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“Koby’s New Home” takes a sometimes humorous, often unsettling and scary look at economic dislocation.
Having lost his job and now struggling to find a new one, William Grabinski has no choice but to rent a small, dirt cheap unit in an old, decrepit building. Feeling lonely and isolated there, he can’t resist adopting a kitten that cries at him from the building’s courtyard on a cold December day.
The kitten, which Grabinski names Koby, is shivering and starving. He stares up at the man who stops and speaks to him, wondering if he’s a threat or not. The kitten allows Grabinski to pick him up ….
The purring machine quickly goes off. Now tiny Koby has a home.
It starts out very much like a heartwarming and sentimental story of a depressed man who finds comfort and happiness in caring for this sweet, adorable kitten. But it isn’t long before the book heads off in a much darker direction.
The first problem is that Grabinski is suddenly completely paranoid — because his building has a strict no pets policy. What if he gets caught? Will Grabinski and Koby both end up on the street? He nervously bites his nails wondering if there will be a knock on the door, announcing his eviction. Will both man and kitty end up living in a cardboard box?
And yet, that turns out to be the least of his problems.
Through a series of strange and sometimes ominous incidents, Grabinski becomes even more anxious about his life in that complex. He starts to believe the entire building is corrupt, even destructive. Grabinski confronts haunting images: the elderly man in the dark, barren room, the children’s dolls being burned in a demented nighttime ceremony, the mysteriously reappearing box of poison tablets, and, most eerily, the menacing figure that Grabinski comes to call Cigarette Man, who stalks him everywhere he goes. If Grabinski steps out in the hall, it seems like Cigarette Man is standing there, watching him.
“Koby’s New Home” examines people coping in an often intensely hostile environment. The apartment building is filled with people struggling to survive in a grim economy, and nobody is happy to be living in such a decaying complex — Grabinski included.
The pitiful, humiliating feelings these tenants experience from sharing space in this dismal location eventually turns deadly — and horrifically violent. At that point, it’s no longer about economic survival for Grabinski.
BLOODY RABBIT (Paperback)
Now in his 40s, R.T. Robeson thought his life was comfortable and well-established — until an economic downturn claimed virtually everything he had, including his job, house and car. He finds himself riding the city bus to a neighborhood he might never have considered living in before, resting all of his hopes on securing a tiny apartment that’s available. Not even the unit’s unsavory past discourages him from wanting to take it. But even when the landlady accepts his application, Robeson still finds it an uphill struggle to fight off persistent feelings of being a failure.
Then one evening, as Robeson is working as an usher at a local theater, he watches as a hardcore punk band called Bloody Rabbit performs a set of songs that are unsparingly nihilistic and defeatist. Robeson leaves the concert feeling depressed and weary. What he doesn’t expect is what happens as he goes back to that little apartment … the events inside those two rooms that start out odd, then become eerie, then downright terrifying. It puts Robeson on a far more horrific path than he’d ever expected.
“Bloody Rabbit” takes an unnerving look at one man’s struggle to keep his life on track – and the strange twists that his frequent bouts of depression have on the life he’s trying so desperately to rebuild.
THE NEW BOARDER (Paperback)
“The New Boarder” is a terrifying look at one man’s desperate attempt to escape from …. what?
Late one night, 30-year-old Janus breaks into a panic, throws his belongings into a suitcase and flees his apartment. After driving for several hours, he abandons his car in a wooded area and rents a small furnished room in a boarding house. His escape has begun.
This story reverses the traditional formula of the mystery novel, which typically reveals a shocking crime and then starts the hunt for a suspect. In “The New Boarder,” the reader knows who the suspect is, but has no idea what Janus has done.
As Janus hunts down local newspapers to see if there are any news reports about a possible law enforcement search to find him, the events in that quaint small town he’s hiding out in take on a strange, unpredictable twist. Early on, Janus had noticed warnings posted around town advising people to be careful, because several local gay men disappeared and were later found dead and mutilated. The notices warn that a serial killer is stalking gay men. Quite by accident, Janus thinks he may have stumbled onto the identity of the killer — or does he?
“The New Boarder” takes a sometimes surreal look at a few terrifying days in the life of a tormented man. Janus believes he’s fighting inner demons, but doesn’t realize the full extent of the demonic situation he put himself in by renting that little room. He wanted to escape. Instead he got trapped.
BEDTIME STORIES (Paperback)
Have you ever woken up from a really deep sleep, feeling shaken, unsettled, almost frightened?
It takes you a few moments to recognize that the pitch darkness all around you isn’t harboring something violent, threatening, hostile? That you’re safe in your bed from whatever was chasing you in that dream?
Have you ever been tempted to write down that dream, because it not only deeply disturbed you, but the images contained within it haunted you long after you woke up? Welcome to Michael Freeman’s collection of “Bedtime Stories.” Some of the stories are eerie and disturbing, some are humorous, a few are just bizarre. They take you into a surreal, dreamlike world that still feels oddly familiar.
BLOODY RABBIT (Kindle eBook version)
At a concert one evening, R.T. Robeson hears them for the first time: a nihilistic band called Bloody Rabbit, whose songs paint an unsparingly pessimistic look at a world that is collapsing, where hatred remains the strongest emotion, where violence no longer shocks anyone. Their music has a disturbing impact on Robeson, leaving him feeling depressed and exhausted.
The songs, in fact, remind Robeson of just how painful his life has been in the past few years. The Great Recession first cost him his job, and then after two years of unemployment, his house, car and finally every last bit of self-worth. He is slowly trying to turn his life around, and there are hopeful signs: he finally lands a new job, although it pays far less than the one he had before, and finds a small apartment to rent.
But he still can’t shake off frequent bouts of depression and anxiety, and feels like he’s clinging to stability by the very tips of his fingernails. No wonder that concert only adds to his misery index.
Robeson is haunted as well by the angry man who appears to have mistaken him for an employee at a local bank, and who may be stalking him. But why? As Robeson struggles to find the emotional strength to keep pushing forward, he finds himself increasingly in great danger — with no way to fight back.
THE NEW BOARDER (Kindle eBook version)
“The New Boarder” is Mr. Freeman’s first novel. It’s a story that builds up a considerable amount of tension and suspense as we follow 30-year-old Janus Mehlich, and his frantic efforts to avoid law enforcement at all cost, and lay low.
In a quaint old historic boarding house in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Janus rents a small room. There’s a painful history to those four walls, an eerie and disturbing story of a mother and son and their tragic fates. After learning about what happened in there, it almost sends Janus packing to find somewhere else to live.
But the truth is, Janus can’t leave that boarding house. He’s there because of his petrified escape from his urban apartment, and the dark secret he now carries with him.
There’s no question that this new room he’s renting has a tortured past.
There’s no denying that the others living in that boarding house are bizarre, to say the least.
But it doesn’t matter.
Janus went fleeing from his urban apartment late one night in a complete panic.
And now he has to hide ….
…. but from what?
Welcome to “The New Boarder.”
Ask yourself this: is there a worse situation than losing your freedom and ending up in prison? Just possibly, there’s a much worse form of prison.
Welcome to “Snow.”
Written by Michael Freeman and David Raith, “Snow” is a two-act play, a dark and Kafkaesque look at the friendship between Adam, a young man serving a two-year prison sentence, and his friend Rob, a freelance writer. It would seem Rob has the freedom that Adam so desperately wants to get back — or does he? As Rob falls victim to a devastating economic downturn, he finds his life spiraling out of control …. and he finds himself trapped in a different, but equally scary, form of “prison.”
Try this: You’re lying in bed at night, and you feel it … snow gently falling on you. Snow in Orlando? That makes no sense.
But what if that snow pulled you out of a recurring dream you’ve had, about the total loss of all your freedom, of a devastating fall that you can’t climb out of? Would you then embrace that …. “Snow”?
MURDER SLEEP (Paperback)
After two years struggling to find work in a bad economy, R.T. Robeson gets a break and lands a dream job. His new employer even puts him up in a hotel for two weeks of training. But the nondescript R.T. makes one error in judgment: he decides to bring along a young friend, Ryan, who uses the two weeks to get high on Ecstasy and spend his days looking for alluring women at the pleasure palace’s pool. But Ryan doesn’t sleep at night, and he makes it nearly impossible for R.T. to, either, putting his new job at risk. The situation gets even more bizarre when Ryan meets the drop-dead gorgeous Francesca at the hotel’s bar and invites her back to the room while the increasingly neurotic R.T. is at work. Francesca makes a strong impression on Ryan – perhaps too strong, since her motives appear to go well beyond orgies in bed. Francesca is obsessed with a rich, older gentleman staying at the hotel who had mistreated her – and she seems intent on motivating Ryan’s Alpha Male side to help her enact revenge. The more Francesca talks, the more she appears to envision a hideously blood revenge. Is Ryan likely to succumb to her naked hostility? And yet …. is any of this really happening? Do the characters have an impaired sense of reality, or a collapsing depth perception? What exactly is going on in the room within that historic hotel in Fort Lauderdale, where a wet spot mysteriously reappears on the desk, and where shadowy figures move through the room in the pitch darkness of night? And by the end, is the audience exposed as more than simply voyeurs to the macabre happenings? Welcome to “Murder Sleep” … a play likely to stab brutally at you in your dreams long after you’ve seen it.