WWW Contestant 5: Chantal Noordeloos

The following text is posted as part of HorrorAddicts.net‘s annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge.
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 HorrorAddicts.net, #94.

Chantal Noordeloos – Out of a Storm

Disaster –  Super Storm

Location – Haunted Hotel

Helpful Item – Rope

Disability – All Alone

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Out of the Storm

By Chantal Noordeloos

 

It all starts with darkness and my ears ringing. Where am I?

I know my eyes are open and for a moment I feel panic slide its cold, clammy fingers from my stomach to my throat, but then I realise I can see light in the distance. Need to remember.

The ringing in my ear seems louder now. No, not ringing.  It is the storm. I remember the storm, but through a sea of cotton that seems to have replaced my brain.

The dark is disorienting, and I use the cold concrete ground as a bearing. My palms stick to the chilling surface, and I almost scream as the side of my hand brushes against something that feels like hair or fur. Carefully I let my fingers explore, curiosity stronger than fear.

A rope.

It pricks my fingers slightly, little bristles piercing the skin of my palm. My hand grips it, finding comfort in its presence. I can tie myself down when the storm comes. It’s a ridiculous thought, but somehow I know that the rope is important.

I sit up, tucking my feet under my skirt, and my right hand, cold from the concrete, rubs the bottom of my nose. I feel so alone. There was a storm, and I had to run. I had to find safety, and I came here… where is here?

Images trickle back into my mind, thick and distorted, a story told in fragments. I’m watching the news that talks of the storm. There is no alarm at first, it is far away, in countries that I couldn’t even point out on a map. At first there is indifference, but as the death toll rises, there is pity. Pity turns to fear when the reports change. The storm is not letting up, it is growing, mutating. Like a living monster, it devours everything in its path. People are frightened, this storm is unlike any other. People give the storm a face, a name; Ouranos. The greek personification of the heavens, the god who ate his children. This storm, this mythical being, is eating us.

It leaves nothing in its wake, nothing but remains of the world as we once knew. People flood the streets with signs declaring that the end of the world is upon us. Some turn to god, different gods, but the intention is the same. Some turn to the government, or to science. But nothing matters, there is nothing that can protect us. This storm, it finds us in our hiding places and rips up all our defences.

I watched the images of a brave camera man’s last moments. The winds on the screen dragged trees out of the ground by their roots and tossed them around. We watched in silent horror. But there was more, a darkness in the storm. Something kept me hypnotised, through the screen I could see tenebrous pulsating in the depths of the storm, I can see the monster within. It would come for me, it would come for my body and my soul. The camera fades from chaotic images to black, as the man working it is sucked up by the storm.

We needed to run. The little wooden house in the little wooden neighbourhood could not withstand this monster of a storm. It would devour us. Body and soul.

My mother does not want to go to the shelters. They are too cramped, too many people seek refuge. There is one other option, one place no one from our neighbourhood would dare to hide….

I know where I am. The realisation sends electrical tingles to run up to my skull.

I know why it is so dark. I am in a basement, in the basement of the local hotel. The storm hit unexpected, it spread through the world like a raging cancer. Mutating and multiplying in size, and we ran into the only place we could think. We ran to the haunted hotel.

The place I feared most as a child. In the fifties one of the guests was responsible for the murder of seventeen guests. The hotel never lived down the reputation, and like the seventeen guests, the hotel died a slow and agonizing death. The owner, a man driven mad by the incident, hung himself from the chandelier.

As children we would dare each other to enter the dark building. I never did, convinced that this place would hold my soul a prisoner. My father called me sensitive, the other children called me cowardly, but I knew there was something about this place. Just as I know there is something about the storm.

If only I could remember getting here. It’s so dark and I don’t know where my parents are. The darkness prevents me from calling out. There is a slight sound, like a squeak that causes me to move. I fear what I can’t see. Far away I see a sliver of light. It must be a door, or perhaps shutters of a window. I stand up, waving my hands in front of my body to protect myself from invisible obstacles. My hair brushes lightly against something that is above me. It could be anything, a lamp, a spiderweb. I am too afraid to touch it, this time fear wins. It gnaws at my stomach.

The light comes from a little crack in a window shutter. It takes a lot of effort for me to open it. The strength seems to have left my fingers and hands and I tear the wood away with sheer willpower. Light pours in, blinding me. Through a small basement window I can see the world outside being consumed by chaos. I can see it now, Ouranos, I can see it for what it really is. A great big creature, a God. It smashes the houses, breaks the trees into kindling. Its great big translucent hands, shaped as dark storm clouds, pick up humanity and sucks the flesh of their bones, the souls from their vessels. It eats all, cars sticking from its grotesque mouth. All but this hotel. This haunted hotel. It’s different.

Then I remember. The fear and sorrow of watching my mother die, consumed by the storm. Seeing my father being torn limb from limb. I remember it all now. It wasn’t my parents who wanted to come here… it was my choice.

I turn around, with an agonizing slowness, my hands clutching the rope so tightly that the material bites in my palms. There is something behind me I need to see, but part of me isn’t ready. It takes all the courage I have to let my gaze slip from the floor to the ceiling. There, hanging from a rope, dangles a body.

The face is contorted, a black tongue protrudes from swollen lips. The tips of the naked toes point down to the floor. Tears run from my eyes.

It’s me.

Outside the storm rages. It eats all that is alive, swallowing it whole. It will destroy the living, but it can’t reach the dead. It cannot obliterate me as it does all else. I will continue to exist in this ethereal form.  Here, in this building that traps souls, I am safe from the storm out there. Here I am a survivor.

The end

This has been an audio podcast recording of the “Out of the Storm” written and performed by Chantal Noordeloos. If you enjoyed this story you can vote for Chantal to win the 2013 Wicked Women Writers Challenge at horroraddicts@gmail.com

Please share this recording with friends.

If you are interested in other works by Chantal Noordeloos please go to http://www.chantal noordeloos.info Thank you for listening and we hope you enjoyed this audio recording.

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To vote for this story, send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line: WWW. Voting ends October 7th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

WWW Contestant 4: Chantal Boudreau

The following text is posted as part of HorrorAddicts.net‘s annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge.
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 HorrorAddicts.net, #94.

Chantal Boudreau – A Wing and a Prayer

Disaster –  EMP Blast

Location – Airplane

Helpful Item –  Rubber Tubing

Disability – Pregnant

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 Chantal Boudreau

On a Wing and a Prayer

What sort of cretin clobbers a pregnant woman?

That was my first thought as I came to, my mind foggy and my head throbbing incessantly.  It would take one hell of a scumbag to knock out a lady who’s been knocked up.  And with me, my current “condition” is pretty damn obvious.

I then recalled that I had been en route to Winnipeg in a small plane when I had been struck upside the head.  I listened for the drone of the engines, but aside from some shuffling and mumbling in the rear compartment of this dinky toy of a machine, there was only silence – silence and the sensation that we were falling.

Instantly, my heart was in my throat and beating a million miles a minute.  I don’t get scared easily, but I had always hated flying for a reason, and this was a prime example of it.  Having things crap out on you in the middle of the sky really sucks.  The plane was going down.  Memories of what had happened to me before the blow to my head started flooding back to me.

I had been working in the field office of a mining excavation site in Northern Manitoba when my pregnancy had started to show – the results of having a little too much to drink one evening and getting too friendly with a co-worker.  I didn’t want to leave, but the bastards insisted I had to go – something about occupational health and safety regulations, liability issues, and the availability of health services.  Bah!  There were men on site with problems worse than mine.  You didn’t see them shipping those guys out.  I tried to fight it, but in the end, I lost.

We were on our way south, just the pilot and me in this tiny plane, when there was a sudden message on the radio from a nearby remote military base, warning about an anticipated nuclear strike. “What the hell?”  I asked myself, “Why in Northern Manitoba?” Right after that, a vibration shook the plane, a pulse that made everything that used power just come to a dead stop.  The pilot’s face went ghost white and he mumbled something about nuclear weapons and an EMT blast.  As the plane started to plummet, he scrambled into the back.  I started to follow, only to notice, just as he did, that there was only one parachute hanging on the hooks in the back – one chute, two of us.  That was when he had turned on me without warning and hit me in the head.  I saw stars and the lights went out.

He hadn’t noticed that I had regained consciousness and he was in the process of trying to hoist the chute onto his back so he was ignoring me completely.  The asshole probably figured that because I was preggers, I was some sort of fragile flower he could beat into submission with one pretty pathetic blow.  I’ve been working up North since I was nineteen, a good fifteen years, and I can promise you if you’re not  tough when you start, you certainly are after your first few weeks there, never mind a decade and a half.  I’m as tough as nails, and my head is even tougher.  The jerk clearly had no clue who he was messing with.

I crawled forward as quietly as I could, searching the compartment for something that I could use as a weapon.  The only thing that struck me as potentially useful that was within reach was a coil of rubber tubing.  I closed my hand over it and waited until he had his back turned to me, as he reached to slide part of the strapping into place to secure the pack for the chute.  Then I thrust myself up onto my feet in one swift but awkward movement, looping the tubing over his head and around his neck.  Working around my bulging belly, I yanked the tubing tight across his throat and held on for dear life.

He fell to the floor, maybe expecting he’d have better leverage there, or that he’d be able to shake me off in the process.  He was wrong – I guess I’m a lot stronger than he was anticipating for a pregnant woman with a head wound.  From that angle, I could actually manage to wedge my knees in his lower back, underneath the pack for the parachute, and pull even tighter.  He tried to reach back and grab me as he gasped and choked for air and when that didn’t work he clawed at the tubing that was strangling him.  That didn’t work either.

Do you want to know what was the most annoying thing during all of that?  It wasn’t the fact that my head was pounding like someone was thumping it with a hammer or that my ankles were so swollen I figured I was going to have to cut my boots open when it would come time to take them off.  Nope – the worst of it was that the nuisance of a little parasite in my belly decided he or she wasn’t too happy about the whole situation.  All the while I was throttling this guy with the tubing, the pest wrestled around inside me like he or she was trying to shove a way out.  It’s really distracting when someone jabs their toes in your liver or lung while you are trying to keep a grip on your strangulation method of choice.

In the end, despite the constant distraction, my stubbornness prevailed.  The antagonistic pilot stopped thrashing around underneath me, his face blue, his eyes bulging and his tongue lolling out of his mouth, kind of like one of those nasty slaughterhouse pictures of a dead cow or sheep.  I got to my feet, gave him a couple of hearty kicks to the head for good measure with my painfully-tight steel-toed boots and then started pulling the chute pack off of his back.

Now I’m just praying I can get the pack on and launch myself out of the plane before it’s too late.  I’m not sure if I’ll have time to get clear of the plane and pull the ripcord with enough distance between me and the snow-covered ground.  I’d prefer not to turn into a splotchy red puddle of goo when I hit bottom.

And the wriggling pest inside of me?  Well I guess I can consider my predicament punishment for not watching out just who I got drunk with.  I’m hoping whoever’s inside of me is as tough as I am, considering all this mess.  That little one may have survived a beating and a brawl, but that’s just the beginning of the problems we’ll have to endure.  As I fling myself out of this doomed plane, I’m just wondering how he or she is going to handle a super-long hike in subzero temperatures in the hopes of reaching anything resembling civilization.  And if we make it that far, if we actually find refuge, then we’ll probably run into the issue of fallout and radiation.  I guess we’ll just have to handle that crisis if and when we get to it.

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To vote for this story, send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line: WWW. Voting ends October 7th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

WWW Contestant 3: DM Slate

The following text is posted as part of HorrorAddicts.net‘s annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge.
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 HorrorAddicts.net, #94.

DM Slate – Veil of Darkness

Disaster – Strange Matter/Anti-Matter

Location – Interstate Freeway

Helpful Item – Gas Mask

Disability – Elderly Parent

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Imagine a world where uncertainty is the only thing that’s certain.  A world where an entire city block can be swallowed and literally disappear, in the blink of an eye.  That is the world that we live in, the world that is now our reality.  In retrospect, it seems fitting that our apocalypse would be manmade…we did this to ourselves.  Scientists created a strange-matter vacuum with greater power than they could’ve ever imagined, and now, there’s no containing it.

 

Veil of Darkness

By D.M. Slate

 

Beads of sweat drip from the nape of my neck, running down my perspiring back.  The sun is relentless, scorching my arm as it glares through the driver’s side window.  Reaching for the air conditioner, I flip the switch to high.  Pete sighs in relief, and I glance toward the passenger’s seat, smiling through my sadness.

Tearing my eyes away, I look back toward the grid-locked interstate, choosing my words carefully.

“You know Pete, Sunny Acres is a really great place, and you’re going to make so many new friends that you won’t even have time to miss me.”  The large black cat nuzzles against Pete’s arm, meowing.  “And Gizmo will be there to keep you company, too.  You’ll see…”

Slamming on the brakes, I grasp the steering wheel as vehicles collide and pile up in front of us.  “What just happened?  Pete – are you alright?”

With wide, disbelieving eyes, I stare through the windshield at the rift that’s opened up just before us, in the middle of the interstate.  The black-hole creates a vertical wall of chaos, devouring everything in its path.  Stranded motorists escape their cars, fleeing in all directions, running for their lives.  I grab for the door handle, but then I hesitate, looking over at Pete.  The man has become a father-figure to me, since my own family was swallowed in the Denver rift, last fall.

He’s slumped forward over his seatbelt, head hanging limply.  In that split-second of indecision, the choice was made for me… the rift is upon us.

****

Nausea turns my stomach and my head spins out of control.  I raise a shaky hand to my temple, pressing firmly against my skull.

It takes all of my strength to will my eyelids apart.  Heart racing, I look to my right.  Pete‘s there, motionless, with Gizmo prancing in his lap.

Confused, I scan the horizon.  Its pitch black outside, and I can’t see a thing.  I catch a dim reflection of my own eyes in the rear view mirror, and in that instant, the memory of the rift returns.

Gizmo nuzzles his head against my side, a small reassurance of life.  I pet the animal briefly, before pushing him aside.  “Pete?  Can you hear me?”  I shake his shoulder, gently, but he makes no response.

Reaching for the ignition I turn the keys, but nothing happens.  Panic stricken, I crank again, and again.  The car gives no response.  Batting at the dash, I hit all of the switches.  Only a dim interior light, and one single headlight respond.  The beam of luminescence cuts through the suffocating black abyss, creating a single line of vision down the ominous black highway.   I peer out, into the murky darkness, searching for answers…

It’s then that I finally stop, and listen, for the first time.

This isn’t right, at all.  Squinting, I peer through the windshield, trying to make sense of the situation.  Scattered before me, I see the haunting outline of several mangled vehicles.

“Gizmo, what’s wrong?”  I turn, looking for the cause of his feral meowing.  Then, I hear the noise.

Covering my ears, I try to muffle the sound.  Its deafening…painful, even.  Smacking at the radio I turn all the knobs in an attempt to make it stop, but the speakers aren’t emitting the noise.  It’s just vibrating in the air, all around, from all directions.

Burying my head in my arms, I use my biceps as earmuffs.  My brain rattles within my skull, and then, my body begins to seize.  Shaking and twitching, I feel my eyes roll back into my head, and then everything goes black.

****

Gizmo’s sandpaper tongue rakes across my cheek once, and then again.  I’m slumped against the driver’s window, and it takes an incredible amount of effort to sit upright.  My body is drained.  Weak.  Everything moves in slow motion, and eventually, I make eye contact with myself in the mirror.  Startled, I jump, alarmed at my own appearance.

A clotted trail of blood leads from my nostrils, down onto my lips, and then to the bottom of my chin.  I swipe at it, clumsily smearing the half dried blood across my cheek.  A black tar-like substance oozes from my tear ducts, blurring my vision.  Crying out in horror, I claw at my eyeballs with both hands. Staring in the mirror again, I realize that that eyeball its self is changing color.  The blackness spans from the tear duct, to nearly the center of the eye.  My jaw gapes in horrified disbelief.

Looking to my side I see Gizmo, and then, I remember that Pete is here, too.  My eyes skim past the elderly man to the crazed cat in-between us.  He continues to howl, and a stiff ridge of hair sprouts on his back.

“What is it, Gizmo?  What’s wrong?”  I peer out the windshield.

My heart skips a beat when I hear a car door slam.  I subconsciously hold my breath, waiting. Then, a small movement catches my eye.  At the far edges of the light’s reach, I see someone, or something, approaching my car.  The gait is slow, and uneven. I can’t make out a distinct outline, but I can see the denseness getting closer, and closer… yet always just out of view.

Gizmo is plastered to the floorboard, now silent and still.  I’ve lost track of the thing’s movement.  It’s out there, but I don’t know where.  And then, I feel its eyes upon me.  Ever so slowly I turn my head, looking out the driver’s side window.  There, on the other side of the thin glass, stands a boy no more than 7 or 8.  He stands motionless, staring blankly at me with his black orb eyes.

Without warning, the child disappears in a swish of air, followed by a trailing scream and the crunch of bone.  I recoil from the door.  My erratic motion jars Pete’s shoulder, driving him sideways into the passenger’s door.

“Pete – you have to wake up!”  I shake his arm with intensity.  He lifts his head, blinking several times, before turning his gaze upon me.  My stomach drops.  Blackness covers his eyeballs, and another eye-lens has grown over the orb, blinking with independent timing of the outer eyelid.

We stare at each other for a split-second, before he lunges.  In a frenzy of flying arms and scratching nails, he comes at me, full force.  Constrained by his seatbelt, I manage to avoid his grasp and flop into the back seat.  Scattered boxes and belongings fill most of the space… there’s nowhere to go.

Now free of his seatbelt, Pete turns upon me.  Frantic, I grab for anything I can find in the clutter.  My fingers snag the rubber eyepiece of his World War II gas mask, and I swing with all of my might.  The large metal-nosed filter connects with Pete’s forehead, stopping him in mid-motion.

The elderly man keels over to the side, unconscious.  Without a hesitation, I lean forward into the front, opening the passenger’s side door.  I stare out into the blackness, terrified.  Adrenaline urging me on, I shove with all my strength, until Pete’s limp form slides out of the car.  Clambering into the front, I pull the door closed, locking it.

Listening, I hear movement outside…something’s out there!

Before I have time to react, the piercing vibrations tear through the air again, rendering me unconscious.

****

My eyelids flutter open, and I squint in response.  There’s a distant light on the horizon.  Steadying myself, I focus on it, and then I realize what I’m seeing.  It’s the sun.  It’s rising!  Hope flutters with my being.

I look to the mirror, finding my eyes to be no worse… the blackness hasn’t progressed.  Creeping to the passenger door I look out.  Pete’s body isn’t there.

Calmly, I sit in the seat and stare forward through the windshield, toward the rising sun.  At this point, all I can do is wait to see what’s revealed, once this veil of darkness is finally lifted.

 

****

Veil of Darkness
by
D.M. Slate

To vote for D.M. Slate in the 2013 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge,

Send votes to horroraddicts@gmail.com

To discover more D.M. Slate stories, visit dm-slate.com

Happy Reading!

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To vote for this story, send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line: WWW. Voting ends October 7th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

WWW Contestant 2: Shauna Klein

The following text is posted as part of HorrorAddicts.net‘s annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge.
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 HorrorAddicts.net, #94.

Shauna Klein – Static

Disaster –  Terrorist Invasion

Location – Greenhouse

Helpful Item – Skateboard

Disability – Migraine Headache

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Static

Shauna Klein

Living in the country has its benefits. I get to enjoy fresh air and fresh food from my garden and to listen to the birds chirping. I even have a pretty big greenhouse that helps us during the winter. It’s just me, my husband and our dogs but we love it.

Everyone had been hearing on the news about nuclear strikes and threats from North Korea. Just like anything else, life goes on. You worry but you hope for the best. That day, my husband had headed into town to help out a friend with a car repair. I had the whole house to myself other than the dogs so I decided to head out to the greenhouse to check on the plants and to rinse off the skateboard we’d picked up for my nephews birthday.

I wouldn’t have had to clean it up if my husband hadn’t decided to act like he was the one with a 12th birthday party. Instead of wrapping it, he wanted to try it out first and ended up falling off. The skateboard flew off into the mud and my husband Rich had a bruised ego and a bruised ass to show for it. It was kind of funny but I was glad he didn’t get hurt.

Unfortunately, I had a splitting migraine. Not the kind that some have where you’re stuck in bed all day but just enough to make me irritable and angry at the world. Once I got done I figured I’d go lie down for a while.

As I was in the greenhouse, I heard something strange on the radio. The newscaster was saying something about an air invasion. I mean, really? What is this, Red Dawn? About that time I heard something.

It sounded like something big hit the side of a building; almost like a large truck or something. As I poked my head out the door I saw it – well, not it but them – it looked like guys with parachutes dropping in. I know, Red Dawn flashed through my head too. I wondered why the North Koreans would bother with my town anyway when I saw something strange. All of the “guys” dropping in had what looked to be old, torn clothing and what made absolutely no sense is that they were all black and white. I don’t mean their race either; everything about them was something out of an old movie. And they weren’t Korean at all.

Now when I was younger I though the world used to be in black and white because of the television shows but these things actually was. I actually closed my eyes a moment thinking I was dreaming or my migraine was actually some kind of brain tumor I hadn’t Googled yet and I was seeing hallucinations but nope, when I opened them again, the colorless sky droppers were still there and landing one after another. The noise I heard was them dropping to the ground. Every time one hit, the sound was enormous. It made no sense at all and I honestly thought I was losing it.

As I stood there staring at them, riveted in one spot – one of them spotted me. I mean they couldn’t have been more than 50 yards from me and like an idiot, instead of hiding I was staring at them like I’d seen a Martian. I might as well have because they made no sense at all. As this thing saw me he stopped and pointed, made some kind of noise that sounded like static and the others looked as well.

At that point I ran back inside of the greenhouse. Little good that would do me considering it’s a big building with glass walls. It’s not like I could hide and it’s not like I had any kind of weapon. Who brings a gun to a greenhouse?

As I tried to find somewhere to hide I noticed I still had the muddy skateboard in my hands. Lot of good that would do me but it’s the only thing I had and I held on to it like a lost kid with a teddy bear. I didn’t have a rake or any kind of weapon in there so all I could do is wait and pray.

As I stood there trembling, just about to pee myself one of them opened the door and stepped in. “Get away,” I yelled. He just stared and brought his gun up and pointed it at me. Oh, did I tell you they had guns too? Everything about them was like some kind of paratrooper but from an old black and white movie. He was about two feet away when I brought the skateboard back and hit him square in the face. He didn’t just fall over or anything, he static’d. It was like an old TV when you can’t find a station – horizontal lines and stuff. His gun went off and shot a burst of electricity into the air but fortunately it was pointing upwards or I might have been fried into a smoking piece of nothingness.

Although nothing made sense at all, the one guy just disappeared. I hit him, he turned into a TV station and poof, he was gone. Now this did nothing to the others except make them follow suit and start to come inside. There were about ten of them and oddly, I’d seen no plane or where they came from. It was like they dropped out of the sky on some kind of old-timey satellite feed from space. I have no idea why the skateboard vaporized the one but it was my only shot so I started swinging wildly. Of course my head was about to explode but obviously that nap would have to wait.

I hit one after the other, trying to make sure to stay out of the line of fire just in case another gun went off. When all was said and done there was nothing left. No old clothing, no guns, nothing; just me in a greenhouse with a muddy skateboard and a few fried plants.

I carefully stepped out of the greenhouse and saw nothing out of the ordinary. It was like it never happened. I headed back into the house and tried to call my husband but the cell phone wouldn’t get a signal. I tried the computer – nothing. . I turned on the TV to see if anything was going on but all that was on the TV was static, like an old TV from the 60’s. I tried flipping a few channels and found some live stations but all they were playing was I love Lucy. In fact, every channel I could get was playing old black and white shows. Odd huh? That’s when I saw her, Lucille Ball was in my kitchen baking a cake and all of the Little Rascals were at the table. At this point I knew I really needed that nap and besides, who doesn’t like cake?

This has been an audio podcast recording of the “Static” written and performed by Shauna Klein. Be sure to vote for Shauna to win the 2013 Wicked Women Writers Challenge at horroraddicts@gmail.com

If you liked this recording please share it with your friends and encourage their votes as well.

To listen and read more from Shauna Klein please go to shaunaklein.com – that’s s-h-a-u-n-a-k-l-e-i-n .com

Thank you and we hope you have enjoyed this audio recording.

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To vote for this story, send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line: WWW. Voting ends October 7th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

WWW Contestant 1: Leigh M. Lane

The following text is posted as part of HorrorAddicts.net‘s annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge.
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 HorrorAddicts.net, #94.

Leigh’s story is “Enter the Corruption”
Apocalyptic Disaster –  Nano tech Invasion
Location – Bullet Train
Helpful Item – Hand Sanitizer
Disability – Extreme Itchiness

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Enter the Corruption

by Leigh M. Lane

Oh, dear God, help me!  When—if—I get out of this unscathed, I swear I’ll do whatever it takes to stop them.  I’ll dedicate my life to the cause.  I swear. . . .

A mere half hour ago, I’d been sitting I’d been sitting in economy class, watching the scenery blur by through the nearest window.  I’d tried to sleep, hoping to stave off my boredom, but I was too excited about seeing the family members waiting for me on the other end of the line.

Dear God, help me. . . .

I noticed the woman across the aisle was one of the nanotech implantees.  I could only guess why someone wealthy enough for nanotech implants would travel economy, but she seemed comfortable enough.  She stared straight ahead, her eyes scanning an Internet page only she could see.  She showed a hint of amusement at whatever it was she read before she turned to the little boy sitting beside her in the window seat.

“Go to your father’s URL,” she said, leaning into the boy.

He cocked his head, stared ahead for a moment, and then turned to her.  “What’s so funny about that?”

The sound of his voice made me flinch.  It was as though I watched a boy-sized android responding to his rich, stuffy owner.  His face was devoid of emotion, and he sat upright and perfectly still.  I’d never seen a second-generation tech-head, but I had heard they were about as human as their parents were relative to us.  They were the end product of a scientific “breakthrough” gone terribly wrong, a defilement of both mind and soul that had left the small elite few who had paid the five million dollars to undergo the procedure altered in ways no one could have foreseen.  While they retained some semblance of human emotion, their children were something altogether different.

He seemed to feel my eyes on him and turned mechanically to meet my surprised gaze.  Staring me down, he asked, “Mother, why is that drone watching us?”

I turned away as she shifted to glance over at me.

“Don’t bother yourself with the drones.  Finish your homework.”

“I do not want to finish my homework, Mother.  I want to know why it was staring at me, and why it looked away when it knew you were about to assess its behavior.  What does it want?”

“They stare at things sometimes, son.  Finish your homework.”

“Unacceptable response,” said the boy.

I felt the chill of a cold sweat soaking through my light cotton shirt as I fought the urge to explain myself.  How does one describe horror and pity to a child devoid of all emotion?  What possible words could convey to a person whose brain is nothing more than circuits and nanochips that his mere presence induced such discomfort?

To my surprise, the man sitting directly in front of the boy whipped around to face him and said in a stern, annoyed tone, “She was staring at you because you’re a freak.  Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to read my book in peace.”  The man returned to his seat with an exasperated huff.

I watched the boy through the corner of my eye while he emitted a strange noise that was every bit as unnerving as his mechanical demeanor.  Clearly, despite his inability to understand emotion, he was capable of taking offense.  In a sudden but precise move, he dived forward and bit the man in his ear.

Everyone within view stood, and immediately the car filled with the chaotic din of surprise and revulsion.  The man held his bleeding ear while he stumbled past the passenger beside him and into the aisle.  He fell to his knees, crying out.

Frozen in shock by the unexpected sight, no one moved to help him.  Everyone  rushed to gain their distance.  I felt my heart skip a beat at the sight of the boy expressing something vaguely recognizable to a smile, blood smudged over his lips and chin.  His mother looked annoyed but did not reprimand him.

The man went strangely silent for a moment then went painfully stiff and dropped onto his back in a fit of convulsions.  He stared at the ceiling, his face frozen in a look of terror.  Again, he went still.  He sucked in a deep breath, his expression going flat.  Everyone gasped and watched in disbelief when the blood trickling from his ear went from red to silver.

The boy seemed pleased by the effect and lunged at the next nearest person, then another and another after that.  Those who tried to strike down the boy suffered his mother’s protective fury.  The aisle became a traffic jam of hysterical bystanders.

The man bleeding silver grabbed a passing leg and sank his teeth into the fleshy calf.  I wasn’t sure what exactly was happening, but I knew it wasn’t good.  I vaulted over several rows of seats and fought a handful of others to get through the door.  Only a few people managed to escape behind me before a strong young man gave a forceful shove to the front of the crowd and shut the door.  He, along with a few others, held it shut, while the rest of us continued to make our way toward the next car.  Those seated around us stood and looked around, some asking for an explanation as to what threat fought to breach the closed door.

No one was able to provide an adequate response.  Hell, we didn’t know what we were running from, only that we feared what might become of us should it get through.  I didn’t bother to explain myself, my only concern being to continue forward.  By the time I reached the first class cars, only a couple of people ran with me.  When we attempted to continue to the next car, however, the train’s security guard stopped us.

We tried to push forward, but the security guard held us back, ordering us to return to our seats.  He threatened us with all sorts of ridiculous charges when we persisted.  Suddenly, the door behind us slid open with a forceful shove and a horde of men and women, all bleeding silver from bites on their arms or legs, rushed toward us.  The security guard continued to try to keep order, and I alone managed to slip past him.

* * * *

And so, here I am.  Whatever that child had started, it has spread at an alarming pace.

I dart into the next car, freezing when I realize I’ve reached my final retreat.  I go dizzy at the blurred sight rushing through the front observation windows.  There are only a handful of people seated here, and they look surprised by my presence.

I turn to the sound of the door opening behind me.  The horde pours in.  My heart racing, I make a dash for the open restroom.  I scream when one of them seizes me by my wrist and tugs me from the doorway.

“What’s your hurry?” he asks while the last few unsuspecting passengers scream under the attack.  “Trust me.  It’s all for the best.”

I yank back my arm while he sinks his teeth into it.  I stumble back, into the restroom, and quickly lock myself in.  My throat goes tight at the sight of the wound, knowing something terrible awaits me, when I spot the bottle of hand sanitizer beside the basin.  I slather the clear gel over my wound and rub it in, wincing with the sudden sting.  The blood continues to run red, but I know that could change despite my efforts to kill whatever has infected the rest of the train.  I ask myself, Do I feel any different?

Nothing . . . yet.

My arm begins to itch like crazy, and I wonder if this is the first sign of dissemination.   I feel faint.  Am I losing consciousness?  Is this the end?  What will become of me if the infection does take hold?  I can’t ignore the impulse to rake my fingernails across my forearm, the itching so intense that scratching it does not offer me any relief.

My body jolts with a heavy bang against the door.  “What are you doing in there?” someone asks.  “Come on out,” says another.  “Why haven’t you logged into the network?” asks yet another.

I continue to tear at my arm.  The itching only intensifies, but my blood still runs red.  God help me.

Someone attempts to kick in the door.  A couple others join in on the endeavor.

I can feel the train slowing.  Would the horde file out, leaving me only to infect everyone at the terminal?  The door begins to cave.  Will it stop in time?  Do I want it to stop?  I try to prepare myself to break past them, but I can’t concentrate.  I’ve scratched my arm raw, but to no end.  The itching is unbearable.

The train slows to a halt.

The door hangs closed by a thread.

I can’t stop the itching.  I feel as though my body is under siege.  I can barely breathe.

I hear the platform door open.  I would feel a hint of relief if I could ease my discomfort even just a little.  My arm has grown red and bloody.  Still red. . . .

The door caves with one final kick and a few of the horde bleed in.  There’s nowhere left to run.  I can’t stop scratching.  I can’t concentrate.  I can’t breathe.  A man bites my uninjured arm.  I think to go for the hand sanitizer, but I can’t bring myself to stop tearing at the agonizing itch.

The horde files out, leaving me alone in my misery.  The itch begins to abate, but I no longer feel any desire to reach for the hand sanitizer.  I feel . . . what do I feel?

I feel nothing.

I see the Internet unfold within my mind’s eye, and I log in.  I look down at my wound.  Silver.  Metallic.  What was I doing in here?

I exit the train and look at all the people who have yet to connect.  Look at them scream.  I stride toward the nearest one.  “Don’t be afraid,” I tell it.  “Feelings are so overrated.  Connecting . . . that’s what’s important.”

Still, it screams.

 

*******

To vote for this story, send an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line: WWW. Voting ends October 7th, 2013, 11:59a, PST.

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 6

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

The Marvelous Madame BienVenu:  The Main Course

by Michele Roger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan yelped a “yes”.

“Good”.

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

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

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

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

“And the food your warehouse provided is contaminated?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But the whole town is here….”

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

Henry laughed.  “A little bird told me.”

 

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

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 4

Santa CLAWS

by Michele Roger

Santa returns after his Christmas Eve night of delivery.  But Mrs. Clause discovers that something terrible has happened… somone on the naughty list has turned Santa into a werewolf!

Having trouble with the clickable player? Here is the direct link:
http://www.micheleroger.com/Podcasts/SWTWC-SantaClaws.mp3

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

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 3

The Christmas Eve Monster

by Michele Roger

A short holiday story about a young girl who doesn’t want pink guitars or ballet lessons for Christmas.  Instead, she would rather have a monster to call her very own.  Here is what happens when Christmas wishes come true….

Having trouble with the clickable player? Here is the direct link:
http://www.micheleroger.com/Podcasts/TheChristmasEveMonster.mp3

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

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 2

The Marvelous Madame BienVenu: Course 1

by Michele Roger

Madame BienVenu hasn’t lost her touch in the kitchen.  She has created some of the most delictable and dellish dishes for her guests.  But it isn’t food she’s interested once everyone sits down at the table.  Her prodical daughter watches in amazement as her elderly mother charms a handsome news reporter, defends the battered preschool teacher, and begins to cast her spell that will bring a lifetime of justice to a table.  Her unsuspecting dinner guests have no idea that Madame BienVenu plans to have one last night of revenge mixed with black magic……

Having trouble with the clickable player? Here is the direct link:
http://www.micheleroger.com/Podcasts/Madame-Bienvenue-Course-1.mp3

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

HorrorAddictsCon: Michele Roger Evil Holidays 1

The Marvelous Madame BienVenu: Amuse Bouche

by Michele Roger

Our good friend Michele Roger is going to help us celebrate the holidays in wicked style. Today she will share several holiday horrors with us!

First up, The Marvelous Madame BienVenu: Amuse Bouche

Madame BienVenu is an old woman and an even older witch.  She has spent a lifetime trying to make friends and peace with the folks of her small town.  She’s been helpful in the community.  She has made remedies for the sick.  She’s cooked for the bake sale fund.  Nothing seems to have worked.  Now that her adult daughter and second generation witch has returned home, Mrs. BienVenu has decided to invite a few key townsfolk over for a large holiday meal.

Having trouble with the clickable player? Here is the direct link:
http://www.micheleroger.com/Podcasts/Madame_Bienvenue_Amuse_Bouche.mp3

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

Guest Blog: Rhonda R. Carpenter on Wicked Women Writers Most Wicked 2010

A little over 3 years ago I started dabbling in horror. It all started as a joke. Emerian Rich, the founder of Horroraddicts.net and author of Night’s Knights a vampire series,  joked on her podcast she needed to make me scary. She stated in her podcast 13 things that would make Rhonda scary.

You see I tend to write historical fantasy fiction like The Mark of a Druid which is available everywhere even in pod novel formats and I am pleased to say for a first time author it has done exceptionally well including hitting the top of the UK Amazon Kindle Charts at #2 in Historical Fantasy just a few weeks ago.

Horror doesn’t come naturally to me. But I completely enjoyed the Horror Addicts platform and have written several things for them and the support group of Wicked Women Writers in an effort to stretch myself as an author.

Simply put WWW is a private facebook group of female writers that mostly produce horror but we discuss all kinds of writing styles and genres. We check in on each other, brain storm, encourage and sometime kick each other under the virtual table of; come on you can do this, support. For the last 3 years WWW has held a competition that is fan voted. The winner carries the title of Most Wicked for the year and receives books and prizes. Last year my story, Barring Lilith, won! And because of that win a new audience was introduced to my work.

Well it is now time to hand that title to the next Wicked to win. On July 7th the 10 stories from this year went live on Horroraddict.net. Voting will close August 1st, 2011 at 12:00 pm PST. So you still have time to listen and vote for one of these Wicked Women Writers.

What does this mean for you and why should you care? I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for the next new author that is going to make my day with their writing. The awesome thing about this competition is that all you have to do is listen and vote via email. One lucky voter will win free books, ebooks and schwag from HorrorAddict.net and all 10 of the WWW and me. It’s like Halloween with Christmas presents.

Hear 10 new authors!
10 Free short stories that will scare you silly!
One author wins!
One lucky voter wins too!

Listen at www.horroraddicts.net and vote for your favorite by sending an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com . Make sure you include your snail mail address in case you are the winner the gals can send your prizes.

Until August 1st I am still the Most Wicked Woman Writer but I will always be WWW2010. My name is Rhonda R Carpenter I am an author, podcaster, and co-host of the wildly popular www.podioracket.com where you get the news and contest info, author interviews, writing and podcasting tips from all the Podiobooks.com authors. You can find out more information about me and my works at www.themarkofadruid.com, www.rhondacarpenter.com. Come say hi to me on Twitter @RhondaCarpenter or find me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/rhonda.carpenter. And just because you are reading this blog you get the Ebook Version of the full novel by entering the coupon code when you check out YV24T at  www.smashwords.com. This coupon is good until July 30th, 2011.