Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. He has also written for comics as well as "Batman: The Animated Series." As of 2018, he has written 45 novels and published 30 short-story collections along with many chapbooks and comic-book adaptations. His stories have won ten Bram Stoker Awards. a British Fantasy Award, an Edgar Award, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, a Sugarprize, a Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, a Spur Award, and a Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and several of his novels have been adapted to film.

Frequent features of Lansdale's writing are usually deeply ironic, strange or absurd situations or characters, such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy battling a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in a nursing home (the plot of his Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, which was made into a movie by Don Coscarelli). He is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and ten Bram Stoker Awards.

His current new-release publisher is Mulholland Books. Lansdale also publishes with Dark Regions Press and Tachyon Publications, and with his daughter Kasey he has started a new publishing company called Pandi Press to control the re-issue and publishing of his older works.

You can go to his official website HERE


by Joe R. Lansdale


The old man drove a red pickup that looked ready to fall apart. He went up one street of Mud Creek and down another, driving slowly, looking out the window, sweating inside the pickup, cooking in the summer sunshine like a turkey in the oven.

Finally he found what he was looking for: a small, white frame house with a freshly mown lawn that you could smell from three blocks away. There was a low, decorative, white fence that encased the yard and the old man parked in front of the curb next to that, got out on his rickety legs, went through the gate and up the walk.

A tricycle lay overturned near the front steps. The old man picked it up and set it right. He went up the steps and knocked on the door.

A young woman with her blonde hair tied back in a ponytail answered his knock. She had a white apron tied over her jeans and sweatshirt. She was barefoot. And very pretty. She smelled faintly of fried chicken.

"Yes?" she asked the old man.

The old man wore a sweaty cowboy hat and he took that off with a wave of his hand and held it in front of his stomach in a manner reminiscent of one clutching a wound. His face certainly seemed to show some sort of hurt–something deep and sour and unrelenting.

"Ma'am, my name is Homer Wall and I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma–"

"Tulsa? I've got relatives there, the Mayners. This hasn't got anything to do with them, does it? They're okay?"

"I guess so. I don't know them. I'm not here about your relatives."

Her eyes housed some suspicion now. "Then you're selling something?"

"No, ma'am, I'm not. I've come to tell you something very important. You see, Mrs. James–"

"How'd you know my name?"

"I'll explain that. I've got this gift, you see, and–"

"For me?"

"No, ma'am. I mean, yes, ma'am, in a way. But not the sort of gift you're thinking of…let me explain."

"Mr. Wall, I don't give to religious organizations, and I really have some work to do."
He shook his head. "No, ma'am, I'm not a religious organization."

"Well, now," she said, smiling, "I didn't think you were the whole thing."

The old man produced a pocket watch from his pants pocket and looked at the time. He felt the mainspring of his heart wind a little tighter. "We haven't got much time, Mrs. James. If you'll just give me a moment."

"Much time? What on earth are–"

"Please. It takes some explaining to make it so you'll understand it right. My gift is special. I got struck by lightning three years ago. Just one of those things. I was working in my garden. Didn't hurt me at all. But it cured my bad hearing, made my hair grow back–"

"You are selling something! My husband has a full head of hair–"

"No, ma'am, I'm not selling anything. Please listen. The lightning, it caused me to start having dreams. Dreams that come true. Like I dreamed my wife was going to die three weeks before she did. Happened just like I dreamed it. Her heart quit. You see, I dreamed my way right into her chest, saw her heart stop pumping, and three weeks later she died. Just like I'd seen it.

"After that it got worse. The dreams would come and grow more terrible each night; then, finally it would stop, and three weeks after it stopped it would happen."

"What would happen?"

"The dream would come true. I dreamed about this air crash, and each night the dream showed me more. I even dreamed the headlines that would be written long before they were put into print, before the words were even thought up. It was terrible, the bodies in the water, the horror…always bad dreams. Never good ones. I dreamed about this little baby and the well down at my granddad's old place. I'd played there when I was a kid. And I dreamed this baby fell in, and I knew that child, and I talked to the parents and they listened, and it didn't happen. You see, they were thinking about buying that land, and there wasn't any way I could have known.

"So I put it together, that this lightning hadn't been any accident, that I was special and I was supposed to go out and try and stop these things. And sometimes, when folks listened, I found that I could–"

"Now, Mr. Wall–"

"Listen, three weeks ago to this day my dreams about you, this house, your husband and your little boys, they stopped–"

"How'd you know I have little boys? What are you–"

"For God's sake, listen. I'm telling you. I dreamed it. And I could see them and you, and your husband, burning–"

She tried to close the door on him, but he moved fast, put his foot in the doorway. She pressed but made no progress. He didn't remove his foot.

"–dreamed this signpost that said 'Mud Creek,' and I dreamed the newspaper headlines off your local paper. I just kept dreaming enough things that I put it together, figured out the town's location. And when I saw your house, I knew it was the one in the dream. The one that was burning."

"Mr. Wall, my husband'll be home any minute."

"Yes, I know. And at five-thirty, while you're eating dinner–I know the time because I dreamed the clock over your kitchen sink and it showed five-thirty–there's going to be–"

"There's my husband. You best go."

The old man did not turn around. He heard a car pull up to the curb. "Listen to me, please. There will be a storm." A car door slammed. "Lightning will strike this house and you'll all die, horribly." The gate creaked open. "I tried to get here earlier, to warn you in plenty of time, but the truck broke down and I had to take some odd jobs to buy the parts it needed, and by the time I got that done and found you, well, it was the day, nearly the time–" A hand clamped the old man's bony shoulder.

"Get your foot out of the door."

The old man turned to look the other in the face. He was a young handsome man in a blue business suit. "Mr. James, you've got to listen."

"Oh, Robert, he's telling some awful thing about how he dreamed we were all going to die in a fire, that lightning is going to strike the house at five-thirty, that he's here to warn us–"

"I am here to warn you," the old man said. "I dreamed this place. Your names will be in tomorrow's paper, they'll call it a freak accident."

"Tomorrow's paper!" Mr. James said. "You are some kind of kook. Take your witchcraft stuff somewhere else."

"Mr. James . . ." The old man's hand clutched at the man's lapel like a claw.

"I mean it."

"You've got to–"

Robert snatched the old man's hand free, pushed him back.

The old man stumbled over the tricycle and fell onto the grass.

"Robert! He's just a crazy old man. You'll hurt him."

"I didn't mean to do that," Robert said. "I didn't know I pushed that hard. I didn't mean for you to fall, but if you don't go, now, I'm going to call the police."

"Lightning will strike this house," the old man said, getting up, recovering his hat and placing it on his head. "And you'll all die. You've got to get out of this house."

"Get out of here," Robert said. "I mean it. Hon, call the police."

The old man sighed, nodded. "Very well, I tried."

"You tried something," Robert said.

The old man got in his truck. He looked longingly out the window at them for a moment, finally started the motor and drove away, heading north.

"Oh, Robert, such a strange old man."

"A kook."

"Could . . . I mean—?"

"Of course not. That's hocus-pocus nonsense. Besides, there's not a cloud in the sky. It's sunny and blue. He's just a nut, well-meaning maybe, but still a nut."

"Poor man."

"Forget it. What's for dinner? Are the boys home?"

"Fried chicken and mashed potatoes. And, yes, they're home and hungry and ready to see their daddy." He put his arm around her and kissed her on the cheek and they went inside.

The old man stopped just outside of Mud Creek and looked at his pocket watch. Five-twenty.

He shook his head sadly, a tear ran down his cheek. He put the truck in gear and drove on northward. Above him, blowing fast, a dark mass of clouds moved south.


moon mice radiant

moon lake