Meet the Horror Artist , Ziemael

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What is your name or what do you go by professionally?

Ziemael the Horror Artist

What is your first memory of being a Horror Addict?

My first horror experience, in an addictive manner, was around age 9.

 Did you see a painting, movie, TV Series or read a book or story that called to you?

I peeked at many horror flicks I was not supposed to like any other kid.  But I snuck to the living room while the whole house was asleep at 1am to watch a film I was forbidden to see.  I forced myself to stay up even though I had school in the morning, it was terrifying, and the end of Sleepaway Camp had me disturbed for decades.  It ruined the school day, it make me sick, it also is a fond memory and I would do it again.

What is the first creative thing you remember painting/drawing/sketching?

I do not know about creative.  But I was around 5 when I had an absolute breakdown because my mother said we had to erase a bear I drew on the chalkboard so my younger brother could draw something.  It was not a cute bear, it was a nightmare of fangs and claws with one eye bigger than the other.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I was pretty young, exactly I do not know.  It was a toss-up between artist and scientist.  Science research on biology is pretty horrific, and geology has many toxins (do not lick rocks) but nothing beat hunting for reference photos of horror, and doing horror “research”.

Who is your favorite artist, and why?

Olivier Ledroit hands down.  Before that it was Frank Frazzetta.  Oliver’s handle on merging beauty with horror in a stunning contrast instantly entranced me.   My favorite work of his is in “Requiem Chevalier Vampire” for both quality and subject matter, monsters, gore, horror, & madness.

What inspires you to create?

It builds up, I know it is coming, kind of like a sneeze that needs to happen, so it takes to much effort to fight it.  (Why on earth would I?) Usually if I have been consuming instead of creating for awhile I start to get signs of depression that meds don’t kick.  Then I start manically pouring over my favorite horror flicks and books,  LoveCraft, etc… Hardest part is deciding which one to do right now.

Is there any certain music/TV/etc…you listen to while creating?

Yes, I listen to mostly BlutEngle, put on the Subspecies Trilogy, or a random playlist of goth rock, Industrial, EBM, dark electro… you know, Covenant, Wumpscut, Grendel, Das Ich, Siouxie, Danzig, et cetera.

What is your favorite piece that you have created and why?

A Nosferatu I loosely based off of Mr. Barlow from the Salem’s Lot tv film.  It shows the hunger, alien outsider perspective that reflects my feelings on my life being on the autism spectrum.  Many things are horrifying to me that others fine perfectly fine, and visa versa.

What’s coming next? 

Short term.  Right now I am looking at references of Johnny Depp, so I can do a proper Barnabas Collins from the Burton Dark Shadows movie.  Long term, I aim to get thicker in the convention scene.  I was quite active on the West Coast before moving to Michigan.  Now I have to branch out in the mid west, which is tentative due to the freezing up and awkward interactions with new people.  Again autism, it is not a gift.

Anything else you want to share?

Yes, if you are schizophrenic, ADHD, or autistic, consider practicing to be an artist.  Many of us cannot hold a job (employee/employer contract) without prematurely quitting, because explaining these things to your boss/underlings is impossible  Yes, art creation takes dedication but, you do not have to work with others outside your preferred activity/subject matter very much. Even with the disabling (nightmarish) effects.  Example I have horrible sensory processing issues, like burning or insect stinging sensations on my skin.  Spatial distortion, like the room is too small/large, my legs or arms are too long/short, or…. Heh, my body parts are not mine … best part is it happens for no reason at all and is completely random. (Now you know why horror movies are so comfortable for me)  Anyway, your very weird brain wiring gives you an advantage regarding perception compared to neurotypical beings.  You just have to want to be so obsessed with your subject that you do not notice the other… issues.  Mine just happens to be horror.

 Oh and if you can, worship Cthulu //\\~;,;~//\\


You can purchase Ziemael prints at URL:  as well as

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“Animosity” by James Newman

Hello fellow Addicts!

animosityAs lovers of horror, we are misunderstood and stereotyped by people who aren’t fans of the macabre.  Horror writers tend to face that stereotype even more so than the average horror fan at times.  People think that we love the ugly side of life, that we yearn to act out in the ways we describe in our stories simply because that’s how we think and spin a tale.  When horrible things happen, it’s not entirely clichéd to think a lover or creator of fright might be involved in some way.  Author James Newman tackles that very fear in his book, “Animosity”.

Andrew Holland is a horror writer that lives in a very picturesque neighborhood.  His neighbors are fascinated and excited to have a best-selling author living among them, at least until he makes a horrifying discovery.  While out walking his dog, Andrew stumbles across the body of a girl around his daughter’s age.  At first, there is the normal excitement and fear you might expect when a vicious crime like that occurs.  People begin to wonder who the murderer might be, whether they are still in the area, or worse, is it one of their own?  It is only a short span of time before the neighbors start behaving differently towards him.  It becomes painfully obvious that everyone he once considered a friend now thinks him a monster because he writes about them.

I liked this story because of how it played with the fear most people in a similar setting have today.  Is the kind man down the street really a nice guy, or is it an act to cover some heinous crime or depravity.  With serial killers like Ted Bundy and the BTK, that fear is justified.  I think that, for the most part, the turn of the people in the neighborhood was handled in a fairly believable fashion.  There were a couple of people whose actions didn’t seem to fit all that well because it seemed to go completely against the nature of their character.  Also, the way the news seemed to focus their reports of the crime on Andrew and his past seemed an artificial way to make him feel persecuted.

My rating for this book is a 3.5 out of 5.

Until next time…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Press Release: Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 1

imagesWelcome to the weird! Acclaimed author and editor Laird Barron, one of weird fiction’s brightest exponents, brings his expert eye and editorial sense to the inaugural volume of the Year’s Best Weird Fiction. No longer the purview of esoteric readers, weird fiction is enjoying wide popularity. Chiefly derived from early 20th-century pulp fiction, its remit includes ghost stories, the strange and macabre, the supernatural, fantasy, myth, philosophical ontology, ambiguity, and a healthy helping of the outre. At its best, weird fiction is an intersecting of themes and ideas that explore and subvert the Laws of Nature. It is not confined to one genre, but is the most diverse and welcoming of all genres. Hence, in this initial showcase of weird fiction you will discover tales of horror, fantasy, science fiction, the supernatural, and the macabre. Contributing authors include Jeffrey Ford, Sofia Samatar, Joseph S. Pulver Sr, John Langan, Richard Gavin and many more.

To find out more about the anthology check out:

The stories in this anthology are listed below:

“Success” by Michael Blumlein, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,Nov./Dec.

“Like Feather, Like Bone” by Kristi DeMeester, Shimmer #17

“A Terror” by Jeffrey Ford,, July.

“The Key to Your Heart Is Made of Brass” by John R. Fultz, Fungi #21

“A Cavern of Redbrick” by Richard Gavin, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley, Nightmare Magazine/The Lowest Heaven, July.

“Bor Urus” by John Langan, Shadow’s Edge

“Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“Eyes Exchange Bank” by Scott Nicolay, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“A Quest of Dream” by W.H. Pugmire, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley

“(he) Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Lovecraft eZine #28

“Dr. Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron” by A.C. Wise, Ideomancer Vol. 12 Issue 2

“The Year of the Rat” by Chen Quifan, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August.

“Fox into Lady” by Anne-Sylvie Salzman, Darkscapes

“Olimpia’s Ghost” by Sofia Samatar, Phantom Drift #3

“The Nineteenth Step” by Simon Strantzas, Shadows Edge

“The Girl in the Blue Coat” by Anna Taborska, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol. 1

“In Limbo” by Jeffrey Thomas, Worship the Night

“Moonstruck” by Karin Tidbeck, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” by Paul Tremblay, Bourbon Penn #8

“No Breather in the World But Thee” by Jeff VanderMeer, Nightmare Magazine, March.

“Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?” by Damien Angelica Walters, Shock Totem #7.

Kbatz: Family Friendy Frights!

Family Friendly Frights!

By Kristin Battestella

Scary? Perhaps. However, these macabre bemusements are perfect for mom, dad, the kids, and 2.5 dogs to nestle on the couch and have a spooky night in with the popcorn!

BeetlejuiceDon’t say the bio-exorcist’s name three times! Michael Keaton leads an all-star cast in this humorous tale about a country couple turned ghosts trying to rid their house of a snotty New York family. Winona Ryder is creepy as the goth daughter Lydia, and all of director Tim Burton’s odd touches have their moments-from Juno’ smoke coming out her slit throat to Delia’s infamous ‘Dayo!’ dance party. Multiple viewings are in order here.

Edward ScissorhandsThis 1990 tale of a lonely, incomplete man with scissors for hands is a little more mature and dark then some of my other suggestions. However, this early, spooky, and yet heartwarming collaboration from director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp has all the whimsy and freakiness needed without getting too comical, bizarre, or just weird. Fine performances from a lovely ensemble cast including Winona Ryder, Kathy Baker, Dianne Wiest, and Vincent Price blend humor, love, and innocence into one charming little tale young and old can enjoy.

Elvira Mistress of the DarkThere’s a touch of mature innuendo, but it’s a treat to see Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego host in a full length picture. The plot’s a predictable fish out of water scenario; with sexy Elvira taking an inheritance in a quiet, conservative town. Nevertheless, Peterson’s wit, bosom, and personality are all in spooky good fun.

Ernest Scared StupidEveryone loves Jim Varney and his plethora of goofy characters. Add a creepy house, trolls, and Halloween and you’ve got all the hijinks for a family fright fest. Yes, it might be stupid as the title suggests, but who cares?

High SpiritsPeter O’Toole and his Irish friends turn their foreclosed castle into a haunted showplace to attract American tourists. Unfortunately, Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson really haunt the place! Some goofy humor, funny romance, even a few scary scenes make this Neil Jordan haunt a keeper.

Munster, Go Home! and The Munsters RevengeBoxers or Briefs? Lennon or McCartney? The Munsters or The Addams Family? Enjoy this funny, charming family of monsters in their 1966 theatrical debut Munster, Go Home! as they take their hijinks-now in Technicolor!- abroad. Though more about the caper at hand instead of the family, The Munsters Revenge is still a treat for fans of Herman, Lily, Eddie, and Grandpa.

Silver BulletAh, a wheelchair bound Corey Haim insists there’s a werewolf in town but no one believes him! A well-rounded cast and scary wolf mysteries make you jump in your seat the first time you see this one. Several memorable, frightening scenes here still stick with me 25 years later. Younger audiences might be too frightened-but it’s only a movie, isn’t it?

Sleepy HollowHere’s another less bizarre and family fun spookfest from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. This 1999 period piece also starring Christina Ricci isn’t as dark and decrepit as a film about Ichabod Crane could be, but its hint of goth and turn of the century humor is perfect for a scary night in for families growing beyond Hocus Pocus. The suspense, ensemble cast, and surprisingly disturbing performance from Christopher Walken as the Headless Horsemen keep this one worthy as the successor to The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Who doesn’t love that one?

Kbatz: Horror Documentaries

 A Macabre Documentary or Two

By Kristin Battestella

Looking for some non-fiction programming to spice up this festive, macabre season? Here’s a round up of informative and spooky documentaries, biographies, and shows for demented minds young and old!

anneAnne Rice: Biography – This 2000 television hour focusing on the Interview with a Vampire author is nothing new. Ironically, it is actually dated and somewhat inaccurate thanks to Rice’s more recent life and literary changes and thus this feels somewhat incomplete. A one-minute add-on to encompass the new millennium doesn’t cut it. That aside, it’s still great to see photos from Rice’s early life, hear friends and family recount her childhood and road to publication greatness, and listen to Rice herself talk of religion and the personal tragedies that inspired her writing. In fact, Anne’s familial losses and literary struggles may even be more poignant thanks to the conversations with her late husband, the poet Stan Rice. I’d like to see A&E revisit Rice with an updated two-hour special, but until then, scholarly studies and Rice aficionados can always enjoy this quick profile.

A Cemetery Special – PBS’s 2005 hour-long spotlight doesn’t have enough time to explore this exhaustive subject matter- and it bemusing admits that along with a respectful dedication to those buried in the featured cemeteries. From Pittsburgh to Vermont and Key West to Alaska, lovely footage of graveyards and gardens accents the bent but thought provoking discussion on death, remembrance, art, and the monuments we leave behind. Perhaps lesser-known graveyards are featured, but interesting tales from the Civil War and sleeping place origins are recounted in an almost heartwarming manner. This is the perfect little video for classrooms studying the specific locations and history or macabre scholars researching burial customs. I wish there had been a whole series like this!

hammerFlesh and Blood: Hammer Heritage of Horror – It took forever for this elusive 1994 documentary to arrive from Netflix! Nonetheless, this hour and forty minutes narrated by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is chock full of great photos, retro posters, archive footage, and film trailers illustrating the behind the scenes stories and production highs and lows of the famed Hammer Film Studios. Lovely reflections by Michael Carreras and Anthony Hinds help recount the earliest Hammer films- from struggles in the thirties and World War II to The Quatermass Xperiment and budding science fiction success. Interviewees such as Hazel Court, Freddie Francis, Ingrid Pitt, Caroline Munroe, Joe Dante, Rachel Welch, and our dear narrators seemingly touch upon nearly every Hammer picture- the Frankenstein series, assorted gothic monsters, the Dracula disagreements, blood, bosoms, and the studio’s eventual seventies downfall. Understandably, some of the footage is lower in quality, the sound remixing is tough, and there’s an obviously dry, British style to the presentation. This documentary also shouldn’t be confused with The Horror of Hammer trailer compilation companion or several other similarly themed documentaries. However, this treat is essential for die-hard Hammer fans, horror enthusiasts, and film historians.

His Name Was Jason – Everything you’d ever want to know about the Friday the 13th series, with clips from all the films and extensive behind the scenes interviews with every one who was ever involved with Jason-plus his or her grandma!

In Search of Dracula –  Christopher Lee hosts this old school look at the history of Dracula and vampire lore. Young folks might not like the old styles and footage, but vintage vampire fans will delight. You don’t catch classics like this on television anymore!

karlKarloff: The Gentle Monster – This 2006 38 minute documentary is not the hour long Biography episode of the same name but rather a lovely little retrospective found on the Frankenstein blu-ray releases. Although the beginning briefly mentions Karloff’s pre-Universal film appearances, the focus here is with the subtle, silent sympathy of Karloff’s monstrous characters and his long lasting horror appeal. From Frankenstein to later stage work beyond horror such as Arsenic and Old Lace, film scholars and historians discuss early comparisons to Lon Chaney, difficulties with horror make up’s infancy, and more scary film glory with classics such as The Mummy and The Black Cat. Attention is given to Karloff’s quiet success as a character actor thanks to his physicality and ability to be both frightening and sensual at the same time along with his spooky television series and his tireless work across mediums and generations. This is the voice of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, people! It’s also interesting to see movie buffs theorizing on the over reaching and decreasing quality of the studio’s Frankenstein series, beating it into the ground as the franchises, sequels, and remakes do today. Boris fans and horror lovers can eat up the clips and nostalgia here, for sure.

Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask – Rare, unseen silent film footage, vintage photos and clips, charming family home movies, and archive interviews with co-stars and crew anchor this 76 minute 1995 documentary illuminating the Man of a Thousand Faces. From early bit parts to his iconic horror heights, the pain, emotion, and melodramatic catharsis of his tragic portrayals is examined against Chaney’s stanch need for privacy amid the fame orchestrated Hollywood system. Collaborations with director Tod Browning are highlighted, and quotes on the craft from the man himself are smartly reiterated – wisdoms on how to utilize makeup or character flaws to accentuate the performance and create redemption in villainous roles. Of course, the presentation focuses on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera but ends somewhat suddenly with Chaney’s death rather than any retrospective summation or legacy. Fortunately, there are lots of behind the scenes snippets, photographs, and factoids, for it’s really quite sad to realize how much of Chaney’s work is gone – over 30% of his films have vanished. 56 lost pictures – that’s more movies than some people today make in their entire lifetimes! The dated nineties design, uneven editing, jumping back and forth timeline, and a very dry narration don’t quite hit home here. However, this informative presentation remains classroom ready and will delight new film enthusiasts, longtime Chaney fans, and horror historians.

vlcsnap-5876655Lugosi: The Dark Prince – Like Karloff, Bela Lugosi’s early life and acting career before Dracula go unnoticed in this 36 minute documentary accompanying the 1931 Dracula blu-ray video. Interviews with genre directors Joe Dante, Jimmy Sangster, and other film scholars and authors instead spend the majority of time here on Lugosi’s quintessential appearance in the budding horror cinema and discuss how his phonetic learning of lines accentuated his hypnotic, handsome, somewhat scandalous and always sensual acting style. This masterful paranormal charisma of course unfortunately typecast him, but clips and analysis on Murders in the Rue Morgue, White Zombie, Son of Frankenstein, and The Raven will be a treat for those interested in the irony of Lugosi’s long lasting iconography but relatively short-lived success and underatedness as an actor. Even if the talk isn’t about the man’s personal life per se, there are great insights into the craft here, making for a lovely little bittersweet study on the quick rise and fall of a horror icon.

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film – In covering a hundred years of scary cinema, this 2009 documentary was bound to miss a few things. However, this hour and half also provides extensive clips from early silent films, Universal monsters, the Roger Corman era, seventies zombies, eighties slashers, and more. Interviewees like George Romero, John Carpenter, and more experts on the genre examine how the social and political statements onscreen, both overt and veiled, influenced film making and audiences thru the decades. Horror has gone from early B-movie child’s play to red scare allusions and now a blockbuster industry- who knew? Some of the more recent conversation and post 9/11 thoughts are perhaps nothing new or could have been dealt with more deeply, for today’s viewer is familiar with these sociopolitical cinema influences, after all. But seeing the paces of vintage horror film thru the years is a real treat for both new and veteran fans. This one’s a great starter for younger folks just getting into horror films or a good accompaniment to a sociology discussion.

Tales from the Crypt: Comics to Television – Very insightful special about the ups and downs of the naughty in naughty comic books and how the guts and glory survived in serial television. Maybe not for mainstream fans, but horror and comic enthusiasts will love this.

Master of Macabre #5, Solomon Archer

Surface Tension by Solomon Archer
Location: New York City
Item: A teddy bear
Creature Origin: An oceanic trench

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Surface Tension

by Solomon Archer, Ph.D.


JOSEPH SNAPPED VIOLENTLY AWAKE from a restless sleep by a series of hard bumps as the tiny Cessna hit pocket after pocket of turbulence. As the jet shook and rattled, he could barely hear the pilot over the deafening roar inside the cabin.

“What’d you say?” he yelled. The pilot pointed toward the window.

“Ten miles to the starboard!” he shouted over his shoulder. Joseph looked out the small oval window at the vast ocean below them. The glare from the surface of the sea made it difficult to tell what he was looking at but when the sun momentarily ducked behind a bank of clouds, the mass came into full view. Even so, it took him a few moments to register what he was seeing.

“Oh my God,” Joseph muttered. The pilot nodded his head in agreement at the pile of floating debris covering an area approximately the size of Manhattan.

“You people are out of your minds,” the pilot muttered.


Joseph had been hired by Brooklyn Salvage in the past. He liked working with them, though he was not looking forward to being away from his daughter Abby for almost a month. His mother volunteered to look after her while he was away and for that Joseph was eternally grateful.

The crew of the ship, a 75-meter tug named the Cloudburst, was typical for a salvage operation with the exception of a marine biochemist, a cartographer, and two divers.

Joseph was somewhat disappointed that his skills as an underwater welder weren’t needed on this job, but he couldn’t argue with the money. Thirty thousand dollars for a three-week expedition was hard to turn down.

During the initial mission briefing the experts gave an overview of the expedition. The cartographer, whose name Joseph didn’t catch, used colorful maps and bathymetric charts to highlight the currents the garbage island had followed for nearly a decade before stalling over an area known as the Java Trench, a submarine depression in the Indian Ocean four and a half miles deep.

Kim Chen, the biochemist, explained that recent tectonic plate movements had created a vast array of volcanic cones along the lip of the trench. The cones, which were essentially like underwater chimneys, had been churning out a stew of toxic chemicals and debris from as far down as the earth’s mantle.

“What kind of chemicals?” asked one of the salvage crew.

“Well, sodium and calcium, of course. You find that everywhere in the ocean. But these things are also spitting out hydrogen sulfide, silica, chloride, and manganese, just to name a few. It’s a really poisonous mess and it’s coming out hot.”

“How hot?” Joseph asked.

“320 degrees Celsius,” Chen answered.

Joseph frowned, trying to convert that number to Fahrenheit. “And how hot exactly is that?” he asked.

“Hot enough to melt lead,” Chen answered. She must have detected the unease in his voice and quickly added, “Oh don’t worry. All that heat is lost before it gets anywhere near the surface. No, what worries me is the fact that toxic stew seems to be feeding your island.”

“You know, I’m gonna be knee deep in that crap starting tomorrow morning. You got any words of advice?” Joseph asked.

“Yeah,” she said after a moment. “Wear boots.”

It was early afternoon on the second day when their ship approached the floating island. He heard one of the other crew members refer to the island as “continental afterbirth,” and Joseph thought that description was quite fitting. The pile stretched out as far as he could see and appeared to be made up of several countries-worth of garbage. Its surface consisted of a frothy mix of plastic bottles, milk jugs, cardboard boxes, aluminum siding, and acres of discarded paper products. Dotted throughout were thousands of trash bags – some bloated from decomposition under the relentless sun, others ravaged by the sea and scattered about like ghostly mourners. Rivers of torn clothing and shredded linens meandered through the mass like serpents and the entire tableau was kissed by a layer of white foam.

Occasionally Joseph caught a glimpse of something more exotic: a stuffed white snow leopard that looked covered in mange, its fur faded and frayed by the elements; a ten-by-fourteen foot replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Night peeling from a weathered frame freckled with tar; a congealed mass of melted pink flip-flops that scarred the surface like some ocean-borne strain of Rosacea.

Perhaps strangest of all was what looked like a human torso, hirsute and pale, bobbing up and down in the current, one perfectly severed stump blindly scanning the surrounding sea like a bloodshot eye. The captain had radioed the Coast Guard about that last find, but the exchange consisted of little more than a relay of coordinates. It was unlikely that anyone would be declaring the area a crime scene.

Over the course of the next several days, he and another deckhand named Michael, got into a rhythm of sorting the debris into piles based on whatever language they could find on the items.

At one point he came across a teddy bear fr that was surprisingly intact, other than being waterlogged and a little faded.

“Whatcha got there, Joe?” Dr. Chen asked as she waved a Geiger counter over a nearby pile. He handed it to her, shrugging.

“Some kid’s stuffed toy, looks like,” he replied.

Kim turned the teddy over in her hands. “Huh,” she mumbled. “Mind if I run some tests? I’ve got a decontaminant I’ve been dying to try out if you don’t mind?”

“Knock yourself out, doc,” he said and returned to the pile.

When she was gone, Michael sidled up to him and, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one else was around, showed Joseph a watch he had found. The hands were frozen at 2:25 and it was missing a diamond at the 12:00 o’clock position, but otherwise looked to be in good shape.

Joseph whistled. “Is that a Rolex?”

“Score, right?” Michael beamed.

“You gonna tell the captain about it?” Joseph asked, already knowing the answer.

Michael snorted. “Hell no! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got bills to pay. I mean, 30 grand is great and all, don’t get me wrong. But this piece could be worth a couple thousand easy.” His smile faltered for a moment. “You’re not gonna say anything, are you?”

“’Course not,” Joseph reassured him. “Finders keepers. Congratulations. But if I were you I’d think about having Dr. Chen decontaminate it first.”

Michael smiled as he pocketed the watch. “Yeah, I’ll sure give that some thought.” Joseph nodded knowing Michael would do no such thing and the two returned to sifting through the trash.

By the time the Cloudburst finally docked at the Southeast Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Hudson Bay and Joseph had made it back to his apartment, it was nearly midnight and all he wanted to do was kiss his daughter, take a shower, and sleep for two weeks. As he unpacked his overstuffed duffel, he was surprised to find a clear plastic bag containing the teddy bear he had found at the site several weeks earlier and a note from Kim.

“Success!” the note began. “The decontamination worked better than I expected. Not even a trace of toxic chemicals or radiation. For providing me with my first test subject, you win a teddy bear! Signed K.”

Joseph examined the bear and had to admit Kim had done a damn fine job. It looked brand new with a shiny fur coat and it smelled like it had just come out of the wash. Abby would love it.

He popped his head into his daughter’s room found her asleep in her crib. He placed the teddy bear next to her head and was delighted to see her roll over, wrap a tiny arm around its neck, and start chewing on the animal’s ear.


Joseph went to the bathroom and stripped off his clothes and stood under the scalding stream for over ten minutes watching the water gradually get lighter as it circled the drain. He might have fallen asleep had not the high pitch of overworked metal pipes started screaming in protest. Joseph jumped at the racket coming from the wall and quickly shut off the water. But the squealing did not stop and it struck him that the sound was not coming from the pipes. He stood naked for a moment trying to figure out what it was when an inhuman shriek threatened to tear the bathroom door off its hinges.

He raced from the bathroom toward his daughter’s room, which seemed to be the source of the commotion. He was not at all prepared for what he saw when he opened the door.

In the dim pink glow of the nightlight, Abby was flailing in her crib and at first he thought she had somehow bitten into an electrical cord. He flipped on the light and raced to the crib, stopping short when he peered over the edge.

The skin from her face was entirely melted away, leaving a pulsing white and red mass of bone and tissue underneath. Her lips slid off her chin and dropped in a pile of blood, spit, and teeth on her chest, which was vibrating erratically. He thought crazily that she was having a seizure until the wet hole that used to be her mouth produced a bubbling cry followed by a fit of ragged wheezing as Abby desperately tried to fill her lungs with air.

Something in Joseph’s mind broke when he saw the skin of her neck tear open and he recoiled instinctively as several hundred worms, some more than four feet in length, bored through her throat. Red, orange, and black dots glistened on their shiny albino bodies and they moved impossibly fast as they engulfed her entire head. The sickening sound of his daughter’s skull cracking was enough to jolt Joseph to action.

He shot his arms forward grabbing Abby beneath her armpits, intending to pull her from the crib. It was last time he would ever touch her.

The moment his hands locked behind her back, her arms were torn from her body by a second wave of worms that had emerged from a gaping hole in her chest. He slipped in the growing pool of gore oozing out of the crib.

As he scrambled to get to his feet, he felt the first of them enter him through his ankle. He nearly blacked out from the pain as worm after worm burrowed into his legs and snaked into his body. They tore through flesh, bone, and muscle as they spread throughout. A few that had been devouring the contents of his last meal penetrated his bladder and exited his body through his urethra like a stream of lava. Some of the creatures had discovered his trachea and in their frenzied feast produced screams Joseph did not even recognize as his own. The last two things he ever saw in this world were the teddy bear, its stuffing teeming with what looked like albino maggots and the inside of his skull as his eyes were pulled into his head.

After that, he knew nothing more.

Madeline had been searching online for an anniversary gift for over an hour and had nearly settled on a tactical barbeque vest when she struck eBay gold: a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. She considered herself to be something of a connoisseur of men’s fashion and other than missing a diamond at the 12 o’clock spot, the watch was in near pristine condition and at $1500 this one was a steal. She hesitated over the “buy” button for only a second before confirming her purchase. She couldn’t wait to see the look on her husband’s face when he tried it on. It would be memorable – of that much she could be sure.


To vote for this story in the 2014 Master of Macabre Writing Contest, send an e-mail to
Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #4, D. J. Pitsiladis

The Samaritan by D.J. Pitsiladis
Location: Angkor Wat
Item: Running Shoes
Origin: Meteor Site

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

The Samaritan

By D.J. Pitsiladis

Gary jerked himself upright and muttered an apology to his sour faced neighbor.  The man muttered something in Cambodian before he turned his attention back to the window.  The American received similar reactions since his arrival in Bangkok, Thailand, the day before, and he thought about how it differed from the pro-tourism ads he saw while planning the pilgrimage.  As he popped open the third energy drink of the long bus trip, Gary promised himself, “Next time I take the window seat with all the fresh air.”


A bright flash lit up the sky seconds before the bus shuddered and began to roll on its side.  Gary bounced off his neighbor’s body before he hit the floor and smacked his head against one of the benches.  Pain blossomed behind his eyes from the impact before everything went black.  He didn’t know how long he was unconscious for, but when a hand pushed on his shoulder and a girl’s voice said, “Wake up,” he tried to open his eyes.  They remained shut until he felt another nudge, “Please wake up.”  The American’s eyes fluttered open to find a young Thai girl’s tear streaked face as it broke into a relieved smile.  Nausea washed over him like a wave and he laid his head back down until the girl whimpered and pushed his shoulder again.  “Please, mister, you need to wake up.”


Gary sat up and winced when he touched the top of his head.  “Probably have a concussion,” he thought as another wave of nausea hit.  The girl, meanwhile, placed her hands on his shoulders to help steady him while he checked their surroundings.  “Are there any others alive?” he asked.  She lowered her gaze and shook her head with a sniffle.  He swore under his breath, but then grabbed the side of the bench above him and pulled himself to his feet.


While he waited for his balance to steady, Gary checked out the girl for injuries.  She wore a stained yellow t-shirt and tan slacks with dark patches of blood, but no obvious signs of injury.  What really caught his attention were her clean running shoes.  He looked around at the other passengers and saw a considerable amount of blood and debris mixed in with pale bodies.  With all of that, he didn’t know how she managed to keep them so clean.  He meant to ask her about it when a noise from the outside grabbed his attention.


With careful steps, they made their way to the shattered front window and peeked outside.  Two of the temple complex’s five towers stood tall over a large pile of rubble while toppled trees burned around it.  They stepped from the vehicle and stared in amazement.  “How are we not dead?” Gary asked in disbelief.  Men yelled for help off in the distance, and he took a look at the girl and made a decision.  “Stay here,” he said.  “Help will be here soon.”  She opened her mouth to protest, maybe even beg him to stay until it did, but he worried that people might die if he did.


Military helicopters appeared within seconds and began to circle the fiery crater.  Gary wondered about what crashed there, but thought, “There’ll be plenty of time to find out after the injured are safe.”  Three armored personnel vehicles sped past the temple entrance and he jumped back to get out of their way.  He didn’t see the girl behind him until she bounced off his back and fell to the ground hard.  When she finally got her feet back under her, the girl headed for the temple with her left arm clutched tight against her chest.  Gary watched in disbelief as the military vehicles swerved to drive around her.


Once inside the outer walls, two monks saw them and yelled for help from a nearby pile of rubble.  Gary managed to free one of the men from the rocky trap, and let girl drag him out of the way while he turned his attention to the second monk.  It took a little longer to free the second holy man, but when he did, neither the girl nor the other monk were anywhere to be found.  When he didn’t find them, he checked the man’s leg and knew at first sight it was shattered and needed more care than he was able to offer.  When the girl finally walked around the corner, he asked, “What happened to the other guy?”


The girl looked around at the piles of debris and said, “He went to help more of his people.”  She met Gary’s gaze and pointed at the monk on the ground, “What about him?”  The expression on her face looked weird, but he let it go given the stressful situation.


“He’s not going anywhere,” Gary replied.  “His leg is badly shattered and we don’t have any way to move him.”  She turned her full attention on the man and went to his side.  The way she stared at the man looked more like hunger than concern, but, as much as his instincts told him to stay, he needed to go find more survivors.  “Can you stay here with him?” She nodded and he jogged around the opposite corner.  He didn’t get far before his gut told him to go back.  When he rounded the corner again, the scene he found terrified him.


The girl sat astride the monk’s chest with her knees on each arm, her left hand clamped tight over his mouth, and some kind of flat red disk against his forehead.  He realized when she pulled it away that the device was actually her hand.


“I can explain,” she said in a raspy voice.  Gary stared in horror as her once young and beautiful face shriveled into an opaque nightmare.  She took a tentative step toward him and added, “Then again, I don’t think you’ll understand the explanation any more than you can understand my hunger.”  The girl took another step toward him, “My kind needs blood for sustenance, but I spared you to help me find safety.”  His gaze lowered to the shriveled dead man behind her and realized not everyone on the bus died from the crash.  It proved enough to break his paralysis and he darted behind the pile of stones and headed for the soldiers.


Gary saw the bridge that led to the army, but didn’t see the girl until she slammed into his back and sent him to the ground hard.  Before he regained his breath, she rolled him over and sat on his chest with her knees firmly on his arms.  “All of that running made me hungry, and you look kind of tasty.”  He opened his mouth to shout for help, but her hand clamped over it as she laughed like a snake.  “Don’t worry.  I’m sure those soldiers will be happy to help.  After all…”  The girl’s image shifted back to the teenage girl and she said, “How can anyone resist a young girl in distress?”  He closed his eyes as her other hand rested on his forehead and she began to feed.


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Master of Macabre #3, Rish Outfield

Lighthouse View by Rish Outfield
Location: A lighthouse
Item: A camera
Creature Origin: Volcano

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Lighthouse View

Rish Outfield


Carly arrived at the lighthouse just before ten in the morning, and the old man was already waiting for her.

“News lady?” he asked, putting down his large print Louis L’amour collection.

She had the camera and tripod on one shoulder, her sound bag in the other, but still said,  “That’s me.”

He slowly rose to his feet.  “You know you prolly made this trip for nothin’?”

“It’s not for nothing.  I get to see your beautiful lighthouse.”

“Ain’t been beautiful in years,” he grumbled.  He was an ancient-looking man with a white beard, a sailor hat over a bald head, and about a million wrinkles.  “View’s nice, though.”

She followed him into the old building.  It surprised Carly Page to find so few lighthouses on this part of the coast.  Her internet search had classified the one at Puente Dormido as being “Closed.”  Turned out the old man who ran it years before had bought the disused relic, and lived there now.

When she’d tracked him down on the telephone, he’d guessed what she was after.  “There’s prolly a one in a thousand chance the monster comes here.”

“Good enough for me,” she’d said, sitting in front of her computer, satellite photos on the screen showing a tail, a bulbous head, and a long body, though not in the same shot.

The monster, or Quetzalcoatl, as CNN had dubbed it, had emerged from a volcano in the Pacific two days before.  It seemed to be a giant snake or worm that either swam or flew–depending on if you thought the smudge in one photo was wings or not.  Scientists argued about whether it would head for the mainland, go to an island, or never be seen again, perhaps burrowing back into the sea.  Carly didn’t know why, but she had immediately thought of a lighthouse, and found the closest one.  If the monster came here, she might get some great footage, if not, she would interview a fascinating old man.

The lighthouse was damp and foul-smelling, and had fallen into disrepair inside and out.  “You okay?” The way he was breathing, she worried he might topple backward onto her.

“Just old,” he wheezed.  Well, that was an understatement.  Her grandfather had looked better the last time she’d seen him, and that had been in a funeral parlor.

On the upper level was a living area, with a sofa, several shelves lined with books, and a little radio.

“You say you’re from Channel 8?” he asked her, pausing to catch his breath.  Above them, the stairs continued another ten feet or so to a thick door leading to the roof.

“I was.”

He squinted at her.  “You got a face for the TV.  What’s the problem?”

She figured the interview would go better if she earned his trust, so she told him.  “The regular anchor had a baby, so I got the job to fill in for her.  On my second day, I read a story with the word knickerbocker in it.  Only I didn’t say it like that, exactly.”

“So, nobody caught the error?”

“Oh, about a thousand viewers did,” she said, though the calls and emails had actually numbered about twenty.  “TV news is live.  Goes out as you say it.  They wanted me to apologize on the next show.  I wouldn’t.  On Wednesday, there was a new guest anchor sitting in for me.”

“So, gettin’ a picture of the killer snake monster will put you back on top.”

They emerged onto the upper terrace.  The view was spectacular.  Blue, grey, and white ocean water as far as the eye could see, a cool and refreshing breeze.

“The radio said the coast guard spotted it,” she said.  “How far from us was that?”

“About eighteen mile from here.”

Carly’s odds of seeing the creature had just gotten better.

As if reading her thoughts, Walter said, “Eighteen is a lot of miles, Miss Knickerbocker.  Don’t think we’ll be hostin’ a monster party today.”

They stood in silence, Carly and the old man searching the horizon for anything more interesting than a boat.

Finally, she turned the camera on him.  “How old a man are you, Mr. Walter?”

“Ninety-one,” he said.  He definitely looked his age.

“Does this discovery make you question your understanding of the world?”

“Stuff with the snake, you mean?”  Walter gave her a wink.  “Nahh, I fought Hitler and Benito, I always believed in monsters.”

She smiled at that.  He was a charming man, even if he wasn’t very photogenic.

They left the terrace and went slowly down the creaking stairs.  Carly wondered if this building would still be standing ten years from now.

She set up the camera in front of the man’s couch.  The question she had asked him had been on a lot of minds since Quetzalcoatl emerged from the eruption.  Many took the monster as a sign that the Biblical end times were finally upon us, many took it as evidence that God did not exist.  Some were now worshiping the flying serpent like the Maya of old.

She sat Walter down with a microphone and adjusted the camera angle to best capture his craggy face.  “State your name and spell it for me.”

“Alec Walter Junior.  Eye-tee,” said Walter, and grinned for the lens.  It made him look like a bearded skeleton from a Disney pirate movie.

“Mister Walter, could–”

“Call me Alec.”

“Alec, could you tell me when you first saw this lighthouse?”

“Oh, surely.  I was six years old.  My pappy had decided–”

And then Carly heard the sound of a helicopter through the microphone.  It sounded close, getting closer.

Carly wrestled the camera off its tripod, and carried it up the stairwell with as much speed as she could muster. The old man followed, almost disappointed about the interview.

On the terrace, he saw the helicopter hovering over the water only half a mile away–a big ugly military vehicle.   Carly was filming something beyond the helicopter.  White water sprayed where an enormous shape moved fast through the ocean to the northwest.

“I can’t believe it!” she laughed, and it was infectious, the delighted laughter of the young.  “This is it!  I’m back in for sure now!”

“Hope you got enough film in that thing.”

A moment later, the helicopter rose higher.  The monster exploded out of the water and into the air.  The damned thing did have wings.

“Did you get that?” he asked, but the way she was beaming, he knew that she had.

The monster angled toward the shore.  Its wings were tiny, flapping so fast they were a blur, like a bug’s wings.  And as its body became more visible, a pale flying caterpillar, he realized that it looked a bit like his home.

“Here it comes!” Carly called in awe.

Alec Walter grabbed the girl’s thin arm and gave it a pull.  “We need to go.”

She looked away from the creature, just for a moment.

“Move!” he shouted, clutching her arm as tightly as he could manage, and pulling her in the direction of the stairs.

She thought of recording the creature’s truck tire-sized grey eyes.  Maybe, while she’d been looking at it, it had been looking at her.

She moved.  The old man focused on descending the stairs, and halfway down, he stumbled.  She steadied him with her free arm.  He was gasping, his whole back wet with sweat.

There came a sound above them–a skittering noise that insects made in the woods–but it was much, much too loud.  “Go!” Walter coughed.  But she kept supporting him until they finally made it to the bottom of the lighthouse.

He burst out the front door, but Carly didn’t want to leave the protection of the building.

“Come . . . on!” he managed, putting out his hand to her.

“We’re safer inside th–”

“It doesn’t . . . want us,” he coughed, and she ran to his side, helping him again as they moved away from the foot of the lighthouse.

The chittering stopped, and Carly saw Quetzalcoatl as it hovered next to the lighthouse.  It darted in the air, seeming to dance.

Beside Carly, the old man collapsed onto his knees, then rolled to a sitting position, where he could see the monster.  “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he got out.  He was barely getting any breath in, but she heard him whisper, “Shoot your camera.”

Quetzalcoatl kept bending its lower body toward the building, like a wasp about to sting.  “It thinks the lighthouse is an enemy,” she marveled, raising the camera–which had never stopped recording–to catch the full body of the flying worm.

“Ain’t mad,” Walter laughed, surprising Carly.  “It’s horny.”

She looked at its body language anew, and realized he was right.  The monster, though smaller than the lighthouse, was shaped very similarly to it, and was shaking its tail like a . . . well, like anybody who shook their ass for a suitor.

The helicopter slowly circled the top of the lighthouse, the only other witnesses to the giant worm’s dance.  Then the creature rotated itself 180 degrees, and landed on the side of the lighthouse.  She heard the building groan with the added weight, and saw brick drop off where the monster’s body connected.  Its tail was now right at the top of the edifice, where the terrace was.

Carly saw through the camera lens something wet and yellow emerge onto the top of the tower.  “It’s . . . laying eggs!”

“Now I’ve seen everything,” Walter mumbled beside her, and Carly felt an almost overwhelming affection for the old man.  If she hadn’t been holding the camera, trying to catch each sticky sphere as it came out and stuck in a pile, she would surely have hugged him.

Carly slowly panned onto the monster’s big flat face.  Later, she would remember it looking right at her, as though aware it had an audience.

Finally, the worm’s opaque wings began to vibrate again, and it disengaged itself from the lighthouse.  There was a cluster of twenty or so eggs up there, and Carly’s heart now thumped from exhilaration.  She had a big grin on her face, and the smile never faded as Quetzalcoatl’s wings blurred into motion again and it—she–turned and plunged into the ocean once again.  The military helicopter followed, trying to keep up.

She held the shot a moment more, arm aching from keeping the camera steady, and finally stopped recording.  “Yep,” she said, lowering her right arm.  “That will probably make me a–”

She turned and stared at the old man.  Alec Walter Junior was laying back, his mouth and his eyes both open a slit.  He no longer stirred, no longer breathed.

“Now you’ve seen everything,” she sighed.



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Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #2, Ricky Cooper

A Contrast of Worlds by Ricky Cooper
Location: An Italian restaurant
Item: A human skull
Creature Origin: Deep Space

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

A Contrast in Worlds


Clattering filled the air, wry smiles etched their lips as they lifted  the cups and sipped, a hum of gratification filing the space between them.

‘It’s certainly good here; best we have found so far I’d venture to say.’

A soft chuckle tickled the air as they set their cups back on the small saucers.

‘It certainly is, but I must say the heat is dreadfully oppressive.’

‘Agreed, but dear we must remember, this place is as new to us, as we are to it. We will eventually adapt, we always do.’

A slight nod greeted the softly worded admonishment. As the heat rolled over them, handkerchiefs patted at perspiration soaked brows. The quiet whisper of silk filled the air as, with delicate motions and supple fingers, the handkerchiefs were folded and once more tucked into the cuffs of their sleeves.

‘So darling how old did you say this colony was?’

‘Well, it’s taken us one hundred and fifty years to get this far.

‘When one thinks that we didn’t even know this world existed until those signals started coming through.

‘Even as faint as they were, they gave planning a reason to brush the dust off our old search probes.

‘The probes were launched and all the while we waited and listened. The signals were getting stronger and more frequent. The inevitable conclusion was that for the first time we had found another sentient race in the universe. The prize was within our grasp.

‘So with the information collated and analysed the first ships were sent out. I know that travelling halfway across the galaxy in stasis is a crazy thing to do but we were absolutely desperate for extra space, a civilisation can only survive on one planet for so long without exhausting the ecosystem to the point of collapse.

‘ Then when we arrive the place is empty. No signals. Nothing.’

‘And with that in mind my dear, I’d say it’s a good idea for us all to pay careful attention to the signs we were left by those that came before. You know as well as I that waiting a few hundred years more will not damage things. Besides the rest of the settlers will be needing a head counsel to oversee the ownership rights in this territory.’

A warm gust of air made their heads tilt. Eyes slid closed and nostrils flared, a short guttering gasp left them both as they stood, chairs clattering against the cobbled floor.

‘Come with me, I want to show you something, it was unearthed a few weeks ago.’

Their tapping feet filled the quiet street as they listened to the bustle of shoppers and families only a few yards away, the soft tremor that shivered through their feet made one pause, a soft gasp of fright flirting with his companion’s ears.

‘Darling, fear not, it’s just that beastly mountain again, damned thing has been gurgling and smoking ever since I was transferred here.’

Glancing back over the top of the buildings around them, the monolith of fire and heat smoked and rumbled sending a shiver down his spine as he hastened his pace and caught up to his slowly disappearing comrade.

‘So where exactly are we going dear?’

A small smile broke his partners lips as they drew level. Hands clasped behind their backs they moved out into a vast courtyard. The central fountain burbled echoing the gentle call of small birds that flitted above their heads.

‘We’re heading to the one place in this heat blasted world where we can see what became of this planet’s indigenous species and I for one would wish that my partner saw them just once before he is whisked away again.’

A gentle hand tugged at his elbow as the fluttering of wings filled the air and the sky was assaulted by a swarm of feathered bodies.

‘Now that was a pleasant and rather beautiful surprise.’

A soft hum echoed from his partner as they both watched trees empty of their twittering cargo.

‘Yes my sweet, it certainly was.’

They paused studying the glittering water as it bubbled and splashed over the cut glass pebbles and turquoise tiles.

‘Apparently my sweet this fountain here, although it has been restored numerous times, pre-dates nearly everything around us; from the tiles on the roofs to the relics we are unearthing on a daily basis. Now if you look at its size, this sculpted expanse, despite its complexity, has been constructed using the simplest of hand tools. Those that made it were twice if not three times our size, tall, broad and extremely muscular.

‘Those large plots of land not far from here with their quaint little temples honouring their fallen have a very handy system of rows and markers that, I must say, has made excavation quite an easy process. It shouldn’t be long before we have sufficient information on this planet’s aborigines. ‘

With a small nod of his head, he guided his partner to the furthest side of the courtyard and through a high archway, the weather worn stone casting a fine dust upon their heads as they passed through the frescoed alleyway.

‘Ah blessed cold, that heat was making me boil in my suit.’

A liquid filled chuckle echoed down the corridor, the chill air making them both shiver as they stopped. They paused a moment to bask in the shaded avenue before heading out in the blistering, heated air once more.

‘We only have a short way to go my dear, then we can sit in the blessed cool of the air conditioned viewing halls. I think you will truly appreciate what we have found. It is the only intact example we have been able to unearth from site six.’
The small dark eyes stared fixedly at the centre of the small table, the hollow gaze sending a chill through the already frigid air.

A skull sat in pride of place, the brightly lit pedestal rotating as its menacing stare slowly moved through all corners of the compass.

‘And here we have it my dear, such a lovely specimen, the ridges and brow lines are astounding. Many of the others we found collapsed into dust the moment we pulled them from the earth.

‘I have seen the way they endeavoured to preserve their dead and it is clever if a little archaic. Nothing like we have, but it shows a clear love of preserving beauty.

‘And as you have seen they applied that to the entire world around us, cities and park lands all pristine. This world has but two main land masses and is more than ninety percent covered in water but it was in a lovely condition when we found it, the last owners were wonderfully careful with things.

‘Although I have to admit my curiosity has been peaked at what drove them to extinction, these Homo sapiens were certainly a clever lot, it’s a shame really, they would have made such wonderful neighbours.’

His partner came up beside him, scaled skin cool against his lover’s neck.

‘They certainly would have been my love, certainly would have been.’


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Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

Master of Macabre #1, Stephen Kozeniewski

The Thing Under the Bed by Stephen Kozeniewski
Location: London
Item: Gasoline
Creature Origin: A Child’s bedroom

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


by Stephen Kozeniewski


“I’m going to eat you and your whole family.”

The girl didn’t say a word.

“I know you hear me up there,” The Thing Under the Bed said, “You can pretend to ignore me but I’m still going to devour you.”

An involuntary gasp escaped from the girl’s throat.  She clapped both of her hands over her big fat mouth, but it was already too late.  The monster chuckled.

“I knew you were awake.  I’ll tell you what: I’ll make you a deal.  If you come down here by choice, I’ll kill you before I eat you.  Then you don’t have to feel anything.  How does that sound?”

She clenched Captain Bundrick under her armpit.  She had taken the poor rabbit’s head off twice before by squeezing him in just that manner, and yet she didn’t care now.  Mum would grumble, but she would take him into the sewing nook for doll surgery as she always did.  That is, assuming Mum or anyone else would be left alive in the morning.

The blanket began to shift, slowly, inexorably being tugged downwards.  Obviously The Thing Under the Bed had caught hold of a corner and was pulling, but gently.  The goal was to scare her, not to catch her.  Nevertheless, she scrambled out from under the covers and planted her bottom on her pillow.

The Thing chuckled again.

“Look, it’s the best thing for you just to give in.  What’s your plan anyway?  What’ve you got up there?  A pillow?  And that desiccated old bunny?”

“My Da’ll be home soon enough,” she spouted defiantly.

“Tha’s a nice voice you’ve got.  Very pretty.  I think your vocal cords shall be very tasty.”

“Well, you’re just a big bully.  If you’re so tough, whyn’t you come up here, then?”

So she had finally shut The Thing up.  She grinned over her little victory.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t quite work like that, little pet.  No, you have to come down here.  And you will.  Soon enough.  Along with your Da and your Mum and everybody else.”

She hung her head, trying desperately not to let a mournful tear strike her mattress.  To distract herself, she turned and looked out of the window.  Big Ben seemed to be wearing the moon as a halo.  She had not learned Roman numerals and she still struggled with reading an analog clock, but after a moment’s counting she saw that it was three…something.  Sometime after three in the morning.  Her father would be home from his shift any moment now.

“Why not call out to your Mum?” The Thing whispered in the darkness, “I’ll bet she’d be delicious.  I mean…a big help to you.”

The girl couldn’t tell whether the monster was teasing or not, but the sounds of her Mum’s piggish snoring from the next room betrayed that she had spent another night deep in her bottles.  The girl might call and call for hours but never wake her mother.

She rubbed her forearms.  Without the blanket she was getting cold, but she feared being sucked down into the writhing darkness underneath the bed if The Thing decided to start tugging on the sheets again.

“Why don’t you just be quiet?”

A wave of laughter from beneath the bed splashed the girl’s face like cold water.

“Oh, Mum!” The Thing called out, “Mummykins!  Mother dearest!”

With each word The Thing’s slimy, spectral voice grew louder and louder.

“Quiet!  Quiet!” the girl cried, her heart now beating solidly in her throat.

“It doesn’t matter!  She can’t hear!  She’s soused.  It’s just you and me, my darling.  Now come down here and cuddle.”

At that moment the telltale noise of the door of the flat opening filled the air and a wave of relief washed over her.

“Da!  Da!”

She dared a peek over the side of the bed.

“Not so eager to yell now, are you?”

The Thing held its peace.

“Da!  Da!”

“Oi, what is it?” her father’s voice replied from the foyer.

“Come quick, Da!”

She leaned far out over the side of the bed.  The writhing tentacles of darkness that seemed to slither out from under the bed, forever on the periphery of her vision, had disappeared.  And from the monster, not a peep.

Her father appeared at her doorway, a silhouette in the moonlight.  He flipped the switch and light filled her room, making her blink in surprise.  Finally illuminated, she could see his kind face, smiling eyes, and cracked lips.

“What’s all the racket then, little bit?”

All at once she felt foolish.

“There’s a…there’s something under the bed.”

His right eyebrow shot up, nearly rocketing through the roof.

“What kind of a something?  A shoe?  A ball?”

“No, Da.  A…a monster.”

He smiled deftly, his toothy grin suddenly overtaking the rest of his face.

“Oh, is that all?  Let me run out and get me sawed-off then.”

He turned to leave.

“No, Da!  Da!  Don’t go!  There’s really something under there!”

Her father nodded and went to his knees before her bed, as though he were praying, the same way she did every night.

“Let’s see what’s under here.”

Her father lifted the dangling blanket and stuck his head under the bed.

“Ohhh, I don’t see anything,” her father’s muffled voice reported back, “No, wait.  What’s this?”

Suddenly a sound like a whirring blender filled the room.  She stared down at her father’s kneeling form.  His leg began to twitch.


In an instant his twitching leg turned into a kicking leg, like a grasshopper’s.  Then his whole body began to writhe and shake.  The whirring grew louder and louder and then in the space of a split-second his entire body was sucked under the bed, only his screams and the strange buzz of the devouring monster filling the air.  A plume of blood exploded out from under the bed an instant later, spraying the floor, her Sunday shoes, and the wall.

The girl began to scream.  She began to scream loudly, not caring what the neighbors would think.  Not caring what her Mum would think, if it broke through her drunken torpor at all.  She screamed and screamed for all she was worth at the horrible, bloody demise of her father.

“Enough of that.”

The voice caught her off guard.  It didn’t belong to the monster.  It was far too refined.  And somehow it sounded…smaller.

She glanced down at Captain Bundrick, the stuffed rabbit.  The captain was standing of his own volition and staring at her.  His button eyes didn’t blink, but otherwise he seemed fully alive.

“Cap’n…how are you…?”

“Never mind,” the stuffed rabbit said, “Perhaps you’ve gone mad.  But that’s not what’s important now.  What’s important is that The Thing Under the Bed doesn’t escape.”

“Don’t listen to him,” the monster intoned, “He’s clearly a delusion.”

“If you toss me through the doorway,” Bundrick continued, pointing, “I know where your father keeps the gasoline and matches.  You and your mother won’t survive.  But most of the people in this building will have time to escape.  And more importantly that thing will burn up, too.”

“I’ll make you a counter-proposal,” The Thing said, “If you come down here of your own choice, I’ll leave your Mum alone.”

“There’s no good decision,” Bundrick said, “But there is one correct decision.”

She grabbed the stuffed rabbit and tossed him with all her might through the doorway.  A moment later, the smell of gasoline filled the air.

The next day, the Evening Standard reported a wholly different explanation for the fire.





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Voting ends: September 9th, 2014

MMM Contestant 3: Donald Pitsiladis

The following text is posted as part of‘s annual Master of Macabre contest.
This text is presented as is, from the author, with no editing.
Contestants should be judged on text, audio, and use of the challenge items listed. Please read the bottom of this post for voting instructions. Audio is playing at, #93.

Donald Pitsiladis
Location: Old School House
Item: text book




Donald L. Pitsiladis

Barry pulled his car into a parking spot and closed his eyes.  He didn’t need to see the shattered windows or the broken door to know what they looked like.  The decayed building had been a recurring place in his dreams for many years, but he never believed it to be real until just then.  Fear and guilt flooded his mind when he opened his eyes and saw the building stare at him from the rear view mirror.

He stared at the school, unsure of what to do.  The building reached for him and, before he realized it, Barry found himself at the foot of the stairs.  “Come inside,” a little voice whispered, and he climbed the stairs without another thought.  Once through the door, it slammed with a bang that sounded a lot like a gunshot.  It knocked him to the ground hard enough to throw dust into his face and he began to sneeze uncontrollably.  He tried to open the metal door to get some fresh air, but no amount of force got it to move. The only option left was to venture deeper into the school and look for another way out.

The further into the school Barry went, the stronger his feeling of excitement and dread became.  He remembered attending the school when he was the poor fat kid and the torment and torture his classmates inflicted.  Tears welled in his eyes at the whispered insults when a door opened and the voices beckoned him.  “Go inside.  See the surprise we have for you.  You really need to see it.  Go on in.”  Barry entered the room and saw a gray haired man in a bow tie and white lab coat pace the room with a smile.  It was his favorite teacher, Mr. Jenson, the only teacher to treat him with kindness.  When the gentle man’s eyes met his, the smile fell away and an explosion of red blossomed from his chest.  He fell back in slow motion with arms flailing like a kite tail, while the students erupted into motion when they realized what happened.  Then, two bigger boys sprawled to the ground with similar wounds in their backs before things faded to the empty, dust-covered classroom.  Barry felt the rapid beat of his heart as he tried to make sense of what he saw.  A chilled hand gripped his left shoulder, but nobody stood next to him.

A sound of shuffling feet drew Barry into the hall where he found only undisturbed dust and debris on the floor.  “Keep moving,” a disembodied female voice whispered, so he walked on.  Not long after, a bright flash and muffled boom drew his attention to a dented locker a few feet to his right.  A blond girl with a large gaping hole between her once perky breasts slammed into it.  Her confused eyes met his for a moment before she slid down the length of the door and her head sagged to her chest.  “I loved you,” the female voice whispered and he felt arms envelope his body in a cold embrace.  Barry tried to wrap his arms around the girl, but found empty air instead.  Tears welled in his eyes and he moved on to the next room in his spree.

He found himself in the cafeteria after a short walk. There he pulled up a chair and looked around the room full of unaware students and teachers.  His best friend Jamie entered the large room from the far door and, with a look of disbelief on his face, ran towards him.  “Don’t shoot!” he shouted. “You don’t need to do this!”  The pleas drew people’s attention, so Barry pulled the trigger.  Three people fell before a football player grabbed Jamie and pulled him in the line of fire.  Before the first clip emptied, both boys lay on the ground.

“You killed us,” Jamie said and appeared next to Barry with blood oozing from the holes in his chest.  “Why?” the dead boy asked as his face drew near Barry’s.  “Why did I die, Barry?  I was your best friend.”  The blond girl appeared with her arms still around Barry’s body, “Margaret wanted to be your girlfriend. What did she do to cross you?”  The middle-aged teacher gripped his shoulder tighter as he materialized.  “What about Mr. Jenson?  You were his favorite student.  He treated you better than any other student in his classes.”

Barry’s bottom lip quivered and he stammered, “I… I don’t know.”  He looked at Jamie and said, “I didn’t mean to shoot you.  It was that stupid football player’s fault.  He pulled you in the way.”  When he looked at the other two, his eyes squinted in thought and admitted, “I don’t remember.”  Margaret pulled away from him with a hurt expression that stabbed into him.  “The hospital I went to after made me forget a lot.” He took a step toward her with an apologetic smile, but the look on her face remained unchanged.

“That’s quite all right, my boy,” Mr. Jenson said in his jolly way.  “We’re here to help you remember.”  He led Barry to a desk in the middle of the cafeteria and gestured for him to take a seat.  Jamie plopped a textbook in front of him and opened it to the first page.  “I’m sure this will trigger some of your lost memories,” the teacher said as they looked at his body in a pool of blood.  The gaping hole in his chest and the empty eyes drew Barry’s attention to the photo, and then he noticed how a small trickle of blood from the corner of the teacher’s mouth led to a caption which read “Victim Number One”.  As Barry paged through the book and saw the lives he either ended or destroyed, Mr. Jenson walked behind the counter and returned with the same gun used so many years ago.  “This will be your final exam.”

Margaret sat down next to him and pulled Barry tight against her.  “We want to make sure you’re ready for your afterlife when it is time for your Judgment,” she said with a comforting smile.  Barry felt the comforting grip of his best friend’s hand as it grasped his right shoulder.  The whispers of the dead beckoned him to study.


To vote for this story, send an email to: with the subject line: MMM. Voting ends September 24th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

MMM Contestant 2: Rick Kitagawa

The following text is posted as part of‘s annual Master of Macabre contest.
This text is presented as is, from the author, with no editing.
Contestants should be judged on text, audio, and use of the challenge items listed. Please read the bottom of this post for voting instructions. Audio is playing at, #93.

Rick Kitagawa
Location: Double Wide Mobile Home
Item: black and white television


Uncle Neal’s House

by Rick Kitagawa



The house that had previously belonged to Jason’s late uncle was a double-wide mobile home – a surprisingly well-kept number painted a cobalt blue with a bright white trim.  A thick ridge of cardboard-colored pine needles formed a perimeter on the edge of the gently sloping shingled roof.

When Jason walked out of the small uptown law office two weeks earlier, he was more confused than anything else.  He had barely known his Uncle Neal, yet apparently Jason was the only family member who was both invited to the reading of the will or mentioned in it.

All Jason knew about his Uncle Neal was that his uncle had always been a bit of a black sheep of the family, living off the grid in the Sierra Nevada foothills and never really bothering to keep in contact with anyone.  Now Jason was the new owner of his uncles house and Jason had taken a long weekend to go check it out.

Jason crouched on one knee and peered under the house and laughed.  While the house looked to be in fair condition, his uncle had neglected to remove the axles and wheels from the foundation.  Large wooden wedges had been shoved under the wheels to prevent the entire thing from rolling down the gently sloping cliff it was perched on and off into the gorge that only lay about twenty feet south of the house.

Jason walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down.  The gorge dropped a few hundred yards, sharp rocks protruding from the steep cliff face the entire way to the bottom.  He kicked a few rocks off the edge and listened as they ricocheted their way down.  As he watched the pebble careen further and further away, he realized that there was something shiny and black at the bottom of the gorge.

“Well, I guess that’s where the trash bags go.”  Jason chuckled and snatched the keys from his jeans pocket.  “Now, let’s see what’s behind door number one.”

The first key turned easily, the deadbolt snapping back into the door.  The second key took a bit of jiggling, but soon Jason stepped inside.  He flipped the light switch and was greeted with your typical back-country decor.  Fish mounted on plaques.  Boots lining the hallways.  Beige carpeting and worn crocheted rugs over the parts of the hallways that were linoleum.

Jason went back out to his car to get his backpack and duffel bag.  As he reached into the trunk, he suddenly felt like he was being watched.  He looked up quickly.  No one.  The only thing moving was the curtains gently swaying to and fro.  Jason shrugged it off as the wind and gathered his things.

Feeling grimy from the long drive, Jason pulled his ziplock of toiletries from his bag and grabbed a towel from the hall closet and headed to the shower.

As he stepped into the narrow bathroom, Jason noticed a bunch of paint flakes on the bathtub floor.  As he bent to scoop up the paint, he hit his head on the shower wall, making a voluminous “donk.”

Jason bunched up his face and raised an eyebrow.  He looked at the bathroom again – it was indeed very narrow.  Unnaturally narrow.  He knocked on the shower wall, and the sound reminded him of knocking on a ripe watermelon.  Jason set the towel on the sink and walked out of the bathroom.  On the other side of that shower wall was his uncle’s bedroom closet.  Upon inspection, this closet was very narrow as well.

Jason walked back and forth between the two rooms, counting his steps.  They didn’t add up.

Confused and slightly suspicious, Jason went back into the bathroom and stared at the wall.  The shower wall did look like it was a slightly different shade of white than the rest of the room, and the paint was cracking and peeling at the edges.

“Well, it is my house now, I guess,” Jason muttered and gave the shower wall a good kick.  The drywall gave easily, and as Jason looked into the deep blackness, a strange odor seeped out.  It was alien, yet familiar, ancient and salty, but not altogether unpleasant.

Jason began to rip off pieces of the drywall, kicking at it when necessary.  After a few minutes of struggling, a small crevice of a room lay before him.

The room was only about two feet deep – a closet really, but the interior was painted entirely black.  There was nothing extraordinary about this tiny space, save for the pile of strange gold sculptures on the floor.  Jason bent over and gingerly scooped up a handful.  His heart began to race.   The sculptures were often intricately carved in the shapes of things that seemed aquatic but yet bore the full resemblance to nothing on this earth.

Jason felt a hand on his shoulder.  He suddenly spun around, but there was nothing there.  Jason’s eyes darted around the bathroom.  No one.  Rising quickly, Jason rushed into the living room.  Still no one.

“Hello?”  Jason called out.  The front door was still closed, and the windows were still shut from before he had arrived.  Jason’s face went white.  If the windows were closed this entire time, what made the curtains move earlier?

Jason moved quickly to the kitchen, only now realizing that he held one of the grotesque gold statuettes in each hand.  He set one down, and drew a large kitchen knife, then hesitated.  He set the knife on the counter, stuffed the golden figurine into his pocket, then picked the knife back up.

“Whoever’s in here – I’m armed!  Just show yourself and I won’t press charges.” Jason was breathing heavy now, and his nerves were charged.  He strained to listen for any signs of movement.  Just the sound of his heart racing and his rapid breathing filled the air.

Jason slowly creeped over to the door of the guest bedroom.  He quickly pushed the door open.

All Jason found was a bed stripped of its linens.  No place to hide in here.  Jason pulled the door shut.

Out of paranoia, Jason rechecked the bathroom again, then closed the door.  Although he had just recently gotten a towel from the hall closet, he checked that as well.  Still nothing.  Soon, Jason was standing in the hallway, gold idol in one hand, eight-inch kitchen knife in the other.

Jason stuffed the small octopoid figure into his pocket and opened the door to what used to be his Uncle’s bedroom.  There was yet again, nothing there.

“Give us our lives back.”

Jason spun around.  He had clearly heard a woman’s voice behind him, but there was just the empty living room.

“Repent.”  The voice said.  “Repent.”

“Where are you?  Jason took the knife is both shaky hands.  “What do you want?”


The old black and white television that sat in the living room suddenly clicked on.  Jason stared at the unplugged machine as the static snow’s buzz filled the air.  Jason felt a hand on his waist and he spun again, slashing blindly behind him. The knife silently cut through air as the hiss of the television grew louder.

“Give us our lives back.”  This time the voice was clear, and as Jason slowly faced the living room, the digital noise of the static began to coalesce into a woman’s face.

“You have what belongs to us”  The face was angry now.

Jason’s eyes grew wide.  He ran back towards the bathroom and dropped his knife on the floor.  He began to shovel the gold trinkets into his pockets, and when they were full, he began to stuff the bottom of his shirt with them.  Sweat began to run in rivulets down his face, and his hands began to shake.

“They’re mine.  They’re mine, and you can’t have them.”  Jason feverishly began to waddle towards the front door when he stumbled and some of the blasphemous figurines fell to the floor.

As he knelt to pick them up, Jason spilled even more of them.  Jason spied his duffel bag and while he clutched his shirt tightly with one hand, he fumbled with the zipper to the bag.  As he began to empty his shirt’s contents into the bag, he could feel scaly hands pulling at his hair and trying to work their way into his pockets.

“No!”  Jason trashed about, but the hands persisted.  He took up his bag and ran for the door, but something grabbed his leg and he tumbled headfirst into the adjacent wall and crumbled to the floor.


Jason was outside suddenly, the sky bright with stars.  He saw his Uncle Neal carrying something large wrapped in black plastic trash bags slung over his shoulder.  Jason watched as Uncle Neal, with bloodstained hands, tossed the long package over the edge of the cliff.  Jason seemed to then float above it all as he watched his uncle make four more trips, with four more black lumps.

Jason was then deep in the woods. His uncle was standing in the center of a large circle of blood, placing a plate covered in hearts in the center of the circle.  Uncle Neal stepped out of the circle and lit seven black candles.  Soon, the beating of leathery wings could be heard, and from the cloudless sky descended a faceless, horned monstrosity.  This hideous thing landed soundlessly, then released a deafening, otherworldly shriek.  It snatched up the hearts, and as it lifted off into the air, it dropped a small satchel that landed heavy in the dirt with a clink.


Jason managed to open one eye. Something was sticky on the side of his face, and there was a throbbing pain that clouded his already limited view.  Jason immediately reached down to confirm that his golden statues were still safely tucked into his pockets.

He gingerly touched his head, and as he pulled his hand back he found his fingers coated with blood.  It was then he felt the trailer move.  There was a low groaning, and then a high pitched whine.  He could hear something heavy being dragged through leaves, and as he looked out the window, he saw the wheel blocks sitting next to his car.

Suddenly, Jason was flung back to the floor, as the entire house jerked and began to pick up speed as it rolled over the gravel and onto solid dirt.  Jason tried to stand, but his vision was blurry and the room started to spin.  He continued to fumble for his bag and tried to stumble to the front door.

Jason pulled himself up to one knee and watched at the deadbolt on the door slid into place on its own.

Jason began to crawl to the door, then used the doorknob to steady himself as he stood.  He struggled with the deadbolt, but it wouldn’t move.  He began to throw his shoulder into the door, pain arcing through his head with every impact, but the door was surprisingly solid.  As he tried to back up to gain more momentum, he was thrown to the ground as the first pair of wheels went over the edge of the cliff.

Jason slid towards the side of the house tipping over and as he looked through the nearest  window, he could see five women standing at the bottom of the gorge who appeared to be looking up at him.

It was then the house tipped over completely, and as he began to go into freefall, Jason did all he could do – he clutched the bag of golden idols to his chest and closed his eyes.


To vote for this story, send an email to: with the subject line: MMM. Voting ends September 24th, 2013, 11:59a, PST. 093, Masters of Macabre Contest

Horror Addicts Episode# 093

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Horror Co-Host: David Watson


It’s that time of year again Addicts, time to be entertained by three of our Masters of Macabre!

This year’s challenge is Haunted Houses. They come in all shapes, sizes, and locations with as wide a variety of ghosts, ghouls and poltergeists. See how our Masters handled their particular challenge by listening to the show airing this week at

Our entrants this year are:

Rish Outfield

Location: The White House

Item: An unopened letter from 1842

Donald Pitsiladis

Location: Old School House

Item: A text book

Rick Kitagawa

Location:  Double wide mobile home

Item: A black and white television

To vote, send an email to: with the subject line: MMM.

Voting ends September 24th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

Listen to or read their stories this week on and vote to win a prize pack!

Horror Addicts 076, Masters of Macabre Contest

Horror Addicts Episode# 076
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini
masters of macabre contest | godmonster | mondo schlocko | the italian zombie

Find articles at:

| xorcist | events | masters of macabre contest | books |
| free fiction friday | k bat | dark arts | ray bradbury |
| mondo schlocko | the italian zombie | movie contest! |
| the eyes of the stars | tiny terrors | ed? | godmonster |
| masters of macabre – see below |
GothHaus & Locations will return next time!

#76 eStore
The Wickeds
Mondo Schlocko
The Italian Zombie
Lilith’s Love
A Dozen Black Roses
Ray Bradbury
The Eyes of the Stars
Tiny Terrors

F me Ray Bradbury

Masters of the Macabre Contest

Horror Addicts Master of Macabre Contest, 2012
Hosted by Shaunessy Ashdown and Rachel von Hindman
1. Dan Shaurette – Curse of the Pharoahs
2. Rish Outfield – Curse of Macbeth (the “Scottish Play”)
3. Shawn Micallef – Curse of Otzi
4. Donald L. Pitsiladis – Voodoo Curse
5. Philip “Norvaljoe” Carrol – Curse of Winning the Lottery
Vote now! Send your vote to:

Masters of Macabre Contest – Stories audio

h o s t e s s
Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope,
Dan Shaurette, Audrey Sabin, Marc Vale
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
m u s i c
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers
13 Nightmare Lane, Awen, Second Life

Masters of Macabre Challenge 2012 Announced!


An opportunity for male horror writers, published and unpublished, to strut their stuff! You write and record your own scary story, we post it on the internationally famous site and let the listeners vote for the best one. The winner receives a host of prizes, most importantly the coveted “Master of Macabre” title and the privilege of organizing next year’s MoM Challenge. You can listen to last year’s stories here.


This year’s Challenge will lure us into the dark domain of malicious hexes and inescapable afflictions. Contestants will be tasked with telling stories inspired by famous, or once-famous, curses from around the world. The real curse will be on us listeners who have to choose a winner. Woe is us!


  • Entries will be accepted until April 11, 2012.
  • Each entrant will be assigned a curse from somewhere in the world. Look here for an idea of the kinds of curses we might give you.
  • The entrant is to write a story of 1500-3500 words in which the assigned curse plays a central role. Stories should explain the curse for listeners who have never heard of it, but should not be merely a re-telling of the original story.
  • The entrant records the story. Horror Addicts will not provide readers this year. If you need help recording your story, the MoM group on Facebook is a great place to ask questions. Audio will be due in mp3 format on May 11, 2012. After your story, you may tell listeners how they can find more of your writing.


June 30, 2012: contest airs and voting starts

July 27, 2012: voting ends

August 25, 2012: winner announced on podcast


1. Send the following information in the body of an email to

Email address
Skype name (if you have one)
Websites and blogs (if you have any)

You will receive a brief contract for your perusal.

2. Return contract, a short bio (50 words or less) for our website, and your headshot to

3. Shaunessy Ashdown, the current Master of Macabre, will assign you your curse (but not curse you) and you can get writing!

Who will be the next Master of Macabre?

HorrorAddictsCon: Master of Macabre 2011 – Shaunessy Ashdown

A chat with Master of Macabre, Shaunessy Ashdown.

HA: What inspired you to enter the Masters of the Macabre contest?

Shaunessy: The Wicked Women Writers Challenge, of course! I became a fan when Kimberly Steele, an author I admire very much (check out her cool vampire novel Forever Fifteen), participated in 2010. Each writer had to write a story about one of The Seven Deadly Sins and thought that would be so much fun to do. You can imagine how elated I was when a year later I saw that there was going to be a challenge for the lads.

HA: What did you think of the items you were given? 

Shaunessy: I thought, “Score!!!”

HA: When you listened to the other stories, who did you think would win?

Shaunessy: As soon as I heard Michael Burns speak his first words, with that fun-loving voice of his, I thought, “Oh, this is gonna be good.” and I was not disappointed. I have to also mention Colin Barnes’s very intelligent story. Both of these authors did an excellent job of putting the phobic protagonist in a situation where her/his phobia is cranked up to maximum volume, so to say. I didn’t quite manage that in my story and so I was honestly quite jealous.

HA: How did you feel when you were told you won?

Shaunessy: Like I’d been kissed by Elvira!

HA: What will this contest mean to the future of your writing?

Shaunessy: Who can say? I feel very encouraged to write more fiction and to record it, and to do more challenges. Does anyone out there have any for me?

HA: Where can listeners find out more about you and your writing? 

Shaunessy: Well, if you Google my name, all you will find is a lot of schoolbooks I’ve written for English lessons in Germany/Austria—not exactly what horror addicts are looking for!

I wrote a couple pieces here that are quite personal in nature. They might be of interest to someone who is dealing with addiction or just struggling through their 30’s. I published them anonymously in 2007-8 but I think now it’s safe for me to reveal myself as the author.

Any schoolteachers out there should please watch my video which gives suggestions for helping queer victims of bullying.

HorrorAddictsCon: Masters of the Macabre 2

Heather and I had an awesome time listening and chatting about the entries these guys made in the first ever Masters of Macabre Contest! When I asked Heather if she enjoyed herself, she had this to say, “In a challenge based around phobias and masculine activities, the MMM writers brought stories breathtaking in their diversity and originality. What fun to judge and weigh the individual stories, beautiful like cut stones, against each other. And how impossible not to have a favorite! I’m thrilled with the selection the listeners made, but the collection should be enjoyed all together.”

If you happened to miss the Masters and their stories, now is your chance to catch them again! Even if the contest is over, you can listen and vote with friends in the privacy of your own home with the links below. Are you interested in being in the contest next time? Check out our contest page for updates here:

1. Chris Ringler
Agyrophobia – fear of crossing roads
Golf clubs

2. R. Michael Burns
Ailurophobia – fear of cats
Stereo or sound system

3. Jerry J. Davis
Technophobia – fear of tech

4. Rish Outfield
Entomophobia – fear of insects
Hang Glider

5. Colin Barnes
Necrophobia – fear of death & dead
Gallery opening
Hunting Knife

6. Tom Andry
Osmophobia – fear of smells
Outdoor Picnic

7. Shaunessy Ashdown
Spectrophobia – fear of mirrors and one’s own reflection
Bachelor Party

8. Don Pitsiladis
Astraphobia – lightning & storms
Sporting event
Riding Mower

Masters of the Macabre Contest!

Please listen to all 8 stories, before casting your vote for…
Who will the first Master of Macabre
Email your choice to:
Voting ends October 1st! Get your vote in now!

1. Chris Ringler
Agyrophobia – fear of crossing roads
Golf clubs

2. R. Michael Burns
Ailurophobia – fear of cats
Stereo or sound system

3. Jerry J. Davis
Technophobia – fear of tech

4. Rish Outfield
Entomophobia – fear of insects
Hang Glider

5. Colin Barnes
Necrophobia – fear of death & dead
Gallery opening
Hunting Knife

6. Tom Andry
Osmophobia – fear of smells
Outdoor Picnic

7. Shaunessy Ashdown
Spectrophobia – fear of mirrors and one’s own reflection
Bachelor Party

8. Don Pitsiladis
Astraphobia – lightning & storms
Sporting event
Riding Mower

Horror Addicts #68, Masters of Macabre Contest!

Horror Addicts Episode# 068
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Saints Of Ruin
1990s | masters of macabre contest | in the mouth of madness | aggroaphobia
Find articles at:


| 1990s horror tunes | hallowen costumes | in the mouth of madness |
| dance of the vampires | dragons of night | spiral tattoo |
| encyclopedia gothica | dom ice skate boots? | vampire cruise |
| perth goth group | super hybrid | books | dracula unbound |
| sexy vamp trading cards | movie suggestions | vamp joke |
| 100 word stories | frightfest uk recap | ha horror con |
| band contest | writers workshop | events | aggoraphobia |
| masters of macabre contest | bloopers |

Quills New Address: 13 Nightmare Lane at_ep_dpt_1


vampire cruise

perth gothic friends

Having trouble with the audio button above? Try this direct link:

h o s t e s s: Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope, Dan Shaurette
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email
c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers
13 Nightmare Lane, Awen, Second Life