Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Undead Duo and Some Things You Didn’t

TODAY’S BREW: For Julie Sam Adams.  Kristen is on straight coffee.  It is 8PM.

December was fun.  The Nightmares Before Christmas was a lot of fun. But Kristen and I were very quiet for the whole month.  And we aren’t good at that.  It’s time for you to see what we do and how we write.  Get excited about getting to know us.  We are super fantastic.

We are, once again, writing this post passing the laptop back and forth, so enjoy trying to figure out who the hell is speaking.

OUR HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The Undead Duo was not always such.  We were once awkward children the ages of 9 and 10 that lived in an apartment complex with a kick ass pool, sledding hill that could have killed many children (and did maim Kristen’s arm), tennis court turned roller skating rink, and the best games of neighborhood wide hide and seek that you could imagine.  As teenagers, we scrounged change  and hit the road to go to concerts, graced our presence at parties we had no business being at (or any business living to tell about), and started writing as a way to entertain ourselves.  In our day, sonny, there was no internet.  We just had Headbanger’s Ball on MTV and a notebook to entertain ourselves.  We never really grew up per se, but we did get older.  Both Julie and I did time as retail managers for the same extremely well known lingerie company.  After years in retail purgatory, we both escaped and began to write together again.

THE ODD COUPLE UNITE
I almost said the weirdest thing about us, but that’s not true….one of the oddest things about us as a duo is that we are beyond totally different.  I mean, there isn’t a whole lot more different than we are.  There are many many differences which we shall chronicle in part here.

Kristen: hair band lover

Julie: punk enthusiast

Kristen: great cook

Julie: would die without pizza delivery

Kristen: enjoys cowboys

Julie: does not.

Kristen: enjoys fancy drinks

Julie: enjoys beer, much beer

Kristen:  has a bird

Julie: has reptiles and Mexican dog

Kristen: reads erotica, paranormal, dirty rock n’ roll biographies

Julie: reads sci fi, horror, paranormal

Kristen: house decorated in authentic 70’s decor

Julie: lives in Legoland

Kristen:  digs chick flicks and comedy movies

Julie: digs horror and Kung Fu n=movies

Kristen: night-writing with a plan

Julie: raw morning writing

Kristen: goes to zumba classes

Julie: a martial arts champion

Kristekn: is a football savant

Julie:  preferes hockey and boxing

This all culminates in Julie being the Wildcard and the Muscle of this operation, and Kristen being the Brains and Beauty.

FUN FACT

Julie attempted to sell Kristen off in marriage to a hot dog vending gentleman on the streets of Manhattan.

WHAT, NOW YOU WRITE BOOKS?

Julie-I, the Muscle/Wildcard began my book while on maternity leave with my first child.  An emotional crash test dummy, I spent 8 weeks nursing, watching the Departed and over and over, and finally giving in and reading Twilight.   Once I saw my favorite actor become one of my favorite comic superheroes, Iron Man, and heard the Kings of Leon’s Closer, it all fell into place.  Out of these unrelated events, a trilogy in the making was born.

Kristen-I got drunk on July Fourth and had a dream about a girl trying to make her way in Las Vegas.  I felt so strongly about it I actually moved to Las Vegas to research my story.  Turns out, I think my friend left Showgirls on while I slept off my drinking.  But the attempt to write a book was born.  All my life, I would make up stories to get my mind off of the drama of the day so I could go the f&%k to sleep.  I combined those characters and my experiences in Las Vegas to write Immortal Dilemma.

So, one fine day I let it out that I, Julie, had been working on a novel, and Kristen had been quietly doing the same.  While mine was finished…completely in longhand…Kristen was just getting started on hers.  We decided to work together on the  goal of getting them ready for the world, and started right away.  Kristen was hashing out her ideas, and I was just trying to get them out of various notebooks into one laptop. We committed to regularly scheduled writing dates, and dude, we did it.

A TYPICAL MEETING OF THE MINDS

We meet in sweatpants.  This is always how it is.  Pajamas or sweatpants.  This is how writers write.  There is coffee if we are writing original content.  There is alcohol for queries and synopses.  It’s always at Kristen’s place, because my place has kids in it.  We meet halfway on music and listen to alternative something or other.  The bird cheers us on.  Pizza is involved.  And we feel really, really bad if we don’t accomplish a crap ton of stuff.  I read Kristen’s stuff, and tell her to get more raw.  She reads mine and tells me to stop describing stuff.  But mostly we agree on things.  And we both care about the other’s success.  It’s fun, and not all about fun at the same time.  One thing that we both do exceedingly well is take shit over.  We do it a lot.  So it works to our favor that we forge ahead no matter what the circumstances, and keep each other afloat.  Winning.

FOR OUR NEXT TRICK…

We get things done.  Both Running Home and Immortal Dilemma are complete.  Both of us have sequels in the works, titled Running Away and Immortal Forever.  Kristen has also completed a prequel novella, and Julie has started two completely different new works.  We created this blog as a show case for all things related to our books, and anything else we damn please.

WHAT CAN THE UNDEAD DUO DO FOR YOU?

Expect a good time.  We will post our own short stories often.  Individually, we write very differently, but when we pass the notebook back and forth lunacy ensues.  We want to continue writing our short series The Plan, which we gave a second installment of on Christmas.  We both are freakishly excited to write some short stories involving our novels’ characters, and there will be plenty of surprises to be had there.  You can hear about our writing process, a bunch of stuff on vampire mythology and whatnot, some work from you guys, and any stuff we like because nobody can tell us not to.  Sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

Severed Limb Movement

I originally wrote this story for DeadlyEverAfter(.com) but there were so many stories that Christmas fell one day short… I tried to bargain them into delaying the holidays globally but President Obama, President Hollande, Bundeskanzlerin Merkel nor Prime-Minister Cameron wrote me back… So…

Anywhere, here it is! A bit delayed, a bit lonely and a bit cold. Will you give it some love?

Enjoy.

I bet you think that snowmen are happy balls of snow, right? Meant for your viewing pleasures and for kids to play with? How wrong you are.
These cold, man shaped misfits from hell are nothing but evil, encapsulated souls in waiting. Waiting for that one moment, that perfect opportunity, to come after you and your entire family.
You’re probably wondering if I’m psychotic or schizophrenic, I’m not. Frantic? Yes. Crazy? No.
Let me tell you a story and perhaps you will change your mind. Before…

View original post 1,554 more words

NewsFeed

Just in time for the final installment of The Twilight Saga to hit theaters, a “vampire” skeleton has been unearthed in England. The skeleton, which is estimated to be as much as 1,500 years old, was discovered bound in irons, with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, according to a new report from Southwell Archaeology.

The skeleton was originally discovered by archaeologist Charles Daniels back in 1959, while hunting for Roman ruins in the ancient town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire in England. What he found was a skeleton who was given the full anti-vampire treatment — suggesting that the person who belonged to the skeleton was dangerous when alive, according to the Daily Mail. John Lock, chairman of Southwell Archaeology, told The Telegraph, that the body was one of a handful of such burials to be found in the UK.

(MORE: Exclusive First Look —…

View original post 227 more words

Plan B: The Best Christmas Ever by Kristen and Julie

TODAY’S BREW:  Mimosas! Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Here is the next segment of the short story, apparently series, that we started way back, called The Plan.  Thought we would use our good ol’ fashioned technique of passing a notebook back and forth and writing another one together.  Kristen did the opening, I did the end.  See if you can figure out who did what for the rest! Have fun! There is no prize.

seedy_motel_by_soileddude-d4buy29

Plan B:  The Best Christmas Ever

by Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

I snapped off the TV.  I had enough of the over made up bitch on the news pretending to care about a string of victims, senseless violence, blah, blah, blah before switching back to her regularly scheduled goodwill to men.  I rolled on my side facing Jeff, who laid half awake on the scratchy hotel bedspread.  This place was disgusting.  He kissed me roughly, cupping my ass against his side.  The old fashioned Christmas lights flashed red and green onto his face.

He curled his finger into my hair the way he always did now, making me groan and lean into him.  He murmured into my ear while he sucked on my earlobe. “You know, we’re gonna get caught sooner or later if we don’t mix things up a little.”

“What makes you say that?  Because Muffy Newsreader is hot on our trail?”  I ran my finger down the middle of Jeff’s chest, my fingernail leaving a mark on its way down to his jeans.  “We’ve covered our tracks.  We’ve been creative.  They’ll never catch us.”  I kissed him again before he had time to protest.

“Baby, we are still amateurs.  We can still get caught.”

I pulled away from him, confused.  “Amateurs?”  I smiled, but my teeth were gritted.  “We have mutilated, maimed and killed six people, and always find new ways to make it fun.”  I was getting really hot now, but angry too.

“I didn’t say it wasn’t fun.  But it’s not like we’re CSI or anything.”

“We can kill them too, if they come too close.”  I pulled myself up on to Jeff, straddling him.  I leaned close to his face.  “They can’t catch us if they’re dead.”

He was getting hard, but looked a little scared.  “That’s an awful lot of people to kill, armed people, Kendall.”

I jumped off of him, running my fingers through my hair and pacing with the excitement of it.  “It is!  But we can’t get ahead of ourselves, not yet, we need to think about the present, not what could happen, not about the what ifs!  If we keep doing it new ways, keep offing these fuckers different, nobody will ever think it was the same murderer!  So we need new ideas, we gotta get creative!”  My toes dug into the nasty carpet to hold me still.

Jeff sighed.  “What do you have in mind, babe?”

“Lots of things!  I mean, we can strangle them, we can beat them with baseball bats.”  I pranced back over to the bed, leaning over to Jeff so he got an eyeful of cleavage hanging out of my party dress. “We can skin them alive.”

“You really took to this, didn’t you?”

“I learned from the best.  Amateur my ass.”

He jumped up and started pacing on his own, but he was nervous, scared like those girls, and it made me angry.  “We have been together on this every step of the way.”  He moved toward me, ready to plead with me.  I knew that look.  “Since we were kids, I have been with you every step of the way.  But you are getting out of control here.”  He held my arms.  I pulled away.

“You just can’t come up with any good ideas, and now you’re scared.  But I have more.”

Jeff started to breathe heavy, anger sending flames to his eyes, making him shake.  “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!  I can do this as well as you can!  We should burn the next one.  Burn her alive.”

“See, now you’re thinking!  We haven’t even scratched the surface.  There’s so much we can do with this, Jeff.  This is the best Christmas ever.  By the time we get to the next city, we will have those idiots so far off the trail, they’ll never be able to keep up with us.  Our biggest problem will be which one we should do first.”

He had a faraway look, his wheels were spinning.  “I want to kill the next one myself.  Lots of people kill themselves at Christmas, make it look like a suicide.  Maybe not burn this one, but something a little more subtle.”

“Subtle?! Why the fuck subtle?!”

“Because I want more time, and we can’t go big with every one, or it will bring the cops on us quicker, and it will take the punch away from the really good kills!”  He was pissed now, and happy about it.

“I want to make them all really good kills!  Flaying! The next one gets flayed!”

“Fuck, Kendall!  This one is mine, and I say we go subtle!”

“Subtle is for pussies.”

Jeff’s lips tightened like they always did when he was ready to explode.  He let out an aggravated growl as he spun to the girl on the floor.  I had forgotten she was there, crucified to the filthy maroon carpet with two railroad spikes through her hands, one through her left foot.  We through a little garland around her, just for Christmas spirit. My dagger pinned the other foot down, improv work when the bitch had tried to get away.   He knew she couldn’t talk through her smashed in teeth, but Jeff asked her anyway.

“Well, what do you think?”

Crud by Phil Monroe

Crud by Phil Monroe

The Crud was a tiny bit of cosmic dust.  It came out of nowhere, sailing along on the wind, borne through the tall pines of Pebble Beach.  The Crud was similar in form, to a number of other retroviruses.  It was composed of two strands, made of ribonucleic acid, which held its genes.  Somehow, these viral genes stored its hereditary history.  These RNA strands also boasted a capacity for other wondrous powers.  Some of these powers included a potential, which seemed to resemble an ability to think and plan.   And it had a very nice covering shell, which also included a number of astonishing features.  What exactly was it?  This topic had, for years, caused a heated debate within the scientific community of Earth.  One segment of the scientific community asserted that viruses were not alive.  Those researchers held that viruses did not fit the definition of life.   The other side was adamant that viruses were obviously alive, as these germs could reproduce, spread, and cause infinite numbers of infection and death.  It seemed insanely preposterous to these doctors, that an innate object could seize control of a cell’s nucleus, fire out copies of itself using the mechanisms of the invaded cell, and then perform ordered havoc upon their host.  The debate had reached a relative stalemate, about the time that The Crud came along.  Most scientists had more or less agreed, that the definition of life would have to be changed.  The new paradigm suggested that the very definition of life could be summarized by a simple definition:  An object is alive, if it can replicate.

All this meant nothing to The Crud.  In its own way, the virus was quite proud of itself.  It had evolved spectacularly, and was the ultimate achievement of its family.  Its genetic history allowed it to examine all that had made it what it was.  It had originated from the great pandemic of bird influenza, which had made the jump to human beings.  It came from the scourge of swine flu, which had also jumped to humans.  It could further trace its origins to dog flu, which had also infected humans.  However, The Crud was the one and only of its kind–an evolutionary combination of all three deadly influenzas.  In their own primordial way, its ancestors had been seeking their favorite food–which was human beings.  However, in its own way, The Crud’s top priority was a need for family.

Joseph Wurst was putting up Christmas tree lights on the eves of his home.  The northwest wind was blowing from the direction of Santa Cruz, icy and strong.   Nonetheless, Joe was sweating.  “These blasted things are such a pain in the butt,” he murmured, as the stepladder tilted once again.  He wobbled on, groping for the next colored bulb, and pulling a tangle of wires along with him.  Then Joe heard the baby starting to wail, from her large playpen in the front room.

“All right.  All right,” said Joe exasperatedly.  “I’m coming.  I’m coming.  Cripes.  Another diaper change, I suppose.”  Joe climbed down carefully, step-by-step, until his feet met the grass.  “Got to watch the old knees with these deals,” he said.  Joe headed to the front door, pushed it open, and stood eyeing baby Tamatha.  At that exact moment, The Crud lofted in on a gust of wind, passed over Joe’s shoulder, and by dumb luck, landed square on the baby’s face.  Baby Tamatha was crying, and her tears washed The Crud down onto her lip.  When Joe walked up and brushed her tears away, The Crud went into baby Tamatha’s mouth.

Joe lifted the little girl from her wood and cloth enclosure.  “Oh, that’s a good baby,” he purred to the unhappy child.  “Let’s get you changed, so that we don’t stink old Santa right out of the house tonight.”  Joe thought that was a pretty funny remark.  He laughed a bit at his own joke.  But, oh gawds, he thought, turning his face distastefully to the side.  The smell of that damned baby poop.

While Joe was changing baby Tamatha on the couch, The Crud was sliding down her tongue in a stream of saliva.  The virus brushed against a throat cell, and a strange apparatus popped out of its shell.  The apparatus looked like little feet, which grabbed hold of the cell, and began boring into it.  The Crud was on its way.  Within seconds, the boring feet had penetrated the cell’s membrane.  Then, its little feet proceeded to pull The Crud right into the nucleus of the cell.  The Crud’s RNA strands took over from there.  The host cell now belonged to The Crud, and it began forcing the nucleus, to blast out replicates of the virus, by the tens of thousands.

Each replicate took hold of the first cell it encountered.  The invaded cells began churning out Crud by the millions–then billions.  Even as Joe closed baby Tamatha’s clean diaper, he noticed that she had stopped crying, and that her eyes were staring blankly at the ceiling.  As he noticed this, baby Tamatha began to turn greenish in his hands.  The Crud was moving so fast now, that its replicates were near to owning all of the baby’s skin.  Joe put the baby into her crib, and stepped back a pace .  He went for his cell phone, but before he could even dial for help, his disbelieving eyes watched in horror, as his beloved baby melted into a writhing mass of greenish mucus, mottled with brown, and buzzing like an insect swarm.

“Oh Jesus!  Oh God!” he yelled.  “What the flipping hell is going on here?  This freaking can’t be happening.”  He rushed toward what had been his little girl.  But, suddenly, he felt violently ill.  The overpowering waves of nausea, were not from the monstrosity which he had just beheld.  He was sick.  Really sick.  And he wasn’t dreaming.  It was happening to HIM!  Joe fell onto the carpet.  His weakening hand dialed 911.  Even as he hit Call, Joe was staring at a hand growing greenish.  And then he was swallowed up, more or less, as The Crud took all his cells, and reduced him to a mound of mottled mucus just like baby Tamatha.

The two mounds of ugly muck began creeping together.  They melded, to become one greater mass.  The Crud began to crawl across the floor, buzzing and churning.  It was enjoying what was left of Joe and baby Tamatha.  It crept under the Christmas tree, among the many presents, so gaily wrapped with colored paper and ribbons, to dwell in dormancy beneath the green branches.

Two sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 911 call.  When they saw the open door, both sheriffs flipped the leather from their holsters, and drew their guns.  They positioned themselves on either side of the entryway.  One deputy bolted inside, followed by his partner.  They went through the house, room by room, until the home was cleared.   They had noticed the open cell phone on the carpet, but had not disturbed it.  That was probably a matter for forensics.  Nothing else was out of the ordinary, so they searched the woods outside.  They came up empty.  There was no one hiding in the trees, there was no path where a hasty perp might have made a getaway.  Nor did they hear any suspicious noises.  They met again at the door.

“What do you make of this?” asked one deputy.  “An abduction?  When‘s the last time we had a felony in golf city?”  Pebble Beach was privately owned, and considered an unincorporated area.  It was therefore under the jurisdiction of the County Sheriff’s Department, though its company employed private guards.  The place was double-patrolled, and inhabited largely by well-to-do families

“Something is really off here,” said the first deputy.  “Obviously.  Whoever was holding that phone, dropped it without saying a word to the dispatcher.”

The two sheriffs went back into the front room.  They were ready to call for backup, but one deputy knelt, to quickly check for bloodstains.  The other carefully picked his way to the empty crib.  He looked closer, and made an observation.  “There was a baby here.  There’s a dirty diaper on the sofa, and it looks plenty fresh.”  He looked into the crib.  “Jesus,” he said in partial-bewilderment.  “There’s a new diaper lying in there.  And it’s closed”  He knelt for a closer look, and his hand briefly brushed the cloth of the crib.  “This may be the work of a goddamned pedophile,” he was able to say.  “Or pedophiles.”  Then The Crud got him.  He’d touched the baby’s enclosure.  Bits of Crud which had shed from the baby, were mopping up bacteria on the cloth.  When the deputy touched them, he was good for a better meal.  Within seconds, the officer began to wheeze and gag.

“Oh my God,” he choked.  “I feel really, really bad.”  He fell to the floor, and his startled partner turned to assist him.  But, the main mass of Crud under the Christmas tree, came out of dormancy, and jumped the deputy before he could take a step.  He was immediately enveloped by the ghastly mass of mucus, and disappeared, screaming, “No!”  The other deputy went green.  He too, was dissolved and engulfed.  The creeping crawling Crud, was taking over the world.

When the two deputies failed to respond to calls from their dispatcher, a virtual brigade of police descended on the house in Pebble Beach.  They did not report back to  headquarters.  Another, bigger detachment of cops was sent in.  They were not heard from again.  Now, the Governor of the State was notified.  There were suspicions of terrorism, perhaps gangsters–no one could be certain.  The Governor called the National Guard and the FBI.  As an afterthought, he put in a call to the Center for Disease Control in Georgia.  Whoever took the call, had a hunch, and sent in biochemical units, equipped with the latest, cutting-edged equipment.

When these health workers arrived, they found empty military and police vehicles at the gates to Pebble Beach.  They went in, yellow-suited figures with plasticized visors, ready for the worst.  Incredibly, despite their protective suits, the first line went down.  The virus was so small, that it worked through the molecules of their suits, and got them.  The second wave of CDC workers fell back, but had the sense to take a soil sample into a glass jar, before they ran.  The sample was rushed by jet to Atlanta.  The contents were first tested robotically and behind thick glass, by placing a small amount of the soil sample with a lab rat.  The rat disappeared before their eyes, turning into a rodent-sized glob of Crud.  The scientists took another sample, and deep beneath the ground, examined the virus under an electron microscope.  There was nothing to see.  The Crud was smaller than the bandwidth of light.  When the researchers realized this, they could only look around in stunned horror.  It was the beginning of the end.  The nightmare of nightmares was upon them.  They wished each other a “Merry Christmas,” and said goodbye.

The creeping crawling Crud spread out very quickly after it gobbled up Pebble Beach.  Next to go, was the Monterey Peninsula.  Television and newspapers immediately picked up the story.  Videos of it went viral on the Internet.  The President spoke through all media outlets, and tried to calm the panicking millions.  All to no avail.  It ate the forests.  It ate the fields.  It spread out over the waters, and over the land.  The viral mass sank to the bottom of the sea.  It penetrated every nook and cranny of the bottom, infecting and assimilating every organism in its path.  It killed other viruses, it killed bacteria, it killed the fish.  The Crud spread out, multiplying exponentially in size and virulence.  With every kill, the viral family assumed the genetic makeup of its victim.  It absorbed all diseases in the world, and thus became more deadly with every passing second.  It went into every underground bunker, even those designed against any attack.  It slipped through the molecules of seals on any door or window–seals which had been so carefully constructed against such a scourge.  It killed the President, and conquered America.  Its victory was unlike that of The Beatles, and it killed the remaining two of them.  It enveloped everyone, and every living thing.  It completely covered the surface and seas of the world, with thick oozing muck.  When every plane or jet ran out of fuel, it got them too.  It went through the molecules of every can and jar of food on the planet.  There was nothing of organic composition left.  Even the astronauts in the space station, eventually starved to death, or committed suicide.  When nothing was left alive, Earth looked like a giant dripping ball of emerald sputum, glistening in the sunlight of deep space.  The Crud was master of the world.  There was no life left, except for the great communal family it had created.  The Crud was many, yet one.  The scourge of scourges rose up in humongous triumph, rejoicing in its power.

And then it died.

Hurdy Gurdy GypsyI was an organ grinder man, with up to six trained monkeys. This show started out at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. Through many strange twists, the show ened up a concession with the California Dept. of Parks and Recreation. We advanced, and ended up holding the ground in front of California State’s Monument Number One – The Custom House. I’m not in the Salinas area. I’m in the Monterey Peninsula area. I didn’t graduate from Humboldt State University. I graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz. I’m a “Banana Slug,” and I’ve got a T-Shirt right out of “Pulp Fiction.” LOL. My website still offers various off-beat exotic animal connections, and odd treasures for sale. You can watch one of my former monkeys, picking a guy’s head, to barrel organ music. This is without-a-doubt, a must-see item. I’m still around, giving Milt Iskra indigestion, and generally just working on short stories, and The Great American Novel. That 36-year run as a California concessionaire–“Jack Tar–The Seagoing Organ Grinder with a Monkey–was pretty rugged. It ended in July of 2006. The three remaining monkeys, Goldie, Wendy, and Harpo, were given to a PET-approved sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas. Harpo lived 13 months, but died from cancer. Wendy died from old age. My beloved Goldie, a brown capuchin–the nicest little guy–was my last and best job of training. He is still alive, and doesn’t seem to have forgotten me. After the show was over, it didn’t seem fair for the monkeys to remain in their confined area. So, they got their retirement. It’s not a perfect world, but some of us try to do our best. That was one, long run, friends.

I’m a published writer. I have three or four articles with major fishing magazines. A screenplay I wrote, placed in the top five, of an annual contest offered by the Monterey County Film Commission. I’m doing short stories at this time, under the pseudonym, “H. Gurdy”, and struggling with The Great American Novel.

Teeth by Chynna Blue Scott

TODAY’S BREW:  Still boozy cider.
On a theme today of forcing people to show us their writing and letting the world take a look.  Chynna Blue Scott is a brand new friend of ours that keeps right up, and she has a great voice.  I am so very pleased to let you have a look at her handiwork here, then go have fun on her blog to see an excerpt of her first novel!   Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog!
Teeth
by Chynna Blue Scott
We aren’t the only ones who have Christmas trees.

Others have Christmas trees, too. And they don’t decorate them the way we do, oh no. They decorate them bad. Real bad.
Bad for us, anyway.
See, when we go a-running a-round, a-searching out our Christmas tinsel and baubles and lights and all that other insignificant bullhocky, they do a different kind of shopping.
A same kind. But a different kind. It’s all relative, yah know?
You don’t know. But I know.
I heard them, talking. The pale one with the teeth and the pretty eyes, she’d spotted the one she wanted. He was tall, athletic type, typical college footballer. She wanted him, she hissed. They were going to get him, just like they got the others. Just like her brother got the pretty little girl.
I assume he was her brother. You never know with them. But he had the same pale face, the same sparkly eyes. The same teeth.
My finger slipped on the railing I gripped, watching them. It was cold, the ice glittering under the floodlights. Skate-blades glistened like silver razor-slashes. I knew how this would play out.
I hadn’t been able to stop them getting the pretty little girl, at the waxworks. I could still see the bubbles when I closed my eyes.
I’d stop them from getting him.
They wouldn’t come out until he went to leave. The twins liked to make their move in the shadows, to hear their victim’s heart speed up as they walked through the dark patch… Not tonight.
I sauntered up to the athletic guy, flipping my hair back, my smile all teeth. It was easy to get him to come with me. Satisfying to hear the girl’s frustrated hiss split the night air, snaking toward me like a spark along a dynamite fuse. I’d lit the dynamite, alright.
I was ready for the bang.
The athletic guy’s face said he couldn’t believe his luck. Oh, he was lucky. God damn lucky. Luckier than he knew.
I wouldn’t hang him on my tree. I wouldn’t drive spikes into his hands and display him like an ornament, dress him like a nutcracker and force him to walk all day and all night… Not like they would. I’d seen it. Seen it a million times. Not this time.
He never saw it coming. Three sharp slashes, and hot blood spurted, steaming in the frozen air. He gurgled, sighed, and fell. He wouldn’t get back up again. No, I wouldn’t display him. My teeth snagged my lip as I dragged him back into an alleyway, slithering red trail a glaring red-arrow pointing to his location. I wanted him to be found. He deserved a burial.
Once they had chosen him, he was already D-E-A-D dead. I just made sure it was painless as possible. Quick job, over and done. His head lolled back as I slumped him against the brick wall, his mouth open comically.
The twins watched me, alternately hissing and spitting. They followed me out of the alleyway and back to the ice rink, their footsteps soundless. No one paid any attention to them as they passed. My black coat hid the blood well.
I needed a drink. I thought about strapping on a pair of skates, gliding over the ice in my long black coat.
I saw the boy’s eyes light up as he caught sight of a young girl, her long hair a shimmering blonde swathe. I sighed, and made my way over to her. My smile was all teeth.
“Hey, there’s a party going on round the corner. Interested?”

My Brother In Law Wrote This!

TODAY’S BREW: Boozy cider. Dreamtastic.
Allow me to gush.  My brother in law is an avid reader, very bright guy, horror aficionado, and in my mind, a natural writer.  Some of you know I sorta have an eye for talent.  And boom, I was right again.  So proud to have forced Chris to write this very first short story of his, and to post it all in the same month.  Help me convince him to write a book.
A Short Story by Chris Hutchings
Caroling.

Exactly the kind of thing Holly would come up with when she drank too much. They had all drunk too much tonight.

C’mon you guys…It’ll be fun, pulling her sister behind her. Ben and Trevor following obediently. Holly’s hips like the Pied Piper when it came to those two, down the walk way and up the front steps of the house.
Holly ventures up onto the porch alone and knocked a couple times on the door. When she hears movement behind it she races back to join the others.

A grubby little girl holding a naked doll in her arms opens the door. Her eyes widen, little face begins to glow with excitement as they drunkenly tear into Jingle Bells. Two older boys peek out from the doorway. As the song reaches it’s boozy climax the doll this the porch, the little girl jumping up and down, clapping furiously.

Meemaw! she cheers. Meemaw wants a song! The boys vanish from the doorway. She scoops up the doll and dashes down the stairs, grabbing Holly by the hand.

A song for Meemaw! pulling Holly up the stairs, through the open door. Holly looks over her shoulders at the others first shrugging I dunno then waving for them to follow.

The girl leads them to a doorway at the end of a long bare hall. Meemaw’s room.

Trevor is the last one into the room. Drawing a deep breath, ready to beat the old lady over the head with Silent Night, when the screaming starts. Holly and her sister at first, then Ben and Trevor.

Meemaw. The corpse in the rocking chair had been crudely  taxidermied and draped with blankets. Huge bugged out glass eyes and lips drawn back to reveal teeth filed to points. Where the hands and feet should have been; a mass of dried tentacles.

Meemaw wants a song. The little girl behind them, the excitement gone from her voice. Meemaw was going to get her song. The naked doll now exchanged for a cattle prod, decorated to look a magic wand. The older boys appear behind her. One holding a net in his hands, the other a hammer.

Meemaw isn’t interested in drunken carolers. This is the children’s concert. Holly and her friends, they’re the instruments.

The Elf by Catherine Scully

TODAY’S BREW:  Tea. I am catching a *#*!! cold.

We are very pleased to offer up the inner workings of Cat Scully, the horror editor for The Horror Writer’s Association Young Adult Blog.  She is also a high falutin’ illustrator, and just plain fun writer working to get published like us all.  Follow her on Twitter @CatMScully and appreciate her awesomeness on cscullywriter.wordpress.com.

 

The Elf

The morning is pallid and the sun is wrapped with grey, wool patchwork clouds. Though it isn’t Christmas morning, one child wakes, then two, and all three race down the hall together searching for their present. Each corner they turn down the hall, into each bedroom, down the stairs and into the living room yields no clues as to where the present has gone. Then they reach the downstairs closet. With a small creak, the door opens, and the coats packed together provide an excellent canopy to shield the present’s tiny face from the sudden burst of light.

The children stare down at his tiny white face, rosy cheeks, and pointed ears.

“The elf came!” the youngest child exclaims, wiping his snotty nose against his sleeve.

“Yes,” says the second. “The elf left us a message.”

“I want to open it!” says the first, stamping her tiny foot.

“But it’s my turn,” the second child protests.

The third and oldest child says nothing, but stares down the elf’s solemn face. He pushes his glasses up his nose and finds that when he looks at the displayed scene of the elf with it’s letter sitting on top a small pile of fake snow in a red basket, that he can’t look into the elf’s eyes. They stare back like the two coals he worries he’ll get for Christmas if he doesn’t brush his teeth, turn in his homework, and play nice with his two sisters.  The elf’s smile is turned up in a placid expression that was common to all older dolls and looked more painted than real. There was something about the elf that made the child feel like that smile held a secret it wasn’t willing to tell. The elf’s lips would forever be sealed that way. Smiling. Dead. It unsettled him.

The youngest snatched the letter in the elf’s lap first. “It’s mine Sarah!”

“No, Jenny, give it here!” Sarah said. “It’s my turn. You got it yesterday.”

“No,” Jenny whined. The two wrestled and tumbled until the letter ripped open and a great tear went through the envelope and broke the pages within.

“Now look what you’ve done!” Sarah snatched the card away from Jenny, who started to cry.

“Guys,” the third child said, not taking his eyes from the elf.

Sarah opened the envelope and tried to pull out the piece of paper inside. She shushed Jenny with an angry hiss, who only cried harder.

“Hey guys,” he tried again.

“What Mike?” Sarah said, trying to yell over Jenny’s sobbing shrieks.  “What is it?”

“What is that on the elf’s face?”

He pointed to a small spot of liquid that had pooled on the elf’s cheek below its left eye. It sat red, like a small ruby meant for a fairy’s necklace or a doll’s jewelry box. Another drop dripped down and splatted on the elf, this time hitting its little red and white shirt.

Sarah and Mike were so fixated on the dripping red dots that they hadn’t noticed that Jenny had stopped shrieking. She stood behind them, eyes brimming with tears and quietly heaving sobs.

“Where is that coming from?” Mike asked and got down on his hands and knees to look up in the coats.

Sarah slowly opened the letter, which Jenny peaked over on tiptoes to read over her sister’s shoulder. Mike began to part the coats, trying to see what might be causing the dripping. He shoved his hand up between the thick furs and thin, flannel jackets until he hit something wet.

Sarah gasped. “Mike…”

He grabbed the wet thing and yanked. It flopped out into the light.

“Mike,” Sarah yelled. “This… this is blood.”

When he saw what it was he yanked out, Mike screamed. He leapt backwards until he fell into Sarah. The letter fluttered out of her hands and onto the floor. In the center, the open paper read in red-brown letters: “Tonight, you.”

“Oh, God…” Mike said.

“Get off me Mike! What are you…” Sarah started to say, but then saw the thing hanging out of the closet. Her face turned whiter than the snow gently falling outside the window. Flapping skin hung out of the closet like a dirty sleeve. The skin was intact, whole, and a perfect resemblance of a human left arm.

Sarah, Mike, and Jenny sat in horror as they heard a small ping of sound hit the floor. A little silver ring with a modest diamond fell off the small, flat fingertips at the end of the peachy skin sleeve.

A rustle came from beneath the coats as the elf got to his feet with careful determination. Though its face was frozen in permanent smile, a small voice came out like the twinkling of bells and said:

“Tonight. You.”

 

 

 

 

Heart Full of Unwashed Socks by Christopher Shawbell

TODAY’S BREW: Mediocre Mint. Because when I drink Carlsberg I post up the wrong story.

So, read THIS story by our kind friend Chris Shawbell who isn’t at all upset that I put up the wrong story today.  Visit Chris @CopiousCorpses on Twitter to tell him how kick ass it is.  Mention that I’m not the Brains of this operation, but I am lots of fun!

 

Heart Full of Unwashed Socks

by Christopher Shawbell

They still have the calendar up.

Buttholes!

Every December I ask, and every December I’m ignored.  They leave it hanging and just give me more meds.  I really wish they’d take it down.  It’s not my fault I’m scared of Christmas.

I had a big family.  Most lived in Springfield, which I thought was a nice name for a hometown.  We’d have reunions at this huge park and all the family would come. I can’t remember what the place was called, and that’s okay; it’s always been Happy Park to me.

Then one day, Mommy and Daddy told me that Daddy got a new job.  He was an engineer.  Not the choo-choo train kind; he built stuff.  This job he’d be making a coal mine safer.  We’d be back in Springfield in about a year, he said.

We moved to a little town called Hooville.  It was hidden in a valley beneath this jagged mountain.  We were still in Massachusetts, but way west.

Mommy called it quaint.  Daddy called it boring.  I called it weird.  I didn’t like the kids, Mommy didn’t like our neighbors, and Daddy didn’t like his boss.

“They’re just not friendly people,” Daddy would say.

“Spying!”  That’s what Mommy said they did; spy and gossip.

There was one really neat-o thing about the place though.

Me and Mommy were at the “Five-and-Dime.”  An Old Man sitting near the counter asked me, “You know who Dr. Seuss is, boy?”

“Yes, sir, I do.  He’s from my hometown, Springfield.”

“Yuppers, but didja know he lived here once when he was a boy?”

“No, sir.  Did he really?”

“Yuppers, he sure did.  Wrote a book here too.  It was…”

The Mean Lady behind the counter yelled at the Old Man to shut up, and me not to listen.  They argued, and Mommy and I left.

Mommy didn’t believe the story.  I asked Daddy.  He said the Old Man was just “..polishing a turd.”  I pretended I knew what he meant.

I believed the Old Man, and thought it was really neat-o that Dr. Seuss had lived where I was living now.  It made it a little bit better.

We didn’t have family there, but Mommy and Daddy made holidays extra special anyway, and that Christmas we hung more lights on the house than ever.

One of the neighbors, Dale, came by and told Daddy he shouldn’t put lights up.  “It don’t agree with the town.”  He said.

Daddy ignored him.

Later, we went to get a tree, but there wasn’t one anywhere.  There was no Christmas stuff of any kind in the whole town!

“To Hell with them.”  Daddy cursed.  Mommy made him put a dollar in the Swearing Words Jar, even though Daddy said it didn’t count because it was in the Bible.  He still paid.  Mommy always made him pay.

We drove two hours the next day to find a Christmas Tree, and it was the biggest you’ve ever seen.  Daddy said “…just to spite.”  I didn’t know what he meant, but we sure had a fun time decorating it.  Then we did the rest of the house.

Next morning the Sheriff made Daddy take all the Christmas lights down outside; the town had an ordinance against it.  He said Daddy should take down all the stuff inside too.

Daddy said, “Make me.”  I’d never seen Daddy mad before, not real kind of mad like he was then.

A few weeks later, on Christmas Eve morning, Dale came by again.  Mommy wouldn’t talk to him, so Daddy did.

“You have to lock the chimney hatch today, Robert.”

Our house had a heavy metal hatch on the top of the chimney, like all the houses around.  Daddy showed us when we moved in.  He’d never seen one before.

“You people around here have a bad habit of telling others what they should or shouldn’t be doing.”

“We’re not bad folks, Robert, it just … well, you’re not from here; you don’t know…”  The crazy old coot (that’s what Daddy called him) looked over both shoulders like he thought someone was sneaking up to kick his bee-hind.  “I shouldn’t even be here, but I saw your hatch is open.  You’ve got to close it … today!”

“Or you’ll send the Sheriff again?”

“It’s for your own good, Robert!  Please, just lock the damned hatch!”  Then he ran away.

Daddy watched him go.  “Crazy old coot.”

Mommy seemed worried.  “What do you think that was about?”

“Who knows, Kristen?  We really don’t know anything about these neighbors of ours.”

Mommy looked out the window.  “He sure seemed upset…”

“Yeah?  Well not as upset as Santa’s going to be if he gets here and there’re no cookies for him!”  Daddy was good at changing the subject.  Usually Mommy didn’t like it, but this time she did.  So did I.

“Santa’s cookies, Mommy!”

She gave Daddy her You changed the subject again! look, then smiled at me.  I loved my Mommy’s smile.  “Santa’s cookies it is, Sweetie.  Let’s get to it.”

“Yay!”  You had to wait a whole year to bake Santa’s cookies, so it was a big deal.  Best part was that Santa only ate three with his milk.  So the rest of the batch we ate on Christmas Eve.

It was so magical being a little kid with the Christmas Tree all lit up, and no other lights on, listening to holiday music, and eating Santa’s cookies.  Nobody said anything for a long while, we just enjoyed it.

Mommy all of a sudden asked Daddy if he was going to close the chimney hatch.

“Hell no,” he answered, and that was that.  The hatch stayed open, and another dollar went in the Swearing Words Jar.

I could tell something was bothering Mommy.  Daddy could too, so he changed the subject again.  “Besides, someone I know has to get up super-duper early because I heard a rumor…” Daddy hinted to me.

“What, Daddy, what?”

“I have information from a very reliable source that told me exactly when Santa would be here tonight, and that if you got up, and were very, very quiet, you could watch him put the presents under the tree with his favorite elf, Goofy.”  Mommy playfully punched him in the arm for some reason.  “Would you like that, kiddo?”

“I sure would!”

He and Mommy couldn’t because Santa knows when grown-ups are watching.

So we left Santa’s milk and cookies out and went to bed.  Daddy set the alarm.  I promised I would be a big boy and get up so I could tell them all about it.  Mommy tucked me in, and kissed my cheek.  I still feel it, like she’s still kissing me.

They stood in the doorway, arms around each other, and smiled at me—that’s how I remember them, just like that.

I never saw them again.

The alarm woke me, and I got up just like a big boy.  Then I heard something.

Oh gosh!  It’s Santa and Goofy!  They’re really here!

I tipped-toed down the stairs, barefoot in my Ninja Turtle PJs.  I couldn’t believe it … I was about to see Santa!  I peeked around the corner.

Only one string of tree lights glowed.  The carpet looked wet … stained somehow.  I could see that someone, or something, was sitting in Daddy’s reading chair in the dark.

“Santa..?”

Whatever it was, it grinned at me.  I could see it had a really wide mouth and big teeth.

“Why, no, I’m afraid.  I am most certainly not Santa; I’m very real, you see, whereas, St. Nick is not.  Sorry to disappoint.”

It’s voice didn’t fit the big shadowy figure with that mouth.  I was really scared, but for some reason I got angry.

“He is too real!  Mommy and Daddy said…”

“Yes, yes, Mommy and Daddy said he was real so surely he must be.  Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t lie to a sweet little incy wincy boy like you, now would they?”

“No!”

“Of course not.  Why in the wonderfully wicked world would they do that?”

It took a bite from something that looked in the dark like a giant turkey leg, then put it behind the chair, and slowly stood.  It was really tall … way taller than Daddy.

“Let me guess … you have risen early on this fine—but otherwise no different from any other—morning in hopes of spying on the Fat Man hard at work.  Is that it?”

It took a half-step towards me.

I took a half-step back.  “Yes … Santa and Goofy.”

“Goofy?  Pray tell..?”

It took a step forward.

“Santa’s helper.”

I took a step back.

“Oh yes, of course … the delicious one in green.”

It took a step forward.

“Where’s Santa?  Where’s Goofy?”

I took a step back.

“You poor, poor child … the things they fill your little heads with.  You must be terribly, ter-ri-bly disappointed.”

Another step closer…

It was near the tree lights now.

Its red eyes were shiny and huge.  It had thick green hair all over.  A hairy hand with three long fingers popped a Santa cookie into it enormous mouth.  It was wearing Santa’s hat and suit, but Santa’s clothes were torn and bloody, and too small; green hairy shins and feet stuck out the pant legs.

“Please, tell me where Santa is.”  The stairs were on my left.  I wondered how fast it could run.

“Down the hatch, I’m afraid.”

“The chimney?”

It stopped, straightened, and made a face.  It looked at the fireplace, then threw its head back and laughed.  Oh what a horrible sound!  It left me utterly frozen with terror.

It finally stopped.

“How very funny … you thought I meant the conspicuously open chimney hatch I slithered down.  No.  I meant, ‘down the hatch.’”  It pointed a taloned finger down its throat then rubbed its belly.  “Come, have a look for yourself…”

It leaned forward, its purplish lips pulled back, and it opened its mouth wider than I thought possible—it could get my whole head in there!  A awful smell came out, like road kill.  There was fresh blood in the fur around its mouth and down its neck.  Its arms reached out…

I screamed.

Then there was a deafening BOOM Behind me, and the Thing fell back.

My ears were ringing.  I turned.  It was Dale holding a smoking shotgun.

“Run, boy, run!”

I did.  I heard two more shots, a roar, then Dale screaming.

I got away.  Dale didn’t.

The whole town denied it, but they all knew what had come on Christmas—what always came down on Christmas!  They never found Mommy and Daddy … just Santa and Goofy; they’d been eaten; Dale too.

Everyone back in Springfield thought I was totally bonkers, and they put me in here; the Cuckoo House … been twenty-something years now, I guess.  Was about the tenth I finally realized what that Thing actually was.

I’ve told anyone who will listen but they don’t.  Everybody loves Christmas, and they don’t want it ruined.

They wouldn’t love it though—no sir-ree, not one incy wincy bit!—if they knew what me and Dr. Seuss know; that lurking on a crooked mountain overlooking Hooville, there really is a terrifying Grinch who  stole Christmas.

~CC~

 

Christmas With(out) Grandpa by Bobby Salomons

TODAY’S BREW:  Water. Even I stop drinking coffee sometimes.

We have a soft spot for Bobby, and so here you have the opportunity to enjoy another of his amazing works.  We also encourage you to follow his maniacal ramblings on Twitter @D2Dbooks and visit severedlimbmovement.wordpress.com.  Seriously.

Christmas with(out) grandpa.

By: Bobby Salomons (Severed Limb Movement)
Partially based on a true story.

It’s been decades, since he passed, my grandfather. A highly decorated World War II Navy-veteran he had spend most of his time submerged under the waves of the Pacific, part of a submarine crew, telegraphing vital messages to and from the Allied Forces.

One unfortunate day the men had even come under friendly fire, taking heavy hits from strafes by British aircraft who saw them for an enemy sub. A group of five, including my grandfather had braved through all odds and stormed onto the deck and waved the Union Jack – that proud British flag – to signal the pilots they were attacking one of their own. Thankfully the pilots saw their error and aborted their attack.
At the risk of death and injury the sub crew did what they felt they had to, they stood for something. He stood for something. And I’d find out, he would always keep doing so – even after life was over.

I never quite had the opportunity to know him, he succumbed to a brain tumor when my mother was just fifteen. They told me many stories, many of which I believed and many of which I did not.
One such story was that on the day of her final exams, the dark hours of the night before, she was sleeping in her mother’s bed – inconsolable over his passing. And suddenly they saw, on the walls of the room, his fine silhouette – in uniform and all. The smell of his Old Spice perfume filled the room with his presence. He was there, letting them know that he was around, to make a point.

Ever since I was little I played with his officer’s hat, his medals bestowed upon him by the Queen herself and perhaps most importantly: His telegraph key. I would sit and play, endless hours, tapping and studying this mind capturing device – imagining myself to be sending Morse codes to commence attack or announce the war was over.
Of course the telegraph key was old, but sturdy made, with screws to adjust the pressure needed to tap the key and being a child I screwed around with them many times. Occasionally the key would fall apart, but with the screws and the adrenaline rush of “being caught” I had always successfully restored it to how it was to be.

Until one unfortunate day, one of the trunnion screws fell from the table, rolled across the floor and disappeared into a hole right before my eyes. The clunk of metal taunting me. Nerves grabbed me by the throat, followed by unforgiving guilt of losing something so precious.
I managed to provisionally restore the telegraph key, but it would only take the lightest tap to find out that it was broken and incomplete. And luck would have it that tomorrow was Christmas, tomorrow all my mom’s family would be here. My aunts, my uncles, my cousins and nephews and undoubtedly they would ask for the telegraph key. And touch it. Play with it.

They would all know it was me. I did it. I broke it, I lost it. It was my fault.

I kept quiet, but not too quiet to avoid suspicion from my mom that day. All I could do was hope, furiously, that none of my family would find out tomorrow. On Christmas, for crying out loud.
I was young and the tension kept sleep away from me, staring at the walls, listening to the traffic outside, feeling remorse. Quietly I mourned the loss of my grandfather, though I had never met him, the telegraph key was my grandfather to me. And now I had ruined that. This was my Christmas without grandpa.
I fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, when things are most quiet and tense. The world no longer belongs to people, it belongs to the dark and the unknown and whatever ventures inside of it.

Suddenly I woke up, my heart racing for no particular reason, cold sweat on my back. There was something in the air, sparkling like fireworks yet invisible to the eyes, I could feel it under my skin.

I gasped and could smell it, Old Spice, even though I had never smelled it before – I knew this had to be it.

Shivering and shaking I pulled the blankets up over my head, yet curiosity forced me to peak around the room from underneath the safety of the covers. Slowly my eyes adjusted to the dark, checking one corner to the next. Soon, I had covered three corners of my room, if there was anything to be seen it had to be the corner with the door.
I quietly rolled underneath my covers and looked at the door. Every nerve, every hair, every muscle fired electric currents through my body – there he stood. Quietly.

His exceedingly tall stature casting upon the cafe doors that were part of my room, not moving an inch yet so overwhelmingly present I felt he could reach out and touch me. I feared he was angry, there to punish me. I dove underneath the covers and as dawn approached his silhouette slowly faded away.

I fell asleep again, exhausted and woke up when my dad checked on me.
Reluctantly I stepped from my bed as my father fluffed my pillow and straightened my blankets. Suddenly I heard a soft metal clunk, my father picked it up,

“…Is that the screw from your grandfather’s telegraph key?” He said. I shivered, I turned around and looked at him – I could tell he was slightly annoyed and not joking.

“Maybe…?” I stuttered, shaking at the knees.

“You should know better than to play with it, you could lose it you know. It’s important to your mom… And put something on, you’re shivering.”

 As I brushed my teeth I realized, my grandfather wasn’t there because he was angry or to scare me, he was returning the screw of his telegraph key and to make a point. And so he did.

Ever since, every single year again, on the night before Christmas I can see him standing in the corner of my room. I can smell his perfume. On Christmas morning I fluff my pillow, followed by the sound of a metal clunk, the trunnion screw of his telegraph key.
I have a running gag with a ghost, I respect him very much.

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