Free Fiction Friday: Wild Imagination by Marcie

Wild Imagination
by Marcie

Julian is a simple man whose imagination plays out in his mind, allowing him a bit of stimulation in his mundane world. He has a strict routine every day. Waking at five a.m., Julian runs five miles at the park, coming home by five forty-five a.m., he has orange juice, toast, brushes his teeth, then takes a shower with Irish spring soap and dresses in a green pull over. He puts on his standard work issued royal blue slicker, even on sunny days. Julian always takes the same route to get to work.

On the way down the driveway to his green Prius Julian imagines the neighbors barking dog breaking through the six-foot wooden fence and savagely mauling his face. While driving to work he thinks about being in a devastating car wreck, hydroplaning then flipping the green Prius over three times. In the bathroom he imagines smashing his penis beneath the toilet bowl lid and being too embarrassed to call for help, none of which actually happens.

Taking a walk on his lunch break, Julian can’t quite make out the shape he sees on the shore among the branches and brush on the opposite side of the Brandywine river.

It’s inconceivable, he thinks as he strains his eyes to see if he truly sees part of a royal blue slicker caught on a branch.

No of course it can’t be.

He rubs his eyes and peers as best he could, then decides he has far too creative an imagination. Julian shakes his head and returns to his job repairing simple machines in the small grey building just next the river. Julian is lucky enough to have the solitude of work without distractions, but in the quiet of the day, his mind wanders and curiosity ails him again. He peeks out the window for a different point of view.


Pretty certain that he sees a body across the river, he has to make absolutely sure. The row boat used for emergencies, was parked just up from the shore. He slowly climbs down the steep hill to the river, pushes the row boat to the edge of the water, hops in, then rows downstream before he gets his bearings to cross over. Upon rowing, he imagines himself tipping the boat and being swallowed up by the ice-cold water.

Pulling to shore he anchors the boat and steps out. Thinking he might be a hero by solving an important murder case, Julian bravely reaches for the royal blue slicker caught on the branch. Upon seeing the body, he flips it over and loudly gasps. Rubbing his eyes, he sees a mirror image of himself. Panic stricken, Julian shrieks, scrambles back to the boat. Slipping on the slick surface of a large wet rock, he falls back wards hitting his head on the corner of a jagged stone upon the river’s edge. The firm cherry Jell-O brain tissue separates from the hard-outer shell of Julian’s skull as he perishes with his imagination on the opposite side of the Brandywine river.

Marcie is a writer enthusiast and wishes to spend more time reading and writing. She was told her writing voice was once Gothic Splatter Punk and is currently working on a story. She works part time for Hagley Museum and Library as a tour guide and enjoys being involved in the history and many programs they offer. Dressing in 19th century clothing is a bonus. She is currently enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University for Creative Writing and English and hopes to eventually complete an MFA program there.


Kidnapped! How a Video Game Shaped “At the Hands of Madness”

How a Video Game Shaped “At the Hands of Madness

by Kevin Holton

“To think that once I could not see beyond the veil of our reality… to see those who dwell behind. My life now has purpose, for I have learned the frailty of flesh and bone… I was once a fool.”

Pious August

There’s a chance some of you are horror readers as well as gamers, and there’s a chance you already know what game I’ll be talking about. There aren’t any others like it. For those of you who’ve never played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, let me assure you, the title isn’t the only bizarre part of the experience, and this is one that, once you go through it, you never really leave it behind.

I was a kid, probably twelve, when I first picked this up. It stuck out to me from the shelf at a local GameStop. Not literally, mind you, but as I walked along, trailing my gaze down the row of used discs, I just… stopped. Dead in my tracks, staring at this one case, as if I’d been put on this Earth to play it. What followed fueled an ongoing obsession with abnormal psychology, and a life-long obsession with metaphysics.

Even for back then, the graphics weren’t great. The combat was predictable and simple, the enemies easy to work around, and even the final boss never posed too much of a threat. This game was never about being a game, though. This was the closest thing the early 2000’s would get to a fully immersive, augmented reality experience.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is deeply rooted in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. You play as Alex Roivas, who ventures to her ancestral home upon her grandfather is found beheaded. Shortly thereafter, you find something tucked away in his belongings: The Tome of Eternal Darkness, which is exactly as world-ending as it sounds. Through it, you relive the short, awful lives of those who read it before you, acquiring the magic they learned along the way—at the expense of your sanity.

That’s where this game thrived. Like many supernatural adventure games, you got a health bar and a magic bar. The sanity meter is what set it apart. As it began dipping, spells would backfire, causing you to explode, then you’d reappear in the previous room, unharmed. Massive enemies you have no hope of killing would overwhelm you, then disappear. Statues would turn their heads to watch you as you pass. Books would fly from the shelves, rearranging as they saw fit.

But, the developers didn’t stop at merely screwing with the character. The game also begins to screw with you. I’d examine a bathtub, and see Alex lying dead with her wrists slit. I tried to save, and the game pretended to delete my saves. The volume would spontaneously lower to nothing, or flash the Gamecube start screen, as if I’d hit reset. At one point, my character screamed, “Stop following me!” and shot the screen.

The character tried to kill me.

Not for real, of course—it’s a simple program, not Skynet—and it couldn’t even if it had artificial intelligence, but that moment! That broke the fourth wall. In the process, it broke open a barrier in my head. What could books really do? Why simply tell a tale, when I could create a whole reality, then thrust it upon this one?

That’s what I’ve strived for ever since. Writing a story, designing my characters, plot, tension, in ways that could go beyond tension and actively disturb the reader’s sense of the what the universe really is. I thrive on ambiguity and suggestion, relishing the moments where I can insert little bits that remind the reader, This story isn’t static. It can affect you.

This game impacted a number of my stories, not just my recent release, At the Hands of Madness, a novel that draws obvious influence from Lovecraft as well. Medraka, the kaiju in my novel, was inspired by Xel’lotath for sure—both are four-armed, psychic, sanity-ending beast (albeit with far different powers and origins). Another upcoming novel of mine, These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream is rooted in the chaos of overlapping dimensions. Would I have ever had such thoughts if I’d never witnessed this game’s three gods kill each other, separately yet simultaneously, in overlapping realities? What would my life have been like, had I not, as the player, orchestrated the way they died, in a manner that proved time and space are illusions?

I’m honestly not sure. People knock video games as mindless or violent, but that one, this single game, opened up a galaxy in my head, with each new idea a glittering star, ready to burn.

Writers know their inspiration can come from many sources, but Eternal Darkness, I know, with its strange plot, subtle terrors, and unrestrained attack on the psyche—on the very definition of reality—make this a title that deserves a remake. Like the Silent Hill and Resident Evil franchises, this has a place in any horror enthusiasts’ library. Expensive to get at this point, but if you’re dedicated, you’ll find a way. It taught me how to make stories that don’t end—or begin—on the page.

So, try not to think about breathing, ignore how your tongue feels in your mouth, and go check out At the Hands of Madness.

Kevin Holton is the author of At the Hands of Madness, as well as the forthcoming titles The Nightmare King and These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream. He also co-wrote the short film Human Report 85616, and his short work has appeared in dozens of anthologies.

He can be found at, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon @TheHoltoning.

Free Fiction: Serenity by Tanisha D. Jones


by Tanisha D.  Jones

He was a constant explorer and that was what brought him to the dingy alley in Chinatown. The smell of old fish and mooshoo pork wafted through the steaming grates in the ground as the late October air, whipped through his expensive Armani trench coat. Being one of the richest men in the country afforded him the luxury of his eccentricities. It also afforded him a degree of anonymity. Never a public figure, media did not hound him, as a matter of fact, not many people knew him as it were. And that’s the way he preferred it.

It was damp, dark, and hard to see, but he didn’t need to see, he knew where he was going in the bleakness of the desolate alley. He found the door, the same hidden door camouflaged to look like the dark worn bricks of the decrepit buildings that lined either side of the alley. He knocked twice, then stepped back and waited. A brick shifted, and then slid open to reveal two piercing black eyes. They peered at him briefly, then the brick moved back into place and the wall opened to reveal a small Asian man with thick glasses wearing a food stained t-shirt, old khaki pants an apron and black bedroom slippers that had seen better days. He waved him in impatiently, before slamming the door.

“Good Evening Mr. Walters. Back so soon?” The old Asian spoke in crisp clear tones, his English tinged with a slightly British accent.

“Mr. Cheng. And please call me Max.” He slipped off his coat and tossed it on a nearby table. The room was warm and decorated in bright floral prints. The furniture was old French Country and smelled of fresh coffee and potpourri. Mr. Cheng motioned for Walters to have a seat and he willingly sat on the plush floral sofa. It was as if he were back in his grandmother’s living room. Everything seemed so pleasant in the windowless room; the mock fireplace glowing orange and casting warmth through the room. Delicate dollies lined the many shelves and tables, pedestals for several dozen brick aback and chotchkeys that Mr. Cheng and his late wife had collected over the years and their extensive travels.

“Tea?” Mr. Cheng offered as he wiped his hands on the already dirty apron.

“No thank you.” Max Walters shifted impatiently. He didn’t fit in this room. He was a tall man, nearly seven feet tall, with coarse jet-black hair that was prematurely graying at the temples. His skin was smooth and tanned and he was in extrodinary physical shape. The startling blue eyes seemed the only semblance of telling his age. They were lively and seemed to dance when he spoke.

“When you called you said that you had something different” Mr. Cheng nodded and smiled, exposing perfect white teeth.

“Yes, yes. Of course.” He motioned again, this time for Max to follow him. They walked out of the room to a narrow hallway, off to the right of the hallway was a bustling restaurant kitchen. Waiters and busboys in crisp white shirts moved back and forth in elegant dance of routine. Mr. Cheng looked inside and shouted something in Cantonese, before leading Max to end of the hall. The further they walked the darker and more claustrophobic the space got. The walls seemed to close in on them, to the point that Max had to turn sideways and nearly shimmy through the narrow space, the ceiling pressing down on the top of his head. Finally, when they reached the end, a door opened and Max entered. Ducking his head as he scuttled past Mr. Cheng, he stepped into the abyss laid out before him, his feet connecting with, what he pictured in his mind to be a dilapidated, wooden staircase. He wasn’t sure, as he had never actually seen the staircase; he could only feel the wrought, exhausted railing that ran the length of the steep decline.

Mr. Cheng followed him down a narrow staircase that creaked under their weight. The darkness surrounding the staircase was ominous, and on several of his midnight treks to this god-forsaken place, Max had felt as if he’d walked right into hell. The first time he’d been led down this path, he had feared for his life, now, it was a routine that he relished. He could feel the excitement whelm in his stomach, as he imagined the various oddities Mr. Cheng and his assistant had collected. As the pale pink light at the end staircase, which began as a tiny point of light spread to expose a entry to a much larger room, he could feel his stomach twisting in nervous knots.

The room smelled of perfume and sweet smelling soaps and flowers. Mr. Cheng called to someone in perfect French, then gave Max a pat on the shoulder, before disappearing back into the darkness. Max sat on one of the many satin draped sofas and looked around. The room was decorated in black and white art deco furniture. There were fluffy white rugs on the floor and elegant paintings on the walls as several young women and men milled around, all in satin pajamas and bedroom slippers. The males all wore simple satin drawn string pajamas bottoms, and the females, the matching tops. They were all young, and beautiful, and physically marred in some way. There were several youth missing limbs, one beautiful young girl with the most delicate blonde hair and large soulful brown eyes. She was lovely and had a gentle way about her. She was affectionately called Angel, as she had large flaps that ran along the underside of her arms and connected to her waist like massive flesh wings. There were the twins, known only as Pisces One and Two, a brother and sister, both with long dark hair and somewhat Asian features, both born with their legs fused together. There were more, maybe a dozen or so, the most extreme was a boy, found the jungles of South America, who had bright red and orange scales that covered his head like fiery plumage and followed the track of his spine to his tailbone. He had bright yellow eyes and spoke in a soft whisper of a voice. They were medical anomalies, and Max found them beautiful. They greeted him with bright smiles and hugs and kisses. Reaching into his pockets, they pulled out treats of candies and little trinkets that he always carried for them.

The person Mr. Cheng had called, Max knew very well. She appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. She was tall, blond, her hair pulled away from her face in a delicate bun. She wore no make up and was the only person, other than Max, completely dressed. She wore he standard uniform of tailored, black tuxedo pants and a crisp white shirt, unbuttoned just enough to expose the curve of her ample bosom.

“Mr. Walters, back so soon?” She smiled as he rose to greet her. She offered her hand and Max gave it a brief shake.


She nodded and turned on her silver stilettos and Max obediently followed her out of the room down a brightly lit hallway lined with doors. Each door had a name neatly painted in either black or pink lettering, beneath, which was a small shaded window. The walls seemed to vibrate with the sounds of sex, and he could feel himself getting hard at the thought of what was to come. He had been in many of the rooms, and knew of the pleasure that would come from these beautiful special people. They were loving and gentle, and since he had discovered Mr. Cheng and Selena, regular sexual encounters never fulfilled him. He had found it more and more exciting to come to this place, night after night. It had become his home away from home and he found that even here, his depravity was more than he could handle.

Selena paused at a metal door at the very end of the hallway. “This is her.”

There was no name painted on the door, instead of a window like the other doors, her door housed a metal slide large enough for one person to look in. He peered inside and saw a girl sitting at a vanity slowly brushing her shoulder length hair, which was a startling shade of red. Her skin was pale and her bright green eyes seemed to be too large for her face. She turned and looked at Max, a coy smile on her lips. Around her ankle was a shackle, and a heavy chain that was bolted to the wall. The room’s walls were covered in satiny pink padding. It was like looking into a diorama of a doll’s house, with a perfect porcelain doll at its center.

“She’s lovely.” Max whispered, both disgusted and intrigued. “She is not what I expected. When Mr. Cheng spoke of her, he gave me the impression –”

Selena took a key from her pocket. “She is not what she seems, but I assure you Mr. Walters, she is exactly what you requested.” She pushed the door open. Max stood on the threshold, knowing that this was the last chance. This was his last chance to be a just walk away. He could walk out of here, live a full and fulfilling life and never set foot in this place again. He could forget about Mr. Cheng’s menagerie of fantastical creatures and never give the place a second thought. But the moment Selena opened that door; he knew there was no turning back. He was immediately drawn to her. She wasn’t like the others; there was no hint of malformed limbs or even a scar on her that he could see. She was just a pretty girl in a room full of pretty things.

“What’s her name?” He heard himself asking, looking around the room.

“My name is Serenity.” She spoke in a deep, husky voice, which belied her features. Nervously, he glanced at Selena who seemed unfazed by the entire situation.

Max asked, even as he found himself stepping into the powder pink bedroom.

“As I said, she is not what she seems. Serenity is very special. It is not often one comes across one like this.” Selena cleared her throat and when Max looked at her she raised one perfectly arched eyebrow. He nodded, absently reaching into his pocket and withdrawing a large envelope stuffed with cash. Selena took it and began to back out of the door. She paused for a moment, her lineless face creased as she expressed the first hint of emotion he’d ever seen.

“Are you sure this is what you want, Mr. Walters? There are many others here you can try.” He waved her off, his eyes drawn to the girl who continued to brush her hair and sing a pleasant melody. He was transfixed by the dulcet tone of her voice. She turned to look at him, smiling coyly over her shoulder and he moved further into the room. “Very well,” Selena said with a resigned sigh. “As you wish.”

He didn’t even realize that she was gone until her heard the door closed behind him with a slam, the sound of the lock, startling him. He glanced back, just as Selena slid the metal cover over the peephole shut. He was frozen in place, staring at the room. It was a child’s room, complete with stuffed animals on the bed. She stood and came towards him, in her soft pink satin pajamas and pink fluffy slippers.

Sitting on the bed he stared into her eyes and smiled, then motioned for him to have a seat on her animal laden bed. He obliged, never taking his eyes off of her and that beautiful scarlet hair. She was a striking girl, with a playful smile. He motioned for her to sit beside him on the bed and she did, willingly. “I’m Max.” He said. She smiled brighter, shaking his hand vigorously.

“Nice to meet you, Max.” She said. She moved her ankle and winced in visible pain. The shackle was pinching her flesh and she tried to ignore it, but the pain was etched in her face. Max felt twinge of guilt as the chain rattled with every move she made. She leaned with her head on his shoulder, gently stroking his inner thigh.

“My, you have such lovely red hair. It’s very pretty.” She looked down, knowing what was coming and began to undo his pants. “You are a very pretty girl, Serenity, but I guess you hear that all the time.” She shrugged non-committal.

“I think you’re very pretty.” As she spoke, she placed her hand inside of his pants, stroking with delicate fingers until he became hard. “You have such a pretty mouth, can I kiss you?” She brushed her lips across his and in that instant, the prey became the predator. “Your mouth is soft. You taste like honey. Sweet honey.” She purred.

“Did Selena tell you to say that?” Again, she shook her head and kissed him again, gently pushing his shoulders back, until he found himself lying on the bed. The more she spoke, the more he felt as if something about this young woman, this girl barely out of her teens, was wrong. Her voice had an almost hypnotic effect on him, and his body had a mind of its own.

“Don’t be scared,” She mumbled. “I will make you feel good. That’s why you came to this place Mr. Walters-Max. To experience the forbidden, the unexpected? And that is what you will get; the pleasure will be so worth it.” The statement, he thought, was an odd one. But this girl was odd. Something in this situation seemed unnatural and rehearsed. She whispered sweetly nasty comments and stoked his hair.

“I’m not afraid of you. And you- don’t be afraid of me. It’ll be painless, I promise.” Her tone was teasing and light, but he still felt as if he should leave. In his head that little voice was screeching at him to leave. From the moment he’d laid eyes upon her he’d had the niggling feeling that something about the girl was wrong.

She brushed her thin lips against his, her tongue slipped between his teeth and he was lost in the feel of her. As she began to undress him, the warning bell in his head started to ring again. This was wrong, something about this was wrong. This room, the locked steel door, the padded walls. The chain on her ankle- this was uncomfortable and wrong. Yet, he couldn’t stop himself from wanting this waif of a girl. The way she touched him, and looked at him with something that he could only classify as want.

“Kiss me again Max.” She ran her fingers through his hair, as her mouth came closer her could smell her breath. It smelled of warm spun sugar. “Kiss me.” Her mouth covered his in a hungry, expert kiss. It was as if she were trying to devour him, pushing his mouth hard against her own. He was startled by her strength and aggression, but, inexplicably, he liked it. The surrendering of control to this delicate girl seemed to excite him even more.

As her kiss deepened, the faint taste of almond filled his mouth; almond and something sweet and sticky, something both unfamiliar but comforting and soothing. His mind clouded over, and the room became hazy, as if he’d been drugged. He could feel her moving over him, undressing him with professional ease, yet he couldn’t move. He could feel her body moving against his, and in his hazy, the image of her nude body flashed before him. He could feel her mouth warm and moist on his bare flesh. And her skin seemed to be nearly too hot to touch, but he welcomed her warmth. He found himself confused by his euphoric state, as she mounted him, taking him deep inside of her. She seemed to fit him, as if she were made for him, only him. He wanted to touch her, nuzzle her small breast, and run his hands through her flame red hair. That hair, that beautiful strawberry scented hair. He tried to reach for her and discovered that he couldn’t move. He couldn’t lift his arms. He could only lay and enjoy her surprising sexual prowess. She seemed to know how to bring him to the edge, and then back off just when he felt he was ready to explode.

“What did you do to me?” He could barely choke the words out, he tongue felt thick and heavy in his mouth. Her only reply was a series of moans and the rattling of the chain against the side of the bed. She looked at him, excitement lighting her emerald eyes, then rocked her hips slowly, so slowly that the thrill was agonizing. The pleasure was so intense, so deep; it was like nothing he’d ever felt before. Unable to focus or move, he closed his eyes and gave into it, reveled in it, listening as she murmured words of seduction in her deepening voice.

The soft girlish murmurs that had soothed him into relenting were getting louder as she spoke in a language he did not recognize. The murmurs became louder and louder echoing in his brain in an incoherent cacophony of voices screaming in his head. She twisted, seeming to bring him deeper into her, her body, slick with sweat, moved against him. Wherever she touched him, his skin prickled with new sensations, new bliss. She was, in a word, mind-blowing.

“What did you do-”  He opened his eyes and began screaming at the sight of her. No longer did his lovely Serenity there, above him; instead, looming over him was this horrendous thing. That was the only way to describe it; a thing with bright blue and red soft scale like feathers that covered every inch of it. Its features were avian but beakless; its mouth running the entire length of is flat saucer like face. It had human comparable appendages, from what he could see and breasts; there were breasts, covered in the same blue red scales. He screamed louder as it moved with an animalistic fervor over him, the bright green too large eyes staring at him.

Paralyzed, he continued to scream as it climaxed, spilling a gooey pinkish black substance across his groin and stomach, before digging its razor sharp nails into the flesh of his thighs. He immediately went numb; it was as if she’d doused him in novocaine. Not only could he not move, he felt nothing. Without saying a word, but laughing in a deep husky baritone, it moved its face to his; sweet cotton candy breath engulfed and nearly choked him.

“Serenity is so, so, hungry.” It said after sniffing him, then opened its mouth exposing three rows of pointed yellowed teeth. He opened his mouth to scream again, when its mouth clamped on his throat, tearing the flesh and bone away until there was nothing but a large bloody hole. Blood seemed to spray across the room in brilliant rivulets. He could feel the life leaving his body and the sense of relief filled him. This was the way it was supposed to be. He thought as the life drained from him and the creature that was Serenity fed upon him. There was no pain. He realized as the room went dim. There was no pain, only the gentle and somewhat erotic sense of being suckled at the neck. No pain, he thought, just as she’d promised.

She was worth every penny.

Tanisha Jones is a writer of Urban Theological Mythological Slightly Erotic Romance or Paranormal romance for the less creative thinker.  She was born and raised in New Orleans, where she still lives with her daughter.  When she isn’t writing, she is a true New Orleanais either cooking, reading or watching the New Orleans Saints.

Follow Tanisha at:

Tanisha D Jones, Divinely Dark Romance:

Twitter: @tanishadelill


Free Fiction: Dayfall by Tanisha D. Jones


by Tanisha D. Jones

The three suns of Eldorra were setting in the South when I rose from my slumber atop my down mattress.  The cold had crept into the loft that was my bedroom and chilled my bones.  Careful not to wake my sweet sister Lua, I dressed in my warmest jumper and fluffy woolen socks and I crept down the ladder to the main room of our little house on the edge of Mesic, our village near the harvest fields.  Tonight we prepared for harvest and acte d’elecció, when I would become a dona, a wife.  My name is Lycia Monglave, I am fourteen cycles old and I am the caçador, hunter, of our family.

Papa was in the kitchen, frying fat sausages over the fire, mulled cider was already warmed and waiting for me on the table.  The small living space of our cúpula was nice and toasting, taking the chill from my bones.   Beside his chair were the soft white leather boots Papa had cobbled for me and the delicate embroidery of my choosing night gown.  It was soft ivory with delicate lace snowflakes in the colors of Eldorran moons, pale blues, lavenders, and silver .Of all of the men in the village, Papa was the best sastre; all of his embroidery and stitching were beautiful.  He was also a very good cook, creating the most delicious meals for us.  As I came across the room, Papa looked at me with those shining bright eyes and smiled.

“Good Dayfall, Lycia.” He said in his cheerful chipper voice.  Today, Papa was Papa again.  It was hard to tell which Papa I would awake to each dayfall.  Since the beasties had taken Mama he was moody and unpredictable.  Some nights, I would awake to find him sitting near the hearth, his silver eyes filled with tears as he mooned over Mama.  Some nights, he would not even bother getting out of bed at all, ignoring Lua and little Wilkie and keeping me from going out hunting.

Other nights, he would be like this, my Papa with his smiling eyes.  On nights like this I would return from the outlands to find him with the other men of the village weaving baskets or doing the wash on the banks of the lavender spring that rushed past the village.  Nights like this were becoming more frequent as the pain of his losing Mama was becoming more bearable, not just for him but for us all.

“Good day fall, Papa.” I said and sat to drink my cider. It was warm and rich and tasted of fresh hehku berries.  As we sat in silence, the smells of sausage and cider filling our home. Outside the moons were rising and off in the distance we could hear the faint cries of the beasties, those who hadn’t returned to their warrens before the glow of the moon caught them.  I watched the pained expression on Papa’s face and realize he looked older than his years.  His silver white hair had dulled, the sheen of his skin had begun to ashen, only slightly and the sparkle in his brilliant   eyes was fading.  I watched as his handsome face tensed then relaxed.

“Papa,” I mumbled and he looked at me as if he had just realized I was sitting with him.

“I am sorry.   That was near to the village, they are already coming closer. You will not stay out long, will you Lycia? “I gave his hand a pat of reassurance. The beasties always ventured closer to the village at the times of the Soltaia. I understood his fear, I did not share it.  I could not, I would not be able to go out into the night to hunt for food and hides so that we could survive.

“I am just going to prepare the traps and I will be back before the moons are high. And I will mark them.”  I began to eat my sausages and drinking my cider before they cooled.   He gave me a tight smile and I knew what he was thinking. We lost Mama during the Soltaia harvest a full cycle ago.  The snows had come early making it difficult to see the traps that had been set in the outlands.  She had stepped on one and was waiting for help to arrive when the beasties found her.   I understood that Papa was worried, but Soltaia was the only time the mererabits transverse from the north lands to the lands beyond the lavender lake.  To have those pelts is what kept us leysi and made it possible for me to not have to go out as often as the others.

Soltaia was also the time when the suns and moons rose and set at the same time. It was the time when we lost the most villagers because the beasties would be out both night and day.  There was no day fall to protect us, the rays from the seven moons would be dulled allowing them more movement, more freedom in our fields. We lost many during the Soltaia and not just hunters. Sometime those pink skinned devils would make their way into a cúpula. Once they had gotten into the cúpula of a family who’s Dona had gone out to hunt. It had taken all of the children and the marit before she returned and killed it.

That had been the saddest harvest the village had ever seen and that was why the cúpulas now circled the square and hall had entrance doors that faced the square. The cúpulas had no windows that faced away from the village and were built close enough that the possibility of a beastie sneaking between them was impossible. We had not had another beastie in the village since this had been done.

Since Mama had been lost, I was the only hunter we had until Lua was of age, and that was many cycles from now.  So Papa would begin teaching Wilkie his duties as a future marit.  Any Dona would be lucky to have a marit like Wilkie if he was half at skilled and as beautiful as Papa was. Even though it had only been one cycle, there had been talk in the village by many of the Dona to take Papa as a marit, once he was over his sorrow over losing Mama. And since I was at the age of choosing my own marit, Papa would be alone soon with two little ones to care for.  He needed a new Dona to hunt and protect him and the wee ones.

Even with the strain of losing Mama and caring for the family on his own, Papa was still a young man of only thirty two cycles.  He still garnered giggles and whispers from the donas in the village square whenever he went out. Papa was not a tall man, but he was a lovely man, with skin the color or stardust and eyes like the western lavender moons. The most wondrous thing about Papa was his smile, blinding and bright. When he smiled at you, it was if the heavens opened just for you.  Yes, Papa was a lovely man and he world make any dona a very good marit.  Mama had been the envy of many when she and Papa had chosen each other during their first acte d’elecció.  They had been a striking duo, well matched and so in love.

I had been gifted with Papa’s lavender eyes and silken silver white hair, but I was taller than the girls my age, with Mama’s curves. I had developed strong legs and arms from many hours spent hunting in the outlands. I was also going to have my pick of the young men in the village; I had seen the looks when I went to fetch water from the well.  There were many handsome men of my age, but only one held my heart.

My beautiful Kurt. He was so delicate with soft blue eyes and pale yellow hair that shone golden in the moonlight, his skin was silken beneath my fingertips and he had the softest lips to touch mine.  He would wait for me when I returned from my hunts, sitting on the steps to my cúpula with a cup of hot mulled cider and he would rub my feet. Kurt would often come to care for the little ones in the fest nights after Mama was taken, cooking meals and preparing my bath from those first nights I would go out alone. I would come home covered in blood and filth with those paltry weaslets, Kurt was always there to help me peel the heavy furs from my shivering frame.  He had been sent from the heavens on those first nights. That’s why he was already my chosen one.

Up in the loft, I could hear Wilkie crying as he woke. A fussy boy, he never ventured from the comfort of the loft alone. Sighing, Papa rose to go fetch him and Lua for their meal of sausages, steamed milk and warm porridge.   He would take them into the small koupelna for their baths afterward, then they would go out into the village square with the other fathers and children.  They would be guarded by the soldiers who stood watch from the high towers that looked over the entire village.  Before that, I went in to clean up and prepare for the night ahead.  If I were to keep my word to Papa I had to get moving.                      `

As usually, I pulled the heavy red mererabit fur over my jumper, and plaited my silver white mane to keep it out of my eyes.  I washed my face and brushed my teeth to remove the smell of the sausages and cider before returning to the outer space of our living area.

Papa, Lua and Wilkie were at the table now. Papa was trying to feed Wilkie who sat in a beautifully carved highchair Mama had made when she was heavy with me.  It had been mine, then Lau’s now it was Wilkie’s.  The beautiful white Birchwood was delicately decorated but still fit the girls of the family well.  Wilkie, being Wilkie, had more porridge on his face than he ever actually ate.

“Come now, eat little pup.” Papa coaxed, but Wilkie preferred playing in his food to eating it.

Beside him, Lua sat with her brow furrowed and her sharp pale blue eyes focused as she concentrated on getting the heaping spoonful of porridge into her mouth instead of her lap.  At five cycles old, she had another cycle to wait before she could be trained as a caçador.   Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with sadness as I watched them. Soon, I would have a cúpula of my own with my own marit and pups. The thought made my heart hurt.

I left them to their ritual, pulling my boots on before leaving the warmth of the cúpula.  My traps had been cleaned and oiled and hung besides the front door and waited for me now. I stared up into the dull dusky sky at the seven moons as they rose over the western hills, then to the south where the suns were slowly fading but still hung in the sky like great orange balls.  One of the suns was three times the size of the largest of the moons, making their rays that much deadlier.  It had already begun; tomorrow they would remain high matching the moons, each cancelling the effects of the other.  I would make fast work of checking my traps and returning to my cúpula and the warmth of the hearth.  Thankfully, Papa had done the wash the night before; he would have no reason to leave the safety of the village square.

I looked around the square and saw that other caçadors were leaving their cúpula’s as well.  Some looked at me and waved greetings, some did not. Some had ill feelings toward me because of my love of Kurt and his for me; Kurt was mine, body and soul, and I his. I shook my head, clearing my thoughts as I tucked a blade into my boot, another into the back of my jumper beneath my heavy fur, but accessible if needed.  One thing Mama had always taught me was to be prepared for anything.

We gathered our things and filed past the sentries that guarded the only entrance and exit to the village.  During the sunlight, the sentries were replaced by a gate carved from the same moonstone as the cupulas.

Like the light of the moons, moonstone was intolerable to thee beasties.  There were no tools that they possessed that could as much as scratch the stone. It had been a perfect solution to the sunlight raids of the beasties, but that was long before I was born.

As usual, they checked out faces and names as we filed into the outlands, each moving in different directions.   Most of those in white moved south to the already snowy hills beneath the silver moons, where the foxens were plentiful.  Those in brown went east beneath the blue moons, hunters of the felcks and bison, the yellow clad went north to the shores of the lavender waters of the sea that was home to the sliver and tumtum fish.  The yellow of their cloaks blended into the high thistle weed that lines the shores.  I pulled my heavy fur lined hood over my head to travel west, through the barrens and the forests that housed the warrens of the beasties, but they were the most fertile grounds of the mererabits.  I hunted alone.

As I trekked through the crisp frozen grass setting my traps, I thought of Kurt. He had not been in the square that night, which was not unexpected.  He had gone on and on the night before about his suit for the acte d’elecció. He and Papa had worked so hard on the colors matching and the snowflake pattern that Papa had created for my gown. He was going to braid his hair to match mine and he had prepared already a special garland of pink and yellow flowers to present to me when he was chosen. Pink and yellow were my favorite colors and he said they made the silver in my eyes glow.  Kurt was a full cycle older than I and this was his second acte d’elecció. He had been chosen last cycle, by four different donas. He had not chosen any of them in return, instead he waited for me.  My soon to be marit, my beautiful delicate Kurt. Hopefully Papa would be chosen by a new dona tomorrow night as well.  He did not know that I had seen him many nights with Susi, the butcher.  She was a beautiful dona with bright red hair and she always made sure Papa had extra cuts of meat. They would steal glances at each other in the village square when they thought no eyes were upon them. She would be a great dona for my Papa and a good mother for the little ones.

I climbed my way up the ridge toward the higher ground   following the path the mererabits would follow across the harvest fields and through the woods, pausing to look down over the village. From where I stood, the cúpulas looked like a circle of perfectly sculpted balls of snow, two dozen side by side linked by tiny underground walkways.  At the back of the circle was the largest cúpula, the meeting hall that was being prepared for the choosing ceremony.  I could see the marits decorating the façade with the bright pink caleda flowers, the spicy fragrance would fill the square my dayfall tomorrow. Though pretty to look at, the flowers were also used to deter the beasties.  Something about the smell dissuaded them. Behind every few yards there were watch towers where sentries stood watch.  The soft lights from the towers would sweep the harvest plains beyond the village, watching for beasties in search of entry.  By next day fall, those sentries would be on high alert, watching and waiting.

I wandered beyond the ridge to the low country, the valley in the forest where the beasties had their warrens. As quietly as possible I began setting the traps, moving smoothly and on silent feet as I dug into the icy earth. I needed to spike the traps down so that they would not dislodge one it was sprung. The first cycle of hunting, I had lost more traps than captured mererabits because I’d failed to spike them properly.

I was lost in thought as I clipped a bright red strip of leather to mark my trap’s location, when I hear it. It was the soft pattering of footsteps. At first, I thought it to be a mererabit, but these steps were made by a solitary creature.  Mererabits were average sized creatures, larger than the foxen but much smaller than the bison and felcks.  I could carry only two at a time, which is why I set traps.  I set traps throughout the forest and world return the next night with a sleigh to bring the carcasses back to the village where they would be rendered and skinned.  The pelts and meat would be traded with the other families, as was our way. We traded with the farmers for fruits and vegs, the other hunters for meat and fish, the weavers, the lumberers. It was our way and it has worked from hundreds of cycles.

The creature making those noises was much, much larger.  I pulled my hood back so that I could better hear, the lining of the fur muting the footfalls on the frozen ground.   Three or four tree lengths away, I saw it moving slowly, but coming closer.  It was taller than any man I had ever seen, it was lean and moved as a predator does, its noise high in the air as it sniffed.  It wore dark, heavy furs, protecting its delicate pink skin from the low hanging moon, its dark piercing eyes locking with mine and I froze.

My heart thudded against my ribs, loud enough for me to hear. I wondered if he could hear it as well. It must have, because it moved closer, and took a step back right onto the trap I had just set.  I covered my mouth with my hand as pain cut through me like a knife and down I went, hitting the frozen ground with a bones rattling thud. The snap of the closing trap was tiny but the beasties have acute hearing and he was moving toward me, lopping with long easy strides between the trees coming closer.

It was over me in a split second, its hooded face hidden as it stood blocking out the moon.  Slowly, it pushed the heavy hood off back, but not completely off of its head so that I could see his face. Not many villagers had ever really seen one in person, not many that had lived to tell about it.  There were sightings of shadows and the sounds of them whispering as they moved on the outskirts of the village. Those soft hushed clicks and whistled they used when hunting. We heard the howls when one was caught out in the light of the moon, unprotected.

I reached for the blade I had tucked into the back of my jumper with shaky hands as it knelt beside me. It wore a heavy leather hooded cloak over a dark pants heavy boots. His hands had been covered in thick black gloves that protected them from the rays of the moon that burned and blistered their skin. The face of the beastie was worse than I imagined. It was a male, I assumed but his features was harder than any male in my village. Not soft and delicate like my beautiful Kurt or Papa. It had a strong jaw, with sickening white teeth that were even and gave it’s already horrid face a more sinister look.  Its eyes were of a black that I had never witnessed and its skin wasn’t pink at all, it was more the color of a tanned animal hide.

“Well,” it said in a voice much too deep and harsh to be a man’s. “Look like you’ve been caught in your own trap.  Just like the last one. What am I to do with you little one?”

I swung my blade at some area beneath the hood and he easily avoided it, laughing a deep throaty sound that seemed to rumble from deep down in his belly.  He gripped my wrist and pulled the blade from my fingers and stared at it in amusement.  The blade fit into his hand as if it were a splinter, tiny and lost in his massive fist. He tossed it aside and stared at me for a long time, his eyes narrowing as he stared at me.

“You are a pretty little one aren’t you?” He ran his large thick fingers over my hair, holding it up to the light and I struggled to free myself from him. He only held me tighter, his thin lips tightening in frustration or excitement, I was not sure which.

“This mane will fetch a pretty price; you will feed me for a quarter cycle.” He said. “I suppose you never thought your night would end like this, did you, pretty little Mesic? Silent?  No screams? No pleas for mercy? Let us see the rest of you then.” He said and I felt the knots in my stomach twist tighter.  I slapped at his hands as he reached for the collar of my jumper, tugging at it. I clawed at his face until he had no chose but to fight back. HE slapped me hard across the cheek and I could taste blood in my mouth, but I would not give up.

He fought with me, finally managing to rip the jumper and fur from my body. Tossing them aside, he exposed my bare flesh to the light of the moon. I had already flowered as a dona, my body ready to bear a child.  He stared at me, before reaching to touch my exposed breast, and I slapped his hand away, scratching and growling as I fought off his disgusting touch.  My body was not his to molest, my body was to only be touched by Kurt, my marit.

“I knew you had fight in you. I like that, I may just keep you as a pet for a while.” He said and stroked my arm. With my free leg, I kicked at him, hoping to hit his male parts, if he had any.  I missed and he laughed in quiet amusement.

Shaking his head, he grabbed my neck, pushing on my throat until I could no longer breathe, with the other massive hand he released the trap and lifted me as if I were a sack of feathers.  He held me at arm’s length, my feet dangling in midair as he held me in the moonlight, his monstrous face twisted in confusion.

“Still no cries? Do you not know that you will die soon, little one?” He asked, bringing my face close to his, but holding my arms tight to my sides. I was bare, cold and unable to reach the blade that was in my boot.  “You are a brave one.” He looked down at my leg, the one he’d released from the trap and stared at the pristine white of my fur lined boot  and intact skin.  “Why isn’t your leg broken?” He asked, more to himself than to me.

The moons of Eldorra have different effects on the people of my village. The silvery moons in the south gave us an unparalleled strength.  The sick and injured would travel to the south and lay naked in the moon’s glow to heal.   The blue moons of the west were rejuvenating, soothing and promoted fertility. At the end of the Soltaia, the new couples would journey to the cottages of the west and spend their choosing night. It is the place donas go to ensure that they are full with child during the snows. The lavender moons did something different altogether that is why I am the only one to hunt these fields, it is the reason I wear such a heavy hooded fur and jumper.

I could feel the glow of the lavender moon on my skin and a smile began at the corners of my mouth.  I tossed my head back as the transformation began, I could feel the muzzle pushing out, elongating my mouth and teeth. The silver white fur started on my belly and face as it always did, and I began to laugh a deep hallow laugh as I stared into widening eyes of the beastie.

“Because I am not the one who’s going to die.” I said. He released me and turned to run, but it was much, much too late. I landed on all fours, growling as I gave chase through the frozen waste lands of the barrens.   This is why I wear a red fur in the stark barrens of the outlands a bright beacon in a colorless landscape.

The rise of the moon isn’t the only reason the beasties hide at day fall. My name is Lycia Monglave, I am fourteen cycles old and I am a caçador.


Tanisha Jones is a writer of Urban Theological Mythological Slightly Erotic Romance or Paranormal romance for the less creative thinker.  She was born and raised in New Orleans, where she still lives with her daughter.  When she isn’t writing, she is a true New Orleanais either cooking, reading or watching the New Orleans Saints.

Follow Tanisha at:

Tanisha D Jones, Divinely Dark Romance:

Twitter: @tanishadelill


Black History Month: L.A. Bank’s Bad Ass Black Vampire Slayer

Why television needs Damali Richards, L.A. Bank’s Bad Ass Black Vampire Slayer

by Sumiko Saulson

If someone were to ask me what horror by a black female author was most likely to wind up as a television series, I would say without a doubt, L.A. Bank’s Vampire Huntress Legend series. This extremely well-written paranormal suspense series combines elements of gritty urban fantasy and paranormal romance with outright, edge-of-your-seat, bloody, gory horror. If you like shows like Supernatural, Grimm, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Sleepy Hollow, you would probably love the Vampire Huntress Legend series, and if they made a television show out of it, you’d probably be instantly addicted.

The series revolves around Damali Richards, a young black woman whose main goal in life is to succeed as a musical artist. That’s until she discovers that she’s a Neteru, a vampire slayer, whose destiny is to defend humanity from creatures most still believe to be mythological fiction. In the first book of the series, Minion (2003), Damali is a rising star on a hip hop label with the enigmatic name Warriors of Light. Strange attacks against artists on the label and its rival, Blood Music, lead her into a mysterious web of intrigue. She learns that a group of rogue vampires are behind the attacks.

Leslie Esdaile Banks, the author behind the series, wrote it under the pen name L.A. Banks to distinguish it from her voluminous collection of primarily romance novels. The gritty tone of the Vampire Huntress series distinguishes it from those romances. However, some people may consider the series paranormal romance. Carlos Rivera, a Latino drug lord turned vampire, soon emerges as Damali’s love interest. He spends the first few novels pursuing her. While some might consider the romance central, most consider it secondary, like Buffy’s romance with Angel on the Buffy the Vampire Hunter television series. Like Buffy, Damali is clearly the star. This is her universe, and the rest of the character’s interactions center around her.

L.A. Banks died on August 2, 2011 of adrenal cancer at the relatively young age of 51. During her slightly more than half a decade on the planet, she created an impressive body of work, which includes close to fifty novels and novels, including the thirteen books in the Vampire Huntress Legend series.

The books are Minion (2003), The Awakening (2004), The Hunted (2004), The Bitten (2005), The Forbidden (2005), The Damned (trade paperback), The Forsaken (trade paperback) (2006), The Wicked (2007), The Cursed (trade paperback) (2007), The Darkness (2008), The Shadows (2008), The Thirteenth (2009), and a spin-off, The Shadow Walker: A Neteru Academy Novel (2010) . Thirteen books are quiet enough to keep any television producer busy for many seasons. She wrote all thirteen of the novels between 2003 and 2010. Fans like me were shocked to learn of her cancer diagnosis and devastated by her death shortly after. We were all expecting to see many more of these books by the marvelously talented Leslie Esdaile Banks. Although she isn’t here to see it, I think it is imperative that the world adapt her novel series for television immediately.

Some may think that the world isn’t ready for a vampire slayer series that features a twenty-something black female rapper as its star, and a thug as her Latino lover. I beg to differ. The success of supernatural television serials like The Originals and Sleepy Hollow, which feature prominent black characters, shows that the world is read for the Damali Richards Chronicles, or Neteru, or whatever they are going to call this television show when someone clever finally pitches it and gets it greenlighted.

How fascinated are people with Black Panther? How many people watch American Horror Story just so they can check out whatever characters Angela Basset and Gabourey Sidibe, are playing this season? How fast did Sleepy Hollow tank when they made it all about boring Ichabod Crane and his wife, denying that Abbie and Jenny Mills were the heart of the show? How many people would stop watching The Walking Dead if there were no Michonne? Why are there so many The Vampire Diaries Bonnie Bennett spin-off novels? It’s because strong black heroines sell.

Television desperately needs Damali. Can you see it? Empire meets The Originals.  It would be legendary.

If you are reading this article and you work in Hollywood in any way, shape or form, run out and immediately pick up the Vampire Huntress Legend series. You owe it to yourself, the black community, and America to make this a thing.


 About the Author: Sumiko Saulson is Sumiko Saulson is a horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy writer, winner of the StokerCon Scholarship from Hell and 2nd Place Carry the Light Sci-Fi Short Story Award. Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area. She ranked 6th place in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest., 149 Season Finale #NGHW Winner Announced

Horror Addicts Episode# 149
SEASON 12 – The Next Great Horror Writer Contest


Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Judge: H.E. Roulo

Guest Judge: Joe Mynhardt

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe



Find all articles and interviews at:


17 Days till Halloween

best band announcement, new theme song contest, the belfry app,, cemetery confessions, the requiem, morbid curiosity, convolution, alaskan beading, hobbit hole, the walking dead, z nation, 10K, the love tiger, the fear of walking dead crossover, van helsing, stan vs. evil, the good place, orville, papa’s donuteria halloween mode, guardians of the galaxy game, sabrina, salem, midnight texas, fires in napa, joe mynhardt, crystal lake publishing,   


Intro of judges, prizes, and contest.

Review of the 3 novel pitches

Joe Mynhardt

Crystal Lake Publishing


Contestants: Naching T. Kassa, Jonathan Fortin, Daphne Strasert.


HA.Net News: Captain Blackheart of the Nightmare

*PR: Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

*PR: Lacrimation of the Leviathan by Essel Pratt

*PR: Teeth Marks by Matthew weber

*PRs: From Siren’s Call

*PR: Underground Horror

*PR: Halloween double feature with Nosferatu and Shadow of the Vampire the Vogue Theatre

*GB: Loren Rhoads and book release 1999 Cemeteries to see Before You Die

*Crescendo of Darkness anthology submissions

*Jesse Orr’s new installment of The Scarlett Dahlia

*DJ Pitsiladis Nightmare Fuel, The Suicide Forest

*By the Fire – David Watson

*#NGHW News – Kenzie Kordic

*November Cure for the Holidaze show coming.

Find all this and more at


Contestant interviews.


Dead Mail:

*Jeff: IT stats

*Jen – Dusk’s Warriors

*Mariah – Podcast voices?

*Comet TV Winner – Chris Jackson


Judges deliberate.

Best in Blood winner announced!


#NGHW Winner announced!

Final ranking announced


“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe blog Kindle syndicated Facebook group.



Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…


h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, Crystal Connor, Lisa Vasquez, Adelise M. Cullens, Kenzie Kordic.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

#NGHW – Guest Judge : Joe Mynhardt

This week, we welcome guest judge, Joe Mynhardt. Joe is the owner of Crystal Lake Publishing and sponsor of the grand prize, a novel contract for our winner!


Joe Mynhardt

joe-cheetah-originalA two time Bram Stoker Award nominated South African publisher, non-fiction editor, and online business mentor. Joe is the owner and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing, which he founded in August, 2012. Since then he’s published and edited short stories, novellas, interviews and essays by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Adam Nevill, Lisa Morton, Elizabeth Massie, Joe McKinney, Edward Lee, Paul Tremblay, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Mick Garris, and hundreds more.

Just like Crystal Lake Publishing, Joe believes in reaching out to all authors, new and experienced, and being a beacon of friendship and guidance in the Dark Fiction field. Joe’s influences stretch from Poe, Doyle and Lovecraft to King, Connolly and Gaiman. You can read more about Joe and Crystal Lake Publishing at or find him on Facebook.