfreezing temperatures make their bloodless light sharp and cold. Headlights are a cold light anyway. Together, Lake Herman Road was black and white, trees of black silhouettes daubed with the shroud-like white light of a passing car’s headlights.

The darkness of eternity returns.

A flashlight beam streaks about, weak and round. There is shouting. Two gunshots. Shouting. A struggle. A head, an ear, close up. A gunshot. The beam is speckled with dot-like shadows. A shriek. Running footsteps. A teen girl runs from the blurry fringe of the halo of flashlight beam into the darkness. The speckled beam slices through the ink and glows with warmth as it finds the bright purple of the back of her gay dress. Gunshots soil the bright cloth with red. One, two, three— the girl slows, staggers. Gunshots— four, five. The bright purple of the dress drops from the roundel of light into the ink. A shot hurls through the dark. The beam coasts over the frozen road. A girl lies bloodied in her purple miniskirt. A boy moans. The beam dashes to find him. He is on his back, blood trickling from his head, the slightest spirit of breath from his lips. The light has only weakly captured the station wagon by his feet. It coasts over the profaned and bloody gravel and stops at a brown car. Shoes, heavy under the weight of the villain, turn on the gravel. The flashlight beam snips out. Footsteps crunch on the gravel in the darkness. A car door opens.  . . . and closes. An engine starts.

*         *          *

Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.