BY: MICHAEL INFINITO

Violet and Johnny Dotson pull up stakes and relocate to the beautiful countryside near Asheville, North Carolina, in an attempt at starting over after a series of miscarriages that Violet has attributed to the presence of an evil snake. Unbeknownst to them they have actually been summoned there by an evil entity.

Locked away in a mountaintop mental institution, J.C., a mysterious survivor found at the scene of a brutal murder/suicide, will only utter six words: “I am the son of God.”

Strange events centered around the unknown patient spur Detective Tom Drayton and his partner to connect several other bizarre deaths to the time of 12:19.

Armed with an old priest’s advice and a touch of new-found faith, Tom follows a path that could very well lead him to the destruction of all mankind. But is he doing God’s bidding or could he, in fact, be the dreaded serpent himself?

12:19…The clock is ticking…

TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Hour of the Serpent by Michael Infinito, Violet Dotson wants a baby more than anything. But after four miscarriages and having her tubes tied, she is stunned when a man claiming to the “the son of God” tells her that she is pregnant with his baby, especially when the only man she has had sex with is her husband Johnny. But as time goes on, Violet begins to suspect that things are not quite right.

A chilling tale of good versus evil, with the outcome unsure from the beginning, this is one you want to read when you have a good block of time to spend as, once you start, you won’t be able to put it down.

REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Hour of the Serpent by Michael Infinito is the story of a devil who will do anything to have a baby. JC claims to be the son of God, and he runs around trying to find a woman willing to have his baby. His first “victim,” Amber, kills her unborn child, her own two young children, and herself in despair. Then Violet Dotson comes along, working as a night nurse at the mental institution when JC has been incarcerated after Amber’s murder/suicide. Violet has had four miscarriages and then had her tubes tied, so she believes that her dream of having a baby is gone forever. Imagine her shock when she discovers she is pregnant. But shock turns to dismay when JC claims the baby is his and if she values her life and that of her husband, she will protect it at all costs. Needless to say, this is not exactly the dream of motherhood that she had in mind.

For anyone who loves horror, Stephen King style, this book is for you. Hour of the Serpent will grip you by the throat and keep a hold of you all the way through. I couldn’t put it down.

Chapter 1

Violet Dotson stared into the kitchen, anxiously awaiting her dog’s return, all attention focused on a tiny, flap-style pet door her husband had recently installed. From her location on the couch, she had seen Tippy, their beloved toy poodle dash through the portal a few seconds earlier. Under normal circumstances, she wouldn’t have paid much attention to the dog simply letting herself out, but on this day Tippy’s usual timid nature had been replaced by a series of nasty, vicious growls, culminating in a single shrieking yelp.

Concerned for her pup’s safety, Violet’s brain sent out nerve impulses, commanding her limbs to move, but nothing happened. Her body remained frozen in place.

“Johnny!” she yelled, hoping to wake her husband, who still slept soundly in their upstairs bedroom.

There was no response, but the shout startled the baby, making him cry. She glanced into the bassinet and saw Joshua, her newborn son, flailing his arms and legs in protest.

“Shh…shh…everything’s okay,” she said, attempting to calm the infant.

Overwhelmed with panic, and on the verge of screaming, she noticed some movement in the kitchen. The flap on the dog door had pushed inward, an obvious indication of Tippy’s safe return.

To Violet’s dismay and horror, what made its way through the door wasn’t her loving pooch. The large triangular head and lifeless eyes of a giant python peeked through the flap, its deadly gaze focused directly upon her.

“Johnny! Oh my God!” she shrieked. “Help us!”

The baby wailed again. Still no response from her husband, Violet struggled desperately to move, but her helpless body remained paralyzed on the couch. She tried crying out again, but shock and fear had temporarily rendered her speechless.

The monstrous snake oozed through the door in a smooth, fluid motion. By the time its tail had cleared the flap, she estimated the devilish beast to be at least twenty feet long. With the exception of a small mound halfway down its body, the python looked relatively slender for its length. Unfreezing her paralyzed vocal chords, Violet let out another blood-curdling scream.

With Joshua wailing and Violet in hysterics, the predator slithered across the room, taking aim at the baby’s bassinet.

“For the love of Christ, Johnny, please get down here!”

By this time, the python had reached the portable bed. It raised its head off the floor and peeked over the edge, studying the bawling baby. Joshua, fascinated by the strange creature, stopped crying, leaving behind only Violet’s shrieking wail.

The serpent rested the weight of its body on the edge of the bassinet, causing the light-weight furniture piece to fall over. Joshua barrel-rolled onto the carpet, unharmed.

“Please, God, no! Please! No! No!” Violet’s screams had turned into muffled sobbing weeps.

The huge constrictor coiled itself around the baby until only Joshua’s head remained visible. A little giggle escaped his mouth as the snake held him in its grip.

“Nice snake. Please don’t hurt my baby,” Violet begged. “Goddammit, Johnny! Where are you?”

The python flexed its muscles, sending a horrible crunch throughout the room. Joshua’s giggles instantly ceased as his head slumped to one side. With streams of bright red liquid oozing from every orifice of the child’s face, the snake released the crushed infant onto the floor. By the time Violet had gone into shock, all that remained visible of her tiny bundle of joy was his two feet, protruding from the hungry serpent’s mouth. For an instant, she thought the snake had smiled at her, either satisfied by the taste of Joshua’s sweet flesh, or the pain it had inflicted upon a new mother.

***

“Violet!” Johnny barked, attempting to wake his convulsing wife. Fucking epilepsy. He knew medical procedure recommended not waking someone in the midst of a seizure, but doing nothing went against his natural protective instincts. He began rocking her back and forth, trying to end the spastic, violent drooling episode.

Violet’s twisting and writhing finally ceased. She sat straight up in bed, her face covered with beads of sweat. Throwing back the blanket, she revealed sopping wet, crimson-soaked panties and a blood-stained sheet.

“Joshua, noooooo!” she wailed. “I lost you again.”

“For the love of God,” Johnny muttered, burying his head in his hands. “When will this nightmare ever end?”

Chapter 2

On a country road just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, sheriff’s deputy, David Harland, received a call from his dispatcher requesting he check on the residence of a local woman named Amber Summers, a middle-aged mother of two who worked at a large bank in the city. Her co-workers had not seen her in a few days and her two children had also been absent from school. After numerous failed attempts to call both her home and cell phone, her closest friend at work, Julie Penny, decided to take action. Initially, she had just planned on driving out to Amber’s house after work, but a sense of urgency overcame her and she called the police instead.

Deputy Harland turned his car onto a long gravel driveway at 2141 Old Creek road, inspecting the surroundings as he made his way toward the house. The large yard had not been well-maintained and mold covered kid’s toys laying scattered about in the high grass. The old, three-story brick home was partially covered with ivy and its wooden shutters and trim work showed signs of dry-rot. The sagging roof desperately needed repair, while two gigantic trees had grown so close to the house that some larger limbs were scraping against its bricks.

Harland wondered why someone would let such a beautiful piece of property become so dilapidated. With majestic mountains in the background and no neighbors in sight, a residence that might have looked like a lavish country estate instead gave him the creeps.

After parking, he walked past a blue Ford Escort located near the front entrance of the house and made his way up three crumbling brick steps to the main door. He pressed the doorbell twice and heard nothing. Probably broken. Balling up his fist, he pounded repeatedly on the heavy wooden barrier, receiving no response.

Taking a chance, Deputy Harland reached down and twisted the knob. It turned freely and the door popped open, bombarding his sinuses with an unpleasant odor. It smelled to him like Summers might be an animal lover who had neglected her pets’ litter areas.

“Hello, anyone home?” he shouted into the house.

There wasn’t a sound. Assuming Amber Summers and her children had probably gone away without notifying anyone, he ignored proper procedures and stepped inside. His major concern, at the moment, became the sour pet odor. He thought perhaps a cat or a dog had become trapped somewhere in the house. Tracing the unpleasant stench, he walked down a hallway and into the living room. What David Harland saw next made his knees buckle and brought a rush of bile into his throat.

A woman sat in a chair, her feet propped on an ottoman. A shotgun rested on her chest, its double barrels pointed at an area where her chin should have been. Each half of her skull flopped over to the opposites sides of her neck; kept dangling only by attached skin flaps. Everything else that had been inside the woman’s head lay plastered on the wall behind her. The animal odor he had smelled turned out to be nothing more than the putrid aroma of death.

Shaken by the scene, he sprinted from the house and emptied his churning stomach into a nearby bush. After spitting a few times, he grabbed his two-way radio and called for backup. Realizing he should hold his position until reinforcements arrived, Deputy Harland instead drew his gun and headed back to the house. He just couldn’t stand by and wait, knowing the lives of two young children possibly hung in the balance.

He cautiously reentered, keeping his gun drawn at a ready position. After making his way through all of the first-floor rooms, he found no trace of anyone other than the decapitated corpse he assumed to be Mrs. Summers. After getting over the shock of looking at her, he noticed something odd about the dead woman. Her feet were soaked with blood and coagulated footprints lead toward the ottoman. It didn’t take a detective to realize the deceased woman had walked through blood before sitting down to take her own life. He shuddered at the thought of from where it might have originated.

Deputy Harland followed the footprints to a stairway. The tan carpeted steps displayed similar brownish-red stains. He made his way to the second floor, being careful not to step on any evidence. The trail led him directly to a bedroom. Its door hung open, but no sounds came from within. With his gun still at the ready, he stepped inside, fearing the worst.

David Harland could not have even imagined the worst in order to fear it. Halfway between the bed and door, the remains of what appeared to be a little boy littered the floor. His body had been hit with a shotgun at close range so many times that it resembled a large mass of rotting hamburger meat. The gruesome living room scene paled in comparison to what he had found here.

Holding back a second round of vomit, he left the boy’s body behind and proceeded down the hallway to another bedroom. Light pink walls and frilly decorations indicated to him the room might belong to a young girl. With no trail of blood prints between the boy and where he now stood, the queasy deputy moved toward a blanket-covered lump in the bed, hoping beyond all reason to find this little one alive. To his relief, the youngster had not been shot. The blanket was pulled up to her mouth, and at first glance she appeared to be sleeping. As he pulled the covers back, his heart sank. The young girl’s head had been sawed clean off. The killer had spun her body around, joining neck and feet together. Acting as a giant sponge, the mattress had absorbed every drop of the child’s spilled blood. A stained butcher knife lay alongside her carved-up corpse. There would be no mystery murder weapons on this case.

Deputy Harland picked up his radio once again, but before he could raise the transmitter to his mouth, an unexpected noise filled his ears. Someone had spoken, yet the faint words hadn’t emanated from any radio speaker. At first, he thought the phantom voice might be his imagination, possibly a result of jittery nerves. Unsure, he clipped the radio back on his belt and retraced his steps, returning to the hallway. The voice grew a bit louder. There was no imagination involved. Gun drawn, he followed the corridor to another flight of stairs. One step at a time he climbed until reaching the third floor. With each step he took, the voice grew louder, more distinct.

“I must forgive her. May her soul find peace.”

He followed the voice until he found himself standing in front of a closed door. Raising his gun in front of him, ready to fire if necessary, he kicked it open.

“Freeze!” he commanded.

At first, it surprised him to see an empty bathroom. The small facility had a tiny sink and an old-fashioned commode. There was also a tub, concealed by a drawn shower curtain.

“Bless them,” a voice rang out from behind the light blue draping panel.

With an unsteady hand, the deputy ripped the curtain open and pointed his revolver at the person sitting in the tub. A thin man, probably in his mid-thirties, dressed in blue jeans and a faded army Jacket, with long flowing blond hair and full beard, he looked like a throwback to the early seventies hippie movement.

“Hands in the air!” Deputy Harland ordered.

The man didn’t move.

“Hands in the air now or I’ll shoot.”

“You’ll shoot no one, my son,” the stranger replied, not looking the least bit threatened.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” The deputy obviously wasn’t going to pull the trigger unless the man made a hostile move.

“I am everywhere. I’m the son of God.”

© 2018 by Michael Infinito