Jason Savio was born and grew up in the town of Falmouth on a big sandbar known as Cape Cod. He has his master's in journalism from Emerson College in Boston and has written numerous stories for the Cape Cod Times and Pulse Magazine, interviewing familiar names like Chevy Chase, George Thorogood, and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, as well as horror icons Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th and Doug Bradley of Hellraiser fame. He has been the proud dog dad of two loyal four-legged companions and has played the role of Master Splinter to a turtle for over the past 25 years and counting. Artie's Bark is Jason's first novel.

Visit Jason online at jasonsavio.weebly.com and follow him at @artiesbark and @jasonrsavio to get updates on Artie's Bark and see what he's working on next.

Artie's Bark by Jason Savio

There's a difference between curses and hauntings.

Curses can be broken.

Brighton Falls is like any other safe, ho-hum town in America with a bad baseball team, clean sidewalks, and nosy neighbors. That all changes, however, when a pet is brutally killed and other animals begin to go missing, one by one.

Then Artie, the dog of middle-schooler Tommy Watson, suddenly falls gravely ill. Tommy's search to help his beloved animal friend unravels an evil, small-town secret that goes back centuries and binds everyone together.

Neighborhood savior Carl Crocker pledges to bring the guilty party to justice. But what does the despised recluse Old Man Rooney know about Crocker that no one else does?

With a community on edge and time running out, it's up to Tommy—and his dog—to finally put to rest what no one else can … and make the hardest decision of his life. It will test both his courage and love.

Jason Savio's first novel blends horror with heart into a coming-of-age story that shows how far people will go to prevent the inevitable, the ways we deal with grief, and the importance of friendship when all seems lost.




Evelynn Crofton wishes she never woke up on that humid spring morning, but the sheets were sticking to her back and the sunlight sneaking in through the broken blinds was hurting her eyes. Mrs. Skittles needed to be fed, anyway.

That's what she called her long-haired cat, along with an assortment of other nicknames that most people would probably snicker at if they ever heard them. And the times that Mrs. Skittles was naughty and stuck her sharp little claws out were the times that Evelynn yelled naughty words at her in a fiery spat. She always asked for forgiveness later, amen.

Evelynn rolled her rotund self out of bed, letting the pink flowered sheets peel off her sweaty back, and reached over for her white nightgown on the chair nearby.

"Mrs. Skittles?"

Usually, the cat was perusing somewhere in the bedroom when she woke up. Sometimes, though, the cat liked to sleep in the dirty laundry hamper and relieve herself in it. On this particular morning, with no Mrs. Skittles brushing her furry tail against her leg, Evelynn was leaning toward the latter.

"Goddamn cat," Evelynn said, getting herself up. "If you're pissing on my drawers again, you'll spend the rest of the week outside."

Evelynn finished putting her flowing nightgown on in a huff, looking like a ghost that haunts its victims' fridges. Casper the Hungry Ghost.

She once was married to an accountant by the name of Walt. One day Walt had enough of being told he was useless and playing second in favorites to Mrs. Skittles so he decided to blow his brains out. So be it Evelynn would often think to herself when she walked past Walt's favorite chair in the living room, an uncomfortable looking thing fading from green to a musty yellow color. If you don't want to be here with us then we don't want you here anyway.

What Evelynn wanted right now was to find her cat and cook up some morning eggs with cheese.

"Where are you my little miracle?" she called out as she made her way into the kitchen.

No sign of any miracle, just a half-empty bowl of dry cat food and leftover pork chops from dinner she apparently forgot to put in the fridge the night before. She opened the fridge and put the dried-up, barbeque-drenched chops inside without any tin foil. Evelynn didn't mind that nice zesty flavor that only a fridge can add to your meal. Problem was, she could have sworn she put the leftovers away before she went to bed. She also would have sworn on her T.V. Guide collection that she had a full carton of eggs. Right now, all she saw was an empty case staring back at her, except for a lonesome looking egg at the end of the top row.

She took the egg out and studied it. Some foreign substance, similar to the orange guts you pull out from inside a pumpkin when carving a jack-o-lantern, stretched across it. A warm heat radiating off of it startled her and she dropped the egg, cracking it on the floor. Bending down to pick it up, Evelynn saw another egg shell cracked and spread across the floor, and another, and another, all leading out of the kitchen. She followed the path of egg shells like an older and less graceful version of Little Red Riding Hood, all the way right up to the front door.

With the discovery of each egg shell, Evelynn became more and more furious. Yoke strained across the blue carpet near the coat rack.

"Mrs. Skittles!?"

Evelynn, in all her nightgown glory, swung open the front door in a fit of rage, expecting to see her cat on its perch at the doorstep. Instead, what lay there was yet another egg shell. Four total now, and four too many if you asked someone who had planned on scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Pushing the screen door open, she followed the trail, leaving the door to close with a loud CRACK! behind her. She followed the mess of more egg shells and the strange orange substance that surrounded them all the way up to her mailbox.

Evelynn paused, looking around to see if any of her neighbors were watching. Mr. Sadly was apt to be home and peeking through his curtains at her. The pervy old devil, she thought to herself. Although the thought didn't really seem to bother her all that much.

"Mrs. Skittles?! You Goddamn pain in the ass," she said, immediately crossing herself in the name of the Holy Spirit. It was Sunday, after all.

The cat must have run off, but she'll be back later. And when she shows her prissy little self, I'll give her a good lesson.

A grin spread across Evelynn's face that would have made her late husband turn in his grave.

Not giving it a second thought, Evelynn opened her mailbox, hoping somewhere in the back of her mind that the weekly flier would be in it with all the week's best deals at the local grocery store, especially another round of the buy-one-get-one free potato chips.

She stared into the black mailbox and froze.

The flier was in there, sure enough. But something else was, too.

Slowly, she pulled the flier out. Buy one dozen eggs, get one free it said in big, cheerful lettering. Evelynn paid no mind to the opportunity to fill her fridge with more eggs this week, although her intense gaze said otherwise.

"Mrs. Skittles?"

Atop the week's steals and deals, right next to the eggs on sale, Mrs. Skittles' lifeless little head blankly looked back at Evelynn.

She screamed, sending Mr. Sadly running from his window.