Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “horror stories”

Flash Fiction Friday: IN A PINCH by Jered Meyer

TODAY’S BREW: This peppermint mocha just might happen today.

By Julie

IT’S FLASH FICTION FRIDAY! Today’s author, Jered Meyer, is best known on Twitter for his rogueish handsomeness and his ability to say what we’re all thinking during his live tweets of Dora the Explorer. Underneath the hilarity is an introspective, thoughtful and complex, romantic guy that knows a thing or two about writing. His novel, WAYPOINT is in my filthy little clutches, and in honor of his alcoholism, so is a beer. NOW GO GET ONE OF HIS BOOKS YOUR DAMN SELF, SUPPORT AN AUTHOR. http://t.co/JV6f7EswK1. And follow him on Twitter because you can’t even picture how funny he is. @The_KJM.

Now, enjoy his first dive into horror! I GOT HIM TO DO IT.

IN A PINCH

 

His left hand gripped the edge of the porcelain sink, thumb tracing under the lip of the basin. His right wiped at the bathroom mirror. None of the spots disappeared. Pale pink drops of dried toothpaste that stood in stark contrast to the brown-red rust creeping along the metal frame. He should clean it soon. Would clean it soon, as soon as he got to it, another home project for the list that he never had enough time to attack.

He never had time for anything anymore, it seemed. Not even family.

His son had been asleep by the time he’d gotten home from work, worn out on chocolate milk and cartoon marathons about fantastic monsters and talking animals up to no good. After kissing him and making sure his blankets were tucked in tight around him, he had gone downstairs and paid Kimberly her hourly rate plus a few extra bucks for babysitting on such short notice.

She was a sweet thing. Eighteen, dark hair. Watching kids to help save for her upcoming freshman year of college. Filling out still, blossoming into a beautiful young woman. Maybe in a year or two, he could-

Tight. His eyes closed tight and he frowned hard enough to make the bridge of his nose throb. He never would have thought of Kim that way before Anna divorced him. She didn’t deserve to be considered like that. He made a note not to hire her again.

From the bathroom to the bedroom he went, closing both doors behind him. Tie loosened, hung from the rack he had next to the door. Dress shirt unbuttoned, tossed onto the closet floor. Slacks undone, dropped into a puddle by the nightstand. Socks…who knows where they went, thrown haphazardly as he climbed into the comfort of bed. The satin sheets were slick and cool under his skin. The matching pillowcase soothed his headache.

In moments, he was asleep.

Something pinched the back of his neck. His eyes fluttered open and he looked around blearily. He sat up, pulling the blankets around his hips and rubbed at the base of his skull.

A sliver of light crept into his room and he realized with a start that his door was cracked open. He had closed it, hadn’t he? He had. He always did. A cursory glance around his chambers revealed him to be alone. But then…

He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood. His fingers scratched at his stomach as a yawn escaped him, and then he journeyed out into the hallway.

Save for the two bulbs in the hall, the lights in the house were extinguished. No noises drifted from the darkness of the building. It seemed almost normal. Almost.

“Skyler?” he called out as he neared his son’s room. The boy’s bedroom door was closed. There were no sounds of stirring. No response to his voice. “Hey, buddy? You okay?”

His fingers touched the doorknob and a shock of cold caused him to jerk his hand back. He looked around, bemused. The rest of the house was warm, almost uncomfortably so. The thermostat was always set at a decent enough sixty degrees, but tonight it seemed closer to seventy.

He gripped the doorknob again, prepared this time for the chill. It never came. The metal in his palm felt perfectly normal. Slowly, he turned it and pushed the door in.

“Skyler?” he called again. “Are you awake?”

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust and when they did, he found they could only take in one piece at a time. The room was quiet. The twin bed in the right corner was empty, the sheets made neatly. The thin curtains on the window were only partially drawn and a pale light shone through, casting a light blue patch to glow on the floor.

A chair was in the corner opposite the bed. A chair? He had never put a chair in the room. There had been no reason to. His gut filled with lead. A slender figure sat in the seat, holding his son. A woman. She had light hair that hung down to her shoulders with no direction.

“Anna,” he whispered. “What are you doing here? It’s the middle of the night. You’re not supposed to pick Skyler up until this weekend.”

The woman didn’t respond. She sat, still, clutching the young boy to her chest.

He moved closer, concerned and more than a little angry. It was presumptuous of her to just show up in his home. It would confuse their son and it had scared the shit out of him. Five steps took him directly before her.

“Give him to me, Anna. Let me put Skyler back to bed.”

She looked up at him without a word. The noise that burst from his throat was technically a moan, but it registered at a decibel generally reserved for screams. Her face was no face at all, but a veiny,yellow slab of flesh. There was no protrusion that resembled a nose. Where her eyes and mouth should have been were instead perfectly round holes. The meat around them throbbed and they oozed some thick mixture of pus and blood.

With urgency, he yanked his son from the arms of the monster. He stepped quickly back, towards the center of the room. The creature in the chair stayed seated, silent, exhibiting no signs of distress at having the boy stolen from her.

He held his boy out from him, just enough to look him in the eyes and assure him they would be okay, that they were leaving, escaping the house. The eyes, sky blue, looked back and forth into his own, animated, meaty and with no sense of worry. The rest of the child was made from a material not unlike the porcelain of the bathroom sink. More durable. Lacquered wood, perhaps. It hung limply in his hands.

An anguished wail ripped through the room and he tossed the thing aside. It hit the floor near the bed, the doll-creature’s neck slapping against the frame holding the mattress in place. The head fumbled away and black ichor sprayed from the neck stump over his son’s bed and and the wall behind it.

Mind scrambling, he turned away from the whirlwind of evil that had consumed his child’s room. He darted for the door and slammed face-first into the wall. Frantically, he searched for the exit, but the same wallpaper – light green with wide-eyed Japanese cartoon characters plastered on it in repeating patterns – extended unbroken all around him.

He screamed in frustration and beat at the wall, the barrier separating him from the peace he had felt only moments before. He begged for an escape.

Something pinched his neck.

With a long, desperate gasp of air, his head raised from the bed. His eyes were open so wide it almost hurt. He looked both ways, chest pounding, searching and finding nothing. The walls were clean, soft and white. The floor was the same, but linoleum instead of wood. The door, closed, set at the foot of his bed. Normal. Perfectly normal.

His wrists were wet. He looked down and saw that he had rubbed them so raw against the restraints that a small amount of blood had begun to stream through. It stung, but it was not an unfamiliar occurrence.

He laid back on the sterile, rolling bed they had assigned to him and closed his eyes. His heart-beat began to even out. There would be someone to take care of him come morning.

Thank God, he thought. Just a nightmare.

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Flash Fiction Friday: SCARECROW by Joe Hart

TODAY’S BREW: An ulcerative amount of coffee.

By Julie

This Flash Fiction Friday needed to be cool as hell because Dracula starts tonight and so AWESOME DAY FOREVER, ALL DAY LONG. We have a double header today! Later, you’ll get to read something a little different for us, a very cool story from Callie Armstrong, who I think is just fantastic. Right now, I’m PSYCHED to give you a piece by Joe Hart, author of Lineage, Singularity, and The River Is Dark. He’s doing 31 Days of Flash Fiction on his own blog, and EVERY SINGLE ONE is amazing, not to mention done in the sparest amount of words I’ve ever seen, and he is doing ALL of them. Imagination for days. Go check them out, you’ll be shocked and amazed.  http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP

Joe and I are internet roommates based on our mutual love of fall, hot drinks, alcoholic drinks, writing as kind of a living, and staring out the window. Critical in my Twitter feed, and just a fantastic friend, I present to you, Joe Hart.

Kick ass author of LINEAGE, THE SINGULARITY, and THE RIVER IS DARK.

Scarecrow

“Scarecrow’s comin’ tonight, Jonesy.”

Jones looked at his older brother, his profile a shadow against the failing light of the sky.

“That’s bull and you know it.”

“Tough talk from a little fatty,” Bobby said, pinching several inches of the blubber that hung around Jones’s waist.

“Stop it, Bobby!” Jones said, slapping his hand away. He hitched his dirty overalls a little higher, adjusting them on his rotund body.

“You gonna cry?”

“No.” Jones kicked a rock on the dirt road. It rolled and bounced into the solid darkness of the ditch. Rows of corn waved in the night, a field of whispering leaves. Their pointed heads nodded in the waning light, an agreement with his brother’s words.

“It’s comin’, daddy even said so,” Bobby said, spitting at the side of the road as they walked.

“How come he lets you call him daddy? He always makes me call him reverend.”

“Because I don’t eat as much as you, chunky ass. I work hard and only take enough to get by. Mom and daddy appreciate that.”

“I don’t take more’n my share, I’m just so hungry after chores.”

“Well, daddy ain’t got the money to be feedin’ your gut, so he called the scarecrow to come take you away.”

Jones stopped dead in the road, the gravel crunched beneath Bobby’s feet and then stopped.

“You’re lyin’, Bobby.”

“Am not.”

“You are!”

“Nope. I knew it was comin’ too, ever since them rows of corn came up and didn’t have no ears on ‘em, I knew.”

“Bull Bobby!” Jones felt warm tears glide down his face and he was thankful of the darkness.

Bobby walked toward him, his footsteps scratching the dirt. “It comes when there’s someone that needs takin’ care of, Jonesy, when a family’s goin’ hungry. It comes through the corn. Its arms are long and so are its fingers. It has a mouthful of sharp straw like needles and if it wants you, all it has to do is reach out, and GRAB YOU!”

Bobby punctuated his last words by jumping toward Jones and latching onto his upper arms. Jones tried not to cry out but failed, a pathetic whimper wheezing out between his teeth. Warm urine squirted once into his pants before he could clench it off.

Bobby released him and howled with laughter before falling silent.

“I hate you, Bobby.”

“Shhh, you hear that?”

“Quit it.”

“No, I mean it, be quiet.”

A gentle breeze eased down the deserted country road. The corn spoke in malicious whispers. The moon rose above the field, a rotting yellow eye.

“There it was again,” Bobby said, his voice low.

“I didn’t hear nothin’,” Jones said, peering past his brother, cursing the dying light of the sun while he willed the sick moon to rise faster.

Without another word, Bobby ran away from him, off the dirt road and down into the ditch. The first stalks of corn swayed with his brother’s passage and Jones stood rooted to the gravel, his mouth open in a silent cry.

“Bobby?”

Nothing. Jones’s eyes watered and he glanced up the dirt road.

Something stood in its center on the next rise, a humped shape darker than the rest of the night.

Jones sidled off the road and stumbled down into the ditch, his eyes never leaving the figure. When the reaching touch of a cornstalk grazed his arm, he moaned but dove headfirst into the tight rows.

The slim stalks brushed by him, their earless bodies looking like overgrown weeds. Jones half walked, half ran down the row, tripping and thrashing while his heart became the loudest sound in the world.

“Bobby?” Jones asked the night, praying for a response. When none came he moved further into the field and stepped into a large clearing completely devoid of corn.

It looked like a square, its corners definable even in the night. The moon’s yellow light slanted into the clearing and sprayed shadows across the soil, dark as motor oil. Jones waited, stunned by the existence of the opening. He took a tentative step forward.

A hand grabbed his wrist.

Jones began to cry out, terror scrambling his thoughts like a snapping livewire, but another hand, one he recognized now, clamped down over his mouth.

“Shhh, dummy, he’ll hear you.”

Jones turned around to face his brother who looked taller in the dark. He always wanted to be tall like Bobby, not heavy like he was.

“Bobby, what-”

“He’s back there,” Bobby whispered, throwing a thumb over his shoulder. “The scarecrow. He’s following us. We gotta cut across the clearing to the other side. Old man Carrol’s field is a half-mile away. We make it to that we can cut through his yard and into ours.”

“Bobby, I’m scared.”

“Don’t be, just run toward that other side when I tell you.”

Jones nodded, hoping his brother couldn’t see the fear that pulled his face tight. Bobby’s hand squeezed his shoulder once.

“Go.”

Jones ran. He ran faster than he ever had before. The ground sped by him and his belly jounced while his legs began to burn. The night air coursed past and his breath heaved in and out. He kept his eyes trained on the other side of the clearing, praying nothing would follow them through the corn once they reached it.

When he was three steps away from the wall of stalks, they parted, a figure materializing where none had been before. Jones slid to a stop and tried to run the other way, but fell in the dirt, a short mewl coming from his chest. The figure wore a brimmed hat and its shoulders were wide. Straw poked from its tattered clothing and when it stepped into the clearing, Jones saw that it carried something in its long-fingered hands.

The axe blade caught the moon’s light as it swung.

Bobby watched from across the field, hearing the wet chop that cut off his brother’s screams, and then the harder thunk of bone breaking beneath sharp steel.

“I told you you ate too much,” Bobby said.

After some time the sounds stopped and the scarecrow came closer, a dripping potato sack slung over its back. It stopped beside Bobby and placed a hand on his shoulder. Bobby stared up into its face and smiled.

“Can we go home now daddy?”

 

NOW GO BUY A BOOK, DAMMIT. GIVE IT TO SOMEONE FOR ALL HALLOW’S READ. http://www.amazon.com/Joe-Hart/e/B005YPWXX8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Daddy’s Little Girl by D.C. Perry for Flash Fiction Friday

TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut Pecan. Fancy as hell.

By Julie

In honor of the season, our Flash Fiction Fridays will be all horror, and I personally picked the people to do these stories because I NEEDED THEM. So, get ready for this guy, who you may never have heard of. This is D.C. Perry. If you’re not on Twitter, you may know him as the dude who made that textbook you should have read. Yeah, seriously! But I know him because his imagination is INSANE to me. He is the most hilarious thing in the Twitterverse, massively underfollowed, and he is my spirit animal.

Trust me on this. Follow @DCPerry or you will live to regret it. This busy bastard wrote something creative for me, and it is unfuckingbelievable as I knew it would be.

Daddy’s Little Girl

by DC Perry

Jim was out of bed before he understood what woke him. The sound scampered at the base of his skull, but he couldn’t get a grip on it. The water heater, probably, or maybe the cat. And then it came again, loud and piercing and unmistakable. A scream. A child’s scream. He ran down the hall to check on Brent and Stephen, but he found them both sleeping peacefully. How did the scream not wake them? How did it not wake Rachel, for that matter? Everyone else slept. Jim paced. There it was again. It sounded like a little girl, and it was definitely nearby.

He knew he was insane for following the screams, but he’d be damned if he was going to wait for the police. He was a father. He couldn’t just listen to a child scream. And so he went outside against his better judgment and listened. The Walters, he thought. They have a little girl. Jim approached their house and opened the front door. No sign of forced entry, he thought, but he was sure of what he heard. He turned on his flashlight and went inside, glad he let Rachel talk him into buying a gun. It shook in his hand as he entered the Walters’s front room.

Slaughter. That’s the only word for what he found inside the house. The front room was littered with mangled bodies, torn open, damn near inside out. Jim forced himself to remember their names, to remember they were people. Mike and his two daughters, Tammy and . . . Susan? Jim thought her name was Susan. What kind of neighbor am I? he thought. I can’t even remember this little girl’s name, and here she lies eviscerated in her own home. So young. So frail. The girls reminded him of his two sons at home, sleeping in their beds, oblivious to these girls’s dying screams. Shit, he thought. Dying. This must have just happened, which means whoever did this must still be in the house. The bile crept up inside him, threatened to choke him. And then he heard it again. The same scream that woke him, the same scream that brought him here, but much closer this time. Upstairs. Did the Walters have three children? Was he that oblivious? No time for that now. Whoever that third little girl was, he had to find her. He had to save her.

Jim tried like hell to steady the gun as he started up the Walters’s stairs. Everything was dark, and he didn’t dare turn on any lights as he explored the house. His flashlight would have to do. He knew he should wait for the police, but fear for that little girl’s safety burned inside of him. He had always wanted a daughter of his own. He loved his sons, but they were already pushing him away, too grown up to show him any public affection. Daughters weren’t like that, he thought. He saw how his sisters treated their father, how his wife treated hers; girls grow up, but they never outgrow their daddies. But he and Rachel could never have another child. She nearly died giving birth to Stephen, and the doctors told them both that another pregnancy would almost certainly be fatal for Rachel. He didn’t resent her for it, but he wondered why the little girl’s screams hadn’t woken her. Why they hadn’t woken anyone else in the house. Why he was here all alone.

Jim shook his head as he reached the upstairs hallway. Hell of a thing to think about now, idiot. Focus. There’s a killer in this house who may be about to kill another child — who may be about to kill you if you’re not careful, and your head is full of daydreams about the daughter you never had. He looked down the hall and saw three doors. Death could be waiting behind any of them. He hadn’t heard any screams since he started upstairs, just his footsteps and his heartbeat. He steadied himself and checked inside the first room. Gun. Flashlight. Nothing. No one. This must be the girls’s room. There was a crayon drawing in the middle of the floor of a little girl and a man holding hands. “To Daddy,” it read. This must have been for Mike. Brent and Stephen never called him Daddy anymore. He checked under both beds checked and inside the closet. The closet was full of dresses, the kind of thing he had always imagined Rachel dressing a daughter in. Jenny. He would have named her Jenny. His eye lingered on a little blue one, and he imagined taking his daughter to the park in that dress. He would push Jenny on the swing set or join her on the see-saw. Her laughter was wonderful. It made him so happy.

The next sound he heard snapped him out of his daydream. No scream this time. Crying, very soft, coming from one of the back bedrooms. He aimed his gun in front of him and forced himself across the hall and through the open door. She was in the corner. A little girl in a tattered, bloody blue dress. Despite his fear, he smiled when he saw her. She looked just like his little girl. Just like the daughter from his daydreams, right down to the pigtails and the little white shoes. She was on top of another body. Probably her mother, Jim thought. He hadn’t seen Melissa’s body in the front room. He approached gently, not wanting to startle the little girl who looked so much like his very own daughter. She was sobbing, her whole body heaving rhythmically as she lay across the woman’s corpse. Closer, slowly. Her sweet little face was wet. He wanted to hold her close, to wipe away her tears. As he approached her, he realized that her face was not wet with tears. Blood. The little girl turned to look at him, guts trailing from her mouth back to the gaping wound in the woman’s body. Not crying. Not sobbing. Eating. Feeding. And his heart skipped a beat.

Poor thing, Jim thought. She just needed a meal. It must be hard for her, being so different. He would take care of her. She’d be happy with him. With his family. She wouldn’t be alone anymore.

Jenny stood up, wiped her mouth and reached up for Jim’s hand. He took it gladly, overjoyed at the sweet, loving smile she beamed at him.

“Let’s go home, Daddy,” she said.

Inscription: by Julie Hutchings

TODAY’S BREW: Fancy double chocolate stuff I ground myself. Not really, Tim did it.

All geniuses have a hint, or more than a hint of madness. And some of them have it bred into them. Enjoy.

 

INSCRIPTION

by Julie Hutchings

 

There is no greater death than the inability to create.

The prodigy twitched. It was the only movement the boy had made in an hour, sitting on the floor. Sweat stuck to his naked legs and back, though the room was cold in its must and darkness.

It offered him nothing to make his mind work, nothing to make his heart full, and nothing to make his soul cry for creation. All he had was himself.

Paper was scattered about the dark wood floor, gleaming and Moby Dick death white. Blank. Towering shelves of loved books loomed over him in neat rows. Powerful words that took him apart bit by bit. Reminders of what ignited him, what drove him to utter decay.

Noises from the kitchen made him cringe, and brought him back. He stretched his fingers, the pen falling from their seeming rigor mortis. He had to get to work.

A half- naked human fly, he flitted through the mess of paper, scavenging for something to work with. His hand shook on the crumpled sheet, trying, always trying. He dropped the pen several times, eliciting a sob from inside. The boy had a job to do, a genius to nourish, even as his body withered and crumbled.

He couldn’t remember the last time he ate. He couldn’t remember if Mother had offered it, if he had refused. His weary mind faintly recalled being told starvation and anguish created hallucinations. And genius. She pushed him to find inspiration other than her.

Edgar shuddered, willing himself to fight the urge to put down his writing and find a shirt. The cold made him feel, made him desire. Comfort only makes an artist weak, his mother said. Edgar had an obligation, with the gift for words he had, to become as formidable an artist as possible. He was a genius, she said, his head a hornet’s nest of ideas, and she would not allow him to fail. She would help him learn to create.

He put the pen to paper, making every effort to feel the hard chill of the floor, the stagnant air of this room that was built when nothing was warm or happy. The stomach acid boiled inside him, a belly that long since stopped growling. He was weak, and so tired.

The real you comes out in your exhaustion, his mother told him

So he created.

He wrote, for hours on end but with no concept of that time. The sky grew darker, but there were no windows. He wrote on loose pages, fluttering around him haphazardly, torn butterfly wings, until his hands were too cramped to move.

And then he read. He pulled down volume after volume of classics and pop fiction, biographies and romances, absorbing all he could from random pages, watching every move those words made to draw him closer. These masters that could create and be known.

Could they possibly have tried as he did?

Self- pity disgusted him. This suffering was a means to an end. There was no room for envy, only learning. This was another step toward unleashing his own genius. His mother knew it was in there.

Edgar read until he fell into a painful, cold sweat sleep. He did not make it to the comfortless bed, only closed his eyes on the floor, amidst piles of torturously adored books. His dreams were fevered and haunted him with language he could never hope to emulate. Flies buzzed around his body, waiting.

He woke from the clatterings in the kitchen again, or still. He shuddered to life, slick with filth and wild with imaginings of things he could never be.

Dry eyes stung, fingernails dug into the floorboards, only partially the cause of his agony. It showed him without doubt that he suffered in sleep, as well. He couldn’t know what time it was, but had a vision of kids his age outside, just leaving school. Like he had done once. When that sort of thing mattered. Nothing mattered now but emerging from this cocoon his life had become.

His mother would make sure of it.

Wiping drool from his chin, sweat from his forehead that accompanied a fever he was unaware of, Edgar sat up with the creaking bones of an old man, grunting, reaching for the trails of paper that he knew were leading nowhere.

He had dreamed of the greats, of the geniuses trapped until released on paper. He was too weak to be one. He was not one of them. It knuckled his consciousness, tore his heart into pieces, what was left of it. He was a human insect preying on their words, and he could never be satisfied.

No fifteen year old had ever felt the depth of his disappointment, the rage of his fear. A swollen brain full of shortcomings.  He could never know how singular he was.

He had slept when he should be writing.

Emaciated spider limbs barely carried him to the paper all over the floor, amidst books that tortured him for the very admiration he possessed. Bile spattered his hand as he retched with dehydration. He tried to write, he tried to write, but his blurry eyes could not focus on anything but the heaps of books, his mind flitting with fly wings to his own inability.

He read and read, but could never get close enough to their power. Their words bled with feeling he no longer knew. He needed to absorb their ink, feel it inside. The only way to know the pain of the greats and emulate it properly. Weary eyes looked at his pen with new light.

With more energy than he should rightfully possess, Edgar stabbed his bony thigh with the pen, thin blood spurting in a stream toward the flies that always surrounded him. Edgar did not make a noise.

Not good enough.

He stabbed  a second time, the skin ragged on either side, and dragged the pen upwards, lengthening the wound by a few inches. He pushed his bony finger inside, but felt nothing besides tendons, muscle, nothing that felt.  So he stabbed again in the other thigh, this time his blood soaked hand slipping, the cut not deep enough to do much but bleed onto the white paper under it, barely feeling at all. He was not in the kind of pain that inspired great words.

Edgar looked about the room for a better tool, head swimming.

Scissors.

Climbing to his feet, falling once, he made it to the antique desk, the same color wood as the floor, the same wood grain as the endless bookshelves, no other color but the garnet blood that flowed from him to activate his mind.

Mother said color was born in the brain.

He fell to the floor by the desk, hitting his head on the leg of the chair he had aimed for. More bile spilled from his dry lips. His burning throat pained him more than the wounds in his legs.

More.

Edgar slowly pierced the flesh of his thigh again, needling the point of the scissors in. He pulled them out again and opened them, putting the thin flesh between the blades like cutting paper. With poor precision, his bloody hand cut until the blades touched, weak skin in between making bloody pools. He cried now, not from the agony, but from the lack of feeling it provided. No flickers of life in his mind to put to paper.

He cut more, first one arm, then the other, with the wrong hand, making a mess of sinewy muscle. The flies feasted on him, and he felt nothing. The words of the novels around him mocked him from their pages, his own words laughing at him from the floor. With a bite of fury, he grabbed his favorite copy of Moby Dick, loving it and how it hated him, and ripped the pages out in a rush.

He devoured books, and they devoured him. He needed to be closer.

With trembling fingers caked in blood, he slowly pulled back the ragged skin of his thigh, and shoved the page in. Close. Close.

Scarlet pages of The Invisible Man followed. The Poe. Until each wound festered with blossoming pages from his skin, and he began to cut again. So close to them now. So close.

Footsteps. The smell of food that turned his stomach with its unfamiliarity.

His mother was coming.

Resting his head on the side of the desk, he watched and waited for the door to open. He became aware of the puddle of blood he sat in. Or was it piss?

More cold air entered the room with her. All in gray, towering, austere, brimming with nothingness.  She held a plate in her hands, the steam shrouding the determination in her gaze. But it could not veil the surprise when she dropped it on the floor, crashing in a china spiderweb.

“Edgar.” Bone crunching voice. Her power was undeniable. More than his written words, in that one word she spoke.

Calmly, with measured steps she crossed the room to him, fragile broken things smashing under her heels, unnoticed. She gazed down expressionless at her boy. She did not bend to cradle him, did not cry or scream at the torture he was surviving, inside and out. She noticed the books, destroyed all around him. She smiled.

“We must first destroy to create,” she told him.

Edgar closed his eyes. His mother took a glass of stagnant water from the desk and put it to his lips, making him splutter and cough.

“Thank you, Mother.” The words scissored at his throat.

She ran a hand lovingly over his death red leg, fingers tickling the pages that burst from his wounds. She ran her hand through his matted hair, flicking away a fly. Geniuses suffered.

“I won’t take your pain away,” she said into his ear.

The tarantula of darkness closed in as she shut the door behind her.

An Ornamental Christmess by Christopher Shawbell

TODAY’S BREW:  Not enough. Is that a good answer?

I feel like Chris Shawbell is my own personal new discover, but he’s really not.  Read this and wonder about your own writing abilities.

An Ornamental Christmess

By

Christopher Shawbell

The following transcription was recorded at 1147, AZ; 12/25/12 by Det. Mack and Det. Bradley of the Chandler Police Dept. and has been entered in to the record.

DET. MACK:    Suspect has been very detached, almost catatonic.  He’s come around a bit.  Doc Taylor interviewed the suspect and gave the thumbs up on his condition, so we’re going in and getting a statement.

(door opening and closing – chairs adjusted)

DET. MACK:    Howya doin’?  You okay?

MR. PETERS:   Yes, thank you.

DET. MACK:    Doc says you’re all good, so we’re gonna get your statement, okay?

MR. PETERS:   That’s good news.  I’m glad I’m okay.  Very relieved.

DET. MACK:    Okay.  (clears throat) The time is 11:47 am.  It’s the 25th of December, 2012.  I am Detective-Sergeant Rudy Mack.  With me is Detective Matt Bradley.  Statement is being made by Mr. Brian Peters who has waived his right to an attorney, and is willing to speak to us regarding the events earlier…

MR. PETERS:   Events?

DET. MACK:    I’m not making light.  It’s protocol; no embellishments, etcetera.

MR. PETERS:   Oh, of course, yes.

DET. MACK:    Mr. Peters is going to make a statement regarding the events earlier today at his residence, 53142 North Agatha, Chandler.  Begin by stating your name, please.

MR. PETERS:   My name is Brian Peters.  Is that good?

DET. MACK:    That’s fine.

MR. PETERS:   Alright.  It was the 15th … I think, Saturday, I was watching the Sun Devils lose again.  I had money on the game.  Julie came in…

DET. BRADLEY: Your wife?

MR. PETERS:   Yes, Julie was my wife.  She came in with a large Christmas package.  It had been left on the doorstep wrapped like a present.  The wrapping was this amazing, shiny, textured material, and it had these colorful patterns and shapes; kind of like a hologram.  Really amazing…  The bow was beautiful; golden lace ribbon.  The card said; “Merry Christmas, Neighbors.”  We had no idea who had sent it.

The kids came in; Jimmy and Maggie.  They were excited about the mystery present, as only a 7 and 5 year old can be.  I sent them out of the den; it was the second quarter and AU had just got another TD.  10 minutes later Julie’s calling me to the living room.  I got a commercial break on the third summons, and so tore myself away.

The box was a deep red color—almost black—and there was this gold symbol on the lid.  Inside were ornaments—Christmas tree ornaments; the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

DET. MACK:    Mr. Peters, what does this have to do with this morning’s events?

(pause)

MR. PETERS:   Everything.

(pause)

DET. MACK:    Okay.

MR. PETERS:   Beautiful doesn’t sum it up, though; they were absolutely amazing, the ornaments.  We’d never seen anything like them.  They were like colored glass, but not.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I mean, it looked like glass, but didn’t sound like it or feel like it.  The colors were surreal—so vivid—and they were all these crazy geometric shapes.  Each one had a golden symbol like the box.  There were 13 of them.

I heard the game come back on so I left my grumbling family to the ornament hanging.  I returned during halftime to admire their handiwork.  The ornaments were gorgeous, so incredible … totally dominated the tree.

Then I noticed something; each and every one of them—all 13—were hung symbols facing out.  I mentioned it must’ve been a pain to do.  Julie said they hadn’t tried, or noticed.  I congratulated them, and returned to my game.  ASU lost 37-28.  I lost 300 dollars.

We had dinner, then we admired the new ornaments with just the tree lights.  I still love that as much as I did the first Christmas I saw it as a boy; seems magical somehow, doesn’t it?

Those ornaments took it to another level.  It was so beautiful … mesmerizing.  About 20 seconds into it Harvey called—that’s who I lost the bet to—so I left the room.

Toby came in while I was on the phone—Toby’s our Golden Retriever—and that’s when the first of many strange things happened.  I heard barking—really vicious barking—so I ran in the living room.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Toby was snarling, and snapping at Julie and the kids; he had cornered them against the tree.  The kids were screaming, and Julie was shaking with terror.  Toby was completely savage; his teeth bared and the hair along his back standing up … I’d never seen anything like it—he was barking and lunging at them.  I really thought he was going to attack my wife and children.

I didn’t see it then—I should have—it’s so obvious now.  Toby would never hurt us.  He was protecting us—he was barking at the tree.

I rushed out in front of Toby, and Julie got the kids out.  I yelled at him to stop—he’s very well trained—but he didn’t listen.  I was scared to death, but I got him by the collar and drug him outside.

We got the kids calmed down and in bed.  Julie and I went to bed, too, still very shook up.  We finished two bottles of wine before we got to sleep.

Did I mention we have a cat?

DET. MACK:    No.

MR. PETERS:   We do.  Did, I mean—did have a cat … Scooter.  Can I have a water now?

DET. BRADLEY: Anything else?

(transcriber assumes subject indicated negative)

DET. BRADLEY: You, Mack?

DET. MACK:    No, I’m good, Socks.  Thanks.

(door opens and closes)

MR. PETERS:   Socks?

DET. MACK:    Been his nickname since the academy.

MR. PETERS:   How does one get a nickname like Socks?

DET. MACK:    He’d never wear matching socks.  He’d have on one white gym sock and one black dress sock or whatever.

MR. PETERS:   That’s funny.

(door open and closes)

DET. BRADLEY: Here you go, Mr. Peters.

MR. PETERS:   You can call me, Brian … if I can call you Socks.

(pause)

DET. BRADLEY: Let’s stick to formalities, Mr. Peters.

MR. PETERS:   Okay, Detective Bradley.  (suspect drinking beverage) Julie woke me up early.  I had a whopper of a hangover.  There was blood on the living room floor; some had splattered on the presents too.  I found Scooter’s collar.  Toby didn’t do it; he can’t fit through the cat door.  A coyote could though.  That’s why Toby was barking, we thought; some animal in the house.  The same animal had eaten our cat.  Seemed logical, bizarre, but logical.  I checked the house and locked the kitty door.

The next few weeks were so strange.

I was working 14 hour days—we planned to take a vacation after Christmas—I had to get everything lined up at the office.  I should’ve seen it though…

DET. MACK:    Seen what?

MR. PETERS:   The changes.

DET. BRADLEY: What changes?

MR. PETERS:   In my family, Detective Bradley.  They were changing.  I thought the kids were still traumatized, and that Julie was secretly pissed I was at work so much before Christmas.  I was wrong.

They had been getting more weary.  Julie said she hadn’t been sleeping well, neither had the kids.  They actually woke several times screaming from bad dreams.  One night Jimmy had insisted he’d seen little creatures in the living room when he’d got up to pee; gremlins, he called them.

Then it ended; no more nightmares, no more complaints about sleepless nights … nothing.  They were looking worse, though, every day.  Julie blew it off; she got really irritable.  By Christmas Eve they were withered looking and withdrawn.  I was worried.

My last day of work was supposed to be the 23rd but I didn’t quite get it all done, so I got up at 3 am, and was surprised to find Julie wasn’t in bed.  In the hall I heard talking from the living room.  The tree light, as I saw from the hall, had an odd glow.  It changed just as walked in.

There was an enormous pool of blood on the carpet, still wet and reflecting the lights.  Toby’s collar was in it

Then I saw Julie, Jimmy, and Maggie all sitting on the couch—not lounging, but upright—just staring ahead.  No one looked at me.

“Julie…” I said.  Nothing.  I couldn’t see their eyes, but I’d swear they didn’t blink.  Hackles rose on me—hackles like I never imagined—all over my body.  Dread, Detective, deep and menacing, seeped through me.  I shouted at Julie, and as if out of a trance, they all looked at me.

She said, “Yes, Darling?”

Toby’s blood all over and that’s it?  Just, “Yes, Darling?”  It was all wrong.  It was all so damn bizarre, but bizarre is just what we’d been dealing with.  I wasn’t surprised they were all in shock.  Toby and Scooter had apparently been butchered in our living room; their remains unaccounted for, so I just thought they were all traumatized.  Hell, they should be traumatized.

It made me miss a lot of signs that I couldn’t see then like I do now.

She told the kids to go to bed and they went.  Then she cleaned up the mess.  I tried to help but she wouldn’t let me.  She said she didn’t want to talk about it.  I prodded her until it got ugly then I left for work.

I turned around halfway there as I came to my senses.

Julie was in bed sleeping soundly when I returned.  They all slept the entire day and evening through.  I couldn’t get them to be coherent

DET. BRADLEY: Why didn’t you call emergency services?

MR. PETERS:   They hadn’t been sleeping well for weeks, and there was Toby and Scooter … I just thought it was how their psyches, or whatever, were dealing with it, and if so, I sure didn’t want to interrupt the process.  Who thinks this kind of thing could happen?

Anyway, like I said, they slept through the day and evening.  I fell asleep about 10; I was emotionally worn out.

I woke cold.  I didn’t have covers.  Julie was gone, and the covers were strewn on the floor as if dragged off the bed and just dropped.

It was 12:13.

I checked the kids’ room.  I wasn’t surprised they were absent, and the feeling disturbed me.  Thoughts of them on the couch staring at the bloodstain or at the tree froze my blood.

I realized then—it hit me like a thunderbolt—they hadn’t been staring at the pool of Toby’s gore.  They had been staring at the tree; at those evil goddamned ornaments.  I remembered the strange light, and realized it had been golden, like the symbols.  They had really been in some kind of trance.

I screamed their names.  The horrendous images and fears; my imagination was going crazy!  But what I saw when I got in there, Detectives … what I saw, my imagination could never conjure.

Julie and the children were lying face down naked on the floor.  From their bottoms to the base of their heads the skin had been sliced and splayed open by these little demonic monsters—Jimmy’s evil gremlins.  They were the ornaments!

They’d changed somehow into these creatures; these little indescribable fiends from Hell with glowing gold symbols and murderous shining eyes.  They were cutting them up—oh, God!—they were hacking out the spines of my wife and children—dissecting my babies!  All thirteen of them cutting, and chopping, and sawing away.

They had multiple arms; some like serrated knives, others like cleavers, or scissors—all hacking and stabbing things.  Blood was everywhere … so much blood.  I knew they were dead.  My babies were dead!

(suspect demonstrates)

I screamed, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!  YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!”

DET. MACK:    Mr. Peters, calm down, please.  Calm down.  Can you do that for me?  Just breathe … there you go.  Will you sit back down?  We’ll take a break, okay?

MR. PETERS:   No.  I want to finish this.

DET. MACK:    Okay.

DET. BRADLEY: Mack, you want me to..?

DET. MACK:    No.  He wants to continue.  Go ahead, Mr. Peters.

MR. PETERS:   (suspect laughs)  This is so insane, I know, and it just gets…  Anyway … I charged them and kicked at them—that’s how my feet and shins got all cut up—but they just bounced back.  They leapt up at me, slashing my hands and forearms as I tried to fight them off.  I retreated into the hall, swatted two of them off me, and managed to close the door before they got through.  They started hacking and sawing at the door.  I could hear them; a sharp croak-hiss, but not mindless gibberish … it was intelligent, sinister, and terrifying beyond any telling—to lean against that door as they banged and hacked at it—knife points and sharp things stabbing through, and hearing them hiss-croak their murderous plans to get me … how they would hack me up like Toby and Scooter because I knew.

But how would they get me?  How would I get me?  It only took a second.  Oh my God!  I looked over my shoulder and down the long dark hallway.  Just after I thought it, they did it; the children’s bedroom window smashed.  They were coming in behind me while the others still hacked at the door.

The bathroom was across from the kids’ door and it had a lock.  How I ran!  I could hear them behind me.  I dashed in and slammed and locked the door.  Blades punched right through, wriggled side-to-side then withdrew and did it again.

I threw open the window and punched out the screen.  I climbed out as they breached the door.  I ran across the backyard.  We have a large piece of property—16 acres.  I knew I wasn’t going to outrun them all the way to my neighbor’s, I’d witnessed how fast they were.  It was just too far.  I looked over my shoulder.  They weren’t following at all.  They were just watching me flee.  I ran on.  I couldn’t stop picturing them hacking up my family though, hacking them, devouring them, violating them!

Fear left me, and I got angry.  Angry like I never thought I could … a murderous hatred.  I stopped running.  I stood stock-still until all fear faded.  Then I ran back.

I entered from the back door with a our big axe gripped in both hands.  I peeked into the living room.

Maggie was standing and looking down at her brother.  Her flesh, like her brother and mother, was sallow, cadaverous; she was a corpse standing there in my living room … the corpse of my little girl.  Jimmy’s body was just getting to its knees.  Julie remained on the floor.  The last of the little hell-spawned creatures crawled into the gaping hole in Julie’s neck where her vertebrae had been—others were already crammed in from there down.  When the creature was settled, little wiry things came out, like thin spidery legs, all along the length of her back, and hooked the skin, then pulled the wound closed.  Sutures weaved across the seams from the inside, sealing the wound.  Jimmy had stood up all the way now, and Julie did as well, clumsily at first but she righted herself.

This hellish mockery of the love of my life saw me and it said—just as Julie would’ve said it, “Hello, Darling.”

I had returned armed, angry, and ready to fight, but I was so terrified I hesitated.  Then came her coup de grâce … she grinned and said, “Merry Christmas.”

I fled.  My mind broke and I ran.  You know how it went from there, Detectives, more than I.  I was broken.  Running is all I knew when the Shaw’s found me.

That’s what happened this morning.

DET. MACK:    Where’s your family, Mr. Peters?

MR. PETERS:   I don’t know, Mack.  May I call you Mack?

DET. MACK:    Sure.  And the ornaments?  Where did they go?

MR. PETERS:   I don’t know that either.

DET. MACK:    Okay.  Anything to add, anything at all before we close this interview?

MR. PETERS:   No, Detectives, I have nothing to add.

DET. MACK:    Okay, Mr. Peters … we’ll be right back.

(door opening and closing – Dets. Mack and Bradley exit)

DET. MACK:    So, what do you think?

DET. BRADLEY: What do ya mean, what do I think?  He’s a fucking nutcase, is what I think!  He didn’t even cry—not a single tear.  He murdered his wife and those kids—hacked them up prob’ly.  Your call, but I’d be booking his ass right now for Aggravated Murder One.

DET. MACK:    Yeah, I agree, Socks.  Today of all days!

DET. BRADLEY: Yeah, Merry fuckin’ Christmas.

About me…  There is no “Me.”  I am only my perception of myself.  Yet, I am not a “me,” and therefore cannot be an “I” or a “Myself” or have a “My” anything either.  So nothing?  Yes, “I” am actually Nothing, and suffering for trying to be a Me.  The Holy Trinity of My Will—Me, Myself & I—bring their combined strength to bear in vain hope of changing this simple truth.  They struggle and strain; a constant, desperate resistance.  They must, or one day—or in one star-dusted moment in the cosmos—they will cease to be.  Not death, not transition, only the sublime simplicity of no longer existing.
So, about Me?  Truly, I have Nothing to say about Me.
I don’t want to write a freaking bio.  The above is my bio.  I’m nobody.  I don’t need a bio.

The Nightmares Before Christmas Continue! The Schedule More or Less

TODAY’S BREW:  Crispin  Brown’s Lane Cider. It’s nighttime, so booze.

Have I told you yet how much I love this series, and how pumped I am at the response the Undead Duo have received for these horror stories?  And have I told you how proud like a baby mama I am of all of these incredible writers, and of how supportive they are of each other?  Can’t say it enough.

So, here is the working schedule of the writers we will feature for the remainder of the series, though we are still accepting submissions (till the 10th, Kristen says….you know me, though.  Accepting FOREVER.)  Cannot wait to see what you all think of each other’s work, and hope this leads to great friendships for many of you.

12/1  Dylan J. Morgan

12/3 JC Michael

12/4 Bobby Salomons, Death 2 Death Books

12/5 Steve Bridger

12/6 Our very own Kristen Strassel

12/7 Mari Wells

12/8 Rusty Fischer

12/9 Philip Monroe

12/10 Josh Hewitt

12/11 Chris Shawbell, Copious Corpses

12/12 The Next Big Thing Bloghop

12/13 Sione Aeschliman

12/14 Armand Rosamilia

12/15 Steve Bridger

12/16 John D. Taff

12/17 Mike Matula

12/18 Lil’ ol’ me, Julie Hutchings

12/19 Randy Dutton

12/20 Bobby Salomons

This is subject to change, mostly added to. Love it, love you, keep reading. Again, there will be no prizes.  I have no prizes for you. Not a thing.

The 12 Days of Christmas by JC Michael

This is our good friend, JC Michael’s idea of the 12 Days of Christmas!  He is the author of Discoredia, which we posted an excerpt from some time before now.  You will find he has one of the most original minds in horror out there.  Go read it, then buy his book, I command you.

 

On the first day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
A message through my Sony T.V.

On the second day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the third day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Eight women to strangle,
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
A nine mill. Beretta,
Eight women to strangle,
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
A ten gauge sawn-off,
A nine mill. Beretta,
Eight women to strangle,
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Eleven men to shoot,
A ten gauge sawn-off,
A nine mill. Beretta,
Eight women to strangle,
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
The Devil sent to me
Twelve final victims,
Eleven men to shoot,
A ten gauge sawn-off,
A nine mill. Beretta,
Eight women to strangle,
Seven feet of rope,
Six whores to cut,
Five split personalities,
Four sharp knives,
Three Beaten kids,
Two leather gloves,
And a message through my Sony T.V!

 

For the Love of God, Say Something!

TODAY’S BREW:  Eggnog Minty Nut. All the grounds got mixed together.

I may have mentioned how unbelievably amped I am about The Nightmares Before Christmas month.  This is the first time the Undead Duo will showcase all of the incredible talents out there we have made friends with, and as a chronic supporter of people, this makes me very, very happy.

Part of the reason we are doing The Nightmares Before Christmas is so our fellow writers will be able to hear what readers think of their work.  It’s why Kristen and I post excerpts from our books, and write short stories, too.  We want to hear what you think!  It’s a big step for all involved to let the world see what comes from our weird little minds, so please don’t keep your opinion to yourself.

I am blown away by the stories we have received.  Kristen accuses me of being too nice, but in this case, not true.  Some of this stuff made me question my own ability.

I always have something to say.  I have an opinion on everything, and yet nobody ever tells me to shut up.  (Please don’t start now.)  Unlike most people who have too much to say, I actually want to hear what YOU have to say, too.  I want to hear it on Running Home.  I know Kristen wants to hear it on Immortal Dilemma.  And our buddies want to know what you think of their work, I promise you.

And yet, you are all so frigging quiet!  SAY SOMETHING!  It doesn’t matter if it’s nice or not.  Nobody likes people that are nice all the time, anyway, least of all me.  The contributing writers this month worked really hard to put something of quality up on Deadly Ever After, and they need to hear what you think!  If you are reading our friends’ stuff, please say something.  And then go check out their blogs, books, facebook pages, tweets, etc…  Don’t make me tell you what to do.  Are you satisfied with me telling you what to do?  You are a person, too, goddamnit.  Say something.

I say this in kindness, of course.

Dreamwatcher

DREAMWATCHER

First published in Monsters Next Door e-zine, 2008

If you ever saw me I’d be nothing more than a shadow in your periphery vision—a shape you believe is there, but always gone when you turn to look.  It’s not you I covet, however.

I seek your sons and your daughters:  the future of pain and deprivation.

I’m always watching your children.

This house radiates suffering and the feeling grows stronger the closer I get.  Blown by a summer breeze, distress has been easy to detect and I’ve followed the trail of anguish with as much precision as a shark smelling molecules of blood in an expansive ocean.

I flow over the house, the warmth from within its walls seeping into me as I roll along the wooden façade.  The heat of misery is prevalent, and the window frame of the room almost burns my pliable outline as I slink through its yawning gap.

Entering is easy in the summer months, as hot evenings force people to open windows in the hope night’s cooling breath will pant a comforting rhythm.

There’s nothing comforting about this house.

I have to be swift; extreme dreams such as this do not last a night time.

Cluttered with toys, the bedroom sizzles with supercharged energy.  Nightmares are a stimulating experience.  It excites me, pleasure tingling like an electrified outer skin.

A night light is plugged into a nearby socket, its dull luminescence laying a sombre sheen across a boy’s face.  He’s about six years old.  The boy is sweating, thin pyjamas clinging wetly to his body, head shaking from side to side.  Sheets trail to the floor from a dishevelled bed.

I flow closer to him.

A subtle moan escapes his lips as he mumbles something incoherent.

I will never die but the suspense is killing me.

Bulging at the middle, a part of me reaches out to touch the boy gently upon his forehead, and I glimpse his future.

I see the boy, only as a man—as he will become.  Naked, he sits in a darkened room, his body illuminated by sporadic light from a television.  The screams of a movie bellow from the set.  A knife on the arm of the chair reflects light in erratic flashes.  A girl at his feet is also naked, her bruised body decorated with lacerations.  Terrified, she’s alive, and the man’s—the boy’s—foot pushes against her head and forces her to watch the screen.  His previous victims are behind him, in the room’s shadows:  just spectres and apparitions, their pallid forms shimmering with television glare, yet despair and loneliness is plain to see on their ethereal faces.  An upsurge of violence screams from the set.  With a growing erection the man stands and plunges his knife into the helpless girl.

My hold over the boy is almost broken.  I force myself to stay with him; I need his suffering, living through fear.  A shiver of ecstasy ripples my essence.

The man sits, leans forward, and forces his left arm through the hole he’s made in the girl’s body.  I can’t see his hand, but by the way his muscles move I know he’s massaging her heart—squeezing and pumping it, keeping her alive as he slides the blade into her flesh.  He twists the knife as he smiles.

Reflected in the dark pools of his insensitive eyes, television images reveal a previous victim, her body torn, the blade twisting, his hand massaging.  The girl beneath his foot is forced to watch what he has done to others, as he does the same to her.

The boy thrashes in his sleep, and the dream is gone.  If I could breathe then I would be panting with exhaustion.

He lies motionless, at peace now that his dream has left.  The boy has the innocent face of a sleeping angel:  the mask of a murderer.

Invigorated by his torment, I slip out of the same window through which I entered but expectation comes with me.

I cannot influence the boy, or change a path already set.  I can visit him however, on summer nights when the windows are open and feed him the dream, over and over, to keep his destination focused.

You can hope and pray that only the best will befall your offspring, but do you really know what your children will become?

I do.

Bio:
DSC01431Now living and working in Norway, Dylan J. Morgan was born in New Zealand and raised in the United Kingdom. He writes during those rare quiet moments amid a hectic family life: after dark, with limited sustenance, and when his creative essence is plagued the most by tormented visions.
His newest novel, BLOOD WAR, has received rave reviews and positive feedback. It can be purchased from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions, and from Barnes & Noble for use on the Nook.
His debut novel, HOSTS, has garnered good reviews and is now available to purchase directly from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.
His novella, OCTOBER RAIN, has recently been re-released by Hazardous Press and is available in Kindle format from Amazon.

The Nightmares Are Coming! Love For Our Writing Friends

TODAY’S BREW:  Green Mountain Eggnog. Delish.

The Nightmares Before Christmas short story non-contest, in which there will be no prizes, is nigh!  I, Julie, speak for us both when I say we are especially psyched out of our minds for this.  The response has been fantastic already, and the “rules” that Kristen made up say submissions don’t even really start till tomorrow.  Awesome.

I read all the submissions as soon as I got them.  Did I mention I am excited?  I am absolutely blown away by the talent of the people we have gotten to know.  That may sound like general blog reader pat on the back, but I assure you, I have been raving to everyone around me how bloody fantastic the group of writers we run with is.  Also, if I have nothing nice to say, I just won’t bother.  I am greatly impressed by the minds of the people who have submitted so far.  You know who you are.

This being said, all but one of the writers who have submitted to us included some clause of sorts that said, “If it’s not good enough, just say the word, oh you who has no right to do so, and I will scrap all of my hard work and feel bad about myself to make you happy.”  Then we have other writers, some of who I personally asked to write for us because I am so enamored of them and their work, that are afraid they are not good enough to submit.  I AM APPALLED, PEOPLE!

Yes, we asked you to write for us, but always, always write for YOU.   Be confident in your work because you made it.  Stop being your own worst critic.  Reserve that right for those who are not as good as you that will point out your every flaw, because, like your mother said, they are just jealous.

And another thing!  Scary is in the eye of the beholder.  You don’t need to write with blood, guts and gore to write a scary story.  Think of the thing that you never want to become, the thing that terrifies you to lose, the thing that stands to hurt you the most.  Then become it, lose it, and get hurt by it.  Now write it down.  Not that you need me to tell you what to do, because you are writing for you, remember?

What I find truly frightening is the idea that the writers I have had the great pleasure of getting to know, and I would love to mention by name here but won’t, may not write something one day because they think it  isn’t good enough.  I offer facts now. Our very own Kristen Strassel, now complete with representation, almost didn’t write Immortal Dilemma, or the fantastic novella she has finished because she thought it might have been a dumb idea.  Heard that from her a lot.  A good friend of mine from Authonomy. com almost stopped looking for an agent to self-publish because he thought an agent would tell him he sucked.  Then, just like I told him, he got one because his book is incredible.  Never doubt me.  This is not to say that the word of an agent is the word of God, but they represent the reading world, and know what appeals to them.  To think, we were almost denied these great works because of needless self doubt.

I cannot WAIT to introduce you all to the amazing writers we have come to know, and hope you all are as eager to support each other.  Because if you aren’t you will see something very scary.  Angry Julie.

Did I mention there are no prizes?  Need the scoop on participating?  Click Here.

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