strange skies

strange skies

Strange Skies

A Horror Novella

Release Date: November 12th, 2021

Series: N/A

Volume: N/A

Available formats: ebook, audiobook, paperback

It’s the summer of 1987, and a storm is rolling into Bisbee, Arizona. As Steve Richards settles into his radio show, calls come in from horrified residents. The thunderhead isn’t the only thing visiting the town…

From the Flap

“Something’s wrong. These aren’t clouds.”

July 17, 1987.

A typical summer day in Bisbee, Arizona, is rolling along. The weather is beautiful, providing a picturesque backdrop for hikers, tourists, and everyone else lucky enough to be around.

As dusk falls and people settle into their evening routines, a large thunderstorm rolls in without warning. Unfortunately for the town’s residents, it’s bringing much more than just rain and lightning.

At the local radio station, calls pour in from frantic listeners. They report bizarre and macabre events unfolding throughout town. When the power at the station goes out, the host finds out just how bad the situation is.

Is this strange storm causing mass hysteria, or is there something in the clouds? Beyond that, will anyone be left alive once the storm breaks?

Settle in with Strange Skies and find out… just make sure you leave the lights on.


Annette Barton
Unhappily married to Paul
Anthony Delgado
Young son of Maria
Billy in Bisbee
Mule Mountain Mixer caller
Bobby Smith
11; friend of David and Jack; often the butt of jokes
Buzzsaw Bob
Produce of Mule Mountain Mixer
David Ellis
12; friend of Bobby and Jack; acts as the group's leader
Jack Richards
11 1/2; friend of Bobby and David; Steve's nephew
The Johnsons
Maria's neighbors
Maria Delgado
Mother of Anthony
Otto Grier
Town drunk
Paul Barton
Unhappily married to Annette
Pete Marcus
Local meteorologist
Steve Richards
Host of Mule Mountain Mixer on KTAZ-FM

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strange skies

strange skies



Bisbee, Arizona

July 17, 1987

7:43 PM (MST)

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Mule Mountain Mixer. I am your host, Steve Richards; with me as always, is my long-suffering producer, Carol. Say ‘hello’ to the listeners, Carol. Carol sends her regards but, even if she wanted to say ‘hello,’ she can’t, since the only microphone in her booth feeds directly into my ear. You’ll just have to trust me.

“Speaking of trust, I have a few words for our infallible meteorologist, Mister Pete Marcus. Ole Pete promised us a weekend of sun and yours truly planned a trip to Roper Lake; I’ve packed my truck and I’m ready to go. I’m so jazzed that I’ve even contemplated leaving after the show this evening and driving straight up. Now, as many of you have likely noticed, an enormous thunderhead has set up shop in the Northeast; big, nasty son of a gun, spitting off heat lightning left and right.

“Me being me, I called Pete up, asked him about it, and, according to him, it just showed up on the radar about ninety minutes ago. He called me back just before I came on air and said two more popped up: one in Hereford, the other over near McNeal so, if you had plans, you may want to reschedule. Thus concludes my weather rant; we’ll be taking your calls when we get back.”

Steve eased back in his chair and rubbed his forehead, hoping to stave off a burgeoning headache. “Have any big aspirations for the weekend, Carol?”

“Tim’s supposed to take me up to Tucson; dinner and a movie.”

“Damn, if that’s not a beautiful sentiment. You two spoken anymore about setting a date?”

Her right eyebrow raised, settling at an odd angle. “Jesus, Steve, I told you last week that we’re set for next March.”

“You sure did, didn’t you? I’m off my game this evening; damned callers are going to eat me alive.”

“I wouldn’t count on it.”

He cocked his head; Carol nodded. Summers could be a little slow around here, but no calls on a Friday night? That was damn near unheard of. The thought lingered on Steve’s mind as the lights flickered, drawing his eyes upward.

“What the hell?” he asked, turning back to Carol. “Are we still good?”

She shot him a thumbs-up and grinned. “Looks like we’ve got a call, too; you’re back in ten.”

The red light came on and all seemed well. “Welcome back, at least to those of you who can still hear us. It seems the grim storm that’s brewing wrought a little havoc on our equipment. The intrepid Carol tells me we’ve got a caller on the line who’s had their own little outage; Billy in Bisbee, you’re on Mule Mountain Mixer.”

“Hey, Steve; you looked outside the last little while?”

“No, sir, they didn’t afford us the luxury of windows here at the studio.”

“That cloud is still up there, flashing with lightning every few seconds, caused the power to flicker out at my place too.”

“Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what storms do, right Billy?”

“See, that’s the thing; there’s no wind, no rain, and—despite all that lightning—no thunder. I’ve been on earth for sixty-two years, and I’ve never seen anything that rivals this.”

“Appreciate the call, Billy. Take it easy. Well, folks, I’m not sure what’s going on outside at the moment, but I am sure that if you’re looking for a new car, truck, or van, you need to get over to Shep Ward’s for his Summer Sales Marathon. With rebates up to—”

The lights flickered and dimmed, pulsing weakly before going out entirely. After a minute, Carol stepped out of the booth, her muted footfalls the only sound. 

“Where are you going?” Steve asked.

“The generator should have kicked in by now.”

“Hold up, I’ll go with you, just let me grab a flashlight.”

She didn’t hold up, but she didn’t go very far; he caught up with her at the front door; her head tilted upward, her arms dangling by her side. He saw why she stood dumbfounded. The sky glowed a brilliant shade of purple; it wasn’t due to lightning or dwindling sunlight. It was the thunderhead.

The surrounding air was pitch black however, the cloud emanated an ethereal luminescence. Just as Billy described, there was no wind, no rain, no thunder. There were no random cars on the road, no sound whatsoever; it felt like the storm encased the entire town inside a vacuum. Veins of light flickered through the cloud, turning it into a coke-fueled Tesla coil.

Carol turned towards Steve, her eyes a sea of confusion. “What the hell’s going on around here?”