Author Spotlight – Bryan W. Alaspa
Bryan W. Alaspa is the author of the short story VERMILION in the
NEW Vampire Anthology
He is also the author of Strange Fruit and the Slender Man and Sapphire
They say the town of Vermilion, Illinois is cursed. If you were to see what it has become, you might be willing to agree. Like so many things that happen around these parts, it goes back to a story about Native Americans.
The tale goes that the town of Vermilion was once on the fast track to becoming one of the biggest cities in the entire state. That much is known fact, as there was even a time when the city became the capital of the state of Illinois. Sitting high on the banks of the Mississippi River, Vermilion was a transportation hub for the steamboats of the time.
As my great-grandfather told it, there was a thriving community here and in that community lived a wealthy man who ran most of the town. He had a daughter, and that daughter was willful and wouldn’t listen and she fell in love with a Native American fellow back in a time when Native Americans were still called things like Featherheads, Cochise and Injuns.
Needless to say, the father did not take too kindly to this and he forbade his daughter to ever see the “Scalper” again. Of course, like most of these tales go, she didn’t listen. She and the boy went sneaking around and it was only a matter of time before the father confirmed his suspicions. He then paid some men to find the young Native American boy. And do you think he turned the boy over to the police claiming some false crime, or just ushered the kid out of town, threatening him never to return? No, he did neither.
The father had the young man beaten and then tied to a large log. The young man lay there, bleeding, arms outstretched like a familiar religious symbol, and the father pushed the log off into the rushing waters of the Mighty Miss. This is where the curse comes in.
Reportedly the Native American boy cursed the whole town of Vermilion, proclaiming the river would eventually swallow the wanna-be metropolis like a giant serpentine devil, wiping it from the face of the earth forever.
Whether or not there ever was a Native American boy, bound by love and killed by hate, no one knows for sure. But there certainly seems to be an air of doom around this place.
Vermilion did go on to become a thriving city, but there came a flood one day and most of the town was washed away. See, when the water receded a bit, it didn’t recede the rest of the way, essentially turning the city into a small island in the middle of the Mississippi River. We are now a tiny township with rushing water on all sides, technically part of the state of Illinois, but with the only bridge taking us into Missouri.
So go figure.
The town has flooded several times since then. The Ole Miss is one mighty bitch when she wants to be. The last time I remember it being completely flooded was back in ’93. The entire town was covered in something like nine feet of water. Those of us that were left, just about 30 people at that time, were evacuated. We all came back and many of us said we would stay here until the island was gone, but most of the young families that had been away on vacation moved away permanently, and several of the evacuees decided they’d had enough.
These days there are just fifteen of us, all of us descended from those founding families of long ago. There are a couple of young folks, but most of us are older, like me. Heck, I’m one of the younger of the older folks being only in my fifties. And the rest of the town looks like something out of a museum.
There’s the downtown area with a small store and a restaurant that barely does any business. Thank goodness for the legend of the curse or we’d have no tourists at all. There’s a few houses and there’s even a park, complete with playground equipment, even though there are no kids to play on them anymore. There’s also a small city hall with mostly empty offices, a library and a church at the far end, with mostly empty pews. It’s a pretty town, with lots of trees and green grass, but it is also very quiet, with empty houses where there were once families. Quiet that is, except for the always constant rushing sound of the river when you’re outside. People live in fear each spring when the rains come and wonder if this will be the year when the curse finally hits for the last time.
I awoke in absolute darkness the night the stranger came. The weather people had been predicting a bad storm all day. The year before, we’d had a drought in the area and people joked that maybe Vermilion was going to become part of Missouri and join the rest of civilization again. Then came the hard winter, with lots of bad snow storms, one after another after another and the town stayed buried in snow. Then came the rains that spring. READ MORE
Bryan W. Alaspa is a Chicago native and published author of over 20 works of fiction and non-fiction. He has written books in the genres of horror, thrillers, suspense, true crime, history, mysteries, young adult, paranormal and even romance.
When he’s not writing, Bryan enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Melanie, and their two fur babies, Gracie and Pippa.
The INTERVIEW with Fiona
Name: Bryan W. Alaspa
- Vicious by @bryanalaspa (thegeekdomofgore.blogspot.com)
- Here is my interview with Bryan W. Alaspa (authorsinterviews.wordpress.com)
- Interview with Author Bryan W. Alaspa @bryanalaspa (thegeekdomofgore.blogspot.com)
This entry was posted on November 12, 2013 by BooksCatsCoffee. It was filed under Bryan W. Alaspa, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red and was tagged with 13 Vampires, Chicago, Illinois, Mississippi River, Native American, Native Americans in the United States, Short Stories, Strange Fruit, vampires, Vermilion, Wrapped In Red.