Free Fiction Friday: Bad Cold by J. C. Eickelberg

Bad Cold
by J. C. Eickelberg

“I can’t stand this cold,” Beth said, sounding as miserable as she felt.

“You’ll get over it fast,” Isabel said. “You always do.” Her roommate said this, dressed for a night out. Beth watched her finish getting ready for a fun night.

“You look amazing. I wish I could join you.” Beth sat wearing old sweats and a headband holding back messed up hair. “I’m not going to give anyone this cold.”

“I’ve seen you go before with a cold.”

“Not like this one. I can barely hear. Can’t smell anything. Szechuan chicken didn’t even touch this congestion.” She blew her nose, filling a tissue.

Isabel wished her the best and left.

“God. I want this cold to be done,” Beth grumbled. “My heads gonna burst.”

“No, it’s not,” a little voice said.

She passed it off. Five nights of less than adequate sleep was making her loopy. This was as much from lack of sleep as all the meds she’d consumed.

“Drink more water,” the voice said.

She didn’t want to drink more water. If she did she’d have to pee more often. At this point she was just too tired to get off the couch. Constant sniffling kept tissue boxes present wherever she went in her apartment. Sudden sneezing made for a strong need for her current closest friend, a box of tissues. Sneezing receded, but the tissues remained ready. She took a deep breath. She released a great load of snot. The pressure was suddenly gone. Relief washed over her.

Reaching for a trashcan, she felt something unusual. Beth was disgusted enough by the amount of snot she produced. This current load felt a lot more dense than others.

“Yuck,” she declared at the mass in the tissue.

“You think it was pleasant in there?” came a response. Beth looked at her hand. In the tissue was a greenish yellow slug looking back at her. “I’ve seen nicer places than your nose.”

She screamed and threw the gelatinous mess in the trash. She nearly gagged running to wash her hands.


J.C. works and lives in Wisconsin.  He has a beautiful wife and two active boys.  He enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, time permitting, writing.  Haunted and spooky places have always intrigued him.

BHH: “Outcasts” by Valjeanne Jeffers 2 of 3

“Outcasts” by Valjeanne Jeffers 2 of 3

Monique watched the airships ready for take-off through the bars of her cage, hanging beneath the cliff. She still bore a black eye—the latest bruise from her mother. Only this time she’d fought back: punching and scratching. She’d done no more than was needed to fend Isabelle off and stop her beating. Still, two more weeks were added to her sentence.

 

Longing pierced her soul, as she gazed at the puffs of steam streaming from the ships on their way to patrol, and the wooden wings flapping. Suddenly, the first one was airborne—flying past the slender rocks that separated the triangular stacks of boulders at the edge of her village. The sound of palms on drum-skins beat in refrain to the ships’ wings, as if the drums were were the reason they could fly.

 

One. . . two. . . three … and now they soared into the distance. Monique stared at them until they were lost to her gaze. She gripped the bars of the cage. Suspending prisoners outside during the day, and letting them return home at night, was supposed to be a kinder punishment than perpetually confining captives indoors.

 

I’m still a prisoner. Being outside just makes it worse.

 

The rumbling of her belly and the shaking of her cage let her know it was time to eat. In the next moment, two women hoisted her cage up from under the rock and shifted it to the ground. Their narrowed eyes and pursed lips revealed what they thought of her. The strange one who lusts for the flesh of her sisters. The bad daughter who beats her own mother. 

 

One of the women reached into the folds of her dress and produced a skeleton key. A few moments later her dearest friend, Angelique, sauntered over.  She was a plump young woman, her skin the color of ripe bananas with a thick head of hair. She carried a basket and there was a blanket under her arm. The delectable smell of diri kole ak pwa, brown rice with red kidney beans topped off with red snapper, tomatoes and onions, drifted toward her.

 

Angelique smiled, her teeth flashing against her cafe au lait skin. “Let’s find somewhere nice to eat.”

 

Angelique was a mulatto Affranchis: a wealthy descendant of the union between slave owner and slaves. Birth determined the Affranchis social position, and intermarriage between them solidified this caste solidarity. Some of them had even owned slaves, before General Toussaint had emancipated all living in Saint-Domingue.

 

Angelique knew how the ships were put together, what made them tick and she could fly. So she said. She and Monique’s mutual interest in airships had brought them together and they’d quickly become friends—in spite of their dissimilar backgrounds. How she’d come by her knowledge of airships was a mystery. But she’d shared all she knew with Monique and swore her to secrecy.

 

She was also in love with John, the dark-skinned son of former slaves. Because of his social status Angelique’s parents, who followed the old ways of class solidarity, had forbade any courtship between their daughter and John. Tradition meant she must obey her parents’ wishes or suffer the same fate as Monique.

 

“But I’m going to marry him anyway,” she’d whispered. “See if I don’t.”

 

Monique secretly thought Angelique made half of her stories up, although she never said so. Still, she tells pretty tales, non?

 

Monique followed her past the cottages to a meadow, took the blanket from her friend and spread it on the grass. “If you don’t stop being so nice to me, they’re going to get someone else to bring me lunch.”

 

The young women sat down, unpacked the food and began to eat. “I bet you wish now you’d just taken the punch instead of fighting back, eh?” Angelique said, her sympathetic eyes belying the coldness of her words. “Next time will be probably worst you know. Isabelle has always been ill-tempered. She’s so angry with you. She had her heart set on grandchildren.”

 

Monique frowned. “I can’t help the way I am. Just like you can’t help loving John. . . Your parents will never let you marry him. They’re going to pick out a man for you.”

 

Her best friend grinned slyly. “So they believe.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

Angelique bit into a piece of fish and didn’t answer. For awhile they ate in silence.

 

“Do you miss Simone much?”

 

Monique’s eyes filled with tears. “Wi. . . It is an ache.”

 

“So you love her?”

 

“Wi.”

 

“What is it like. . . loving a woman?” Although they’d been best friends for years, they’d never discussed this.

 

Monique shrugged. “Like your love for John, I suppose. For me, it is as natural as breathing.”

 

“Well, perhaps after tonight you will met another woman and fall in love.”

 

“Loving someone, whether man or woman, is not like picking vases from the well. If one is empty, you just pick another one, n’est-ce pas? Love is not like that. . . What makes tonight so different?”

 

“Stay awake and find out.”

 

Monique shook her head. “I can’t go fishing. I need my sleep.”

 

“Who said anything about fishing? You must pack a bag and stay awake.”

 

“Poukisa wap fè sa? What are you up to?”

 

Angelique laughed like a child but would say no more.

 

Monique gazed at her friend with exasperation and affection on her brown face. “Why do I always listen to you?”

 

“Because I’m your best friend! Who else would you listen to?”

At that moment, two women plopped on the grass to their right, close enough to hear what the friends were saying. They fell silent and finished eating.

 

##

 

To be continued… Feb 8th, 2019… stay tuned!


Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College, a member of the Carolina African American Writer’s Collective, and the author of eight books.Valjeanne was featured in 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction. Her first novel, Immortal, is featured on the Invisible Universe Documentary time-line. Her stories have been published in Reflections Literary and Arts Magazine; Steamfunk!; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology; Genesis Science Fiction Magazine; Griots II: Sisters of the Spear; Possibilities; and The City.Book I of The Switch II: Clockwork was nominated for the best ebook novella of 2013 (eFestival of Words); and her short story Awakening was published as a podcast by Far Fetched Fables. Preview or purchase Valjeanne’s novels at: Valjeanne Jeffers official site

BHH: Outcasts by Valjeanne Jeffers 1 of 3

“Outcasts” by Valjeanne Jeffers 1 of 3

On the island of Saint-Domingue, in the dead of night, thousands of slaves crept silently along the path through the trees and wiry brush to Bois Caïman. In the clearing the Houngan Dutty Boukman, a huge, self-educated slave with a fierce countenance, and Mambo Cecile Fatiman, a mulatto slave woman, waited to led them in ceremony. They petitioned the Loa for protection, for deliverance from slavery’s lash—calling upon the darkest spirits of their Ancestors to help them in their battle.

They prayed for freedom.

“Bon Dje nou an ki si bon, ki si jis, li ordone vanjans!” Dutty shouted. “Se li kap kondui branou pou nou ranpote la viktwa! Se li kap ba nou asistans. . .! Koute vwa la libète kap chante lan kè nou!”

“Our God, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs! It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory! It’s He who will assist us. . .! Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts!”

There was a clap of thunder … lightning flashed in the dark sky. A swirling rush of wind stirred the trees.

Cecile’s green eyes rolled back in her head. Enraptured she began to dance wildly. She’d been possessed by the Erzulie Seven Kout Kouto—the most deadly embodiment of the Loa, Erzulie Dantor. She sang and the slaves—beating upon the drums in rage—sang with her:

 

“Seven kout kouto, seven kout ponya

Prete mwen ganmèl lan pou mwen al vomi san

Prete mwen ganmèl lan pou mwen al vomi san

San mwen ape koule!”

“Seven stabbings of knives, seven stabbings of daggers

Lend me the ganmèl, so I can vomit blood

Lend me the ganmèl, so I can vomit blood

My blood is running!”

 

Seven days later, Dutty led his people in revolt against their slave masters … burning plantations to the ground. For this rebellion, he was captured and beheaded by the French; his head was publicly displayed with a placard reading: “Boukman, Chef des Revolutions des Escalves,” Boukman, Chief of the Slaves Revolution. The French thought killing Dutty Boukman would frighten the Black slaves— thus halting the tide of revolution.

 

But the fires of liberation Dutty and Cecile ignited were not the first, nor would they be the last.

 

##

 

Monique, a tall, young woman with chocolate-colored skin, a long face, and slender build, made her way through the tall brass structures of Saint-Domingue, past red flowering Hibiscus blooms toward the fields. She was dressed in a wrapped skirt and bustier, her braided hair coiled in twisted beads atop her head. She wore a brass-handled musket on a holster about her waist. A grip of interwoven cloth and metal encased her fingers and entire arm up to her shoulder to minimize kickback from her pistol. She carried a water flask in one hand and her breakfast of a partially-eaten boiled plantain in the other.

 

She stopped at a well on the outskirts of her township. Monique finished the last of the plantain in one bite, and dropped the peel in the cloth trash-bag beside the well: a conveyor belt made of cloth and woven wire. Half the belt lay above the soil; the rest, on her left and right, was buried underground. Monique knelt before the clunky machinery attached to two metal legs above the conveyor belt. She turned the crank, the belt jerked and scuttled forward: carrying copper vases full of water, screwed to caps on its underside.

 

Monique twisted one of the vases off, filled her flask and turned it up her full lips: drinking deeply. She poured more water into the flask, and reattached the water vase back onto the belt. Refreshed and ready, the young woman made her way to the field on the edge of town. There she found thousands of men and women, aged sixteen to sixty, preparing for tomorrow.

 

When they would go to war with France.

 

After Dusty’s rebellion, General Mountainous L’Ouverture had led a revolution from the island of Saint-Domingue—allying himself with Napoleon to end bondage in his homeland. Now, ten years later, the mad French emperor had made a clandestine deal with plantation owners to enslave them once more.

 

Napoleon had promised Toussaint and the island of Saint-Domingue that bondage was forever ended on their island. But, he secretly supported the white planters’ greed—their greed for wealth earned on the backs and from the blood of slaves. He sympathized with their loss of financial gain from the cane, coffee and cocoa plantations.

 

So the Emperor betrayed his promise. He didn’t care that slaves were treated worse than dogs, that they were not paid for their back-breaking labor, that the lash and torture was used to keep them submissive.

 

Napoleon would attack at dawn. They would be waiting for him … beside their brass cabins, in the tall grass and in the fields.

 

Monique merged with the crowd of warriors on the field, wearing embroidered grips like hers on their shoulders. “Bonjour …” she greeted them and a volley of salutations greeted her in return. She saw women, who had fought under Toussaint, moving through their ranks, offering tutelage and support. These women were among his most trusted generals and would fight alongside him, helping him lead the Saint-Domingue warriors to victory.

 

She pulled her musket from its sheath and began practicing with them: aiming the revolving muskets with brass grips. She aimed and fired at a clay target blowing the figurine to bits. The muskets had three barrels that rotated and fired. Other warriors were practicing with copper-bayoneted rifles that  fired bullets and, if the solider run out of ammunition, the bayonet as well.

 

There were also those perfecting their use of the whirling-bird machetes: a brass and copper rendition of the Black-capped Petrel bird. These men and women wore gloves made of heavy cloth, interwoven with pounded-brass to protect their fingers, as well as top hats with scopes to enhance their sight and track their birds’ flight. Directions were dialed on the Petrel bird’s belly. Once aimed and fired the whirling-bird flew to the target, and transformed into a deadly machete.

 

During the first war, President Toussaint had contacted the Black American scientist Benjamin Banneker to help him in his fight against Napoleon. All of the weapons were Banneker’s ingenious inventions.

 

The airships too were of Banneker’s wondrous design— and powered by both science and sorcery. The ships were cylinder shaped and overlaid with a metal filigreed. A propeller at the stern had a crank that would be turned by human hands. Carved flaps on the port and starboard sides enhanced their buoyancy, as did the steam-filled cigar shaped balloon above it.

 

Monique paused in her drill for a moment, gazing at the ships. She’d always found an excuse to be near them. She would scrub the port and starboard or, if she was denied this pleasure, pick vegetables in their shadow. Once Monique had crept up a ladder onto the deck to peek through one of the round windows at the ships interior. She still remembered the gleaming buttons and stern.

 

This treat had earned her a switching from her mother, Isabelle. Women were strictly forbidden from operating ships or gazing at their interiors. The village elders had reasoned, and rightly so, that if women engaged in these activities it might led to dissatisfaction with their own lives.

 

Women were expected to work the fields with men, and to fight alongside them in the battlefield. This was as it should be.

 

But the bulk of the domestic responsibilities also fell on female shoulders, such as caring for children, cooking and housekeeping. Monique had no children of her own, although she was twenty and one years. Still, she was required to help other women care for their young, in provision for the coming day when she would become a mother herself.

 

The day she whipped Monique, Isabelle told her daughter she had plans for her which didn’t include piloting an airship. “We worked hard enough when we was slaves, n’est-ce pas? We, women had it the worst!” Isabelle spat. “The white slavers took our children— took us if they had a mind too. They’d rape us right in front of our men. Just for sport. My man, your father, he was killed by slavers.”

 

“Now, we free to be women. We free to care for our own children. Our own men.” She cupped Monique’s chin in her small hand. “That’s what I want for you, cherie mwen. A husband. Children.” Her eyes hardened suddenly. “And if I ever see you look a woman the wrong way— if I ever see that—I’ll cut your eyes out myself.”

 

Monique couldn’t say for sure what had prompted her mother’s threat. But she suspected it was because she’d never shown any interest in men. Isabelle was no fool.

 

She tore her eyes away from the airships and pulled her weapon from her holster. She took aim at her target, a clay figurine. All at once, elation and longing swirling about in her bosom. She looked forward to the dawn, looked forward to hiding in wait for the French—surprising them, when they thought the island would be sleeping.

 

And what comes, what must come, afterward. I must have her.

 

The young woman’s eyes found her lover, Simone, standing only a yard away—Simone with her dark skin, wide laughing mouth, large eyes, small breasts and rounded hips; Simone who could dance better and shoot better than anyone she knew: male or female.

 

Simone felt her lover’s gaze travel down her body and looked over her shoulder. Their eyes met and Monique found it suddenly hard to breathe. Desire like molten honey flowed from her breasts to her pelvis. She tore her brown eyes away, lest the love that burned within them be revealed to her fellow warriors.

 

##

The people made their way to the Hounfour. They had spent days in preparation for the ceremony, when they would petition the Lwa once more for victory over the slave masters.

 

Monique had scrubbed her body clean and wore a head wrap and skirt. The young woman thought of her offering: rose perfume bought with her last money and the sweet potato cakes she’d baked to petition Loa Erzulie Freda.

 

But will it be enough? Will she answer my prayers?

 

She watched the Houngan trace the crossroad in the air, the crossroad where all spiritual energy met. This, she knew was in preparation for the Loa, Papa Legba’s, entrance. Everyone had already laid their offerings on the altar. . . rum, tobacco, perfumes, machetes. . . Monique’s offering of among them.

 

Songs were sung first in French; then a litany was sung in African and Creole. Behind her, young women holding candles danced. Along the walls men beat the drums with brass sticks.

 

The dance began.

 

A young man twisted into their midst. . . his face and contortions enraptured, his eyes rolling back in his head. The drums accentuated his movements as he skillfully spun with leaps and pirouette. He shuddered and dropped to his knees. . . his torso shaking back and forth in rhythm to the drums.

 

He rose slowly and they offered him his cane, straw hat and pipe. For he was now being ridden by Papa Legba: the honored one who is called before all others and is always the last to leave.

 

Papa Legba, the one who stands at the crossroads of life and death.

 

Minutes later, another older man gyrated violently in their midst: his face both enraptured and angry. He snatched the machete from the altar and began thrusting it in the air in quick, short jabs. The acolytes stepped back to give him room, rejoicing in their hearts, for they knew that  Papa Ogun—a Loa of war— was now among them.

 

The French dogs will fail! We will not return to chains, non!

 

The Lwa spoke in a growling, rumbling voice: “Gren mwe fret!” My testicles are cold! The ancient demand for rum.

 

The Houngan snatched rum from the altar, poured it on to the ground and struck a match to it. . . they watched in awe as Ogun washed his hands in the fire without his flesh being burned. More Lwa flew among them possessing their favored. . . riding their human horses.

 

Moments later, Monique felt her coming. All her anxiety and worry vanished. A cool breeze pervaded her spirit. . . For Erzulie was not only a fierce and warlike Loa, but one of love.

 

All love—not just that of a man and woman, n’est-ce pas? Monique’s eyes rolled back in her head. As Erzulie Dantor possessed her, she wept and danced. . .

 

##

 

Monique fired: hitting a French soldier in the head. Next to her, a warrior dialed and aimed his whirling-bird. The mechanical bird flew straight at a Frenchman chopping and hacking at the doomed man’s arms. . . Every able-bodied man and woman on the island was here—fighting on the field. Those that couldn’t fight were behind the battlements pouring metal into bullet molds.

 

Napoleon’s forces outnumbered them and the emperor had brought his own airships: huge, cigar shaped vessels, with sails billowing on the port and starboard, and conical balloons above them.

 

Monique risked a glance at the Mambo, Cecile Fatiman, standing before Saint-Domingue airships, chanting. Bullets whistled past the Mambo’s head but she paid them no mind.

 

Thunder rumbled, the balloons filled with air and the ships rose, their curling flaps creating wind, the airships’ propellers twisting the red and yellow Hibiscus blossoms beside them. Sailors at the airships’ helm steered them to attack—firing upon the French with triple brass muskets. Other men, wearing goggles and vests, fired with rifles from the stern, their muscles glinting in the sun.

 

Cecile watched calmly as the larger French ships laid siege to the Saint-Domingue vessels with cannons. In the air, as on the ground, the black warriors were heavily outnumbered. Now the Voudon priestess spoke her final mantra. . . Amber shadows rose from inside the hull of ships twisted free—the vengeful ghosts of slaves, mutilated and tortured to death. The spirits flew toward the French transforming into four-armed bat-like creatures. They covered their enemies biting and clawing, attached themselves to the enemies’ hull pulling the crafts apart, as the men screamed. . .

 

On the ground, scores of French soldiers lay dead or dying. Napoleon’s forces fell back retreating before black warriors, bellowing, “The ancestors are with us!”

 

The celebration that night was unlike any before. General Toussaint L’Ouverture declared their country the free Republic of Haiti!

 

##

 

Amid the screaming and shouts of victory, Monique caught Simone’s eye in the crowd. A slow smile lit her face and Monique nodded. The two women slipped away to a waterfall beneath the rocks: the sanctuary where they had first declared their love.

 

“Ou fè m fou pou ou,” You make me crazy for you, Monique whispered.

 

“Ou se lanmou kè m,” You are the love of my heart, came Simone’s breathless reply.

 

They shared a kiss, coming together in tender, hot embrace. . . their touch like butterflies, as they undressed one another and sank to the wet rocks in a symmetry of desire and surrender. An hour later they curled up together and slept.

 

##

 

Simone was screaming. The sound thrust Monique into awareness. Someone was shouting: “Demeplè! Unnatural!”

 

The women were beaten and kicked. A blow to Monique’s head knocked her unconscious.

 

The next few weeks were a nightmare. Monique and Simone were beaten again and confined to separate cages at the edge of town beneath the rocks, while the town elders debated her fate. Many said they should be killed. But finally an agreement was reached.

 

The women would be imprisoned for six weeks. Simone was shipped away to relatives living on a remote part of the Island to serve out her sentence. They would never see other again.

 

##

To be continued… Feb 5th, 2019… stay tuned!


Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College, a member of the Carolina African American Writer’s Collective, and the author of eight books.Valjeanne was featured in 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction. Her first novel, Immortal, is featured on the Invisible Universe Documentary time-line. Her stories have been published in Reflections Literary and Arts Magazine; Steamfunk!; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology; Genesis Science Fiction Magazine; Griots II: Sisters of the Spear; Possibilities; and The City.Book I of The Switch II: Clockwork was nominated for the best ebook novella of 2013 (eFestival of Words); and her short story Awakening was published as a podcast by Far Fetched Fables. Preview or purchase Valjeanne’s novels at: Valjeanne Jeffers official site

Free Fiction: The Banyan Tree Ghosts by Sravani Singampalli

The Banyan Tree Ghosts by Sravani Singampalli

People in the village were always scared of the banyan tree at the corner of the old palace where once a beautiful princess named Kamakshi committed a suicide along with her best friend. Princess Kamakshi used to spend time in the shade of the banyan tree with her best friend named Moya who was a farmer’s daughter. Both of them had the same mindset and fell in love at a much younger age. They both were in deep love and used to discuss their thoughts and future sitting under the banyan tree. They used to advise each other and were sure that their parents would agree for their marriage with their lovers but that didn’t happen and it led to unexpected repercussions.

Princess Kamakshi and Moya failed in convincing their parents and one fine day both of them committed a suicide by hanging themselves from the banyan tree. Their sudden demise shook the entire village. Nobody expected that these two girls would take such a brutal step. Moya’s parents were in shock and left the village while Kamakshi’s parents donated their property to an orphanage and lived in a small house with their daughter’s memories. The news of their death spread to all the nearby villages. Children started weaving their own stories and that banyan tree became very popular.

One day, a farmer named Raju was passing by the banyan tree where Moya and Kamakshi hung themselves and all of a sudden he started shouting like a lady. People who listened to his voice and observed his behaviour were very sure that he was possessed by some evil spirit. From that day all the villagers became alert and were very scared of going near that banyan tree. Raju’s health kept on deteriorating as days passed by. He was newly married and lived happily with his beautiful wife but after that strange incident, happiness left his life. He spoke all the weird languages and dirty words. Sometimes, he just used to drape a saree and walk like a woman. People were not only scared of that banyan tree but were scared of Raju’s behaviour too.

Raju’s wife was very worried and felt insulted because of his behaviour. Children used to hurl stones at him and some people also used to beat him badly that led to serious problems. Raju’s wife finally decided to approach an exorcist for help. She had to visit another village to meet the exorcist and explained everything in detail to him. After listening to the entire story, the exorcist came to a conclusion and decided to perform an exorcism. The very next day, the exorcist visited Raju and tried to know about the spirit who possessed him. To his surprise, he came to know that not one but two spirits had possessed him. He asked their names and also their wishes. Everybody was shocked to know that Raju was possessed by the spirits of princess Kamakshi and Moya. The exorcist questioned them about their intentions and wishes. They just said that they never got to enjoy life so they decided to play with this newly married innocent man as he was living a happy life. They promised the exorcist that they would leave Raju’s body if he agrees to wear a red colour saree and walk till that banyan tree with a pot full of water on his head like a woman. The exorcist told Raju to do as they demanded. Raju did whatever they wished for and after an hour he became completely normal. He was free of both the spirits.

Raju’s wife was on cloud nine and grateful to the exorcist but the exorcist warned all the villagers to stay away from that banyan tree in order to lead a happy life. The villagers decided to build a fence around that banyan tree. Nobody understood what Kamakshi and Moya wanted after this strange incident. To some people, it seemed funny but rumours about that banyan tree continued to spread to other villages and nobody dared to visit that place.

Free Words Wednesday: Infested by ReaperScoob

Free Words Wednesday

Guest Writer: ReaperScoob
INFESTED

Alexa woke up in a cold sweat. A reoccurring night terror disturbed her slumber and as usual, the events of said dream escaped her memory as she arose. The coffee started dripping into an awaiting mug in the kitchen. Alexa grabbed the mug, still in a haze, and sat at her kitchen table. With a deep breath, she took her first sip. Before it reached her gut, she spat it out in shock. 2 little cockroaches stood on her table, their antennas flailing this way and that. Her whole body tensed up. She hated roaches and had never seen one in her own abode before. One moved with a jolt toward her and she squealed in horror, rocking in her chair and falling backwards onto the floor. Coffee flew everywhere, covering Alexa and sending the mug crashing next to her.

Alexa’s head thudded off the wooden flooring, dazing her. Wet and somewhat burnt, she gave a frustrated scream and took a deep breath. She rolled to her left, away from the shattered mug, and began lifting herself to her forearms.  Glancing upward, she saw 6 or 7 more roaches on and around her table leg. She shuddered at their sight, tears welling up in frustration and fear. She got to her knees, noticing a trail of roaches leading from the kitchen out to a spare bedroom on the left down a brief hallway. These roaches were rather peculiar in their behavior. Only a few traveled back and forth, the majority acting as roadsigns for the insects traffic. They sporadically twisted and turned, going nowhere. The ones moving followed the mindless like a set of trail-markers. Reaching the door, the trail went right under, while dozens of other roaches covered the door-frame. Alexa crept up to the door. Her mind raced but some deep curiosity kept pushing her forward. Every inch of her crawled nervously as she took note of the roaches on the frame. Heart pounding, she grabbed the handle and opened the door.

Hundreds of roaches ran over her feet. The walls moved like living tar, pouring out into her home. Blood covered everything and a rotten corpse of a horse lay in the otherwise empty room now that most the roaches had ran out. The smell of death invaded her nostrils and she puked. She fell to her knees and put a hand down which was instantly covered in a swarm of roaches that came rushing from the living room. She flung herself backwards and her whole place was now ablaze. Fire engulfed everything as smoke piled into the room, Alexa began to cough. She rushed towards a window but a burst of flame blocked her path. She choked and began to black out. She ran for the front door, stumbled and fell to the floor.

Alexa woke up in a cold sweat. Her heart pounding and tears ran down her face. She remembered the whole thing. What hell had her conscience sent her to? Finally calming down, she sat up in bed. In the kitchen she heard the coffee begin to pour into her mug. As Alexa got up and headed to the kitchen, there scurried a roach, running rampantly towards the kitchen.


Griffin Mekelburg (ReaperScoob) has had a hand in a variety of jobs, giving him insight into many backgrounds that have lead to his stories. His style is graphic and unforgiving, covering all aspects of horror and thriller. 

Guest Blog: EMERALD EYES By R. B. Wood

EMERALD EYES

By R. B. Wood

It was raining the night the dark-faced, false-skinned murderers came for my children. I’d been through and survived their senseless killings before, escaping with my life and little else.

If it were just me, I wouldn’t be concerned. But I had children now, and the three youngsters were asleep, huddled together for warmth and comfort. The wind howled at our home while torrents of rain lashed down, threatening to drown us. Indistinct voices sounded outside. They didn’t kill us to eat. They slaughtered us for fun, and they were far more dangerous than any jungle storm.

Lightning exploded around me as I woke the children. The two youngest, Chand and Saarya, fussed and complained sleepily, but Ishaan, my eldest, woke instantly and was immediately alert, staring at me with his beautiful and expectant emerald eyes. There was so much more to teach them, but there was no more time. I had to trust that they could find their own path, as young as they were. I did once, long ago. Now it was their turn. I needed to face the false-skinned murderers and keep them from my family.

I knew that by dawn, I would be dead.

I nodded once to Ishaan, then to the jungle. He nodded once in response. He swatted at his sister and brother and the two fell into line behind him. My three babies stole away through the lashing rain. It took only seconds for them to disappear from sight—an impressive feat for ones so young. I felt a moment of pride, just then, I admit it.

Ishaan was doing his job as the eldest. It was time for me to do mine as their mother. The false-skinned murderers wanted something to kill? I would not make it easy for them. I leaped out of the door of my home for the last time and began to stalk my prey. I found the first one urinating against a tree. I took him before he even knew there was danger.

I ripped the throat out of a second murderer moments later. This one lets out a gurgling cry, but the wind and then rain masked the sound of his death. I was approaching a third when I heard a loud crack—the report of one of their damnable fire-sticks. Caution be damned, I ran toward the sound, already knowing what I’d find. Little Chand was lying among the fronds, his blood pooling, mixing with the rain and the dirt. A ragged wound had taken the place of the soft, black fur of his chest. I watched him take his last breath. Whether he realized I was with him when he died, I’ll never know. 

A second crack sounded nearby and I roared with rage, bounding away from one dead child only to find another—my little Saarya—missing half of her head. I could see bloody, broken teeth showing through the hole. A grotesque mockery of what had been her beautiful smile. All around my daughter I could smell her death, taste her blood. I was about to scream again when I heard a higher pitched yell of fear and pain. Not Ishann too, I thought and set off as fast as my legs would carry me.

I splashed through puddles and slid in the muck, scrambling to get to my boy. I found him. But it hadn’t been he who screamed. Lying on the ground was a murderer. His throat had been ripped out, much like I’d done to his companion moments before. A broken fire-stick lay beside him.

Ishaan was there, ripping at the murder’s false-skin, tearing into the dark flesh underneath. My son was in the middle of a blood rage. He had lost the sense of himself, lost awareness of the danger that still surrounded us. I pulled him off his kill. He bit and clawed at me, and I let him until his rage faded.

Shouts could be heard coming closer, and beams from false-suns sprang up. More murderers would come, as they always did, sensing an impending kill. They would be riding in metal beasts and carrying larger fire-sticks.

We needed to run.

No, I thought. Ishann needs to run. I failed to keep the false-skinned killers from Chand and Saarya. I will not fail a third time.

I held my son close, inhaling his scent, trying to explain to him how he needed to run, how proud I was of him. How much I loved him. Rain washed away the blood and dirt from the fur of my child as I set him down upon the sodden ground. He looked up at me, emerald eyes unblinking, understanding. And at the next flash of lightning, my son was gone. Thunder rumbled, and I growled a challenge in response, matching tone and timber.

Voices were all around me now. Many false-suns lit the jungle chaotically, bouncing off trees and ground and rain.

And me.

One of them shouted, and other false-suns turned to me in an instant. There was no more time. I snarled in defiance.

This is for Chand and Saarya. This is to keep my Ishann free.

I pounced amongst screams. Their fire-sticks roared. Blood flowed, and the rains fell harder.

 

*********

 

BIO:

R. B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Speculative and Dark Fiction.  His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, was released to critical acclaim in 2012.  Mr. Wood is currently working on multiple stories and his MFA (Emerson College Class of ’19).  Along with his writing passion, R. B.  is the host of The Word Count Podcast – a show that features talent from all around the globe reading original flash-fiction stories.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, a multitude of cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

#NGHW 500-Word WINNER! Harry Husbands

Winner for episode #139

VIRTUAL REALITY IS REVOLUTIONISING HORROR

by Harry Husbands

This winner’s entry will be read an discussed in full
on the Cemetery Confessions podcast, June 2nd, 2017.

Here is just a taste of the blog:

“Imagine you enter a theatre in the year 2025 and take a seat. In front of you is a device that you place on your head and over your ears. Your vision is blackened. Thirty minutes of adverts begin because some things just never change. Eventually the film starts and you’re in a corridor where the lightbulb flickers and a putrid smell of rotting meat wafts to your nostrils. You are creeping forward when the light goes out completely. There’s icy breath on the back of your neck. You not only hear it but you feel it too…” Hear more on Cemetery Confessions June 2nd.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW 500-word Horror Blogs, the Runners Up

#NGHW 500-word Horror Blogs, The Runners Up featured on #139
Daphne Strasert and Quentin Norris

  1.  # 2 HORROR BINGE by Daphne Strasert

    Fear evolved to be a fleeting physical reaction. Fight or flight is only supposed to last long enough to escape danger. Psychologically speaking, humans aren’t built to endure hours of sustained terror. Yet, whether it’s Penny Dreadful or Stranger Things, horror addicts love to curl up with Netflix for a marathon of dread. Watching horror isn’t like it used to be. With the rise of streaming services, the horror genre faces the new challenge of binge-watch culture. What effect does this medium have on scare factor and can it take horror to new heights?

    How did we get here?

    Before streaming, television horror was constrained by weekly time slots. Creators had to contend with an unreliable audience, so they structured series for casual viewing. Shows adopted a “monster of the week” format that worked well even if watched sporadically. However, what worked well for syndication floundered when viewers started consuming a decade’s worth of episodes in a single weekend. Faced with a fundamental shift in how audiences watch television, producers adapted their approach. Netflix pioneered the world of “binge content” by releasing shows in season-long chunks and optimizing them for marathon viewing.

    A new approach to story telling

    With longer run times and no commercial breaks, binge content plays by different rules. For better or worse, creators have changed how they make shows to keep you clicking “Watch Next”.

    • No Filler

    Binge shows don’t waste time on scenarios (or infuriating Christmas episodes) that won’t be mentioned again. Every installment stays on track and, with no fluff to waste time, the storyline moves forward at breakneck speed. Episodes bleed together without having to rehash plot points. Twists and turns pile on each other with never-ending suspense and mystery. Stranger Things is a perfect example—more like a seven-hour movie than a television show. The long format gives the creators room to develop a complex story.

    • Stifled Experimentation

    Tight plots and fast pacing can have drawbacks. Sometimes an amazing concept doesn’t stand up to a full season of scrutiny. These ideas benefit from single episode exploration. Buffy mastered this with one-off monsters like The Gentlemen.

    • No anticipation

    A tortuous wait between episodes isn’t always a bad thing. A horror show that updates every week stews for seven days, allowing imagination to fill in horrifying implications while the show isn’t playing. American Horror Story capitalizes on this by leaving key doors open at the end of episodes to bring viewers back each week.

    As viewers increasingly turn to streaming services rather than cable subscriptions, we can expect binge content to grow and adapt. We are already seeing the medium evolve. Stephen King and J.J. Abrams are teaming up to bring us Castle Rock. It isn’t out yet, but internet whispers say that it could bring us an anthology show that breaks the mega-movie mold. So, look forward to new terrors as horror masterminds push the envelope of an already edgy genre.

  2. ********************
  3. #3 FIVE FILMMAKERS CHANGING THE FACE OF HORROR CINEMAby Quentin Norris

    It’s no secret that horror is one of the most easily dismissed genres in any medium, especially in film.  It’s hard to blame the critics. There are always exceptions, but the early 2000s were too bogged down with tepid remakes of ’80s gems to make any true impressions on cinephiles. Horror’s reputation has been changing thanks to exciting visions from the following filmmakers who are breathing new life into the genre:

    Alice Lowe: Alice Lowe took no prisoners with her feature film debut, Prevenge, a twisted tale of a mother-to-be who is slave to the will of her sociopathic unborn child. Lowe starred in the film while seven months pregnant and used her own fears as inspiration. Lowe conjures up the most delightfully wicked scares mixed with pitch black humor with the most limited of resources, and the results are nothing less than entertaining.

    Jordan Peele: Although the well-noted sketch comedian had been discussing his desire to make a horror film for some time, no one quite knew what to expect from Get Out, but what we got was a groundbreaking wake up call for America, and could not have come at a better time. The filmmaking is inspired by past films — particularly the dread of Rosemary’s Baby — but the subject matter is extremely modern, exploring the inherent terror of being a person of color in modern society. Like many great horror films before it, Get Out uses socio-political themes to reflect something deeper inside everyone.

    Oz Perkins: As the son of Anthony Perkins, the original Norman Bates, horror runs through Oz Perkins’ blood, although he’s had a bit of a rocky start. His first film, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, is only now being released, while his second, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, was quietly released on Netflix late last year. Pretty Thing may have been released to little fanfare, but it is a striking film that is well worth a watch. Feeling like a cross between Terrence Malick and David Lynch, the film creates a gothic ghost story like no other before it.

    Robert Eggers: Scaring Stephen King is no easy feat, but that is exactly what Eggers did with his excellent feature debut, The Witch, a creeping tale of a doomed New England family haunted by a demonic presence that feels like a knife slowly digging under your skin for an hour and thirty minutes.

    Julia Ducournau: This French-Canadian filmmaker’s feature debut, Raw, gained a reputation as a gross-out film after audiences fainted at a film festival screening. While there’s no shortage of gooey body horror to be found in the film, it is much more than just that. The film is a layered, emotional coming-of-age film with enough body horror to make David Cronenberg beam with pride.

    And that’s just to name a few. There are many more independent genre filmmakers and many more to come who just can’t wait for the opportunity to collectively scare us all in the dark.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW 300-Word WINNER! Naching T. Kassa

Winner for episode #138

The Laughing Man

by Naching T. Kassa

The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.

It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.

“Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”

“Does he come every night,” I had asked.

“He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”

“What if I can’t sleep?”

“Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”

The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.

The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.

“Johnny?” a voice whispered.

I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.

“You awake, Johnny?”

Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.

“Johnny?”

I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.

“I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.

Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW TOP Seven 300-word Stories

TOP 7 / 300-WORD STORIES featured on #138

  1. 1: LARVAE by Sumiko SaulsonLARVAE – A sliver of sunlight pierced the stagnant air of the subbasement, illuminating claw marks in the mossy walls. Under the stream of light I observed bloodstains at the base of my torn nailbed. I winced. The iron-rich smell would attract the creature.Its piteous mewling arose from the depths. I nervously kicked soil into the tunnel at my feet. I had to escape before it returned. Clutching the soil, my fingers dug deep within. Quickly, I ascended. I was six feet up when I felt a tug at my feet. Looking down in horror, I witnessed the creature’s bloated, white body creeping up my pants leg.

    “Get off me, foul thing!” I screamed, kicking the hideous larvae. It was three feet long. Its maw oozed putrescent yellow fluids reeking of fetid lard. That evil oral emanation hit toe of my sneaker, melting canvas and eating away at flesh. I screamed in pain, kicking loose the shoe, sending the maggot dropping below with it.

    The small crevice at the top of the well was just feet away. Heart racing, I redoubled my efforts to scale the wall. A nail broke with a gut-wrenching crack. I felt blood rush out from under the cloth, hot and sticky. I began to calculate how much pressure it would take to knock the wooden cap off the well.

    A new sound emerged. Loud buzzing that grew rapidly closer. I felt wiry hairs touch the back of my neck. Against my will, I turned to look.

    A monstrous fly stared at me with its compound eye. It’s voice, high-pitched and querulous, vibrated against my maddened eardrum. “I bet you didn’t know we evolved,” it said, arrogantly hissing before its mandibles slid into the unyielding flesh of my eyelid, tearing asunder the fragile orb underneath.

    2: THE PET by Daphne Strasert

    THE PET

    You first found your precious baby while she cowered under a car—tiny, trembling, more fur than flesh. Such a helpless angel… you couldn’t leave her to the cruelty of the streets.

    You recline on the couch, Netflix droning in the background and your snuggle muffin nuzzled against your chest. Her breathing lulls you into the blissful space between sleeping and waking. You stroke her fur, careful to avoid the sharp spines, and trace each of the prominent bones that protrude from her back. The tip of her tail coils around your wrist, forming a vice of soft hair. Loving cupcake, you’d do anything to keep her happy.

    You coo at her and she raises her head, blinking each of her four eyes in turn. A rumbling hum passes from her body through yours and she stretches to rub her nose against your arm. She nibbles at your finger and three rows of jagged teeth prick your skin, a minor pain while you swim in an ocean of bliss. Warmth trickles along your hand, followed by the rasp of your sweet pumpkin’s tongue and a crunch as her jaw snaps bone. You murmur affectionate words of encouragement. You would never deprive her of happiness over something as insignificant as an appendage. She gnaws at the edges of your mangled finger, mewing between nips.

    Blood and flesh—you have plenty to spare for your darling. After all, your body is useless if it cannot cater to her. Any pain is worthwhile if you can provide what she needs. Isn’t that what you want? To be with her—a part of her—together forever? You’ll give anything for your dear pet. Even your life.

    Especially your life.

    Story 3: LINGUA by JC Martinez

    LINGUA

    The rotten smell comes from the body it left in the shower. It’s grown worse. It’s almost my time.

    I hear something. A muffled splash, like a wet towel hitting the floor repeatedly. Its footsteps. Then, another sound, like the towel getting wrung. It’s disposing of the body. It’ll come for me next.

    I close my eyes as the closet doors fly open. I close them hard, but I still see it. There’s nothing human about its shape, except for the… tongues. It’s all made of lilac tongues, grouped together like tangled hanks of yarn. I don’t know how it sees, for it has no eyes. I can make out no noses or ears either, just those tongues that wiggle wildly in all directions.

    It grabs me by the waist, pulls me toward it. God, no. It yanks my feet, lifting me effortlessly. The tongues are everywhere now, all over my legs and arms and torso, leaving a slimy trail that dries swiftly over my skin.

    Its tongues are over my closed eyes too. It pulls gently at my eyelids, as if caressing them. I want to scream, but I don’t. All I can do is cry silently, and that’s exactly what it wants.

    It tastes my tears. It drinks them.

    Over the next weeks, it’ll keep me alive, feeding me that strange marmalade that I don’t know where it gets from. It’ll keep me alive, savoring my tears and sweat and saliva, and any other body fluid that it craves.

    After it grows tired of my taste, it’ll leave me to starve to death in that putrid shower. I’m not sure how it’ll do away with my body, but since I can see no other, I guess it’ll devour it whole.

    So much for an open-casket funeral.

    Story 4: BLOODWORM by Jonathan Fortin

    BLOODWORM

    It started with wriggling under her fingernails. Sam ignored the feeling. It was late, and most of the office had left, but she had to finish this report.

    Then came heat, flushing her back and brow with sweat. Sam slipped off her hoodie. She was probably reacting badly to the meds she’d ordered off eBay. They’d looked shifty, but she’d had no choice—this scummy place didn’t provide health insurance.

    The wriggling sensation spread through her body. She felt dizzy and numb, her fingers punching random keys. “Shit…” She couldn’t let this distract her from the deadline. She tried to sit up.

    Her body didn’t respond.

    A red worm poked out between her knuckles. Then another, from her wrist.

    Terror hit her like a train. The meds—did they house parasites? Was she now their host? She’d been so stupid to take them!

    She tried to scream, but instead fell off the chair and became fetal on the floor. She choked as worms crawled up her throat and out her mouth like regurgitated noodles. They plugged her nose and burrowed out her eyes, popping them. Pain rushed through her as worms ripped out her back and twisted into sinuous, red-soaked ropes.

    Blind, she felt her body rise up from the floor, like a puppet. She took steps against her will.

    “Sam?” A voice. Her boss! She tried to tell him to run, but her mouth was blocked. Vomit rushed up and back down again.

    She couldn’t stop. Her hand collided with something, just as her boss began to scream. She pummeled over and over amidst wet sounds until the screaming ceased.

    Sam felt his still body with her fingers. She felt worms slip out from her and burrow into him.

    And then, soon after, she heard him stand.

    Together they lurched.

    Story 5: The ODDMENTS Monster by Adele Marie Par

    Corners hold secrets that burst forth like rotting fruit when darkness falls.

    A blackness within the dark. Shapes that form to become objects of dread as they begin to move. A puppet dance with no master.

    This is the jerky, raggedy birth of the Oddments Monster.

    Tommy’s safe world no longer existed. It had exploded into shards when his father died.

    The house became a lifeless tomb that he and his mother shuffled through.

    She trailed dust and dirty clothes behind her.

    Tommy was a ghost, incorporeal, unheard.

    Perfect conditions for the Oddments Monster.

    Wrapped up like a mummy in his bed, Tommy waited. Frightened into silence and rapid puffs of breath.

    A crackling sigh vibrated around the room. A slithering sound followed, evocative of a snake shedding its skin.

    The atmosphere became heavy. He gulped air like a fish stranded on land. He felt compelled to look and when he did…..

    Blackness filled his dirty clothes. A striped t-shirt wavered and flapped. Jeans bent at the knees and wobbled into an upright position. A crusty, grey handkerchief became a face. The centre puckered inwards to form a rudimentary mouth.

    The monster moved.

    Tommy cried.

    It lurched towards him, eyes made from lost buttons. Black as coal with twin, red, pinpricks of evil intelligence behind them.

    The raggedy thing leaned over Tommy’s paralyzed body.

    The stench of its breath was forgotten memories and sorrow.

    “Dust and ashes you will be, Tommy boy.”

    His trembling bladder gave way and the sharp smell of urine drew the monster closer.

    Ancient bubble gum drooled from it’s puckered mouth and dribbled onto Tommy’s face.

    He opened his mouth to scream but the monster kissed him. He tasted death and dirt as the monster sucked his breath.

    Story 6: THE LAUGHING MAN by Naching T. Kassa

    The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.

    It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.

    “Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”

    “Does he come every night,” I had asked.

    “He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”

    “What if I can’t sleep?”

    “Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”

    The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.

    The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.

    “Johnny?” a voice whispered.

    I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.

    “You awake, Johnny?”

    Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.

    “Johnny?”

    I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.

    “I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.

    Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.

    Story 7: Always Hungry by Cat Voleur

    ALWAYS HUNGRY

    It was horrible when the sound stopped. For the last few hours Kimi had been forced to listen to the slurps of the creature’s messy eating – interrupted only by the occasional cracking and crunching of bone. Sickening though it had been, it was preferable to the silence in which she was now stuck.

    They have an insatiable hunger for human flesh that grows as rapidly as the beasts themselves.

    Her grandmother had believed strongly in the Algonquin lore with which she had been raised, and Kimi had heard many such stories growing up.

    If only I had listened.

    The beast had stopped eating, which could mean only one thing; it was out of food.

    For a moment it lingered, still crouching in the bloodstained snow a safe distance from dying campfire. Elongated limbs extended from the emaciated torso at strange, unnatural angles. Even in the warm glow of the embers Kimi could see that the skin stretched thinly over its skeletal frame was a sickly, mottled gray.

    It was all she could do not to gag as the thing straightened and she caught a whiff of its decaying scent.

    At its full height, she saw that it was clearly taller than it had been prior to the feast, and Kimi gasped at the realization its head would now be level with the branch where she was hiding.

    It turned toward the noise.

    For the first time she could see it in all its grotesque glory. Teeth jutted in all angles from the gaping, gore-filled maw. Its distorted facial features were dripping with blood. Worst were its eyes – two black orbs that were sunken deeply into the deformed skull, reflecting no light.

    She knew in that instant she would not be spared.

    The wendigo is always hungry.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW TOP 100-word Stories

TOP / 100-WORD STORIES

  1. Last Days of Sunlight

by Feind Gottes

Her heart began to pound in her chest as though it would burst at any moment. The steel bands of anxiety tightened threatening to suffocate her. The last beams of light were coming through the window now, ushering in another nightmare filled night. He only crept in to torment her once the sun was gone. Blood dripped to the floor from the dozens of wounds covering her tiny frame. The last ray of sunlight burned out and died signaling a new night of terror. The last, she hoped. A tear rolled down her cheek as the door creaked slowly open.


  1. Bully

By: Naching T. Kassa

Bobby stood by his grandfather’s grave, his eye swollen shut. Cory ran up, Bobby’s blood on his shirt.

“Give me your money,” Cory said, as he halted. “Or I’ll break your nose.”

Bobby glowered at his tormentor. “No. He told me not to.”

Cory glanced around. They were alone in the cemetery.

“Who?”

“My grampa.”

“You’re nuts.”

Bobby flipped him off.

Cory charged forward. Bobby side-stepped him and he fell on the grave.

A dirty skull rose from the earth and sank its teeth into Cory’s throat. He screamed.

“You shouldn’t have come,” Bobby said. “Grampa eats bullies for breakfast.”


  1. MOUNDS

by Jess Landry

The rain started to fall just as I finished up. As the cool mist washed over me, I was reminded of something my Baba had told me when I was little.

“Julia,” she had said. “There will be two great loves in your life. The first will be a beautiful home—”

(Currently burning to the ground)

“—And the second will be a caring, loving man to call your own.”

I tossed the shovel aside. The rain cleared the sweat and grime from my face as I sat on the mound of dirt I had once called my husband.


  1. Lily House

By AE Kirk

Walking down a gravel path at twilight, I made no sound as I stopped and saw a wooden cross that had been taken by the wind. It bore no name. It was just a simple marker. I placed it in my pocket. I passed by the others who came before me; they stared at their marble, their sandstone or slate. I felt sorry for those whose stones were covered by ivy, or ravaged by weather and time. I found my stone, newly cut, placed just today. Lily House. 1994-2000. Rest In Peace. I cried and lay beside my grave, alone.


  1. A True Artisan

by Timothy G. Huguenin

The baker thought of Carol as he kneaded. He’d been captivated by her frame—slight, tender—he loved her.

The dough was too wet. He reached into his flour sack. Empty. He had to make more. A true artisan, he milled his own flour. Nothing like stone-ground flour.

The walk to his shed was cold. No matter; the mill would warm him.

The light from the opening door fell upon his dog, gnawing a bone.

“Git outta there.”

The dog slunk away.

The light expanded to show the old millstone and the bone pile, waiting.

Carol, he thought. He smiled.


  1. Tributaries

By Sumiko Saulson

In horror films, there’s a moment the audience knows our heroine should run. We scream at the idiot looming large before us, hoisted high above on silver lenticular projected through cellulose in particles of light.

Yelling at the movie, I don’t notice the monster leaning against me for comfort. Nearby monsters are difficult to identify.

A raised rash spreads over my shoulder where your head lay against me. Mold spreads outward, green and black tendrils where your fingers grasped mine.

This isn’t your fault.

Now, we are trapped, phantoms in the theater, offstage, in seats below, no audience watching us.


  1. The Count of Three

By Cat Voleur

“I love you,” he said, who had never loved anyone.

“I love you too,” she said, who had loved far too many.

“Together, then?” He asked, though he was not prepared to jump.

“Together,” she said, stepping up onto the ledge beside him.

“The count of three?” He asked.

She was ready, so with a sad smile she started off their count rather than to answer. “One.”

“Two.” He replied.

“Three.” She pushed him off and watched lovingly as he plummeted toward the rushing waters below. He didn’t scream as he fell. That was disappointing. Her other boyfriends had screamed.


  1. Wax on the Doorknob

By Quentin Norris

Emily called me at three in the morning, still breathing hard. She told me she’d seen the man standing behind her in the reflection on her phone. Standing under a streetlamp, he wore a black coat, his face and hands were covered in dripping wax. He’d followed her home, and tried to open her door, and was now standing in her yard. I peeked out the window at her house across the street, yet saw nothing. Everything seemed fine as I walked over, but my heart stopped when I reached for her doorknob and saw wax cooling on its surface.


  1. Fairies

by Jonathan Fortin

Fairies are eating my ex. She lies on a banquet table, smiling at me as they pierce her eyes with needle teeth and drag razor nails down her breasts. My breath quivers. I instinctively know she’s no longer mine, even if we never broke up.

“It’s wonderful, darling,” she says, with a voice that’s not her own. “I am devoured every night, and reborn every morning. I am courted, danced with, and given beautiful dresses.

Dearest, won’t you join me? Won’t you be eaten too?”

I know I should run, but I miss her so much. I reach for her.


  1. Friend

By Adele Marie Park

A scratching, beastly noise. The prick of fear, sharp as a needle quivers through me. I am alone in the house.

I grip the bannister. Knuckles blanched. Only shadows thrown by the electric light.

I climb. My pulse racing deafens sound. Breathing laboured. Suffocating with foreboding.

Sweat moulds hair to my face. I turn the handle and push the door. Shadows sharpen into familiar objects except: an unknown darkness manifests before me.

My throat fills with bile. Frozen in terror. I scream.

Putrid smell of garbage fills my nostrils. Revulsion gags in my mouth as shrivelled lips tickle my ear.


  1. Grandma

By JC Martinez

I close my eyes, because Grandma asked me to do so.

I sit on the floor, behind the bed, as far away as possible from the room’s door, just like Grandma instructed.

The hinges creak. The sound makes me cringe. The footsteps even more so. But it’s just Grandma. I think.

She doesn’t speak, but I feel her breath on my face. I can smell it. Minty. Almost like toothpaste.

Something wraps my nose. Something slimy and wet, like a tongue. Makes me feel… uneasy.

But I don’t open my eyes. I never do.

Because Grandma told me not to.


  1. The Inevitable

By Harry Husbands

The black shape ballooned upward from behind Doctor Forster’s shoulder, then began to take on a human form made entirely of shadow. It was not the first time Michael had seen this figure—though never so close—and with muscles tensed, gripping his knees, he tried listening to the Doctor who spoke with an ashen face of pity.

“It’s cancer, Michael.” The Doctor said before continuing on at length about potential treatments and support groups. Michael paid no attention. His eyes were fixed instead on the apparition and the awful grin that emerged from its otherwise dark and featureless face.

 

  1. Dinner at the Millers

By Riley Pierce

Babysitting for the Millers the first time, Abby pressed the channel button looking for something that would keep her attention long enough to stay awake through dinner. Clutching the baby monitor, she ate another bite and smiled. The colicky child was now silent. It had only taken an hour, but she was proud of herself for handling little Eric and his seemingly endless cries. Happily settling on a cooking channel, she glanced at the clock and wiped his blood from her cheek. Daniel and Jayda would be home soon. Stew next, Abby thought, I think I’d like to try stew.


  1. Till Death

By Daphne Straasert

My bridesmaids would think I’m nuts if I told them. Nothing’s changed about him—he has the same face, same laugh as my fiancé—but he’s different.

The wedding blurs by in a parade of hugs and congratulations. I’m not alone with him until the limo door shuts behind me. In the silence, the air between us chills.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

I slide my hand from his. “You’re not Michael. You’re not my husband.”

His smile doesn’t warm his eyes. “Maybe not Michael… but your husband?” He leans forward so his breath tickles my ear. “Until death do us part.”


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

Guest Blog: The Blind Seeker by Kay Tracy

 

The Blind Seeker
by Kay Tracy

The lousy weather was holding, with the same miasma of fog and overcast. Lack of sun will make people do and see strange things, so they say.

The usual snarl of homeward commute traffic seemed worse than usual today. There are always those people who drive like, well, I guess idiots would be the more polite word to use. Cutting people off as they weave from lane to lane, trying for that extra car length they just know will get them home faster. It had a been a long day, and I was not looking forward to the rest of the commute. I pulled my truck off the road to take a break, and have an early dinner. I enjoy finding small out of the way places to patronize, and my hunt for something other than the standard fast food or drive through took me a couple miles distance from the highway. This stretch of road should have seemed familiar, I had driven here before, but there! That place was new, a small Taqueria, with a big hand lettered sign, “Fresh Tamales!” Well! If you have never had a fresh from the steamer hand rolled Tamal, you are missing one of life’s great pleasures! The sweetly plumped corn meal holding the tasty secret of filling that the individual making them takes such pride in! Not very large, this place Only 4 tables, a counter near one wall, and a door opening into a small Botanica shop. I looked for the owner (it is always the owner who works in these places) and wandered next door, into the attached Botannica. The scents of the food from the kitchen mingled with numerous herbs, powders and scented candles from the Botanica. My stomach was growling.

The older woman in the shop must have heard my stomach, as she greeted me warmly and asked me “Comida?”- Food? I nodded and said “Yes! Tamal con Pollo por favor” I replied “Three, er Tres”. My Spanish is not that good and I forget the words sometimes!

“Give me a moment” the old woman replied, her English was impeccable, as she winked at me slyly! She was tall and on the thin side, not quite gaunt, but her face showed her bone structure, as well as her laugh lines!

She ushered me back to the restaurant side and placed a small plain black wooden box on the center of the table indicating that I should sit there. I sat looking at the décor. Painted plaster walls, scenes from Central America? Step pyramids, bright feathered birds, or were those the head-dresses of Mayan or Aztec kings or priests? The woman returned and brought me a frothy cup of chocolate. Mind you this is not the chocolate of my childhood in Pennsylvania, all milky and sweet. No! This was chocolate as the Aztecs might have prepared it, spicy, with a hint of chile, whipped to a frenzy!

I know I said I liked out of the way places, and I am always willing to try new things, but that chocolate, if you are not used to it, has some odd effects on one! I looked up, as I dabbed the chili sweat from around my eyes.

The woman came out to sit down at the table, “they will be a few more minutes” she informed me, “you cannot rush the magic of the Tamal, it happens as it should.”

She opened the box that had been placed on the table, earlier and took out a black cloth, spreading it out, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles. “While we wait,” she said, “Shall we see what there is to be known?”

“I am tired of the traffic,” I said, “ And I am hungry. Do I need to know more than that?” I said, laughing slightly.

“Perhaps she replied” as she lit two small candles and stood them in small cups just inside the box. I looked as she looked, down, and saw there was a shallow bowl, sort of, the only black. She was staring into it, a sort of glazed look coming into her eyes. I saw the candles reflected in that bowl, flickering yellow lights, and other colors too, red, blue, reflections from the wall paintings? I leaned in closer to see. A trick of the candlelight? I blinked as her hand appeared and she sprinkled some sort of fine white powder over the bowl. My awareness came back suddenly, and I leaned back, after all, it IS California, and there are many things a “powder” could be! The old woman spent a few more minutes gently waving her hands and staring into the bowl when suddenly her face became grave. She picked up both of the candles and turned them over into their little cups. The candles out, she closed the box and got up. “Your dinner is ready now”. Swiftly she went to the kitchen, leaving me to sit, blinking from the change in lighting. There, then. I saw it. The top of the box. There were faint white marks on it, letters? Writing? I leaned closer, yes, there it was. I could make it out, “6 205 Muerte”

I took a moment to think, 205, that is the road, the highway I had been on, that traffic nightmare!

Just then my Tamales arrived, and the aroma seemed to make me forget all about the box, and the commute. I carefully untied the strip of corn husk and peeled it free so I could take a bite, and burned my tongue, just a bit, on the hot steaming cornmeal. The clock from back in the little kitchen chimed 6 pm. The old woman turned on a tiny television she had on her counter as she brought me more chocolate, she smiled sadly at me then, as she filled the cup again for me. She placed a small vase filled with marigolds onto my table as she removed the little black

box.

I fanned my burning tongue and looked up, “ Thank you” I said, just as I saw the news started up on her little TV. There it was, the same flashing yellow, and colors I had seen in the little bowl. There! On the news. The reporter was pointing as the crawl along the bottom had something about a multi-car crash on 205, that just happened. The image was very jumpy- the cameraman was running after the reporter with his gear, (they had been in the counter-commute lanes) There it was, I stared, transfixed at the tiny screen’s image, and looked again. Three of the cars in that wreck, I recognized them, they had been near me in the commute, when I pulled off! One of them had been the idiot weaving in an out trying to pass everyone on the road. And then, there was that truck, mangled, familiar looking…

 

Free Fiction Friday: Gluttony by Jesse Orr

GLUTTONY

by Jesse Orr

It had made it through security, only by an amazing stroke of good luck. A razor blade is just the kind of thing which all TSA agents are supposed to be on the lookout. But, some stupid crackhead in the line ahead of me tried smuggling a few kilos of what looked like powdered sugar out of town. He should have tried harder. A lot of people in wherever were going to be very disappointed. Anyway, while they were busy screwing with him, I calmly walked through the metal detector, not flinching as it beeped in protest. I held my arms up and assumed the position, so to speak. The lady with the wand was distracted by the ensuing drama and probably more than a little pissed off that she was the one who had to scan people who set off the stupid alarm with their watches and necklaces. I said, “It’s the bracelet,” and pointed to my right arm where a chain link bracelet was welded on. She ran the wand over it, it beeped, and she waved me through, satisfied. Her attention was already back with the smuggler while I walked through security with a razor blade.

You may ask, why exactly did I risk bringing a razor blade on board a commercial jetliner? Mostly to see if I could. A little for the thrill. For the sheer joy of it. Who cares? Stop asking stupid questions.

I stopped at the bar for a few shots of Cognac to take the edge off the hopeless flock mentality that was beginning to set in, and made my way to the gate, sparsely populated an hour before boarding. Finding an out-of-the-way looking row of chairs, I sat down and began the new Zhane Brock novel. Better than most bestsellers out today, many of the inspirations for my work come from Mr Brock’s twisted mind.

I was jolted from a seedy bathroom in Queens by a man sitting down two seats from me, yakking on a cell phone and oblivious to all but what was right in front of him.

Surely, I reasoned, the terminal had filled up rapidly while I was reading Mr Brock’s words, and this was the best place to sit? But no. There were two people sitting in the terminal, their numbers dwarfed by the empty seats surrounding them.

My attention turned back to this man, taking in details. He fairly reeked of yuppie. His khaki shorts had been out of the packaging less than a day, the creases so sharp they could slice elephant steaks. I could smell them, the steaks, along with the new clothes smell emanating from his green polo shirt. His cell phone was the latest model, a tablet-smart phone hybrid. Probably did everything but talk for him, and as soon as they came out with a model that did, he’d be the first one in line to buy it.

Gary [it was stitched on his carryon] continued talking without a care in the world, oblivious to my scrutiny. He blathered on about golf, bars and bikini clubs, punctuating sentences with phrases reeking of irritating enthusiasm and shifting constantly in his chair, swaying the row of chairs. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. He was truly one of the most repulsive individuals I had ever laid eyes upon.

As soon as he was done talking and bouncing around, Gary brought a takeout box seemingly from nowhere. The second that box came into my eyesight, the stench of cheap curry hit me square in the nostrils, almost before my eyesight told me it was a box. My eyes beheld a green lumpy mess, which Gary proceeded to shovel into his mouth at a terrific rate, unhindered as he was by napkin or paper towel.

I knew once he finished his aromatic feast he’d be heading for the bathroom. Sure enough, once Gary the Yuppy finished licking green slime off his fingers, he crammed the box into a trash can and headed off down the terminal. I gave him a minute, stretched, and followed him. Luck stayed with me. Gary brought out a card, swiped it through a slot in the wall, and disappeared through a door saying MVP Platinum Members Only.” Hastening my footsteps, I stopped the door surreptitiously with my foot and made a show of fumbling in my jacket. Bringing out my wallet, I pulled out, swiped and replaced my imaginary card, then let myself in the door.

Again, luck was with me and nobody else was in that exclusive bathroom, save Gary and his fancy phone, which were both in a stall together. I knew luck wouldn’t keep the bathroom empty for long. Slipping off my shoe and sock, I slid the sock over my hand and grabbed the razor blade hidden inside the shoe.

Kicking Gary’s stall door in, I wasted no time. Before Gary could say a word, I lashed out with the razor blade, catching him across the throat, parting the layers of skin and tissue almost to the point of death. He would live, but would never again be able to speak above a gravelly whisper. For now, he sat partially on the toilet seat, pants around his ankles, grasping at his throat while making the first of many years worth of wheezing gasps. I put on my sock and my shoe, and dropped the razor in his lap. Maybe they would think it was a suicide attempt. I didn’t care. It was almost time to board.

 

There was a scream. Taking my boarding pass back from the attendant, I looked over my shoulder across the terminal. One of airport security was attempting to comfort a hysterical woman by the MVP Platinum Members Only door, another was coming out of it, his shoes red and his face green. I shook my head and padded down the jetway to my seat.

I was just about to open Mr Brock’s book again when I was distracted by a large someone clambering into the seat next to me. I blinked. There should be no one sitting there. I always bought two seats side by side, just so no one sat next to me. And yet, here was someone…sitting next to me. I bit my tongue. Maybe the rest of the plane was full and he was one of those lucky ones who gets an empty seat ten minutes before departure.

No…I watched and plenty of people were still getting on. There were plenty of open seats. This was getting to be routine. Meanwhile, the man to my right [I always get a window seat] was settling in, putting his laptop away, getting comfortable. He put his arms on the armrest, sat back and sighed.

My eye twitched. To avoid touching this man, I was sitting against the wall, practically on the wing of the plane, and had my elbows on the top of my hips. That’s when I noticed a lady’s pointed shoe under my window, considerably detracting from my arm space. The approximately three square feet the airline had allotted me was being invaded with extreme prejudice. The man to my left shifted, getting comfortabler, which I know is not a real word, and elbowed me in the side. The elbow stayed in my side. The shoe on my right nudged my arm.

That was enough. I opened Mr Brock’s book and began thumbing through it for inspiration, even committing my own faux pas and looking past the part  to which I had read, seeking key words. I was so absorbed in my study that we had been pushed back, taxied, took off, and were cruising at 36,000 feet, before my seatmate’s standing to go to the bathroom roused me.

The bathroom?

Well why not.

Once again, I gave him time to make his way back and inside the stall before sliding past the man in the aisle seat and heading to the lavatories. Miraculously, only one of them was occupied. This was almost too easy.

Quickly and quietly, I jimmied the bolt with the second razor blade which I had tucked into my wallet and slid in with him, locking the door and knocking him silly with a slap to the brains before he really comprehended that something out of the ordinary was happening. As he reeled back, dazed, I took his left arm and slit first his wrist, then his inner forearm, then his upper inner arm, and stuffed as much of his fist as would fit into his mouth. The blood flew from his slashed arm, spattering the walls as he fought to free both his arm and his fist. It wasn’t hard to hold his fist and arm in place until his twitching subsided and his eyes glazed over.

Once he was dead, I wadded up a bunch of toilet paper over the gashes and put the razor blade in his right hand, after taking the fist out of his mouth, and left him sitting there with his pants around his ankles holding a razor blade. The next day’s paper would record it as a man who wanted to make a statement by snuffing himself in an airplane bathroom but had second thoughts and used TP to dam the red river, unsuccessfully. But by then I was in Europe and could have cared less.

The man in the aisle seat had ordered a Bloody Mary in my absence, the smell of which was enough to make me gag, and I was entertaining the possibility that the lady with the shoe had epilepsy, but only in the foot that kept kicking me. However, the luck had shifted from me to them, because I had left my last razor blade in the bathroom.

**********

Jesse Orr was born and raised in Alaska and has no idea, nor do his parents, when or how he began reading and writing; as is the case with so many things, they just are. Moving to Seattle in 2007, he settled down to a life of recording and performing music as well as writing whatever caught his fancy. He has a dog named Mr Dog and lives in West Seattle.

https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

Free Fiction Friday: Mould and Blood

 

Mould & Blood

By DJ Tyrer

 

Black & RedThe estate echoed to the sounds of anger. Locals had gathered to protest against the closure of the Sure Start Centre and, in no time at all, they’d been joined by black-hooded anarchists who’d taken the opportunity to stage a generalised riot. With an ironic twist, the shattering of the Centre’s windows would mean it would be closed a while regardless.

Malcolm turned away from the sight of a masked and hooded figure waving a black-and-red bicolour flag in the midst of the glass fragments, and headed away as quickly as possible, back to his flat.

He wondered what the country was coming to: overwhelming immigration, war, cutbacks, riots – it was worse than the ‘80s. The whole country was collapsing into anarchy! What it needed was an old-fashioned dictatorship to sort things out. He spat in disgust when he saw the large graffito that covered the wall beside the door to his block, a sinuous design in red and black: obviously the work of those anarchist yobs, marking their territory in their battle with the police. Bring back the birch, he said. Bring back hanging! Even hanging was too good for them!

Inside, the block was no better than the rest of the estate. The stairwell stank of stale urine and was scattered with rubbish. It was crumbling and vandalised. It was just typical of the system that he was stuck here, in this waking nightmare of poverty and broken dreams, whilst some foreigner was milking it and living in some mansion, pumping out dozens of kids! He kicked a half-empty can of bitter down the stairs in frustration.

Malcolm’s own single-bedroom flat was just as bad. Tiny and cramped with walls caked with mould. He’d been onto his landlord repeatedly about the blight, but nothing had been done. It was like smacking his head against a brick wall trying to get something done about it and he’d more or less given up on it, accepting the smell and constant chestiness that went with it. On the news, the Housing Association had even attempted to blame the tenants for the mould in their own homes, as if they were all to blame for leaks and condensation. That was typical!

A loud bang made him jump. Some idiot had detonated a firework in the undercroft of the building. Loud noises and bright flashes seemed to satisfy simple minds.

He’d just settled down to watch the telly – not that there was really anything worth watching despite all the extra digital channels – when there was a knock on his door. He ignored it, but the knock was repeated. Probably idiot kids. The knock was repeated for a third time.

With a sigh, Malcolm hauled himself up and out of the tired old beige sofa and made the short walk to the door.

Looking through the peephole, he could see a youth in a black hoodie. It looked like one of the yobs he’d seen earlier. He wondered what he wanted. He couldn’t see his face and that made him nervous. There seemed to be a badge, maybe a gang emblem, like the head of a court jester, on the chest of his hoodie.

Fitting the door chain, he opened the door a crack and asked what he wanted. The figure raised his head to look at him and Malcolm saw that it was Steve, a kid from down the passage. A bit of a berk, like all the kids these days, but not too bad, and, being from his floor, owed a certain measure of neighbourly respect.

“I need to come in, Malc,” Steve said.

“What?”

Steve looked kind of agitated and sounded sort of strange, like he was high on something; hardly an uncommon occurrence around here, although he’d never known Steve to go on a drug-fuelled rampage like some of his peers.

“I need to come in, Malc. I gotta come in, right now; gotta show you summit.”

“Show me what?”

With an inarticulate cry of frustration, Steve slammed into the door, the security chain ripping easily away from the damp-rotted wood of the doorframe. The door slammed into Malcolm, staggering him backwards into the flat.

Steve burst in, shouting something about laughing that made no sense to Malcolm but sounded exactly like the crazed ramblings of a druggie. Malcolm recoiled in fear; he could see a knife in Steve’s hand. He’d read about youths flipping out on drugs and going on a killing spree. Or, maybe this was a gang initiation. Maybe it was both.

Malcolm looked wildly around for a weapon with which to defend himself, but there was nothing. It was in that moment that Steve’s knife found him, plunging into his side, once, twice, then a slash across his throat. The last thing he saw before darkness engulfed his vision was a swirl of red upon black as blood sprayed across the mould-caked wall. The last words he heard were “The joke’s on you!” None of it made any sense.

Ends

 

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines in the UK, USA and elsewhere, including State of Horror: Illinois (Charon Coin Press), Steampunk Cthulhu (Chaosium), Tales of the Dark Arts (Hazardous Press), Cosmic Horror (Dark Hall Press), and Sorcery & Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen (Hieroglyphics Press), and in addition, has a novella available in paperback and on the Kindle, The Yellow House (Dunhams Manor). This story previously appeared in the collection Black & Red, available from Atlantean Publishing.

 

DJ Tyrer’s website is at http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

 

The Atlantean Publishing website is at http://atlanteanpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Free Fiction Friday: Dead Babies

Dead Babies

By Alex S. Johnson

 

A familiar absence, and the location of dread.

They were saying things that made no sense. The baby couldn’t be dead. Not her valiant Tommy. She’d seen the sonogram, the ultrasound, the brave little boy kicking through waves of rippled blue.

When they received the news of her pregnancy, Sarah Loveman and her husband James celebrated a miracle. The doctors had told them she couldn’t conceive, not at her age, but they’d been proven wrong.

Stillborn. What did that mean? Sarah batted at the iron rails of the hospital bed and glanced around: sterile whites, shining steel, the smells of antiseptic solution. The nurse hovered over her and put a damp cloth to her forehead.

“I’m so very sorry, Mrs. Loveman. We did everything we could. His heart just stopped beating.”

And how could she have been missing through the delivery? Sarah wanted to be fully awake and aware, to greet her newborn infant, to cradle Tommy to her breast. Anticipated the sweet smell of the clean little boy.

James came to her side. He looked worn. He passed his fingers through his thinning grey hair. “Honey…”

“Just hold me,” said Sarah. “Hold me close.”

“After this, I’m afraid…”

“I know.” The tears began to course slowly down her cheeks. “Could you get me a tissue, please? I don’t want you to see me like this.”

“You’ve experienced a trauma, Mrs. Loveman. It’s very natural to feel strong emotions after all you’ve been through,” said the nurse. Her voice was warm, but there was a calculated professionalism behind it. Sarah wondered how they kept their cool. Maybe they didn’t, maybe it was all a façade. Like the blue wallpaper, the mobiles, the baroque music she’d played for the developing fetus. She had nursed fantasies of Little League and soccer practice for him, teaching him the rudiments of math—the rest she would leave to her husband, who didn’t panic when equations became knotty and complex.

“Let’s go home, dear.”

She leaned on him, on his strength, on his patient assurances, as they made their way to the van. Behind the wheel, James was quiet, glancing over at his wife from time to time to check how she was taking it.

Rather than the freeway, he took side streets, which added about half an hour to the ride. He pulled into their driveway, cut the engine and placed the van in Park. Then he went to the passenger side and slid open the door.

“I can walk on my own, thanks darling,” said Sarah in muted tones.

***

The doctor’s orders were for bed rest with plenty of fluids and a liquid protein diet. In a few weeks, Sarah felt stronger, strangely stronger than she had after the miracle happened. She began to take walks in the park, phoned her friends and eventually summoned the will to begin work again. Her boss at the agency was sympathetic and told her she didn’t have to plunge back into the fray so soon, but she told him she wanted to, needed to consume herself in productive labor.

Then one night she heard a voice. It wasn’t audible outside, but seemed to emerge from within her belly and send sonic tendrils to her brain.

“Mommy? Why did you leave me here in this place? I’m scared.”

She shook herself awake. James stirred beside her and returned to his dreams.

Carefully, so as not to wake him, she made her way down the stairs on tiptoe and brewed a pot of Earl Grey. She sipped the hot tea slowly and watched the sugar cubes melt in the cup.

The voice began again. Sarah caught glimpses of a warehouse with a corrugated aluminum façade and high, rectangular casement windows on three sides. It was as though she were downloading a thought stream, a current directed to her drowsy brain. She recognized this place.

It lay across the railroad tracks that bisected the industrial section of Howard Heights, which predated even the old Latino neighborhood. The building was twenty minutes away.

Should she leave a note? Sure. Your wife is receiving telepathic messages from her dead son, and following up on them. Perfectly reasonable.

Then what would she write?

“Honey, I’m taking the van for a drive. I need to get my thoughts in order.”

That might work. Especially in the early days of their marriage, she’d gone off on little early morning expeditions. James had written this eccentric behavior off to her need for independence—unlike him, Sarah was introverted and had to recharge her psychic batteries on occasion, not so much isolate herself as focus her energy to meet the challenges of her life.

Moving down the hallway of their two bedroom house at the base of Mt. Jefferson, she slipped out of her nightgown and grabbed an old, comfortable grey sweatshirt from the closet, black denim jeans and ankle boots. She draped the nightgown across the back of the rattan chair in the dining room, along with the note.

And caught a glimpse of herself in the full-length mirror at the end of the hallway. A pale, auburn-haired, slightly frumpy woman in early middle age, hell-bent on some crazy plan to rescue Tommy, her son, who was dead at birth.

Maybe she was losing the plot altogether. She’d heard about women like her who began to mentally disintegrate around her age, never to fully recoup their marbles. She had visions of men in white coats with soft, soothing voices and sharp syringes.

Locking the door behind her, Sarah pressed the button on her key chain and the van let out a brief yelp. Then she was driving, down past the perennially dry river with its concrete abutments and ugly gang graffiti, past the colorful markets advertising dry goods and hot chiles and varieties of ice cream unknown to the gringo palate, across the tracks and into the heart of the industrial section where something—a phantasm, a neural hurricane, a hormonally induced nightmare—awaited her. But she had to know, one way or another.

She parked at the end of the alley across from the warehouse and looked up. Pale rays of sunlight touched the top windows. The air was cool but she knew it would be simmering in a few hours. The sky was a washed-out, milky blue haze.

“Please, hurry…”

Sarah went up the back steps to the door that for some reason she knew was unlocked, even though it refused to budge when she jiggled the doorknob. She tried it again and it burst open, nearly causing her to stumble.

The air inside the long, cramped corridor smelled like machinery and dry rot. Guiding herself by touch, she found a switch in the wall and thumbed it. A battery of fluorescent tubes shuddered to life and insects swarmed around them, ink blots with wings. She walked towards the service elevator and pushed the button, but though the UP triangle blinked, there was no movement. To the right were the stairs that led to the loft space that had formerly been a sweatshop, now abandoned, as far as she knew.

She took a deep breath, then began to climb the stairs. The whitewashed walls seemed to seep, dribbling liquid pictures that coalesced and vanished when she tried to examine them.

The voice in her head escalated to a scream.

Then, without any discernible transition from the darkness of the stairwell, Sarah suddenly found herself in a cavernous, high-ceiling room flooded with light so bright she had to squeeze her eyes shut for a moment, adjusting to the glare. When she opened her eyes, she saw steel girders supporting row upon row, stack upon stack of tiny cages, in which hung suspended forms covered in membranous sacks. At the foot of the cages ran a strip of metal with plates identifying the contents of the cages.

“Mommy!”

“I’m coming, Tommy, I’m coming!” Her heart battered against her chest. She then saw the cords and tubes emerging from the sacks, the tubes coursing with some kind of blue gel.

When she saw a ramp leading to the tiers of cages, she ascended it, boots clacking against the steel, and paused at the first level.

Her child was somewhere in here, somewhere among the cocoons.

And then she was standing in front of WXB-12, and the scream in her head disappeared into a black space.

The sack wriggled.

She tried to push a hand through the bars, but there wasn’t enough room. Applying pressure, she found that the bars were made of some soft metal she could easily bend. Inside the cage, she reached up and felt the side of the sac.

“Hold on, Tommy, Mommy’s here.”

Standing on tiptoe, she could just reach high enough to pull the sack down from the bottom. It pulsed in her hands—her son, alive.

Finally she had him in her arms. Gently, she began to peel away the membrane, which came off in her hands like pieces of caked-in soap.

The form inside was grey, with blue lips and closed eyes. A tube attached to its umbilicus appeared to be feeding it the gel.

“Tommy?”

Her son was still.

She pulled at the nozzle at his navel, and the tube came out with a wet plop. The blue gel began to squeeze out onto the floor of the cage like toothpaste.

Then Tommy opened his eyes.

He smiled, the toothless, sinister grin of the neverborn.

And the rottenness inside her miracle child poured forth.

************************************************************************************************

Alex S. Johnson is the author of two novels, Bad Sunset and Jason X IV: Death Moon, the collections Wicked Candy and Doctor Flesh: Director’s Cut,the co-author of Fucked Up Shit! with Berti Walker, as well as numerous Bizarro, horror, science fiction and experimental literary stories, including works published in Full-Metal Orgasm, Bizarro Central, Gone Lawn, Ugly Babies Volume 2, Master/slave, +Noirotica III, Cthulhu Sex, The Surreal Grotesque, Cease, Cows, and many other venues. He is the creator/editor of the Axes of Evil heavy metal horror anthology series He has also been a music journalist for such magazines as Metal Hammer, Metal Maniacs and Zero Tolerance and he is a college and university English professor. Johnson currently lives in Sacramento, California.

HorrorAddicts.net – KIDNAPPED!

halogokidnappedIt’s that time of year again when all the little Horror Addicts here at the home office travel to BayCon to see those of you in person that can attend. We always have a wonderful time and we encourage you to join us this year especially for our Horror Addicts Guide to Life release party! Check the program for details.

For those of you left behind, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you! From May 10th – June 6th, you will not go horror-free. OH NO! We have a group of horror aficionados here to entertain you.

May 10-16 = Michele Roger

micheleMichele Roger is the author of “Dark Matter” and “The Conservatory”; both horror novels.  She also hosts her own podcast of short stories called “Something Wicked This Way Strums”.  When Michele isn’t writing, she is performing as a solo harpist as well as in the ensemble “Bellissima Musica”.  You can find both her writing and her music at https://www.facebook.com/michele.roger.5

May 17-23 = Selah JanelselahWhen Selah isn’t on her soapbox about genre, she’s usually trying to write it, hoping someone will take her seriously. Check out her blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

 May 24-25 = Jaq D. Hawkins

229085_6404925951_5488_nJaq D. Hawkins was originally traditionally published in the Mind, Body, Spirit genre, but moved to indie publishing soon after releasing her first Fantasy fiction novel. She currently has five novels released which include the Goblin Series (Dark Fantasy) and The Wake of the Dragon (Steampunk Adventure). A dark science fiction novel is in progress, as well as further writings in occult subjects, some of which continue to be traditionally published while others are destined for the indie market.

May 26-30 = Rebecca Besser
Rebecca BesserRebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They’ve come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She’s best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. Find out more about her: www.rebeccabesser.com
May 31-Jun 6 = C. A. Milson

Picture of me 7C.A.Milson grew up in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of 5 books; Indie Film Director/Producer; Publisher; and Marketing Consultant. His books include; “Rise Of The Darkness”; “Bloodline Of Darkness”; “Pick Up The Phone” (Under his real name of Chris Jackson); Izbranny (Russian version); and “Not So Ordinary Girl” (which he co-wrote with well-known sports entertainment writer, J.D.Rebel).

Zombie Barbecue by Dean Farnell

Zombie Barbecue

by Dean Farnell

Lots of strange things happened,

At the zombie barbecue,

There’s steaks of human flesh,

Pinched from a grave or two.

The drinks were made from stagnant blood,

All blended with a mixer,

The stench of rotting bodies,

Add flavor to the mixture.

The zombies start to dance and sing,

The DJ was dead good,

He stuck on Jackson’s thriller,

Like a living person would.

The party then turns nasty,

When a zombie rival lingers,

It turned into a bloodbath,

When he munched somebody’s fingers.

The guts and bones start flying,

It’s survival of the dead,

The winners prize awaits them,

Dead flesh and moldy bread.

The barbecue has ended,

In death and mass destruction,

For me, I won’t be going,

To another zombie function.

*************************

deanDean Farnell writes quirky songs, & poetry, mainly paranormal / horror themed as a bit of fun. The songs are recorded in one single take so are raw demos in affect but have still been played on over 600 various radio stations and podcasts all over the world. He currently has 8 tracks In the TuneVibe Top 1000 Indie Chart top 10 including a number one record which has been there for over a year. His poems have been published in Paranormal /Horror mags which include: SCREAM MAGAZINE, TREMBLES MAGAZINE, THE WHITE CROW MAGAZINE, SNM POETRY, DAILY DOSE OF HORROR, SPOOK CITY, GHOST VOICES MAGAZINE, HEARSE-SAY MAGAZINE, BLACK PETAL, and DEAD OF NIGHT TALES. One of his songs titled “Ghost On The Stairs” is mentioned in the book “Rock & Roll Ghost Stories”. One Track “Friday The 13th” has been played on BBC Radio. Angie Bowie (David Bowies Wife) , & Karl Beattie of Living TV & Most Haunted , have all commented how much they have enjoyed his songs. The songs are available on itunes, Tesco, amazon, and Songcast.

Zombie Fiction: Numantia by Patricia Court

Numantia

by Patricia Court 

Scipio’s siege on our city will end today.  We are all in agreement, even as Roman ballista balls and crossbow bolts continue to smash the last of the thatched roofs of our houses, to pound Numantia into dust.  No more starvation.  No more disease.  No more humiliation.

I find my best friend kneeling in front of her house, eyes turned toward the sky, watching for a winged goddess who will never come.  As I open my mouth to call out, she lifts her husband’s falchion to her throat.  The blade slices.  I race down the rubble-filled street and reach her just as her body stops convulsing.  I kneel, cradle her head in my arms, whisper her name.  Will we meet again?  Will our souls be together even if my body still walks?

The pebble facade of her house cracks in the heat of a fire inside.  The bodies of her husband and child lie in the flames.  She belongs there, too, but I’m so weak I can’t even drag her emaciated remains to the pyre.

I know I should cry, but most of my friends are dying this way today.  And I envy them.  They’ve chosen freedom.  And if the Numantine curse strikes them, and their corpses walk…  There’s nothing to be done about that.

Nothing to be done.

Except to get their bodies to the fire.  Ashes cannot walk.

The first corpse walked shortly after Avarus’ ill-advised attempt to make peace with Scipio, the Roman general.  We killed Avarus and his party for their treachery.  And we did not burn their remains.  And that night, the body of his younger brother rose, hungry for our flesh.  The curse of the Numantines had returned after so many generations.

My husband appears at the corner.  His tunic is in tatters, and the bite on his shoulder festers.  He holds out a piece of raw flesh.

Another volley of stones and darts rains down.  I abandon my best friend and run through the onslaught to the cobbled step where my husband stands.  I don’t ask him whose liver it is.  I take it and sink my teeth in.

It’s rotten.  My stomach tries to retch.  I haven’t eaten in a week.  My body longs for the meat, even as my mind and throat rebel.

The traitorous ambassador wasn’t the only one to rise.  The curse spread soon after, when hunger forced some in our powerful city to eat our fallen brothers and sisters.  There is no way to know who carries the curse, until the corpse rises.  And if you’ve eaten the tainted flesh, your corpse will rise, too.

I had always resisted eating human flesh until now.  I had preferred starvation.

The first bite stays down.  I look at my husband, and nod.  He wraps his arm around me, and we walk together toward the gate.  I throw away the rest of the liver.

More fires burn now.  That’s good.  Perhaps they will cremate our dead.  Perhaps those who died today will be spared.

During the siege, we successfully herded five of our walking dead outside our walls.  I was there for the last one.  He chased me up the central street.  He bit my husband, who was trying to keep him on course for the city gate.  I climbed through a window into a house by the gate and the dead man I had admired as a great warrior shambled outside our wall, inside the wall that Scipio built to surround our city.  And then, he just circled between the walls until the Roman crossbows sliced him to pieces.  Five cursed corpses, and not a single one managed to bite a Roman.  Not one.

There are only a few hundred of us assembled by the gate, all dressed in rags, most bloody.  We smell like the dead.

The gate opens.  Beyond, the Roman wall blocks the view of our precious, rolling landscape.  The towers go silent.  We stagger outside and assemble.

An old Roman with an entourage strides up to us.  Is this Scipio?  Is this the man who so feared us that he burned our fields, slaughtered our goats, planted spikes in our river, and walled us inside our own city to starve instead of facing our woefully outnumbered warriors honorably on the field of battle?

Scipio looks into our eyes, and hesitates.  What does he see?  Does he somehow sense our plan?

Scipio speaks to a man beside him.  I never learned their language.  They nod, and look back at us.  Other Roman soldiers laugh and cheer, but Scipio and his lieutenant — there is fear behind their eyes.

Does Scipio know?  Can this depraved man sense that this is not a surrender, but an attack?

Everyone here has either been bitten or has consumed the tainted flesh.  We all carry the curse.  And now, we will inflict the curse of the Numantines on the Romans.

When we die, our corpses will rise.  We will be scattered behind Roman walls.  We will be inside their cities.  Some of us will be in Rome itself.

Roman captives and slaves don’t live very long.

And when we die, Numantia will rise again, devouring Rome from the inside.

END

Patricia Court lives in Fresno, California, with several bottles of good merlot.

Free Fiction Friday: Mick Farren

1101963For this weeks Free Fiction Friday, we have two vampire books up for grabs. These books are two parts of a four part series and are written by  punk rock singer/Journalist/Author: Mick Farren.  These are the first two novels in the Victor Renquist series. Victor was born in the 12th century and now lives with a colony of  four other vampires.

The first book is The Time of Feasting and it originally came out in 1996. Tired of living in hiding and feelingimages contemptuous of humanity, the young vampires in Victor’s coven have challenged him for supremacy.  To make matters worse, a city cop and an ex-priest have uncovered the secrets of the coven, putting all vampires in danger.  Its up to Victor to squash the rebellion and stop the two humans before they inform others.

The second book of the series is Darklost and was published in 2000. Victor has moved his vampire colony  to Los Angeles but not all is well. Victor has an uneasy feeling that someone is messing with dark magic that can destroy all of civilization. He finds out that there is a religious cult is trying to summon Cthulhu and bring an end to mankind. Humanity’s only hope rests with a small group of vampires that have to overcome their differences to save us all.

The reviews that I’ve read for The Time Of Feasting and Darklost all say that they are great vampire novels and some of the author’s best work. Not only is Mick Farren author of several horror, cyberpunk and sci fi novels he is also the lead singer of the punk rock group: The Deviants. If you want to get your hands on these two books all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and while your at it tell me about your favorite vampire novel. First comment gets the book. Good Luck!!!

Free Fiction Friday: Moon

For this week’s Free Fiction Friday selection we have Moon by James Herbert. James Herbert is a horror author from England tha has written 24 books and has sold over 2 million copies. Some of James Herbert’s other titles include The Rats, The Magic Cottage and Dark Places.

Moon was originally published in 1985. The story follows an insane psychic and computer science teacher who has unwillingly linked minds telepathically with a vicious killer whose crimes have a strange connection with the cycles of the moon. From what I’ve read about this book,  people describe it as tense, chilling supernatural horror that is not for the squemish. Some also call Moon one of James Herbert’s best books.

If you would like a free used copy of Moon be the first person to leave a comment on this blog post. Good Luck!

Free fiction Friday: A Vampire Double Feature

For this weeks Free Fiction Friday, we have two vampire books up for grabs. These books are two parts of a four part series and are written by  punk rock singer/Journalist/Author: Mick Farren.  These are the first two novels in the Victor Renquist series. Victor was born in the 12th century and now lives with a colony of  four other vampires.

The first book is The Time of Feasting and it originally came out in 1996. Tired of living in hiding and feeling contemptuous of humanity, the young vampires in Victor’s coven have challenged him for supremacy.  To make matters worse, a city cop and an ex-priest have uncovered the secrets of the coven, putting all vampires in danger.  Its up to Victor to squash the rebellion and stop the two humans before they inform others.

The second book of the series is Darklost and was published in 2000. Victor has moved his vampire colony  to Los Angeles but not all is well. Victor has an uneasy feeling that someone is messing with dark magic that can destroy all of civilization. He finds out that there is a religious cult is trying to summon Cthulhu and bring an end to mankind. Humanity’s only hope rests with a small group of vampires that have to overcome their differences to save us all.

The reviews that I’ve read for The Time Of Feasting and Darklost all say that they are great vampire novels and some of the author’s best work. Not only is Mick Farren author of several horror, cyberpunk and sci fi novels he is also the lead singer of the punk rock group: The Deviants. If you want to get your hands on these two books all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog saying what your favorite vampire novel is and why. The best answer gets both books. I want these two books for myself so I’m going to make things a little harder then usual. Good Luck!!!

Free Fiction Friday: The Blood Of The Covenant

For this week’s Free Friday Fiction selection we have The Blood Of The Covenant by Brent Monahan. This book originally came out in 1997 and is a sequel to The Book Of Common Dread. The story follows a couple of Princeton librarians named Simon Penn and Frederika Vanderveen who have just rescued an ancient document from a group of sadistic vampires. The document holds a prophecy but in order to decipher it they have to read a dead vampire’s diary hidden away in Switzerland. To make matters worse Simon is in love with Fredrika who may be under the spell of a vampire.

After this books release Brent Monahan went on to write horror and mystery novels including The Bell Witch: An American Haunting and The Jekyl Island Club. The reviews for this book that I have seen called it an original take on vampires and a classic thriller. One thing all the reviews said was that it was just as good as the predecessor and a great read for anyone who loves vampires.

If you would like your own copy of The Blood Of The Covenant leave a comment on this blog post. The first comment gets the book. This is open to US residents only.

Free Fiction Friday: Dead Girls

This weeks Free Fiction Friday selection is a book that mixes Science Fiction with Horror called Dead Girls by Richard Calder. This book was originally published in 1992 and takes place in the year 2072. In the future Europe is having a recession. They have been taking in all of the refugees from the defunct Soviet Empire and the spreading of a plague has effected all of their exports. In order to compete in the global economy with the United States and Japan they have used nanotechnology to create life size realistic female dolls that are programmed to be the perfect companion for men.

Technology never seems to work like you want it to though and the dolls have evolved and are rebeling against society. With their vampiric saliva they are causing males to impregnate women who then give birth to human/robot hybrids that want to overthrow humanity.

This book is the first of a trilogy, the second book is called Dead Boys and the third is Dead Things. The way I heard this book described makes it sound like a war of the sexes and a metaphor for the sex trade and how it effects personal sexual relationships. If you want to find out more about the author go to http://www.sf2h.com/richardcalder/index.php. If you would like a copy of this book leave a comment on this post. The first comment gets the book.

Free Fiction Friday: Welcome Back To The Night

This weeks Free Fiction Friday selection is Welcome Back To The Night by Elizabeth Massie. Family reunions aren’t always a happy occasion, especially for the Lynch family. Three cousins are about to meet up with a deranged woman who was also part of their family not long ago. This woman is not back to join the clan, she wants to remind the cousins of their horrible past and warn them about their deadly future.

I’ve read reviews for Welcome Back To the Night that called it a psychological thrill ride and one person called it part supernatural and completely sick. Most of the reviews agreed that Elizabeth Massie does a great job of showing how derranged people can be and what kind of evil and bigotry can be hiding in a small town.

I’ve read Elizabeth Massie’s anthology Shadow Dreams and really enjoyed it. Besides horror novels, Elizabeth Massie has written some TV tie in novels for Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Tudors and a few historical fiction novels.

If you would like to have your very own copy of Welcome Back To The Night, leave a comment on this blog post. First comment gets the book.  To find out more about the author go to elizabethmassie.com

Free Fiction Friday: Sabrina The Teenage Witch

For this week’s Free Fiction Friday we have a set of twins. These are two books that will probably appeal more to our younger fans or at least for fans that were kids in the mid nineties. Our books this week are based on the TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

For those of you who don’t know Sabrina The Teenage Witch ran on ABC and The  WB network from 1996 to 2003. The series starred Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina and Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick as her aunts. The plot of the series follows the adventures of a teenage girl who on her sixteenth birthday finds out she is a witch. Sabrina really got her start in Archie comics in 1962 in the comic: Archie’s Mad House. Sabrina had her own comic that ran from 1971 to 1983.

The books that we want to give out to a good home are Spying Eyes by Nancy Holder and Halloween Havoc by Diana G. Gallagher. Nancy Holder has written several young adult books including book tie ins for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Smallville and she won a Bram Stoker Award in 2005 for her anthology co edited with Nancy Kilpatrick called Outsiders. Diana G Gallagher has also written several young adult book tie ins for such shows as The Secret World Of Alex Mack, Star Trek and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo.

In Halloween Havoc Sabrina is trying to throw a party but no one shows up until her Aunt Vesta casts a spell and brings zombies, the mummy, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s Monster to the party. Suddenly the party is hopping but out of control and Sabrina’s cover as a normal teenager is about to be blown.

In Spying Eyes Sabrina finds out about All-You-Can-Cast-Day, a holiday where witches are allowed to cast as many spells as they want without worrying about the usual rules. Sabrina enjoys casting spells to help her friends but soon finds out that one of her spells has outlasted the holiday and  now the Men In Black  are coming to town to look for any trace of magic. Can Sabrina throw them off her trail?

If you would like to own Spying Eyes and Halloween Havoc and you live in the United States, leave a comment on the blog telling us why you would be the best owner for these books. Good Luck.

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 6

For this final holiday horror treat, we have another visit from Marvelous Madame BienVenu in…

The Marvelous Madame BienVenu:  The Main Course

by Michele Roger

Catherine had been arguing with her mother telepathically.  “I can see what you’re planning and you know its not a good idea.”

Agatha raised an eye brow while staring back from across the table.  “And who is the crone here?”

Catherine sighed.  She turned her gaze momentarily to the handsome Henry and then quickly averted her eyes.  Agatha’s voice rang inside her head.  “He is very handsome isn’t he?  And smart.  And subject to suggestion when the spell hits him just right….”

“Stop it, Mother! He’s old enough to be your son!”

“And since when has that ever stopped me….besides, I have our dear Henry here at this table and not in my bed for a reason.  He will be far more useful in my plans for this evening with his clothes on rather than the alternative.  Watch him in action as I prompt him to drive the tip of the knife just a little deeper into the skin of our Mr. Croswell……”

Henry filled Linda’s glass with a generous amount of wine and smiled at her.  “Well of Dan doesn’t want to go on record to clear his good name regarding his warehouse dealings perhaps you have something to say?”  He pushed the recorder a little closer to her plate.

Linda played up her doe eyes and replied innocently.  “I only work for Mr. Croswell as his secretary.  I don’t handle any of his other business transactions or accounts.”

Agatha  passed him the platter of roasted beef with jalapeno and garlic glazed root vegetables.  Henry hungrily at several bites and Catherine watched as the spellbound aromatics began to take effect.  The spiciness inspired Henry’s tongue to be sharp while his questions delved into hotter topics.  “Are you sure that is true Linda?” Henry asked with the tape still rolling.  “I mean, everyone in town knows you are more than the average secretary.  Officer Franklin has written you two more citations for indecent exposure in your car and in the park than any citizen has been written in the entire history of this town.  Isn’t it more likely that you are really protecting not only your job but your lover?”

At this, Kim gasped but said nothing.  It was as if Henry had cast his own spell and unknowingly rendered her speechless.  Henry immediately felt bad.  “I’m sorry Kim.  I thought.  Well, I thought you knew.  The whole town thought you knew with you working late at the school so much lately.”

“The school open house is in two weeks” Kim was able to eek out quietly while she sat across the table in shock staring at her husband and his would be lover.  Catherine quickly placed some of the spell bound food on Kim’s plate and cut a piece, feeding it to her in an awkward display of over zealous hospitality.  Madame BienVenu ran her pearl necklace over the edge of her bottom lip ever so casually.  Kim seemed to draw strength from somewhere inside herself.  “You said you were working!” Kim spat and tears welled up in her eyes.  “You’re nothing but a…a…a….a dog! “  Outside, the howling of several wild dogs was heard.  Dan tried to argue but with the twisting of Agatha’s pearls, he spat more dog fur from his mouth in place of words.  Kim stood up as the tears ran down her cheeks, turning to Linda.  “And you’re nothing but  his bitch!”

To everyone’s surprise, Dan Croswell leapt on to the table; knocking over candle sticks and sending dishes crashing to the floor.  He crawled on all fours and lunged from Kim’s throat with his mouth that he sprouted large elongated teeth.  In reaction, Pastor Dave put himself in between the dog man and the small framed school teacher.  Catherine reacted without thinking and with a wave of her hand seemed to knock Dan down to the floor with effortless ease all the while shouting, “Bad dog!”

Linda began shouting at everyone and no one all at once.  She took a handful of the tiny cheese pastries that Agatha had served along with the meat and tried to give them to Dan in an attempt to calm his rage.  When she looked him in the eyes, she screamed all the louder.  Kim put her hands to her mouth in horror.  Henry gulped down his glass of wine and hurriedly poured himself a second and then a third as he stared in disbelief at the scene transpiring at his feet.  Pastor Dave put his arms around Kim and shielded her eyes, allowing her to look away into the safety of Dave’s strong shoulder.

In all of the chaos, Catherine stood angrily with her arms crossed over the two humans who were beginning to change shape on the floor.  Agatha too stood cool and calm while wearing a look of disdain.  Her strand of pearls twisted in her gnarled fingers and her lips moved ever so slightly without uttering a word.  Soon, the two scheming lovers were more dog in appearance than anything.

“Sit” Agatha commanded and everyone but Catherine did as they were told.  “Now, you will answer my questions directly and immediately.  Do you understand?” Agatha asked curtly.

Dan yelped a “yes”.

“Good”.

“Did you coerce several of the new residents in the assisted living facility out of their homes in less than honorable real estate deals?”

Dan nor Linda said anything.  The two just cowered, holding on to one another.

“Yes or no?!” yelled Agatha and her gnarled finger pointed straight at Linda who immediately sprouted a dog’s tail from under her dress.

Henry gulped a fourth glass of wine and with fumbling hands, checked and rechecked to make sure his recorder was still working.  Linda screamed out in pain and Dan yelled “Yes.”

“And the food your warehouse provided is contaminated?”

Dan whimpered.  Henry interrupted.  “That’s really not necessary.  I mean I already have proof of that and the crime lab team is already filing the paper work with the judge to get a warrant for Mr. Crowell’s arrest…”

Agatha turned on Henry.  Her old grey eyes were jet black.  “How dare you interrupt me when I am making justice in my own house!!  I care nothing for your laws!”  The old woman pointed a finger at him and opened her mouth.  Instead of words puffs of tiny grey feathers flew out from her lips as Catherine stomped her foot and pointed her finger back at her mother shouting a defiant “No!”

Catherine opened a bottle of what looked to be home made liquor from the cabinet to her right.  “Quick!” she told Henry, Pastor Dave and Kim.  “Drink this!” and she handed each of them a tiny glass.  They looked skeptical of the strange red liquid in the glass looking oddly more like blood than any wine.  Agatha cackled and stretched her arm out into the air.  Catherine flew backwards into the kitchen, through the swinging door and the bottle in her hand could be heard smashing into shards.

But Agatha hadn’t considered the one element that she had spoken so fondly of when it had come to her cooking.  Somehow, when the old woman had traded justice for revenge and good magic for that of the dark side of spells, she had forgotten herself.

The three remaining dinner guests quickly downed the shots and suddenly a warm glow filled inside of them.  Kim was no longer cold.  Pastor Dave stood again between Agatha and Kim and Henry had a clear head despite his too many glasses of wine.  Agatha tried to curse him again and her grey hair began to sprout feathers in place of silvery strands.  Picking herself up from the kitchen floor, Catherine re-entered the dining room with a small tin in her hands.

“Mother, you must and you know it.”  Catherine handed Agatha the tin but the old woman shouted and cursed Catherine in furry.  Feathers turned and swirled into a mini tornado at the end of the table.  Catherine begged and begged as the insane storm of metamorphosis continued.  “Just give them each one of these and the spells will be broken!  Mother please!  If you don’t ….” Suddenly, the chandelier in the room tangled into the spiraling vortex of black magic and old age and defiance and revenge.  Shards of crystal and electrical current flew out into every direction.  Henry and Catherine dove under the table for cover while Pastor Dave and Kim hit the floor and pulled his coat over the two of them.

Windows burst throughout the house.  Catherine would later discover every wine bottle in the cellar had exploded.  Pipes in the kitchen burst.  The electricity finally collapsed in the surge of energy that was balled up and destroying everything it could.  Every scrap of spell bound food was sucked into the vortex and as if it required more room than the house could provide, the Marvelous Madame BienVenu and her raging spirit spiraled at the window where she grew into a gale force wind like the storms that blew over the Great Lakes, sinking ships and twisting the waters.  Like all storms, she blew herself out.  All that remained was that of a tiny little, newly planted tree in the back yard where a grey little sparrow sat perched on a branch.

                While the others sighed in relief, Catherine burst into tears……

 

Six months later, an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner arrived at every household in town.  Henry had slowly helped Catherine to restore the old mansion to an elegant but conservative Victorian love nest.  It seemed that with the help of some clever feature stories, the deceased Madame BienVenu had become a local legend and hero once she was gone.  Catherine found comfort in that.  She often said to Henry that she thought acceptance and respect were all that her mother had ever wanted.

The local paper had also suggested that the missing Dan Croswell and his secretary Linda were suspected of running off together to Ohio.  Meanwhile, the new talk of the town was Pastor Dave and Miss Kim the school teacher.  They made vows to each other in the next town over in front of the entire school assembly as well as the church congregation.

As the town gathered into the gardens of the BienVenu mansion where tables were strategically placed for optimum seating, Catherine looked out her dining room window.  Henry joined her.  There, just like every afternoon since for the past six months, two dogs came out of the forest and took an afternoon nap under the small but quickly growing tree where a sparrow sang until night fell.  Henry pulled Catherine from the scene and kissed her.  “We have a lot to be thankful for this year” he said to her as he popped an appetizer from one of Catherine’s many platters.  Catherine looked up at him with slight alarm.

“How many of those have you had?” she asked.

“I don’t know, six or seven, why, what are they?” smiled Henry, not waiting for Catherine to answer as he leaned in and kissed her passionately.

Catherine giggled and pulled away.  “You’re eating Kim and Dave’s honeymoon present….pastries filled with aphrodisiacs and a fertility spell.”

Henry reached over to the platter and quickly shoved two in Catherine’s mouth.  “Wanna skip dinner?”

“But the whole town is here….”

Henry kissed Catherine again and she let the spell take over.  As she let Henry take her hand to lead her up to the bedroom, she asked.  “How did you know to eat so many off of THAT platter?”

Henry laughed.  “A little bird told me.”

 

Michele Roger is the author of “Dark Matter” and “The Conservatory”; both horror novels.  She also hosts her own podcast of short stories called “Something Wicked This Way Strums”.  When Michele isn’t writing, she is performing as a solo harpist as well as in the ensemble “Bellissima Musica”.  You can find both her writing and her music at www.micheleroger.com

Free Fiction Friday Double feature

For our Free Fiction Friday this week we have a double feature for you, first up is Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Charlaine Harris is the creator of the Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire novels of which the HBO series True Blood is based on. Dead Until Dark is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series and was originally published in 2001.

The story for Dead Until Dark is the basis for season 1 of True Blood, but there are some differences. Such as the story is told entirely from Sookie’s point of view.  The synthetic blood is called Life Flow instead of True Blood and some of the characters are different in the TV series.

If you’re a fan of Charlaine Harris and True Blood you’re going to want to adopt this book. This version of the book has the cover that is pictured to the left and is no longer available in stores. The new version has a vampire woman licking her lips and does not look as good as the original. So if you would like this book, leave a comment on the blog and let us know why you would be a good owner for this book. This is available for US residents only.

Dead Until Dark is not the only free read we have for this week. Our second one is available for everyone and all you have to do is click the link below.  This link was talked about on episode 64 of Horror Addicts and it features some writing samples from Weston Ochse.

Weston Ochse is an Arizona based writer who has written several short stories and has won a Bram Stoker Award for long and short fiction. Some of his novels include Scarecrow GodsEmpire of Salt and Blaze of Glory. The stories featured in the link below are from a story collection called Multiplex Fandango along with an intro by Joe Lansdale.  So if you want more information on Weston Ochse and you want to read some of his stories click the link below:


http://www.westonochse.com/dani_kollin_group_sampler.pdf

So just to recap if you would like to own a copy of Dead Until Dark and you live in the US, please leave a comment on the blog. If you want to read Multiplex Fandango click the link above.

Free Fiction Friday: Darkness On The Ice

This week’s homeless book in search of a home is Darkness On The Ice by Lois Tilton. Which, would have fit nicely with our 1940’s episode that just aired. This book takes place during World War 2. The Nazis are looking for a way to defeat the allies and believe that weather may be the key. They need to know exactly when bad weather will come so they can use it to their advantage.

They set up a plan to take over a weather station in Greenland but need someone there who can stand the cold and protect the weather station 24/7. The only person who can live at the station is an SS officer by the name of Wolff who happens to be a vampire. The only problem is that there is nothing for Wolff to feed on, so he starts to feed on his fellow German soldiers who fly in to work at the station.

Lois Tilton has written three other books besides this one, Vampire Winter, Written in Venom and Darkspawn. She writes mainly Science Fiction and Horror and has won a Nebula award and a Sideways Award for Alternate History. She is currently a short fiction reviewer for locusmag.com.

Darkness On Ice was released in 1993 and is currently out of print. So this book is really hard to find, if you want this book just leave a comment on the blog on why you think you would be the right owner. Some of the reviews I’ve read for this book call it well researched, suspenseful, psychologically tense and just plain great horror. You should find out for yourself though, just leave a comment and you can be the proud owner of Darkness On Ice.

Free Fiction Friday: Blood Kin

Here is our first horror book that is up for adoption. This is a used book that was originally published in 1996. Our book that is looking for a new home is Blood Kin by Ronald Kelly. Ronald Kelly was born and raised in Tennessee and has been writing horror, mystery, and speculative fiction set in the south since 1988. Some of the titles he has written include The Possession, Moon of the Werewolf, and Hell Hollow.

Blood Kin follows a family named the Cravens who thought the vampire cure that was on them ended a century ago. That all ended when a decendent of the Cravens unearths Grandpappy Josiah Craven and unleashes his thirst for blood and carnage on the citizens of Green Hollow Tennessee.

With all the townsfolk falling victims to the vampire one by one, its up to Boyd Andrews and his small band of followers to put a stop to the vampire menace and save Green Hollow. Will the Craven curse be stopped for good? Adopt this book and find out.

Some of the reviews of this book are horrifying and a lot of fun at the same time. These vampires are not whinny and moody, they are vicious and evil. If you like hard core horror with just a little humor you may enjoy this book.

To adopt this book,  just leave a comment on the blog* on why you think you will be the best owner for it and I will pick the best comment. If you’re interested in this book, make sure you comment because it is out of print and you may not find it elsewhere.  Good luck!

*This book adoption is for US residents only.