Free Fiction: Dayfall by Tanisha D. Jones

Dayfall

by Tanisha D. Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

Follow Tanisha at:

Tanisha D Jones, Divinely Dark Romance:  http://tanishadelill.wordpress.com

Twitter: @tanishadelill

Website: www.tanishadjones.com

Free Fiction: Breeder by Tanisha D. Jones

BREEDER

By

Tanisha D. Jones

            They had been traveling for what felt like months under the unrelenting heat of the sun when they finally reached the metal wall that encircled the Forbidden City.  Their food had been exhausted after the first week, their last rations of water just the day before, so seeing the gleaming metal in the distance had been a wondrous revelation.   Their bodies were so void of water that they no longer had the ability to perspire. Instead, they simply stumbled forward hoping to find relief.   At first, they had believed it to be a mirage, a trick of the mind.  But as they moved closer, the shine of the polished silver nearly blinding them, they knew that they had reached their destination. Finally, as they were ready to lie in the scorching sand and let death take them, they had received a reprieve.

They’d left the cool dank tunnels of the hidden valley in search of this dome of chrome and steel. The fabled Forbidden City had been spoken only in hushed tones in Gizli, their home since the great wars that had ravaged the planet.  Millions had died, but those that had survived had been forced underground in the lush mountain valleys of the east.  The west had been devastated, with many cities wiped from the earth. Only the myth of the domed city had remained, the city that had been protected and survived the annihilation of a planet. There had been stories of the strange and unnatural creatures that were to inhabit it. As children that had been told stories of the others in warning.  “Mind your mother or the other will take you to the Forbidden City”, had made many a child heedful. But today, it was to be their salvation.

Screaming for assistance with voices that barely worked above a whisper, they were relieved and horrified.  They had come so far, yet they still were outside of the city, still unable to reach help. Falling to their knees, they pounded the searing metal with hands crackled and bleeding from the unrelenting heat. Finally, exhausted, the two collapsed into a heap in the sun backed sand, too dehydrated to shed tears.

They flinched slightly as the blast of cool air washed over them as the massive wall parted. From inside the darkened cavern sever white clad figures emerged searching the horizon for more travelers. Realizing that these were the only outsiders to venture to their compound, they took them in.  They half dragged, half carried the limp bodies behind the great wall into their fortress, the heavy doors sliding closed as they went deeper into the darkness.

“Where do you think they came from?”

“I wonder if there are more of them.”

“They must come from a cooler climate. Look at the clothes.”

“They had to come from the east.   It’s been decades since we’ve seen anyone else.”

“They are so young. They will be missed.”

“How did they get so far from home?”  Men were speaking around her; she could hear them through the haze of her exhausted sleep. She could also hear tiny rhythmic beeps and the hiss of something over her head. There was something on her face, something soft and assaulting her with cool, fresh air.  She lay in a cocoon of warmth and felt herself drifting back into the darkness when someone touched her arm.

“She’s waking.”   She struggled to open her eyes to see who was speaking in the hushed, strangely accented tones around her.  She tried to speak, but she couldn’t find her voice. The only sounds she could make were soft moans and grunts.

One of the people around her ran something hard and metallic across her face and she opened her eyes, slowly at first.  The room was blurry then gradually came into focus.   The people she had heard were men, seven of them. They were tall and thin with intelligent eyes and dark hair. She stared for a moment, not sure if she were fully awake. They were of similar height and build, all dressed in white.  Some were older, some younger, but all similar. The resemblance was eerie and could only be familial, she thought.

She blinked and stared from one to the other before turning her attention to her surroundings. The room was bright with electric light, and unlike anything she had ever seen before.  She was in a bedroom.  A true girl’s bedroom with an actual bed and carpeted floors. There was a bureau and closets and deep fluffy down pillows and a soft duvet that enveloped her in a cloud of pink and white.

“Can you sit up?” One of the younger men asked, and she nodded, weakly pulling herself into sitting position.  She looked down at herself as the covers fell to pool around her hips and waist. Her thick dark hair had been loosened from the head wrap and tumbled over her shoulder in thick braids.   They had removed the long earth colored duster she’d worn to protect her skin from the sun and replaced it with a long and pristine white dressing gown with a high collar.

She’d seen gowns like this in the tattered books and magazines that had been housed in the records room of the Gizli.  The beeping she’d heard were machines that monitored her heart and breathing. She looked at her arms to see tubes running from her arm to a bag that was suspended besides the bed where clear liquid flowed into her.

“Is this a – hosepitol?” She asked through the mask that was secured over her nose and mouth.  He reached up and gently removed the mask, making it easier for him to understand her.  She flinched as the cool air hit her raw and hoarse throat from days of being exposed to the elements. Her eyes still stung as if sand had been embedded.  She had been cleaned though, bathed, her hair washed and her skin smelled of rose water. She looked at the men, wondering which of them had seen her bare body, or if they had all taken turns staring at her lithe, tanned body.

“Hospital?  Sort of.  This is your room.  What is your name?”  The youngest of the men asked.  His hark hair had not yet began to grey like some of the other men.  His eyes were bright and clear, and as blue as the sky.  She had never seen eyes like that. The people of her valley had dark eyes and hair, their skin a tawny brown, where these men were pale as if the sun’s rays never touched their skin.  They were pretty men with soft features, she thought, thin lips, high cheekbones and round faces.  The men from Gizli had strong angular faces.  She found them to be mystifying and peculiar creatures, alien to her.

The others stared at her, then at the young man before the six slowly and silently exited the room.

“I am Sebastian.” He said when she did not answer.

“Lucy.” She mumbled. Suddenly, her heart began to race and the beeping increasing as she felt the dread knot tightening in her chest.

“Oliver. Where is Oliver?” She asked, ripping the mask from her face.  Sebastian placed a staying hand on her thigh and shushed her as the other men backed away.

“Oliver is fine.  He was in much worse condition and he needs more rest.  You two came a long way. “ She relaxed, feeling a sudden calm over her. Something in this strange man’s soothing tone and gentle touch worked like the sleep elixir her mother had given her when she’d been afflicted with the fevers.

“What were you two doing out there, Lucy?” He asked. She liked the way he said her name. She liked the way he looked, she decided.

“Oliver and I left before the Goä  began the matching ceremony.”  She said, tears welling in her deep brown eyes. Sebastian’s pretty face creased slightly.

“What is the matching ceremony?” He asked.

“The matching ceremony is when the Goä, the elders, match breeders to husbands. “  She said as if this were common knowledge.

“Breeders?” Sebastian asked.

“Women who can born a child. “  She said, her own brow creased in confusion.

“I do not understand. “ Sebastian said.

“After the great wars, most of the women in the valleys were taken by illnesses. Of those left, only a few were able to born a child, a healthy child.  The Goä decided that it would be best that those women were matched to the strongest and smartest of men.  In the valleys, men outnumber women ten to one. After a girl has her first year of bleeding, she is matched.   She is given to a husband, and if she borns two boys, she is matched to another until a girl is born.  Some women have been matched ten time or more. My own mother had seven matches before I was born.”

“And you wanted to be matched to Oliver?” He asked. Lucy laughed and shook her head.

“Oh goodness no.  Oliver is my kin, we share a mother.  Oliver is outcast in the valleys. He is- he does not- he – he is of like mind of the women.”

“You mean he is homosexual?”  Sebastian asked.

“You use such words,” Lucy sighed, a smile on her lips.  She was quiet pretty when she smiled, Sebastian thought as he looked at her. “Oliver lies with men the way a woman does.” She said.

“How old are you Lucy?”  He asked.

“I am eighteen years old.”

“And this is your first time being matched?”

She nodded and tears, once again filled those expressive brown eyes.  She sniffed and smiled weakly.

“I was a later bloomer.  Mother said that it is good luck. The women who bleed later almost always born girls first.   I was matched to the Goä Supreme. “

“And you did not want this?” Sebastian asked.

“Goä Supreme is very old and very cruel.  All of his matches have died while trying to born his children.   They all went to the illness. All of them. I did not want to be the next.”

“So you came here?  How did you know of this place?”

“As children we are told the history of the great wars.  We are told of the wars that started across the seas, about the magic city under the dome where the forbidden men and women live and do evil things with magic and machines. Only Oliver, Oliver found a man. A man who had come from the west many many years ago.  He lived in the broken city near the seas, where the fruit trees grow.  The man told Oliver that as a boy he had come from the City in search of more survivors.  He said the people here were scientists and smart men and women who lived in peace. He said that people like Oliver would be welcome and accepted. Oliver asked him to bring him here, but the man could only show him the way with his maps. When it was foretold by the Goä Mother that I was to be matched with the Goä Supreme, Oliver and I ran. “

“This man, who was he? What did he look like?” Sebastian asked.

“I never met the man. Oliver did. All I know is that he was very old when Oliver met him and that his name was Adam. Can I see Oliver now?” She asked, her throat becoming raw and dry, her eyes becoming heavy.

“Later.  We will talk again after you have rested and eaten. Rest well, Lucy.“  Sebastian said and left the room as quickly and as quietly as the others had.  The electric lights dimmed as he exited the room and she immediately feel into a deep dreamless sleep.

 ***

             For several weeks, Lucy and Sebastian followed this same pattern. He would enter her room, waking her from her slumber to ask her questions about illness and those in the east, but mostly he would ask her about Adam.

“I did not know Adam,” she would say,  ”you must ask Oliver.” He would test her blood and look at pages of test results.  One of the older men, the ones who did not speak to her had come and taken the tubes from her arms.  The beeping machines had been taken from the room and she could stand and  walk across the room.

On the first day she was allowed to walk across the carpet, she had found the sensation exhilarating.  She had been eager to sink her feet into the plush pink carpeting.  She got on all fours and sank her fingers into it, then lay on her back and reveled in the feel of the softness of the floor. The food that was brought was the most delicious she’d ever had, fresh fruit and fish from clean streams, beef, chicken and vegetables. Sebastian explained that the dome had its own ecological system and there were farms and gardens as well as schools and entertainment vaults.  One some nights he would bring actual movies to her bedroom and they would watch television shows on DVDs. They would listen to music and he would bring her books that still looked new.  He would teach her his words spend time with her. He was her friend, but she still felt unease with him sometimes.

She had even attempted to lift the shades on the windows to see what was on the other side. She had never seen and actual window and was curious as to the world inside the dome.  Instead, she found the shade locked into place.  Every day, Sebastian would come and every day she would as to see Oliver.

“He is still resting.  You will see him soon.” Sebastian would say before leaving her to the darkness of the bedroom.  On her second day, Lucy realized that something was strange about this place.   She only felt that way when Sebastian was not in the room with her.    She was never allowed beyond these walls. She had her own bathroom with a bathtub with hot and cold water, and new clothes. Her every need met, and all she had to do was let Sebastian and the others take her blood every few days. A small price to pay for everything she could ever need or want, yet she felt trapped. Like a prisoner in a perfect cell.

During the fifth week, when Sebastian entered the room, he found Lucy standing at the window. Her arms wrapped around her waist, her face set in grim determination.

“Good Morning, Lucy.” He said with that smile.

“I want to see Oliver.” She said ignoring the pleasantries.  “I want to see him now.”

“Do not upset yourself. You are still very weak-“He reached for her and she moved away.

“I am not weak.  That is something you know very well, with all of your tests and machines. You know that I am strong. I am also very smart, Sebastian.  I want to see Oliver, Now!” She screamed.

“Please, be calm. I will take you to see him.  Come.”  She calmed as he went to open the door, but she did not come close to him. She would not let him touch her.  Something about his smile was much more sinister than it had been before and it made her skin crawl.  He placed a hand on her lower back, and from the corner of her eye she saw a flash of metal only a split second before she reacted.

Deftly, she slapped at his hand, surprising him with her strength. She crouched low and kicked, sweeping his feet from under him.  He fell to the floor with a muted thud, the syringe embedded deeply into his upper thigh.  He grunted , slowly pulling the needle from his thigh seconds before she made her way for the door.

She threw the door open and raced down a narrow corridor awash in harsh yellow lighting. She ran blindly, pausing only briefly at the doors that lined that hallway, testing them, calling Oliver’s name before moving on.  Sebastian was hot on her heels, his pretty face twisted in anger as he raced after her.

“Lucy, Come back. Wait!”  He pleaded.

She was nearly ready to give up when she saw the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Her feet hurt as they pounded against the concrete, her breath coming in painful bursts.  Her side ached and she felt as if she were going to vomit. Instead, she pushed harder until she reached the end of the hallway and her expected salvation.

Instead, she came up short, stopping abruptly as she  came to stand on a metal grate  at the end of the hallway. She stared ahead in confused terror, her heart pounding and her eyes filling with tears.  Slowly, she approached the railing that lined the grated balcony that loned the interior of the massive room, her jaw slack.   Behiond her, she could hear Sebastian approaching. His own breathing labored and strained as he came to stand beside her.

“What is this place?”

She stared up at the curved ceiling of the dome, and then down across that massive interior her heart twisting in her chest.   She stared straight ahead at the massive structure; the girders that crisscrossed the space were lined with hundreds and hundreds of pods, filled with a pale blue liquid.  Above and below, the dome was lined with platforms exactly like the one on which she found herself.  Men in white coats moved on the platforms, taking these pods from the girders and loading them onto mechanized trollies. While others added pods that seemed to be empty.

The illuminated egg like pods shifted and rotated as the process continued. The grinding of metal and the smell of medicine filled the   canned air that filtered into this part of the dome. As the pods moved, she could see shapes behind the thick milky glass and her stomach twisted into knots. Some were full grown; others still developing, but the faces, young and old, were all the same.  Dark haired, soft featured men, all of them were…Sebastian!

All of them accept the newest additions to the unending assembly line.  Tears welled in her eyes as the angular features of Oliver drifted past.  “What have you done?” She asked her voice that of a mouse coming from some far off place.

“We also were affected by the great wars.   But unlike your people in the east, it hit us much, much harder. The survivors were devastated and even with our medicines and  science, we began to die.  Until Adam, the first of us and he was the last of us.  Adam was a great man of science and he found a way to keep us alive. Each of us is Adam and he is each of us.  When he realized that he could no longer sustain us or the dome on his own, he went in search of the others.   He had been gone for many years and we had given up hope.  Our genetic code was starting to weaken and we were dying. You can only copy a copy so many times before it is no longer a viable copy. So when you and Oliver came, it was a blessing. A gift sent by Adam to continue our line. We needed you, and you came.  You and Oliver are adding to our genetic material. You are our salvation. Don’t you see? “He embraced her and she pushed away.

“I want to go. Let me go!” She screamed, turning back to the sight before her and gasped as the next row of pods moved into view, covering her mouth with her hand to keep from screaming as a row of faces just as her own, floated before her eyes. Some had her tawny skin and dark hair, some had dark hair and rounded features, but the faces were all a variation of hers.  The one that looked most like her, opened her eyes and she groaned inwardly. It was her face with deep blue eyes, the color of the sky.   She didn’t even feel it when he injected her, only felt the suddenly heaviness in her eyes as she drifted into unconsciousness.

“We can’t let you go, Lucy. Not ever.  We need you. We need a breeder.”


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

Follow Tanisha at:

Tanisha D Jones, Divinely Dark Romance:  http://tanishadelill.wordpress.com

Twitter: @tanishadelill

Website: www.tanishadjones.com

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song LAST CALL!

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfThe theme for Season 13 is… “This place is CURSED!” So keep that in mind when submitting your song.

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

ckgbadge*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

This contest closes Dec 31st, 2017 and winners will be announced publicly in 2018.

The new theme song will debut on Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2018.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfThe theme for Season 13 is… “This place is CURSED!” So keep that in mind when submitting your song.

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

ckgbadge*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

This contest closes Dec 31st, 2017 and winners will be announced publicly in 2018.

The new theme song will debut on Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2018.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfThe theme for Season 13 is… “This place is CURSED!” So keep that in mind when submitting your song.

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

ckgbadge*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

This contest closes Dec 31st, 2017 and winners will be announced publicly in 2018.

The new theme song will debut on Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2018.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfThe theme for Season 13 is… “This place is CURSED!” So keep that in mind when submitting your song.

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

ckgbadge*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

This contest closes Dec 31st, 2017 and winners will be announced publicly in 2018.

The new theme song will debut on Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2018.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfThe theme for Season 13 is… “This place is CURSED!” So keep that in mind when submitting your song.

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

ckgbadge*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

This contest closes Dec 31st, 2017 and winners will be announced publicly in 2018.

The new theme song will debut on Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2018.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Free Fiction Friday: The Ratter by Kay Tracy

The Ratter by Kay Tracy

I remember the first time. A warm late spring day in Lake Charles. It was humid and sticky. I did not like it, it was very ” unpleasant”, but momma insisted. “Too many to feed” she told me. “You won’t be eatin’ them when they are grown so…” I was six. I had no idea how to do this. This tiny baby rabbit, one of 6. I asked momma how I should do it. “I don’t care!” she said “You just go handle it girl!”

I was known as a curious child. By that I mean I was always looking in books, and encyclopedias to learn new things. I experimented. A lot. Momma mostly left me alone then. I think she might have been just a little afraid by the time I was ten. Did you know that alligators like the taste of rabbit? Among other things.

I had a nickname, though folks never used it to my face. I knew they called me ‘the Ratter’. I really didn’t mind. They paid me to deal with their “pests”. Sometimes they paid me very well. It wasn’t so bad now. You just had to figure out what the best type of bait was. The rest was usually quick, and almost too easy. I told myself way back when I was six, that “If I ever stop caring about doing the killing part, I would stop doing it.”

Momma used to say I had a gift, that what I did was a service that folks needed. She said I should be glad she made me take that task when I was little. She might have been right.

Sometimes things take a little longer than others. That can lead to certain ‘odors’. I learned that ammonia can help with those. Not too much though, just enough to do the job. The real secret though, like I said, was the bait. All the difference in the world between working easy or hard is in the bait.

No one ever asks how, or when. I never ask why. All folks want to know is “How much?” I always ask about a ‘deadline’, and what sort of ‘pest’ they want me to take care of. It keeps me busy enough, and I like my big house and car.

Funny how some folks never had a momma to teach them that they should “Just go handle it!”
That’s okay by me though. I always take the time to do things right. I care about my work. I think it shows too!

Well. If you ever need my services, just contact me.

It Came From the Vault: Traditions by Stephen Kozeniewski

vault

TRADITIONS

by Stephen Kozeniewski 

Granny clattered on the counter with a wooden spoon until the children stopped squabbling. When they finally turned to pay attention, she smiled, baring each and every bright white denture with joy.

“All right, little nuggets,” she said, “Now granny is going to show you what to do. Come up here.”

She lifted two-year-old Benji and planted him on the counter beside the sheer metal stockpot that was almost as tall as him.

“Now, Benji, this wax is very hot so don’t put your fingers in it and don’t splash.”

“Yes, grandma.”

“Now start to feed the coil in slowly and let me know when you run out of length.”

Giggling, Benji did as he was told.

“Granny, why do we wax the decorations?” little Suzie asked, her pinky hooked into the corner of her mouth.

“So that they last, my dear.”

“And why do we want them to last?”

Granny crouched down to Suzie’s level, even though it pained her ankles.

“Because it’s a tradition, my dear.”

Little Suzie’s eyes lit up with the wonder of excitement and recognition.

“A t’adition?”

Granny nodded.

“Like when we invite a homeless person in for Christmas?”

“That’s right.”

“All done!” Benji announced, clinging to the last link of this year’s holiday visitor’s small intestine.

Together, as they did every year, they draped the wax-dipped organ around their tree of horrors. The attic was starting to overflow with their collection of decorations.

“God bless us every one,” Benji said joyously.

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

Kozeniewski Author PhotoStephen Kozeniewski (pronounced “causin’ ooze key”) lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s degree is in German. Find out more at: www.amazon.com/author/kozeniewski

From the Vault: Audiodramas from HorrorAddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net started plugging in audiodramas every season in 2010 with the creation of GothHaus in Season 5. Now we have a way for you to listen to each drama in it’s entirety without searching through each episode to find them. We present to you 5 of our past audiodramas in full for your listening pleasure. Happy listening!

GothHaus, Season 1 circa 2010

GothHaus, Season 3: Gothmazing Race circa 2012

Black Magic, Season 1 circa 2013

End of the World Radio, Season 1 circa 2014

Black Jack, Season 1 circa 2015

Free Fiction Friday: Children of Doom by Alex S. Johnson

Children of Doom

by Alex S. Johnson

(An original story inspired by the song by St. Vitus, words and music by Dave Chandler)

They were young, so very young, when they passed through the spacegate.

Infants. Not physically or even intellectually, but emotionally–in their hearts and vision, the ways they had learned to respond to the world they came from.

It was a world built on pain. On tender openness met with fear, wrath, the strangest hostility. And this from the people who they called family. Mom and Dad. Aunt and Uncle. Sister and Brother.

Good citizens. Loyal friends. Faithful companions. But the children knew another side. The faces that smiled in public and bared their teeth in soundproofed privacy. A different kind of smile.

They were frozen behind their eyes, their faces made masks harder than jade. And when they wept–and they did weep–it was alone, knuckles pressed to hairless cheeks, clutching plush animals long ago outgrown, their only succor the blessed day their lives on earth would come to an end, or they managed to escape the present hell for the streets and alleyways where even more terrible predators lay in wait for them.

This further fate some of them knew, and then they prayed again. For death.

Their souls were snared in the sickly web of flashbulbs, in photographic images that stole the brilliance within them, leaving only husks of flesh.

Yet all that changed upon translation.

Walls of green marble, etched with the silver script of the arachnid gods, yawned to receive them.

They found themselves in an enormous vaulted gallery, the ceiling lost even to the memory of those that had built it.

Guards in uniforms made of blinding light stood on either side of a shattered throne black as the dreams of obsidian.

A bodiless voice spoke from the heart of that darkness, reaching into their minds. The voice knew of their secret sorrow, what they had endured and suffered. The things they had done and seen and been forced to witness, rituals of sickness carried out in suburban garages and sound-proofed chambers by Boy Scout troop leaders and pastors and priests, presidents of the local Chamber of Commerce, pillars of their communities. Children’s entertainers, clowns hawking paper cones stuffed with poisoned cotton candy.

The voice knew their anguish, and in some sinister way they couldn’t yet fathom, suffered and delighted in it simultaneously.

As they stood before the blackened throne, the guards swept wings like jagged lightning around and over them, and for the first time in their lives, they felt peace.

Comfort. Understanding.

For so long they had identified themselves with those who had hurt them. They didn’t dare feel the anger that was their right. But the kiss of the guardians’ wings bestowed something deeper than anger. And more frightening.

It was a cold feeling.

A feeling beyond mere hate or the will to vengeance.

Slowly they changed. Transformed. Were cloaked in an armor stronger than titanium.

The gates of chased silver opened once more in the cold marble wall.

Their return went unnoticed at first, simply because their bodies remained on earth, seemingly animated. But their souls no longer lived there.

The kids came in the dead of night.

With scythes of carved bone, blades of mirrors, luminous swords.

With steel and fire and howling weapons hewed from stars and blood and nightmare.

Wreaking an apocalypse unknown and unseen by the vast majority, those who had honored and protected the children in their care.

They took the predators to the places of private agony. The cork-lined rooms with walls of reinforced concrete. The basements where hung flesh-crusted chains, bricks soaked with suffocated screams.

Slowly, quietly, with infinite care, they returned the gifts of horror.

At first the adults pleaded. Cajoled. They knew they had done wrong, but they could change their ways. Life would be different from now on.

They were so very, very sorry for their crimes.

Until they couldn’t plea, or cajole, or speak through slashed throats, eye sockets weeping blood.

No remorse, no repentance, from the Children of Doom. They were deaf to the death rattle, the awful, high-pitched, animal screams.

At some level, they seemed to enjoy their work.

“‘O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,

‘You’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?’

But answer came there none–

And this was scarcely odd, because

They’d eaten every one.”

–Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

 

 

 

 

 

Free Fiction Tuesday?: The Parish by Crystal Connor

The Parish

by Crystal Connor

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness.

It was the middle of winter, the power was out, and it wasn’t coming back on. Father McAllister was troubled. He dipped his finger in the baptismal font and crossed himself. As he walked through the nave, he began to pray.

“My Lord God, through whom strength is made perfect in weakness, I pray to you, give me the strength I need.”

Though there was a town sheriff, the people of Mount Springwalk had always looked to Father McAllister for the law.

It wasn’t an angel that flung the earth into darkness. It was the sun. The geomagnetic storm was the largest ever. Most of the electronics on the planet had been wiped out.

Only the oldest of cars would start, but that was the least of the problems, as all the gas pumps were controlled electronically. No one could make any phone calls, and the Internet was fried.

The records stored at banks, which depend on both power and telecommunication to synch ATMs were forever inaccessible, the money within never again to be recovered. Commerce came to a screeching halt.

Though Christ had yet to return, this digital disaster was nothing short of a technological Armageddon. It was predicted that within a year, the vast majority of world’s population would freeze, starve, or die from disease. Father McAllister began to weep.

His tears were for humanity as a whole, but his heart was breaking for those in his parish. His back was in constant pain from being bent in supplication and his fingers were chapped from the speed with which the prayer beads moved through them.

On the third day of darkness, at the town meeting, the pharmacist was moved to tears when she explained how quickly her inventory would become dangerously low. Young Billy Johnston needed insulin, and dear Martha needed medical-grade oxygen. She breathed more easily in the winter but seasons change.

Father McAllister stopped at the ambry and removed the first of the three sacred oils: the oil of catechumens. He anointed himself with strength and courage.

“You have said, that for your children who have no might, you will increase strength. I am weak. Bless me with a measure of strength as may be sufficient for me.” pleaded the cleric.

Unfortunately, and luckily for Billy, his diabetes was type two. The doctor calmed the pharmacist’s fears by explaining that Billy should be OK now that his access to high- fructose corn syrup and chocolate was cut off, and Martha would be ok too, because no more cars, combines, tractors, or factories meant no more greenhouse gases. And whether you believed in the science or not, he challenged everyone (but mostly Fred), you couldn’t deny that the air already felt cleaner. With an involuntary deep breath, everyone silently agreed.

There were others at Mount Springwalk’s town meeting. The mayor from the neighboring town of West Fortbury and his wife were in attendance as well.

There was a problem. The teenaged and young adult population of Mount Springwalk was mostly girls, whereas in West Fortbury, they were boys. “If we wish to survive beyond the winter,” the mayor suggested with a flushed face, “we need to let nature take its course. After the laughter stopped, the direness of their situation settled in.

Their concerns were for more than just the children. They had no more water. The mayor explained that their high school science teacher warned that drinking reclaimed water from snow was dangerous but no one believed him until people got sick.

Mount Springwalk had a creek with enough semi-fresh mountain water to share.

The new housing development on the other side of Main Street had been completed last year, but due to the economy, 80% of those homes remained unoccupied. More importantly, all those homes were built with wood-burning fireplaces. With a yea or nay vote, it was decided that the entire populous of West Fortbury would be relocated. On the ninth day of darkness, Mount Springwalk, Father McAllister’s parish, would be the home for 2,100 residents.

The canned meat and fish would only last three months, while the charcoal for the grills would be gone in three days. Rita LaRowe, the owner of the general store, said that she had enough canned goods to ensure that every family, including the newest members from West Fortbury, would be able to have one can of vegetables or one can of fruit to go with one meal for the next 18 months.

One can of vegetables for an average family of four. The well from which Father McAllister’s tears flowed was self-replenishing.

The pastor once again thanked God that the woods surrounding them had game – deer and pheasant – and that the Emmit girls were so sinfully accurate with an arrow. The three of them liked to call themselves Amazonian goddesses. Father McAllister voiced his concerns about the paganism but was more than grateful for the meat.

Two years ago, the Anderson and Copper families tore down the fence that separated their properties, and together planted a large vegetable garden. The Amish, who descended upon Mount Springwalk with heavy quilts on the eve of the second frozen night, promised to show the community how to can food if they made it to the spring.

Though Father McAllister was hurt that the Amish, whose way of life was not devastated by the storm from the sun, refused to integrate his parish within their community, he was more than thankful for their blankets and the promise of knowledge.

The loyal servant of God once again thanked the Lord for the creek.

His congregation was able to use that water to flush the toilets and, after boiling it, to bathe and cook with.

The charcoal wasn’t really a problem either, as the stronger men in the community began to harvest the alpines around them and deliver bundles of wood to the residents as if they were the morning papers. If they could just get through the winter. Please, dear God, Father McAllister prayed, grant us another spring.

“When I am tempted by evil, deliver me by granting me the power to overcome it. When my daily work is too hard for me, give me the strength to be able to do it.”

He prayed as his lit the first candle flanking the ambo. Fighting the perils of winter was the biggest obstacle his parish faced.

Until last night.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? John the Disciple once asked.

The Godless people of Brunspark had shown no pity. They crossed the boarder of Mount Springwalk with guns and pitchforks and fire.

Though he had not known it then, God had answered his constant prayer for strength by sending him the men of West Fortbury.

From the moment the Fortburys, as they were referred to by his original parish, arrived in Mount Springwalk, they began to fortify the town.

After adding what they had brought from their store and private pantries to Rita’s inventory, they began boarding up the windows of the general store and pharmacy from both the inside and out. All the weapons from the gun store were moved to the sheriff’s house, and they began patrols of the woods and water.

Armed patrols.

The pastor was alarmed at how quickly even the youngest Fortbury could become rowdy and belligerent. Father McAllister now understood the reservations felt by the Amish and wondered if his quiet and polite parish seemed just as barbaric in the eyes of their leaders as the Fortburys seemed in his.

“If my burden oppresses me beyond my bearing, lighten my load, that my strength may be equal to it. You have helped many; I beg you to help me.” The second candle was lit.

The town of West Fortbury was a military town with generations upon generations of veterans and at least two alleged war criminals. Those who did not fight abroad brawled in the bar.

The looters of Brunspark were unprepared to face a force with prior military experience and were now being held as prisoners in the barn. The men hung naked from the rafters and had been swinging there all night. Father McAllister understood their anger, God knew he did, but he reminded the members of his parish of the freezing temperature and suggested that they be clothed.

Even though there was a sheriff, the community of Mount Springwalk looked to Father McAllister for the law.

The former mayor of West Fortbury explained that terrorists, both foreign and domestic, did not get to enjoy the protection of the Geneva Convention. The sheriff agreed.

Father McAllister stepped up onto the ambo, comforted that from this elevated state, he would be nourished by the word of Christ. His silent prayer intertwined with his tears.

It was then that God whispered into Father McAllister’s ear.

“Gentle shepherd be at peace.”

The breath of the parish leader froze in his chest. Just as Gideon, Moses, Noah, and the others God had called before him, he was doubtful that the voice he heard was divine.

“Hesitant warrior, I am the Lord your Go. It is I who upholds your right hand and says to you do not be afraid; I will help you.” Father McAllister’s right hand rose above his head. He fell, trembling, to his knees. His vision was blurred with tears of gratitude.

“The wrongdoers, the thieves, and the covetous, will not inherit this kingdom that I have reserved for you. The wicked peoples of West Fortbury have built a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Father McAllister’s heart shattered for he knew the sins of Sodom were not sexual sins but sins of selfishness.

“Weep not,” said the Lord. “You are washed, sanctified, justified in the name of my son, your Lord Jesus Christ.”

Father McAllister could not carry a note in a bucket, but as he knelt weak with joy and overcome with comfort before his savior, the priest broke out into an old Negro hymn he had heard as a boy while walking past a black Christian church.

Until I die, I am gonna serve the Lord anyhow…

The rhythmic way in which the worshipers used their clapping hands and stomping feet as instruments sounded like the beating of African drums.

At eight years old, Father McAllister, just Joshua at the time, had never been inside a church. But that was the first time God had whispered into Father McAllister’s ear, and Joshua walked down the aisle of that church and was baptized: his first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship.

“I will deliver you from this domain of darkness,” God continued, “and transfer you to the kingdom of my beloved son. Let him who steals steal no longer; from the town of Brunspark, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Send them to stand before me so that they may be judged and sentenced.”

His tears were no more. His fervent prayers had been answered. He had been told what to do. Like the ancient Jewish leader marching toward the Promised Land Father McAllister knew that his parish would remain safe, as he would be more than able to defeat any enemy that dared challenge the army of the living God.

Armed with faith Father McAllister rose with Christ – and marched from the cathedral with the unbridled power of the word of God.

***

I got so much feed back from this story that I pulled it from the anthology (not really but figuratively) on the back burner with the goal of expanding this story. I got the opportunity a year later when another author (Lori Titus) and I joined forces to co-write a book. That didn’t happen, but what did was we created one universe and then wrote two stand alone books that takes place in that setting, in a town called Fates Keep, Mt. Empyreal. My version is called: In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal The End is Now  and the reviews can be read here:

http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Foothills-Mt-Empyreal/dp/1494964198/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Free Fiction Tuesday?: A Christmassacre Carol by Alex S. Johnson

A Christmassacre Carol

by Alex S. Johnson

(inspired by the album Slashing Through the Snow by Venus de Vilo and with apologies to Dickens)

Morley was dead. He had been tending this way for a long time, but now that winter snows swirled around his tombstone, the general report was that if he weren’t dead, he would be, at best, some kind of slavering, rotting ghoul to frighten little children already terrified by the advent of Christmassacre. Excepting, naturally, those fiendish tykes for whom the slaughter of their parents was a consummation devoutly to be wished and, indeed, prayed for.

Meanwhile, Urbangeezer Screwed was counting his money. Thanks to his miserly character, or so he believed, the money was more plentiful than ever in the year ________ in which our tale occurs. He had just dismissed his churlish assistant, Fob Crutchhead, who no doubt would waste Christmassacre in the foolish expenditure of glad tidings to all, yadda yadda. As far as Screwed was concerned, Christmassacre was a crumbug phonier than the holiday it had replaced.

“Bah,” said Screwed to the empty office, which echoed the word in a manner foreshadowing the specters that would shortly enter his life and change him forever.

“Whoo!” came a shivery voice from behind the curtains.

“Stop trying to scare me, Crutchhead. I’m not buying it and it won’t work. Go sell crazy elsewhere. And for the record, you can keep Christmassacre in your way, and I will keep it in mine, by ignoring its baneful existence and counting paper.”

“It is I, Morley,” the voice continued.

“Like hell it is. Come out, come out, wherever you are, and I’ll bite your bloody face off! I have no time for your foolish shenanigans.”

Screwed pulled his cap down over his bristly eyebrows and sighed. Every year it was the same nonsense, and if Crutchhead thought his silly annual prank would soften Screwed’s blackened old heart to the plight of Little Tomby, he had another thing coming. Plus, he suspected that Tomby wasn’t even Crutchhead’s real child, but an orphan he had plucked from the streets to earn sympathy.

“Seriously, mate, wake up and smell the moldy Christmassacre pudding!”

“All right, that’s it.” Screwed threw down his ledger and headed towards the window, which was fake and opened on nothing more than the sub-office where he kept the jewels and important papers.

“That’s the last mess you’ve made that I have to clean up!” shouted Screwed at the window. “Disrespecting the employer that’s kept you in geese for the past decade, defying my desire not to celebrate the worst idea for a holiday since the Yanks foisted Thanksgoony upon us, and…you are so freaking fired.”

Screwed pursed his lips in a refinement upon the fowl’s sphincter Crutchhead would not be enjoying this Christmassacre, or any to come.

Suddenly the air grew cold, and Screwed shivered, wondering at the sheer gall of his soon-to-be-ex-employee. “That tears it,” he roared. “Do you know how much hot air costs? Do you have any idea how much I have scrimped and saved and sweated over a hot ledger simply to sustain your reeking carcass, long may it burn in Hell?”

“I’m afraid you are late for that particular pity party,” said Morley.

The excrement was about to manifest in a most tangible way.

Screwed rubbed his eyes at the apparition that suddenly appeared before him, all clanking chains and a white sheet that Screwed was fairly sure had been stolen from his bed a fortnight ago.

“Are you taking the piss?” Screwed ejaculated. The ghost smirked at the author’s deliberately ambiguous use of an antique synonym for “quick verbal utterance.” And even supposing another meaning was intended, the ghost had no physical form and thus would be spared any bothersome stains upon his person.

“Seriously, though, it’s you, Crutchhead, innit.”

Morley removed his jaw and placed it on Screwed’s desk.

“Okay then, maybe you are a haunt come to address my so-called wrongdoings,” Screwed sputtered. “Well, get on with it. I don’t have all night.”

“I am the ghost of Christmassacre past, passing and to come,” said Morley.

“What, all three?”

“I thought you would appreciate the economy of it.”

“So…you’ve finally taken a cue from the old man. Ha ha, I get it. Very amusing. Well, do you have any other tricks up your sleeve?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” said Morley. “Fortunately for you, my sleeves are empty.” To demonstrate, Morley rolled the sheet past his skeletal forearms.

“And now to the meat of the thing. So to speak. First, I must warn you that anything you say in your own defense will be turned against you on the final Day of Reckoning.

“Second, you don’t want to traipse down the primrose path that led me to these”–Morley shook his chains–“and these”–he rattled his skull-faced manacles–and this“–but decorum forbids more explicit description of the latter horror lodged in Morley’s rear; or what might have been his posterior had he flesh.

Which he didn’t, being a ghost.

You get the idea.

“I’ll shorthand this. Change your wicked ways and stop being such an infernal ass hat, or you will suffer the same fate as me, only worse, because compared to you I’m a bloody angel. Excuse me.” Morley shrugged off the bedsheet; in its place was a pair of fiery wings.”

“Now that’s impressive. Not. Can you tell I’m being sarcastic?”

“Fine. Now hear this: if you maintain your attitude toward Christmassacre and all the joys it represents, you will spend eternity in Hades. Some blokes like to dub it Hell; I much prefer…”

Pommes du terre frites?”

“Mmm-hmmm.” The ghost shook himself and pounded his skeletal hand against the wall in frustration. In life, he had enjoyed more than anything else this French delicacy. Now, he didn’t have the literal stomach for it.

“In conclusion, I present to you the most dreadful sight imaginable. Hold on.” Morley’s wings vanished. Suddenly he stood encased in a cube of gelatin.

“You’re a self-righteous, money-grubbing slimebag of the first water, and for your crimes you will be held prisoner in the jellied hooves of those nags you rode to death in life. And I am so out of here.”

With those words, the ghost disappeared.

“That’s it?” said Screwed. But even as he uttered these syllables, he felt the moist grip of death upon him.

“Wait…wait. Hold on a second.”

“You are Screwed, old man,” came Morley’s voice from the ceiling.

“Don’t I get another chance at redemption? I can change my ways any time. ‘Satan bless Christmassacre and Little Tomby, every one.'”

Morley sighed. He was duty bound to reward sincere contrition with a stern rap on the knuckles and a Get out of Hades Free card.

“Your repentance isn’t credible, but what do I know? I’m just a book-keeper.”

“Crutchhead?”

“Before I came into your employ, I spent some time as a magician’s assistant.” Crutchhead emerged from the closet, his hand extended. “No hard feelings?”

“Yeah, well, you had me going there,” said Screwed feebly. “I give up. Maybe Christmassacre is a good thing. I don’t know. You wouldn’t happen to have some gin on you, by any chance?”

“Would laudanum serve?” Crutchhead produced a test tube full of a brownish liquid.

“Oh Hades yeah. Let’s get polluted and view Stereopticon pictures of unclad damsels.”

 

Free Fiction Friday: Griddlebone by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Griddlebone
By Debbie Manber Kupfer
The werecat padded silently across the cobbles of the dark Vienna street. It was deserted now, but Griddlebone knew it would soon be filled with bootsteps and cries, gunshots and blood. They were slated to come at dawn, to cleanse this last Jewish neighborhood of its vermin, so that the proper folk of Vienna could finally live Judenfrei.
Inside the darkened houses, the residents huddled in fear. The news of the transport had only come hours before, and some still couldn’t believe it. They had been fooling themselves for months, believing this one insignificant street could survive in its own little bubble, that somehow God would protect them.They readied themselves with what few valuables they had left. Maybe they could still bribe the Nazi soldiers. Maybe there was still a way out.
The werecat flexed his claws, as he waited in the shadows. Griddlebone wished he could rescue them all, but his orders were clear. He could only take one. They needed to be the right age too – a teenager would be good, strong enough to fight, strong enough to survive the turning.As the first rays of light caught the cobblestones, Griddlebone felt the bootsteps echoing down the street. Soon. His tail swished back and forth in anticipation. Within minutes, the first soldier came into view. The werecat was all but invisible to the soldiers, his mottled grey coat blending perfectly with the cold grey street.At the same time as the first soldiers appeared on foot, a silver-grey truck arrived on the street and parked in front of the buildings, waiting for its human cargo.
As the Gestapo soldiers marched past the werecat’s hiding place, he longed to dig his claws into their ankles, to hear them scream with pain. Not yet, Griddlebone, not yet.
The soldiers reached the first house. They banged on the doors.

“Juden, Heraus, Heraus! Schnell, schnell! – Everybody out of there, quickly, quickly.”

At first there was silence. Griddlebone held his breath, waiting. And then, slowly, they came out, squinting in the light of the dawn. They had been inside for so long, sitting in the darkness. They looked like ancient patriarchs held in suspended animation from biblical times. The man had a long white beard and was wearing a prayer shawl. The woman had her head covered and bent. She held out something to the soldiers. The werecat stole closer to get a better look. It was a silver candlestick. The frightened woman offered it to the soldier.

The soldier laughed. He grabbed it and shoved in his bag, then roughly pulled the old woman forward. She tripped and fell onto the hard cobble street. The soldier kicked her, and she cried out in pain. Throughout this, her husband was bobbing up and down in prayer, praying that God would take them before these Nazis did. His prayers were not answered, and the soldiers forced the old couple into the waiting truck.

More soldiers had arrived now and pushed their way into the buildings. The next house held a young family, a mother and father, with two small terrified children. The mother clutched a baby girl in her arms. As they boarded the truck, the baby started crying. The nearest soldier grabbed her from her mother’s arms and flung her with full force into the solid concrete wall. The baby stopped crying. The mother screamed. A Nazi soldier silenced the mother with his gun. The father and his remaining children climbed quietly into the truck, trying not to look back.

The werecat stalked over to the baby. He nudged her gently with his nose, but it was too late, and, in any case, how would his clan have been able to care for a baby? They could barely find enough food for their own kittens these days.

Griddlebone continued watching the parade of Jews being evicted from their buildings. They had been told they were being rehoused, that their homes were needed for the war effort. As patriotic Austrians, surely they understood?

Griddlebone knew that most of these Jews would end up in the concentration camps, if they even survived the transport. A second shot filled the air; a young man this time. He had tried to run, but the soldier had used him for target practice.

Still the werecat watched and waited.

—–726——

Read the rest of the story in Sins of the Past – http://www.amazon.com/Sins-Past-Chasity-Nicole-ebook/dp/B00P2MZLUA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1428337336&sr=8-3&keywords=Sins+of+the+Past

**********
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Darkly Never After, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She also created the puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic together with her son, Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!Links:
Blog – http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge 2015 – LAST CHANCE!

www980120

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to announce the

REMINDER!
Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge 2015

is now open for registration!

Who Will Be…. MOST WICKED?

 

THEME: This year’s theme is “Tarot Card Audiodrama.*” This year we’re pushing the challenge to the next level by asking participants to write an audiodrama revolving around one of the tarot cards from the Major Arcana. Who will find justice in a horror world of zombies or werewolves? Will your story include Death in all his sexy glory or will the Empress use her skills to tame the beasts of the underworld? It’s all up to you!

Every contestant will be given:
*A tarot card from the Major Arcana
*A supernatural/evil being
And every audio must include:
*At least two different reader voices in their production.

To register now, fill out the registration form here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FJRKL5F

You will receive your specialized contest items and being to create a fantastical, horror-filled, terrifying audiodrama for the listeners of HorrorAddicts.net to enjoy.

Sign up by April 13th, 2015. The sooner you sign up, the more time you have to prepare.

*Note: The Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge and the Master of Macabre Contest share a theme this year “Tarot Card Audiodrama”, but they will still be aired and judged separately.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FURTHER DETAILS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPECS:

  • As a contestant, you will write and record a horror story, fitting the theme and incorporating your extra elements. The style should be decidedly audiodrama, meaning music, sound effects, and two or more voices should be incorporated.
  • Audio mp3 and text will be due to horroraddicts@gmail.com by May 13th, 2015, 11:59 pm PST. Contestants will then be narrowed down to 5 semi-finalists. Those 5 authors will go on to compete for the final prize of being “Most Wicked 2015”.
  • The audio can be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • The text can be no longer than 3000 words, but may be submitted either in story or script format. Usually 1000 words=10 mins, we are giving you 2000 extra words for stage direction.
  • You may have someone else record your story for you, but it must still include 2 voices and none of the HorrorAddicts.net staff or previous winners may help you.
  • You may not compete if you have won the “Master of Macabre” or “Most Wicked” awards before. You CAN compete if you have submitted in the past but did not win the final award.

 

VOTING CHANGES SINCE LAST YEAR:

There will be a 3-part voting system.

  • 1/3 of the vote will still be the voters emailing in.
  • 1/3 of the vote will be judged on podcast quality and will be judged by seasoned podcasters.
  • 1/3 of the vote will be judged on writing quality and will be judged by seasoned writers.
  • These 3 sections will be added together for a final score
  • The winner will be honored with the coveted title, “Most Wicked 2015”.

 

Dates to know in 2015:
April 13th – Registration closes
May 13th – Audio and text are due.
Week of May 25th – finalists will be announced
June 27th – Audio airs (text will begin posting near this date)
June 27th – Voting starts
July 27th – Voting ends
August 22nd – Winners will be announced on the HorrorAddicts.net show.

 

Questions should be addressed to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject CONTEST QUESTION.

Free Fiction Friday: How to Become a Ghost Hunter by David Draper

How to Become a Ghost Hunter

by David Draper

Ever since I was a young boy I have always been fascinated by the supernatural. Ghosts, Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, all of them. A haunted house, a possessed doll, a vengeful spirit, a demon from Hell, whatever it was, if it was truly frightening, I was hooked. About a year ago I watched a show that would change my life. It was show about Ghost Hunters. Well, it wasn’t a show about Ghost Hunters, it was a show with Ghost Hunters, starring real people like me. People who were actually out there hunting ghosts. It was awesome. I watched every episode. I knew then exactly what I wanted to do and what I was going to do. I became a Ghost Hunter.

Now as you may or may not know, there is no practical education or program to help you become a Ghost Hunter. There’s no college. No online certification. You have to be resourceful. At the time, I lived with my girlfriend, Carlee, and together we decided to pool our savings and start a Ghost Hunting business. We quit our jobs so we could have the time to dedicate ourselves to the craft at hand and purchased a digital camera, a handheld sound recorder and some lighting equipment. We created a website, designed a logo, printed business cards, and started Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. We marketed ourselves to the world. We were ready to hunt ghosts.

One of the things you should know about ghost hunting is that no one is going to hire you just because you say you’re a Ghost Hunter. The spirits of the dead don’t just show up when you need them to. You have to go out and get them. We started with nightly séances. Using black candles, pentagrams, Ouija boards, Pagan chants, and the darkest parts of the Bible, the Torah and the Koran, we called them forth. We read out loud, passage after passage, whispering and screaming into the night and hoping that one of the dead and damned would hear us and show up, ready to be caught on camera and shared with the living. But they never did. It was then that I knew we had to take this little enterprise of mine to the next level.

Our first cemetery was a disappointment. It was too large, too close to the city and patrolled by security. We were almost arrested. But the next ones were smaller and on the outskirts of the county with plenty of room and time to do what I knew I had to do. It took some convincing, but pretty soon my Carlee was practicing rituals, reading incantations, and even dancing on graves while I directed her in our dark art, filming and recording everything. We did this night after night for two weeks, hitting over a dozen different cemeteries in six different counties. I felt like we were making progress, but Carlee was starting to complain. The bills were piling up and we were having a hard time paying rent. But I was not about to give up. I stopped sleeping and spent each night watching and listening to my videos and recordings over and over. I knew there was something, something I had to find hidden in those hours and hours of footage. It was waiting for me. Just me. I could feel it.

It’s amazing how much information about murderers and victims of violence you can find on the internet, including the places where they are buried. I found thirteen graves associated with the old Clivemore Regional Hospital. They used to bury prisoners there that died on the operating table. We arrived at midnight and I cut the padlock on the back gate. Carlee didn’t want to go, but I convinced her we were so close to getting everything I wanted and told her that if she didn’t go I’d leave her. Once inside, I set up my equipment and told Carlee to say the words I had given her and begin dancing on their graves. While she did that I made a bunch of small cuts on my forearm, cupped the blood in my hands and splashed her with it. I should have told her I was going to do that because that was the night she said she wanted to quit. She said things were getting out of control and I was obsessed. At the time, I remember I didn’t like her saying that about me. But now I know that Carlee was right. Obsession is what you need to be a Ghost Hunter. Because after I strangled her in that cemetery I started hearing them right away. And now I hear them all the time, every day and every night. I hear them, but I can’t see them. Not yet. But I know they are there. They are all around me and all around us and I am going to find them, because now I am a ghost hunter. A real Ghost Hunter.

I just need a new partner.

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

DD2David Draper BIO: After a brief semi-career as an underpaid or more often unpaid screenwriter, David took a huge break from writing and lived entirely on day jobs and parental pity. Now, having broken free of his Hollywood cocoon, he has found the right wife, is raising three great kids, and has a day job he can be proud of.  Through it all, he remains the same horror-loving rascal he’s always been since that first paper-mache Frankenstein mask made on the family kitchen table, under the concerned, furrowed brows of his loving parents. David has only just started writing short Horror fiction this year and would love your feedback.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrunkDracula

Free Fiction Friday: Dracula’s Dilemma by Dean Farnell

Dracula’s Dilemma

A Poem by Dean Farnell

Dracula attended the local dance

He wanted a girl and takes a chance

He nibbles her neck to woo his mate

The girl got wise and he bites too late.

 

Dracula’s night Is a complete disaster

He’s so used to being a passion master

His charm and poise to claim a lover

Came to an end when she blew his cover.

 

In his quest for blood he becomes more mellow

He throws his cape round a nice young fellow

Excuse me chap I’m not being rude

If I can’t get a girl then you will do.

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

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 Book Sample from Steve Mix

Zombie author, Steve Mix, has given us a sneak peek from his vampire sequel to Goodbye from the Edge of Never.
The new book is titled: Deep Cuts from the Edge of Never.

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

Pavarotti. Pavarotti was the only real way I could explain it right now. It wasn’t much of an explanation. It wasn’t much of anything.

I stood there, smelling copper and biting flesh. Tasting the song of life that gushed forth and into my being. I felt Luciano Pavarotti, holding a long bassy note, its tone echoing off the walls of every opera house in the world before depositing that energetic burst right here, into my being.

I’m standing in an alleyway devouring the face of a transient but somehow, I hear Luciano Pavarotti echoing into the world. The music, I’m feasting on, becomes weak and then tastes acrid. Death and infection are taking hold. It no longer tastes like song. Letting go, I threw aside the spasming man and stepped back to watch him struggle violently with his fate. The dark shadows of the alley grew, surrounded by the fading sunlight of the world. I didn’t know how long I had stared. Just that the man was now standing before me swaying slightly, parts of his cheek and neck ripped away. I couldn’t take my eyes off the large gashes and blood stained clothes. The street lights kicked on, and I needed to be somewhere else. Turning away, I stepped away from the alley. The newly dead man followed. A few steps later I spun around to face him under a streetlight. The man swayed and looked back with hollow eyes. Another step away and the man stepped forward again.

goodbyefromtheedgeofneverblurbThis was new! There is two of us. Car tires squealed, and Pavarotti’s note echoed past. I followed the scent of it down the street. None of this made sense to me. The note grew louder as something danced in my lungs. The man behind me lumbered along. I could hear him sniffing the air. He’d found the note too. There was clearly something here. We trampled an old flowerbed, sprinting across a parking lot until we finally found the source of the night’s music. Bright floodlights angled down, piercing the darkness. Shades of deep green and earthy browns filled my vision from somewhere.  Is that applause? What is this?

A softball game?

Middle-aged men sprinted around the bases. From the stands, someone shouted frustration. After a minute of running someone slid into a base and the flexing movement of the crowds cheering and jeering settled down as we approached a chain link fence on the darkened side of the field.

People passed around hot dogs. Some tugged at shared blankets and dug out sweaters from backpacks. Others argued over stats and teams as they watched the players face challenges from the field below their bleacher seats. The song is coming off the crowd. You can feel it. You can smell it. You can taste it. It is life and technology breaking through the darkness. Somehow these things are finding beauty and excitement. A moment of safety, which the universe rarely knows. It is all so beautiful and hey…

Where the fuck is he going?

The newly turned undead had climbed the chain link and began sprinting across the field towards the game. Doesn’t this asshole realize I found them first. -This- is my song, not his.

Spitting and hissing, I climbed up the chain link. It’s difficult to scale a fence when you’re no longer fully conscious of how your legs feel.

I began chasing after my newly turned friend we found ourselves running into the lights of the field. We shuffled towards the shocked players. The crowd laughed at first. I suppose we looked amusing. Two strange individuals with obvious muscle control issues. The smell of the song engulfed us both and our steps became more sure-footed as our engine gathered steam. The right fielder approached asking if we needed help, inviting me to leap first, sinking my teeth into the man’s face. Drinking deep of the song, I glanced up to see the crowd screaming and scattering off the benches. Some holding their place behind cell phone cameras, others throwing objects in our direction. My friend leapt at the player swinging a bat in his direction. Amateur hour in the land of the dead. The newbie dusted himself off pounced again, finding his proper place on top of the batter’s struggling form. I hadn’t realized it, but I had left the field and was running towards the people rushing  out of the bleachers. Vaulting over the dugout chain link and clacking my teeth, I found myself between two people. A teenage girl and an overweight middle aged man. First-world undead-problems. Both have their arms up between them defensively, frozen in fear. Their eyes are pleading for safety. Hey, that fat guy has a beard and looks like Pavarotti. In fact, he tastes like Pavarotti should!

Police and fire sirens rang out. Smoke wafted through as I chased neon lights. The song carried me up one street and down another. The feeling intensified. Sometimes I snapped a chunk of flesh from the masses. Other moments, I snapped my teeth and hissed a warning, culling the crowd. Shoving it away from me, and into some newly minted friends. They’re forms screeching delight while rending flesh.

I remember standing next to a muscle bound, fresh faced undead man as he roared rage and destruction. He was probably still slightly pumped from steroids and protein shakes. A second later he was cut down by a hail of gunfire.

I bet he misses the gym.

It turns out old ladies don’t seem so old when the song found them. I observed one wearing a blue wig screaming, gnashing her teeth and climbing a street light to leap through a second-floor window.

Suddenly I was up on a roof watching a mass of undead tumble down a chimney like they were Santa Claus chasing the holiday spirit. Such a clatter.

A flash shuffles past, and I’m sprinting up a wide street, leaping up and onto a windshield. My fists are hammering down, trying to unleash the music hiding inside of the parked car. The glass flexes and resembles the white pattern of a spider’s web before shattering. The screams surrounding me are pulsing with excitement.

I could hear the beat of chopper blades long before I felt the whiz of bullets. By this time, though, our mass was pulsing into and through buildings. Smashing windows and splintering wood wherever we found it. Sometimes we were beaten back… But the band played on. The night belted out hit tunes, and as it turns out, I loved to dance.

Electricity surged somewhere. I’m screaming at the moon while struggling to hold a man beneath my knuckles. My brothers and sisters latch on and begin the process of ripping him apart. I have never felt so powerful. The world has never felt so right. Confidence is trampling through here. Enlightening the masses. Liberating a beat.

I might be dead, but I have never felt so alive. Another blink and I’m standing in the seats of Yankee Stadium, just up from the third base line, gnashing my teeth into a man wearing a security jumper.

Hey, look at me! I’m in Yankee Stadium! I made it to the big show!

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

559784_10151658407348196_258546377_nThis has been a sample chapter from Steven Mix’ second book, due out later this year.
Steven Mix’ first book, Goodbye from the Edge of Never is available now at Amazon.

Zombie Lust by Dean Farnell

Zombie Lust

by Dean Farnell

My flesh Is falling off all I did was cough

I’ve never felt as ill as this before

My lips have all gone blue, I don’t know what to do

I thought I’d rest in peace forever more.

I’m feeling rather peckish humans are my fetish

I’ll see If I can find some in the park

I’ll pass on KFC and pizzas not for me

I fancy feasting on a human heart.

I was peaceful in my grave but now I misbehave

I’m chasing girls and scaring everyone

I’m like a man possessed, I’m lusting after flesh

This zombie lark is really quite good fun.

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

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.

Last Chance! Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline:
December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 10 in 2015.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, can be any part of the novel, but a short (100 word) synopsis should accompany it.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfREMINDER!!! Closes Dec. 31st.

Contact:http://www.horroraddicts.net
Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Every three seasons,HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to:horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

ckgbadgeThis contest closes Dec 31st, 2014 and winners will be announced publicly in 2015.

The new theme song will debut on Season 10 ofHorrorAddicts.net starting in 2015.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons ofHorrorAddicts.net.

Reminder: Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline:
December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 10 in 2015.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, can be any part of the novel, but a short (100 word) synopsis should accompany it.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

All I Want for Christmas by Chantal Boudreau

All I Want for Christmas

by Chantal Boudreau

“Chris – did you eat any of these Christmas cookies?  I told you they were for a work function and that you absolutely were not to touch them.”

“I didn’t touch them.”  Christena tried not to sound indignant, but she hated being accused of something she hadn’t done and Ben did that to her all the time.

“Well then explain why there are three missing.  I brought home two full dozen from the bakery, but I’m short three.”

“Are you sure the bakery didn’t short you?”  The moment the words escaped Christena’s lips she regretted them.  Ben never would have left the bakery without counting and double counting them, obsessive compulsive as he was.  Even suggesting otherwise was new cause for strife.  He gave her a harsh glare.

“Do I even have to answer that? How could you do this to me?  I had one for every person at the office party.  I could have forgiven one – I would have foregone my own, but three?  Now what am I supposed to do?”

“Buy a box of doughnuts on the way in to make up the difference?”

That response was met by a disgruntled huff and the slamming of their front door as Ben stormed out.

Christena slumped into the couch.  It was her day off, even though her husband had to work.  Unlike Ben she was never guaranteed that her free time would fall on a weekend.  As a personal caregiver, she couldn’t keep regular Monday to Friday office hours because people needed care seven days a week.  Ben had often belittled her for it, suggesting a real job would pay more and offer set hours – as if somehow crunching numbers the way he did was more valuable than caring for the sick and elderly.

As soon as she was sure Ben was long gone. Christena spoke out.

“Peeve? Peeve – come on out.  I know you stole those cookies.”

Two beady eyes peered at her overtop one of the branches of the Christmas tree.  Peeve, or that was what Christena had taken to calling the gremlin-like creature, had started appearing shortly after Ben had completed his internship and had gotten his current job.  Since then, every time Ben treated Christena with any disdain or talked down to her as if he were more important than her, Peeve would exact some sort of revenge.  It was getting worse, as was Ben’s treatment of her.

“You have to stop doing these things.  I end up getting the blame for them and he leaves here irate.  When he gets home later, he’ll be a grouch for the entire evening.”

Peeve blinked at her and grinned, as if he enjoyed being the instigator of Ben’s foul moods.

Christena heaved a gargantuan sigh.  Things were bad enough between her and Ben without Peeve complicating them – not a welcome intrusion at all.

Life had been different while Ben and Christena were in college. He had been more relaxed then.  After setting his sights on her, he had broken out the charm that he now saved only for networking.  He had romanced her very diligently, with promises of a family and a pleasant future and he had kept it up until she had agreed to marry him.  She realized now that his courting had all been a calculated ploy to get himself the pretty, docile wife he saw as a requirement for a successful businessman.  She was just another notch in the post where he marked his achievements in life.

Since then, Ben had been constantly pressuring her to give up her job and find one that would better support his work hours – office work perhaps.  She had actually suggested the night before that she would do that if they finally started trying to conceive the first of their planned children, offering him a trade-off, something he wanted in exchange for something she felt she needed.  That was when Ben had dropped the startling bomb on her.  He had changed his mind.  He no longer wanted children because he expected they would interfere with his career.  He had already scheduled a vasectomy that was to take place first week in January.  Christena had been heartbroken.  She wanted children more than anything else and she didn’t believe in divorce.  It was another reason he had chosen her.  Ben considered divorce scandalous, another form of failure.

“Just stop it – alright?” she told Peeve.  “Unless you can fix what he’s about to do to me, you may as well just go away.  I’m the one who has to live with him.”

For the first time since he had begun causing trouble, Peeve emerged from the shadows.  His impish form dropped down from the tree, where it began to grow and change.  By the time he was done, the only recognizable difference between Peeve and Ben were those beady little eyes.  The monster in the shape of Christena’s husband walked over to their bedroom and paused in the doorway, gesturing for her to follow before proceeding into the room.

Christena hesitated for a moment before following, but only long enough to consider the potential consequences.  Ben would never request an abortion – that was beneath him – and as long as the child was conceived prior to his operation, he would never try to suggest it wasn’t his, especially if it looked like him.  Condoms weren’t 100% effective, and he knew it.  She told herself she would be doing this as a gift for herself… much better than the practical, emotionless, although expensive, gift she no doubt would be receiving from Ben.

“Merry Christmas,” she said, visions of a rounded belly followed by baby smells, sights and sounds filling her head.

Peeve was about to provide Christena with the best act of revenge in the face of Ben’s heartlessness yet.  And she would enjoy every minute of it.

*********

Snapshot_20140802_2Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. She writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and along with her Fervor Series and her Masters and Renegades series, she has had many of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

The Elf by Christine Morgan

THE ELF

by Christine Morgan

It started last Christmas, that must have been it. Weirdest thing that ever happened to me in my life – or so I thought at the time.

Now, this Christmas, I know a little better.

My name’s Belle, Clayton Belle, and I always hated this time of year.

I blame it on my folks. Sure, everybody blames their problems on their folks, but you should have seen mine.

My dad’s name was Jim Belle, but from after Halloween until round about New Year’s, he told everyone to call him Jingle. Dressed in red and green every chance he got. Decorated the house like you wouldn’t believe. My mom was just as bad, and she had no excuse … her given name was Carol.

They wanted me to swap “Clay” for, can you guess? Sleigh. No joke. I tell you, it was enough to drive a kid crazy. Here I was trying to be normal …

That was why, as soon as I was old enough to get out on my own, I gave up on Christmas. No, that’s putting it too lightly … I went out of my way to avoid the whole thing.

Maybe that’s why it happened. Maybe it was some strange message, some sort of off-the-wall Christmas revenge. Like in the story about Scrooge, except I didn’t get three ghosts. Didn’t even get one.

What’d I get? Some little freak with rabies …

I’d done pretty good at getting away from it all. I’d finally saved up enough to move out of the apartment into a house, tiny but my own. I had a telecommuting job, which spared me the yearly hassle of office parties, Secret Santas, holiday music over the intercom, and all that.

So, for the first time in years, I was expecting a nice, stress-free December.

Then it happened. Christmas Eve.

That was when I heard the bells.

Jingle-jingle-jingle, clanging and grating on my nerves, bringing back all my tension like it had never been away.

I shot to my feet, fists curled. If this was the preface to a spontaneous outbreak of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from trespassing carolers, I was going to blast them with the hose and 20-degree temperatures be damned!

Stalking to the door, I yanked it open. But already, the sound was receding, dwindling into the distance … and even then I remember thinking that it almost seemed to be receding upward … but of course I didn’t give that idea a moment’s serious consideration.

Not then.

The people across the street were the Jaimesons. I’d seen them come home a week or so ago with a tree

lashed to the roof of their car, but they were good about it, and kept their stuff private. If they wanted to be as looney as my parents in the privacy of their own home, that was their business, and they didn’t try to inflict it on the rest of us.

But now, something was hanging on their door. Even at midnight, every house on the street dark and sleeping, I couldn’t miss it. The full moon and the snow conspired to make it almost as bright as day, and the wreath that now hung on the Jaimeson’s door was twinkling with tiny red and white bulbs, like holly berries amid the shiny green leaves.

And there was something on the porch … from here, it was a bump of scarlet and white in an uncertain shape.

I couldn’t help it … anger set in. Some nerve the Jaimesons had, sneaking out in the night to put up that wreath, thinking no one would notice. Before I fully knew I meant to, I was striding down my walk, slippers crunching through the crust of the snow. I crossed the icy street and marched up their lawn, driving deep tracks. They’d see, they’d know, but I didn’t care.

The crumpled shape was recognizable now, a stocking. A plush cranberry-red velvet stocking with a ruff of white fur. It was lumpy … it was moving.

A nasty spear of fright jumped through me before I realized that the movement was due to nothing more than a toy, a child’s wind-up toy that had been jogged by the fall to the porch.

I could see it easily in my mind – Hank Jaimeson in full Santa regalia, smuggling in the sacks of goodies he’d had hidden in the garage, but dropping a stocking as he paused to put the wreath on the door.

My intent was to pull it down and pitch it, maybe onto the roof, maybe into the bushes, I don’t know. But as I reached for it, I heard a high mewling sound from inside the stocking.

My first thought was that it was a kitten, that old Hank had gotten his daughters a kitty but didn’t notice when it fell from his bag.

My second thought was that it would serve them right, a nice gruesome Christmas surprise to find frozen solid on the stoop.

But I may have been a Scrooge, I may have been a Grinch, I may have been a sour old jerk, but I wasn’t a total bastard. Couldn’t leave an innocent kitten to freeze to death in the night.

I bent down and scooped up the stocking. It squirmed in my grasp, and yes, there was something warm, something alive, in there.

“Hey, kitty-kitty,” I said.

I reached in, meaning to pet the soft bundle of fur.

Instead, my fingers found skin.

And an unbelievable explosion of pain.

It was like a spring-loaded beartrap of needles, sinking into the tender web between my thumb and index finger.

I screamed or cursed, or both mingled, and flung the stocking away from me. It flew off into the snow, but the biter held on, dangling at the end of my arm. My flailing motions made it clamp down tighter, and now rockets of pain were shooting up my arm to my head, where they burst like the Fourth of July – a holiday I’ve never had a problem with.

But I did have a problem with what I was seeing. A major one.

An elf was battened onto my hand.

An elf, yes, that’s what I said.

He was about eighteen inches high, maybe two feet, it was hard to tell. Built like one of those pudgy little gnome you sometimes see on the lawns of people who should know better, but light as a feather. He was wearing short pants (winter-white), a red vest, and those dorky curled-up shoes with bells on the toes. If he’d had a hat, it had fallen off, because his pine-green hair was blowing free around a set of ears that would have made Mr. Spock blush.

His eyes were the huge winsome adorable eyes of a cartoon character, but no cartoon character’s eyes had ever glittered with such a hard and flat hatred. A snarl, muffled by his mouthful of my hand, issued from the back of his throat.

I screamed again, this time more in horror than pain, though there was still pain, plenty of it. With my other hand, I grabbed him around his potbellied middle and tried to tear him loose.

It didn’t work. Those fangs were embedded like a snake’s. But abruptly, the elf let go of his own accord. He scrambled up my arm, headed for my face.

My third scream broke decibel records. I reeled and staggered, trying to knock this deranged thing off of me. The backs of my legs hit the Jaimesons’ planter and I toppled over backward, feet flying. My breath was jarred out of me in a huge frosty cloud.

The crazed elf skittered onto my chest, his impish face twisted in pure madness. I didn’t know what he was going to do, and suddenly had a bizarre vision, one that might have been funny if it hadn’t been so hideous – my disembodied head impaled on the top of a Christmas tree in place of a star.

The Jaimesons’ door banged open, throwing a fan of light onto the snow. The elf hissed and was gone, springing from my chest in a bound that carried him into the concealing bushes.

The next thing I knew, Hank Jaimeson was there, in a robe, his eyes puffed from sleep and wide with shock. His wife and kids crowded into the doorway, all babbling at once.

Calls were made, to the police and to an ambulance. I was taken to the hospital because they thought I was having some sort of a breakdown. They had to think that, because I wasn’t wounded. The bite-mark on my hand was gone, except for a semi-circle of tiny white scars that almost looked like snowflakes.

I did some time under observation, and more time in court-ordered therapy. The consensus was that I must have snapped under the holiday strain. When I finally got home, the neighbors treated me with caution and even more distance than before.

The Jaimesons moved out that spring, the whole turn of events having been so traumatizing for their kids – waking to my panicked screams on Christmas gave little Amber Jaimeson nightmares for weeks.

But eventually, things got back to normal. Or so I thought.

I was fine until around October.

That was when I started to feel restless. Itchy, almost. Impatient, dissatisfied. I didn’t know what I wanted, but something was missing. Something I needed.

A few days after Halloween, as I was lugging the shells of my jack-o-lanterns out to the trash, I caught myself humming.

Humming a Christmas carol.

Appalled, I stopped then and there with my feet buried in a drift of leaves and a slightly mushy pumpkin sagging in my grip. I silently asked myself if I’d really been doing that, but I’d heard me. I could even Name That Tune – it had been “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

About a week later, I saw that they’d stocked the shelves in the dairy section of the local market with the first eggnog of the season, and my heart took an unprecedented and distinctly unwelcome leap of joy.

When I got home from my errands and started unloading my groceries, I found a carton of eggnog.

I wasted no time but raced right back to the market. The cashier who’d checked out my purchases was still there, and I stormed up to her, not sure if I meant to apologize for taking the eggnog by mistake or to berate her for mixing it in with my order.

But she told me that I had bought it, and had even remarked on how glad I was that they finally had some in the store. And that when she had replied with something to the effect of how it seemed the holiday season started earlier and earlier every year, I’d said ‘good!’

Good!

I had no recollection of that at all, and would have never said such a thing! Not me! Not Clayton Belle!

I decided she must have been having fun at my expense, and put it out of my mind. I planned to dump the eggnog down the sink and forget the whole matter.

I drank it instead.

I didn’t mean to … I just took the carton out of the fridge – and only then did it occur to me to wonder why I hadn’t returned it to the store and gotten my money back – and opened it.

And the scent hit me in a great rolling wave of creamy, nutmeggy temptation … and before I knew what was happening, I was guzzling it straight from the carton with such gulping greed that overflows were running in rills down my chin.

I leaned over the sink, nauseated and afraid, wondering if I was going to bring it back up. But it stayed, a thick liquid weight in my stomach, and I imagined I could feel it spreading out in there, sending out tendrils of itself, into my veins, coating my organs, being carried to every cell of my body.

Another week passed, and I was cranky all the time, missing something, needing something, not knowing what it was. Little things kept happening, distressing little things. Nothing big, nothing like the Great Eggnog Experience, but upsetting ones all the same.

Being at the drugstore, having to walk down the seasonal aisle to reach the pharmacy, and lingering over the cards and garlands that had begun to creep in among the turkeys and harvest decorations.

Shopping a catalog for some new clothes and only realizing when my order arrived that some of the things I’d bought were eerily familiar – winter-white pants, a red cardigan vest. And a green knitted cap, where had that come from?

Waking in the middle of the night with the most terrible craving for cookies, not just any cookies but specific kinds. I had to have the butter-shortbread ones crusted with colored sugar … I had to have gingerbread.

Then things started getting worse.

I bought a box of candy canes and ate them all in the car, the entire sticky red-and-white dozen of them, until my tongue and lips were bright pink and the taste of sweet mint seemed to permeate my entire being.

I found myself taking long aimless drives around town to look at the holiday lights and decorations … I even went to the mall and stood amid a smiling crowd as little kids waited for their turns on Santa’s lap.

I was humming again, and then singing low, and finally singing aloud, whenever I heard the carols … and I knew every single word.

I had been flipping channels and happened across a Christmas movie, the one about the boy who wanted a BB-gun. And, telling myself that nothing else good was on, wound up watching it. And then, worst of all, realizing it was a marathon, 24 hours of that same movie, and I stayed up all night watching it and fell asleep in my chair and woke up and kept watching it, until noon the next day.

The day it all came crashing down on me, I was at the park. It was December 22nd and I’d gone for a long brisk walk, hoping that the cold air and exercise would snap me out of this constant state of alternating trance and terror.

A woman said ‘Merry Christmas!’ to me, and I said it right back at her.

She passed without looking back, which was good, because my expression would have horrified her. It horrified me and I didn’t even have to see it; I could feel it. That was the first time those words had passed my lips in almost twenty years, but I hadn’t just been saying them.

I’d meant them!

I uttered a rusty screech and ran for home. Something was happening to me … I had to get help … there had to be something they could do …

I reached my yard and the strength ran right out of me like water through a sieve.

Lights sparkled along the eaves and around the windows of my house. More lights, string after string of them, wrapped the fence and the tree in the front yard. A red ribbon had been wound around the post that supported the mailbox, giving it an effect that could be construed as barber-pole but I knew better! A plastic reindeer with a red lightbulb for a nose stood beside the walk, and a wreath hung on the door.

It was the wreath that pushed me over, because it was practically identical to the one that had been on the Jaimesons’ door last year. Their house had sold but the current owners were spending the winter in Arizona with their grandkids, and thus hadn’t seen the terrible thing that had taken place across the street.

Someone had decorated my house!

No … I had done it. And couldn’t remember doing it.

Haltingly, scared to death of what I might find inside, I went up to the door. The wreath seemed to stare at me like a big round eye, laugh at me like a big round mouth.

I wanted to rip it down, rip all of it down. What would people think if they saw this? What would they say?

I steeled myself and plunged inside.

If I could have drawn breath, it would have been last year’s business all over again, for I would have screamed and screamed until the neighbors called 911. But my breath was stolen from me by the sight of the interior of my house.

It was a nightmare made real. That’s all I’ll say. I can’t bear to describe how tall the tree was, how many garlands festooned the stairway banister, what horrors awaited me on the mantle. I can’t stand to think of the candles, the presents, the three-tiered tray of cookies and fudge and divinity.

Even the bathroom wasn’t safe, because the shower curtain, the towels, even the toilet-lid cover, had been replaced by new ones in a poinsettia pattern. But despite that, the bathroom was still the least objectionable place in the house, and it was there that I collapsed in a dead faint.

I woke over twenty-four hours later to unbelievable pain in my hand and arm. Dimly sure that I must have been laying on them, I pushed myself up and looked.

The scars … the tiny semicircle of snowflake-shaped scars … they had faded nearly to invisibility over the year but now they were back. Standing out in vivid relief, almost seeming to wax and wane in time with the throbbing I felt in every nerve.

And yet, even with the throbbing, even with an ache that seemed to burrow into my bones, I felt full of a hectic, wild energy. Mania, almost. No, not almost … it was mania. I wanted to do something, had to get up and get moving, but I didn’t know what.

I tried to rise, shakily got as far as the sink, and caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.

But at first, I didn’t know it was me … I had never in my life worn a silly little pointy cap with a bell on the end.

I cried out, thinking it was a stranger, an intruder, that I’d surprised in my home. My reflection reacted along with me and then I knew, but that knowing was untempered with relief.

I looked … different. It wasn’t just because of the cap.

My hair looked wrong. Longer.

My eyes were huge, but I attributed that to shock and fear.

My ears …

I didn’t want to see any more, and fell back onto the bathmat.

The ache intensified. I could hear the radio playing in the other room, tuned to the nonstop holiday music station.

I felt as if I was being crushed, slowly crushed under an impossible weight. I imagined I could hear my bones crunching, feel myself being squashed, compressed. An appalling, stretchy sensation tugged at my ears.

A dark corner of my mind knew then what was happening to me, but the rest of my mind rejected it. Ignoring the pain and the horrendous things that were going on in my body, I got up to splash cold water on my face …

And couldn’t reach the sink.

I was standing, but I was on eye-level with the cabinet where I kept the cleanser and spare rolls of tissue.

Very, very slowly and very much against my will, I looked down at myself.

Yes, I was standing … assuming those were my feet in the curly-toed shoes about eighteen inches below my head. Assuming that was my torso I was seeing, pooching out into a potbelly.

A wavery, uncertain noise came from my throat. I started to bring up my hands, to explore my head, but paused and let them drop. I had to see.

With strenuous effort, I clambered onto the toilet, and from there onto the counter. I edged out around the basin, keeping my eyes on my shoes – my horrible curly-toed shoes – until I was there.

Then I looked.

An elf looked back at me.

It had my blond hair, only grown long and silky. My brown eyes, cartoon-character cute. My features … changed and made sharper, fairer, more … elfin.

I opened my mouth to finally voice the scream that would rouse the neighborhood, maybe even the town. But before I could finish drawing my breath, my gaze fell on what was also shown in the mirror, the reflection of my dining room beyond the half-open bathroom door.

The table was covered with things. With tools, and paint-pots, and lengths of wood, and stuffing, and wheels. Half-finished toys were scattered all over the table, and a box of finished ones rested underneath. The mania that had been surging in me now came roaring up full-force.

Because time was short! Time was so very short! Tomorrow was Christmas Eve!

Tomorrow was Christmas Eve and I was behind in my work!

I yipped in alarm, sprang down from the sink in a sprightly hop, and rushed to my workbench.

And I knew, as I picked up my paintbrush to apply rouge-spots to the cheeks of a dolly, what I was. I knew what would happen to me this time every year, not ruled by the phases of the moon but by the seasons, when the change would set in.

Helpless to resist, caught in the grips of the dreadful transformation, compelled by my hungers and driven to do unspeakable things … with no folklore, no gypsy woman, no one to help me or tell me how to break the curse …

The terrible curse of the were-elf!

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

christChristine Morgan works the overnight shift in a psychiatric facility, which plays havoc with her sleep schedule but allows her a lot of writing time. A lifelong reader, she also reviews, beta-reads, occasionally edits and dabbles in self-publishing. Her other interests include gaming, history, superheroes, crafts, cheesy disaster movies and training to be a crazy cat lady. She can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/christinemorganauthor

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfREMINDER!!! Closes Dec. 31st.

Contact:http://www.horroraddicts.net
Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Every three seasons,HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to:horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

ckgbadgeThis contest closes Dec 31st, 2014 and winners will be announced publicly in 2015.

The new theme song will debut on Season 10 ofHorrorAddicts.net starting in 2015.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons ofHorrorAddicts.net.

Reminder: Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline:
December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 10 in 2015.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, can be any part of the novel, but a short (100 word) synopsis should accompany it.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfREMINDER!!! Closes Dec. 31st.

Contact:http://www.horroraddicts.net
Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Every three seasons,HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to:horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

ckgbadgeThis contest closes Dec 31st, 2014 and winners will be announced publicly in 2015.

The new theme song will debut on Season 10 ofHorrorAddicts.net starting in 2015.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons ofHorrorAddicts.net.

Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge 2015

www980120

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to announce the

Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge 2015

is now open for registration!

Who Will Be…. MOST WICKED?

 

THEME: This year’s theme is “Tarot Card Audiodrama.*” This year we’re pushing the challenge to the next level by asking participants to write an audiodrama revolving around one of the tarot cards from the Major Arcana. Who will find justice in a horror world of zombies or werewolves? Will your story include Death in all his sexy glory or will the Empress use her skills to tame the beasts of the underworld? It’s all up to you!

Every contestant will be given:
*A tarot card from the Major Arcana
*A supernatural/evil being
And every audio must include:
*At least two different reader voices in their production.

To register now, fill out the registration form here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FJRKL5F

You will receive your specialized contest items and being to create a fantastical, horror-filled, terrifying audiodrama for the listeners of HorrorAddicts.net to enjoy.

Sign up by April 13th, 2015. The sooner you sign up, the more time you have to prepare.

*Note: The Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge and the Master of Macabre Contest share a theme this year “Tarot Card Audiodrama”, but they will still be aired and judged separately.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FURTHER DETAILS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SPECS:

  • As a contestant, you will write and record a horror story, fitting the theme and incorporating your extra elements. The style should be decidedly audiodrama, meaning music, sound effects, and two or more voices should be incorporated.
  • Audio mp3 and text will be due to horroraddicts@gmail.com by May 13th, 2015, 11:59 pm PST. Contestants will then be narrowed down to 5 semi-finalists. Those 5 authors will go on to compete for the final prize of being “Most Wicked 2015”.
  • The audio can be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • The text can be no longer than 3000 words, but may be submitted either in story or script format. Usually 1000 words=10 mins, we are giving you 2000 extra words for stage direction.
  • You may have someone else record your story for you, but it must still include 2 voices and none of the HorrorAddicts.net staff or previous winners may help you.
  • You may not compete if you have won the “Master of Macabre” or “Most Wicked” awards before. You CAN compete if you have submitted in the past but did not win the final award.

 

VOTING CHANGES SINCE LAST YEAR:

There will be a 3-part voting system.

  • 1/3 of the vote will still be the voters emailing in.
  • 1/3 of the vote will be judged on podcast quality and will be judged by seasoned podcasters.
  • 1/3 of the vote will be judged on writing quality and will be judged by seasoned writers.
  • These 3 sections will be added together for a final score
  • The winner will be honored with the coveted title, “Most Wicked 2015”.

 

Dates to know in 2015:
April 13th – Registration closes
May 13th – Audio and text are due.
Week of May 25th – finalists will be announced
June 27th – Audio airs (text will begin posting near this date)
June 27th – Voting starts
July 27th – Voting ends
August 22nd – Winners will be announced on the HorrorAddicts.net show.

 

Questions should be addressed to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject CONTEST QUESTION.

Free Fiction Friday: Jeremiah Donaldson

Something This Way Flutters

By Jeremiah Donaldson

A breeze brought Carl some relief. Then the wind dissipated and he felt the Florida heat again. The exhaust from the highway didn’t help.

He stuck the hedge clippers in the ground and picked up his water jug. He’d had a heat stroke before, making him more sensitive to heat, and he didn’t relish the idea of a second. He drank half and dumped the rest over his head.

He tiptoed inside the house again to check on his eight month-old daughter, Rhianna. She still napped soundly in her crib. Just like he knew before going inside since the monitor bouncing on his hip was silent. He kissed his fingers and touched her forehead before exiting the house to go back to shaping the hedge that grew on three sides of the house. Only one bush remained when someone tapped on his shoulder.

Carl spun around.

The gaunt woman stood taller than himself by several inches. Rumpled clothing looked like she’d drove all day, and greasy hair spilled over her shoulders. Makeup had been smeared time and time again. Her eyes were rimmed with red. A burgundy Ford Explorer with tinted windows and Ohio tags sat in his driveway. Noise from the highway had masked her approach.

“Are you lost?” Carl pushed his sweaty hair back from his face.

The woman nodded. “My cell phone died. Can I use yours?”

“Uh, sure.” Carl handed her his cheap flip-phone.

“Thank you.” The woman smiled, draining blood from her lips and making her look years older than her indistinguishable age.

Carl nodded and went back to clipping the last bush while the woman walked to the front of the house. Moments later a paper fluttered against his leg. Road garbage. He always had to pick up stuff thrown from cars. He waded the paper up and noticed the driver’s door stood ajar on the Explorer. So his visitor littered the yard.

He looked and didn’t see the woman in front of the house. Carl approached the SUV, trying to see through the tint.

“You dropped something.”

No answer. Maybe she didn’t hear. He knocked on the window. No response.

The door opened with a slight pull to reveal a pigsty of empty soda bottles and chip bags in the floorboard. The rear seat overran with sheets of paper covered in writing. Another piece slid out from under the seat. He grabbed it and dropped it immediately. Goosebumps rose all over his body while his stomach flipped end over end.

He picked it back up. Both sides were covered in tiny print that repeated one phrase over and over: I killed my baby. His shaky hands held two sheets next to each other. They were the same. Not copied either. The woman had written it all with pencil. Thin lines gave way to thick as the pencil she’d used wore down before being sharpened. Carl reached into the back and grabbed a handful of the loose pages. They were identical. All several thousand of them from what he could see.

“Rhianna.”

Carl bolted to the front porch. The door stood half open. He reached Rhianna’s room just as the woman picked her up, making her cry. His stomach knotted. The monitor on his hip repeated every sound a quarter second after it happened.

“Such a pretty girl.”

“Put her down!” He couldn’t tackle the woman. Yet. “I won’t call the cops if you just get out of here.”

“And leave such a baby behind.”

“Fuck, yeah!”

The woman put Rhianna back in the crib. “Then we’ll have to find out who walks out, won’t we?”

Carl tensed, looking for her to pull a weapon. She drove her shoulder into his chest, pushing him backwards to the floor. His right arm caught under her leg, and he took two boney fists to the face that made spots dance in his vision before he managed to ward off the blows. He grabbed her forearms only to be rewarded with a headbutt that brought tears to his eyes and a rush of warmth from his nose. He rolled her into the glass coffee table, shattering the glass under her weight.

The woman groaned while Carl found his feet and steadied himself with the TV. A deluge of blood poured from his broken nose, dripping to the floor like rain. He kicked the woman in the ribs. She slipped on the broken glass, going down on her hip. Rhianna cried louder in response to the noise.

“Get the hell out of here!” Carl knew they were useless words while he watched the woman struggle to her feet, cutting her palms on the glass. “Don’t make me hurt you. More.”

“You don’t know.”

Carl waited for her to finish the sentence. She didn’t. “I don’t know what?”

“YOU DON’T KNOW!” The woman charged across the short space.

Carl caught her knee in the thigh, but that didn’t hurt, being knocked into the corner of the TV table did. Her hands groped for his face. The manicured nails gouged down his cheek. One broke off and stuck in his skin. He grabbed the offending arm by the wrist and elbow, twisting. Something gave in the woman’s shoulder with a wet pop that he heard and felt. He gagged while she screamed so loud in his ear that he feared for the eardrum. He pushed her back. Her arm hung at a bad angle.

“Get out of here!”

The look on the woman’s face didn’t change. She aimed a kick at his crotch. He caught her foot and flung upward. Her other leg came out from under her and she went down, hitting her neck on the edge of the coffee table frame. She went into convulsions.

He waited for the body to stop moving before calling the police.

———————————-

Jeremiah Donaldson lives in London, Ky with his daughter and pets. He’s currently working on multiple projects, including two that will be available later in 2014. He can be found at his home on the web at:www.ephiroll.com

Free Fiction Friday: Mark Slade

DREAM GURU

by MARK SLADE

Charlie sat in the flimsy plastic chair, the legs buckling under his 280 pound body. He kept tapping his left foot, rolling his lucky dice around in his hands. He cleared his voice several times while watching Burke Williams pace up and down his office, the burnt-orange carpet wearing thin under those thousand dollar heels.

“I’m not really a hard man,” Burke said—in what sounded like a rather depressed voice. “But I’m not a fool either.”

“Mr. Williams.”

Burke turned on his heel, placing a stony finger across his lips. Charlie stopped talking and slumped further down into the plastic chair. The legs buckled even more in protest. The dice made a scraping noise in Charlie’s closed hand. His left foot kept a steady nervous beat.

He’s going to kill me, I know it, Charlie thought.

Burke continued his pacing. “You owe me a lot of money here, Charlie. $10,000. What would you do in my position?” Charlie began to speak and Burke turned on the dime to face him. “Please Charlie…It was rhetorical.”  Burke rubbed the stubble on his face up and down several times. “You have to understand that I have a reputation to uphold.”

He’s definitely going to kill me! Charlie dropped his dice at the same time the chair broke under him, his eyes instinctively darting to the result of the roll. Burke went to his aide and helped him to his feet.

“Damn, I’m real sorry that happened, Charlie.” Burke straightened Charlie’s tie; brushed off Charlie’s coat.

“It’s fine, Mr. Williams. It was my fault. I’m hard on chairs.” Charlie fidgeted.  “I should lose some weight, maybe.” He chuckled nervously.

“Let me get you a drink, buddy. What would you like?” Burke offered a reassuring smile as he patted Charlie on the back.

Charlie shrugged. “A vodka and orange juice?”

Burke nodded. “Coming right up. I’m real sorry about this, Charlie.” He pressed the call button and spoke dryly into the small black box. “Vicky?”

“Yeah, boss?” The whiny female voice came though like crossed telephone lines. She was definitely from New York; Charlie was sure of it from her accent.

“Bring Charlie here a vodka and orange juice, will ya’? He’s thirsty.”

“Sure thing, Boss.”

In a few minutes, a short redhead strolled into the office like it was a catwalk. She was dressed in all black from head to heels, and Charlie was more than turned on when he noticed her large blue eyes behind wide-framed glasses sitting on the tip of her button nose. Vicky handed Charlie a tumbler. She slipped on a pair of black driving gloves, making sure they fit snugly on her hands. Charlie watched as he drank his vodka and orange juice, thinking it was strange for a woman in the modern world to do.

Do women wear driving gloves now a days? He thought.

Charlie finished off his drink and nodded to her. “Thank you.” He tried to hand the tumbler back to her, but Vicky wasn’t receiving it.

“Was it good?” Vicky asked.

“Yeah… thanks”

Vicky didn’t so much as wind up before punching Charlie in his big, overlapping gut; she took a step and drove it in hard. The tumbler fell to the floor and shattered into three pieces. Charlie made a face and the usual woof came out from his now gaping mouth.

He struggled to catch his breath, but Vicky didn’t give him a chance to find it before a left caught him in the throat. Charlie fell to his knees, hitting the hard ground like a sack of potatoes. She proceeded to kick him in the mouth and nose, his blood splattering across her shiny black stilettos. Charlie did what he learned to do whenever he was beaten up in school—roll up into a ball and take the punishment. After a few more swift kicks to his left side, Burke stopped it.

“Thank you, Vicky,” Burke put his hand on her shoulder. “That’s enough. I’m sure Charlie gets the picture. Better get those heels cleaned up.” He turned his attention back to Charlie. “I want that $10,000 by Tuesday.” Burke growled. “Now, kindly vacate my office, or Vicky here will kick the shit out of you again.”

***

Charlie stumbled through the streets, finally finding his way home. Mary was sitting on the couch, going through bills when Charlie burst in, leaning against the door in obvious pain.

“Hey Mary,” he said, swallowing back blood.

“Oh Charlie!” Mary ran to him, helping him to the couch. “What happened?”

“Ohhh…I happened to fall into Burke’s assistant’s fist…several times. He was pretty big, Mary.”

“Oh, Charlie…you are going to have to stay away from that mad man. I’ll be right back to clean those nasty wounds.” Mary scurried to the bathroom and came back with a first aid kit. She sat down softly beside Charlie, dabbed at his lips with a cloth soaked in alcohol. Charlie howled. “I’m sorry, honey.” She kissed his forehead as Charlie gave her those puppy dog eyes.

Mary wasn’t the best looking girl Charlie ever had. As a matter of fact, she was very plain, even when she teased her blond hair and wore eyeliner. But Mary was the most decent person he’d ever met,  always caring for Charlie. No matter how terrible he treated her at times, or how many jams he got the two of them in, she stayed.

“Oh Charlie.” She sighed as she shook her head. “Please stop gambling. If not that…just stay away from Burke Williams. He’s going to kill you one day.”

Charlie shrugged painfully. “Not one day, Mary—it’s definitely going to be Tuesday.”

“Oh…Charlie…You really should come to those classes with me. I’m telling you, Dr. Devlin helped me work out so many personal problems. I don’t even care that my Daddy left when I was ten anymore, and as for us….well, I’m prepared for anything, Charlie.”

Charlie pushed her hand away, attempting a macho attitude. “Darling, I am not a sheep.”

“Meaning what, Charlie Rhoades?” Mary huffed, placing all the bandages and ointments carefully back into the First aid kit.

“Meaning, Miss Mary that I do not follow every damn fad that rolls into town. It’s obvious the man is not a real doctor—”

He is! A doctor of the mind. Just open up, Charlie. You roll into a ball whenever anyone wants to help you.” He glared at her, recalling his response to the beating as she continued. “Dr. Devlin can help you by using a revolutionary dream structure; it forms walls around your mind, then takes you into past dreams to find a recovery for a safe and happy life.”

Charlie’s glare turned into a bewildered stare. “That’s a direct quote from one of his infomercials.”

“It’s true, Charlie. It’s…it’s like…quoting the Bible.”

“Oh just stop! Mary, life is too short for all that mumbo jumbo. Only two things matter—money, and money. That’s happiness.”

“C’mon Charlie. Just come with me and see if Dr. Devlin can help. What do you have to lose?”

Charlie pondered a minute. “You’re right. Who cares anymore? I’m a dead man on Tuesday either way…”

***

Mary drove them to the old recreation center on 7th street. The building had been transformed from its previous poor info-structure. Now it looked more like office suites than a community center where kids had sprayed graffiti on the walls, piss flowing out of commodes like a river when flushed.

They rode the elevator up two stories to room 114-C.  A bronze name plate on the door read:

FOX DEVLIN—DREAM GURU

Two over-sized men in black turtle necks took $150 that Charlie could have used towards his bigger problems, and that was just for Mary; for Charlie, thankfully, his first session was free. A poster read: Dr. Devlin is very tired from appearing on the talk show circuit so frequently. We cannot guarantee he can help everyone in the assembly today. Thank you for your cooperation.

What a scam. Charlie thought.

At least the room was nice, the walls were paneled and the carpet was clean—making that squishy sound it makes when it’s first laid down. Metal fold out chairs were strategically assembled across the room in front of a large desk. Behind the desk was a blackboard that had a crude chalk drawing of a man’s head with the brain exposed.

Several people had already made it to the class when Mary and Charlie arrived. There were only two chairs available. Mary always looked nice in her blue dress. Charlie knew she wasn’t wearing it for him. At the apartment, Charlie commented on the fact maybe they could have some fun later that night. Mary shook her head and said, “Oh Charlie, you know after class I’m too mentally out of it, too drained. I’m only wearing this so Dr. Devlin will pick me.”

The doctor entered dramatically through a side door that led to another office, with his P.A., Trish. Devlin was a slender man, wearing a black turtleneck with beads hanging around his neck, underneath a tweed jacket. Owl-horned glasses rested atop his long nose, and his straw-colored hair was pulled back into what Charlie considered a hippy ponytail. Trish introduced Devlin, speaking generously, praising the fact he’s helped celebrities such as Mike Tyson and Al Pacing. Even let them know he got the chance to have dinner recently with President Obama.

Charlie was not impressed and showed it.

However, it was the exact reason Mary showed her legs that night, and immediately Dr. Devlin was drawn to her, right during his opening speech.

“Who do we have here, Mary?”  Devlin asked in a smooth, serene voice. Charlie thought, he could calm even the most psychotic sports enthusiast after his team’s loss with a voice like that. “You’ve always come alone.”

“This…this is Charlie, Dr. Devlin. He’s a non-believer, even though he needs the help.” Mary said. A nervous frog cropped up whenever she spoke, and she kept looking around the room to see who might be judging them.

“Mary,” Charlie turned red, a sudden embarrassment replacing his anger. “I just have doubts is all…”

“Charlie, everyone doubts me at first,” Devlin scoffed. “No reason to be embarrassed. I have to prove myself every time I wake up in the morning. What most of the public doesn’t know about me is I am an average, everyday Joe. I just choose to use my unique power—a power I can help all of you to tap into. I can help you, Charlie. I place you in a state of rest with myself and together we dream, exploring whatever ails you. If it’s job stress, like Mr. Lincoln here.” He motioned to a short, older man with a pencil thin mustache who looked as though he’d been through a battle. He looked down at the ground, biting his lower lip. “Or just being able to relax, and be a giving person— sexually—like Mary here.”

Mary looked away uncomfortably, swallowing hard.

“I think we have our evening set,” Devlin told Trish. Trish scribbled on a notepad and nodded. “After the seminar, Mr. Lincoln and Charlie shall come to my quarters and all will be right with both. We will have our usual Q&A; take a break, where Trish has generously set up a beautiful spread of sandwiches…fruits…and of course our signature chamomile tea.”

***

The seminar lasted an hour. Twice Charlie had fallen asleep, both times ending in Mary jarring him awake and angrily whispering that she would leave him on the side of the road if he did it again. Luckily, for Charlie, the lights were dimmed and the spotlight removed from Devlin. He announced it was break time.

“I’ll be damned if anyone will need any chamomile tea to fall asleep for this guy,” Charlie said to Mary. “All you have to do is listen to him.”

Mary gave him a disdainful look. “Ha-Ha, Charlie—go get me a sandwich, ok?”

Charlie didn’t feel like schmoozing anyway, even though that seemed all Mary lived for anymore. They couldn’t go to the grocery store without Mary stopping and talking to every person she came across. She was shaking hands, gathering a small crowd around her as if she was running for office; he was glad for an opportunity to get out of that situation.

Surprisingly, Charlie only saw one other person at the table. Mr. Lincoln hovered uncertainly over a spread of pimento cheese, Swiss cheese, and pepper jack—trying to decide which one to add to his pastrami sandwich.

He appeared to be a nervous man, always looking behind him. When Charlie spoke to him, he jumped about ten feet in the air.

“Boy,” Charlie said, fixing the sandwich Mary requested with five pieces of boiled ham and one piece of Swiss, layered with a few globs of mayonnaise. “That Devlin character sure can talk.”

 

“Yes, yes he sure can.” Was Mr. Lincoln’s short reply, keeping his nervous little fingers close to his lips as if ready to prevent them from parting with unbecoming speech.

“You almost want to tell the guy to get a decent job and stop poking his nose in your business.”

“Well…no. Dr. Devlin has helped me quite a bit. I’ve been having problems with…things in my dreams. What line of work are you in, Mr.— ?”

“Just call me Charlie. I’m a construction supervisor. Say, you don’t really believe in all this crap, do you?”

“Oh, I most certainly do. I’m Cornell Lincoln.” Lincoln flashed a gloomy smile.

“What do you do, Cornell Lincoln? You kind of strike me as the college professor-type?” Charlie looked down and decided Mary could fix her own damn sandwich. He took a bite, and a line of mayonnaise spurted out, covering his top lip.

“Oh, no, no. I’m not smart enough for any of that. I’m a jeweler. I have my own jewelry shop out on Jefferson. ‘Heart to Heart Jewels’. Say, maybe I can help you out with a four-carat for the misses?”

“Not my misses.” Charlie retorted quickly.

“What?”

“We’re not married.’

“Oh.  It seems like you two are.”

“Yea, well, she likes to put on.”

“I see.”  Mr. Lincoln looked disappointed.

Trish came over and took Mr. Lincoln by the arm. “We are ready for both of you.” She smiled, her buggy eyes bulging out of her head. She reminded Charlie of a Chihuahua he once had. Whenever you’d try to take away its favorite chew toy, the dog would bare its teeth and its eyes would look ready to pop out from its little apple shaped head.

“Will you join us?” She showed Charlie those teeth, now clenched together.

Charlie sighed. He tossed the paper plate on the table, taking another bite of the sandwich before throwing it down.

***

Trish took Charlie and Mr. Lincoln through a dark corridor and into a room that had two cots and a chair. There was a TV tray with two glasses holding a reddish liquid. The room was cozy— lights with a low orange hue casting shadows on the ceiling.  It could have been a room rented out to a college student. To the left was the bathroom. The light was on. Someone was in there, puking their brains out.

Trish motioned for Charlie to take residence on a cot. She turned to Mr. Lincoln, and did the same. She walked over to the bathroom and rapping gently on the door. A muffled, “Yes?” came through.

“Dr. Devlin? Your patients are ready, sir.” Trish’s eyes held concern even though she showed Charlie and Mr. Lincoln a happy, everything-is-fine smile. “Dr. Devlin?” She knocked again.

The bathroom door opened quickly and Devlin appeared. He wiped his damp face with a towel. “I’m not sure if I can go through with it tonight, Trish,” he said. “I’m not feeling….particularly strong, I’m afraid.”

“Now, now, you say this every time before you do a session, Dr. Devlin.” Trish’s tone was rather forceful.

“But this time……I swear to you. Something is wrong.”

“Dr. Devlin, they are waiting for you.” Trish took him by the hand and led Devlin out of the bathroom. “Show time,” she told him.

Trish handed Mr. Lincoln the glass with the red liquid. He drank it down, choking a bit as he finished. His eyes became droopy and his jaw slack. Mr. Lincoln lied back on the cot and immediately fell asleep. Trish handed Charlie the other glass of red liquid. He looked at the glass, then her.

“Go on,” Trish urged, smiling and cooing. “Drink for mama…”

Charlie reluctantly drank it down, gagging. He gave a “How could you?” look to Mr. Lincoln.

Mr. Lincoln flashed a sickly smile. “It’s not so bad once you get used to it.”

“What the hell is in that stuff?” He asked Dr. Devlin.

“Nothing you would understand, Charlie. It just helps you fall asleep, and allows me to find you in the sea of dreams…”

 ***

Suddenly, Charlie found himself standing in an empty parking garage. It was strange to be in a parking garage with no vehicles in it. His eyes scanned the area—shrouded in darkness as elongated shadows encroached menacingly. He heard echoes of voices and decided to investigate. Still keeping an eye on the unnerving shadows, he climbed a flight of stairs leading to the top floor of the building, stopping in front of a gray metal door.

The address plate in front read: 2668 Colby, Brenner.

“How odd,” Charlie mused.

How odd to be dreaming of being inside the Brenner building—maybe Devlin screwed up? He heard more hushed voices; saw eerie shadows dancing across the stairwell.

“I hope the old man gives up the jewels this time. I’m getting tired of beatin’ on him.” It was a whiny voice with a hint of a Boston area accent.

“So let Giggles get his knuckles bruised for a while,” a gruff voice with more of a twang said. “It was his idea to hook up with such a nutty plan.”

Charlie unexpectedly appeared in a showroom for jewelry, except nothing was in the cases.

They were all empty. Then he saw Mr. Lincoln bent over a safe. His trembling hands were trying to turn the rusty knob on the small safe as a shadowy figure held a nine millimeter to his bruised and bloodied face. Charlie could see Mr. Lincoln’s lips moving.

10-left-2-right-14-left-5-left-22-right…

Mr. Lincoln looked extremely rattled, his mouth hung open, his eyes were bulged and bloodshot. A grey hand with its skin hanging from bone, reached out from the darkness and took hold of Mr. Lincoln by his coat lapel. The hand violently jerked him closer to the darkness. Mr. Lincoln screamed……

 ***

Charlie and Mr. Lincoln awoke to Devlin’s screams. Devlin was out of the cot on his knees with his hands clutching his head in agony. Charlie and Mr. Lincoln exchanged uncomfortable glances. Trish ran to him, dropping down next to Devlin.

“It hurts!” He screamed, fingernails digging into his scalp.

“Dr. Devlin, are you alright?” She asked, trying to face him as he burst into tears.

“Let me look….” she demanded, but he pushed her hands away; Trish fought with him and was finally able to secure a look at Devlin’s face.

So did Charlie.

Devlin’s forehead was extremely red. There were two pulsating boils just above his right eyebrow. In the middle of the boils was a tip shaped like an arrowhead, bleeding streams that dripped down past the bridge of his nose.

“Oh God!” Trish exclaimed throwing her hands over Devlin’s face so Charlie and Mr. Lincoln couldn’t see anymore. “It’s gotten worse. Lance! Lance!” She called out for security, and a muscle-bound man with a ponytail behind his shaved head, wearing a t-shirt prominently displaying ‘THE CULT’ on it.

“Lance! Help me get Dr. Devlin to his room! It’s gotten worse…”

“Maybe he needs a doctor?” Lance helped Devlin up.

“No doctors!” Devlin screamed, followed by a long moan.

Lance steadied Devlin as they slowly walked to a door leading outside.

Trish sighed, taking a moment of meditation. She fought back tears and turned to Charlie, who was still sitting on the cot—slightly shocked but taking everything in. Mr. Lincoln had already put his jacket on and was ready when instructed to leave.

“You two can go,” Trish told them coldly.

Charlie looked perplexed. “What the hell just happened?”

“Just go, please.” Trish raised her voice.

“Is he going to be alright?” Charlie tossed another question at her.

“I’m sure he will be,” Trish said, tight-lipped. “Any other questions you have can be answered another time.” With that, Trish stormed out the door.

Charlie stood and grabbed his coat, meticulously mulling over every detail of what he’d just witnessed in his mind. He looked at Mr. Lincoln, who already had opened the door that led to the conference room exit.

“What the hell just happened?” Charlie repeated.

Mr. Lincoln offered a sickly smile. “Who knows? Only Dr. Devlin does.”  Mr. Lincoln shrugged.

“No, I mean the dream…I think we were crossed up—” Charlie stopped talking. He thought a minute.

“Yeah….” Mr. Lincoln replied. “That seems to happen.”

Charlie laughed callously He followed Mr. Lincoln out the door, slapped him on the back.

“Yeah, pops. I guess it does.”

He motioned to Mary. “Let’s go.”

***

It was 4:00A.M., and Charlie was sitting at the kitchen table making his third ham, bologna, and cheese puff sandwich. He was sitting there, going over the events from the night before. Mary was up, standing behind Charlie, trying to keep her breasts from bursting out of the short nightie she’d bought ten years—and twenty five pounds—ago.

Charlie knew she was behind him.

“What, Mary?” He took a bite of his sandwich.

“Charlie…come to bed, will ya’?” She reached her arms around his neck.

Charlie carefully placed his sandwich back on a plate. He removed her arms. “Quit it. Can’t you see I’m thinking.”

“Oh, Charlie!” Mary clenched her hands before placing them on her hips and gritting her teeth. “I’m so sick of this! I’m lonely, Charlie. I need a man’s touch…”

“Then go find one.” Charlie finished chewing, then found a crumb stuck in his tooth. He picked it out with an over-grown pinky nail and discarded it to the floor.

“I don’t want to, Charlie. I love you and I want you in my bed, not Tom, Joe, Dick and Harry…just…you.”

“Well, if Tom, Joe, Dick, or Harry aren’t busy, like me, they are welcome to you.” Charlie said, proud of himself for firing back with that one.

Mary hung her head. Her bottom lip trembled a bit, but she held back the tears. She quietly drifted back to her bedroom.

Charlie tossed his sandwich down. A smile rolled across his rubbery lips. There was a twinkle in his eyes. He had it. He finally had an idea that was going to take care of his financial problems…with Burke Williams.

“Hey, Mary…” He called out. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m coming to bed.”

***

Trish stormed into the office. Devlin looked at her, as did the man sitting across from Devlin. “Trish, I’m in a meeting with Conrad here.” Devlin said.

“There’s a man out there—Charlie something—he says he is going to sue you over a session the other day.”

Devlin laughed. “He signed a release, didn’t he…?”

Trish shook her head slowly.

“How did that happen, Trish?”  Devlin snarled. “You could have at least made sure…”

“I don’t know how he slipped through. He says he’s getting headaches.”

“I think I should leave,” Conrad said. He stood and buttoned his coat. “I’ll call you later about the property, Fox.”

Devlin nodded. “Sure, Conrad.” Devlin reached out, taking Conrad’s hand for a short second. Conrad smiled half-heartedly, opened the office door, and saw Charlie waiting anxiously outside.

Devlin bowed his head. “Send him in, Trish. Maybe we can offer him a settlement, until I talk to Lowell about a possible lawsuit again.”

“He doesn’t have a case.” Trish tried to console him, but Devlin wasn’t having it.

“Just send him in! I don’t want to take any chances after the last one. I didn’t think she did, either—until the other side brought up the possibility the sleep aide had some ingredients used for headaches—medicines that might’ve been outlawed. Okay?! So send him in.”

Charlie walked in, confident in his pastel blue suit. He sat down and the two of them sized each other up. Charlie tried to cross his legs, but thought better of it as he almost lost his balance. Devlin smiled impishly, rose from his desk. He paced a few steps before sitting on the edge of his desk.

“Charlie.” Devlin broke the silence. “We can work this out. I’m sure of it.”

“I’m sure we can. $15,000 is what I want.” Charlie told him.

“The headaches are worth that much?” Devlin nodded.

“Them’s some bad headaches, Doc,” Charlie pouted, speaking in baby-talk. “See, Doc, I remember reading about you. I don’t doubt you’re….talents. But it’s how you raise your talent to a new level. You did this trick years ago, under another name: Roger van Dyke. I had to go the library to look all this up, though…hard copies and all. But the initial story I read—and funny, if I hadn’t been down on my luck, broke at the track, with not even money for a cup of coffee…well,  I wouldn’t have seen that paper sitting there on an empty bench.”

Charlie gave Devlin a vindictive smile. “Now, you’re right of course. It all being ‘nothing I would understand’, but I do know you use that…concoction you made us drink to heighten the dreams, and somehow make it easier for your abilities to find the secrets there. Only its bad news. Even for you. I see the marks on your head. Causes serious brain damage, I bet. I also read…this is funny…the U.S. army had been robbed of a certain recipe. Some Martin Blake had gotten hold of it and tried to manufacture headache medicine for it. Geez, and would you believe that guy looked a lot like you, Doc?”

Devlin’s nostrils flared. His hands formed tight fists, which he kept swinging back and forth. “$15,000?” Devlin said coldly. He walked around his desk, searched in the drawers for a green checkbook. He angrily wrote out the check, stabbed the desk with his pen, then tore it out, tossing it at Charlie.

Charlie jumped for it— he could move pretty fast when motivated. He almost caught the thin paper before it landed on the floor. Charlie scooped it up, reclaiming some of his dignity as he slipped it into his jacket pocket.

“Get out of my office.” Devlin demanded.

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Charlie sat back down. “I want another session Doc.”

Devlin laughed. “You want….? You are extorting money because of headaches, caused by me and my wonder drug, but you want another session? No. I don’t think so. I smell a trap.”

“I had beans this morning, Doc. It’s not a trap you smell. I want that session with Mr. Lincoln. I know what you are up to.” Charlie pointed a stubby finger at Devlin. “We’re after same thing. Oh. Yeah. See, I checked with Mary. You pick Mr. Lincoln every damn time.  You want those numbers from his safe.”

Devlin’s face drained of color.

“Yeah, I got your number, T. Fox Devlin. And this time—this time you are going to finish that dream.”

“I don’t think we should.” Devlin pleaded. He touched the wounds on his forehead. “He has an understated personality. Something is preventing him from showing everything in the dreams. Not like most people. That’s why I was using a double act; bringing someone else in the dream. It hasn’t worked because people usually just witness— never trying to stop what’s happening. It’s complicated.”

“I don’t care what it is. We are going to do it.”  Charlie and Devlin locked eyes. Devlin was whipped. He knew it. He looked away, rubbing his forehead.

“Okay,” Devlin said. “Come back here at seven. We’re doing a private session with him. I was going to use Trish. But….it seems the situation has changed.”

***

Trish gave Charlie a judgmental look when he arrived, eyeballing him even as she opened the door to the session room wider. Charlie smiled, even winked. “I’m very happy to see you, as well.”

“You’re late. You take the cot on the left. Mr. Lincoln is already prepped, he’s on the right; and of course Dr. Devlin will be in the middle.”

Charlie wanted to say something snappy, but it wouldn’t come. He went over to the cot, took his jacket off. Trish reluctantly handed him the glass of red liquid. Charlie looked at it, sighed.

“Cheers, baby.”

 ***

Charlie heard the voices again. He was in the parking garage, standing on the stairs. He saw two shadows rolling across the concrete walls. Charlie went up the stairs, slowly, taking in everything. He was conscious that he needed to be aware, possibly find where things had gone wrong in Lincoln’s dream a few days before.

Suddenly, Charlie was in the showroom again. Like before, all the jewelry cases were empty.  A shadowy figure held a gun on Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln was on his knees, trying very hard to open the safe, his trembling lips miming the numbers as his shaking hands turned the dial.

Charlie stepped toward the shadowy figure. He heard Mr. Lincoln scream. He turned to see a skeletal version of Devlin, his arm reaching out to Mr. Lincoln. Charlie swiped the .38 from the shadow. He fired twice at the skeletal Devlin. Devlin fell, his bones shattering …

***

Trish screamed, tears streaming down her face. She called out Devlin’s name and buried her face in his chest. Devlin was lying motionless, his mouth wide open, eyes transfixed on the ceiling. Blood drained from two nickel sized holes in his forehead.

Security rushed the door already left open. They ran to Trish and Devlin.

Charlie and Mr. Lincoln were still in their cots, comatose to the real world.

Charlie’s greed was repaid…with an eternity of being lost in that dream.

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

Mark Slade has appeared in Hell whore series, Blackout City, Dream walkers and Nightmare Stalkers Volumes 1 & 2, and other publications. He is co-editor of Nightmare Illustrated magazine along with Horrified Press publisher Nathan Roawrk. He also writes a column From the grave for Horror Metal Sounds magazine. He lives in Williamsburg, VA with his wife and daughter. To find out more, go to: http://bloodydreadful.blogspot.com/
http://www.horrormetalsounds.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-Stalkers-amp-Dream-Walkers/dp/1291590013
http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/horrified-press/nightmare-stalkers-dream-walkers-volume-ii/paperback/product-21733466.html

Free Fiction Friday: J. T. Evans

Broken Violence

by J. T. Evans

“I’m going to kill her,” Mickey said in a dead-pan voice.

Joseph opened his mouth to speak as a tear escaped over his quivering eyelid. He found his voice, but only a whisper. “Not her.”

“You know I have to.”

Joseph’s voice cracked as he tried to sound stronger. “Anyone but her.”

“You haven’t given me a choice.”

“There’s always a choice.” He hoped the other man wouldn’t hear the quiver in his voice.
Mickey’s voice dropped to a low growl. “She makes you distracted and weak. You might have a choice. I don’t.”

Joseph scrubbed his hands through his messy, brown hair and looked down at the dirty toilet in the bathroom they shared. “Something else. Anyone else.” He wanted to add “please” to his statement, but didn’t have the strength.

“There are no other options. Her death is the only thing that can make you strong again.”
Snapping his eyes back up, Joseph stared at the visage before him. “Someone else can be the sacrifice.”

“Someone else? Like the time when you were eight? Who else could have burned in Mom’s and Larry’s place when I saved you?”

Joseph shook his head. “How about me? What if I die?” He kept his shaking hands at his side to keep the other man from seeing them.

Mickey threw his head back and laughed. When his mirth subsided, he said, “You know better than that.”

The young man narrowed his eyes. “There’s no need to kill again. She’s not a threat.”

“She was a threat from the first time you saw her.” Mickey glared back.

Joseph raised a fist and tried to sound stern. “No, she wasn’t. I have-”

Mickey roared. “You have nothing! Without me you are nothing but a weakling! I had to save you back then. I will save you now.”

Joseph cowered back from the sudden outburst and whimpered deep in his throat. “You can’t. I love her.”

With a raised eyebrow, Mickey asked, “Do you love her more than me?”

With a slight bit more force, Joseph whispered, “No.”

“Does she love you?”

More whispers. “I’m not sure.”

“That’s what I thought. Quit wasting my time.”

Joseph sighed.

“See? You’re weak when it comes to her. She has to die. Tonight.”

Something inside Joseph snapped. He growled back at the leering man. “I won’t let you.” He raised his hand again, and slowly curled his fingers closed.

“You wouldn’t dare. I give you strength. I give you power. I protect-”

Joseph closed his eyes and slammed his fist into Mickey’s shocked face.

Mickey broke into dozens of pieces as the bathroom mirror in front of Joseph shattered under the force of the blow.

Joseph smiled as he squeeze his fist tighter over the sink. Blood dripped on the shards and washed Mickey away.

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

J.T. Evans arrived on this planet and developed into an adult in the desolate, desert-dominated oil fields of West Texas. After a year in San Antonio, he spent a year in the northern tundra of Montana. This year-long stint prepared him for the cold (yet mild compared to Montana) climate of the Front Range of Colorado. He has thrived in The Centennial State since 1998 with his lovely Montana-native wife and newly created son. He primarily pays the bills by performing software engineering and other technocentric duties. To find out more, go to: http://jtevans.net/

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline:
December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 10 in 2015.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, can be any part of the novel, but a short (100 word) synopsis should accompany it.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

Flash Fiction Friday: Sumiko Saulson

Bloodsuckers

By Sumiko Saulson

The hotel was seedy, but at least it was poorly lit. That didn’t sound like much of a perk, but helped obscure the water stains on the walls and the roaches in the corners.  Best of all, it had free wifi. Sure, it was slower than molasses. It was provided courtesy of one five IP address wireless router rented from the cable company. The management knocked on your door and complained if you stayed on it more than an hour.  But it was wifi.

Dennis used it to go troll the dating sites looking for a hook-up. That’s how he met Courtney, single white female, twenty two years old, brown hair, brown eyes. She was a cute girl, kind of chubby, but interested in casual. Casual was good. Very good.

She was in a white hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans when she came to the door. Dennis was in a green terrycloth bathrobe and tattered BVDs. He invited her in.

“Nice place you have,” she said, precariously perching her butt on the edge of the king sized mattress furthest away from him. She looked quite a bit older in person than she did on the photo.  She claimed to be twenty-two, but looked thirty-five. It figured. These girls were always lying about their age and their weight, but never mind all that.  Why should he care? He was thirty-five, but claiming he was twenty-seven.

“Can I get you a beer, sweetie?”  he asked, grabbing a cold one out of the cooler by his feet.

“Sure,” she said, grabbing the bottle and prying the cap off like a master barfly. She sucked it down in two minutes flat and asked for another.  Dennis was bending down to pick it up when he felt something bite him on the back of the neck.

“What the?” he hollered, slapping his neck. The hand came back covered in blood. Stuck in the middle of the stain was the tiny black corpse of a fallen insect. He wasn’t sure if it was a mosquito or what, but something bit him.

Courtney inhaled the second beer as fast as the first. She was starting to get a little tipsy, it appeared.

“I love your robe,” she giggled. “Especially the belt you have it tied around your waist with. You should let me tie you up with it.”

“What?” Dennis asked. He wasn’t usually into the kinky stuff, but he was horny, it had been a while. Besides, this Courtney was really chesty. He wanted to check her out. He was just about to suggest she take off her hoodie and get comfortable when something bit him, again. This time it was on the ass. He felt stupid smacking himself on the behind.

“Well?”  Courtney said.  “In or out?”

“In,” Dennis said reluctantly. The girl tied him to the bed, and but damn she had a strong grip.

“Whoa woman, that’s a little tight,” he complained. She ignored him, continued her work. When she was done, she stepped back and began to unzip her jacket.

“Nice,” he said, watching the zipper slide down and reveal her ample cleavage.

His salacious glee was short lived. As the blouse came down, he began to notice that what he at first thought was a black tank top was moving. Tiny black dots swarmed all over the surface of her chest.  His eyes widened as they began to traverse the short distance between where she stood, and where he was tied to the bed.

“What the hell?” he asked. She did not answer at first.

They covered his legs, nipping and biting into the exposed flesh. His legs started to itch terribly.  Unable to use his bound hands, he began to rub the big toe from one foot against the calf of the other to scratch his leg.

“I am sorry,” she said finally, “but I must feed.”

She extended her arms, and more and more of the tiny black creatures leapt on the bed and crawled over his body, piercing and pinching his skin. Raised red dots began to appear on the surface of his flesh. Then, the wounds began to bleed.

That was when he started to scream.

Courtney pulled a filthy sports sock off his foot and shoved it down his throat to silence him.

As the tiny insects drew blood from his flesh, they turned around and returned to her, full and bloated. A sea of minuscule, blood-filled life crawled up to her face. When she opened her mouth, it poured in between her lips and down her throat. Her well-trained little minions sacrificed their infinitesimal lives just so they could deliver his blood. One by one, they drained him, and returned to her, engorged with blood and ready to be devoured.

When they were finished, his body was drained. White, and covered in a rash of red dots more vibrant and painful than acne, Dennis moaned on the bed. Courtney pulled a needle out of her pocket. She released him from his mortal coil with a hot shot of heroin. She shoved the incriminating rig into his failing hand.

Courtney licked the corner of her mouth as the last bed bug died on her lips. Then she turned to go.

Her minions had been many over the years. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and any number of other tiny vampires bought meals of fresh blood to her lips. She didn’t need any fangs or knives to feed. All she needed was her servants.

She turned around and left. Leaving her pale victim dying on the filthy mattress, she closed the door. There would be many more where he came from.

She thanked all that was wicked that there was bed bug epidemic in San Francisco.

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

Sumiko Saulson’s blog “Things That Go Bump In My Head” focuses on horror fiction writing and features author interviews, writing advice, short stories and editorial pieces. She is the author of two novels in the science fiction and horror genres, “Solitude,” and “Warmth”, and a Young Adult dark fantasy series, “The Moon Cried Blood”, which was originally a novel.  Her fourth novel “Happiness and Other Diseases” will be released October 18, 2014.  She is also the author of a short story anthology “Things That Go Bump In My Head”.  She writes for the Oakland Art Scene for the Examiner.com. A published poet and writer of short stories and editorials, she was once profiled in a San Francisco Chronicle article about up-and-coming poets in the beatnik tradition. The child of African American and Russian-Jewish American parents, she is a native Californian, and was born and spent her early childhood in Los Angeles, moving to Hawaii, where she spent her teen years, at the age of 12. She has spent most of her adult life living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Master of Macabre #5, Solomon Archer

Surface Tension by Solomon Archer
Location: New York City
Item: A teddy bear
Creature Origin: An oceanic trench

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Surface Tension

by Solomon Archer, Ph.D.

 

JOSEPH SNAPPED VIOLENTLY AWAKE from a restless sleep by a series of hard bumps as the tiny Cessna hit pocket after pocket of turbulence. As the jet shook and rattled, he could barely hear the pilot over the deafening roar inside the cabin.

“What’d you say?” he yelled. The pilot pointed toward the window.

“Ten miles to the starboard!” he shouted over his shoulder. Joseph looked out the small oval window at the vast ocean below them. The glare from the surface of the sea made it difficult to tell what he was looking at but when the sun momentarily ducked behind a bank of clouds, the mass came into full view. Even so, it took him a few moments to register what he was seeing.

“Oh my God,” Joseph muttered. The pilot nodded his head in agreement at the pile of floating debris covering an area approximately the size of Manhattan.

“You people are out of your minds,” the pilot muttered.

 


Joseph had been hired by Brooklyn Salvage in the past. He liked working with them, though he was not looking forward to being away from his daughter Abby for almost a month. His mother volunteered to look after her while he was away and for that Joseph was eternally grateful.

The crew of the ship, a 75-meter tug named the Cloudburst, was typical for a salvage operation with the exception of a marine biochemist, a cartographer, and two divers.

Joseph was somewhat disappointed that his skills as an underwater welder weren’t needed on this job, but he couldn’t argue with the money. Thirty thousand dollars for a three-week expedition was hard to turn down.

During the initial mission briefing the experts gave an overview of the expedition. The cartographer, whose name Joseph didn’t catch, used colorful maps and bathymetric charts to highlight the currents the garbage island had followed for nearly a decade before stalling over an area known as the Java Trench, a submarine depression in the Indian Ocean four and a half miles deep.

Kim Chen, the biochemist, explained that recent tectonic plate movements had created a vast array of volcanic cones along the lip of the trench. The cones, which were essentially like underwater chimneys, had been churning out a stew of toxic chemicals and debris from as far down as the earth’s mantle.

“What kind of chemicals?” asked one of the salvage crew.

“Well, sodium and calcium, of course. You find that everywhere in the ocean. But these things are also spitting out hydrogen sulfide, silica, chloride, and manganese, just to name a few. It’s a really poisonous mess and it’s coming out hot.”

“How hot?” Joseph asked.

“320 degrees Celsius,” Chen answered.

Joseph frowned, trying to convert that number to Fahrenheit. “And how hot exactly is that?” he asked.

“Hot enough to melt lead,” Chen answered. She must have detected the unease in his voice and quickly added, “Oh don’t worry. All that heat is lost before it gets anywhere near the surface. No, what worries me is the fact that toxic stew seems to be feeding your island.”

“You know, I’m gonna be knee deep in that crap starting tomorrow morning. You got any words of advice?” Joseph asked.

“Yeah,” she said after a moment. “Wear boots.”


It was early afternoon on the second day when their ship approached the floating island. He heard one of the other crew members refer to the island as “continental afterbirth,” and Joseph thought that description was quite fitting. The pile stretched out as far as he could see and appeared to be made up of several countries-worth of garbage. Its surface consisted of a frothy mix of plastic bottles, milk jugs, cardboard boxes, aluminum siding, and acres of discarded paper products. Dotted throughout were thousands of trash bags – some bloated from decomposition under the relentless sun, others ravaged by the sea and scattered about like ghostly mourners. Rivers of torn clothing and shredded linens meandered through the mass like serpents and the entire tableau was kissed by a layer of white foam.

Occasionally Joseph caught a glimpse of something more exotic: a stuffed white snow leopard that looked covered in mange, its fur faded and frayed by the elements; a ten-by-fourteen foot replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Night peeling from a weathered frame freckled with tar; a congealed mass of melted pink flip-flops that scarred the surface like some ocean-borne strain of Rosacea.

Perhaps strangest of all was what looked like a human torso, hirsute and pale, bobbing up and down in the current, one perfectly severed stump blindly scanning the surrounding sea like a bloodshot eye. The captain had radioed the Coast Guard about that last find, but the exchange consisted of little more than a relay of coordinates. It was unlikely that anyone would be declaring the area a crime scene.


Over the course of the next several days, he and another deckhand named Michael, got into a rhythm of sorting the debris into piles based on whatever language they could find on the items.

At one point he came across a teddy bear fr that was surprisingly intact, other than being waterlogged and a little faded.

“Whatcha got there, Joe?” Dr. Chen asked as she waved a Geiger counter over a nearby pile. He handed it to her, shrugging.

“Some kid’s stuffed toy, looks like,” he replied.

Kim turned the teddy over in her hands. “Huh,” she mumbled. “Mind if I run some tests? I’ve got a decontaminant I’ve been dying to try out if you don’t mind?”

“Knock yourself out, doc,” he said and returned to the pile.

When she was gone, Michael sidled up to him and, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one else was around, showed Joseph a watch he had found. The hands were frozen at 2:25 and it was missing a diamond at the 12:00 o’clock position, but otherwise looked to be in good shape.

Joseph whistled. “Is that a Rolex?”

“Score, right?” Michael beamed.

“You gonna tell the captain about it?” Joseph asked, already knowing the answer.

Michael snorted. “Hell no! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got bills to pay. I mean, 30 grand is great and all, don’t get me wrong. But this piece could be worth a couple thousand easy.” His smile faltered for a moment. “You’re not gonna say anything, are you?”

“’Course not,” Joseph reassured him. “Finders keepers. Congratulations. But if I were you I’d think about having Dr. Chen decontaminate it first.”

Michael smiled as he pocketed the watch. “Yeah, I’ll sure give that some thought.” Joseph nodded knowing Michael would do no such thing and the two returned to sifting through the trash.

By the time the Cloudburst finally docked at the Southeast Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Hudson Bay and Joseph had made it back to his apartment, it was nearly midnight and all he wanted to do was kiss his daughter, take a shower, and sleep for two weeks. As he unpacked his overstuffed duffel, he was surprised to find a clear plastic bag containing the teddy bear he had found at the site several weeks earlier and a note from Kim.

“Success!” the note began. “The decontamination worked better than I expected. Not even a trace of toxic chemicals or radiation. For providing me with my first test subject, you win a teddy bear! Signed K.”

Joseph examined the bear and had to admit Kim had done a damn fine job. It looked brand new with a shiny fur coat and it smelled like it had just come out of the wash. Abby would love it.

He popped his head into his daughter’s room found her asleep in her crib. He placed the teddy bear next to her head and was delighted to see her roll over, wrap a tiny arm around its neck, and start chewing on the animal’s ear.

 


Joseph went to the bathroom and stripped off his clothes and stood under the scalding stream for over ten minutes watching the water gradually get lighter as it circled the drain. He might have fallen asleep had not the high pitch of overworked metal pipes started screaming in protest. Joseph jumped at the racket coming from the wall and quickly shut off the water. But the squealing did not stop and it struck him that the sound was not coming from the pipes. He stood naked for a moment trying to figure out what it was when an inhuman shriek threatened to tear the bathroom door off its hinges.

He raced from the bathroom toward his daughter’s room, which seemed to be the source of the commotion. He was not at all prepared for what he saw when he opened the door.

In the dim pink glow of the nightlight, Abby was flailing in her crib and at first he thought she had somehow bitten into an electrical cord. He flipped on the light and raced to the crib, stopping short when he peered over the edge.

The skin from her face was entirely melted away, leaving a pulsing white and red mass of bone and tissue underneath. Her lips slid off her chin and dropped in a pile of blood, spit, and teeth on her chest, which was vibrating erratically. He thought crazily that she was having a seizure until the wet hole that used to be her mouth produced a bubbling cry followed by a fit of ragged wheezing as Abby desperately tried to fill her lungs with air.

Something in Joseph’s mind broke when he saw the skin of her neck tear open and he recoiled instinctively as several hundred worms, some more than four feet in length, bored through her throat. Red, orange, and black dots glistened on their shiny albino bodies and they moved impossibly fast as they engulfed her entire head. The sickening sound of his daughter’s skull cracking was enough to jolt Joseph to action.

He shot his arms forward grabbing Abby beneath her armpits, intending to pull her from the crib. It was last time he would ever touch her.

The moment his hands locked behind her back, her arms were torn from her body by a second wave of worms that had emerged from a gaping hole in her chest. He slipped in the growing pool of gore oozing out of the crib.

As he scrambled to get to his feet, he felt the first of them enter him through his ankle. He nearly blacked out from the pain as worm after worm burrowed into his legs and snaked into his body. They tore through flesh, bone, and muscle as they spread throughout. A few that had been devouring the contents of his last meal penetrated his bladder and exited his body through his urethra like a stream of lava. Some of the creatures had discovered his trachea and in their frenzied feast produced screams Joseph did not even recognize as his own. The last two things he ever saw in this world were the teddy bear, its stuffing teeming with what looked like albino maggots and the inside of his skull as his eyes were pulled into his head.

After that, he knew nothing more.


Madeline had been searching online for an anniversary gift for over an hour and had nearly settled on a tactical barbeque vest when she struck eBay gold: a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. She considered herself to be something of a connoisseur of men’s fashion and other than missing a diamond at the 12 o’clock spot, the watch was in near pristine condition and at $1500 this one was a steal. She hesitated over the “buy” button for only a second before confirming her purchase. She couldn’t wait to see the look on her husband’s face when he tried it on. It would be memorable – of that much she could be sure.

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

To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #4, D. J. Pitsiladis

The Samaritan by D.J. Pitsiladis
Location: Angkor Wat
Item: Running Shoes
Origin: Meteor Site

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

The Samaritan

By D.J. Pitsiladis

Gary jerked himself upright and muttered an apology to his sour faced neighbor.  The man muttered something in Cambodian before he turned his attention back to the window.  The American received similar reactions since his arrival in Bangkok, Thailand, the day before, and he thought about how it differed from the pro-tourism ads he saw while planning the pilgrimage.  As he popped open the third energy drink of the long bus trip, Gary promised himself, “Next time I take the window seat with all the fresh air.”

 

A bright flash lit up the sky seconds before the bus shuddered and began to roll on its side.  Gary bounced off his neighbor’s body before he hit the floor and smacked his head against one of the benches.  Pain blossomed behind his eyes from the impact before everything went black.  He didn’t know how long he was unconscious for, but when a hand pushed on his shoulder and a girl’s voice said, “Wake up,” he tried to open his eyes.  They remained shut until he felt another nudge, “Please wake up.”  The American’s eyes fluttered open to find a young Thai girl’s tear streaked face as it broke into a relieved smile.  Nausea washed over him like a wave and he laid his head back down until the girl whimpered and pushed his shoulder again.  “Please, mister, you need to wake up.”

 

Gary sat up and winced when he touched the top of his head.  “Probably have a concussion,” he thought as another wave of nausea hit.  The girl, meanwhile, placed her hands on his shoulders to help steady him while he checked their surroundings.  “Are there any others alive?” he asked.  She lowered her gaze and shook her head with a sniffle.  He swore under his breath, but then grabbed the side of the bench above him and pulled himself to his feet.

 

While he waited for his balance to steady, Gary checked out the girl for injuries.  She wore a stained yellow t-shirt and tan slacks with dark patches of blood, but no obvious signs of injury.  What really caught his attention were her clean running shoes.  He looked around at the other passengers and saw a considerable amount of blood and debris mixed in with pale bodies.  With all of that, he didn’t know how she managed to keep them so clean.  He meant to ask her about it when a noise from the outside grabbed his attention.

 

With careful steps, they made their way to the shattered front window and peeked outside.  Two of the temple complex’s five towers stood tall over a large pile of rubble while toppled trees burned around it.  They stepped from the vehicle and stared in amazement.  “How are we not dead?” Gary asked in disbelief.  Men yelled for help off in the distance, and he took a look at the girl and made a decision.  “Stay here,” he said.  “Help will be here soon.”  She opened her mouth to protest, maybe even beg him to stay until it did, but he worried that people might die if he did.

 

Military helicopters appeared within seconds and began to circle the fiery crater.  Gary wondered about what crashed there, but thought, “There’ll be plenty of time to find out after the injured are safe.”  Three armored personnel vehicles sped past the temple entrance and he jumped back to get out of their way.  He didn’t see the girl behind him until she bounced off his back and fell to the ground hard.  When she finally got her feet back under her, the girl headed for the temple with her left arm clutched tight against her chest.  Gary watched in disbelief as the military vehicles swerved to drive around her.

 

Once inside the outer walls, two monks saw them and yelled for help from a nearby pile of rubble.  Gary managed to free one of the men from the rocky trap, and let girl drag him out of the way while he turned his attention to the second monk.  It took a little longer to free the second holy man, but when he did, neither the girl nor the other monk were anywhere to be found.  When he didn’t find them, he checked the man’s leg and knew at first sight it was shattered and needed more care than he was able to offer.  When the girl finally walked around the corner, he asked, “What happened to the other guy?”

 

The girl looked around at the piles of debris and said, “He went to help more of his people.”  She met Gary’s gaze and pointed at the monk on the ground, “What about him?”  The expression on her face looked weird, but he let it go given the stressful situation.

 

“He’s not going anywhere,” Gary replied.  “His leg is badly shattered and we don’t have any way to move him.”  She turned her full attention on the man and went to his side.  The way she stared at the man looked more like hunger than concern, but, as much as his instincts told him to stay, he needed to go find more survivors.  “Can you stay here with him?” She nodded and he jogged around the opposite corner.  He didn’t get far before his gut told him to go back.  When he rounded the corner again, the scene he found terrified him.

 

The girl sat astride the monk’s chest with her knees on each arm, her left hand clamped tight over his mouth, and some kind of flat red disk against his forehead.  He realized when she pulled it away that the device was actually her hand.

 

“I can explain,” she said in a raspy voice.  Gary stared in horror as her once young and beautiful face shriveled into an opaque nightmare.  She took a tentative step toward him and added, “Then again, I don’t think you’ll understand the explanation any more than you can understand my hunger.”  The girl took another step toward him, “My kind needs blood for sustenance, but I spared you to help me find safety.”  His gaze lowered to the shriveled dead man behind her and realized not everyone on the bus died from the crash.  It proved enough to break his paralysis and he darted behind the pile of stones and headed for the soldiers.

 

Gary saw the bridge that led to the army, but didn’t see the girl until she slammed into his back and sent him to the ground hard.  Before he regained his breath, she rolled him over and sat on his chest with her knees firmly on his arms.  “All of that running made me hungry, and you look kind of tasty.”  He opened his mouth to shout for help, but her hand clamped over it as she laughed like a snake.  “Don’t worry.  I’m sure those soldiers will be happy to help.  After all…”  The girl’s image shifted back to the teenage girl and she said, “How can anyone resist a young girl in distress?”  He closed his eyes as her other hand rested on his forehead and she began to feed.

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

To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #3, Rish Outfield

Lighthouse View by Rish Outfield
Location: A lighthouse
Item: A camera
Creature Origin: Volcano

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Lighthouse View

Rish Outfield

 

Carly arrived at the lighthouse just before ten in the morning, and the old man was already waiting for her.

“News lady?” he asked, putting down his large print Louis L’amour collection.

She had the camera and tripod on one shoulder, her sound bag in the other, but still said,  “That’s me.”

He slowly rose to his feet.  “You know you prolly made this trip for nothin’?”

“It’s not for nothing.  I get to see your beautiful lighthouse.”

“Ain’t been beautiful in years,” he grumbled.  He was an ancient-looking man with a white beard, a sailor hat over a bald head, and about a million wrinkles.  “View’s nice, though.”

She followed him into the old building.  It surprised Carly Page to find so few lighthouses on this part of the coast.  Her internet search had classified the one at Puente Dormido as being “Closed.”  Turned out the old man who ran it years before had bought the disused relic, and lived there now.

When she’d tracked him down on the telephone, he’d guessed what she was after.  “There’s prolly a one in a thousand chance the monster comes here.”

“Good enough for me,” she’d said, sitting in front of her computer, satellite photos on the screen showing a tail, a bulbous head, and a long body, though not in the same shot.

The monster, or Quetzalcoatl, as CNN had dubbed it, had emerged from a volcano in the Pacific two days before.  It seemed to be a giant snake or worm that either swam or flew–depending on if you thought the smudge in one photo was wings or not.  Scientists argued about whether it would head for the mainland, go to an island, or never be seen again, perhaps burrowing back into the sea.  Carly didn’t know why, but she had immediately thought of a lighthouse, and found the closest one.  If the monster came here, she might get some great footage, if not, she would interview a fascinating old man.

The lighthouse was damp and foul-smelling, and had fallen into disrepair inside and out.  “You okay?” The way he was breathing, she worried he might topple backward onto her.

“Just old,” he wheezed.  Well, that was an understatement.  Her grandfather had looked better the last time she’d seen him, and that had been in a funeral parlor.

On the upper level was a living area, with a sofa, several shelves lined with books, and a little radio.

“You say you’re from Channel 8?” he asked her, pausing to catch his breath.  Above them, the stairs continued another ten feet or so to a thick door leading to the roof.

“I was.”

He squinted at her.  “You got a face for the TV.  What’s the problem?”

She figured the interview would go better if she earned his trust, so she told him.  “The regular anchor had a baby, so I got the job to fill in for her.  On my second day, I read a story with the word knickerbocker in it.  Only I didn’t say it like that, exactly.”

“So, nobody caught the error?”

“Oh, about a thousand viewers did,” she said, though the calls and emails had actually numbered about twenty.  “TV news is live.  Goes out as you say it.  They wanted me to apologize on the next show.  I wouldn’t.  On Wednesday, there was a new guest anchor sitting in for me.”

“So, gettin’ a picture of the killer snake monster will put you back on top.”

They emerged onto the upper terrace.  The view was spectacular.  Blue, grey, and white ocean water as far as the eye could see, a cool and refreshing breeze.

“The radio said the coast guard spotted it,” she said.  “How far from us was that?”

“About eighteen mile from here.”

Carly’s odds of seeing the creature had just gotten better.

As if reading her thoughts, Walter said, “Eighteen is a lot of miles, Miss Knickerbocker.  Don’t think we’ll be hostin’ a monster party today.”

They stood in silence, Carly and the old man searching the horizon for anything more interesting than a boat.

Finally, she turned the camera on him.  “How old a man are you, Mr. Walter?”

“Ninety-one,” he said.  He definitely looked his age.

“Does this discovery make you question your understanding of the world?”

“Stuff with the snake, you mean?”  Walter gave her a wink.  “Nahh, I fought Hitler and Benito, I always believed in monsters.”

She smiled at that.  He was a charming man, even if he wasn’t very photogenic.

They left the terrace and went slowly down the creaking stairs.  Carly wondered if this building would still be standing ten years from now.

She set up the camera in front of the man’s couch.  The question she had asked him had been on a lot of minds since Quetzalcoatl emerged from the eruption.  Many took the monster as a sign that the Biblical end times were finally upon us, many took it as evidence that God did not exist.  Some were now worshiping the flying serpent like the Maya of old.

She sat Walter down with a microphone and adjusted the camera angle to best capture his craggy face.  “State your name and spell it for me.”

“Alec Walter Junior.  Eye-tee,” said Walter, and grinned for the lens.  It made him look like a bearded skeleton from a Disney pirate movie.

“Mister Walter, could–”

“Call me Alec.”

“Alec, could you tell me when you first saw this lighthouse?”

“Oh, surely.  I was six years old.  My pappy had decided–”

And then Carly heard the sound of a helicopter through the microphone.  It sounded close, getting closer.

Carly wrestled the camera off its tripod, and carried it up the stairwell with as much speed as she could muster. The old man followed, almost disappointed about the interview.

On the terrace, he saw the helicopter hovering over the water only half a mile away–a big ugly military vehicle.   Carly was filming something beyond the helicopter.  White water sprayed where an enormous shape moved fast through the ocean to the northwest.

“I can’t believe it!” she laughed, and it was infectious, the delighted laughter of the young.  “This is it!  I’m back in for sure now!”

“Hope you got enough film in that thing.”

A moment later, the helicopter rose higher.  The monster exploded out of the water and into the air.  The damned thing did have wings.

“Did you get that?” he asked, but the way she was beaming, he knew that she had.

The monster angled toward the shore.  Its wings were tiny, flapping so fast they were a blur, like a bug’s wings.  And as its body became more visible, a pale flying caterpillar, he realized that it looked a bit like his home.

“Here it comes!” Carly called in awe.

Alec Walter grabbed the girl’s thin arm and gave it a pull.  “We need to go.”

She looked away from the creature, just for a moment.

“Move!” he shouted, clutching her arm as tightly as he could manage, and pulling her in the direction of the stairs.

She thought of recording the creature’s truck tire-sized grey eyes.  Maybe, while she’d been looking at it, it had been looking at her.

She moved.  The old man focused on descending the stairs, and halfway down, he stumbled.  She steadied him with her free arm.  He was gasping, his whole back wet with sweat.

There came a sound above them–a skittering noise that insects made in the woods–but it was much, much too loud.  “Go!” Walter coughed.  But she kept supporting him until they finally made it to the bottom of the lighthouse.

He burst out the front door, but Carly didn’t want to leave the protection of the building.

“Come . . . on!” he managed, putting out his hand to her.

“We’re safer inside th–”

“It doesn’t . . . want us,” he coughed, and she ran to his side, helping him again as they moved away from the foot of the lighthouse.

The chittering stopped, and Carly saw Quetzalcoatl as it hovered next to the lighthouse.  It darted in the air, seeming to dance.

Beside Carly, the old man collapsed onto his knees, then rolled to a sitting position, where he could see the monster.  “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he got out.  He was barely getting any breath in, but she heard him whisper, “Shoot your camera.”

Quetzalcoatl kept bending its lower body toward the building, like a wasp about to sting.  “It thinks the lighthouse is an enemy,” she marveled, raising the camera–which had never stopped recording–to catch the full body of the flying worm.

“Ain’t mad,” Walter laughed, surprising Carly.  “It’s horny.”

She looked at its body language anew, and realized he was right.  The monster, though smaller than the lighthouse, was shaped very similarly to it, and was shaking its tail like a . . . well, like anybody who shook their ass for a suitor.

The helicopter slowly circled the top of the lighthouse, the only other witnesses to the giant worm’s dance.  Then the creature rotated itself 180 degrees, and landed on the side of the lighthouse.  She heard the building groan with the added weight, and saw brick drop off where the monster’s body connected.  Its tail was now right at the top of the edifice, where the terrace was.

Carly saw through the camera lens something wet and yellow emerge onto the top of the tower.  “It’s . . . laying eggs!”

“Now I’ve seen everything,” Walter mumbled beside her, and Carly felt an almost overwhelming affection for the old man.  If she hadn’t been holding the camera, trying to catch each sticky sphere as it came out and stuck in a pile, she would surely have hugged him.

Carly slowly panned onto the monster’s big flat face.  Later, she would remember it looking right at her, as though aware it had an audience.

Finally, the worm’s opaque wings began to vibrate again, and it disengaged itself from the lighthouse.  There was a cluster of twenty or so eggs up there, and Carly’s heart now thumped from exhilaration.  She had a big grin on her face, and the smile never faded as Quetzalcoatl’s wings blurred into motion again and it—she–turned and plunged into the ocean once again.  The military helicopter followed, trying to keep up.

She held the shot a moment more, arm aching from keeping the camera steady, and finally stopped recording.  “Yep,” she said, lowering her right arm.  “That will probably make me a–”

She turned and stared at the old man.  Alec Walter Junior was laying back, his mouth and his eyes both open a slit.  He no longer stirred, no longer breathed.

“Now you’ve seen everything,” she sighed.

 

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

To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #2, Ricky Cooper

A Contrast of Worlds by Ricky Cooper
Location: An Italian restaurant
Item: A human skull
Creature Origin: Deep Space

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

A Contrast in Worlds

 

Clattering filled the air, wry smiles etched their lips as they lifted  the cups and sipped, a hum of gratification filing the space between them.

‘It’s certainly good here; best we have found so far I’d venture to say.’

A soft chuckle tickled the air as they set their cups back on the small saucers.

‘It certainly is, but I must say the heat is dreadfully oppressive.’

‘Agreed, but dear we must remember, this place is as new to us, as we are to it. We will eventually adapt, we always do.’

A slight nod greeted the softly worded admonishment. As the heat rolled over them, handkerchiefs patted at perspiration soaked brows. The quiet whisper of silk filled the air as, with delicate motions and supple fingers, the handkerchiefs were folded and once more tucked into the cuffs of their sleeves.

‘So darling how old did you say this colony was?’

‘Well, it’s taken us one hundred and fifty years to get this far.

‘When one thinks that we didn’t even know this world existed until those signals started coming through.

‘Even as faint as they were, they gave planning a reason to brush the dust off our old search probes.

‘The probes were launched and all the while we waited and listened. The signals were getting stronger and more frequent. The inevitable conclusion was that for the first time we had found another sentient race in the universe. The prize was within our grasp.

‘So with the information collated and analysed the first ships were sent out. I know that travelling halfway across the galaxy in stasis is a crazy thing to do but we were absolutely desperate for extra space, a civilisation can only survive on one planet for so long without exhausting the ecosystem to the point of collapse.

‘ Then when we arrive the place is empty. No signals. Nothing.’

‘And with that in mind my dear, I’d say it’s a good idea for us all to pay careful attention to the signs we were left by those that came before. You know as well as I that waiting a few hundred years more will not damage things. Besides the rest of the settlers will be needing a head counsel to oversee the ownership rights in this territory.’

A warm gust of air made their heads tilt. Eyes slid closed and nostrils flared, a short guttering gasp left them both as they stood, chairs clattering against the cobbled floor.

‘Come with me, I want to show you something, it was unearthed a few weeks ago.’

Their tapping feet filled the quiet street as they listened to the bustle of shoppers and families only a few yards away, the soft tremor that shivered through their feet made one pause, a soft gasp of fright flirting with his companion’s ears.

‘Darling, fear not, it’s just that beastly mountain again, damned thing has been gurgling and smoking ever since I was transferred here.’

Glancing back over the top of the buildings around them, the monolith of fire and heat smoked and rumbled sending a shiver down his spine as he hastened his pace and caught up to his slowly disappearing comrade.

‘So where exactly are we going dear?’

A small smile broke his partners lips as they drew level. Hands clasped behind their backs they moved out into a vast courtyard. The central fountain burbled echoing the gentle call of small birds that flitted above their heads.

‘We’re heading to the one place in this heat blasted world where we can see what became of this planet’s indigenous species and I for one would wish that my partner saw them just once before he is whisked away again.’

A gentle hand tugged at his elbow as the fluttering of wings filled the air and the sky was assaulted by a swarm of feathered bodies.

‘Now that was a pleasant and rather beautiful surprise.’

A soft hum echoed from his partner as they both watched trees empty of their twittering cargo.

‘Yes my sweet, it certainly was.’

They paused studying the glittering water as it bubbled and splashed over the cut glass pebbles and turquoise tiles.

‘Apparently my sweet this fountain here, although it has been restored numerous times, pre-dates nearly everything around us; from the tiles on the roofs to the relics we are unearthing on a daily basis. Now if you look at its size, this sculpted expanse, despite its complexity, has been constructed using the simplest of hand tools. Those that made it were twice if not three times our size, tall, broad and extremely muscular.

‘Those large plots of land not far from here with their quaint little temples honouring their fallen have a very handy system of rows and markers that, I must say, has made excavation quite an easy process. It shouldn’t be long before we have sufficient information on this planet’s aborigines. ‘

With a small nod of his head, he guided his partner to the furthest side of the courtyard and through a high archway, the weather worn stone casting a fine dust upon their heads as they passed through the frescoed alleyway.

‘Ah blessed cold, that heat was making me boil in my suit.’

A liquid filled chuckle echoed down the corridor, the chill air making them both shiver as they stopped. They paused a moment to bask in the shaded avenue before heading out in the blistering, heated air once more.

‘We only have a short way to go my dear, then we can sit in the blessed cool of the air conditioned viewing halls. I think you will truly appreciate what we have found. It is the only intact example we have been able to unearth from site six.’
****
The small dark eyes stared fixedly at the centre of the small table, the hollow gaze sending a chill through the already frigid air.

A skull sat in pride of place, the brightly lit pedestal rotating as its menacing stare slowly moved through all corners of the compass.

‘And here we have it my dear, such a lovely specimen, the ridges and brow lines are astounding. Many of the others we found collapsed into dust the moment we pulled them from the earth.

‘I have seen the way they endeavoured to preserve their dead and it is clever if a little archaic. Nothing like we have, but it shows a clear love of preserving beauty.

‘And as you have seen they applied that to the entire world around us, cities and park lands all pristine. This world has but two main land masses and is more than ninety percent covered in water but it was in a lovely condition when we found it, the last owners were wonderfully careful with things.

‘Although I have to admit my curiosity has been peaked at what drove them to extinction, these Homo sapiens were certainly a clever lot, it’s a shame really, they would have made such wonderful neighbours.’

His partner came up beside him, scaled skin cool against his lover’s neck.

‘They certainly would have been my love, certainly would have been.’

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

To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #1, Stephen Kozeniewski

The Thing Under the Bed by Stephen Kozeniewski
Location: London
Item: Gasoline
Creature Origin: A Child’s bedroom

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

THE THING UNDER THE BED

by Stephen Kozeniewski

 

“I’m going to eat you and your whole family.”

The girl didn’t say a word.

“I know you hear me up there,” The Thing Under the Bed said, “You can pretend to ignore me but I’m still going to devour you.”

An involuntary gasp escaped from the girl’s throat.  She clapped both of her hands over her big fat mouth, but it was already too late.  The monster chuckled.

“I knew you were awake.  I’ll tell you what: I’ll make you a deal.  If you come down here by choice, I’ll kill you before I eat you.  Then you don’t have to feel anything.  How does that sound?”

She clenched Captain Bundrick under her armpit.  She had taken the poor rabbit’s head off twice before by squeezing him in just that manner, and yet she didn’t care now.  Mum would grumble, but she would take him into the sewing nook for doll surgery as she always did.  That is, assuming Mum or anyone else would be left alive in the morning.

The blanket began to shift, slowly, inexorably being tugged downwards.  Obviously The Thing Under the Bed had caught hold of a corner and was pulling, but gently.  The goal was to scare her, not to catch her.  Nevertheless, she scrambled out from under the covers and planted her bottom on her pillow.

The Thing chuckled again.

“Look, it’s the best thing for you just to give in.  What’s your plan anyway?  What’ve you got up there?  A pillow?  And that desiccated old bunny?”

“My Da’ll be home soon enough,” she spouted defiantly.

“Tha’s a nice voice you’ve got.  Very pretty.  I think your vocal cords shall be very tasty.”

“Well, you’re just a big bully.  If you’re so tough, whyn’t you come up here, then?”

So she had finally shut The Thing up.  She grinned over her little victory.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t quite work like that, little pet.  No, you have to come down here.  And you will.  Soon enough.  Along with your Da and your Mum and everybody else.”

She hung her head, trying desperately not to let a mournful tear strike her mattress.  To distract herself, she turned and looked out of the window.  Big Ben seemed to be wearing the moon as a halo.  She had not learned Roman numerals and she still struggled with reading an analog clock, but after a moment’s counting she saw that it was three…something.  Sometime after three in the morning.  Her father would be home from his shift any moment now.

“Why not call out to your Mum?” The Thing whispered in the darkness, “I’ll bet she’d be delicious.  I mean…a big help to you.”

The girl couldn’t tell whether the monster was teasing or not, but the sounds of her Mum’s piggish snoring from the next room betrayed that she had spent another night deep in her bottles.  The girl might call and call for hours but never wake her mother.

She rubbed her forearms.  Without the blanket she was getting cold, but she feared being sucked down into the writhing darkness underneath the bed if The Thing decided to start tugging on the sheets again.

“Why don’t you just be quiet?”

A wave of laughter from beneath the bed splashed the girl’s face like cold water.

“Oh, Mum!” The Thing called out, “Mummykins!  Mother dearest!”

With each word The Thing’s slimy, spectral voice grew louder and louder.

“Quiet!  Quiet!” the girl cried, her heart now beating solidly in her throat.

“It doesn’t matter!  She can’t hear!  She’s soused.  It’s just you and me, my darling.  Now come down here and cuddle.”

At that moment the telltale noise of the door of the flat opening filled the air and a wave of relief washed over her.

“Da!  Da!”

She dared a peek over the side of the bed.

“Not so eager to yell now, are you?”

The Thing held its peace.

“Da!  Da!”

“Oi, what is it?” her father’s voice replied from the foyer.

“Come quick, Da!”

She leaned far out over the side of the bed.  The writhing tentacles of darkness that seemed to slither out from under the bed, forever on the periphery of her vision, had disappeared.  And from the monster, not a peep.

Her father appeared at her doorway, a silhouette in the moonlight.  He flipped the switch and light filled her room, making her blink in surprise.  Finally illuminated, she could see his kind face, smiling eyes, and cracked lips.

“What’s all the racket then, little bit?”

All at once she felt foolish.

“There’s a…there’s something under the bed.”

His right eyebrow shot up, nearly rocketing through the roof.

“What kind of a something?  A shoe?  A ball?”

“No, Da.  A…a monster.”

He smiled deftly, his toothy grin suddenly overtaking the rest of his face.

“Oh, is that all?  Let me run out and get me sawed-off then.”

He turned to leave.

“No, Da!  Da!  Don’t go!  There’s really something under there!”

Her father nodded and went to his knees before her bed, as though he were praying, the same way she did every night.

“Let’s see what’s under here.”

Her father lifted the dangling blanket and stuck his head under the bed.

“Ohhh, I don’t see anything,” her father’s muffled voice reported back, “No, wait.  What’s this?”

Suddenly a sound like a whirring blender filled the room.  She stared down at her father’s kneeling form.  His leg began to twitch.

“Da?”

In an instant his twitching leg turned into a kicking leg, like a grasshopper’s.  Then his whole body began to writhe and shake.  The whirring grew louder and louder and then in the space of a split-second his entire body was sucked under the bed, only his screams and the strange buzz of the devouring monster filling the air.  A plume of blood exploded out from under the bed an instant later, spraying the floor, her Sunday shoes, and the wall.

The girl began to scream.  She began to scream loudly, not caring what the neighbors would think.  Not caring what her Mum would think, if it broke through her drunken torpor at all.  She screamed and screamed for all she was worth at the horrible, bloody demise of her father.

“Enough of that.”

The voice caught her off guard.  It didn’t belong to the monster.  It was far too refined.  And somehow it sounded…smaller.

She glanced down at Captain Bundrick, the stuffed rabbit.  The captain was standing of his own volition and staring at her.  His button eyes didn’t blink, but otherwise he seemed fully alive.

“Cap’n…how are you…?”

“Never mind,” the stuffed rabbit said, “Perhaps you’ve gone mad.  But that’s not what’s important now.  What’s important is that The Thing Under the Bed doesn’t escape.”

“Don’t listen to him,” the monster intoned, “He’s clearly a delusion.”

“If you toss me through the doorway,” Bundrick continued, pointing, “I know where your father keeps the gasoline and matches.  You and your mother won’t survive.  But most of the people in this building will have time to escape.  And more importantly that thing will burn up, too.”

“I’ll make you a counter-proposal,” The Thing said, “If you come down here of your own choice, I’ll leave your Mum alone.”

“There’s no good decision,” Bundrick said, “But there is one correct decision.”

She grabbed the stuffed rabbit and tossed him with all her might through the doorway.  A moment later, the smell of gasoline filled the air.

The next day, the Evening Standard reported a wholly different explanation for the fire.

 

 

THE END

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

To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Ladyaslan

Gothix

by Ladyaslan

“It was only a tree struck by lightning”, she said. The shadows seemed to come after us as they grew from the walls and crawled to the ceiling…watching us, like moonlight over a silent loch, we heard only a low moan from the wind, like the moan of a veiled Italian gypsy casting a magic charm against a perverse icy cold apparition.

We spoke of science and things of the ordinary at first and then the storm became worse. “Lightening is the fundamental energy of the universe”, Jacques spoke of it naked on the top of the castle in the rainfall. The winded rain made my face sodden and my white chiffon dress translucent.

A slow and soundless undead monster came alive that night and it came closer to us, as we all made out in the parlor. The moaning wind consumed us; which is why we started our erotic orgy that dark wet night. We shut the windows tight and chanted protection spells to be freed from its horrible cursed spell in-between our free love sessions. The ghastly specter moved towards us and we were frozen in fear…maggots and leaches were everywhere; all over the apples and cherries and maggots were swimming in the Absinthe, as the ghost moved away from us, I was unable to move or shut my eyes, I felt moved in ways I should not have. Jacques was enthralled with the visions and dreams, he spoke erratically and passionately of them. The others in the room were consumed with empting the bottles of Opium and Absinthe.

The Opium and Absinthe had kicked in and I was ready for a cold bath. I needed to be set straight once again…the hallucinations were strange and unbarring at times. The madness was that; the specter, it had two bloody pricks and they had eyes…the ghost had gone, but the imagined remained.

Wolfs howling in the distance echoed with the wind and danced in our ears for what seemed like a thousand and one years. I stood atop the loft and watched the madness below, like a hatter at his own card game. “Sleep” I was told by a haunting voice, but sleep I could not, for I kept imaging a wee imp on my chest with his mutilated hands upon my neck and he seemed to play hide -n-seek with the lightening crashes in the darkest shadows of the room.

“Lenore, can you feel it?” she asked me, as I lay right next to Amelia, Lord Blanca’s mistress and my half-sister. In her opium-induced coma, she grabbed my hand and placed it upon her stomach. Quickly I pulled away and had a vision of being buried alive and then my next vision was of love and irresistible beauty as blood dripped ever so slowly down my neck and in-between my breasts.

As the Lord sauntered into the other room he gazed down upon the wooden floor and saw a horse’s head, decapitated and bloodied then it turned into the screams of smothered children and then it turned into the head of his mistress. His past was coming to him…making him fear, fear. Absinthe had a way of doing that to a man’s soul.

I had lain in bed recovering from the opium-induced evening when I could feel his lips upon mine as he pulled my panties aside. Deeper he forced his tongue inside of me and the louder I moaned, inside deeper and deeper. Then he kissed me on the mouth and threw my hands up over my head and held me down as he penetrated me repeatedly. I never wanted Jacques to stop.

The room smelled of erotic pleasure and the Gods & Goddesses looked down upon us eager and lustful for more; as for Jacques and me, we were pleased for more. Vampires, ghosts, demons, and whatnot where are all around us watching and moaning for another round of foreplay. What had our distorted minds created that evening in the dark castle?

No one could escape from this English madhouse and the eerie laughter roamed the halls like a vacant breeze with no home. We could smell the damp evil that decided to plague us that dreadful stormy night. We were trapped like a dream in human form…what was left to see or do?

We all regrouped in the conservatory still light headed and slightly aroused, raise we heard a voice come through the wall and say: “Come to me and I will show you your futures…come look in my eyes.” As we all peered into its eyes, it said, “No, look into my eyes…” and as we all looked on it opened its trousers and there were two eyes staring back at us! “Don’t laugh at me” is all it repeated. However, since we switched to the Green Absinthe, that was all we could do, was laugh and run amuck through the Lord’s ancient castle.

The rain let up and the moon went to sleep. We all felt as if we were road hard and put away wet. “No ghosts can get you in the day-light,” Jacques said to me as we all cleaned up and readied ourselves for our homeward bound journey across the loch in our decedent little row boat. We realized we provoked something in our drugged out evening of debauchery.

Across the lawn we heard a thunderous bellow, the barn door swooped open and a decayed mass of blood and bones road away on a horse of fire…we must rid ourselves of our fear…we must rid ourselves of our fear…”the creature chanted those hallow words into the innocent dawn of morning. It just kept repeating its words as it road over the dewy moors into nowhere never to be seen again.

***********

FB PROFILE PUNK JACKETBy day, Anitra DeLorenzo is a mild mannered LMT/LME, graduated from Florida College of Natural Health and holds an Associate’s Degree in Science and Natural Health and additional certifications in the medical esthetician field. By night, she transforms into Ladyaslan-the author of Victorian Days and Punk Rock Nights. Her book has been in the Virgin Top 100 Indie Books list for the last two years. Ladyaslan is a poet and short story novelist. She also is co-host to The Asylum Internet Radio Show ft. Dark Delights by Ladyaslan; it’s an underground horror / music internet radio show with a live unscripted show platform.  Ladyaslan was poet of the year in 2006 and 2007 and holds a Certificate of Accomplishment for Honors in poetic writing by Noble House out of the U.K. She is published in many compendiums including the most recent Poisoned Lullabies( 2010 ) by Kim Acrylic and In The Midnight Hour-An Anthology of Horror Poetry ( 2012 ) and Into The Night ( 2013 )-by Dark Night Publishing. Ladyaslan can be found in the Halloween 2013 edition of Fangoria magazine and Gothic Beauty magazine in regards to her books and most recently in 2014 Ladyaslan’s writings and radio show has been featured in Gorgeous Freaks Magazine out of Costa Rica and Diabolique Magazine. Ladyaslan is a huge music enthusiast and loves 70’s and 80’s Punk and Goth music, but not limited to, other genres. Ladyaslan likes long walks on the beach at midnight and watching candle flames dance in-between the realms. Ladyaslan is currently working on her second book of poetry and short stories; Lipstick and Absinthe, expected release is late-2014. Check out her Facebook Page.

 

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: ANN WILKES

Surprise!

By Ann Wilkes

 

After removing her cheesecake, Francine tapped the cheesecake button on the fridge’s touchpad. The fridge hummed softly, updating the grocery list to include the ingredients from Francine’s recipe. Being Type H, Francine liked to make cheesecake from scratch, in order to control what went into her food.

She brought the cheesecake into the living room where china dessert plates, forks, napkins and serving utensil waited on a whitelist-tagged, lace table runner on the coffee table. “Dana, I can’t believe you had to endure that,” she said to her friend as she joined her on the sofa.

“I’ll never eat there again, I can tell you. Imagine! Non-filtered ice and a sticky tabletop! Ooh, that looks delicious.” Dana’s eyes sparkled and she leaned forward to help herself. “Ouch!” She jerked in her seat, her hand moving to her pocket.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I saved Jimmy’s toy from the vacuum this morning and forgot to put it away.” Dana pulled out an action figure from her front pants’ pocket and set it on the corner of the coffee table — or tried. It bounced off and hit her right on the nose. “Ouch!”

“Oh, no,” said Francine. “Are you ok? Let me have a look. Oh, dear.”

“I forgot about your repeller mat,” she said as if through a tunnel. “You should put a warning sticker on it.” Her nose began to swell. After putting the toy safely on the table runner, she sat back, tilting her head up to stop the throbbing. Francine ran for ice.

#

After seeing Dana off, Francine admitted to herself that she found the unexpected event exhilarating. When was the last time I was surprised by anything? she wondered. She questioned–not for the first time–her insulated Type H existence. Since high school, she had only associated with her personality type. Henry and she only frequented Type H places of business and only attended Type H parties. In high school, before the segregation, Francine thought, parties were fun, because people were flawed, varied and funny.

The next day, Francine called Stepford Industries to schedule a tune-up of all her SI Neat and Clean Devices. Repelling was one thing. Hurling heavy objects back at people would not do. The company assured her a Type H repairman would be there by the end of the day.

The repairwoman came three hours later, while Francine was gardening. Checking the woman’s ID on the security screen on the back patio, she read “Char Blake”. The letter in the lower left corner was a C! Francine opened her mouth to tell her to leave and send a Type H as agreed, but she realized what this was: a surprise! Instead, she said, “I’m gardening just now. You know where everything is.” She buzzed her in from the garden.

A thrill shot through Francine at the prospect of having a Type C in her home. What would Dana say? Or Henry? It was like a dirty secret. Type Cs didn’t worry about cleanliness, order or germs. They dreamed big, but finish things. They also procrastinated and eschewed promptness.

#

Char started with the repeller mat. Next, she serviced the laundrybot, the vacuumbot and the spillbot. Once she located it behind a dresser upstairs, she set to work on the bug-eating lizardbot. She would finish in the kitchen with the fridge and smartstove.

As Char bent over the bot’s open housing her nose dripped on the circuit board. She was burning up. She rubbed her runny nose and stood to adjust the thermostat leaving the lizard bot’s green tummy opened, circuits exposed. “Went and caught Clyde’s virus after all,” she muttered to herself. She went downstairs in search of something cold. She couldn’t believe the neatness of the fridge. Did she alphabetize, too, or just sort by food group? She had thought there were too many fussy-bots for a Type C house.

Char heard Francine cross the threshold to the kitchen right before she sneezed into the fridge.

Char shut the door and wavered. She looked at Francine. “Type H?”

Francine nodded, her eyes wide.

Cramps gripped her stomach and she vomited onto the counter, the front of the cupboards and the floor. Now she felt chilled. When she realized the Type H was going to be more concerned about infection than helping, she moaned.

“Call . . . ” she gasped.

#

Francine couldn’t move her feet. Where was the spillbot? The vidphone rested on the vomit-splattered counter.

The tech moaned again.

Francine willed her feet to move. She could use the vidphone in the den. As she strode by the kitchen, her blouse up over her face to keep from smelling the vomit, the lizardbot launched at her from the stairs. She shrieked and fought it off as it clung to her with its powerful, suction-cupped feet. She stumbled backwards into the kitchen as it darted its tongue out and licked her hair, pulling it out of her head. I must have gotten a bug in it from the garden.

She beat on the bot’s back trying to get to let go. Then she slipped on the vomit. Coming down with a thud, her head landed on the tech’s stomach. This triggered more vomit – right into Francine’s face. She wanted to scream, but dared not open her mouth. Then she passed out.

#

When Francine’s husband came home two hours later, he found his wife and a strange woman in coveralls on the kitchen floor. Francine’s mouth gaped open. Her red face looked like it’d been scrubbed raw. Her eyes didn’t focus. She didn’t move. Henry smelled spillbot cleaner. He stole himself to touch his wife’s ankle, not daring to come closer. She was stone cold.

The other woman whimpered, her eyes fluttering open.

In a panic, Henry ran out of his house for help. And then he just kept running. And running. And running. He couldn’t take surprises either.

******

As Ann Wilkes, Ann writes science fiction and fantasy. Her short stories read like Twilight Zone episodes – often tragic, funny or both. Her latest sales have been to Every Day Fiction and a Fantastic Stories anthology edited by Warren Lapine. Under her legal name, Ann Hutchinson, Ann writes memoir, fiction and lyrics. She is also a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor. She is currently co-editing an anthology to benefit the local YWCA as a labor of love. Ann loves dancing with her husband, Kevin, with whom she teaches private lessons. Read more at annwilkes.com, clevercopy.net, scifiodd.com and socodancebeat.com

3 days left to enter! Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Tim Reynolds

*Temper Temper “*

by Timothy Reynolds

Leon slammed the spade’s blade into the dirt cellar floor. “Hack my Facebook account will she? Bitch! No wonder Dad ran off with the babysitter-slash-cheerleader when I was ten.”

The pile of dirt grew.  A car door banged shut. He dug faster, mumbling. “I’ll kill her, bury her, hack ‘her’ Facebook account, and make it look like she’s travelling.” The shovel hit something hard.

“What the hell?” He brushed off dirt. In the dim light it looked like two skulls and a pompom.

“Whatcha doing, Honey?”
Leon spun at the sound of his mother’s voice, but not fast enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story was a winner of the Kobo Writing Life Jeffery Archer Short Story Challenge in early 2013. All rights belong to the author.

——————————-

“Tim Reynolds’ published stories range from lighthearted urban fantasy to turn-on-the-damned-lights-now horror, and include the story of a bus driver who kills all his passengers (in ‘Horrible Disasters’ from HorrorAddicts.net) and a dark, depressing view of the near future of reality TV and child-rearing. He can be found online at www.tgmreynolds.com.”

REMINDER! 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: James Hoch

Packin’

by

James S. Hoch

 

Revenge, that’s all I want.  Revenge.  I know how to do it.  I’ll go to whatever ends to have it, and I will take whatever means to accomplish it, she thought to herself as the hatred grew inside her.   I have somethin’ for you that will make you hurt real bad.  I’m comin’ for you and I’m packin’!

She plotted her revenge as carefully as any five star general going into battle.  Dressed all in black as if she were ready for secret military covert night ops, she gave one last look at her dead children, and her destroyed home.  What monster can do this despicable thing?

It was easy to pick up the trail of the man who destroyed her life.  I can smell your foul odor; I see your every move.  For days, she made her way closer to the monster.  Just when she thought she had him, he moved on.  At times, her frustration grew to a maddening point.  She would lash out at just about anything that crossed her path – just scaring them – never using her lethal weapon.

Finally, her relentless pursuit and patience paid off.  She found the beast that was responsible for her misery.  It was dark.  Only the occasional flash of a passing motorist’s headlights illuminated the room.  Slowly, she inched her way towards the man’s outstretched body.  She relished the moment, taking in his defenseless form.

The anger and hatred seethed to a boiling point; it was ready to erupt as though it were a violent volcano. You will feel my vengeance.  You will suffer as my children suffered.  I have you now.  After a soft caress to his cheek, she reared back and struck a deadly blow.

* * *

“Glad to help, officer,” the apartment manager said walking down the hall.  “It has been odd that I haven’t seen John in about a week.  He always says hello when I’m out picking up the paper.”

“Yes, ma’am.  His employer is concerned.  He hasn’t been to work in over a week.”

One of the curlers fell out of the manager’s hair.  The officer bent down and picked it up.  “Oh, sorry.  Thank you.”  She stood in front of the apartment door, took out a master key, and unlocked it.

“Oh, dear God what is that smell?”

The officer knew exactly what it was—a decaying body.

They walked into the bedroom.  The apartment manager screamed.  “Mother of God!”

The officer went over to the bed.  John’s head was covered in spider silk.  An enormous black widow spider sat defiantly on his forehead, perched above a festering welt on his cheek.  The spider reared up revealing the telltale red hourglass.  Vengeance is mine!

 

 —————————-

JAMES S. HOCH 

Brought up on Thriller, Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, James has kept all his dark friends chained up inside his imagination only to let them out little by little in his novels and short stories. For 38 years, he enjoyed a productive career as a music educator. Retirement gave way to a new creative outlet-writing. SynegEbooks is the publisher of his Crimson Pursuit vampire series and his supernatural post-apocalyptic thriller, HECKEL CASEY, is published by Imajin Books. His sci-fi/technothriller, TATS, is available from Amazon. Hoch’s short stories have appeared in Horror Zine, SNM Horror magazine, Pill Hill Press, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, Sanitarium, SNM Books of Blood V, Dark Eclipse, and Dark Oak Press.

website: www.jameshoch.com

4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Beauty & the Beast Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Who Will It Be?  2014 Most Wicked

2014 Theme: Beauty & the Beast

Premise: There is something both fearsome and attractive in a wild thing, be it man or beast. From creature legends told around ancient campfires, to modern tales of King Kong and crypto zoology, critters have always captured our darkest imagination. Get your Beast on.

Challenge: Create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements, plus your written story. Registration closes 4-13-14. Audio and text are due on 5-13-14.

Story Elements: Each of our Wicked Belles will be assigned a location, a blessing, a curse … and a Beast. Your story must include a lady in peril and these four elements:

Location:  Anywhere in the world is fair game. A private zoo? A Japanese Nightclub? Kindergarten Show ‘N’ Tell? You are the game. We’ll give you the board.

Blessing:  A helpful item to tame the danger in your tale. We couldn’t have you stalked by a Werewolf without at least giving you a silver locket to melt down. Use your item wisely, Wicked. Even a trivial thing can save your life.

Curse:  An untimely disability. You can’t skip through this one without feeling a bite of a fang on your ass. The Norns can be quite evil with this element.

Beast:  Beasts will be drawn from the 12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, or Pig. The Beast may be a main character in your story, or may be represented in other creative ways… a tattoo? An advertising logo? A supernatural brute? Freak of nature? You name it, as long as you include it. Any genre of horror is welcome, but this ain’t Lassie, my Wickeds. Not unless she rips out your throat!

Dates to Remember:
Contest Opens –  March 4, 2014
Registration Closes – April 13, 2014
Audio & Text Due  – May 13, 2014
Elimination Round to 5 Wickeds – May 24, 2014
Voting Begins June 13, 2014
Voting Ends July 28, 2014
2014 Winner Announced August 23, 2014

WARNING: The Norns are majorly p.m.s.ing this year. This challenge involves shotgun-quick writing & recording skills. The squeamish need not apply!

If you would like to compete, send an e-mail to: Horroraddicts@gmail.com –We’ll send you the complete set of rules and assign your story elements. Remember, the sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to write and produce your podcast.

GOOD LUCK, MY WICKED, AND MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR!

Maggie Fiske - Most Wicked 2013

Margaret Fiske, our 2013 Wicked Women Writer Winner, will contact you for further challenge details and timeline. Deadline to enter the 2014 Wicked Woman Writer Challenge is April 13, 2014.

Please note: The earlier you enter the challenge, the longer you’ll have to prepare, write, edit, and produce your contest entry before the deadline. Contest slots fill up fast!

The Sirens Call – Issue #13 – Women in Horror

Free Women in Horror Fiction!

Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce the release of the 13th issue of The Sirens Call celebrating women in horror and Women in Horror Recognition Month!

Packed full with fiction, poetry and photography by Dark Angel Photography, the 168 page issue also features an interview with Angie Gallow, author of The Coven. If you’re interested in giving it a read and supporting all of the wonderfully talented women who contributed their work, you can download it for FREE!

The Sirens Call – Issue #13 – Women in Horror (Second Annual Edition)

2014_February_ezine_cover_V5

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop – CLOSES TODAY!

CLOSES TODAY!

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline: 
December 31st, 2013, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 9 in 2014.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. If you are a minor, you will be entered in the junior league workshop. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2013, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, must include the first chapter.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either PDF or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop – Closes in 2 Days!

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
Deadline: 
December 31st, 2013, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a HorrorAddicts.net show for Season 9 in 2014.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. If you are a minor, you will be entered in the junior league workshop. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to horroraddicts@gmail.com no later than December 31st, 2013, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, must include the first chapter.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either PDF or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:  horroraddicts@gmail.com.

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:  horroraddicts@gmail.com

HorrorAddicts.net Flashback – Holiday Horror

Our very first episode with holiday horror was Michele Roger’s Santa Claws, way back on episode #13. That episode has been locked in the vault ever since we switched to Libsyn… I will try to dig that out and re-post, but for now, there are several other holiday related shows I am going to post here in case you need some HorrorAddicts.net Holiday fun.

#52 Jack Mangan, Holiday Horror Theme

“Jack Mangan’s Santa Thing is a great read/listen for horror Xmas tales.” ~ Dan Shaurette

#53 Cal Miller, Holiday Horror Theme

“Cal Miller’s Scary Santa is just the thing to make you rethink the big red guy.” ~ Emerian Rich

WWW Challenge Special – Holiday Horror Challenge

 “It never ceases to amaze me how great a job these women do with holiday horror!” ~Rhonda R. Carpenter