Kidnapped Guest Blog: DARK DREAMERS BY MARK SLADE

DARK DREAMERS

BY MARK SLADE

DARK DREAMS LINK: http://www.lulu.com/shop/rogue-planet-press/dark-dreams/paperback/product-22931027.html

Dark dreams began a few years ago as a podcast. I wanted to give other writers a chance to be heard, as well as myself. I also wanted to gather as many of my favorite stories by writers I liked. I was able to have stories read by Richard Christian Matheson, G. Wayne Miller and Joe R. Lansdale. My narrations were not very good, but E.S. Wynn was a master of it. He had a flare for the dramatic and the right timing for comedy, and a voice to die for. That podcast bit the dust after two or three years. Funny story (not so funny at the time) but a name writer took offense when I asked if his story could be read. He didn’t like my website, claimed I was stealing writer’s stories and vowed he would get the Horror Writers Association to sue me. I thought I was going to have to shut things down when another writer told me to ignore it, and it would go away. Well, nothing happened except he drew more people to the podcast for a week or so. A few years went by and an 80 or so episodes went by before I closed the podcast.

A few months ago I was listening to the Twilight Zone podcast, http://thetwilightzonepodcast.com/, hosted by Tom Elliot. He said (I think) that he believed the Twilight Zone all characters were connected somehow, and that the reason for the Twilight Zone’s existence was because of that connection. I loved that reasoning of the show and I got to thinking of bringing the title Dark Dreams back and doing an anthology. So I asked each writer to write a story using a minor or major character from the last story entry. Or if they already had a story to modify a character’s name. I’ve asked the contributors to explain their inspirations for their story. I also asked Artist Cameron Hampton about her paintings and drawings that make up the cover. To me the cover shows, in a dreamlike state, four different images that sums up the book. Loneliness and isolation, sex, murder and a horrific consequences of an evil act (or) acts.

dark-dreams-cover

BOOK COVER AND ART BY CAMERON HAMPTON

Cameron:

The painting on the left is a self-portrait of me Skyping with my boyfriend. It’s called Long Distance. The pictures on the top right were for another writers work, ‘Nothing there’ by G. Wayne Miller. The painting on the bottom right (the green one) is for an Edgar Allan Poe story, The Cask of Amontillado.”

DREAM GURU BY MARK SLADE

I think it’s safe to say almost everyone who contributed to this book is a huge Rod Serling fan, whether it’s the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery, those influence weigh heavy on all involved in this project. This story was originally published in Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers volume II. I had an idea about a man who had so many gambling debts that he was willing to do anything to rid himself of the problem. I also wanted to write a story about self-help gurus and how obsessed society is with “self”. Improving yourself is fine, but wouldn’t it be better if the improvement was how you treated people and your loved ones, not paying loads of money to satisfy the “inner self”? Maybe helping out with, or giving to charities?

I imagined this to be an episode of Tales from the darkside. I imagined the main character as a young (1980’s) John Goodman and the girlfriend Cathy Moriarty of raging Bull fame. The dream guru character was named after friend and writer T. Fox Dunham.

BEYOND THE MINDS EYE BY THOMAS M. MALAFARINA

Tom’s story was perfect follow up to mine. Definitely a shock to the system with that ending.

Tom:

My inspiration for “Beyond the Mind’s Eye” was to create a horror/sci-fi type of story that combined several different elements. I wanted to show something about the power of creativity and how an imagination is so incredibly powerful. I also wanted to touch on how technology, originally developed with the greater good in mind could become corrupted by human greed. And of course I wanted to throw in some good old fashioned gore. The original inspiration was a work of art by Nunzio Barbera of the same title. https://www.saatchiart.com/art/-Beyond-the-Mind-s-Eye/166157/94820/view. This story was part of my collection “Gallery Of Horror” no longer in print. I took 10 of Nunzio’s works and wrote stories around them with the same title. The purpose of this was to simulate in print the old Rod Serling show “Night Gallery”. If the story has a bit of a “Twilight Zone” feel, that’s why.”

PSYCHOSIS BY D.S. SCOTT

D.S.’s story kept me guessing where it was going. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I came to the end because I didn’t see it coming.

D.S.:

Well, the idea for my story came from my experiences with doctors and nurses. Although I’ve never been placed in a mental institution before, I have visited one and seen what it’s like. I also have physical health problems, so I’ve had to deal with more than my fair share of doctors. I’ve wondered what it’s like to have that job. I guess my inspiration came from thinking to myself, what if a mentally ill person was the one taking care of other mentally ill people and what kind of outcome that could produce. There are killers that blend in with everyone else in society, so why wouldn’t there be some that blend in as doctors or nurses, too?

I think I watched an episode of the show Dexter, about the serial killer who kills other killers. If I recall correctly, I think his first human kill was the nurse who tried to overdose his step father in the hospital. I’m not sure if that’s in the book series by Jeff Lindsay though. But now that I think about it, that probably helped inspire me with the story.”

Jacqui sent this story to me quickly after I asked her to join in on the anthology. I believe it only took her two weeks. But what a satisfying little gem it is and fits perfectly as an intro to the next story by Emerian. Funny how so many writers can end up on the same wave length.

BEAUTIFUL ANGEL BY JOHN C. ADAMS

Jacqui:

I love the novelty of linking the story together. It felt really fresh and innovative.

My inspiration came from the previous story, where a nurse was called a ‘beautiful angel’. As a horror writer I went ahead and took that literally. She meets a horrible end but comes back as a guardian angel, a sort of psychic detective from another realm.

Writer’s that inspired me were HP Lovecraft always and Stephen King. Read a lot of James Herbert as a kid. All of them influenced me a lot. I wouldn’t say any of them were in mind when I wrote the story – probably subconscious, as these things always are.”

This is the second time I’ve been able work with Emerian for an anthology. Happily, it was not what I was expecting from her. I couldn’t help but have that feeling of claustrophobia when I read her story, or maybe anxiety of dread is more appropriate.

VAMPIRE THERAPY BY EMERIAN RICH

Emerian:

Actually a dream- which is where a lot of my ideas come from. I woke one night in the middle of the night breathing hard and felt like someone was stealing my breath. I also had the very real impression that my husband had died in a terrorist attack. He hadn’t…thankfully he was still by my side. But in the darkness I saw a form that looked like a vampire face. I turned on the light – it was just a white shirt hanging in the closet. So yes, all imagined, but creeped me out enough to write about it.”

Jason Norton sent me a few stories for the now defunct mag I was doing for Horrified Press Nightmare Illustrated. I think we share the same philosophy when it comes to writing stories. Try to hook the reader from the get-go foreshadow the ending (or in our case surprise ending) of the story.

6 BY JASON NORTON

Jason:

The majority of my short stories (including this one) have been inspired by two sources: Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone. I always try to catch the reader off-guard with some sort of twist or unexpected plot thread. And I love a good redemption story, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to take a shot at writing one. This story had its origins in an idea I had nearly 20 years ago, but never completed. The original idea was that this hard-luck criminal who had lost nearly everything ends up at this mysterious roadside hotel where all these lost objects–and lost travelers–turn up. The watch I use in “6” came directly from that original story concept. I tweaked the updated version, adding a few horror elements and a new ending and I think it made for a more enjoyable narrative–but of course, I’m pretty biased.”

P.J. is a fellow column writer for Horror Metal Sounds as I am with my column From the Grave. I was reading one of his columns about movies and decided to ask him along for the ride. I most certainly had no regrets. He produced a fine, interesting story. I hope to see more from him.

CLUMSY IS THE CROW BY P.J. GRIFFIN

P.J.:

I wanted to create a story that had the feeling of a genuine nightmare. Nightmares are often so scary because not only do they tap into our personal fears but they are also quite disconnected from reality. It’s as if nightmares are all the terror without any safety net.

The initial concept of the story was the tangible feeling of being alone in the woods, suddenly feeling like you’ve made a mistake. The character knows that staying home was probably a better choice but he’s gone too far and he is simultaneously afraid of being exposed. However, little by little, the narrator distances himself from what the reader might see as acceptable response to his situation and surroundings. Suddenly the reader loses the narrator as their one connection to the safety of reality. It’s a frightening thing to realize that a tour guide is no longer a stable figure.

Additionally, I wanted to explore the nature of losing oneself. I feel that our emotions and how they align with the majority of others is a comfort that can be especially disturbing when lost. The horrific becomes comedic, the senseless suddenly makes sense.

Nightmares often become so upsetting because it’s as if we are in a strange world to which we feel inexplicably feel connected. Getting lost in the chaos, venturing out into uncharted territory and having your own feelings betray you. That’s what the heart of the story is.”

By far the most bizarre story I’ve had in any of my anthologies. Not for the faint of heart. By the way, Mr. Deadman runs his own online zine Deadman’s Tome, along with a podcast of the same name.

CYNTHIA’S GARDEN BY MR. DEADMAN

Mr. Deadman:

Inspiration: my goal with Cynthia’s Garden was to write something absolutely disgusting, perverted, and bizarre. The subtext, however, played with the idea of a strong female character that kills people for simply slut shaming her. The twist at the end with the talking heads was from a concept I’ve been playing with for a while: a garden of bodies.”

I might be wrong, but I think Joe has been in almost every anthology I have put together. He was one of the original writers for the podcast Blackout City and he is in my anthology Wicked Gardens a book of stories about an apartment building.

MANIK BY DAVID LUDFORD

David:

I guess my inspiration was something I’ve relied on for a number of stories- man’s interaction with strange, supernatural creatures and the endless possibilities this presents. Significantly with ‘Manik’ it wasn’t an ordinary man who caused the demon’s downfall but a supernatural power even higher than itself. I wondered what a battle- albeit a brief one- between evil forces would look like.”

PENANCE BY JOSEPH PATCHEN

Joe:

Dreams. I get everything from letting my mind go and the dream or nightmare enters. I don’t write anything. I’m the vessel for whatever enters and develops in my unconscious and subconscious state.”

Next up is a very unsettling story by Mark Tompkins, a writer who has been involved with many projects published by Horrified Press and Rogue Planet press.

PHASE BOUNDRY BY MARK TOMPKINS

MARK:

Phase Boundary was inspired by pondering shadows and different states of matter. The idea came to me one lazy weekend day when I was sitting outside watching the shadows through the trees. My wife and I had been discussing parallel universes and other theoretical stuff earlier in the day and the story just popped into my head.”

The book was just about finished, but it seemed to need something else. I noticed that E.S. Wynn wasn’t in the book. Earl is another writer that has been in every project I’ve been tied to. Initially he turned me down, having too many things on his plate. But I pleaded and finally he caved in. Without his contribution, the book would have felt unfinished.

FEAST OF FLESH BY E.S. WYNN

Earl:

My biggest inspiration for Feast of Flesh was H.P. Lovecraft. I wanted to bring forth elements of his style and of the kinds of stories he wrote and put them together into something uniquely my own. I wanted to write a rainy nightmare about cats and rats that leaves the reader wondering who the bad guy really is.”

I’ve seen Shawn’s name pop up all over the place and decided to take a chance, ask him to be in the book. A wallop of a story. Packs a lot of power.

THE OLD MAN BY SHAWN CLAY

Shawn:

I wanted a departure from the zombie genre. I got the idea from wondering what it would be like for the reaper when it was time for him to come and take someone. I wanted to personify him as both caring and cruel at the same time. Relief and struggle can be opposite spectrums of the reaper’s calling.”

Thankfully Gavin Chappell, my co-editor on this book and the others, asked Kevin to finish it up. I wanted Gavin to write the last story, but running an imprint, two magazines, editing a lot of anthologies and writing, I wonder if the man ever sleeps. He asked Kevin to step in and he did a great job. I also asked Gavin what he thought of the book after it was completed.

Gavin:

An ambitious project. The various authors’ skillful ability to bring together all those disparate strands and continuing the themes and characters through so many changes of scene was what impressed me most.”

DRIFT BY KEVIN REES

Kevin:

First, I was contacted by Gavin who asked if I could do a ‘wrap up’ story that encompassed the other stories. Also I was briefed that a minor character from the previous story would appear in the following story. That sort of didn’t happen, however the quality of the stories as standalone’s, and the fact they were supposed to be dreams gave me the idea of taking several of the characters and placing them in the nightmare world of Drift. When I write a story images tend to come to mind and then words. The word Drift wouldn’t go away and I wanted it to stand for something, an acronym. It worked because it’s linked to drifting off to sleep and the anthology dealt with dreams. I enjoyed writing the story and hope it did justice to the anthology.”

It would be fun to produce another volume. Who knows, maybe even have the same writers and none of the stories link until the last story to recap and link them together. Or maybe just have one object pop up in each story that could be the link. It could happen if everyone has time to put energy into the project.

David’s Haunted Library: Dark Dreams

David's Haunted Library

product_thumbnailThe dreamworld is an odd place, it’s close to reality but much scarier and deadlier. Dark Dreams is an anthology edited by Mark Slade that contains 14 stories that take place in a different reality. The book begins with a story by editor Mark Slade called Dream Guru. It follows a man named Charlie who has to get a hold of $10,000 to pay a bad debt. He comes up with a plan to extort money from a doctor who enters people’e dreams to help them with their problems. Of course things don’t go as planned and a lesson is learned about greed. This story had  an original feel to it and I liked how Charlie’s character changed as he saw a chance to fix his situation in life.

Another story with a concept I loved was Beyond The Mind’s Eye by Thomas M. Malafarnia. A scientist studies an art student to find out how he thinks. The point is to use a computer to turn dreams into reality and what better way than to study the mind of an imaginative person. I loved how the person being studied doesn’t see himself as being important and the scientist has to explain to him how even though he may not be good in certain things like logical thinking, his imagination is the key to  changing the world. There is a good point in this story about how important imagination is and how it takes all kinds of people to make the world work. There is also a point about how greed will always be man’s downfall. The only thing I didn’t like in this story was how the author made it obvious what was going to happen at the end of the story, there was a little too much foreshadowing.

Vampire Therapy by Emerian Rich is a story that stands out in Dark Dreams. It begins with a woman named Amy who is going to a therapist for help dealing with bad dreams stemming from the death of her husband Thomas due to a terrorist attack. Little does she know her whole apartment building is being haunted. I love how this story goes from being sad and dark to funny and then back again. For a short story this one really runs through a wide range of emotions such as despair. loneliness, love, fear and happiness. Great idea for a story that could easily be turned into a novel and a nice twist on the vampire literature genre.

Another good one in this collection is Beautiful Angel by John C. Adams. What was interesting in this one was that the story is told from a ghost’s point of view. I liked it when the ghost points out how lucky she was that she never had to pay bills again and then goes to work solving mysteries. While I loved the concept here, the ending wasn’t very good but I would still love to read more about this mystery solving ghost. Dark Dreams has some entertaining stories in it and a lot of original ideas. I’ve read a few books edited by Mark Slade and each one seems to be a little better than the last, Dark Dreams is well worth your time.

David’s Haunted Library: Shadow People And Cursed Objects and Wicked Gardens

David's Haunted Library

28810445I have two anthologies that I want to talk about and they have one thing in common. They both include a story from Horror Addicts hostess Emerian Rich. The First book is Shadow People and Cursed Objects edited by C. Le Mroch. There may be a lot of ghost anthologies out there but what makes make this one different is that it challenges you to guess if each ghostly tale is based on a true story or not. At the end of the book  is a section that gives background info on each story and tells you if its true or the author’s imagination.

Shadow People and Cursed Objects has thirteen tales that are well written and delightfully spooky. The first story is The Busby Chair by Alice J. Black. In this one, a boy is dared by his classmates to sit in a cursed chair in a museum. According to legend, a ghost will come and kill you if you sit in his chair. I loved the atmosphere here and how it includes an old legend and kids doing something dumb due to a dare. This was the perfect set up for the rest of the anthology.

It’s hard to pick favorites, but one of mine was Bye Bye Blackbird by Emerian Rich. Set in 1926, it focuses on a shy woman who spots a raven necklace that she must have. Despite the shopkeeper refusing to sell, she ends up with the necklace after a series of events and wishes she hadn’t. What I love about it is how the twenties comes to life with references to flappers and the descriptions of the outfits they wear. I liked that despite the main characters getting warned about the necklace, they seem to think that the warning means something different and the woman with the necklace becomes a target. I loved the concept of a cursed object causing so much destruction.

Another story that stood out for me here is Doomsday Every Night At Five by Evan Dicken. The story looks at a simpler time where a young girl keeps seeing stories of the apocalypse on an old TV every night at 5. After awhile she comes to the conclusion that the people in the TV are watching her as she is watching them and there are things happening that she can’t control. There is only one way to end how she feels, I love the ending to this one.  I also enjoyed the next story in the anthology which again deals with a kid taking a dare. Fatty And The Nothing Man by Sean Ealy follows a boy named Fatty who decides to venture into a haunted house in order to impress his so called friends. Inside he meets the old woman who owns the house and finds that there is only one way to leave the house. What I liked here was how the woman talks Fatty into what she wants him to do and then Fatty makes a big revelation of his own. Does anything good ever come from a dare?

Another great one here is Pedro by the book’s editor C. Le Mroch. Did you ever have an invisible sibling that your parents talked about being perfect in every way? We’ll Peter had that, his name was Pedro and now Peter is an adult and Pedro is getting Peter’s son into trouble. How do you stop a ghost from causing trouble? Peter will find out that there is only one way to do it. This was an excellent story with a good message to it. There are no bad stories in Shadow People and Cursed Objects. The editor did an excellent job of picking the best of the best and the concept of deciding what is real or what isn’t also makes this book a must read. This is one book that you shouldn’t pass up.

The other anthology is Wicked Gardens Edited by Mark Slade and Gavin Chappell. This book is differentCfc5tMWWwAAYs7a than most books out there. In this collection, we have several stories that range from the bizarre to the horrific and they all have to do with an apartment building and a garden. Anything goes in this anthology and if I had to describe it in two words I would say it’s oddly original. I’m no stranger to Mark Slade’s work. When you read a book that has him involved you just need to check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride, and I did just that.

One of my favorite stories here was from Emerian Rich called The Garden. Belinda went to live with her Gram after her dad died and mom ran off. She feels lonely sometimes but the roses in Gram’s garden are always there when no one else is. I love the foreshadowing in the beginning of this story with Belinda being compared to the flowers that her grandma grows. There is also a good message about how your loved ones never really abandon you and you are strong enough to survive anything.

Another good one is Giving Up The Ghost by Mark Slade. This one has to do with an unhappy couple, a trapped spirit and a man who doesn’t want to give up his old apartment. I loved the idea of a spirit being kept against its will.

If you like strange, there is one tale in this book that really fits the bill. Apartment 6-A by L.A. Sykes is about a serial killer stuck in an apartment after the apocalypse. One word to describe this one is bleak. There is no light and no living people, just one man alone with the memories of his past killings and some dead bodies which he has conversations with. This was one deranged story.

This may be an odd little book but it’s not one that you should pass up. All of the stories and poems here show a lot of imagination and you have to love a book where anything goes. Wicked Gardens is the kind of book you read when you want to try something totally different because this book will remind you how creative horror writers can be.

 

HorrorAddicts.net 113, Mark Slade

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 113

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mark slade | anguisette | the witches

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

187 days till halloween

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!

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

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An interview with Mark Slade

meOur featured author for episode 113 of the podcast is Mark Slade. Here is what Mark had to say about his work and what draws him to the horror genre:

 

 

 

When did you start writing?

I was 14.Iwrote a story after watching a movie on Elvira and quickly realized how bad that was compared to The Twilight Zone, Hammer films and Alfred Hitchcock Presents that I had been watching. I thought I could do better than that movie on Elvira. actually, I was wrong.  I wrote for years then stopped in my late twenties. I picked it up again at age 41 after a friend urged me to.

What kind of stories do you like to write?

Mostly I like to write stories with surprise endings. I love doing Twilight Zone type stories which is actually a huge canvas with fantasy,horror, and sf. I’ve always tried to find a good bridge between stories in the style of my fav writers like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Joe Lansdale, Dennis Etchison,  and Clive Barker along with influences from Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote,  and too many to list. Robert E. Howard has been a great influence as well, and I love Manly Wade Wellman and John Collier! no one ever talks about Collier. It’s a shame, he was really good.

Could you tell us where we might read some of your work?

Horrified Press has published a lot of my stories in their anthologies. They published my weird/western “A Six-Gun and the Queen of Light.” I have a book published by Sunbury Press called Electric Funeral. and some audio dramas I wrote for 4077th/all better audio productions. I have to thank Jeff Niles and Viktor Auralis for giving me the chance to write scripts for their audio dramas. I’m having a blast doing it.
I’m also in Demonic Visions anthologies edited and published by Chris Robertson. I also write a column called FROM THE GRAVE for Horror Metal Sounds website, run by Kenneth Gallant. Kenneth is hoping to transition to print soon. I get to look back on old favs from horror and underground categories. Maybe one day collect all of those articles in book form.
Could you tell us about Nightmare Illustrated magazine?22529373
Unfortunately NI is over with. It never really took off. It was meant to be in the style of EC comics what they called picto-fiction. It was hard to explain to artists how to do that, so I gave up and accepted what art I could get for the stories. some issues are better than others. I think issue 2 is the best. But we got to involve some good writers and artists. Got to have interviews with Joe Lansdale and a few others.
BIZZARE VOL 1
Could you tell us about your story in Bizarre Fantasy?
Bizarre fantasy is a comic book anthology edited with Gavin Chappell. in the same vein as Heavy Metal Magazine. got a lot of great art and some cool stories. That’s one thing I have to hand it to Nathan Rowark and Gavin Chappell. They are really good at giving writers and artists chances to express ideas and start-up projects. They’ve been good friends in these endeavors.
What’s the difference between writing a story that would be considered bizarre fiction as opposed to other genres?
I really couldn’t tell you. It’s all genre oriented aimed at those who like pulpy type of fiction. Really it’s more a name for the volumes coming out.
What do you like about the horror genre?
The fact that characters experience worst kind of situations and make it out changed people. Also that they are gruesome stories. Or funny. Sometimes the weirder the story, the better.
To find out more about Mark Slade check out his blog: http://bloodydreadful.blogspot.com/

Free Fiction Friday: Mark Slade

DREAM GURU

by MARK SLADE

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

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

“Mr. Williams.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie shrugged. “A vodka and orange juice?”

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

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

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

“Sure thing, Boss.”

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

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

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

“Was it good?” Vicky asked.

“Yeah… thanks”

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

FOX DEVLIN—DREAM GURU

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

What a scam. Charlie thought.

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

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

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

Charlie was not impressed and showed it.

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

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

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

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

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

Mary looked away uncomfortably, swallowing hard.

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not my misses.” Charlie retorted quickly.

“What?”

“We’re not married.’

“Oh.  It seems like you two are.”

“Yea, well, she likes to put on.”

“I see.”  Mr. Lincoln looked disappointed.

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ***

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

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

“How odd,” Charlie mused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ***

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

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

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

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

So did Charlie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What the hell just happened?” Charlie repeated.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, pops. I guess it does.”

He motioned to Mary. “Let’s go.”

***

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

Charlie knew she was behind him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

Trish shook her head slowly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Get out of my office.” Devlin demanded.

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

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

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

Devlin’s face drained of color.

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

“Cheers, baby.”

 ***

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

HorrorAddicts.net 109, Sumiko Saulson

Horror Addicts Episode# 109

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

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Click to listen!

26 days till Halloween!

sumiko saulson, poe, strap on halo, house of usher

dream within a dream, edgar allan poe, the bells, phil ochs, costumes, edgar allan pie, master of macabre 2014 announced, writer’s workshop, band theme song contest, best band poll season 9, events, the black cat, poe, look back in horror, j. malcolm stewart, axes of evil, heavy metal anthology, eulogies 2, tales from the cellar, electric funeral, mark slade, darker edge of desire, gothic tales of romance, mitzi szereto, happiness and other diseases, devil-m, the antichrist, strap on halo, repentance, crystal connor, the sade cafe, c.a. milson, house of usher, poe, horror documentaries, anne rice, tell-tale heart, poe, dead mail, jack-o-lantern pizza, flesh burger, the walking dead, buried alive, the premature burial, end of the world radio, sumiko saulson.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts109.mp3

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

 

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

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz, Mimielle, Dawn Wood

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Electric Funeral by Mark Slade

ef_fcElectric Funeral  is a collection of 15 short horror stories by Mark Slade along with 13 horrifying illustrations be Darwins Mishap. This book is a work of art in itself, each story paints a picture and the art that is included is stunning. This book has mad mimes, corpses in a pool, demons, witches and insane ghosts. Mark Slade is the publisher of the horror magazine Nightmare Illustrated and Electric Funeral is a little like a horror magazine on steroids.

One of my favorite stories in this book was the title piece: Electric Funeral. The story is simple enough, four young adults come across a small theater. Out front is a poster advertising Electric Funeral with the tag line: “Pray To God You Live Through This.” They reluctantly decide to enter and get much more than they bargained for. This story is a good example of how to paint a picture with words. There is a great description of the theater and it almost felt like you were sitting there watching a show.

The master of ceremonies in the Electric Funeral is a demented mime who is described as a 16th century nobleman that looks like a drag queen at a David Bowie concert. The mime is brought to life through Mark Slade’s description making him something you would see in a creepy horror film. There is also a great painting of the mime by Darwins Mishap that I wouldn’t mind hanging on a wall at my house. Since I like stories based in old theaters or amusement parks, I enjoyed this.

There are a few good ghost stories in this book including two that really stood out for me. The first one is The Right Doorway which is about a man who is down on his luck and comes across an old burned down asylum with a ghost attached that needs a favor. This is one of two asylum stories here that creeped me out. The other ghost story I liked was Room By Room, this was one where a couple is haunted by a ghost who they see yelling but can’t communicate with. The story had a surprise ending that was funny and scary.

There are a lot of great story ideas in Electric Funeral but my favorite story was Big Talk – Incantations. This is told from the viewpoint of a lawyer who is use to getting everything he wants, one night he rapes a woman in his office who he thinks wants him and the woman gets even with a little help. I liked how this is told from the lawyer’s viewpoint and he tries to convince the reader that he was doing all the right things. This is the way you would expect a lawyer to act but the cool thing in the story is that you hear the woman’s viewpoint also, she has a different story to tell and she uses the man’s ego to get her revenge.

This book is short at 66 pages but it packs a lot of visual fear into one short volume. This is the kind of book a horror fiction/art collector should have on their book shelf. While I may not have understood all the stories in the book, they all presented some frightening imagery. These are the kind of short stories I would like to read when I need a quick horror fix. The art adds a lot to the book as well and I spent a long time admiring it. The only thing this book was lacking was some scary background music which hopefully they can find a way to add in their next collaboration.