Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Nightmares Before Christmas”

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Rusty Fischer

TODAY’S BREW:  Eggnog Coffee with no alcohol in it.   Now read.

 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

A “Scary” Christmas Story by Rusty Fischer

The cemetery looms just over the next rise as we walk parallel to the road. A car hasn’t come by in hours but you just never know. Cemeteries are like that. People come and go all day and night, regardless of the visiting hours.

Kids hop over the fence with a cooler and a blanket, a man snaps the lock and walks in with a bottle and a note to read to his dead wife. You’d be amazed what you see in a cemetery at midnight.

And that’s just with the living people.

We don’t talk much, Scrim and I. Scrim; the name says it all. Equal parts scummy and just plain grim. You look up “zombie” in the dictionary and chances are you’re gonna see a picture of Scrim.

He’s a head taller than me, but probably weighs less. His elbows stick out at angles, his legs are stiff even for a zombie. He wears old sweat pants and a faded black concert T-shirt and a flannel shirt from forever ago, probably when he was still alive.

It’s a long, thin road that leads to the graveyard and as we crest the hill and look down on the cemetery, I see a wreath on either side of the wrought iron gate.

“What day is it?” I grunt, soft and low, just in case.

I see the shovel on Scrim’s shoulder rise slightly as he shrugs. “I dunno,” he grunts back. “Why?”

“Are those… Christmas wreaths?”

We get closer, looking left and right for headlights before stepping onto the road and approaching the front gate.

The road is cold but not iced over, white snow scattered on the blacktop. The wreaths are big and round and plastic; green plastic holly branches, red plastic holly berries and white blinking lights. I see an orange extension cord running from both to a tool shed off to the side. Inside, now that I’m paying attention, a generator softly hums.

I reach out to touch one of the cheap bulbs, just to feel the warmth. I hear the jingling of chain next to me as Scrim uses the pliers from his back pocket to snap the lock. He swings the gate wide, taking the wreath away from me.

I turn to him and growl. He looks slightly surprised.

“What’d you do that for?” I ask, following him into the graveyard. Little puffs of snow charging out from under my new boots tell me I’m stomping.

“Do what?” Scrim stops, shovel still atop his shoulder as a placid look washes across his thin, angular face.

“Yank the door out of my hand.”

He cocks at me and gives me a blank stare. “Uh, because we needed to get inside and the door was preventing that.”

“But. I. Was. Touching. That. Wreath.” I bite off each word, inching a little closer all the while.

“What wreath?”

That wreath,” I say, turning around and pointing to the open gate door. The door is still open, the wreath still blinks and I look up over the gate door where the cemetery name is spelled out.

I look up, squint, then read: “Brushy Pines Cemetery.”

Something clicks inside me; cold as the frost and hard as ice but, also… warm, soft. I inch forward, slowly at first, back toward the open gate and then faster, rushing through it to turn around, boots crunching snow and then swooshing it left and right as I pivot.

“Get out of there!” I hiss to Scrim, who is leaning on his shovel at this point, eyeing me curiously.

“What? Quit goofing off, Tara. I can smell the brains, fresh and new, no more than a few yards away. Let’s go, before whoever turns off those Christmas wreaths each night shows up and finds us digging up his newest customer.”

“I’m not kidding, Scrim,” I bark, inching back through the gates so he can see the look on my cold, hard face. “Get out of there, now. No one’s digging up anyone tonight. At least not in this cemetery.”

“What? Why?”

He’s off his shovel now, dragging the business end in the cold, hard ground as he inches my way.

“Because it’s mine. I mean, I live here. Lived here… before.”

“Here?” he asks, close enough so I can see the genuine curiosity on his normally blank face.

“Brushy Pines, yes. T-t-this, this is… where I grew up. This is where it happened.”

I’m backing out now, expecting him to follow; he doesn’t.

“So what?” he shrugs, turning back around, hoisting his shovel and sniffing out the fresh grave. “Meat’s meat.”

His voice is so blunt, his shoulders so thin and that stupid shovel, shuffling along as he sniffs out the fresh burial mound; I dunno, it just gets me.

“Stop!” I hiss, and I find myself on my knees, black jeans in the snowy earth, reaching for my backpack and sliding the shovel from its holder at the bottom.

He doesn’t. Stop, I mean. He walks, not even shrugging anymore. I leave my backpack behind, snow-mud on my knees as I stand and follow. The headstones are tall and short, leaning and straight, turning the moonlight into a strobe light as it passes between them, shadow and light, while I chase Scrim.

How did he get so far ahead?

I see the dirt flying before I see Scrim, bent to the task at the fresh grave. Suddenly I can smell the rotting flesh from below, the juices, the skin, the muscle, the meat… the brains… wafting six feet up through the dirt.

I’m hungry, but for more than just meat. “I said stop, Scrim,” I blurt, watching him single-mindedly move dirt from the fresh grave to a pile just to its right.

“I’m not stopping, Tara. So you grew up here, so what?”

I pause on the other side of the grave, watching him jam his shovel into the dirt, scrape out a few inches of cold, hard earth and then pitch it out. The sound grows rhythmic, jam-scrape-pitch; jam-scrape-pitch.

“So, that could be someone I know,” I insist; jam-scrape-pitch.

Scrim barely looks up as he keeps jamming, scraping and pitching. “Yeah, like who?” he chuffs. “Your—”

I slice the shovel out of his hand, by slicing off his hand. It doesn’t hurt him, but he watches it clinically, like it’s somebody else’s hand.

“The hell?” he asks, but he’s already reaching for the shovel with the other hand. I slice for that as well, but this time he’s prepared; the clank of metal on metal echoes through the headstones, one bouncing off the other.

Sparks fly, illuminating the hatred in Scrim’s eyes. We square off on either side of the grave, his hand lying there, gray and waxy, fingers still at last.

The stub left behind doesn’t bleed so much as ooze a thick, blackish gray slime that coats his sneakers as he waves the shovel. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I said ‘stop.’ You didn’t stop.”

“So you cut my hand off? I need that, you know? To eat?”

I risk a look behind me at the cemetery gate, then move slightly to my left so that I’m directly in its path. “I don’t see you eating anymore, Scrim. Not in this town, anyway.”

He swings mid-sentence, and I duck and jam the tip of my shovel – smaller, lighter, sharper – just under his knee. He grunts and goes down, landing with the tip of his shovel in the dirt and his good hand wrapped around the wooden shaft like a crutch.

More blackish-grayish goo seeps out from the tear in his sweatpants.

“Why?” he asks, silent and poised. “What’s gotten into you?”

I kneel down in front of him, shovel in hand. “You told me, Scrim, we don’t eat our own. You told me, Scrim, we never go back. Now here we are, and you’re trying to do both.”

He grins, teeth crooked and yellow. “Who cares about the rules when no one’s round to catch us, Tanner?”

“I do, Scrim. At least, I care if we’re in my hometown. What if that was my mother down there, huh? My brother? My best friend?”

Scrim shakes his head. “So I won’t show you. So I’ll crack open the skull and scoop out the brain and you’ll never know.”

I stand then, pushing myself up on the gooey end of my shovel. “I already know, Scrim; it’s not happening. You get up now, if you can, and—”

Scrim’s shovel glances off the nearest headstone, missing me by a hair but knocking a huge chunk out of the granite grave marker that slices my cheek open. I flinch and duck, instinctively, and Scrim would be on me if it weren’t for the fact that I messed up his knee.

He’s still limping, a few feet away, when I turn on him.

Goo is still dripping from his missing hand, he has no shovel – no weapon – and he’s limping; bad. I grip the shovel and start toward him, almost sad to see him go.

Almost…

 

Rusty Fischer, while being a dream come true of a person, is the author of several YA supernatural novels, including Zombies Don’t Cry,   Ushers, Inc.,   Vamplayers among others.  Visit the killer blog at http://zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com and follow Rusty on Twitter…@Ruswriteszombie.

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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 Before Christmas Holiday Horror Stories! It Begins!

TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin’ Donuts intensely mediocre Mocha Mint.  Dual post by the Undead Duo

The time has come!  Lock up your daughters and hide the valuable gifts you bought.  And I know you did, not because we’re stalking you or anything.  Don’t ask.

Tomorrow begins the unveiling of The Nightmares Before Christmas Holiday Horror Story Collection.  Thank you so much to all of the talented rock star writers who took time out of their busy lives to make our blog more beautiful.  Again, I, Julie, have said a little too often just how impressed I am with the submissions we received, most making me feel like I should never have quit my day job.  This doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to keep our readers up at night.  We are accepting stories through December 10th, or if Julie has it her way, FOREVER.   Because submissions are still open, here is the schedule for the first week only:

12/1   Dylan J. Morgan, The Wind and the Damned

12/3   JC Michael, Untitled

12/5   Steve Bridger, Happy Horrordays

12/7   Mari Wells, Thief

These stories are in no particular order, though I agonized over it for no reason at all.  Did I mention there are no prizes?

We are looking forward like nobody’s business, getting all of our friends’ amazing works on our blog, and showing you all how awesome they are.  We keep good company.  Support each other, make nice, and prepare to be creeped out.

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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