Horror Writer Pays Tribute To Limestone In Many Of His Stories

Gunnells - PhotoPeaceful and idyllic, no one knew that an ancient evil was lurking at Lake Limestone, which continues to be known around campus and the community as simply “The Quarry.”

Over 60 years after the limestone mine was abandoned, a young student watched in terror as the darkness of Lake Limestone swallowed up his friend who ignored nearby warning signs and decided to enter the water. His friend survived the incident, but was never the same. Meanwhile a different student inexplicably disappeared. And then another. It seemed that the long-told story of how The Quarry filled with water wasn’t quite the truth. The young man who dared to dive deep to find out what was at the bottom stirred up something dark, something horrible.

And to this day, a sense of foreboding surrounds The Quarry.

For friends and alumni of Limestone, you might be thinking twice about bringing your family even close to the picturesque lake that is one of the focal points of your alma mater.

Gunnells - Quarry Book CoverBut don’t fret, the horror story about The Quarry is just that. A story. It’s from the mind of Limestone graduate and fiction writer Mark Allan Gunnells. The plot above is from his Evil Jesture Press published book, appropriately titled, The Quarry (copy of book jacket accompanies this article).

A 1999 graduate of Limestone College, with bachelor’s degrees in English and Psychology, Gunnells is a native of Gaffney.

The list of his other books and novellas include Ghosts In The Attic, Asylum, October Roses, The Exchange Student, The Summer of Winters, Tales From The Midnight Shift, Creatures Of The Light, Dark Treats, and more.

“I’ve loved horror books and movies since I was young,” Gunnells said recently from his home in Greer. “At 10 years old, I wrote a story that was basically a rip-off of ‘The Twlight Zone.’ Then I started writing poetry and about teen angst. Luckily I got over that phase. Primarily what I write now are horror and fantasy novels.”

Gunnells (seen in a photo that accompanies this article) particularly enjoys setting some of his stories on college campuses, where teenagers find themselves away from parental rule. He often reaches back into his memories of Limestone, and weaves his stories all around the campus.

“When kids are on their own for the first time, it can be kind of terrifying,” explained the 39-year-old. “So that makes the perfect backdrop for a lot of stories. The thing I like about writing about college campuses is that they are a part of the local community, but also separated from them, too. And when I think of college, I think of Limestone. That’s my go-to campus.”

It took until he was in his 30’s before Gunnells had his first book published. His writing career started with his posting short stories on internet message boards, and eventually his talents caught the eye of a publisher. But even with that success, he still holds a job in the security field.

“Every writer’s dream is to do it full-time,” he said. “But the reality is that most still work other jobs. Guys like Stephen King are rare. That’s my dream, though. For now I am content to be writing, working, and paying the bills.”

For friends and alums of Limestone, in addition to The Quarry, Gunnells suggests reading Ghosts of Winnie Davis Hall from his digital book collection.

“I loved my time at Limestone,” said Gunnells, whose writings can be found on-line through Amazon. “I guess setting some of my horror stories there is a weird way for me to say ‘thank you’ to a place that provided some great experiences for me.”

 (Article by Limestone College Communications Department)