The Scarlett Dahlia by Jesse Orr — The Happy Couple

by Jesse Orr

The Happy Couple

The squeal of tires turned heads in the parlor. Carly’s sister Marcie got to her feet, leaving her betrothed, Jack, sitting with a quizzical look on his face.

“It’s Carly and Don,” she said, her voice accusing. “Why is he driving so fast?”

“How should I know?” asked Jack, his tone rising. “But he’s going to leave a skid mark on Dad’s new driveway, the dumb shit!” The two stormed out, leaving Jack’s elders sipping their juleps and contemplating how hot-headed young people were these days and whether or not Marcie was worthy of their son.

Out on the newly black-topped driveway, Don had turned off the car and was sitting quite still, staring into space. Carly looked at him and shook his arm. Don blinked.

“Huh?”

“We’re here,” she said. Don looked around.

“So we are,” he agreed and opened the door. Before getting out, he paused and looked at her.

“We imagined that, right, honey?”

She looked at him, was about to speak, stopped. Shrugged her shoulders.

“Hey, asshole!”

Don’s head struck the top of the car as his body was jerked backward by an unseen force. Carly screamed and clawed the door open. She saw that Jack had pulled Don out of the car and was shouting at him over a fistful of Don’s shirt.

“…cost him ten grand and you better be able to come up with that if this doesn’t come out, because–”

“Oh shut the fuck up, Jack you asshole!” Carly screamed.

“All of you shut the fuck up!” Marcie yelled and the fight ground to a halt. She looked at Jack. “Will you knock it off, you can’t even see there was ever a car here. Let go of him.” Jack released Don’s shirt and stepped back, glowering.

“Marcie!” Carly cried and the fear was back in her eyes. “We were at the Scarlett Dahlia, and–”

Her sister’s eyes lit up. “Yeah, how was it?”

“We, we didn’t get a chance…” Carly looked at Don for help but he was engaged in the business of smoothing his shirt and avoiding Jack’s baleful glare. “There were these weird messages coming to our phones, and… we…” She trailed off as Marcie’s stare grew cold.

“Weird, how were they weird?” Jack’s voice came.

“They said stuff like get out, fuck you, that kind of thing, and they came from really weird numbers–”

“There was no service,” Don said, still pretending Jack didn’t exist. “There was no service and we kept getting texts faster than I’ve ever seen.”

“Could I see these texts?” Marcie asked, her voice that of someone humoring a very dumb child.

“We—I–” Carly stuttered.

“We both dropped our phones,” muttered Don, finally smoothing his shirt to his satisfaction.

“Ooh, did the big scary text messages freak you out, Donny-wonny?” Jack said and laughed. Don said nothing.

“Shut up, Jack,” Marcie snapped. “We only have a few weeks until the wedding and we have to find a place. Scarlett Dahlia Manor is one of the nicest mansions in the county and if none of you are capable of looking it over, I’ll just do it myself.” She held out her hand to Don. He dropped the key into her hand like he was handling a rodent.

Throwing the door open, Marcie pulled out the detritus Carly and Don had accumulated in their travels and dropped it on the driveway. She tossed Carly her purse and got in, slammed the door and looked at Jack. “Let’s go.”

“Do I need to go? I was going to–”

“Fine,” Marcie said, and though the car was rolling, the tone of her voice had Jack scuttling up to the car door in no time. Don grinned.

Marcie glanced in the rearview mirror at the receding figures and rolled her eyes.

“What a bunch of babies, huh,” Jack said, and guffawed. “Evil text messages.”

Marcie didn’t answer as she pulled a tiny vial of white powder from her bra. Jack’s eyes widened as she put it to her nostril and sniffed hard..

“Heyy, babe, what’s that?” Jack’s tone would have charmed baby birds from their nests. Marcie repeated the performance on the other nostril “Can I have some?”

She shot him a dark look. “I thought you didn’t want to come.”

His smile faltered. “Well…”

Marcie laughed and tossed him the bullet. “It’s not the best blow but it’ll do. Don’t hog all of it.”

Jack complied, and soon they were both laughing at the top of their lungs at Carly and Don as they flew down the sleepy street at near freeway speeds.

Screeching around the corner to the manor’s driveway, Marcie floored it, racing down the winding road in spite of Jack’s increasing protests. Rounding the final corner, she slammed on the brakes in the Manor’s gravel drive, skidding to a halt.

“Are you crazy?” Jack gasped, rubbing his nose. “You could have–”

“Yeah, yeah,” Marcie muttered, pulling the vial from his shaking hands and helping herself to more. “We’re fine, aren’t we?” She tucked the bullet into her bra.

“Hey, give it back,” Jack whined. Marcie ignored him and got out, stretching and speed-walking toward the entrance. She looked at the trees leaning over them, limbs reaching like fingers. She shuddered. Jack was following her babbling something about what was in her bra and she wished he would just shut up.

Mounting the stairs, she glimpsed a black and white room through the glass of the large doors before a hand fell on her shoulder. Her nerves tuned several octaves higher than normal, nearly snapped.

“It’s just me,” Jack said, beads of sweat dripping down his face. “Can I have…”

“Take it!” she shrieked, pulling the vial from her bra and throwing it at him. “Will you shut up now?”

“Don’t be such a bitch,” he pouted, slick fingers fumbling with the smooth glass. She returned to ignoring him and turned back to the doors. The black and white room on the other side intrigued her. She pulled at the door. It did not move.

“Of course they’re not going to leave it open,” Jack said, pushing past her to try the door for himself nevertheless. White powder crusted one nostril. Resisting the urge to kick him, Marcie left him trying the door and headed back down the stairs and around the house, following the lawn. She couldn’t get over how green it was.

Rounding the corner, she stopped. The carpet of grass stretched for what seemed like forever before sloping down and disappearing. The weeping willow trees shaded the backyard from the worst of the Louisiana sun without making it seem gloomy. Marcie smiled, her jaw tight. This was where she would marry Jack.

The man in question, meanwhile, had just finished ingesting more cocaine and turned to see Marcie had vanished. Hurrying down the stairs with an oath, he took a left around the house, grinding his teeth as he set off in opposite direction she had taken.

As he rounded the corner of the manor, a small door caught his eye. It was set back into the wall of the mansion, and if his eyes had not been nearly popping out of his head he would have missed seeing it. As it was, he pulled at the door and when it opened without a sound, he entered without a second thought. As he did so, Marcie rounded the opposite corner of the mansion and beheld the acres of plush green splendor.

Jack found himself in a small dim room, not much larger than his shoe closet back home. Squinting, he groped his way through the twilight before his hand fell on a doorknob. Turning it, his tense jaw dropped at the white-tiled ballroom before him. The pillars went so far up they seemed out of sight in the shadows lurking in the corners. The opulent staircase was lit by a chandelier on the first landing, and it drew first Jack’s eye, then his body moved to follow.

At the sound of his footfalls on the cold tile, a door at the end of the dark hallway shifted, then opened a crack. What seemed to be an eye appeared, then faded into nothing. The door opened further, and something left the room.

Jack moved up the staircase in a dream, his eyes fixed on the chandelier, cocaine was forgotten. He had never seen such a perfect explosion of light, sparkles reflecting from a million tiny crystals, suspended by a chain so fine he could hardly see it. It was a thing of such exquisite beauty, an unconscious tear formed in the corner of an eye.

Something descended the familiar stairs with speedy elegance, coming to stop behind Jack as he likewise stopped beneath the chandelier, as close as he was able to get. He could not stop staring. What a wondrous-

“Excuse me,” came a light, cultured female voice from right behind him.

Jack let out an involuntary scream and spun, raising both fists. He had the briefest glimpse of a gorgeous Southern belle with red hair smiling at him with shark’s eyes. Then Jack, as the world knew him, ceased to exist forever.

The Scarlett Dahlia : Fodder by Jesse Orr

The Scarlett Dahlia : Fodder by Jesse Orr

The light-skinned slaves stoked the fires and replenished the torches in the Manor as the darker-skinned slaves quaked in their pens. Mother shushed fretful babes and the fathers dug nervously in their meager bags for a few scraps of tobacco. Always, these nights had ended in crazed screaming emanating from the Manor, and nightmares for the fortunate.

Ruth remembered the night they had come for her youngest sister, not yet three, and had wrenched her, screaming, from her mother’s arms. Their mother, mute, curling in upon herself and dying of grief two days later. She had been alone ever since, spared in miracle after miracle as her companions were picked off from around her like flies. Every day, food made it to her, and she survived. At night, when she had no one but the screaming for company, she wondered why she tried.

Her heart sank as she saw one of the white slavers make eye contact, and his thin lips turned upward in a grin. He gestured, and two more sauntered over and peered in the pen at Ruth. She stared back, unsure what would be best.

“Yeah,” said the fattest, oldest one, and turned, heading back toward the Big House. The second nodded and watched as the first slavers started toward Ruth, reaching a hand behind him to where Ruth knew all slavers kept a length of hardwood, or pipe, if they were cruel. This was Hans who threatened her now, and Ruth knew it would likely be pipe stuffed with lead.

Hans opened the door to the pen and smiled at her. She gave him a fraction of a smile and slipped out through the opening he had made, hearing it lock swiftly behind her. She turned to look at him, catching his eyes traveling up her body as she did.

“Missus Dahlia wants to see you,” Hans said, his eyes stopping just short of her collarbone and lingering there. “I think you know the way.”

“Yeah,” Ruth said, and turned in that direction. Next thing she knew she was on the ground and the back of her head was screaming from where Hans had struck her.

YES SIR,” screamed Hans, leaning down, his mouth in her ear. “Yes sir or I’ll break your fucking head open you filthy bitch!”

“Yessir!” cried Ruth, her will broken as she cowered on the ground in the fetal position, her mind desperately seeking peace.

“Get the fuck up there,” Hans bellowed, “and don’t let me catch you looking back.”

Sobbing, Ruth scrambled to her feet and sped off for the Big House, hating Hans, and herself more.

The slaves were kept in pens below the Big House, separated by a narrow winding path going up a hill and on a rotten bridge over a creek. In the summer, stinging nettles grabbed at those traversing the trail, and welts broke out. Ruth had learned to pull up her outer skirt and shield her face and arms with it, but a stray leaf managed to score her on the arm as she pushed her way through. She grit her teeth and plowed on, emerging at the creek. A lantern hung from a pole at the start of the bridge, casting an eerie glow on the moving water.

Taking the lantern down, Ruth moved with care out onto the bridge, moving with careful but steady footsteps. In the daylight, the bridge was simple to navigate, each gap visible. At night, with the swinging lantern and gloomy moonlight, it was easy to trip and break something. It had happened, and the poor woman had been left to drag herself back to the slave pens with a broken arm and a leg. As Ruth stepped from the last slat to the ground, she heard it crack beneath her, and groaned. On her way back, she’d have to remember that one.

The manor stood before her, facing away from her toward the opulent driveway. Its sprawling lawns curved around its sides and met in the back, extending for several acres to the rear where the land dropped away and led to the creek, and the path to the slave quarters. As Ruth came to the manicured grass, she removed her shoes and left them where the path ended and the grass began. The last time she had forgotten to remove her shoes before walking on the grass, Missus Dahlia had forced her to stand on hot coals for what seemed like forever. It was this memory and the glee which had been in Dahlia’s eyes that now beat in Ruth’s mind as she hurried across the plush grass and to the servant’s entrance. She knocked, using the special knock all the slaves used, and after a second, the door opened to her.

A pair of dark hooded eyes looked at her for a moment, then slid away to the right. The door opened wider and the owner of the eyes revealed herself to be a very light-skinned girl, no more than twenty. Ruth thought her name was Mary.

“Missus waitin’ fo’ ya,” maybe-Mary said to Ruth’s feet, not meeting her eyes. “Troo’ dat do’, up de stairs.” She waved at another small servant’s door at the other side of the small room.

“What’s she want?” asked Ruth, a noticeable tremor in her voice. She was not soothed by the little noncommittal shrug from maybe-Mary, nor her unwillingness to meet Ruth’s eyes.

Opening the door, Ruth stifled a gasp at the enormous white-tiled room before her. The ceilings stretched almost out of sight and a huge staircase flanked by pillars led up to the second floor. Enormous potted plants stood in corners. Ruth’s bare foot on the tile made a sound as loud as a clicking tongue.

A hand fell on her shoulder and she gave a little cry. The hand tightened and spun her around. It was maybe-Mary, staring fiercely at her.

“You need t’be still, girl,” MM said in a hushed whisper. “they don’ like noise.” She held up two little crumpled balls. “Put dese booties on ya feet or you muck up the flo’.”

Ruth took them and slid her feet into them, trying to do it without making a noise. “Thank–” she started, when the door shut with a snap. Maybe-Mary had vanished back into her little room. Ruth heard a click as the door was locked, and her disquiet grew. The enormous room behind her seemed to wait as she turned back to it and crossed to the staircase. With every instinct in her body screaming for her to turn and run, she began to mount the stairs.

At the top, she stopped, confused. She had not received any further instructions. To her left were several doors that overlooked a balcony-like landing beneath the flight of stairs leading to the third floor. To her right was a longer hallway that curved around the wall and out of sight. She was about to start knocking at the doors she could see when a light-skinned man in an immaculate white suite came around the corner and beckoned to her.

“Let’s go, Miz Dahlia is waiting,” he said, his voice high pitched and gravelly. He smiled at her, but it was not a smile she enjoyed. She did not like walking past him and turning her back to him as they walked down the darkening hallway to a door at the far end. As they walked, Ruth noticed the smell of flowers, faint at first, growing stronger the farther they walked. Stopping at the door, Ruth could tell it was the source of the flowers, and dreaded entering that concentrated stench.

The light-skinned man slipped past her and through the door. Ruth heard voices but could not make out words. Her sense of foreboding continued to increase and she had almost convinced herself to take her chances running away when the light-skinned man reappeared in the doorway.

“Miss Dahlia is ready for you,” he said in a courtly manner, opening the door for her and bowing.

Trembling all over, Ruth slipped past him and found herself in a room with an enormous fireplace taking an entire corner. A large black armchair sat before it glowing in the firelight. The opposite wall was taken up by a wardrobe carved from some sort of black wood, reminding Ruth of a church gate. The rest of the room was empty save for the vanity.

Spanning from floor to ceiling, the vanity’s mirror was flanked by dozens of smaller mirrors set on pivots. A vast array of implements were laid out neatly upon its black wood surface. Ruth could see the shine of silver in several of the mirrors. The rest were blocked from view by Scarlett Dahlia.

Her face was almost pure white, but for two spots of color at her cheeks and her bright red lips. Her eyes were a bright pale blue, framed by dark red which tumbled down her back. She was sitting before her vanity, both hands clasped in front of her, resting on her flowing black gown. A pendant with a shimmering red stone hung from her neck by a silver chain. Ruth’s eyes continued to be drawn to it as she struggled to speak. Finally she managed.

“M-missus?”

“Sit down,” Scarlett said. Her voice was light and devoid of any expression. Her eyelid twitched. “Charles. Fetch water for her.”

Ruth sank to her knees on the floor before Scarlett, they nearly buckling beneath her at the last moment. She could not take her eyes from the woman, who stared back, unblinking. Behind her, she heard the light-skinned man making sounds with liquid.

“Missus, what can I do fo’ you?” Ruth could not help asking. Her voice only shook a little and she forced herself to look the pale woman in the eyes.

“That is none of your concern,” the red lips replied. She lifted a glass of wine to them and Ruth’s heart stopped

that looks like blood for a moment”

don’t be ridiculous get hold of yourself Ruth” then restarted.

“You are here, that is sufficient to the moment.” Scarlett’s eyes flicked to the side, where Charles was offering Ruth a clear liquid in a crystal goblet. “Drink.”

The thought of swallowing anything made Ruth feel sick, but she knew better than to refuse the Dahlia. She raised the goblet to her mouth, steeling herself for the worst. But it was water, cool and sweet. Shooting a glance at Scarlett, Ruth was heartened to see those red lips curling up at the corners. Ruth finished the goblet, and set it on the floor before her.

“That was good, thank you missus,” Ruth said, but Scarlett was ignoring her. Her attention was directed at Charles. Ruth attempted to do the same, but she could not focus her eyes. His words washed over her like a tide. Some words had meaning; most did not.

“It don’ take long, Joseph say. T’ree minutes, maybe five,” Charles explained. “Den she too dopey to do mo’ than sit dere.” He turned and waved a hand before Ruth’s eyes. Her eyes did not follow it. “See, it be quick. ‘ventual she come out of it but it be hours. Plenny ‘o time for you, Miz Dahlia.”

Standing, Scarlett raised her wine glass to the fire and toasted it. “Let this one taste better than the last.” She drank, tilting her head back and training every thick viscous drop before hurtling the glass into the fireplace. Her eyes were wide and her breath was heavy. Charles felt the familiar excitement stealing over him as he tried not to look at Ruth, now rigid on the floor, her eyes wide open and vacant, but alive. If she was lucky, she would never come out of it. If she was not, she would.

Scarlett Dahlia: Salutations by Jesse Orr

Salutations

Hot and oppressive, the sun beat down like a blanket, heating the humid air to a thickness that was almost palpable. Through the haze of heat hanging over the patched blacktop, a small red car materialized. It drew nearer, becoming clearer that it was a hybrid sedan, Louisiana plates framed by a plastic barbed-wire frame. The car whispered to a halt in the middle of the road, and the passenger window rolled halfway down. A face peered out, tanned to the point of sunburn, and framed by curly blond hair.

“Just a few miles down this road now,” Carly said, looking down her burnt nose at her iPhone as a ding heralded another text message. “You can’t miss it.”

“Can’t I?” muttered Don. He tweaked the wheel and the sedan turned onto the road without a sound. A clanging resounded in the car, and Don grabbed his phone from his breast pocket. He glanced at it, and stuffed it back into his pocket.

“I wish you’d change that text message sound,” Carly said. “It always makes me jump.”

“Well, we can’t have that can we, darling.” Don’s voice sounded resigned and more than a little weary.

“Don’t start,” snapped Carly. She swiped a few spots on her phone and held it to her ear. After a moment, she spoke in a different tone. “Hi, mommy? We’re almost to the plantation, we’re going to look around and—”

She broke off, frowning as her eyes squinted and she held a finger to the ear opposite the phone, raising her voice as though to be heard over a great wind. “Mom? I can’t—you’re breaking up—can you hear me? Hello?”

Taking the phone from her ear, she beheld the No Service notification with mounting irritation. It fucking figured. This entire day had turned into one headache after another, running from place to place scouting a site for her sister’s stupid wedding. Don had been willing to help, but as they sped around the county, his enthusiasm had waned and been replaced by a surliness which made her wonder what she saw in him anyway. Neither of them had eaten yet, and she just wanted to look at this last possibility and go find the nearest burger joint.

“No service,” she said, tossing her phone into the cupholder and folding her arms across her chest. “It’s not like we’re in the middle of nowhere…”

“I’ll file a complaint with the phone company,” Don said, his voice dripping sarcasm. “Just as soon as we’re done with this delightful tour.”

“Oh shut up,” Carly sighed. “You think this is what I wanted to be doing on my Saturday? My stupid sister is just going to divorce this guy too and this is a day of watching TV and eating Chinese food that you and I are never going to get back.”

“I hope it’s a messy divorce and costs her every penny,” Don said with real malice. “I hope–”

“Oh!” Carly gasped as they rounded a corner and beheld Scarlett Dahlia Manor.

A great white building was framed by weeping willows, green hanging arms framing the pillars which supported the mansion’s second and third story. Opulent staircases descended from the left and right of the enormous main door to the immaculate grass of the enormous sloping lawn.

In the early seventeenth century, this had once been one of the larger plantations in the state, growing cotton and butchering livestock. The family had owned dozens of slaves, and the unsavory reputation it had accrued had not placed it high on the list of potential wedding sites for Carly’s sister. But it was the last one on the list she and Don had agreed to scout, and she was just a few photos away from being on her way to a cheeseburger.

“Not bad,” Don said, pulling to a halt at the base of one of its pillars. They got out, unfolding themselves from the car and stretching the way one does after a long journey.

Carly looked around them at the drooping boughs of the weeping willow. It’s so green, she thought to herself, it’s suffocating – and then she realized it was the silence. The willow branches hung low and heavy around them, blocking their view of the house. Carly looked up into the tree and saw what was missing.

“There are no birds. It’s so quiet in here,” she said, her own voice hushed to match. “The air almost feels dead.”

“It feels hot,” Don said and gestured. “Come on, come on, let’s get it over with.”

Quelling the rising desire to kick Don in the shin, Carly retrieved her phone from the dashboard and raised it to eye level. Before she could open the camera, the phone vibrated in her hand and the ding of a text message sounded in the dead silence.

“I thought you said there was no service,” Don said, his voice accusing.

“There isn’t,” Carly shot back. “There’s no… no…”

“No WHAT?”

“What the fuck?” Carly said, enraged. “Look at this text!”

She held her phone out to Don.

From: Éx1Ã0¿¦Ñþ

leeve now

slut

“What the fuck?” Carly reiterated, grabbing her phone back from Don and looking at it again as though to confirm the insult. “Is somebody here?” She looked toward the mansion, back at Don, then around them in a circle.

“It doesn’t look like it,” Don said. “I’ve never seen a number like that anyway.”

Carly selected the option to call the sender and was treated to a recording stating that there was no service where she was located and would she please try again later. As she hung up in disgust, her phone dinged again. She looked at it and uttered another cry of shock and indignation. “What the actual fuck?” Her hand shot out, shoving her phone into Don’s face.

Ding!

From: ќє…g13пИp

get u away hore

beat it

“Someone has to be here,” Don said, his voice betraying a hint of nervousness. “It’s got to be some stupid joke.”

“Then why is there still no fucking service?” shouted Carly, her voice beginning to touch the outer edge of hysterical. She tapped Reply. Who the fuck are you? She asked, her fingers flying over the screen. Send.

Almost immediately.

Ding!

From: xx¦ðè552

fukn bitch

“Who the fuck is in there?” screamed Carly, one hand clenching her phone, the other balled into a fist as she started toward the staircases of the mansion. A sudden clanging sound made her jump and turn. Don’s phone began to vibrate as texts began arriving. He looked at her, eyes huge as their phones struggled to keep up with the flood of messages.

Ding!

from 0oњш31ОşŒ

no1 wants uhere

Clang!

From: 1ĀÛ+–Â÷ĩ33

get ot

Ding!

From: ÎŊüľ20299

get out

Clang!

From: ÎxŊxüľxľ¶´¸ô

GET OUT

DingClangDingClangDingClang!

From: +++Ë3Æ3¿3Ã3Ã3

GETOUTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUT

The texts came in as fast as their phones would display them, paragraphs of GETOUT over and over, all from different strings of numbers and characters. Then, silence. They looked at each other, frozen.

“I think we should go,” Carly said, her voice a tremulous whisper that sounded very loud in the sudden silence.

Don was about to speak, when Carly’s phone dinged again, making them both wince. She looked at it, and her face turned white. She showed it to Don.

It was a photo of the two of them, taken moments ago, taken from inside the mansion. As they stared in horror, a new message arrived. Carly opened it and screamed. Don grabbed the phone as she dropped it, and gaped. It was a photo of the two of them, on their backs in a ditch, eyes glassy, jaws slack and very, very, dead.

Now it was Don who screamed and threw the phone across the immaculate grass of the lawn. It landed and at once began dinging with the arriving photos that no one was viewing: Carly draped over a wooden stump, her back flayed into bloody ribbons; Don on his back in the mud, a dark bloody hole where his genitals had been; Carly with her ears missing and great slits carved into her cheeks and nose; Don cradling both of his severed feet as he stared wide-eyed at his bloody stumps. By then, both Don and Carly were back in Don’s car, speeding away from the mansion as fast as the hybrid would carry them.

Through Dolls Eyes by Jesse Orr

ThroughDollsEyes

Party’s Over

Nancy crept around the side of the Sutton house, avoiding the upper story windows as she peered into the basement. The glass was frosted and she could see shapes, but that was all. She listened for any sound of disturbance. It didn’t sound like Hoffman had rung the doorbell yet. Slipping past the last window, she hurried around to the back entrance of the house. There was a back door underneath the rear porch, and she ducked into the shadow it cast. She crept up to the door and tried the knob, her touch as light as a feather. It was not locked.

How long she stood there waiting she did not know. Time ceased to function. The minutes turned from hours to seconds and back like elastic taffy. She thought about the brief but firm tap to the jaw Hoffman had administered to the pizza delivery man, knocking him out with cold precision. She thought about the hours they had spent sitting outside the Sutton house, waiting, watching, hoping for anything, any opportunity. She thought about roaring away from the hated mental hospital in a stolen car, with the easy part of their task behind them. She thought about the way Hoffman had dispatched the startled orderly they had come upon, seeming to take his keys and his life in one quick movement. She thought about her daughter, Sandra, taken by the dolls on her birthday. She ground her teeth. The fear she was feeling went down some, quelled by rage and hatred. Those fucking things were going to pay for taking her daughter.

Hoffman looked at the receipt he held, his other arm occupied by a hot bag of pizzas. “Looks like thirty even,” he said, loud enough for his voice to carry. He handed her the receipt, shooting her a look which she missed altogether. He noted that her hands were wrapped in bandages and it looked as though large chunks her hair had been torn out. The dark circles under her eyes screamed for help as she looked at the paper.

“No, this says thirty-nine…” she trailed off, her eyes focusing more on the paper and what was written above the total.

HERE TO KILL DOLLS.

She gasped, then looked behind her into the house to see if anyone had noticed. “Who are you?” she whispered. “How did you get here?”

“I’m a cop, but I’m a father first,” said Hoffman in an undertone. “You get me?”

She nodded, glancing behind her again. “What are you going to do?”

“I have someone with me, she’s going to the back door now. Is it locked?”

“No, never!”

“If we can-”

“Hey, girl!” Sofia’s voice came from the base of the stairs. “What is taking you so long?”

Olivia’s eyes widened and she shoved the receipt back at him. “Take it!” she hissed. “And give me the pizzas! If she finds me with this-”

Hoffman could not take it. His hands, so steady before when holding both pizza and paper, now noticeably trembled. “Oh my God…”

“What?!” Olivia whispered, trying to stuff the incriminating paper into Hoffman’s hand. “Quick, give me-”

“Hey girl!” Sofia’s shout grew louder. She was coming up the stairs. Olivia looked terrified. Hoffman looked sick.

“Quick!” Olivia moaned, tearing at the flap of the pizza carrier. “Hurry, she’s-”

“My daughter,” said Hoffman, and a tear fell from his eye. “My Sofia.”

“Girl!”

Sofia stood at the top of the stairs, hands on her hips and an evil look on her face. Olivia gave an involuntary shriek and nearly dropped the pizzas with which she had been grappling. “I’ve got them!” she wailed. “I’ve got them right here! Please don’t hurt me anymore, see, I’ve got them!”

Sofia ignored her, ignored the pizzas, ignored the cheers from the basement as they heard Olivia’s cries, ignored all but the man standing outside, looking at her with an expression of heartfelt sorrow and longing. As she stared at him, the look of malice and viciousness began to fade from her face. In its place, a little girl began to emerge. This little girl had wandered too far from the physical bodies of the dolls for their power to wholly dominate her, and, for the first time, the foothold of Junie and Janie in the soul of Sofia Hoffman, slipped.

“Daddy?”

She took a step forward, the dolls fighting to keep their hold, and she tottered.

“Daddy, help me!”

“Sofia!” Hoffman said, tears running free from his eyes now. “Honey, are you all right?”

The girl nearly fell over, then staggered backward. She took a step down the staircase.

“No!” Hoffman cried. “No! Honey, fight them!”

“Too late, fool,” Sofia snapped. She tossed her hair back over her shoulder. “We let her get a little too far, but don’t start thinking she’s yours now.” Her gaze shifted back to Olivia who stood stock-still, watching in horror, clutching the pizzas. “What are you waiting for, girl? Get downstairs with those.”

Before Olivia could move, Sofia let out an earsplitting scream of agony. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! STOP! STOP IT NOW!” she screeched. Her skin began to blister as though she had spent too much time in the hot sun. “I COMMAND IT!”

Turning, she stumbled, crashing down the stairs, still screaming.

Nancy had waited with mounting tension outside the door for Hoffman to ring the doorbell. She had tried the door several more times and assured herself it was unlocked. When she finally heard the chime of the doorbell, the door opened before her easily. She slipped inside, shutting the door with care behind her. She was in a convenient little alcove, sharing space with a few coats and boots left by those who used the basement entrance. Mostly small shoes. She crept forward.

The children were standing in the same position, eyes glassy and bodies rigid as they stood at attention, facing the stairway. Sofia stood before them, also facing the stairs. Nancy hardly noticed them, though her attention was fixed upon the two dolls which sat atop the TV, watching over all.

“Hey girl!” Sofia shouted, and started up the stairs. “What is taking you so long?”

The moment she had vanished up the stairwell, Nancy braced herself for an assault and broke from cover. The children did not impede her, nor move from their rigid parade ground rest, facing after Sofia with expressionless faces. Nancy made her way between the children to the TV, and picked up the dolls.

Revulsion filled her. The smell of death clung heavy about them, and their grins were wider, more sinister than Nancy had seen when she picked them up at the thrift store. Some little girl had given them eye shadow, and one sported a beauty mark on her cheek. The crack both dolls had above their eyes, which had given them a slanted eyebrow, had spread across their faces, bisecting them neatly. They leered at Nancy, who was seized by a sudden premonition and whirled, raising the dolls to strike at–

No one was there. The children kept up their eerie vigil, and the voices from the top of the stairs continued unabated. Looking back at the dolls, Nancy saw their heads had rotated to look at each other. One of them touched Nancy’s hand with its plastic hand and looked at her.

“You’re too late,” it said, though its lips did not move.

With a cry of disgust, Nancy threw both dolls to the floor and dug a lighter from her pocket. Striking it, she held the flame to the hem of the dress of the first one, then the other. The dresses were old and very dry and burned well. The flames licked up the dolls and engulfed their heads as upstairs, Sofia began to scream.

Olivia dropped the pizzas as Hoffman charged past her, bellowing like a wounded bull with no sense in his eyes. Lunging into the house and down the stairs, he reached for Sofia just as she tripped. If either of them had been watching the doll known as Junie at that moment, they would have seen her head amidst the fire turning in Sofia’s direction the tiniest amount. Just enough to lose her balance.

Nancy watched in horror as the darkness and misery left Sofia’s eyes as her feet left the ground. A cry escaped her mouth as she flew through the air and down the stairs, hitting the wall headfirst with a sickening crack that echoed in the basement playroom. She slid to the floor and did not move.

With a howl of rage, Nancy snatched up a nearby can of bug spray and squeezed it at the dolls. A jet of flame enveloped the already well-burning playthings, engulfing them in an inferno. Nancy kept the trigger depressed, spraying without end into the fireball on the ground as the children lurched sluggishly toward her, the fire in their eyes flickering. Black smoke began to rise from the fireball. Nancy’s finger cramped and she switched hands, never letting up on the trigger. Now there was a shrieking sound inside of her head, getting louder, as though something was trying to tear her head apart. Gritting her eyes shut, she concentrated all her will on maintaining the spray.

Olivia stood at the bottom of the stairs, her face pale as she surveyed the pizza delivery man’s sobbing form cradling his daughter’s limp body. The children moved jerkily toward the woman blazing a fireball at the two prone, helpless little figures on the floor. Olivia’s heart went out to them.

Poor little things, she thought, they were just two against a big unfair world. This man was to blame, she thought, and the woman.

If I just crept up behind the man and smashed his head into the floor, the bitch woman would stop burning the poor dolls, Olivia thought. She looked around with doll’s eyes for a weapon.

Hoffman could feel no pulse on Sofia’s neck. Her eyes were half open, looking at him with a blank expression. There was nothing behind them. Shoulders heaving, he held her to him.

Something hit him in the back of the head, hard, and he went down, crushing his daughter beneath him as he fell to the floor on top of her. He saw stars, and when his head cleared he saw the woman Sofia had called Girl drawing back a stone doorstop for another swing at him.

“What the hell are you doing?!” he roared, ducking the swing and scrabbling away from her, still holding Sofia to him.

“We are sending you to hell!” Olivia hissed and brought the stone down hard.

Across the room, Nancy’s fingers had developed cramps and the children were now doing nothing more than bumping into her and pawing at her in a half-hearted way. When Hoffman yelled, she looked up, startled. As if in horror, her left index finger finally let up its pressure on the spray can as the rock connected with Hoffman’s skull. He hit the ground and lay still, as still as his daughter. Blood oozed from the wound on his skull. Grinning, Olivia drew back the rock for another blow and dropped it. Nancy could see Hoffman’s blood staining the rock had made it slippery.

Nancy looked down and saw the dolls twitching, struggling to move their deformed appendages. The jet of fire had melted their faces into unrecognizable blobs and they resembled nothing so much as vaguely humanoid plastic. But they were moving. They were moving Olivia.

Snatching the dolls up, Nancy looked around the basement. Shoving one of the children out of the way, she stabbed her finger at a button and threw both dolls into the microwave which adorned the mini fridge beside the TV stand. Slamming the door, she punched +30 SEC, again, and again, over and over. The microwave whirred to life.

The scream inside her head now was so piercing, it brought her to her knees. She cried out and could not hear herself over the thrashing of the dolls inside her head. Olivia dropped the rock again and shrieked, clapping her hands to her ears along with the children whose eyes were now their own. Inside the microwave, the melted shapes bubbled and began to turn black. A noxious smell filled the basement as the screaming went on and on and the microwave counted down.

When the microwave dinged, it did so into a kind of daze. The occupants of the basement were not awake, but not asleep. They sat where they had fallen, staring at the wall, with the sounds of agony and suffering ringing in their heads. Nancy was the first to realize the screaming had stopped, along with the microwave, some time ago. She took her hands from over her ears (she hadn’t even realized they were there anymore) and looked around.

Olivia lay beside what remained of the Hoffman family in the fetal position, one ear pressed to the carpet, a hand pressed tightly to the other. Her eyes were open wide and staring, but they were beginning to move and twitched to meet Nancy’s. The terror which had filled them since Sofia had come was fading.

The children were all crying, and Nancy’s maternal instincts roused her the rest of the way from her stupor. Shaking her head to clear it did no good, it just seemed to start an echo of the screaming again in the back of her mind. Pushing herself up, she began to move around the children, speaking soothing words in a low voice. Working her way across the room, spreading comfort as she went, she got to Olivia.

“Go outside and get help,” she told Olivia. “Hurry, these kids need it.” She looked at Olivia with empathy. “So do you.”

Olivia’s face was blank with expression fighting to resurface. “They told me… they’ll…”

They are dead,” Nancy said, taking Olivia’s hand, avoiding the one with three fingers. “Dead and gone in a nuclear holocaust thanks to America’s favorite appliance. They can’t hurt us anymore.”

Olivia looked at her with a mixture of petulance and dawning hope. “But… they said…”

Going back to the microwave, Nancy punched the button and retrieved the still warm and smoking remains of the dolls. They did not now resemble humans in the slightest and shared more characteristics with a pancake of Silly Putty. She showed these to Olivia, whose eyes lost their petulance as she poked at them and grinned.

“Go get help,” Nancy said and gave her a push toward the stairs. This time, Olivia went.

EPILOGUE

The last ambulance roared down the street and turned left, away from the Sutton house and toward the nearest hospital with the remaining children. Once there, they would be fed and pampered by the pediatric staff, one of the best in the county. It would heal their hurts, but nothing could be done about the dreams from which they would awaken screaming for the rest of their lives.

Hoffman and Sofia were placed with great care on a hearse and whisked away to the finest funeral home in town, where Hoffman’s eventuality instructions had been on file for years, awaiting just such a calamity. Within seven days, the entire Hoffman family was beneath the ground.

Nancy and Olivia watched the last ambulance drive away, having declined the offer to be chauffeured in like manner. There was a lengthy interview with one of the police officers who had responded, which culminated in taking his card and promising to come to the station as soon as they were done at the hospital to make their formal statement.

Escaping finally to the safety of the car Hoffman had stolen for him and Nancy so long ago, they both sighed in relief as the doors slammed behind them.

“Let’s go,” said Olivia. She reclined the seat, and closed her eyes, sighing. “I want to get this over with.”

Nancy nodded, starting the engine. She could not have agreed more. The name she had given to the officer had been enough to prevent him associating her with a mental patient who had escaped from the asylum, and that was all that mattered.

As she pulled onto the street, the streetlights flickered on as dusk settled over the neighborhood. The dolls, safely hidden inside Nancy ever since they had first touched her, looked out over the unrolling street beneath them. The glow of the florescent bulbs lit far back in the depths of Nancy’s eyes, and if Olivia had been watching, she would have screamed at what she saw there.

Smiling, Nancy turned left and followed the ambulance into the city, where the nearest brick wall put an end to her and Olivia’s torment forever.

Through Doll’s Eyes by Jesse Orr Episode 10 Slumber Party

ThroughDollsEyes

“If ever a day comes,” Sofia had said to Olivia on the first day, her voice low and pleasant as she held a knife to little Eve’s throat, “when we summon you, and you do not come running, we will start with this one.”

Eve grinned and stretched her neck back further, seeming to lean into the blade. The trickle that ran down her white throat was a brilliant red against her skin. “They will, ‘livia,” said the girl, as she gouged her neck against the knife. “I like it.”

“Stop it!” Olivia cried, her voice shrill. “I won’t run!” Tears flowed down her cheeks as she fought to restrain herself from grabbing the child away from the knife, from this foul thing inside Sofia who was licking Eve’s blood from the knife and grinning at her. “Let her go!”

“We’re glad to hear you say that,” Sofia said. “But as you can see, we’re not holding her here.” It was true. Sofia was holding the knife immobile as Eve rubbed herself against it, digging the blade deeper into her neck and giggling as the keen point forged deeper into her neck, the blood running from the wound now down to stain Eve’s light blue dress.

“You know what I mean, you fucking TOYS!” Olivia screamed, turning from Sofia and directing the force of her anger at the dolls, Junie and Janie, who were sitting on top of the TV, watching over all. “QUIT TORTURING A LITTLE GIRL!” She rushed at them.

As one the children were upon her, bearing her once again to the floor with practiced ease. The dolls smirked down on her as Eve left off gouging herself and skipped over to lend her weight to holding one of Olivia’s legs down.

Sofia pulled the rag from Olivia’s hand and Beth knelt on her forearm, pinning it to the ground. Beth looked at the gap where her finger had once lived, and giggled. Olivia couldn’t help but flush with embarrassment.

“You don’t learn very quickly,” Sofia hissed, and began sawing at the joint which joined Olivia’s middle finger to her hand. “Are we going to have to take all of your digits before you figure it out?”

Sam had given his brother a bloody nose in a vicious fight over the finger and claimed possession of it as Robert lay sobbing in a puddle of his own tears and snot. Grinning, Sam raised it like a turkey leg to his mouth and gnawed it down to the bone, never breaking eye contact with Olivia who could not look away. Beth, Eve and Lisa cheered. Sam took a bow. Robert wiped his nose with vacant eyes.

The sound of Disney’s The Fox and the Hound filled the basement, bringing Olivia back to the present. Since the deaths of Joe Sutton and his sister, life at the Sutton home for cast-off children had become one large slumber party. This party came with its own dedicated servant, who now trudged up the stairs, laden with the dirty dishes the children accumulated over the course of the day. Her hair was torn out in places, leaving bald patches. Blood dripped down her scalp from where a particularly well-rooted piece of hair had been snatched. She had been administered another punishment for not being good, this time for not coming downstairs quickly enough.

Sofia, with an ethereal smirk, had paused the animated fox in mid-leap, and called to them.

“All of you, come over here.”

She hadn’t needed to speak; they were gathered at the base of the stairs as soon as she had stopped the film. Beth snapped her gum and stared at Olivia with the blank expressionless eyes all the children wore, unless Sofia was tormenting one of them. Right now, though, Olivia was the target.

“How long ago did we summon Olivia?” asked Sofia in a lilting singsong voice.

“Too long, too long,” chorused the children. Their harmony of their voices made Olivia want to scream.

“It was two minutes! I was in the bathroom!” Olivia cried, knowing it was hopeless but unable to save her breath. “I’m sorry!”

“Janie says we have to punish you,” said Beth, and smiled.

“Puuu-niiiish…” sang five year-old Eve.

“Punish,” echoed the twins Robert and Sam.

“Junie says you were bad,” said Lisa, matching Beth’s smile.

“Well get it over with!” screamed Olivia, her nerves on edge. All the creepy singing children, it was like a fucking horror movie. “Just kill me!”

“Kill you?” Sofia asked, her face a mock expression of shock. “Goodness, why would we do such a thing for a little tardiness? Let’s just give you something to look at in the bathroom mirror while you’re in there.”

Ten eager little hands went to work.

Back upstairs, Olivia dumped the dishes in the overflowing sink and wiped the blood from her face. Tears mixed with the blood, and she sniffed them back. Her scalp ached as she rewound the dirty rag around her severed fingers, which thankfully only gave occasional throbs to remind her they were there. Going to the bathroom as Sofia said she would, she looked at herself in the mirror. She stifled a sob. Just days ago she had been sure of her life and her purpose. Now she was trapped in a house with two unholy things which were using all of them, even Sofia, for their own entertainment.

“Hey, girl!” Sofia’s voice drifted up the hallway and Olivia’s severed fingers gave a great THROB of recognition.

Hastening downstairs, she stopped at the bottom step, as a mouse will peek out of its burrow before committing itself fully to the danger zone. “Yes?”

The hound and the fox were all grown up now. Sofia took Jenny Sutton’s cell phone from Beth and tossed it to Olivia. “Get the kids some pizza. They don’t like your cooking.”

Olivia fumbled the phone with her eight fingers and nearly dropped it. She caught it by her fingernails and wrapped her hands around it before they could betray her further. “What kind of pizza?”

“They don’t care.” Sofia favored Olivia with a condescending smile. “They’ll eat what we tell them to eat.”

“Of course,” Olivia mumbled, retreating back up the stairs. Once she had called the nearest delivery place and ordered three large cheese pizzas, she sat slumped in a corner of the kitchen, staring at the wall and making as little noise as possible. She found that if she didn’t move or call attention to her presence upstairs, Sofia left her alone for longer. Sometimes.

“Hey, girl!” came Sofia’s all purpose call. Olivia dragged herself upright again, wondering if this would be her life, and drug herself downstairs.

“Where’s the pizzas? They’re hungry.” Sofia stared at Olivia, who stared back, trying to stay calm.

“They’re coming. They said it could be an hour,” Olivia said, pulling the phone out of her pocket and looking at it. “I only ordered it–”

“We know,” Sofia snarled, snatching the phone out of Olivia’s hand. “If pizza doesn’t get here soon, they’ll have to eat something else. Like you.”

Olivia felt a familiar thud of horror, but now it was coupled with a sick kind of hope. An end to suffering. “Let me go see if they’re coming,” she stammered, turning to retreat. Halfway up the stairs, the doorbell rang.

She screamed with relief and hurried to the door, flinging it open wide and digging in her pocket for cash. “How much is it?” she asked, looking from the bills in her hand to the delivery man’s face.

“Let me check your receipt, ma’am,” said Detective Eric Hoffman.

Through Dolls Eyes by Jesse Orr

ThroughDollsEyes

                                                                                     Episode Nine:  Don’t Do Anything Stupid 

Sofia’s new home had three flights of stairs to accommodate all the bedrooms for the foster children, and a big TV in the basement for all her new brothers and sisters. They spent most of their time down there, watching movies, playing video games and generally forget about the lousy hand life had dealt them as their parents thrashed around in their own decaying lives.

Besides her, there were three other girls and two boys, all between five and ten years old. The two twin boys Robert and Sam were nine years old had lost their entire family in a fire, save for one old family black sheep who was currently in rehab and being judged in ninety days as to his fitness to raise a child. The five-year-old girl Eve had bruises on her eyes and throat which were just beginning to fade from a brutal beating she had taken last weekend from her mother’s latest boyfriend. Lisa was eight and had been found wandering the streets last month after her mother had OD’d in their apartment and Lisa had taken to wandering the street for food. Ten year old Beth’s stepfather had raped her and was on trial for that as well as the disappearance of Beth’s mother.

They were all ruled by Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Olivia Sutton, and Joe’s sister Jenny. Joe Sutton had grown up in the church’s shadow and had tried hard to live his life according to the good book. He went to church every Sunday he could, but was not averse to a little hard work on the Sabbath should prudence dictate. His wife Olivia was likewise inclined, and as a means of giving back to the world, with the help of Joe’s sister, they fostered as many unfortunate little souls as they could comfortably take in. Little Sofia, left with nothing but her two dolls for company after she had been abandoned in the backyard by her crazy father upon the murder of her mother, would fill their house to capacity and they could all begin the healing together.

When Sofia arrived, all the children were playing in the basement. Olivia saw the car driven by Child Protective Services pull into their driveway and called to Joe. “They’re here!”

Joe hurried to the front door and out to the porch to greet the car. It crunched through the gravel to the foot of the stairs, skidding to a halt faster than usual. The front doors popped open and two women got out. One went to the back and retrieved a small case out of the trunk, while the passenger went to the back door and opened it. Joe could hear her speaking something into the depths of the car as the driver carried the little girl’s suitcase up the stairs.

“Hey Joe,” she said, handing the bag over to him. “Just between you and me, this little girl gives me the creeps. She doesn’t say anything unless you talk right to her and she won’t go anywhere without those two dolls.” She looked back at the car where Sofia was just stepping down from the seat, clutching two dolls as though they were life preservers.

“Jan,” Joe said with a note of reproach, “You know perfectly well a child who has experienced a traumatic–”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Jan the driver, waving a hand at him. “I know perfectly well. But she still gives me the creeps.”

Joe turned his attention to the little girl who came up his stairs. She was hollow-eyed, and looked at the ground. The dolls she clutched to her chest in a monstrous bear hug, her arms wrapped around herself. Joe noted the bandage around one hand and recalled her injury from her file. One finger severed and unable to be reattached. Paramedic’s note states she said the doll took it. Pasting his number-one smile on his face, he went to one knee.

“Hi there Sofia, my name is Joe and it’s great to have you here today!”

Her eyes flickered up once, then back down to the ground. “Hi.”

Joe threw a triumphant glance in Jan’s direction, then gestured behind him to where Olivia was standing with Jenny, wearing identical expressions of greeting. “This is my wife Olivia and my sister Jenny, they’re going to take you inside and get you settled before you meet everyone, okay?”

This time, her eyes came up and met his, and the voice that came out of her was smoother and somehow fuller than should come from a little girl. It seemed far older than the body it inhabited.

“Are there any other children here?”

Joe’s smile broadened and became more genuine. Maybe there was hope for this little girl, he thought, and replied “There sure are! There are two brothers and three other girls for you to play with. Once you get settled, maybe Olivia or Jenny will take you downstairs to play with them.”

Olivia stepped forward to take Sofia inside. “Hi there Sofia, I’d be happy to take you down to play once we get you settled in. Can you come with me for right now though?”

Sofia looked at the ground again. Her arms loosened her grip on the dolls, and she looked at one of them. It was just a glance but Joe’s flesh crawled at it.

“We want to go play now,” the little girl said, and her voice carried an unmistakable note of menace. Her eyes shifted to Jenny, and she repeated herself. “Now.”

Now it was Jan’s turn to shoot Joe a triumphant glance which he missed entirely, gaping at Sofia. “We’ll be on our way now, Mr Sutton,” Jan said, already moving down the steps with the driver. “Have a good day.” They were in the car and driving away before Jenny spoke up, her voice dreamy.

“Why don’t I take her downstairs to meet her new brothers and sisters. It shouldn’t take long.” She smiled at Sofia, who smiled back. Olivia saw the smile was the same on both faces. Vacant and slack, insincere, as though its bearer was not used to the action.

“That would be very nice,” Sofia said and moved toward Jenny before Joe could object, passing Olivia as though she weren’t even there and not giving Joe a glance. “It’s been so lonely with just the three of us, Janie and Junie are getting bored.”

Smiling at Joe and Olivia, Jenny followed Sofia into the house and down the stairs. Joe and Olivia looked at each other, releasing breaths they had not been aware they were holding.

“What in the name of God was that?” Joe whispered.

“Jenny just wants her to feel more comfortable,” Olivia said, her voice unsteady and unbelievable.

Joe opened his mouth for a rebuttal but was cut off by a terrible scream from inside. Olivia had already darted inside as he followed. She shrieked, “Jenny!” and Joe saw her go bounding down the stairs to the basement. He reached the head of the stairs and looked down.

His sister lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the stairs, her legs twisted beneath her, white shards of bone sticking out at all angles. One arm was underneath her and blood ran from her unmoving eyes and ears, her head resting against the wall which had stopped her fall. Her jaw was slack, a loosened tooth hanging from a thread as blood dripped from her mouth. At the bottom of the stairs, Sofia stood smiling at Jenny’s broken body as she stroked the doll’s hair.

Olivia knelt beside Jenny’s still form, crying and digging in her pocket for her cell phone. Setting the dolls carefully beside Jenny’s broken body, Sofia turned to the children who had moments before been engaged in a rousing game of UNO. They had leaped up at the sound of Jenny crashing down the stairs, and the younger ones were crying. As Olivia raised the phone to her ear after dialing 911, Sofia snatched the phone and darted behind the children who were clustered around Jenny. Olivia’s snatch at Sofia was too late.

“Give me the phone back!” she screamed, causing the children to cry harder. “I have to call the ambulance!”

“No you don’t,” said Sofia, her face a mask of cruel malice. “She’s dead.”

“No!” howled Joe, taking the stairs two at a time and landing beside Jenny. “She’s just knocked out, I can see her breathing. Give us the phone!” Forgetting he carried his own, he made for Sofia.

The children as one stopped crying. The twins Robert and Sam latched on to Joe’s legs, one wrapping around each shin and halting his progress toward Sofia. The tallest girl, Beth, slipped up beside Joe and relieved him of his own cell phone, dropping it to the cement floor and stepping on it with a crunch. The other two girls grabbed Joe’s arms and pulled him over backwards with all their might, his head meeting the floor with an audible crack. Joe Sutton died without ever knowing it was coming.

Olivia was not so lucky. As she watched the children come to life and end Joe’s as though it were some horrible sequel to Children of the Corn, her eyes were drawn to Sofia. She stood in the middle of the basement, eyes fixed on Olivia.

“You’re not going to try anything stupid, are you?” Sofia asked, and Olivia trembled. There was no little girl in that voice. There was nothing human in that voice. Sofia’s eyes burned with terrible power and intelligence and Olivia shook her head, afraid to speak in the presence of one so clearly her superior.

“Go sit in the corner while they clean up these two,” Sofia said, gesturing to the corner at the far end of the room. Olivia did as she was bidden, putting her nose in the corner as she had when she was a child.

“No!” barked Sofia, and Olivia jumped. “Face out. I want you to watch this.”

Turning around, Olivia stood with her back to the corner as Sofia turned her attention back to the children who had brought down Joe. After he had hit the ground, Robert and Sam had let go of his legs and all the children stood assembled in a group, watching Sofia. Waiting. Sofia pointed at the bodies at the base of the stairs. The five children grabbed Joe’s body and drug it to the corner of the basement opposite Olivia’s corner.

Sofia was supervising the work with her back to Olivia, and it occurred to Olivia that the little girl’s head was unguarded. If she could tackle Sofia to the ground and knock her out, whatever power she had over the children would cease. Olivia’s pulse beat faster at the thought, but she knew it could be her only chance. At the thought, she moved forward, being as silent as possible, but Sofia was already turning. Throwing caution to the winds, Olivia leapt at Sofia, hoping to catch the girl in a flying tackle. Sofia merely stepped to the side and let Olivia’s leap carry her onto the floor, where the five children left off their grisly work to pin Olivia to the ground in a trice.

Sofia’s face was contorted in a furious sneer as she stalked up Olivia’s body to stand on her chest, compressing her lungs. “You said you wouldn’t be trying anything stupid,” she snarled, bouncing a little on the woman’s chest. Olivia heard a rib crack a microsecond before a thunderous pain roared through her torso. Her scream was a labored wheeze. “Now I have to show you what happens when you’re stupid.” Looking at Beth as she knelt beside Olivia, Sofia snapped, “Hold out her hand.”

Beth grabbed Olivia’s left hand and with a strength which did not belong to her ten year old body, bent Olivia’s hand and arm into position before Sofia. “This is just the first one,” Sofia breathed in Olivia’s ear, taking hold of the finger adorned with Joe’s wedding ring. “There are nine more.” Gripping the finger like a vice and holding Olivia’s hand steady, Sofia began to twist. The agony was beyond anything she had ever experienced. Olivia screamed and thrashed as the bones cracked and tissue tore. The five children she had taken in pinned her like iron the floor and not until Sofia was holding Olivia’s severed finger and grinning did they let her up.

“Are you going to be good now?” Sofia asked, wagging Olivia’s finger at her and giggling.

Olivia nodded through her grimace of agony, tears coursing down her face as she clamped her traumatized hand in her armpit, hoping by squeezing it there she could stem the awful pain roaring through her entire arm. Her broken rib stabbed with each breath.

Sofia tossed the finger into the corner with Joe’s body, then picked up her two dolls. She smoothed their hair and kissed each one in turn.

“Junie, Janie, I think we’re going to like it here,” she said to them and smiled.

Through Doll’s Eyes by Jesse Orr Lack of Insanity

ThroughDollsEyes

Lack of Insanity

“I’m not crazy,” Nancy said.

“I’m not crazy either,” Hoffman replied.

There was silence. They looked at each other.

“What are you doing here then?” They spoke at once, and grinned a little.

Nancy glanced around. They were in the common room. The therapy session had broken up, and this was what was known as “association time.” A nice term for “put them in an enclosed area and see what they do.” The doctors had vanished, and orderlies had replaced them. There were more clubs and orderlies than usual, just in case the crazies started being crazy.

So far, the men and women were segregated except for one or two small knots around a game board and several listening to a nurse read a story. Some terminally insane patients stared out the windows. Nancy and Hoffman were seated by a window looking out over the water.

“The truth, is that I bought two dolls for my daughter’s birthday from a thrift store. Somehow, they took over her mind and I had to kill her.” Nancy said this in a rush, but with her chin up, eyes fixed on his. “That’s the truth, for all the fucking good it does in here.” She gestured at the room and Stonebriar at large.

Hoffman nodded. “That sounds fucking crazy,” he said. “I see why you’re in here if that’s what people hear.”

“Yeah, well you’re the one who left his daughter out in the garden for days to play with a goddamn doll so you sound like a fucking pansy,” Nancy shot back.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Hoffman said, lowering his voice. “What happened is insane, and the truth sounds equally insane. I’m just saying it’s no wonder we’re both in here.”

For a moment, Nancy’s eyes held his, piercing them with her own. Then they dropped, and her anger and bravado dropped with it. “I’m sorry. I don’t sleep well in here and I’m tired of people saying I’m crazy.”

Hoffman lowered his voice further. “Is there any way out of here?”

Nancy rolled her eyes. “You mean past the locked doors, fences, guards and cliffs? I’m pretty sure once we got outside the fence we could just walk down the road.”

“Out of the building itself,” he said, rolling his own eyes back at her.

“I’m sure, if we had keys, it would be easy enough,” she said, and shook her head. “What are you driving at, Eric?”

“If we could get outside, there’s a rope ladder hanging from the cliff.” He practically mouthed the words. “Local law requires facilities like hospitals to have escape routes from high places like cliffs, just in case something would keep people from evacuating from the front. I’ve inspected this facility myself and I’ve tested their rope ladder. It’s little more than a formality, but it passed the inspection. It could be our only hope.”

Nancy’s eyes had widened as Hoffman explained, and now she spoke. “You’re crazy! That’s hundreds of feet down into the water! What are we supposed to do when we get there, swim to the nearest town and ask for sanctuary in their bell tower?”

“No, we’re supposed to sit here and let those fucking dolls have their way with my daughter.” Hoffman said, glaring at her.

Nancy looked as though she were chewing on her tongue. “Eric, your daughter is dead. They won’t keep her alive this long.”

“How do you know?” Hoffman was suddenly shouting. “How the fuck do you know that? How the fuck do you know anything?” He was standing now, screaming down in the face of the woman before him, venting his rage and pent-up frustrations onto this unfortunate source. A large orderly hurried over, but Hoffman’s focus had narrowed. “Just because you killed your daughter to get rid of them doesn’t mean you know shit about what they’re doing! Why did they keep me alive so long? You don’t know what they do!”

He spun, whirling, toward the room. “None of you know!” he howled, then was silent, as the orderly’s club connected with the back of his head. The world went black.

He awoke an immeasurable amount of time later, his head wreathed in bandages and pain. He had been dumped in a pile on his bed and his arm was asleep. It was dim in his cell and silent on the other side of his cell’s door. It was nighttime then, he thought, pushing himself up and massaging his dead arm. He shook his head to clear it and a bolt of pain shot through his skull, bringing back his yelling fit and subsequent clubbing.

He sighed. Ranting at a bunch of people like a lunatic. Sure, he wasn’t crazy. Who would think such a thing?

A tapping at his door raised his head. Nancy was looking through the window.

A great surge went through him and the pain was shoved to the back of his mind as he leaped to his feet and went to the door. “Nancy!” he hissed.

Raising a finger to her lips, she mouthed “shut up stupid” and ducked out of sight. There was a grating sound and a muffled clicking from the locking mechanism. Hoffman had just enough time to reflect on the surreal nature of what was happening when the door clicked louder and swung open slightly.

Nancy darted inside and pushed it shut, taking care not to let the lock catch all the way. “Don’t make a sound,” she breathed. “There’s a guard making rounds.”

Hoffman held his breath, listening to the guard’s feet nearing his cell door. It occurred to him that he would be on his bunk at this hour, sleeping off a conk to the head, and he hurtled without a sound across the room. He had just settled on the bunk as the orderly glanced in through the window Nancy crouched beneath, assuring himself that there was indeed a man-shaped lump on the bed before exiting the men’s ward.

Nancy let out a slow rush of air. Hoffman found he had nearly stopped breathing, and gasped in a breath.

“Let him get a few minutes away and we can go,” she whispered, cracking the door and peering outside. “There’s only a skeleton crew at this hour. I know about a back door they never keep locked so the orderlies can sneak a smoke.”

“How do you know all this?” Hoffman asked.

“Because I listen in the common room,” she said, and glanced outside again. “Orderlies and nurses don’t usually bother keeping their voices down around a bunch of crazies who can’t even remember who they are.” She looked at him. “Let’s go.”

The lights shone overhead, marking a straight line as they crept down the hall, keeping to the meager shadows on the sides. A cough from one of the cells froze them. No sound came but the mutter of one of the patients sleep. After a time’s agonized silence in which Hoffman counted thirty of his own rapid breaths, Nancy tugged his sleeve and moved forward.

At the door leading out of the men’s ward, she paused, and checked the door through which the guard had passed. The handle turned. She grinned. “Lazy guards don’t bother to lock doors.”

“I’ll make sure to mention it in my report,” Hoffman muttered as he slipped past her through the crack in the door. She followed and pushed it softly closed behind her.

She led him to a small door recessed in the stone walls that he had not observed on his way in. It sat several feet back from the main hallway, and was concealed in a slit not easily observable to the casual eye. Nancy disappeared through it, and Hoffman followed, glancing around. Was that the sound of their own footsteps echoing?

Nancy knelt before the door and began fiddling with the lock. Hoffman could not see what she held but he recognized one familiar with picking locks when he saw one. He knelt beside her and whispered “Who are you? How do you know how to pick locks so well?”

The lock clicked and she opened the door to the surprised face of one of the orderlies on his way in from a cigarette, whose key was halfway to the lock.

Through Dolls Eyes by Jesse Orr “The First Step”

ThroughDollsEyes

The First Step

Stonebriar Mental Hospital stood atop a cliff overlooking the sea. Waves crashed at the base of the rocks, sending plumes of spray grasping at the lower windows of the mental hospital. Those skittish inhabitants of the lower levels scurried away from the windows and the storm’s fury. Stonebriar had been strategically placed atop the cliff, its rear to the ocean, to deter escapees. The front of the building was ringed by a huge razor wire fence with an iron gate protected around the clock by a guard and a bank of switches controlling the locks. To the rear, the windows faced a spectacular view of the ever-changing waters, unmarred by tree nor power line as the land ended some fifty yards from the back of the building. There was no need for a fence around the back, as the cliff took care of all the security they required.

On the fourth floor, Jaci Wayne was making her rounds, always starting from the top of the building and working her way down. Being higher up in a storm like this always made her very nervous, ever since a seabird had been blown through one of the windows and turned the hurricane loose inside. The inhabitants of the top floor were, fortunately, some of the lower maintenance patients, not given to making a bad situation worse, and had shepherded themselves down to the third floor while Jaci and another nurse who quit the next day tried to chase the bird out of the hole in the window. Tonight, the wind was strong, but nowhere near as dangerous as it had been the night of the bird, and the patients were calm, accepting their afternoon dose of medication without a qualm.

Jaci stepped into the elevator after the last patient had swallowed their dose, trundling her little cart before her into a florescent lit cubicle of an elevator. Pale linoleum glinted in the harsh light. She pressed the button marked 3 and adjusted her ponytail, securing a few wisps of her dark hair which had tried to make a break for it. The elevator chugged down the track, coming to a screaming halt on the third floor as she stabbed a bobby pin into her hair. The third floor was populated by patients who suffered from various maladies but were not judged to be inherently dangerous. Jaci began her rounds with the woman who peeked out from her room just long enough to snatch her medication from Jaci before slamming the door behind her.

“Have a good day, Mrs. Smith,” Jaci called through the door. The woman within waved through the window with a cheery smile. As long as she never had to leave her room, everything was fine. Jaci passed out her pills to the depressed man who sat in the corner of the TV room and spoke to himself, to the man who had tried to shoot himself and now walked around the halls drooling from a reconstructed face, to the woman who laughed and had to be restrained physically from drawing upon the walls. Everyone on the floor was dosed without incident.

The second floor was also the ground floor, and housed the most dangerous patients. Here were the pyromaniacs, the self-harmers, the stalkers. On this floor stood two guards, or orderlies, as the staff was required to refer to them as such. These two gentlemen were armed with hefty batons. Jaci always managed to get through her rounds on this floor in under an hour though it seemed like much longer. She always took a break before going to the first floor. She needed the rest.

The first floor was poorly named. It was below the surface of the earth and housed the rapists, the murderers, the child molesters, and others who had committed an unpardonable sin and had been judged unfit to stand trial for one reason or another.

Jaci told the intercom, “Going down to the dungeon, please buzz me in.”

The cart jerked as the elevator rose a fraction then began descending at a regular rate. Jaci used the time to tie her ponytail back into a tight bun, where it could not become a handle. She tucked her smock into her scrub pants and squared her shoulders. The door crashed open.

The hallway was white, shining and reflecting the hidden fluorescent with savage intensity. The guards, or “orderlies” at the station by the door were armed. There were four cells in all, each the size of a small bedroom. For twelve hours a day at least, the patients did not leave them. There were no timekeeping pieces on this level, save what the guards wore or carried upon their person.

She walked down the hall, referring to her clipboard and dispensing medication to those cells whose inhabitants required them, even though she knew her rounds by heart. The clipboard kept her from making eye contact. Two purple pills for the rapist on the right, one green pill immediately across from the rapist for the arsonist who burned down his ex wife’s house with her inside. Next to the arsonist was a kidnapper who had been judged to have the mind of a fourteen-year-old boy despite his huge size. He received four purple pills Jaci knew were equivalent to horse tranquilizers, and she was grateful. The last thing they needed was that moose running rampant.

Four pills to the moose. The fourth cell was empty, and Jaci was buzzed through a door at the end of the hall. Through the door, there was a short hallway which led to the door to the women’s cells. She was buzzed through it into an identical hallway of four cells. The first occupant on the right had split open her landlord’s head with a hammer and eaten part of his brain before the police had broken in and stopped her. A single large white pill for that lady. The cell beside hers contained a mother who had smothered both her children and their father when she found out he had been having an affair. She had been found walking through the street sobbing and had not stopped until she had been at Stonebriar for some time. Now with the help of a tranquilizer equal to the dose given to the moose, she just stared.

The cell beside her was empty. Across from it was the last cell on the block, which held a woman who had murdered her daughter because she had turned into a doll or something. Jaci was hazy on the details, as the woman had come in after her last two-week shift. The doll lady would be receiving one bright blue pill Jaci recognized as a strong anti-psychotic. Jaci checked it off on her clipboard and stepped to the slot in the door. It snapped open before her and she jumped back with an involuntary gasp.

“Hello,” Nancy said, smiling at Jaci through the window as she held the medication slot open for Jaci to pass through the pill. “I hope I didn’t startle you.”

“Not at all,” Jaci said, composing herself in an instant. “Take those now so I can see you.”

Nancy the Doll Lady tossed the pill down like a shot of whiskey followed by the paper cup of water Jaci passed through the slot. Crumpling both cups, Nancy opened her mouth and leaned forward to the window. Jaci did likewise, checking that the pill was not hidden beneath Nancy’s tongue. Satisfied, she nodded. “Have a good night.” Turning her cart around, she trundled back to the door separating the men’s ward and disappeared through it.

Nancy hurried to her toilet and stabbed a finger at the back of her throat, bringing up a bit of gruel and one mostly intact blue pill. Another stab brought up a little more gruel, some of it blue. She burped, and flushed the toilet as her stomach gave another heave. Going to the sink, she washed her face and rinsed out her mouth. On wobbly knees, she went to her bed and lay down on the stiff sheets, pulling what passed for a pillow under her head and staring at a ceiling she was getting to know all too well.

As far as she could reckon it, she had been here more than a week but not two. Time ceased to exist but for the medications and mandatory group therapy sessions. Her turn to share her story had come around once so far in their handful of sessions on the block and had earned her the distinction of Doll Lady from everyone, though the staff would not have said it to her face. She endured smirks and jibes from other inmates with stoic silence, knowing there was no point in arguing with the insane.

She had wondered often if she was insane. If she had imagined the hate and insanity and lack of humanity in her daughter’s face and eyes as she stabbed with the knife. She relived it often enough in her dreams and awake, that she felt she could not be wrong. There could be no mistaking that in her own daughter.

Tears came to her closed eyes as she began to review it again, powerless to stop it. She turned to the wall as the tears trickled down her face.

A voice crackled over the intercom.

“Attention patients. The evening group therapy session will take place in fifteen minutes. Thank you.” A click and the voice was gone.

Nancy’s eyelids flickered but she did not move. All the announcement said was that in an unmeasurable period of time, she would be herded into a room with a bunch of lunatics and forced to either listen to their stories or tell her own. She was in no rush. They could take as long as they wanted. After an unmeasurable period of time, the cell doors crashed open and she was herded into a common room off the hallway between the two cell blocks along with all the other loonies. The common room had been set up into rows of chairs with a white board at the front. As they were jostled into their seats, Nancy noticed a man she had not yet seen at their sessions. The huge moose saw her noticing the man and guffawed.

“Hey Doll Lady, this’n guy sez a doll drove ‘im and ‘is daughter insane!” He chuckled. “Maybe youse guys can swap yore stories about th’ scary dolls and we c’n have us a campfire!”

Nancy’s heart stopped, then restarted. She watched the man settle into his seat. He was staring straight ahead as seats filled around him, ignoring even the argument taking place over the chair behind him. She grabbed the moose’s elbow as he lumbered away. “What else did he say? Quick! Tell me!”

The moose looked startled. “He didn’t say nothin’, I ‘eard it from ‘im.” He pointed over his shoulder to the rapist, who was staring at the girl who had eaten her landlord’s brain.

Nancy’s stomach turned but she as she started forward, a portly man with a beard and a woman with short brown hair came into the room and stood before the white board. They both carried clipboards and wore white lab coats. The moose melted into a seat and everyone seemed instantly to find theirs. Silence fell.

“Good afternoon,” the woman said. “My name is Dr Axton. This is my colleague Dr Winston.” The portly man nodded. “Those of us not new to group will recognize us. Those who are new, welcome.”

Nancy shot a glance at the man the moose had pointed out to her. He was looking Dr Axton in the eye as she continued “Our newest member will traditionally stand and introduce himself and explain why he or she is or are here.” Dr Axton inclined her head to the new guy, bidding he stand and do so.

As he rose, Dr Winston smiled. “Please tell the truth about why you are here, we will know if you are not being accurate and disciplinary measures may be enacted.” He tapped his clipboard for emphasis.

The new guy looked around him and said in a clipped, neutral tone, “Eric Hoffman. I’m here because a doll took over me and my daughter’s minds and made us do things we didn’t want to do.”

There was a pause and several of the patients burst out laughing. Dr Axton whirled on them and snarled “Silence!”

They subsided, snickering.

“Now, Eric,” Dr Winston said, wearing the exact same smile. It looked pasted on to Nancy. “You know dolls can’t do anything we don’t want them to do, right? They’re just toys!”

“I know that, sir,” Hoffman said, and offered no more.

Dr Winston’s fake smile twitched at one corner as he looked at Dr Axton, who stepped forward. “Mr Hoffman, how could the dolls take over your minds? Do you hear how absurd that sounds?”

“I do,” said Hoffman, and kept a respectful silence.

Dr Axton sniffed. “Perhaps later you and Nancy can discuss your doll fantasies. For now, we will focus on patients who are not having issues with children’s toys.

Hoffman’s calm facade broke and he looked truly awake for the first time. “Wait, what? Who’s Nancy?”

“You’re obsessed, the pair of you,” Dr Axton said, gesturing in Nancy’s direction. “She says her daughter was possessed by a doll. You can talk after group. Now please, sit down.”

Hoffman sat, and his eyes met Nancy’s. She stared at him. He stared back. Dr Winston began to drone something about impulses.

She mouthed ‘I’m not crazy.’

He nodded and mouthed back ‘neither am I.’

Through Doll’s Eyes: Intervention Part II by Jesse Orr

ThroughDollsEyes

Through Doll’s Eyes: Intervention Part II by Jesse Orr

Ever since Mommy had stopped moving, Sofia had been living outside with Janie. It was great fun. Sometimes she missed Junie and her mommy, but Janie said not to worry. Her daddy was with Janie’s sister while mommy was in the forever sleep.

When Janie told her about the forever sleep, Sofia had been scared. What if she, Sofia, went to sleep one night and it was the forever sleep? Janie said not to worry, that Sofia was safe from the forever sleep as long as she did exactly as Janie told her.

Sometimes Sofia wondered about Daddy, but she didn’t ask anymore. The first time she had, Janie had said Daddy was fine, with Junie. The second time she asked, Janie got mad, and said that she hoped Daddy hadn’t fallen into a forever sleep. She asked Sofia if she should go and see. The look in Janie’s eyes made Sofia shake her head, and that night, Janie had punished her for asking. She had not asked about Daddy since. Besides, she had such fun with Janie that she hardly thought of Mommy or Daddy anymore.

She and Janie were having tea in the garden as was their custom, when Janie told her that very soon, some men would come.

“What men?” Sofia asked, setting down her cup of tea. She didn’t like tea much, but Janie told her she did when they played tea party. “What do they want?”

Janie said they were going to take Sofia and her daddy away so they couldn’t play with Janie and her sister Junie anymore.

“Why?” Sofia was horrified. Lose Janie? Her closest friend in the world? They couldn’t!

The men wouldn’t understand that they were friends, Janie explained. The men would insist that Janie and Junie weren’t worth bothering with, and they would take Sofia and her daddy away.

“No!” Sofia said, beginning to cry. “They can’t do that, can they? Can’t you stop them?”

Janie told her not to worry, there was nothing to fear. Daddy would be taken somewhere else, but as long as Sofia did exactly as Janie told her, the two of them would not have to part. Sofia skipped over what would happen to her father, fixating like a dog with a bone on the most important facts. If Sofia listened to Janie, they wouldn’t take her away.

Sofia promised to listen. “When is this going to happen?” she asked, her voice still shaky.

Janie said it would be very soon.

Eduardo the paramedic was already on edge. The scene in the house had been weird to begin with, without the stench and the oppressive mugginess. Eduardo ducked outside to the marginally fresher air and stood gulping in breaths. The stench of rotting meat surrounded the house, baking in the heat. He looked around the garden, seeking diversion.

A little girl with brown hair sat in a plastic chair with her back to him, apparently engaged in a tea party with a plastic doll set. Eduardo started. “Hey, there’s a little girl back here!” he shouted to the people inside the house. “Hey! Little girl! Are you ok?”

Eduardo jumped down from the porch and walked toward her, glad to get away from the stink of the house. Mentally he ran through his opening line. Hi honey, my name is Eduardo and I’m with the paramedics, how are you today?

His little speech arranged, Eduardo reached the tea party. “Hi honey, my name is E–”

His name died in his mouth as he took in the scene. The little girl sat at the green plastic table, knees tucked under its faded surface. Her hands were on the table, palms flat, as she stared at a doll seated across from her. She was nodding as though it spoke to her. Her hair was not brown, as he had thought, but a blonde so dirty it appeared to be a brown wig. In her matted hair were branches and leaves from a bed she had dug herself under a bush. Looking at the girl’s hands, Eduardo’s stomach swooped as he saw she had only nine fingers, her left smallest finger gone above the first knuckle. The wound was gray with dirt and infection. A puffy scratch above her eyebrow had swollen her left eye half shut, giving her eyelid a droop.

Hiding a sob, Eduardo sank to a knee, his speech forgotten. “Oh my god, what happened to your finger?”

The girl looked at him without a hint of emotion. “Janie took it.”

The paramedic heard others crossing the garden and felt sweet relief flooding into him. Relief that he was no longer alone with this horror. “Who’s Janie?”

Raising her four-fingered hand, the girl pointed at the doll sitting across from her.

Eduardo looked at the doll, and his stomach swooped again. The fucking thing was creepy. “Well that wasn’t very nice of her, now was it?” He glanced over his shoulder. Swanson and another paramedic were approaching. “Honey, we’re going to take you with us, somewhere safe. How about that?”

Her eyes shot to his. “And Janie?”

Taken aback, Eduardo nodded. “Of course, you can bring your doll.” He plucked Janie from her seat and deposited her in Sofia’s lap. He missed the look of peace which came over Sofia’s face as she wrapped her arms around the doll. She smiled as he stood up and turned to the two men. “Little girl’s lost a finger, she’ll need to roll.” The medic knelt down beside her.

“She’d have to roll to a foster home anyways,” said Swanson, glancing down at Sofia’s hand. “Father’s off his rocker, can’t leave her with him.” He shook his head. “Fucking sad.”

Eduardo nodded, his face grim. “I think we got here just in time.” He gestured at the house. “What are we doing with him?”

“They’ll take him to the mental hospital up at Stonebriar,” Swanson said. “Once they patch up his missing finger, they’ll–”

“Wait a minute,” Eduardo said, turning to look at the detective. “His missing finger?”

Swanson nodded. “Left pinky, lopped clean off. Says the doll took it.”

Through Dolls Eyes Intervention

ThroughDollsEyes

 

   Through Dolls Eyes – Intervention


Sergeant Thomas Richard Swanson burst through the door after knocking and waiting three times. He had emailed, texted, called, knocked and left twice, and enough was enough. He hadn’t heard from Hoffman in over a week. That was beyond fucked up.

Whenever they were working a case, they were never out of contact for more than a few hours. Behind him, two uniformed officers followed with their guns drawn.“Hoffman? Where the hell are you?” There was no sound from his partner or his partner’s family. The hallway before him was empty and his voice echoed up the stairway to his left. But there was a reek. A foul stench permeated the house, reminding Swanson of the time he had killed eight rats with a baited trap and tossed their bodies into the dumpster on the hottest week of the year. It was the smell of decomposing bodies which Swanson smelled now, making him feel as though he should be standing outside next to his dumpster in the alley behind his house.

“Do you smell that, sarge?” asked one of the uniforms, the one with the mustache. He looked a little green.

“You’d have to be a freak not to,” Swanson growled and swallowed his gorge back down.

“Check upstairs.”

“On it, sir,” Mustache said, and began mounting the stairs. Halfway up, he groaned.

“God, it’s even worse up here.”

“Swallow your vomit, officer,” Swanson snapped, unholstering his own weapon and moving further down the hallway.

The other uniformed officer, looking even greener, followed him. Swanson issued orders without looking.

“Officer Wilde, please check these rooms.” He gestured to the three rooms opening off the hallway.

“Right, sarge,” Wilde said, and swallowed, opening the door to his right and vanishing inside.

Swanson continued down the hall and into the kitchen, where flies buzzed around a sink stacked high with dishes. Bits of food littered the table and counters, crumbs bearing the imprint of small feet, rodent, and insect. The microwave hung open, splatters of red and brown caking the inside. Cupboard doors had been pulled half off and yawned empty with their contents crusted with filth and stacked in the sink and on the counter. A pile of decaying hamburger lay forgotten by all but the maggots on the table, still half in its plastic wrapper.

Around the table places were laid using a child’s plastic tea party set. There was something red and viscous inside the little pink cups, drawing the attention of the flies. On one of the plates lay a finger. Swanson’s stomach gave a sick lurch as he once again fought to control his gorge. Grabbing the radio from his pocket, he pressed the button.

“This is Swanson, I’m at the Hoffman residence and I’m going to need medical assistance and backup immediately!” The radio gurgled at him but his attention was arrested by Officer Mustache flying down the stairs with a look of horror on his face.

“Tom!” he yelled at Swanson, ignoring protocol. “Hoffman’s wife is up there, dead and mutilated! She’s at the bottom of the ladder to the attic and her face is all fucked up and it looks like someone fucking crushed her chest, she’s fuckin’–”

“Enough!” Swanson roared, grabbing the hysterical officer by the shoulders and shaking him hard.

“Enough that she’s dead, now get the hell out of here and get on the horn to headquarters, tell them to send people here pronto!”Mustache made haste for the front door down the hallway whence they had come, before being stopped short by a bloodcurdling screech from the room Officer Wilde had entered.

Mustache leaped back, almost into Swanson’s arms, who had been close behind. “What in the fuck was that?”Swanson threw the petrified officer aside, making a subconscious note to have a word with Mustache’s superior about his future in law enforcement. Gun ready, Swanson kicked the door in and froze.

His gun wavered and the barrel dropped, though he did not notice. Officer Wilde lay on the floor, gurgling and trying to pull a large pair of scissors from his throat while breathing through his own blood. Hoffman stood over him, shoulders hunched, clad in a pair of stained boxers and a yellowed white undershirt. His eyes snapped to the new intruders, and he recoiled,scuttling around to the other side of his desk which was piled high with delivery cartons and bottles of beer and whiskey. He peered out at them from between the mountains of Chinese containers and pizza boxes, his eyes distorted by the whiskey bottle he stared through. Swanson could see madness there, and it chilled him more than anything he had seen.

“I know what you want,” Hoffman hissed, and Swanson was without warning transported back to the theater when he and his children had watched Lord of the Rings and laughed at the creature Gollum, alias Sméagol.

This living Gollum glared at him. “You want her back, don’t you. Well, you can’t have her. She likes me, and she likes it here with her sister.” Hoffman looked down at the desk, between two bottles.

“Don’t worry,” he said, and now his voice was fatherly and gentle.

“I won’t let them take you from her.”Swanson, taking some comfort from the siren he now heard approaching, pulled himself together and raised the gun again.

“Eric Hoffman, you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Officer Wilde down there. Put your hands on your head and turn around, man. Don’t make me kill you.”

Hoffman looked up at Swanson and raised his hands with deliberation. “Promise me you’ll leave her here? You won’t separate them?

Swanson could not help but note with the sickness that one of Hoffman’s fingers was missing as he laced his them behind his head and turned around.

“I can’t promise anything, who are you talking about?” He moved forward, pulling his handcuffs from his pocket. Hoffman nodded at the desk.

“June.” Snapping the cuffs around Hoffman’s wrists, Swanson relaxed a fraction and holstered his weapon as he followed Hoffman’s nod down to the desk. A doll in black and white sat there looking up at him, one cracked eyebrow giving her a sinister leer. An involuntary shudder went through Swanson and he nodded.

“No problem, Eric. She’ll stay right here.”

“That’s real good,” Hoffman said with a smile. “They’ve been together for so long, they’d hate to get separated.”

“Yeah, I bet,” Swanson said, hearing the siren stop its approach outside the house and the slamming of doors as the EMTs unloaded their gear for the now unmoving Officer Wilde.

“Let’s go, Eric.”Hoffman allowed himself to be led out as the paramedics rushed in, and put into the back of one of the police cars he used to drive, calling back to the house,

“Don’t worry, Junie! I’ll be back soon!”

“Not fucking likely, sport,” Swanson muttered as he opened the car door to get behind the wheel.

“Hey!” yelled a paramedic. “There’s a little girl back here!”

 

Through Doll’s Eyes by Jesse Orr

ThroughDollsEyes

It looked like tapioca.

It wasn’t.

Brain dripped down the wall in a Niagara of Vivian and Eric. Everything they ever had been, everything they had hoped to become, was smeared across the brick face.

Detective Hoffman had seen his share of automobile accidents, but not as many as one would think. There was precious little use for a homicide detective on the streets mopping up impaired drivers, normally. Normally, though, cars did not smash at full speed into a solid object which had been there for decades with no attempt at brake application.

It was due to this last anomaly that Hoffman stood here now, regarding dual brain prints on the wall and wondering what his daughter saw in tapioca. He had already photographed the scene several hundred times from varying angles and was waiting for the tow truck to fight its way through the traffic caused by the accident so it could remove the largest bit of detritus from the roadway. Once it was gone, Hoffman could document the spot it had lay in an attempt to divine further clues.

In an attempt to distract himself from the dessert on the wall, he lifted the digital camera around his neck to his eyes and pressed the View button. The most recent image leaped onto the LCD and he was treated to a close-up of the tapioca. Grimacing, he flicked backward through the images until the brain documentation had passed.

Here was the front seat from the driver’s side, both passenger, and a driver having exited through the windshield. Only their legs from the knees down remained in the car. The rest of them were alternatively smashed into the brick wall and laying on the hood. Here was the front seat from the passenger’s side and the accompanying closeups. Here was the backseat, which was attempting to get into the front seat. And sitting in the back seat…

Hoffman blinked. He flicked to another photo of the backseat, this from a closer angle.Then from the other side of the car. Finally, the camera had been held right inside the smoking ruin and a photo had been snapped. Two dolls, sitting side by side as neat as though they had been placed with care and seat belted in. Everything in the car had been thrown forward, but these dolls looked to be out for a day cruise. Hoffman was sure they had not been there when he took the photo. He lowered the camera and stepped around the corpse of the car to look in the back window.

There they sat, smiling with a blank vacuity, eyebrows raised at the world they regarded. Hoffman gazed back, a smile coming over his face. They were actually pretty cute, those little things. His daughter collected dolls, and she sure would love these.

Without having any idea how it had happened, Hoffman was sitting in his unmarked police car, piloting it away from the smoldering wreck in which Eric and Vivian had met their end. Beside him, strapped in with care in the passenger seat, sat the two dolls. They looked out the windshield, over the dashboard, eager for their approaching new home. Their chauffeur sat rigid in his seat, his mind a roaring blank save how much his daughter was going to love adding these two to her collection.

Hoffman arrived home earlier than usual. He probably should have stayed longer at the scene, but it didn’t seem very important. Compared to the look he knew would appear on his daughter’s face, some drunken fatcat smearing he and his wife’s brains across a brick wall didn’t seem to be so much as a blip on his radar. He turned into his driveway and his eyes fell to the dolls. He smiled. So cute.

“Daddy, they’re so cute!” Sofia squealed, cuddling the dolls to her.
“Where did you find them?”

“Never mind,” Hoffman said, beaming, the roaring in his mind as gentle as the sound of surf on a beach. “Why don’t you go show them to your mommy?”

Sofia was off like a shot, up the stairs, and into her little sister’s bedroom. Her mother, Mary, was putting her sister Rachel down for a nap when Sofia burst in.

“Mommy, mommy, look what daddy got for me!” She displayed the dolls with glee. Her mother’s expression of shock and distaste went unnoticed.
“Wasn’t that sweet of him,” Mary said, pasting a smile on her face. Her hand went unbidden to the baby Rachel, reassuring and soft, cooing in her sleep.

She was going to have to talk to Dave. These dolls were fucking creepy, the way they were leering at her. “I’m naming this one June and this one Janie!” Sofia babbled, shoving each doll in turn into Mary’s face. “Want to hold them?”

“Oh, no, honey, I’ve got to get Rachel to bed,” Mary said, regardless of the fact that Rachel was in bed and asleep. “Run along now and play with… with June and Janie while I put your sister down for her nap.”

Sofia skipped out the door and down the hall to her room. She had just the outfits in mind for the two dolls. She dropped them on her bed and went to her closet. She was rummaging through the piles when her hands slowed their feverish digging and her eyes lost their focus.

Really, there was no need to change their clothes. They liked it just the way they were.

From that day forward, more and more, Sofia could not find June, though she was sure she had not moved June from her spot. That was all right with Sofia, she liked Janie better anyway. They would go out to the garden, and eventually, June would end up back in her room so what did it matter?

Hoffman smiled at June and gestured toward the window of his study with his lit cigarette.

“You didn’t want to go out and pretend to drink stupid tea anyways did you? Never mind, you can keep me company.”

June said that would be just fine, she preferred coffee anyways.

“I hear that,” Hoffman said, nodding. “Tea is just pee from a tree, I always say.” He didn’t, but he thought it sounded clever. He didn’t want June to think he was a bumbling rube.

June complimented him on his eloquence and expressed her disappointment that his wife didn’t seem to like Janie and her.

Hoffman wrinkled his nose and puffed. “She just doesn’t appreciate good company, Juney darlin’. Don’t you go worrying about her, she’s just too wrapped up with baby Rachel.”

All the same, June said, she would feel far better if everybody in the house got along.

“Well I hear you, but what can we do?”

June considered for a time and suggested that perhaps if his wife had fewer demands on her time, she would be able to get to know June and her sister better. Hoffman nodded as he thought about it.

“That could work, you know she’s been awful stressed lately and not sleeping too well. What could we do for her to ease her mind?” June told him.

Mary hurried down the hall, wiping the soap off her hands. She had been washing dishes when she thought she had heard the baby cry out. Their baby monitor’s battery had been dead for a week or more and the house was fresh out of nine-volt batteries so she wasn’t entirely sure what she’d heard was real.

Steve Hoffman stood facing her beside Rachel’s crib, cradling her blanketed little body in his arms. Mary leaned against the doorway and smiled. As the doorway creaked, Steve looked over at her.

“She was getting a little fussy so I calmed her down,” he said and smiled back.“Thank you,” Mary said gratefully. “I don’t remember Sofia running me quite so ragged.”

She glanced at the wall clock. “Speaking of which, it’s about time for little girls of all ages to be washing up. Is she out in the garden with her dolls?”

“Just Janie,” Steve said, pulling the blanket from Rachel’s crib and tucking it around her.
“June is in my study.”

“My mistake,” mumbled Mary, moving down the hallway toward the door leading to the garden and the back door.

“Things are going to get easier, you’ll see,” Steve called down the hallway to Mary. “June said so.”

He smiled at the baby in his arms. When he had smothered her, she had only made a single noise. Nothing for Mary to worry about, now or ever again. Now, they could be a family. The five of them.

Through Doll’s Eyes by Jesse Orr

ThroughDollsEyes

Egg Hunting: by Jesse Orr

Egg Hunting
by Jesse Orr
The day of the egg hunt dawned cool, mostly clear, and breezy. The parents were relieved; they would not have to supervise in the rain, as had been forecast. The egg hunters were relieved, the fiercely competitive hunt would not be made any easier by wet underfoot.
Almost a thousand children, ages old enough to walk to twelve, milled around the stadium
parking lot, clamoring to be allowed inside. The local team had no game on Easter, and the team’s owner (who was running for mayor) had invited the public to bring their young. So they can restlessly search for the ten thousand hollow plastic eggs which had been hidden throughout the stadium’s bleachers and playing field. A prize would be given to the children with the most eggs, second most, third, and honorable mentions as Egg-Hunter Extraordinaire for all the rest.
As promised, on the stroke of noon, the doors opened and ticket takers appeared in the kiosks, marshaling people inside and down the stairs to the field. They were relieved, the event was a free one, without the headaches of fake tickets and sports-crazed fans that so often plagued their working hours. The news reporters found talking to them later to be an absolute waste of time. Since being outside they didn’t see anything that happened.
When finally the parking lot had streamed into the field as directed, a deafening voice filled the stadium.
“ALL HUNTERS TO THE CENTER OF THE FIELD!”
The children squealed and dashed forward in a tidal wave of glee, buckets, baskets and bags eager to hold the bright plastic booty. In no time a sizable knot clustered in the middle of the grass, positively quivering with anticipation. The parents spread to the edges of the field closest to their children, glowing with benevolence and raising cameras to document the precious moment. Mad rumors had been flying about the nature of the prizes, the most popular belief being that a local chocolate factory had donated several hundred pounds of their best rabbits for the purpose.
“ALL RIGHT CHILDREN!” the voice yelled, sounding beside itself with excitement. “ON
YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO!!!”
But this was only heard in its entirety by Charles Bucket, Sr., the owner of the team, the
stadium, the voice, and one young lad by the name of Charles Bucket Jr., who coincidentally was the reason for this selective hearing. Junior (to which he was naturally referred) stood before the knot of children, both hands clasped around daddy’s gun, his five year old fingers struggling to work the stiff action of the trigger. It was the first explosion which had blocked the last of Charles Senior’s message to the crowd.
Junior had thrown a fit when Charles explained that his son could absolutely not participate in the egg hunt contest, for it would reek of favoritism and not benefit his coming election. He was neither cheered when Charles attempted to console him by saying that all the eggs surely wouldn’t be found, and after the hunt was over Junior could have a go at them. It was only when Charles suggested Junior might just rather stay at home in his room with the babysitter watching TV that the fit ceased. They had
left an hour later and Junior had been a little quieter than usual, but perfectly well behaved.
At least until now.
Bullets ripped through hunters and parents alike, some passing through the former to strike the latter who were rushing forward to save their hunters. One bullet exited one girl’s eye to slam into the kneecap of her mother, shattering it and causing her to yowl in agony and limp for the rest of her life. Junior turned, his sore fingers continuing their squeezing sending out the next shot, and the next, and the next, knocking a pair of twins to the ground with sucking chest wounds and piercing a small boy’s hand with a neatly placed bullet in the middle of the palm. By now everyone was too far away for him
to aim well, and the trigger produced nothing but a clicking sound. He tossed it aside and looked around.
It had been far louder than he expected, and the silence was comforting. Except for the screams. But it had worked. The field was deserted except for those who could not walk. Some were still moving, but that was OK, they probably wouldn’t feel like egg hunting anymore anyway. Some weren’t moving at all, and that was OK too. One of the immobile was Janie Somers, and that was great.
Janie was the one who had taken the first shot through the head for laughing at him for not being allowed to hunt. Janie was always being so mean to him. He’d show her now. He’d show his daddy too. He grabbed Janie’s basket and started toward the first egg he could see in the bleachers, taking care to step on Janie’s head. He could almost taste the chocolate already.

Free Fiction Friday: Gluttony by Jesse Orr

GLUTTONY

by Jesse Orr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The bathroom?

Well why not.

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

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

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

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

**********

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

https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

Grant Me Serenity: The End Part 2

gms

“Well now,” Len said pleasantly, not moving. “I see we have quite a quandary.”
“Yeah?” Harding sneered. “I don’t see a quandary. You don’t get moving, there’ll be a bullet in your head before you can think about saying goodbye.”
“How are you going to do that without having to explain a lot of things to them?” Len nodded at the door leading to the hallway which opened to the parking lot. Decent group tonight, judging by the amount of door-slamming and the volume of residual chatter as the AA members who smoked lit up around the ashtray. “I don’t see a silencer on that gun of yours. Your arm must be getting tired, by the way.”
Harding’s face was frozen in the sneer but his eyes had filled with an uncertainty Len recognized. His arm, whether genuinely tired, or inspired to be so by the power of suggestion, began to tremble.
Len began to move forward, hands held out to his sides, a placid smile on his face. Harding raised the gun anew. “Get moving out that back door motherfucker, I swear to Christ I’ll blow your fucking head off. Don’t push me.”
“Oh I’m sure you would,” Len replied, still coming forward, still with hands out. “I’m not as heavily armed as that man but my pockets are full of shadows. Who knows, one of them could be an automatic.”
“Shut up!” Harding’s gun pointed at Len’s head, then his stomach, then his chest. “Just shut the fuck up and get out the door!” His voice had risen noticeably.
The smile dropped off Len’s face. Only some had seen the look which replaced it, most of whom were dead. “Last chance, EX-detective. Put your gun away and leave. You can continue being whatever you are now instead of what you will become.”
“Fuck you!” Harding raised the gun again and aimed it between Len’s eyes. “This is your last fucking chance!”
Len sighed, and plunged his hand into his pocket. Harding, his nerves strung tighter than a guitar string, fired.

“The jury finds the defendant guilty of the charge of murder in the first degree.”
The words hung in the courtroom, leaden. Guilty. Murder. Harding could scarcely believe it. Hearing the jury recommend the death penalty was even more surreal. Death penalty? For him? What the fuck had happened? How had he gotten here?
His mind whirred through the past like a flipbook. Yesterday’s meeting with his lawyer. Good record, recovery, acquittal is a sure thing, blah blah blah. The weeks leading up to that meeting, the trial, the hell of being torn apart in front of crowd, a judge, a newspaper, with the press, always the press out for his blood, and some days those four smirking faces from the church in the crowd, right there but unattainable. The months of incarceration prior to that whole media frenzy, pacing his cell, desperate for time with his lawyer, because then, only then, did he feel like he was making progress, moving forward. The weeks immediately afterward, when he had been in the purgatory of jail, not knowing what was coming, only knowing it was taking its sweet time and that it was going to be bad, then being proved correct in his worst assumptions. That horrible night he had been taken into the police station in the humiliating perp-walk, handcuffed past his peers, some of them gawking, some shaking their heads, some smirking like the pieces of shit they were. His mug shot, the most painful moment of all, somehow, was when they had fingerprinted him. Finally the ghastly night in the basement of the church when he had somehow, like a fucking idiot…

A small round dot appeared between Len’s eyes, visible for a split second before his head jerked back and threw him to the floor, arms flying out, hands open, nothing but emptiness inside. Unarmed.
“No,” Ed groaned, dropping to his feet beside Len and dropping his gun. “No, oh God oh God NO!” he screamed, pawing desperately at Len’s hand, as though by magic he could make a weapon appear in it. He slapped Len’s legs, hoping to manifest a gun in a holster, a knife in a pocket, something, anything, oh holy fuck not again…
“Oh my God!”
This new hellishly unwelcome voice cut in. Ed jerked his head around, eyes bulging, staring at the first alcoholic to enter the room, a matronly woman in a pink pants suit, whose face was hidden behind her ringed hands, horror in her eyes.
Ed held out his hands to her, numbly glad he had dropped the gun, his mouth working on excuses, somehow blurting out, “I can explain…”

His last meal was a big decision, and Ed thought about it long and hard. Finally, he settled on Shepherd’s Pie, sauerkraut, and pistachio ice cream, washing it down with two cans of Mountain Dew. He immediately regretted it upon finishing, wishing instead he had ordered beef stew, or ravioli, but that was just who Ed Harding was. Had he ordered all three, he would have wished for something different. As he sat there, tasting the sauerkraut and fishing errant strings of it from his back teeth, a guard appeared at his door. It was time.
As he was being strapped in to the chair, trying to keep from hyperventilating, the door in the back of the death chamber opened. Dr Pudge entered. Missy followed. She looked straight at him, with not a hint of recognition. His jaw dropped.
“Hey…”
The guard, moving so swiftly he seemed not to move at all, fixed a gag across Ed’s mouth. The room returned to its normal silence as the necessary plumbing was hooked up to Ed’s body. His eyes grew huger as he saw Jerry, Jessica and Paul sitting in the gallery. No one else was there. Paul smiled and waved. Jessica glared. Jerry’s face was a mask.
The guard, seeing the prisoner was ready for execution, made his speech. “Edward Harding, you have been sentenced to die by a jury of your peers. Do you have anything to say before sentence is carried out?” The guard removed the gag, and Ed filled his lungs.
“Listen to me. This is the truth. That crazy bitch there,” he nodded in Missy’s direction. Her face didn’t move. “and those three assholes–” nodding toward the gallery, “are psychopaths! Murderers! I killed one of their little group after they sat around telling stories about how they’d done it as kids! Ask them! Go on!”
The guard nodded as though he believed every word. This was not the first time someone in the chair had screamed accusations with their last breath. It would not be the last. He looked at Missy. She nodded in return, and began opening valves in her deadly dance. Ed was still ranting as he noticed his eyes growing heavy. He began to yell, but by then, it was over.

Until his eyes opened.

“Oh, there he is, I told you he’d wake up, didn’t I?” A woman’s voice, nearly crowing with delight. Horrible to hear. Horribly familiar.

“Well done, Missy,” a male voice said.

Ed was shivering, but could not move. Was he still in that god damn death room? Was his execution still going on? Then why did the ceiling look so much darker?

A stinging smack on the side of his face brought the ceiling in to focus. He shook his head and looked around him just in time for the rolled up towel someone was snapping to take him in the eye and nearly gouge it out by the feeling, holy shit he had never felt that much pain in an eyeball and what the FUCK was going on..?

“Did that rouse you a bit honey?” Another female voice was crooning next to his ear. “Wouldn’t want you to sleep through Len’s memorial now would we?” She had just finished the last word when a fist smashed into Ed’s nose, bending it to the left with a crack. Ed howled.

“Cool it,” the first woman said. “There’s no rush, and we want him to stay conscious at least for a little while.” Harsh laughter.

The abuse ceased and Ed shook his head, trying to clear his vision. His right eye was a stinging slit of agony misted with red, but the left was taking things in all too well. His mind began to process them.

He was in a chair, arms behind him, stripped to the shorts and soaked. Apparently he’d been doused with water to wake him up. He tried to bring his hands around front and found, to no real surprise, that they had been restricted behind him. He pulled, expecting to hear the clank of chains and heard… nothing. No movement either. They had glued his hands together behind his back, as though he were rubbing them together. He could not move so much as a finger.

They stood around him, over him, surveying him. Missy still wore her business suit but her hair had come out of its bun.

“Curious? I bet you are.” A hand dropped into her pocket and procured a little glass vial. “I just switched out the deadly stuff for some sugar water and switched you for some other corpse on the way out of the morgue, once I declared you legally dead.” She grinned, and Ed felt his blood run cold.

“Brilliant, doctor,” Jerry said, and applauded her. Paul and Jessica joined in, giving Missy a well deserved ovation.

“Thank you,” she said, giving them a curtsy and turning to give one to Ed as well. “Len has been cremated long since, but we waited to have the memorial until you could join us for the fun. It wouldn’t be the same without you.”

Ed could only look on in dumbstruck horror as she picked up the briefcase sitting beside her and turned to place it on a counter nearby. She opened it.

Fluorescent light ricocheted off the angles of the cutting tools filling the briefcase. Razor blades, scalpels, assorted knives and something which looked horribly like a cheese grater grinned at Ed with shining teeth.

Ed began to blubber.

Jerry reached forward and took a scalpel. Jessica grabbed a razor blade. Paul took a large butcher knife. Missy took her favorite, the cheese grater, and the small salt shaker that came with it.

Ed began to plead, to threaten, to bargain, forgetting that for all intents and purposes, to the world, Ed Harding was already dead.

The four of them lined up, Missy at their lead. They would continue taking turns, until the sport had worn off. But it would take a while. They were in no rush.

Ed began to scream.

Missy walked forward, her eyes searching for the perfect patch of skin to begin her ministrations. Behind her, she heard them praying.

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

THE END

**********

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

https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

HorrorAddicts.net 122, Dario Ciriello

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 122

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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dario ciriello | glass android | mario bava

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

27 days till halloween

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s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick, Mimi Williams, Lisa Vasquez

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HorrorAddicts.net 121, Eden Royce

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Horror Addicts Episode# 121

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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eden royce | klaus von karlos |
thriller season 1

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

42 days till halloween

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Grant Me Serenity – Ed

gms

Surprise, Motherfucker!

My name is Ed and I’m an alcoholic. That’s how I came to be in this room, waiting to attend an AA meeting, after being one my whole life. Learned from my dad, and he was one of the best. Tasted my first beer at five I think. Didn’t do me much good at the time but what did I know. Fortunately I learned from dad how to pretend not to be an alcoholic at the same time, and I’ve been pretty good at it since. It got pretty bad when I got about high school age, went away when I joined the military. Just too damn tired to drink. It was after I got out and police work started to get dull that I started to drink, just a few beers during lunch, then rolling around with a nice buzz, chewing mints, smoking cigarettes and listening to the radio. Eventually, the lunches got longer, the buzzes afterward became outright drunks, and since I was plainclothes, eventually a uniform saw me weaving a bit too much and flipped his lights on. I’d smoked my last in the bar and I was out of mints so when I opened the window and he smelled my breath, he didn’t care about the badge I showed him.

I happen to be acquainted well with the daughter of a local judge, and through his grace my little indiscretion never saw the light of press, nor police report. But everybody knew. I could see it when I walked through the station, when I passed someone in the hall, when my path coincided with another guy on the uncomfortable shared walk to the restroom. I could see it, and what’s more, I could feel it.

But I didn’t stop. Not even then. I just stopped not hiding it. The beers at lunch became bourbon sipped throughout the day from a flask which was often refilled, and I lived in fear of straying too far from a white or yellow line when I drove. But I didn’t stop. I couldn’t. You all understand that, don’t you? I’m pretty sure that given what I’ve just listened to, you all know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re just lucky you don’t puke afterward.

Then, after months that seemed like years of ridicule, an old buddy was short a man and asked if I could get my shit together and jump on his team for serving search and hopefully arrest warrants on some goon somewhere. I didn’t care. Second-string or not, someone was looking at me as more than just a fuckup. Naturally I made sure I was properly drunk at the time so I didn’t lose my nerve or anything, and naturally,  I overdid it. Subconsciousness, maybe? Who the fuck knows. All I know is when we were walking up the path to this house, I was weaving worse than when I was pulled over on the road, the guy behind me is hissing under his breath “Get it together for fuck’s sake you fucking drunk” and the guy in front is following the leader, and hisses back “shut the fuck up, it’s too late now” because the boss was mounting the step and the show was about to kick off.

So to make a long story short, the door opens, the guy runs, we chase him through the house. He goes upstairs, like a genius, and gets cornered in the bathroom. Like in The Shining or some shit. He’s locked in there, hollering he’ll die first, fucking pigs, blah blah, and the sarge is doing his usual COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP routine. I’m still seeing double at this point and my stomach is doing a weird queasy thing that never means good news. So naturally, the sarge tells me “Harding, cover that goddamn door and if anything comes out without its hands up AND empty you fill it full of lead. Any questions?” I shook my head, afraid to open my mouth and vomit on the sarge under the best of circumstances. He turns back to the door and I pull my gun on it, trying like hell to draw a bead on something, anything, that looks like more than a doubling mirage. “The door is coming down” bawls the sarge, “so get your goddamn hands out of the way, then put them up and walk out!”

Two guys bring up a ram. Just as they’re about to start their charge, the door flies open and the guy comes out. I don’t even know his name. All I know is he’s got a gun and I start shooting. I pull the trigger over and over, aiming at first one of the blurred visions I’m seeing, then the other. Left, then right, then between them, back and forth, until I realize the gun is empty. I wonder how long it’s been empty and I shake my head. That motion and the concussions of the gunshot with the gunsmoke in my nose is what did it in the end.

That was my lowest point. Vomiting my liquid breakfast onto my feet in front of a squad of SWAT guys after emptying my gun into an unarmed man with, it turned out, nothing but a shadow in his hand.

My friend’s dad the judge had a bit harder time covering this one up, not because of the man I’d killed, but because a number of the squad were of the opinion that there should be nothing covered up. In the end, they settled for my resignation. But as I said, people talk.

“So now,” Harding said, holding his gun on each of them in turn as he spoke, his hand trembling but not drunk. Not for two years. “Now, when I bring you all in and it comes out that I arrested you in the course of attending my AA meetings after years of sobriety–” The gun came to rest on Missy. Harding exhaled, and grinned.

 

HorrorAddicts.net 120, Chantal Noordeloos

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Horror Addicts Episode# 120

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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

chantal noordeloos | madalice | found footage

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

54 days till halloween

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Grant Me Serenity-Flashback

gms

“Mommy, hurry up!” Missy, aged 9, fussed at her mother. Len and Dennis were already going down to the river and if she didn’t hurry she’d be left behind. Not on purpose, she knew. Her brothers were always glad, often eager to have her along. They always said she wasn’t the typical little sister. But they weren’t the typical older brothers. They had not ditched her rather, than minding the brat, they had been unable to contain their eagerness, and left before Mommy had finished braiding her hair. They couldn’t possibly be across the second field by now but she’d have to run to catch them, and if they were lost in the woods before she found them she’d have to stay home, because Daddy told her never to go in the woods without someone else until she was older.

“Young lady, if you don’t hold still I’m going to braid your hair to this porch!” her mother barked, yanking the attempts at pigtails back into place and setting her daughter’s head. “Don’t move this time and you can go!”

Missy tried not to move but she couldn’t help craning her head, trying to see that last corner of the last field, the one with the path to the creek through the woods she was never allowed to go in on her own. If she moved just a little more, she could see it and if her brothers were there and she ran and screamed they might stop…

Her mother hauled her head back into place and resumed braiding. “Honestly, Missy, you haven’t the patience God gave a sparrow. You’re going swimming, so you’re getting your hair braided.” Eventually the braids were done, containing her daughter’s long dark hair, but the braids looked like cancerous snakes. Her mother couldn’t help giggling.

Missy looked over her shoulder. “What is it? Are you done? Can I go?”

Barely containing her mirth, she nodded and gave Missy both a kiss on the lumpy braid and a little push. “Yes. Go on honey. I love you.”

The little girl was gone like a shot. Her mother contained her laughter at the sight of the two tumorous reptiles attached to her daughter’s head until they were out of sight.

Missy sprinted down the fence line of the first field and crashed through the shallow waters of the brook separating the two fields. Up the hill, she could see two shapes just beginning to merge with the colors of the forest. She stopped and took a deep breath, stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled. A piercing blast emanated from her hand, and the two shapes stopped merging with the darkness of the treeline. Gratified, Missy renewed her sprint. Dennis had shown her that trick and after weeks of practicing she had mastered it. That whistle, Dennis and Len assured her, would stop what they were doing. A second would bring them running.

“Hoy!” she hollered, and resumed her run, but at a leisurely jog rather than a full sprint. The two shapes grew arms, legs, a head, and features as she got closer.

“Nice whistle,” Dennis said, giving her a five and she slapped it.

“Not bad,” Len agreed, and immediately turned back to the trail they had just sighted when Missy had whistled. “Come on, let’s go. It’s hot, and I’m hot.”

They all were, and fell into line behind Len. Missy next, and Dennis followed, cataloging as if to himself what he planned to do upon reaching the water.

“First, I wade in up to the ankles. Then the knees, then turn around and back in slowly until it gets up to my waist. Then I can slowly lower myself in and not even have to get my head wet if I don’t want to.” Dennis smiled at the sky, and the sun, whose bounty made this trip necessary. “If I don’t die of heat stroke first.”

After a while, the path narrowed and brush grew up around it. Branches grabbed and Missy was glad of her pigtails now, time-consuming though they had been. They ducked under and hopped over and elbowed their way through brush until they came out at gray sandy beach with crystal clear turquoise water reflecting a blue sky and a few puffs of clouds. In the water were around a dozen children varying from just able to swim to unable to remember how not to. There was a great deal of splashing and yelling and was punctuated by the occasional splash as someone ran up a small ridge and jumped off the six-foot bluff into the water. Len wasted no time in racing up the ridge and creating a massive splash with a war-whoop. Dennis followed suit. Missy, not feeling the ridge and war whoops to be quite her style, waded in and dog-paddled out to where her brothers latched on to her and towed her around in circles.

A boy with long dark hair slicked back on his head paddled up beside them, grinned, and spat water at them. Dennis laughed and splashed at him. The boy splashed back. Immediately there was an all-out war of splashing, spraying and laughter as they battled it out, each seeking to soak the other in the water in which they all bathed. Missy didn’t know anything was amiss until she noticed there were only their three heads instead of the four. She looked around, thinking the boy had gone away to splash someone else. She saw only Len and Dennis, breathing rapidly as they trod water and grinned back at her.

“Where’d he go?” Missy looked around again, then looked back at her brothers.

Len looked down.

Missy looked too.

The boy with the long hair was between them, beneath the surface, his fingers no longer breaking it in their quest for freedom. Their movement had slowed, and were visible about a foot beneath the surface, where they gradually stopped moving.

Dennis winked at her, and Len let out a yell and hauled up on the hand of the long-haired boy, screaming as he did, “Help! Help! Someone get help, I think Harry’s dead!” Dennis now took up the cry. “Help! He’s not breathing! Someone get help!” Dennis nudged Missy, and she gave voice to her own scream. “Help! Somebody HELP!”

Her piercing shriek carried across the fields as her mother hung the laundry out to dry. She shook her head and went on pinning the clothes to the line, an indulgent smile on her face.

“Those kids,” she said to herself, and sighed, not quite ruefully.

 

“Those were the days,” Missy smiled, and looked around at the group. “Back when not getting caught and Mom’s apple pie were the two most important things in the –”

There was movement from the back of the room. Long curtains covered the wall for some reason and the shape now moving independently from them had blended almost perfectly with the shadows and the dark gray of the drapes. This shape rose up from the ground slipped behind the drapes, and clawed them aside with a curse. The fabric fell aside and revealed a man’s face, gray with stubble and haggard, bloodshot eyes framed by not-yet-grayed brown hair falling across his forehead in a greasy mat. He pushed himself off the wall and stood erect, squaring his shoulders and pushing the hair out of his face. Once he had collected himself, he spoke, reaching under his coat as he did for the tools of his trade, fighting to stay upright.

The group had drawn back from the drapes as the shape had moved and now they bunched together as the newcomer voiced their worst nightmare even as he palmed his gun and showed his badge with his other hand.

“Police department. Everybody get on their knees with their hands behind their head. Nobody fucking move unless they want a bullet in the eye.”

I’ll do it too, Ed Harding thought, as he sighted on the younger woman with a hand which would not stay steady. Starting with this sick bitch.

HorrorAddicts.net 119, Jaq D. Hawkins

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Horror Addicts Episode# 119

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

jaq d. hawkins | more machine than man | slasher movies

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

68 days till halloween

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Grant Me Serenity – Missy

GMSMy name is Missy, and I’m an addict. That’s what you guys say, right?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been like this. As a little girl in pigtails and jeans, I remember I would grab the stinkiest chemical out from under the sink and pour the whole bottle down the anthills and watch them run. One day I saw my brother with the magnifying glass trying to light a fire, and it occurred to me how much more personal it would be if I just applied that bit of heat to a tiny ant, rather than drowning them with chemicals. It took most of the afternoon but I finally mastered the glass, and could bring a pinprick of hell to bear on an ant within seconds. Like the hand of God, I smote and smote, unable to control the huge grin on my face. Inevitably though, I grew, and as I did, the ants ceased to hold their interest. Like any addict, I now needed something more.
I saved up my coins and bought a mouse trap. I was so excited the night I set it under our porch. I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning and see if I’d gotten anything. I lay awake for ages, listening for the snap, before waking up to the light of day. I flew out of bed and down the porch stairs in my bare feet. There it was, snapped across the skull of what I later learned was a shrew. Its eyes bulged and there was a deep crimp in its head where the bar of the trap had snapped, but it was otherwise unmarked. I was disappointed. Sure, I had killed it. But it was cold and stiff and I had been asleep while the trap did the actual dirty work hours before, crushing its brain as efficiently and humanely as it had been designed to do. The satisfaction I received from roasting ants was better than this!
Frustrated, I saved my money again. This time, I went to the pet store, a jumpy nervous excitement bouncing my stomach. Straight to the Small Animals section, where a strange thing happened. I looked in the eyes of a white rat with a spot on its forehead, and my original plan evaporated. I did purchase her, but she became my companion rather than my victim, living in my sweater hood and riding on my shoulder as I went about my day. I named her Rat, and cried for a week when she finally passed away.
This inconvenient softening did not help my deeper issue, namely something larger than an ant and less quickly dispatched than a mousetrap. However, thanks to Rat, the easy pickings such as all the neighborhood pets, as well as regular trips to the pet store, were unthinkable. There were times I would look at a random cat curled up on my mother’s car as though it had every right to be there, and I would wonder how bad it would hurt me before I could get it immobilized and start…
Rat’s beady little black eyes regarded me solemnly from my shoulder. I could feel her looking at me, as though she knew what I was thinking, and I would look away from the cat, embarrassed. It was just being a cat. Rat was just being a rat, and the ants were just being ants. They had no say in the matter and knew nothing of malice.
People, though…
More and more I couldn’t stop thinking about a girl in my class at school. Rachel S, I’ll call her, and she was Perfect, with a capital fucking P. She knew it too, and made sure everyone else did. None of the Perfect girls had any problem with me, but if Rachel knew what I thought about as I watched her bitching her way through life, she would never have accepted my invitation to spend the night that Saturday.
The next morning, she was gone. I told my family we had argued, and she had left sometime around midnight. This was not unreasonable, she lived two blocks from our house and there were streetlights the whole way. Besides, she was twelve years old, and she could take care of herself, she said when she left, I told Mom. When she was missed, I told her parents and police the same thing, explaining our quarrel away as over a boy. She was never found, and ultimately it was assumed someone had snatched her in those two blocks and made a clean getaway. Nobody ever asked me about it in any official capacity again.
She was my first person, but I was smart enough to know I couldn’t go around preying on everybody I knew. Once I could get away with, I was sure. Twice, I was pretty sure I could get away with as well, but not sure enough. I began spending time at various summer camps in the woods, where many accidents were possible, and accidents did happen. The worst for me, personally, was when a girl and I fell off a log into a river and were washed over a decent sized waterfall. I broke my leg. The girl I was with broke her back and couldn’t move from the waist down. I pulled her to the bank and she was gone by the time we were found, some two hours later. I told counselors through an Oscar-winning show of hysterics that she had died immediately.

Finally, not being stupid, Mom confronted me, and I broke down, tearfully spilling all of my extracurricular activities and expecting her to call the police at any moment. The last thing I expected was the scolding, the “why didn’t you tell me young lady” and the tour of the basement. I quit going to the camps, relieved to have found a steady outlet. But even so, it wasn’t enough. I longed for a more visceral experience. I thought military or law enforcement might be a suitable outlet, until I went to my first execution when I was eighteen with Mom.
She took all of us when we turned eighteen, just so we knew what the stakes were. I remember equally the lesson, and the executioner. His face was like granite, but his eyes were a volcano. When I read the files on those being executed, I could see why. I knew that look; I had seen it in my own eyes when I caught sight of myself in one of the basement’s mirrors when things were really going down. The fun comes in dispatching someone who truly NEEDS to die.
“So here I am,” Missy finishes, looking around with bright eyes. “Through hard work, luck and the necessary ruthlessness, I became the lead physician, or executioner, or whatever you want to call it. A detailed summary of what these guys have done to innocent people makes injecting them a great pleasure.” A pause. “And every time I do it, I think about what it would be like to lay on the couch  instead of stand beside it.”

HorrorAddicts.net 118, Mercedes Yardley

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Horror Addicts Episode# 118

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mercedes yardley | dark matter noise | stephen king movies

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

83 days till halloween

83 days till halloween

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h o s t e s s

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s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

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Grant Me Serenity – Field Trip

GMS

The wand whispered over Jerry’s genitals and he closed his eyes, arms akimbo as the metal detector worried the bulge in his trousers.
“Go on sir,” the guard said, and stepped back, allowing Jerry entrance to the Sand County Penitentiary. One by one, the members of the little group were escorted through the security point with more attention paid to their personal areas than was strictly necessary, thanks to the screening process responsible for placing that particular guard. His personal fetishes coincided nicely with this job and he took full advantage of the opportunity to fondle Jessica’s curves. For her part she ignored this lechery, apart from contenting herself by fantasizing about making the guard eat his own penis.
Len led them down a white marble hallway, making for a door at the very end of the corridor with the rest of them forming a flying V behind him. He reached it and stopped, tentatively raising a hand to the knob. The group watched as he grasped the knob, then jerked his hand back.
“What? What’s wrong?” Paul asked.
“Damn thing shocked me,” Len grumbled and seized the offending knob, pulling it open with authority.
Behind the door sat a stairway, arteries leading up and down. Len led them down two flights and about ten degrees of temperature, stopping in front of an imposing looking iron door with what looked like three dead bolts. Len pounded on the door with the heavy gold ring he wore on his left hand, the crack echoing up and down the stairway, vibrating the fillings in Jessica’s teeth.
There was a pause, and the door was opened a crack. Another guard with an enormous black mustache looked out at them.
“Access is restricted down here, sir,” the guard said in a weary voice, one which was clearly used to redirecting idiots. “Take two flights of stairs up, and -”
“Thank you, no, we’re attending the execution of Dennis Arbogast. We should be on the list of witnesses.” Len gestured at the invisible list behind the door.
“Oh.” The guard seemed nonplussed. “IDs?”
There was the expected fumbling as everybody produced their bits of government plastic for perusal by the mustachioed giant, who examined them carefully before opening the door further and ushering them in. He showed no signs of returning their IDs and shook his head when Jessica asked for hers back. “Sorry ma’am, I keep these until you return. It’s the law.”
Jessica refrained from telling him what she thought of the law and smiled sweetly. “Of course. Thank you so much.” For what? she wondered.
They were standing in an area much like a parlor. There was a desk for the guard, a laptop and water cooler, and a phone. There were two doors on opposite sides of the parlor room, with a large 1 and 2 painted on them. The guard consulted a clipboard he had taken from the desk drawer and nodded toward door number two.
“That’s the one you want.”
Len nodded and they all followed him over to the door. It had no handle with which to shock, and Len pushed it open.
Inside was a small stuffy room with three rows of ten chairs bolted to the floor. A wall-sized window covered most of the wall the chairs were facing. Behind the glass was a chair similar to a dentist’s. Except dentist chairs don’t have arms sticking straight out. The room it inhabited was bright white linoleum and the kind of blue-green trim you only see in hospitals.
The group wordlessly took their seats in the front row. They sat quietly as the door swung open again and again, admitting relatives of Dennis Arbogast’s victims and various officials here to witness the humane taking of a human life. In an hour, the room was full.
Len stared straight ahead, neutral, his face blank.
Behind the glass, the show began. Two guards escorted Dennis Arbogast through the door. Arbogast was thin and balding with what had once been a well kept goatee. He was pale, but composed. Any tears had been shed earlier, leaving no trace. He had asked for death, and was not afraid of it. Surrounding the group, a mutter at Arbogast’s appearance from the peanut gallery. Another guard entered and took his place by the door, apparently there to hold the door in place, should it attempt escape.
Two doctors, a man and a woman, were the last to enter. He was a pudgy bald man with cottony wisps sprouting conspicuously from his ears and the slump-shouldered shuffle of a man who has long since given up on life. She was tall and her eyes took in the scene from behind horn-rimmed glasses. Her black hair was twisted up in a severe little bun behind her, and she surveyed the room with an air of unmistakable authority. She spoke a word muffled by the glass and her pudgy subordinate nodded, moving toward the chair upon which Arbogast had placed himself, arms spread as if to be crucified.
The pudgy doctor made a business of inserting the two IV lines, made more difficult by his inability to find a vein on the first try. The lady doctor’s face was immobile, but her eyes betrayed her irritation at the delay. Finally the vein was broached and the needles taped in place. The three bags of chemicals contained in bright red plastic were hung like poison apples from the IV tree. They were connected to a series of tubes flowing into the two IV lines with the same dexterity by the pudgy doctor. In the gallery, not everyone was so sanguine about the delay, and there was a good deal more muttering regarding curiosity as to where the good Pudge had gone to medical school and if he had bothered to earn his degree before starting to practice.
Pudge finally hooked Arbogast up to his demise and stepped back, his face slightly redder than when he started. The woman stepped forward, blatantly checking his work. Pudge watched with no expression as she did this, then nodded, satisfied, and stepped back to the IV.
The guard by the door flipped a switch on the wall. There was a click, and the gallery could now hear everything those in the death chamber heard. The guard began. “Dennis Arbogast, you have been sentenced to die by a jury of your peers. Do you have anything to say before the sentence is carried out?”
Throughout the rigamarole of being hooked up, Arbogast had stared at the ceiling, still as death. Now he raised his head, and looked directly at Len. Len nodded once. Arbogast nodded back, a ghost of a smile playing around his mouth.
“Nah, let’s get this over with so these fine folks can go on about their day. Be seeing you, Len.” Arbogast said cheerfully, then lay his head back down, a peaceful smile on his face. On his left middle finger, he wore a heavy gold ring.
In the gallery, there was dead silence.
The woman reached for the vines connected to the first poison apple. Sodium thiopental had been held from entering Arbogast’s body by the barest of crimping. Now as she opened the valve, it began flowing into his arm, working its magic quickly. Within ten seconds, Arbogast’s eyes had closed for the last time. The next apple was pancuronium bromide, which paralyzed Arbogast’s muscles, notably those which provide respiration; finally potassium chloride’s finishing touch stopped his heart completely. In seven minutes, it was over.
Len had not moved. His face had not changed. He could have been anywhere, but for a single tear.

The flick of a lighter. It was passed around as the group lit their cigarettes. Not all of them smoked regularly, but all of them smoked now, not all of whom with steady hands.
Len broke the silence, speaking for the first time since he had spoken to the guard who had taken their ID. “That’s what we have to look forward to if we step off this tightrope. Some pudgy fuck mangling our veins with an audience for our last death. Sound fun?”
Nobody answered.
Len took a deep drag and coughed, not being one of the regular smoker. “I’m glad I quit these. Who’s hungry?”
Nobody was, but they all nodded.
“Let’s go grab some chow before we head back. We’re just waiting for someone else -” he broke off. “Here she is.”
The group turned as one to see the lady executioner with her hair down coming toward them, all trace of her severe face gone. On it was a radiant smile. She raised a hand, waving. “Hi Len!” Len raised his hand in return, his smile radiant to match. “Guys, this is my sister Missy.

HorrorAddicts.net 117, Mike Robinson

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 117

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mike robinson | pamela moore | penny dreadful

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

97 days till halloween

sycamore leaves, aha, bret alexander sweet, backstreet boy n’sync zombie flick?, sharknado, a christmas horror story, will shatner, halloween carols, daniel ford, a.d. vick, tales of dark romance and horror, free fiction friday, lillian csernica, books, david watson, loren rhoads, as above so below, mike robinson, negative space, wicked women writers, masters of macabre, morbid meals, dan shaurette, nightmare fuel, candyman, d.j. pitsiladis, deadly pixy sticks, pamela moore, dawn wood, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, kbatz, horror blogger alliance, penny dreadful, kristin battestella, hbo, deadmail, angela, halloween costumes, jeffery, bullies, goth bashing, pamela, podcast authors, mark eller, mike bennett, rhonda carpenter, marc vale advice, norms, horror movies, zombies, maniacs, vampires, instant death, protect yourself, survival, horror addicts guide to life, mike robinson, cryptozoology, author reads, stephen king, the shining, storm of the century

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

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———————–

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE MMM / WWW contestant.

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————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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HorrorAddicts.net 116, Kristin Battestella

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 116

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

kristin battestella | new years day | only lovers left alive

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

111 days till halloween

jenn vix, andy anderson, cure, halloween costumes, baycon, san mateo county fair, facebook quizzes, addicts on the street, sumiko saulson, anne rice, christopher rice, supernatural, mad max, wicked women writers challenge, master of macabre contest, dungeon san francisco, where’s jack?, jack the ripper, matt gunter, spooky, entertainment, sam roberts, torture room, history of san francisco, gold miner, murder, terry west, turning face, horror addicts guide to life, james newman, pembroke sinclair, chantal boudreau, consumed, d.j pitsiladis, t.s.charles, david watson, shadylight, kimberley steele, suicide forest, jeremy bates, belfry network, cemetary confessions, the count, morbid meals, dan shaurette, blood black truffles, lovers tarot, sparky lee anderson, allure of horror, lovecraft, new years day, dawn wood, c.a. milson, defago, horror music, jesse orr, grant me serenity, paul, satan, black jack, sandra harris, kbatz, only lovers left alive, marc advice, sarah, ventriloquists, dummies, dolls, possessed, kristin battestella, fates and fangs, vampire, novella, series.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

———————–

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE MMM / WWW contestant.

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

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HorrorAddicts.net 114, H.E. Roulo

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 114

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

h.e. roulo | particle son | the walking dead

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

174 days till halloween

richard cheese, down with the sickness, zombies, baycon, book release party, emerian rich, h.e. roulo, j. malcolm stewart, laurel anne hill, sumiko saulson, loren rhoads, lillian csernica, seanan mcguire, earthquakes, horroraddicts on kindle, babadook, netflix, chiller, lifeforce, colin wilson, the space vampires, tobe hooper, texas chainsaw massacre, mathilda may, siren, slasher, stack.com, death note, adam wingard, the woman in black, horror addicts guide to life, sandra harris, ron vitale, david watson, books, plague master: sanctuary dome, zombie dome, slicing bones, kindle buys, morbid meals, dan shaurette, london mess, fox uk, canniburgers, the walking dead recipe, nightmare fuel, japanese fable, slit mouth woman, surgical mask, particle son, revelation, portland band, dawn wood, stephen king, clive barker, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, the country road cover up, the sacred, crystal connor, dracula dead and loving it, kbatz, kristin battestella, c.a.milson, the walking dead, dead mail, candace questions, colette, bees, david, bugs, the watcher in the woods, pembroke, jaws, gremlins, craig, devil, sparkylee, the thing, dogs, kristin, alien, robert, magic, daltha, clowns, pennywise, jaq, creature from the black lagoon, jody, night of the living dead, world book day, interview with a vampire, michael, haunting of hill house, kbatz, frankenstein, dracula, anne rice, jane eyre, sumiko, the stand, lillian,  jim butcher, changes, a.d., exorcist, mimielle, firestarter, bad moon rising, jonathan mayberry, edgar, alabama, alien from la, kathy ireland, ask marc, marc vale, mike, pittsburgh, driver’s test, what would norman bates do?, mother, voices, psycho, h.e. roulo, heather roulo.

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

 

Baycon.org

 

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

 

———————–

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

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

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HorrorAddicts.net 112, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

ha-tagHorror Addicts Episode# 112

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

writer’s workshop winner | lacuna coil | frankenstein: the true story

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

201 days till halloween

malcolm stewart, jesse orr, kathy bates, misery, stephen king, american horror story, hotel,  addict on the street, the walking dead, talking dead, salem, izombie, dan shaurette, lady gaga, poltergeist, jurassic world, mad max, fury road, unfriended, kbatz, kristin battestella, frankenstein: the true story, horror addicts guide to life, baycon, once upon a scream, laurel anne hill, j malcolm stewart, sumiko saulson, heather roulo, david watson, the undying, ethan reid, zombie, plague, top five, mimielle, makeup, vids, dj pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, werewolves, wisconsin, morbid meals, dan shaurette, berry fool, april fools, free fiction friday, emerian rich, dark soul, dawn wood, music corner, lacuna coil, swamped, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, dead mail, nadine, writing, james, how to get on the show, sandra, zombie movies, scared of the dark, marc vale, advice, horror writer, inspiration, murderer, victim, jesse orr, genesis

 

 

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

Baycon.org

———————–

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

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————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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Writer’s Workshop Winner: Jesse Orr

For episode Horror Addicts episode 112 our featured author is the winner of our annual writer’s work shop Jesse Orr. Jesse’s band Murder Weapons has been showcased on the horror addicts podcast last season:

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/dawns-dark-music-corner-murder-weapons/

 

Jesse also has a 12 part story that is being showcased on the horroraddicts blog this season. The series is called Grant Me Serenity and you can read part one at this link:

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/grant-me-serenity-jerry/

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Here is what Jesse had to say on his music and writing:

1. When did you start writing?

Earliest memory of writing I have is it being part of our daily routine in elementary school. One of my favorite activities was to take a picture from a metal box containing laminates of various random things, then write a story based off of it. I don’t remember most of the photos but two I recall are a gorgeous looking strawberry shortcake and some sort of tranquil wooded creek scene. I used the creek scene for a my first ever story with chapters. There were five chapters in that story, each one maybe fifty words. I remember being irked that they were so short upon typing them. There was also a unit called Written and Illustrated the whole school did every year in which as the title implies we would write and illustrate our own stories, then bind them into crude but awesome books. I still have some of them that I wrote, one of them a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
2. What are some of the subjects you like to write about?
Invariably something dark with a high likelihood of no happy ending. I wouldn’t say I have certain subjects I prefer over others. Generally nothing supernatural but that could be changing. I wish I could give a better answer but I’ve spent forever trying to and the idea of choosing to write about subjects is completely alien to me.
3. What is your story about for episode 112?

This was written sometime back in 2001 and was lost on a dead hard drive for about a decade. Once recovered, I had no memory of the story outside of knowing I’d written something ”fucked up and bloody” and retooled what I found to fit in with the origin part of a vampire story I’ve been working on for years. As you might guess, this is the origin of the vampire species itself on earth, with the newly turned largely running on mad savage instinct alone. What you don’t see in the story I submitted is that the longer one of these creatures stays alive, the more refined it gets and becomes less a zombie and more the vampire we are familiar with since Mr Lugosi redefined the role.

4. Could you tell us about your music career a little?

No.
Just kidding. The thing which started me on the path to where I am now was a review for a KISS concert in Anchorage Alaska in January 2000. I didn’t even go to this show, but the photo was very striking. I thought, “Holy shit, people are allowed to look this weird on stage? You can do that???” I started playing drums, took up bass upon moving out of my parents’ house, and moved to Seattle to further my career, Alaska not being known for producing musicians. I joined two projects within a month of moving here, one experimental avant-garde industrial and one 80s metal, the former I played keyboards and the latter I honed my bass skills with the help of the frontman. In 2009 I joined Desillusion, where I learned a whole new school of musicianship. I always wanted to start my own project though, and so I finally started writing my own tracks and looking for people who would play them with me. Murder Weapons was born in 2012 and we’ve been playing shows since. Currently we’re about to put out a CD and we’re planning a music video.
5. Is the process for writing a short story a lot different then writing a song?
The strangest things randomly inspire me, and I frequently wake up with gibberish scrawled on my dry erase board I have only a hazy recollection of writing. When writing a story, I always have it in my head, at least a concept for it, and then it’s just a matter of transcribing it. With a song, I frequently just sit down, choose a key and a cool sound and let it go from there. Sometimes I’ll have a sample or a concept in mind but normally I have no idea how a song will turn out when I start. With writing I normally have at least a vague idea.
6. Which one is easier for you?
They are equally easy when the muse is in. I wrote an entire song once start to finish within six hours because the muse was screaming in my ear that night. I have also had songs in progress for years and not finished. The same is true with writing. Some weeks I’ll have 10000 words, some I won’t even press a button. The hard part is being able to indulge the muse when it knocks, which more and more frequently is about ten minutes after I lay down to sleep.
7. What are your plans for the future in writing and in music?
With writing, I’m always trying to push myself to write at least in a way I haven’t yet. I like to write about certain things, and when I write about them time and time again I have to find some way of making it fresh. I’m hoping the column I have biweekly on this site is well received and eventually I’d like to publish some sort of book, or something. In music, I’m following the logical progression of album, music video, promotion, shows, repeat.

https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

HorrorAddicts.net 111, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Horror Addicts Episode# 111

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

————————

horror addicts guide to life | xy beautiful | the twilight zone

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

216 days till halloween

valentine wolfe, catch up, new staff, lillian, don, jesse, other contributors, crystal connor, killion slade, voodoo lynn, what are you watching, dead filed, z nation,citynewsnetpodcast.com, artistic license, zombie cruise, wicked women writers challenge, master of macabre contest, tarot, books, somnalia, sumiko saulson, horror addicts guide to cats, david watson, it came from the library, dean farnell, kings of horror, touched by death, forbidden fiction, voodoo lynn, nightbreed, phillip tomasso2, madness, mimielle, stephen king, the golden notebook, emilie autumn, morbid meals, dan shaurette, carne adovada, serpentine delights, lillian csernica, nightmare fuel, d.j. pitsiladis, rawhead, old betty, xy beautiful, dawn wood, jesse orr, black jack, dead mail, advice from marc, marc vale, kbatz, twilight zone, horror tv shows, the munsters, twilight zone, alfred hitchcock, horror addicts guide to life, david watson, killion slade, j. malcolm stewart, ron vitale, h.e. roulo, james newman, eden royce, chris ringler, sumiko saulson

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/horror-addicts-guide-to-life/

Horror Addicts Guide to LifeDo you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle?

Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?

 

Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written

by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is

your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with

Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

 

Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette,

Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee

Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt

Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel

Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris

Ringler, Jessica Robinson, Eden Royce, Sumiko Saulson, Patricia

Santos Marcantonio, J. Malcolm Stewart, Stoneslide Corrective, Mimi

A.Williams, and Ron Vitale. With art by Carmen Masloski and Lnoir.

 

 

———————–

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

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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

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