Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “horror novels”

MARK MATTHEWS GOT A BOOK DEAL! And you can get a free book!

TODAY’S BREW: Like you need to ask. Pumpkin. Pfft. Obvs.

By Julie

Many of you know I got my start with Books of the Dead Press, who published RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. In addition to introducing me to the world of publishing, Books of the Dead did something else for me–introduced me to a few amazing friends. Mark Matthews’ ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN was published alongside RUNNING HOME a few years back with Books of the Dead, and since then Mark has become a very close friend that I trust, rely on, and just plain love. He’s very kind, incredibly funny, and someone I’m better for knowing. Look at him, he’s so pleasant!

mark matthews

(go find Mark on Twitter

So when I got the news that his novel, MILK-BLOOD got a movie deal? Well, yeah, I cried, and I begged to be part of announcing it for a lot of reasons. It’s wonderful to see my friend have such success, and it’s fantastic that MILK-BLOOD was self-published.



MILK-BLOOD, a novel by Mark Matthews, has been optioned for a full length feature film by Monkey Knuckle Films. The option includes rights to the short story, The Damage Done, a companion piece to the novel.
“MILK-BLOOD is true reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable,” explains executive producer Michael Bradford. “The story will certainly hold an audience.”

MILK-BLOOD is the story of a ten year old girl named Lilly, born with a heart defect, who lives on a Detroit street where poverty, urban despair, addiction, and both the living and the dead threaten her outside her doorstep. The author has tapped into this experience as a
social worker to create what one review site calls, “an Urban legend in the making.”  The author’s previous novel, On the Lips of Children, was a number one best-selling kindle novel on amazon.

The title, ”Milk-Blood,” comes from the Neil Young song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” and refers to the extensive lengths a heroin addict will go to in order to maintain their high.

Monkey Knuckle Films is a newly created LLC, but the founders have a long history of horror, and have worked with actors such as Sid Haig from The Devil’s Rejects, and much of the cast of The Evil Dead. They are currently in post-production for the horror film, “Elder Island“, set for release in 2016. MILK-BLOOD was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Best Kindle Book Awards and is available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook on amazon.

A sequel to MILK-BLOOD is scheduled for release in early 2016. (And I, Julie Hutchings, gets to edit it!) “The sequel is some twisted material,” says Matthews, “but with a purpose. Horror without heart doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t think to many readers.”
To celebrate the movie contract, the author is offering up to ten vouchers for a free kindle download on amazon. Just email your request to

Interested in some MILK-BLOOD? Well, you’re in luck. Below are five codes for free Kindle Versions. Just be the first to enter one of the codes into this link here:  and BAMN! free MILK-BLOOD to your kindle.
Gift Claim Code GS4WEEN9X355NCZ
Gift Claim Code GS99HX2C245U5DT
Gift Claim Code GSR4X27F4W8JWC9
Mark, congratulations, from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

Joe Hart Tells Us Stuff & An Excerpt From THE WAITING.

TODAY’S BREW: Columbian Something On Sale

By Julie

I’m a big Joe Hart fan. I’m a fan of him, personally, as exemplified by our status as roommates on Twitter. I’m as big a fan of his work. (He just tweeted this line from his new work in progress: “He lived a life of seldoms, of almosts, and mostly nevers.” UGH. I want this on a tombstone, but not mine.) The man can write horror the way I want it; classic, all but gore-free, and scaring me to the bone with its chilling implications, imagery and language. More The Shining than Nightmare on Elm Street, you know? His flash fiction is the best in the business, if you ask me, and so when he offered up THE WAITING, his latest novel, for me to read, I put on my little winged shoes and flew to his side of the apartment and grabbed it, slobbering and clawing when he tried to pull it away saying I could only have it if I said please.

Follow Joe’s blog where you can read his brilliant work.

I asked Joe to tell me where he comes up with this stuff. And he just goes on and on  and on. I had to slap him to get him to stop, but it was the funny kind of slap, not the insulting kind.


I get asked a lot of the time, ‘where do you come up with this stuff?’ or ‘how did you think of that?’ Sometimes people ask with wonder, and others tentatively, like I might leap toward them and bite their face off if they say something wrong. (Note to self: Quit wearing Hannibal Lecter mask when speaking to readers.)


Anyways, it’s the most common question authors get asked, and sometimes the most infuriating.

What do you mean, ‘where do I come up with this stuff?’ It’s just there, all right? Okay?! Now leave me alone! Jeez!


I’m kidding, of course, but I do think these questions test us as writers because it points the mirror at us and forces introspection about creativity in general. Personally I love getting asked those questions because it makes me really slow down and figure out exactly where the ideas do come from.

I guess the simple answer is, I think about things. A lot. I’m always telling a story to myself in my head, always wondering, asking questions- what if? Or, what would this character do? Out of the questions come answers. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes not so good, but that seems to be the process.

In my case, I make up creepy things. And since my genre is the one designed to scare people, my ideas can actually be tracked in a fairly clear way.

I ask myself, what am I afraid of?

This works pretty well because I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to horror. I watched Predator when I was six. I started reading King and Koontz when I was eleven. I used to dare my cousin and get dared in return to walk out in the middle of the night and do a lap around our old barn.

It takes quite a bit to scare me. So if an idea comes to my mind that does give me a shiver, I write it down and make a scene out of it. Sometimes I collect these scenes for months without knowing how they’re going to fit together, or if there’s a story at all. But usually if they start stacking up, I can arrange them in a narrative. Joe Hill once said to start small and write one good scene, then another after that, and just keep going. My process is close to the same. If I can scare myself silly by playing out a scene in my head, I run with it and weave it into the story. I did this several times in my latest novel, The Waiting, which in my opinion is the creepiest thing I’ve written to date.

But even before you can scare readers, you have to make them care. There is no fear if a person has nothing to lose. I’ve asked myself this question over the years: who is the most dangerous person, someone who has nothing to lose, or everything? I would have to side with everything, and for me this correlates directly with a reader’s engagement. A reader has to care about the characters. They have to care about the plot. They have to be emotionally involved in the story, and then you can flip the lights off on them and scream at the top of your lungs. If they don’t care, you can sling blood and guts at them continuously and they won’t move, except to shut the cover.

HEY THERE, IT’S ME, JULIE AND I DECIDED YOU DESERVED AN EXCERPT FROM THE WAITING. I love this because it takes place in a creepy ass basement. I love the idea of finding weird shit in basements, and bet you do, too. So, read:

Evan searched blindly until his fingers met a switch box. Knowing full well if this switch produced no light he would retreat up the stairs, he flipped it up. Three dim bulbsblinked on in a line across the basement, casting everything in a sick glow. He was about
to step onto the basement floor when he looked down—
—and saw a small child standing less than a foot away.
Evan’s feet tried to backpedal, and a strangled moan fell from his mouth as he tripped and landed hard on the stairs behind him. The treads bit into his ass and lower back, but he barely noticed, his gaping eyes locked on the child facing away from him.
Just as he was about to spin and flee up the stairs, already forming a plan to grab Shaun from the couch and haul him to the pontoon, Evan realized that the child hadn’t moved.
He waited, his breath too large for his lungs. His eyes traveled down the back of a little girl with dark hair wearing a purple dress, except something was wrong. Several dark slits were cut into the back of her knees.
Evan sighed and placed his sweating face into one palm.
A doll.
His voice sounded hollow, but speaking gave him the strength to stand and wince at the throbbing ache settling into his back. Evan moved down the last two treads, his heart returning into the realm of normality as the doll’s face came into view. Its eyes stared across the basement, its mouth covered in duct tape.
The bubbling dread within his stomach that had receded only moments ago began to build again, the hairs rising on the back of his neck. Evan didn’t move any farther into the basement, his eyes fixed on the doll’s face. Visions of its head slowly turning toward him corkscrewed through his mind. If that happened, he wouldn’t just cry out, he would become a scream embodied.
Trying to shove aside the blaring fear within, he bent and grasped the doll’s miniature arm. Its plastic flesh felt cold to the touch, as if it had been soaking in ice water. Evan shuddered, waiting for the frigid limb to writhe in his palm. Even as the rational part of his mind tried to quell the stampeding fear, Evan noticed his hands shaking. He turned the doll over once, studying it. It didn’t look very old or used. In fact, it appeared almost new. When he flipped it over again, he started as its bright blue eyes blinked shut, but realized it was designed to do that when lying flat. He studied the gray tape covering the doll’s mouth, it chubby cheeks visible above its gag. Evan set the doll on the floor beside a stack of cardboard boxes, giving it another sidelong glance before stepping fully into the room.
The basement ran the full length and width of the house, and even with its low ceiling, it felt like a cavernous space. To his right he saw what must have been Jason’s grandmother’s sewing area; a dust-covered sewing machine sat amidst a field of threaded bobbins atop a desk. Beside it, several baskets of yarn lay in bundles, their wrapping sealed and new.
Evan moved forward, running his hand along a workbench that ran along the wall.
A pegboard of hanging tools glinted in the soft light, and numerous drawers lined the front of the bench. A few support beams studded the floor in random places, furthering the feeling of being in a cave.
As he approached the opposite end of the room, Evan saw a wide worktable covered with a white sheet and littered with several stacks of papers held down by oblong brass paperweights. A few sprockets and thin chains were coiled within trails of oil.
Beyond the table stood a massive shape partially concealed by another sheet, this one dark and splotched.
Evan moved closer to the hidden shape, noting the electrical panel in one corner as well as a hulking furnace and water heater. Several cobwebs danced in the rafters above, and gradually the silhouette beneath the makeshift tarp became apparent.
A grandfather clock.
But it was the biggest Evan had ever seen. Rounding the table, he tugged once at the sheet covering its bulk. It fell to the floor, and he stepped back.
The clock didn’t have a single pendulum encasement, but three. The two towers to either side of the center lacked actual pendulums and sat lower, like the shoulders of a crouching giant. The wood frame was dark, stained a deep obsidian, with elaborate molding that swirled and curved on the outside of the frame. Three glass doors covered the pendulum encasements, their handles and hinges cast iron, with the center door being the widest, almost big enough for a man to walk through comfortably. The clock’s shining face was the size of a large dinner plate and had four separate sets of timing hands. Instead of numbers around the outer edges, bunches of delicate, curving lines were etched into the silver plating. The slicing brink of a moon dial peeked over the top of the clock’s face; the crescent moon carved into the steel bore an uncanny malevolent smile, with two empty sockets for eyes. Above the face, the molding came together in two pointed horns that nearly met in the middle.
That’s the scariest fucking clock I’ve ever seen.
Evan frowned. How could a timepiece be scary? He chided himself but couldn’t deny the aura the clock gave off. It hadn’t been engineered to be beautiful. As far as he could see, it was quite the opposite.
Evan’s hip bumped the worktable, and one of the paperweights rolled off the pile it held down. He reached out and stopped it before it plummeted to the floor, marveling at its weight. Only after lifting it close to his face did he realize that’s exactly what it was—
a weight for the clock. Its brass casing shone beneath the light, and a small pulley grew from its top.
Evan spun the little wheel a few times before placing the weight back on the table.
A diagram on one of the pieces of paper drew his attention. Evan picked the paper up and spent a few seconds squinting before realizing it was an inner illustration of the clock’s face, “the bonnet,” as it was apparently called.
“On it like a bonnet,” Evan said to the empty room, as he placed the paper back on the pile. He turned toward the clock, wondering whether or not he should replace the sheet. The soulless eyes of the moon at the clock’s peak gazed at him, almost imploring
him to come closer.
“No thanks,” Evan said, and crossed the basement to the stairway, shooting only a cursory glance at the doll as he passed.
He paused at the light switch, running through different options before sighing and flipping off the power to the lights. The basement plunged into darkness, and with all the restraint he held in his body, he managed not to pelt up the stairs into the welcoming light of the kitchen.

I KNOW, RIGHT?? Go buy THE WAITING right this second.

RUNNING HOME and All Books of the Dead Titles Have a Celebration Sale!

TODAY’S BREW: Not cider. Drank it all.

By Julie

THINGS HAVE HAPPENED! My publisher, Books of the Dead Press’s blog has hit a quarter million views, and so to celebrate


Yes, that means Running Home, which you can get here, for the same price as shitty 7-11 coffee.

You’ve also heard me babble incessantly about my good friend, J.C. who wrote the horror I fangirl over, Discoredia. HIS book is less than a buck, too. If you like the hidden themes and story within a story style of my writing, Discoredia is for you. I’m hard put to find a novelist that can create something so frightening, but with so much poetic beauty to it. There’s no cheap thrills here, I actually started talking to J.C. on Authonomy, when I got my first review and it was a little overly critical, perhaps. This guy came out of nowhere and told my critic to shut up, and then I got a peek at Discoredia, and was instantly hooked on his writing style. We became close friends over the last year and a half, and that became even thicker when we both got picked up by Books of the Dead. Discoredia was one of the rare books to make it to the Harper Collins editor’s desk at Authonomy, and they had actual good things to say about it! There’s a rarity.

“Readers also won’t be surprised to learn that I swear a lot, have a bad temper, and have been known to display a nasty streak at times. Marriage and fatherhood have mellowed me, but Discoredia was written in, and belongs to, the period of my life before that,” J.C. said to me, when I told him I want people to know him the way I do.

The reason I think the book works so well is because J.C. never wrote it to be published. “I wrote Discoredia because I was challenged to write a novel. It was written for two people, myself and the person that made that challenge. I never aimed on it being published. That’s why it’s so personal, and also why it’s quite commercially naive in that it doesn’t “fit” the genre. Now it’s not about me any more, it’s about something which other people will hopefully enjoy. So click here to buy it y’fuckers.”  YES, THIS IS LITERALLY FRESH OUT THE EMAIL HE SENT ME.

The band of freaks that Books of the Dead Press picked up this past spring became fast friends, but Mark Matthews and I clicked and are constantly in each other’s faces these days. One of the most genuine guys on the planet, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that man can creep me out with the shit he comes up with in a mere tweet, let alone the insane stories he comes up with. (If you don’t believe me, check out last Friday’s flash fiction bit from Mark right here. His writing is so crisp, so evocative and deeply disturbing, I just shake my head at how he comes up with it. SO FOR A BUCK, BUY On the Lips of Children right here. Thank me later via check or credit card.

TO SEE ALL OF THE TITLES THAT ARE 99CENTS, GO SLAP AROUND BOOKS OF THE DEAD PRESS HERE (Shut up and buy Mountain Home by Bracken MacLeod, too. Shut up, baby, I won’t recommend any more books, I swear to God.)

My Infection by Mark Matthews for Flash Fiction Friday

TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut times a zillion

By Julie

At Books of the Dead Press, I met some great people. Mark Matthews and I hit it off fast and have become really good friends. He also happens to be a fantastic author, and the world is finally figuring it out. His latest creation, On the Lips of Children just hit the top 100 in horror on Amazon. If you haven’t read this uniquely disturbing novel, trust me, do so. You won’t be the same after. Get this book. NOW.



By Mark Matthews

Puddles of mud.
After she confessed her eyes became puddles of mud, like tears had fallen upon dirty eye sockets and left a muddy mess. “Okay, yes, we had sex,” she squeaked. “Three times only. I didn’t meant to. Will you still take care of us?”
Latrice only confessed because she was caught. The paternity test showed 99 percent chance I wasn’t the father. She held the child of Puckett in her womb.
“Will you take care of us?” she asked again. It wasn’t a question, she was giving me a challenge.
“I will take care of things,” I answered, but I didn’t say the rest that I wanted to, which was “because the day I fucked you I caught an infection and now I have it for life.”
“What about Puckett? Will you take care of him like you usually do?”
“Yes, I will.”
I had to. Because now Puckeet has the infection too, and I can’t have him talking smack about me taking care of his baby.
Puckeett spent 3 more days alive before I found him. Suffocation by choking has always been my choice when I want others to think for a moment on whose hands is killing them. Later, they shall swim deep. The Detroit River doesn’t give up its dead easy. And my Latrice loved it when I killed for her.
The birthing room was lit like a spaceship and reminded me of Vegas. No windows. I couldn’t tell if it was day or night only that that hours passed. New kinds of liquid flowed from between Latrice’s propped up legs. She sweat and spasmed, and when the head crowned, I felt both nauseous bile and warm shivers of hope.
There was a one percent chance that the baby would have my ebony flesh. But she did not. In fact, her flesh was so white it was see through. Nearly blue and fucking see through.
A heart condition kept the child in intensive care for days, in an incubater, looking like a frog ready to be dissected. I peeked at her, tried to make eye contact, did make eye contact. This infant seemed to be my very own heart beating in front of me, shriveled with doctors prodding it to keep her alive.
“She’s going to die,” Latrice repeated again and again. “I can’t take this, I can’t see her. You do it, you take care of her.”
I did, and stayed in the hospital and put my finger in the sterile glove and touched an index finger to her forehead.
Where’s my mother? she asked with tiny motions of her incubated arms.
“Soon you will see her. I am here. This is how it is,” I answered.
Days later I brought the child home to Latrice. Life had grown stronger in the nameless infant, but she was still barely bigger than the palm of my hand. At home the child shrieked and wailed as if she held the pain from a thousands past lives.
“This is not how it’s supposed to be,” Latrice said, watching me hold the child at 3:36 a:m: in the rocker on a Tuesday.
“This is how its going to be.”
I slept with the week old flesh on mine. It was skin so thin you could see her insides, like she was made of rubbery glass. I put her on my chest, rocked her until 4:25 a:m: and she beat with my heart.
The rocker was to be where the baby fed, yet it refused to take the breast of her mother.
Medications the baby did take. I injected them into an IV port in her neck. Warnings from doctors rang in my ears. Too large of an injection can lead to affixiation. Failure to administer will do the same.
Latrice curled up into a ball much of the time, like a fetus afraid to be born into her new life. Her hair, unwashed for days, became stringy like a broom. Pill bottles with the prescription label rubbed off sat on the counter. Oxy’s or Xanax or both.
The infant tears came at night, sometimes causing trips to the hospital wrapping ourselves in jackets gainst the cold, only to be sent back home again. Sleeplessness weighed us down like soaking wet clothes.
“This isn’t how its supposed to be,” she said.
“This is how it is,” I answered.
“No. You can take care of this. Take care of her like you do. Make it like it was before. She’s not meant to be alive.” Her eyes become the muddy puddles of tears and dirt. They pleaded to me. The infection bubbled in my veins.
Killing again would be easy. The pillow held down with my weight covered her whole face. Things were fragile, and it was just tiny breaths to take away this time.
The body fit easily in the trunk. The night felt cold. The car seats were frigid leather. Soon the car would heat up, and things would be better. I whispered my middle of the night words to my passenger in the back seat.
“We’re taking mommy to the river. Then we’ll be home, and I will give you a name, and I will take care of you”.
My infection was gone.

Discoredia by JC Michael: Read This Horror Novel and Like It, Damnit!

TODAY’S BREW: As much coffee as I can fit in all 5’2″ of my body.

This, my fine young friends, is the first chapter of our good friend, JC Michael’s horror, Discoredia. What I love about his work is the very realistic fright fest it provides, all while giving you kick-ass imagery that makes it a thoughtful read at the same time.

Discoredia is currently #1 on the list of books headed to the editor’s desk on I could not be more pleased to see a horror novel take that spot, and even more pleased that it is JC’s. He has worked for it the good, old-fashioned, honest way. Enjoy the read, and check out the whole novel on Authonomy!


He was wrecked, wasted, totally, utterly, and unashamedly, out of his head. God it was good.
Back home he felt old, past his prime, almost thirty, and the drugs of the new millennium had disappointingly failed to live up to the promise of their ‘90s predecessors. He could remember a time when a couple of good E’s, Doves perhaps, were all he’d needed for a twelve-hour shift. Nowadays, gobbling down a dozen or more still wouldn’t guarantee he’d last an all-nighter, at least not without ending up huddled in a corner, wishing it would end. As for the music, to him it increasingly sounded like sped-up pop, the decline in quality seemingly linked to the current rise in popularity. Sometimes, he wondered why he still bothered.
Tonight, he knew why. Tonight was different. It was the payoff, the reward for his persistence. He felt young, a youth in his mid-twenties with his life ahead of him, and he was completely fucked; fucked on a single, solitary, pill. The music consumed him within his personal utopia. It was hard. Fast. Mean. It had retained its edge. This was real Hardcore, pride of place in the Main Arena, not shunted off into a shitty side-room to make way for the latest Top Ten bootleg. A Main Arena that in itself represented a step back in time to the good old days. An old school Shangri-La devoid of neon and fluorescents. No bright lights. No inflatables. No fucking foam. This was a proper rave, not a poor imitation like the ones back home that at times seemed more like a kid’s birthday party. The oppressive darkness was a world of shadows, a world filled with smoke and pierced by lasers. A warehouse full of Gabbers, not Hard House posers. He was overwhelmed. He was loving it. So what if he was abroad? This felt like home should feel.
This was RottRave, billed as Rotterdam’s hardest Rave of the year, and the first time he had travelled outside of England for a night out. By these standards, it wouldn’t be his last. Gabber, Techno, and Speedcore, an unholy triumvirate of styles of ultra-hard dance music, each of which endeavoured to trepan through his skull and bore into his brain. He lived for this music, so full of aggression and raw power.
He’d bought his ticket over the Internet; got a cheap crossing on North Sea Ferries with a voucher from the local paper. Made some new friends. Got drunk. Got caned on the best weed Amsterdam had to offer. Yet somehow still managed to get here. He wasn’t certain how. The pill had been purchased off a shady looking guy in a Feyenoord shirt. A bargain at five Euros. The end result? The night of his fucking life. He’d lost his new mates somewhere in the smoke, but he didn’t care. He was rushing like fuck.
This was how things should be, how they were meant to be, how they had been back in the day. The music engulfed him, taking away all perception of when and where. Time meant nothing; only the beat mattered. His hands, and the trails they made as he moved them, mesmerised him. How long had he been dancing? No idea. It must have been hours but he didn’t feel tired, not at all, he had energy to spare. Rushes of blissful euphoria swept over him in waves, swamping his thoughts with ideas of how this was it, nothing else mattered, work, family, life, all a sham, an empty way of existence. This was pure; he was one with the music, one with the crowd, the crowd he could barely make out through the smoke surrounding him. Everyone else just a shade in the mist. Brothers and sisters he knew were there, but by sense, rather than sight. He was lost but he was found, found himself, found a home, found God.
He stumbled, a momentary sickness coursed through him, but it passed, to be replaced by a glimmer of clarity as he remembered where he was. How long had he been tranced out like that? He tried to think, but the concept of time eluded him. Had he been dancing? Dancing like a shaman caught up in the rapture of ecstasy, or stood, barely moving, like a rock buffeted by the power of an angry sea, a violent ocean of beats and bass. He thought about it. He didn’t know. His thoughts moved on and someone spoke in his ear but the words were lost, drowned out by the sped up chorus of a track sampling one of the classics. “Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode, He’s Ebenezer Goode”. He began to dance and lost himself once more.
A melody swept around him, lifting him like an eagle on a thermal, before the percussive bass thundered in once more. Occasionally he thought that he recognised a tune, but before he could be sure, it disappeared. The mixing was tight and fast, each song replaced no sooner had it started. It was how D.J’ing should be, a skill, an art. Not one record played for three minutes forty-five before having its outro mixed with the intro of another mass-produced, music by numbers, piece of crap. He could barely tell where one track started and another ended; the changes so rapid it all merged into one, but he knew that although it sounded like a single tune, it was many. He tried to concentrate, to focus, but his head span, his attempts to think requiring too much effort when conscious thought was merely a distraction from the instinctiveness of being high. He closed his eyes and closed his mind, letting the music take him yet again.
Another stumble. He was at the front. Had he just got here or been here all along? He didn’t know. He turned his back to the stage and looked into the crowd. He raised his hands, and they raised theirs. He was a King. He turned. And saw his Queen.

The M.C surveyed the crowd before him. It was a good night with the D.Js on top form and those packing the dancefloor seemed well up for a party. He took a drink of lukewarm water and looked around some more. What the hell was Ruud doing? He recognised the girl as a regular at Gabber nights in the area, but why Ruud would be helping her up onto the speakers, he had no idea. If he wanted a “gabberinnen” to put on a bit of a show there were plenty more to choose from, the vast majority of which made this one look like the trash she was. Scrawny with greasy lank hair, and wearing the same grubby pale blue outfit and beaten up trainers she always wore, she looked terrible. Part of him hoped she would fall off the speaker stack; her attempts at dancing were an embarrassment, although there was some nut gazing up at her who looked positively besotted. He’d heard the rumours that the bitch was anyone’s for a line of coke or a hit of crack, but Ruud just wasn’t into that kind of thing. It didn’t make sense but then again, so what? Ruud now seemed more interested in the guy dancing like a lunatic in front of the little skank anyway, though God knew why. He put down his bottle and, raising the mic to his lips, berated the crowd for being too quiet. He could quiz the Ruudster later.

He heard the MC on the stage demand that the crowd make some noise but he was too engrossed in the divine image of the goddess in front of him to care. She was beautiful, and had been placed on a pedestal just for him. As she danced atop the speaker, he felt himself imitate her movements, first in canon, then seemingly in unison. He stopped imitating when she looked at him and smiled. He was transfixed as she raised her hands above her head, clamped her fists together, and danced as though performing for his own, personal, enjoyment. Performing a sensual, sexual dance around an invisible pole.
As the lasers on the stage behind her penetrated into the darkness they lit up the blonde streaks which shimmered as they shot through her long hair. Hair which was so luxurious it belonged in a shampoo advert. Hair which was held back from her face by a thick, pale blue, Alice-band only a shade lighter than the tight, cropped, running top and matching micro shorts that she wore. Hair which framed the angular features of her angelic face. His eyes lingered for a moment, noting her clamped-shut eyes, small nose, and rich, full, lips, before looking down over the curves of her slim, athletic figure.
Reaching out, he touched the pure white Nike trainer that, despite the writhing of her body, remained rooted in its spot on the speaker before him, level with his own shoulders. He felt the vibration of the bass through her foot and ran his hand up over her ankle to her calf, the nylon of her tan tights sending a tingle of static through his fingertips. The tingle was matched, and then exceeded, by a jolt of electricity that he now felt rushing up his spine to the base of his neck. He tilted his head back to gaze upon her. His whole body rigid. His penis erect.
Her foot pulled back and he looked up. Looked into a pair of ice-cold eyes above a sneer that demanded, “Who the fuck are you?” How could she not know he was her King? He smiled to bring her out of her confusion. She showed him her middle finger. The sign was universal and it was treason. A blatant act of treachery compounded by the audacity to only now bring a smile to her face.
The rage that exploded within him saw the tingle within his spine vanish, its replacement feeling like a column of molten lava erupting upwards and into his brain. He lunged forwards, sinking his teeth into her calf, his incisors biting through the nylon and puncturing her skin. The coppery taste of her blood excited his tongue, and as he pulled away, the nylon of her tights stretched and then tore into ladders running up towards her thigh, like a damaged spider-web. The fabric snapped as he ripped away a mouthful of flesh. His Queen fell to her knees, falling where she stood to bow down in supplication before her Lord, but her obedience had come too late. With her face only inches from his he paid scant attention to the wide-eyed terror that had consumed her, for now he could see her for the hag she was. The music pounded in his head, beating upon his brain. What trickery, what witchcraft, had she used to deceive him so? She looked at him, her eyes pleading for mercy, but nevertheless, she had disrespected him and must pay.
As violent eruptions in his brain demanded retribution that be both swift, and brutal, he knew that if he didn’t succumb, if he didn’t obey and deal with the slut before him, his head would crack open like the slopes of a volcano. He showed her his own middle finger and then thrust his head forward, straining his mouth open so wide that his jaw cracked, and bit her again, this time her neck. His teeth were clamped down, the jugular, yes; he remembered the vein’s name from the vampire films he’d watched in his teens with a fleeting clarity that had no business interloping on the fury that devoured him. He felt her pulse with the tip of his tongue as she tried to pull away, and bit down harder. The vein was severed and, as the lava continued to erupt in his brain, her blood pumped onto his face from the fissure he had torn in her flesh. His vision was gone, a thick red curtain brought down over his eyes. He swallowed a mouthful of blood and revelled in its richness.

“Security to the front of the stage. Fuck. Fucking Security. Down Here. Now.” They were words he barely registered.

He wiped the blood from his brow and the vision returned in his left eye just in time to see the M.C, microphone still in hand, jump off the stage and run towards him down the metre-wide gap between stage and stand-off barriers. He guessed that the muscle-bound skinhead bearing down towards him, with what looked like a bootprint tattooed on the right side of his face, was a fighter, and that was one skill he had never had, but the explosions in his head had opened up his brain. Areas previously unaccessed had swollen and burst, releasing the suppressed knowledge of ancestors now forgotten by time, but who had existed through eras far more warlike than the twenty-first century Europe he knew. He was suddenly aware of his bloodline, the warrior DNA that had been hidden for so long, and he had nothing to fear. The right hook, which M.C Bootface probably thought was a dead cert to break his jaw, came at him and he ducked it with ease. Now it was his move.
Throughout his act of aggression towards the innocent young woman, now collapsed, twitching, on the speaker before him, and the attempted retaliation that had followed, his middle finger had, unlike his manhood, remained rigid. In the absence of any weapon, other than his own body, he plunged the digit into Bootface’s right eye socket as hard as he could. He felt the eyeball push back and then ride up over the finger that he now curled and hooked into the socket, before yanking back and simultaneously launching his head forwards. The resulting collision shattered Bootface’s nose and, hearing the crack, he realised that the music had ceased. Cries, shouts and screams had taken its place but he didn’t care, the music was still there for him, there in his head. The red curtain descended again as more blood spilt over him. Act Two was complete. He felt so alive and wiped his face clear on his sleeve. Adrenaline coursed through his body like never before. Then another crack, this time from himself. Cheek? Jaw? He was unsure. His conviction began to falter as pain muscled into his thoughts. He fell to the floor and rolled to his right, looking up just in time to see the boot of a bouncer stomping down towards the side of his face. He moved. This time his reactions let him down. The boot connected, mashing his cheekbone further and leaving an imprint eerily similar to that etched on the M.C’s face. The red curtain dropped for a third time and the fire within him began to subside, the lava within the column of his spine and crater of his brain cooling and solidifying into paralysis.
Grabbed by the arms he found himself being dragged away. Through his court. Through his subjects. What had happened? Wasn’t he their King? Or was he a usurper whose rule was now coming to a bloody end? Confusion drifted upon him, the rush of adrenaline spent. Where was he? What were these people looking at? Looks of horror and disgust contorting their faces as he passed. Dragged further now, beyond those who had bore stunned witness to his madness, and to those unaware of what had just transpired and who seemed only to care why the music had stopped. Past more who looked at him with a morbid fascination. Why? He could taste blood. Was it his? Someone else’s? A cocktail of both? Had he had a fit? Collapsed? Been attacked? He felt sick but was unable to retch. Dragged further. He could see a light; a side door had been opened.
Hauled towards the opening now and he spotted a guy in a Feyenoord shirt standing out in the crowd. Did he know him? He thought so but the jumble in his mind failed to either confirm or deny. The man was talking into his mobile, but as he passed him he lowered it from the side of his face and looked straight at him, smiling as he did so. Who the fuck was he? Did it matter? And then he was gone, lost back into the throng of gabbers as he himself was hauled from it through the door and into the light. A pulse of nausea convulsed his stomach, creating an unsettling feeling that something intangible had been torn from deep within him. He was beginning to lose consciousness, but a voice pulled him back, someone saying someone had been assaulted, killed, could it be something to do with him? He didn’t know. He felt drowsy. He felt himself being dropped to the floor, but his eyes were now closed. Oblivion demanded him. Now, go! Go, and back this novel for free on Authonomy so we can see this sucker in print!


TODAY’S BREW: pumpkin, of course

It’s Horror Month here on Deadly Ever After! And also at every strip mall that features a Spirit of Halloween store.

Kristen and I love Halloween, though oddly, not getting dressed up in costumes. I am a little too low maintenance for that, and spend a little too much time doing it with the kids. Any day I get out of pajamas is like getting dressed up for me.

October promises all kinds of creep factor! We will feature a blogspot for our friend, JC Michael, and his fantastic horror novel, Discoredia. We are planning a trip to Salem! I am very excited for this, and haven’t been there in years. We will give you the scoop on how awesome that is. There will be plenty of zombie-related material, some courtesy of our good friend, Rob. (See Zombie pin-up calendars! Place your orders now!) We will find horror-related fashion, and horror art. We will post pics from my trip to Roger Williams Park Zoo’s Pumpkin Spooktacular, an annual tradition for the Hutchings family. (Hope for me that there is a Bea Arthur pumpkin again!) We will do a short story or two for you all. I will tell you my favorite horror movies and why, may favorite horror novels and why, my favorite everything about October and why. Why you ask? Because I can, that’s why.

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