#NGHW Top 7 True Horrific Blog Posts

These are the top 7 blog post excerpts from the True Horrific challenge.

Blog Post 1: Black Death – Naching T. Kassa

Death is the ultimate enemy. It steals those we love and forms a wall between this world and the next. It is the dark curtain we cannot peer behind.

Death waits for us all.

Do you remember the first time you encountered death? Did the passing of a pet or grandparent reveal its presence? When did you discover your mortality? How old were you?

My discovery began with a young girl’s demise. I was nine.

The girl was two years younger and lived a few miles away from me. We attended the same school and, though we didn’t know each other, she struck me as a sweet person.

Her hair was blonde. It stood out against the white sweaters and dresses she wore. I don’t think she wore white all of the time but I remember her that way. Perhaps, it’s because she was innocent and didn’t deserve what happened to her.


Blog Post 2: A Day at the Beach – Harry Husbands

I saw it first as a light shape that teetered just below the waterline a few meters ahead of me—large and circular. I moved forward, eager to become acquainted with this mysterious object and soon regretting my decision as the giant crab floated into view. I observed its vast body in horror—roughly the size of a tire with two black eyes that stared straight at me. I screamed to no one—entirely beyond earshot of any adult who might come to my aid. Its pincers rose above the water, snapping like malicious, orange hedge shears.

            I turned and slapped the sea, moving only as fast as my bronze swimming certificate would allow. I didn’t look back; I hadn’t needed to. I could feel its tough pincers brushing my legs. When my toes could reach the ocean’s bed, I tried to run. My legs seemed to move in slow-motion as the giant crab gained on me.


Blog Post 3: Calling the Dead – Cat Voleur

More than anything, I remember the sound the doll made when it burned. The events leading up to that moment were a haze of adrenaline masking fear of what I had done, distrust, and confusion. Memories of the decision to play this game with a ghost, of preparing for it, even of the ritual itself have all but entirely faded in the seven years I’ve neglected to tell this story, but I will remember that sound until the day I die. The unearthly hissing of death mingling with the crackling fire haunts my dreams, still.

I was fifteen years old. All my life I had been fascinated with the supernatural, particularly spirits. I was the proud of veteran of many such ghost-games, Bloody Mary, Candyman, The Elevator Game, but in my years of trying to endanger myself, I hadn’t seen or summoned anything spectacular. I had no reason to believe this would be any different.


Blog post 4: Syncope – JC Martinez

We stopped when she said she wasn’t feeling so well. I thought she was just tired, or that she had no desire to continue running. We were at a park close to her flat, so I walked her back home. We still had to climb four flights of stairs. She opened the door, took a couple of steps forward, and stopped next to a black leather sofa.

I spoke from under the door. I asked if she was all right. She didn’t answer. She turned as I approached. When I was near her, she just collapsed. No alerts, no warnings, it was as if her body suddenly shut off. I was able to catch her as she was falling. In my nervousness, I thought she was pulling a prank on me. I kept calling her name, asking her to get back on her feet. Then I saw them.

I’ll never forget the dull eyes of that empty look.


Blog post 5: Into the Grave – Daphne Strasert

Though the ossuary was massive, only a corner was set aside for public display. To get there required a fifteen-minute walk along a winding stone path. Lighting was scarce in the tunnels, with only the sporadic bulb to chase away the shadows that grew like cobwebs along the stone. My steps slowed, feet lingering as if the dark sucked at them like mud, and I found myself outpaced by my incidental companions. With no sound but a drip which seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, my heartbeat pounded in my ears, almost deafening in this neighborhood of the dead. The darkness here had weight, pressing in on me on all sides. I trailed my hand along the damp stone edge—needing the solid reassurance that I had not walked out of the catacombs and into perdition by mistake—until the soft glimmer of light reappeared around another winding corner.


Blog post 6: My Life as a Young Adult Urban Horror Heroine – Sumiko Saulson

“Help!” the man with the matted hair screamed. “They put out my eye! They put out my eye!” A white man in his mid-thirties, obviously homeless, was screaming and holding his face. His beige shirt was stained with sweat, the long sleeve across his face stained with mucous. Just a child, I was tuned into his crying. I sat there, aghast, as my mom lectured my brother.

When he removed his hand from his face, his screams were joined by my own. His eye was a mass of red, welted flesh. Blood and ruined ocular tissue were visible from my uncomfortable seat. I kept trying to understand why they wouldn’t help him.  Was it because he was homeless? I remembered sitting next to a homeless man on the bus. His khaki pants were stained and smelled of urine. They didn’t serve people like that at Denny’s, but surely they would help him? They had to!

“They took my eye!”


Blog Post 7: Dogs and Sand – Jonathan Fortin

My memories of our first visit are murky, but they are unsettling to me. I remember harsh wind, blowing sand across me like a net–as though the beach wanted to cover me in itself, to claim me. I remember losing my sweater in a puddle of water. I remember that, for reasons I could not recall, I responded to this by removing the rest of my clothes and crouching down to hide in the sand. I remembered that, as people passed, I barked at them like a dog.

I did not feel myself at that beach.

I was a kid, and sometimes kids do weird things. But as I left, and returned to myself, I remember feeling strangely violated and uncertain what had come over me.

A year later, we drove once more up to Port Orford, and on the way home, we returned to that beach. When I learned we would be going back, dread swelled within me.

 


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 7 Music Horror Story Excerpts

These are the top 7 story excerpts from the Music Horror challenge.

Story #1 Cherry Blossoms and Yokai by Adele Marie Park
This is the story about a young girl, her mother, and Uncle who are all mourning the death of her grandmother. While cleaning out her house, they find a chest that belonged to her great-grandmother. In the chest is a shamisen (Japanese guitar) that calls yokai (Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore.)

This passage is from near the end. The girl has unknowingly released yokai into their house by playing the shamisen. They have called in a Japanese priest and she has told her to start playing.

“As I played the first bars a warm feeling grew inside my tummy and even mum shrieking didn’t phase me.

I glanced at her. She was staring at something behind me. I turned my head around as far as I could while still playing. There was someone behind me. Fear woke the bird as I recognised the kimono Great grandmother Shiori wore. I felt a light touch on my shoulder.

“Play.” I heard her voice but inside my head.

I kept going as two mouth came in with her hands outstretched as if she had no control over her movements. She wailed as she was sucked into the shamisen.

The floor under me started to rumble. I felt the movement travel through my body.

Loud bangs came from upstairs followed by screams that made me play a wrong note.

“Strength,” great grandmother, Shiori said.

An almighty racket shook everything that wasn’t nailed down. It sounded as if a giant ran down the stairs.

Onibaba flew into the room. God she was ugly. Her knife dripped red onto the carpet as she glanced around her. Opening her mouth I could see rows of sharp teeth and remembered that she could kill us.”


Story #2: Scordatura by Jess Landry
Which is a certain way of tuning a stringed instrument. The daughter of a famous cellist practices for an upcoming concert under the heavy hand of her famous mother. Unable to play the cello because of an illness, the famous cellist forces her dream on her daughter who practices dutifully despite her mother’s abuse. When the daughter realizes she wields power over others with her musical gifts, revenge is finally hers.

Odette starts the morning with Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G major.

The cold cello strings fit snuggly into the self-made grooves of her fingers like a second home. Down-bow, up-bow, she lets her elbow guide the stroke, the music spill from her like a river of her blood pouring from an open wound. She wonders how that would feel, the blood gushing from her body, out of her shell and pooling at her feet. Would it seep through the herringbone floor? Would it collect in the unused space between her room and the room below, her mother’s study? Would it pool and pool and press down on the intricate fleur de lis-patterned ceiling until it broke through the plaster and onto her mother, covering her in a sea of red?

She’s playing faster now, an eighth above tempo. Her brain tells her to slow but her hands refuse to listen. The cat across the way lays on his open perch, the man sipping his drink and reading the paper one floor above him. Odette longs to be that cat, to be free and lazy, to watch the world without a purpose.

Three quick taps sound from the room below–a stick to the floorboards–a first warning to keep tempo.”


Story #3 Audio Addict by Daphne Strasert

In a world where music is as illegal as heroin and just as deadly addictive, Cadence and Lorelei share music hits in the privacy of Cadence’s family hunting lodge. After paying for hits for months, Lorelei share a secret with Cadence – she can sing. Cadence and Lorelei spend lovely nights together as they binge on Lorelei’s gift, but when she decides she wants to stop, Cadence can’t control her addiction.

“Cadence wasn’t a square, but she’d attended freshman health class just like everyone else. She’d had the dangers of experimenting with music burned into her brain along with the grainy photos of ear infections. Poetry was okay, as long as no one drove under the influence. Even her parents kept a little Tennyson in the locked cabinet by their bed that they thought Cadence didn’t know about. Rap was a greyer area. Audioheads in Colorado were always going on about helping soldiers with PTSD and legalization, but that was a long way from any sort of federal recognition. Cadence’s parents would flip if they knew she’d listened to a small hit to unwind after last semester’s finals.

Lorelei always brought the hits. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who sold rap, but music was harder to come by. She said her brother got them from a DJ in the Shallows and Cadence was glad for it. She didn’t want to go to the huddled ruin of buildings where the shadows never fully receded and the sounds of sirens were always a few blocks away. It was a place that existed across America, simultaneously unique yet exactly the same in every city. And it was never somewhere good girls wanted to be after dark. Of course, a good girl wouldn’t be plugged into a guitar hit—sharing headphones and everything—in the middle of the afternoon.”


Story #4 Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin

A girl and her mom move into a haunted house once owned by a heavy metal musician. When strange things start happening, the girl investigates to find out of it is the ghost of the deceased head banger or if the murderer has come back to finish them off.

This is from when the girl first sees the ghost

“When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight, as before. But this time, when I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. I did, however, feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

            There was someone in the room with me.

            He was tall, but barely visible. I only saw him at all because moonlight reflected off of the shiny red liquid coating his body. He wore spiked pauldrons and gauntlets, and his hair was long and ragged. His face was a ghoulish mess of scars, facial hair, skeletal makeup, and open bleeding wounds.

            He was dripping all over the floor. Drippiest of all was the huge ax in his hand. I worried suddenly where all that blood had come from—if this was just how he looked, or if he’d just butchered someone. Mom…was Mom all right?

            Only then did it dawn on me that the ghost could harm me. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. I felt paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, that he’d killed my mom.

            He walked closer to the bed, his huge ax dripping a red river across my bedroom floor. All too quickly he was right beside me, raising that ax high.”


Story #5 Audition by Naching T. Kassa

Jim auditions for a place with the band and will do anything to get the spot, but when they send him to a mysterious address to be tested, he has second thoughts. A lesson with a blues legend is the least of his worries as he finds himself trapped, with only one way out. Will the cost for freedom be too high?

“An hour later, having left the theater, Jim found himself blinded by California sunshine. The dirt road crunched under his tires and trees whooshed by as he sped along. These sounds, along with the hum of the Mustang’s engine, were the soundtrack to his thoughts.

Where had Langham sent him? And to who? He shouldn’t have ended with the blues rift. If he’d gone with a more traditional coda, he might’ve passed the audition. Now, he was out in the sticks on a wild goose chase.

An old fashioned wrought iron gate suddenly rose ahead of him. It stood dark and skeletal against the pink sky. Jim slowed. Brass numbers were fixed to the bars and they matched the address he’d been given. He parked, pulled his phone from his pocket, and dialed.

Langham answered on the second ring.

“There must be some mistake,” Jim said. “Nobody lives here.”

“There are people there,” Langham answered.

“Yeah, they’re six-feet under. It’s a cemetery.””


Story 6: The Agent by Harry Husbands

A mediocre rock band performs, waiting for the appearance of “the Agent” of unknown origin. When he appears, he offers the band a sort of “deal with the devil” proposal they can’t refuse.

The bed looked welcoming and I walked forward, ready to collapse, when I saw him and back pedalled, holding a hand to my mouth.

            “Don’t,” the agent said. His voice belied his appearance, a high-pitched shrill with rising Texan accent. I backed myself into the corner beside the door. I tried to scream but the air had left my lungs, instead I writhed around, gasping and reaching for the handle. “Don’t,” he repeated.

            He came into view, blocking out the light. His coat hung about his person like a carcass and the fur seemed to move in waves with an absent breeze. His black Stetson was old and rugged; from my seat, I could see two eyes like a shark’s beneath it, as devoid of colour and life as his attire. His skin was dirty white and leathery in appearance, stretched out over his enormous body. I stared up. Fear gripped me to the spot.

            The agent began floating toward me, coming within a foot of my cowering form. A bead of sweat dripped from the end of my nose as my whole body shook. He bent down to my face. A thick, suffocating aroma of coal smoke emanated from his person.’


Story #7 The Lament of the Piano Man by AE Kirk
A homeless man breaks into the local Haunted House to take refuge, but when he hears piano music coming from an upper room, he realizes he might not be alone.

“‘In here.’ The voice came from within a nearby room. With the floorboards threatening to fracture beneath his weight, Bert went across the landing and entered the first room on the left. He gasped in awe. It was as though he had gone back in time. The room was completely untouched from damp and decay, every the old olive coloured wallpaper was still intact. The furniture was free from dust, the carpets were in pristine condition, and a gigantic shiny grand piano sat in the middle of the room, like a crown jewel.

‘Such an amazing room,’ Bert whispered to himself. The unnamed pasty man, who was standing lovingly by the piano, nodded.

‘This is the music room.’ He gestured around him, and Bert stole a glance at the walls.

They were adorned in old framed certificates and achievements of musical accomplishments. From grades in piano to degrees in music, and clippings from news articles about playing at the opera. They all mentioned the same name, Matthew Day. Bert was truly astonished.

‘Everything downstairs is nothing compared to this. It’s all rotting and full of mould.’

The man frowned. ‘I plan to rectify that… when I have enough help from the locals.’

Bert snapped his fingers. ‘The local boys! I heard they come in… Do they help you?’

The man smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. ‘Oh, they help alright. But one at a time and they only come at night. You are here during the day, that’s most peculiar.’”

 


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 6 Poetry Excerpts

These are the top 6 poems from the Horror Poetry challenge.

Poem 1:  Under the Water by Sumiko Saulson
Over sea, floating ye, staying abreast of watery crests

Midwinter air caresses curls unfurling over briny sea

Cool wet skin, paper thin… I can see your soul within

Every capillary pumping blood, intestinal processes digesting food

Your loving heart plain to see… how intimate your transparency

 

A sea-deep mystery, stories untold, windows into your ancient soul,

Your eyes speckled, flecks of gold cascading within jet black coal

Encasing your exquisite charms, enfolded within my fragile arms,

I am the contemplator of your delicacy, hear ye now my mortal pleas

May your ethereal heart, thorny spine and eternal love be ever mine

 

Adrift on my back, your tentative fingers in mine entwined

Long slender tail wrapped around my thighs, tendrils twixt toes

The smooth flesh of your undercarriage where barnacles grow

My flesh puckers where their tiny mouths burrow into my skin

Digesting the healthy white blood cells within


Poem 2: Siren’s Song by Riley Pierce
Through crashing waves and dying light

I fight, I fight, I fight the night.

Many begged to turn away,

But on this final course I stay.

 

The siren sings again tonight,

And so I wait until I might,

Find her perched upon the rocks,

With eyes of red, and golden locks.

 

She’ll sing her song, but just to me.

I’ll belong to both her and the sea.

My crew, at last, they hear her song,

And I’ll be hers before too long.

 

Mystic music through the air;

It moves like wind and lingers there.

It seeps into their ears, my crew.

Yes! My god! The tales are true.

 

The moon is up, it pulls the tide,

And our wooden ship from side to side.

The wind has blown, all light is gone.

This ship will not survive the dawn.

 

A sacrifice to her, I bring,

Shall earn me last to see her sing.


Poem 3: Flesh Passion by Fiend Gottes
All my desires, I’ve fulfilled them all
A deviant well overflowing from hell
Demons speak, voices tell me all
Spewing forth they entice dark desire
Dark visions boil in my mind
Bathe in blood of the pure
Snuff life within the eyes

Dreams of death dance within my mind
With my hands I strangle out their life
Yearning to know
Where is my sorrow

Then I saw
Beauty profound
I felt confusion
Ache in my heart
Time stood still
Could she be?
Warmth in the cold
Or merely a dream


Raven hair floats upon the breeze
Electric blue eyes mesmerize me
Olive skin glistens by the moon
Her soul cries a song only I hear
The voices tell me she is mine
For me to taste, me alone
Heart no longer stone

Feel her flesh
Vanquish her light
Eternal smile
Echo of her screams
My need to feel
Her last moment
My need to feel
Something pure


Poem 4: A Warning on Wings by Jonathan Fortin
His prayer was drawn in blood, the circle like a door

He sat beside the threshold, book open on the floor

This will never work, to himself he sighed

But he was so lonely that every night he cried

 

He was a somber man, not blessed with good looks

Hated by his village, he found solace in books

Tonight he stripped naked, legs crossed, arms spread

He whispered the words that from the pages bled:

“For you I’d be the greatest that I could ever be

I would do it all, anything you ask of me.”

 

The circle was no prison; he did not seek a slave

Nor mindless copulation, which would bore him to the grave

No, he sought the thing that was most beyond his reach:

A love felt too deeply to be bought or breached.


Poem 5: The Only Thing That Remains by Jess Landry
Summertime blossoms as you take your first steps

onto a path laced with dirt and stone.

Though your feet know the way,

your heart’s lost count as to how many times

you’ve walked this forgotten road,

you’ve watched the sun rise,

you’ve heard the same birdsong echo from the trees.

A leafy canopy sways high above,

a cathedral ceiling with light piercing through.

Lilacs in bloom follow the morning breeze;

olive grass as high as your dress’s frayed hem

ebb and flows like the sea,

the wind teasing them along to its silent rhythm.

Your hands swing at your sides and you breathe in,

remembering what it was to take a breath,

remembering how he took it away the first time you met—

steely eyes, blithesome smile—

how his touch was as warm as the sun’s.

The path clears to an opening,

an unkempt field forgotten by man and time,

and there he stands,

as always,

like a lighthouse on a cliff of a pear-coloured ocean.


Poem 6: A Vampire and a Zombie by AE Kirk
I shall tell you a tale of a romance most deluded,

Between a zombie and a vampire and nothing else included,

They once came together during the end of the world,

The vampire was a man and we think the zombie was a girl,

 

He tried to attack her, but all she did was groan,

He bit her rotten skin, all she did was moan,

He pulled back and frowned, looked at her dry-bloodied face,

Flicking the maggots off, she was the last of the human race,

 

She had no toes and half of a head,

She was the only body to keep him warm in his bed,

And although she craved no blood, nor food, or sleep,

He made up his mind, for her he would keep,

 

They went for long walks; rotting corpses did they pass,

They played with dead dogs, birds, cats it was a blast!

Then every evening, they sat and stared,

At the crumbling city around them, which they could never compare


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

Meet our Judges for the WWW and MMM Contests

On the next episode, 119, we’ll be announcing the winners of the Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge and Masters of Macabre Contest. But first, we want to introduce you to the judges.

Audio Judges:

evo (2)Evo Terra is the founder and president of Podiobooks.com. Since 2005, Podiobooks.com has made available the best serialized audiobooks in the world, all of them available for free. He’s one of the original group of podcasters and has been deeply involved with independent authors of genre fiction since the early 2000s. He’s a published non-fiction author, penning titles in a variety of topics, including social media, craft beer, and two books in the “for Dummies” series. These days, he’s traveling the world as a digital nomad, telling the story of his travels on The Opportunistic Travelers.

willoWillo Clare Hausman is a director of both stage and screen, with a special emphasis on gothic fairy tales, haunting ghost tales, spiritual quests and intriguing mystical beings.  4 creative endeavors are currently in active development, including a sitcom set in an occult shop, a play called Grimm and 2 feature films, one revolving around a clan of modern day witches, the other set in Barnum’s wild American Museum circa NYC 1846. Find out more about Willo at: www.gryphonpictures.com

tinyDanDan Shaurette is a goth-geek and a fan of horror, especially vampires, ever since seeing Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” as a young child. While vampires are his horror addiction of choice, Dan does not limit his preternatural proclivities to them. He is a fan of most sub-genres but prefers those that have a dark tale to tell versus pure shock-schlock. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can find him online at http://www.DanShaurette.com.

Text Judges:

head shot2014Dario Ciriello is a professional author and freelance editor. His nonfiction book, Aegean Dream, was a UK travel bestseller in 2012. His first novel, Sutherland’s Rules, a crime caper/thriller, was published in 2013. Free Verse and Other Stories, a collection of Dario’s short Science Fiction work, was released in June 2014. He is currently working on his second novel, another thriller. Dario, who has also edited and copyedited over a dozen novels, as well as three critically-acclaimed novella anthologies, also offers freelance copyediting, critique, and author mentoring services. He lives with his wife in the Los Angeles Area. For more information on Dario, go to: https://dariospeaks.wordpress.com

pic of meLucy Blue has been writing and publishing gothic horror-flavored romances since 1998 when she co-authored These Our Revels, the last tie-in novel for the vampire TV series Forever Knight. She amassed her dazzling fortune (hahaha) as sole author of the Bound in Darkness vampire series for Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster. She is currently an author/publisher for Little Red Hen Romance, which publishes short, relationship-centered e-books in a wide range of genres, including horror, urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. For more information on Lucy, go to: lucybluecastle.wordpress.com

BioPicSandra Saidak graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English. She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, dancing, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and two cats. Her first novel, Daughter of the Goddess Lands, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November, 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. http://www.sandrasaidak.com

And YOU,  The Horror Addict

Although we’ve added professional judges this year, that doesn’t mean you don’t get your say! 1/3 of the vote was decided by listeners and readers like you!

Thank you to all our participants and judges.

Tune in to episode #119, premiering August 22nd, for the winners announcement!