The MONSTER BRAWL anthology is finally here, just in time to heat up your summer! My story, Monster Milk, takes place in a nursing home of all places. But these beasts are far from feeble.
It’s time to let the monsters loose!
For this book, we collected stories of monsters doing epic battle with other monsters! The beasts could be classical by design with a unique twist, or they could be spawned straight from the author’s imagination. The only rule: there must be a clear-cut winner at the end of each story; one of the creatures had to die!
Some of the stories in this collection pit a single monster against another, while others are all-out gang warfare. Some are campy, some serious, but all a fight for the ages!
It’s time to get your game face on for twelve tales worthy of the title Monster Brawl!
**No monsters were hurt in the writing of these stories**
It’s been a couple of years since I explored the wonder and mysteries of Catholicism in my book, Evil Eternal, albeit it in a very overly dramatic fashion. I decided to dip my toe back in the holy water with a new short story, Confessional, available exclusively at Pen of the Damned.
Growing up an altar boy and singer in the church choir, the one aspect of my faith as a good Irish Catholic that frightened me was the act of confession. I was always worried that the priest would see me in a different, negative light once he knew I lied to a teacher and took the Lord’s name in vain (thanks to my grandfather for that one – he used ‘goddammit’ with positive flair). The act of confession doesn’t get easier as you get older.
Priests are, after all, only human. Could you look the other way if someone you were close to confessed to abusing a child, or cheating on their spouse with numerous partners, or robbing a liquor store, or even worse, murder? We ask for forgiveness, release our burden, perform our acts of contrition. But just as energy can never be destroyed, perhaps so the weight of sin. Confession is an act of transference, so though you may leave the church with a lighter heart, what happens to the priest?
These are the things nagging at my brain as I wrote Confessional. If you’re curious as to what goes on within its confines, I suggest you bow your head and step inside….
Once you’ve cleansed your sins, post a comment here on or on Twitter using #HunterConfesses and you’re eligible to win a signed copy of Evil Eternal. I’ll announce winners next week.
Most of all, what do you think of confession? What are your experiences?
It looks like a lot of potential inmates are hooked on Asylum Scrawls, my first short story collection packed with 6 original stories and a bonus story by Norm Hendricks. It was truly a labor of sick, sick love.
The feedback on one of my stories, Stoned, has been tremendous. Author Russell James said, “Stoned is one of the best bits of horror I’ve read in a while.” I promise, I didn’t pay Russ a dime for that.
As my way to give thanks (see how I tied that in to the upcomnig holiday? Nifty), I thought I’d give you a preview of Stoned. If you’re hooked, come on over to Amazon and take Asylum Scrawls home for only $1.99. As Alfred E. Neuman would say, “Still cheap!”
OK, take a hit of thorazine, slip on that straightjacket and close your eyes as you travel to rural South Carolina. The sun is high in the summer sky, and the pummel stone sits waiting for today’s lesson….
The smooth surface of the Pummel Stone was ice cold against Kitty’s bare breasts and stomach, and despite the burning slash of the belt on her back and the fevered friction of Ed’s fingers as they worked in and out of her pussy like a trio of funny car pistons, it felt somewhat soothing out here in the blazing South Carolina sun.
God she hated South Carolina. She’d made it out once, all the way to Wyoming. Now there was a place where you didn’t feel like dying come summer, where the heat of the day didn’t hit you like a wet towel fresh from a pot of boiling water. If there was one thing she hated, it was the damn heat and humidity of the deep and nasty south.
He hit her again with the belt. This time, she felt her skin split. When she tried to move away he dropped the belt and used his free hand to grip the back of her neck, pushing her face harder into the rock.
“Where do you think you’re goin’?” he hissed in her ear. His tongue was thick with cheap beer and his breath reeked of day old diapers. “That’s right, bitch. You ain’t leavin’ the Stone until I’m finished up in here.”
Ed’s favorite blasted from the speakers he’d had installed under their covered patio: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Wagner. Lord in heaven did she hate that song. Ed had gotten hooked on Wagner after watching Apocalypse Now one too many times, what with the helicopters and all the bombing and that horrid music blaring in the background. He went out to the music store one day and shuffled through the Nice Price CD box until he found a copy of selected works by Richard Crazy Ass Wagner. There wasn’t much call for regular priced classical CDs in these parts. Kitty thought if the dead composer could see what his music had inspired, he’d approve. All men were bastards that way. Goddamn heathens.
“Hidey-ho, in we go!” Ed shouted, and before she knew it, he was full up inside her, well, at least as far as his needle dick could go. Amazing how much damage that little pecker could do when she wasn’t properly greased. He grunted and rutted like a sick hog. She hitched slightly when his sweat splashed into the wounds on her back.
Thankfully, it was over almost as soon as it had started. He pulled out and away from her in one staggering motion. She slumped down to the base of the stone, resting her cheek against it, willing her tears away.
“Hey, you want me to help you inside?” He was a different person now, all that beastly rage seeping out of him with his semen and into her. He sounded apologetic, which meant she must be bleeding a lot. Ed always got that way when the blood was bad.
“Just…go…away,” she said without opening her eyes. She didn’t want to see his face or his limp dick crawling back into its shell or the belt on the floor or her torn clothes thrown in a pile by the back door. Because Ed killed her baby once upon a fucked up time and she knew for sure he didn’t have the guts to kill her. The only constant in her life was the Pummel Stone and no matter how far she ran or who she ran to, it would always be there, waiting for her.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Okay, it had always been like this, at least as far as she could remember, and probably always would. But damn, Kitty was for-shit-sure that if her ma hadn’t hanged herself from the tree that used to be in the front of the house, that was before her daddy tore the whole thing up, roots and all a week after the funeral, things would have been different. Momma was her protector, and Lord knows she needed protectin’. Her daddy was a ruthless old bastard, penniless, godless and brainless. One of her first memories was seeing him whup on her momma against The Stone. He was hollering at her something fierce and whacking at her with his boot, but ma didn’t make a sound. She took it like the man he could never be and that just made him crazier.
Well, after ma died the old man gave The Stone a rest. It was just the two of them now and little Kitty at age seven had to quit school and take care of him and the house. One day the vice principal came to the house to insist Daddy put her back in school. He didn’t even have two sentences out before he was face to face with the wrong end of a shotgun and tearing ass back to his car.
Life sucked worse than a piglet on a teat, but it was about to get worse. When she turned twelve, a timer went off Daddy’s twisted head, like one of those little plastic poppers they put in chickens to tell you when they’re done roasting. Now it was her turn to lay against the Pummel Stone and get her deservins. No infraction was too small for The Stone. That big piece of rock that jutted up in their yard, slate gray and ugly as sin, so damn big they couldn’t even dynamite the thing out, it was kind of the family heirloom. The farm had been in their family for three generations and The Stone right along with it. Turned out, punishing the family for their sins, be they real or imagined, was also a family tradition. Her daddy had told her once that his granddaddy had named it the Pummel Stone, on account of anyone put face to face with the rock was about to get a pummelin’. Except if you were a girl you’d get that and more and Daddy carried that torch with flying colors.
Kitty endured her father’s cruelty until she was eighteen, always staying as quiet as her ma because she knew it drove him crazy. She hoped the bastard would have a stroke but of course he never did. When she turned eighteen she stole out of the house one night and took a bus to Florida.
She spent the next seven years traveling all over from one crappy job and run-down town to another, leaving in her wake a string of ex-boyfriends as useless and mean as the old man. When a girlfriend once asked, “How do these men find you?” after her latest broke her nose, she realized, They ain’t finding me. I’m finding them.
Things changed when she met Ed Blake. He was fresh from the Army and as good looking as a movie star. They met in Troutville, Virginia when she was waiting tables at a truck stop diner. He was smart and sweet and romantic and before she knew it they were happily married and living like a couple of lovebirds.
Then word came from her Aunt Mary that Daddy was dying. Kitty would have been happy to let him die alone but Ed said it was important for her to be there, no matter how bad a man he may have been in the past. That was Ed back then, kinder than a saint and a sight better looking to boot. So off they went to South Carolina, back to the farm and the round patch of brown grass in the front yard where the big dogwood tree used to be.
Daddy was real bad with cancer. She was torn between wanting to hold in her piss and save it for his grave or washing his withered face with a soothing, damp cloth, telling him everything would be all right. It took him a month to die and in that time he responded mostly to Ed. She spied them several times, Ed’s ear close to her daddy’s lips, his words too feeble to carry into the hallway.
Well, the old monster finally died and Kitty surprised herself by crying at the funeral. The house was left to her and Ed insisted they stay. A whole farm, even though it hadn’t produced anything in years, was better than a one-bedroom apartment in Troutville. So they stayed.
And wouldn’t you know it, a year to the day later she found herself back on The Pummel Stone. Ed had taken to drinking on account of not being able to find work. Men were like that. The moment they felt emasculated, in came the booze. One day, decided to give her a spanking against The Stone because she burned their supper. Things progressed, or in this case, regressed, and she wondered just what the hell her father had been feeding Ed while he lay there dying. But then she realized it probably had nothing to do with him.
It was the Stone. It possessed every man who lived by it and damned every woman unlucky enough to be with the abuse-loving fucktard.
Find out what happens to poor, hapless Kitty, as well as the fate of a recent amputee being plagued by his old toys, two couples faced with a ghost that will not leave or speak and six young boys stuck between a sewer creature and the Son of Sam at Asylum Scrawls, only available on Amazon.
Just in time for the Halloween season, my first short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, has been set loose on an unsuspecting world. To kick things off, I’m running a special from now until Halloween. You can get a copy of Asylum Scrawls for only 99 cents. After the ghosts and goblins have their fill of candy and egging houses, the price goes to $1.99 (still a bargain if you ask me). With fantastic cover art by Mike Chella and a creepy bonus story by my mentor, Norm Hendricks, it’s sure to make you question what’s real and what’s not.
As an added bonus, if you download a copy before Halloween and let me know through this old blog and chain, the FB fan page or Twitter, you’re also eligible to win a copy of any of my novels. You can’t beat that with a stick, or chainsaw, or hot poker, or machete. I’ll be giving away books all through the Horrortober season. That’s right, all treats, no tricks.
So, what’s cooking in the asylum?
- In PHANTOM FEELING, meet Hank, a recent amputee living in his parents’ attic. His childhood toys are coming out to spell secret messages to him – or is he losing his grip on his sanity?
- THE FACELESS GIRL follows two couples at a famous movie star’s mountain mansion. The master bedroom holds a terrifying secret – an apparition that will not leave.
- The last place you want to be is strapped to the pummel stone in STONED. Poor Kitty’s wasted her life on the stone, but things are about to take an unexpected and deadly turn.
- What happens when your religious zealot wife tells you about her special COMMANDMENT ELEVEN? You watch your life fall to pieces, bit by agonizing bit.
- Ready for a true gothic nightmare? MERCY starts with a demonic possession and only gets worse in the old manse beset by evil.
- FOUL BALL is a throwback to the 70’s during the Summer of Sam in New York. When a Wiffle ball rolls down the sewer, 6 boys devise a plan to save it from the muck and slime. Some things are better off lost
- In a special bonus story by Norm Hendricks, a child killer confined to a prison cell waits for the call of the PIPER. Truly haunting.
Help me get this bad boy to number one! To order your copy from Amazon, click here.
First of all, as a New Yorker, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone or something close to them in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and my family is thankful that we came out of it unscathed, though the same can’t be said for millions of others. It’s going to take a long time to get back to normal, especially with a nor’easter in the forecsast this week.
Thanks to my main man from Amsterdam, author Paul Dail, I get to talk a bit about something that is not necessarily a work in progress. More on that in a moment.
I want to take a small break from all things Swampy (before the 3rd & most massive part of the tour starts December 3rd) and spotlight a story I had published last year called The Dig. I’m a big archaeology buff and I’d always wanted to write a ghost story centered around some remote site. The Dig follows the terrifying exploits of Felicia Tang on an expedition to Mongolia. What looks like a normal burial mound is actually the entrance to a centuries old chamber housing countless urns within rough hewn niches. Who built the vast chamber and why? What remains lie within the urns? Most of all, what is still very much alive in the dark? The Dig is only 99 cents and free for Amazon Prime members. I have big news coming up in the next month on the short story front, but this should keep you until then. 😉
I’m not a big TV guy, but there are a few shows out there that I love and some that have surprised me. So, what is Hunter rushing to watch On Demand these days?
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m a huge The Walking Dead fan. I’ve loved the comics since almost the beginning and AMC is doing a great job keeping even us hardcore fans guessing. I dressed up as Dale for Halloween in his memory. R.I.P. Mr. Bucket Hat.
Of course, I’m back for more from American Horror Story : Asylum. So far, this season has felt like an acid trip through a haunted house at Playland. I’m hoping it starts to make sense soon. Are there really aliens adbucting people???
I’ve added 2 new shows to my weekly viewing and both have flipped me out with how good they are. The first is the newest take on Sherlock Holmes, Elementary. Lucy Liu as Watson? Sherlock in NYC? What idiot thought this up? Turns out, a pretty damn smart idiot with some of the best writers on TV. I can’t get enough of this show.
The biggest surprise is Nashville. Normally, I despise this soapy kind of stuff, but damn the music is good and the various story lines have sucked me in. And hey, if I can’t see Connie Britton on American Horror Story, I’m happy top get my Connie fix right here.
And of course you all know I’m counting the seconds until the return of Justified.
1. What is the working title of your book?
Swamp Monster Massacre
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I was talking to my editor late one night and he asked me if I had a novella in the old desk drawer that he could use. I didn’t, but a tiny light bulb lit up over my pointy head. I had recently done an episode on Bigfoot on The Monster Men podcast. My buddy Jack and I are Bigfoot fanatics. I decided it was time I wrote my own Bigfoot book, but with a twist. So, I added a crime novel element to it and let the words fly.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Boy, this could be fun. For my hulking criminal, Rooster Murphy, I think I’d go with Chris Hemsworth. He rocked as Thor and has the size and wry sense of humor that can pull it off. For the super hot and darkly dangerous twins, Liz and Maddie, I’d have to go with Amanda Seyfried playing a dual role. Those eyes! I also think Sam Rockwell would nail the Jack Campos character. As for the crazed skunk ape clan, well, if I could find an actual Bigfoot family for the movie, I’d be one happy man.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?
Small-time crook on the run from pissed off mobsters kidnaps tour boat in the Florida Everglades only to find the monsters in the swamp are way more deadly than the killers on land.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is published through Samhain Publishing, my home away from home. They’ve done a great job over the past year building a horror brand and getting the word out. Just a fantastic publisher to be with.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript.
This was a true lesson in meeting tight deadlines. I needed to get the story written and revised many times all in under a month. The first draft was done in 2 weeks where I did nothing but write. I spent the next 2 weeks revising. I think the frenetic pace I had to keep in writing it is reflected in the story. Thankfully, I picked something that was a blast to write.
8. Who or what inspired you to write the book?
Well, my editor asking for a book pronto lit the fire under my ass. The fact that I can’t shake my fascination with monsters gave the subject to me on a silver platter.
9. What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
I like to think that I did something with Bigfoot that hasn’t quite been done before. First, not much love is given to skunk apes. Making them bad yet sympathetic, just like their human counterpart, Rooster, was an interesting way to approach the book. In the end, whether man or beast, we all have our light and dark sides. And God help us when darkness descends.
My favorite day is finally here. And even though Hurricane Sandy has pushed the festivities in my area to Saturday, we’re all going to do our best to keep in the spirit today.
As a special treat, here is chapter 3 of my gothic tale of possession and intrigue, MERCY. The first 2 chapters were published on Pen of the Damned. If you need to catch up, you can read chapter 1 here and chapter 2 here. The 4th and final chapter will be posted in early December on the POTD site.
Now sit back by a roaring fire, turn down the lights and go back over 120 years to the land of Mercy, where evil is afoot and two girls find themselves alone in the Old Manse…
MERCY – PART 3
Father had to go to Royal Tunbridge Wells on business, and said he would be back in a week’s time. We so wished he would stay, but daren’t ask that of him. He was an important man, and his business kept us in a lifestyle that others envied.
Esther remained in hospital. Her condition had gown dire as infection spread from one leg to the other. Blood poisoning, they called it. No one knew what had done such a thing to her. It must have been an animal, perhaps a sick wolf that had come round our house. It was the only theory that made sense.
Mother had been sedated to the point where she was nothing more than a slip of a phantom, drifting throughout the Old Manse at odd hours. Most days, she didn’t even recognize us. Her occasional jabberings as she roamed the dark house at night chilled me to the bone. My mother had become the shambling embodiment of my nightmares.
Jessamine and I did the cooking and cleaning while Father was away, and made sure Mother didn’t waste away to nothing in between doses of laudanum.
I was bringing up a tray of broth, brown bread and cold chicken when Jessamine shouted from Mother’s room.
“Mercy, come quick!”
Placing the tray on the floor, I ran to the room. Jessamine stood by Mother’s bed, her mouth agape. Mother slept, unaware of our intrusion.
“Blood!” I exclaimed.
Streams of crimson stained the crisp, white sheets.
“Look!” Jessamine said, pointing at mother’s left hand.
Mother’s ring finger was gone. A nub of yellow bone poked out of the gore that remained of her finger. There was no trace of the finger itself; only the bloody show left in its leaving’s wake.
“What…what happened?” I said. My vision began to tilt and I felt ready to fall. Jessamine’s firm grip on my arm kept me upright.
“I don’t know. It looks like most of the bleeding has stopped. Here, press the sheet against it while I go get Dr. Fenimore”
Even though it was Mother on the bed, wounded yet serene, the thought of touching that space where her finger used to be brought a a wave of revulsion that threatened to spill from my mouth. I recoiled.
Jessamine was insistent. “I know what you’re feeling, but you must do what I say. I’ll return with the doctor before you know it.”
Before I could protest, she was down the stairs and out the door. I heard the clatter of our mare’s hooves pound upon the path to the Old Manse. Mother slept on while I prayed, my trembling hand doing its best to keep pressure on the nub. I looked longingly at my room across the hall, wishing I had Lucy under my arm to comfort me.
“And you didn’t see or hear anything?” Dr. Fenimore asked. His bulbous, veiny nose twitched when he spoke.
“Nothing,” Jessamine answered. “I was right next door, reading, and Mercy was downstairs preparing supper for mother.”
I nodded, slightly afraid of the corpulent, old doctor. His body and his personality filled the room.
He snorted. “This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Not counting Esther, I thought.
“How on earth could an animal waltz right in and do something like this without either of you noticing? It makes no sense.” He reached into his valet and extracted a bottle of clear liquid and a thick pad of gauze. “Your mother is going to be disoriented when I wake her up. I need you both to keep her calm and help me get her to my carriage.”
He poured the liquid on the gauze and wafted it under her nose. Mother’s eyes fluttered open and she sat up gasping.
When she saw the blood, she asked excitedly, “What’s this? Why is the doctor here? What have you done?”
We did our best to sooth her, but when she saw her hand, she began to wail until she was in full hysterics.
“Get her on her feet and help me walks her downstairs,” the doctor ordered.
It wasn’t easy, and her blood, flowing once again, spattered the walls and floor. Once she was in the doctor’s carriage and sedated , he turned to us and said, “I’ll send word to your father. You mother will have to go to hospital. I don’t want what’s happened to your charwoman to repeat itself. Keep your doors and windows barred and be wary of any stray animals about. Do you hear?”
We both nodded. Before we could ask a single question, he cracked the whip over his horse and rumbled out of sight.
That night, the Old Manse was bathed in gloom. Not just from the moonless night, but from the heaviness in our hearts.
Normal sounds, like wind against the eaves or the bark of a stray dog, made us jump. We lit as many candles as we could to defy the dark. Jessamine suggested we spend the night in the parlor, surrounded by our family’s books, craft works and piano.
“We could play music until dawn. That always cheers you up,” Jessamine said. Her fingers nibly braided my long hair.
“I’m not in the mood for music,” I said. I sat on the settee with Lucy in my lap. Her painted blue eyes looked into my own. Lucy wasn’t afraid. I so wish I could be like Lucy, a creature of porcelain and fabric, fearless and unaware of the dangers that lurked about our home.
Jessamine sighed. “It’s just as well. I don’t think I have the mind to play anyway. What should we do?”
An idea blossomed. I exclaimed, “Father always said that knowledge is power. We’re afraid because we don’t know what’s happening. Like when you were…”
“Possessed,” she said, staring at the floor.
I didn’t want to hurt her, but most of all, I didn’t want to open the doorway for the evil to return, not even the slightest crack, just as Father had warned me.
But then, I thought, wasn’t some form of evil alive in the Manse yet again?
“Well, when it first started, we were all so terrified. We spent months in a kind of daze, ” I continued.
“I remember, at least in the beginning.”
“It wasn’t until father began reading, searching for the cause of your sickness, that things began to get better. Once he knew what was happening to you, he also knew what needed to be done to stop it.” I was beginning to grow bold, bolstered by my own logic.
“Do you think the demon is back, within me? Do you think I’ve done this to Esther and Mother?” Jessamine’s eyes were wide and wet, shivering like disturbed pools with terror.
I violently shook my head. “No, of course not. Believe me, I would know if that was the case. You were unrecognizable when you were under the devil’s spell. No, this is something different. Maybe if we look in the books that Father gathered back then, we can find our answer!”
The old grandfather clock chimed nine o’clock. We both let out a sharp cry.
“Look at us, afraid of clocks,” Jessamine said with a quivering laugh.
“Not for long,” I said. I pulled an armful of books from one of the shelves and poured them onto the floor. “After you.”
We read deep into the night, skimming through Bibles, books on witchcraft, Medieval monsters, essays on chimeras, beasts and tales of shape shifters. They should have frozen our blood with their stories of godless creatures and death, but we remained true to our task.
To find the truth of the matter.
Some time after midnight, I closed a heavy book with a loud thunk and leaned back against Father’s chair.
“My eyes are going cross,” I said with a yawn.
Jessamine didn’t reply. Her head remained within the pages of a black, leather bound book that was almost as big as me.
“What do we know so far?” she eventually asked, her voice muffled behind the book.
“That Esther and Mother both had parts of their bodies eaten by a supposed animal. Yet no one has seen or heard anything.”
She slammed the book down on the floor and pointed. “I think I found our culprit.”
I moved round to sit by her side.
Her finger rested on a drawing of a horrid creature. It was short, standing on two deformed legs, skin the sickly color of an algae-infested pond, with warts suppurating along every inch of vile flesh. Sharp fangs sprouted from the overbite in its mouth and talons dangled from fingertips that were twisted like an old tree.
“That’s disgusting!” I gasped.
“Most ghouls are,” she said. “They can transport from one place to another with merely a thought, and people claim they are able to change shape in order to camouflage themselves within the real world. Here’s the part that caught my eye.”
I read aloud. “Ghouls exist for one thing: to consume the flesh of humans, whether dead or alive. Demonic in nature, ghouls have been known to lead people, especially small children, astray so they can feast upon their flesh. Once a victim has been marked by the bite of a ghoul, it will come back often, taking what it can, until life can be sustained no more. A man or woman marked by a ghoul is marked for death.”
I felt hot tears well up in my eyes and my vision blurred. “Mother’s going to die?”
“Not necessarily,” Jessamine said. “Read on.”
“To free a victim from the ghoul’s poison, one must catch the ghoul in the act of extracting its scrap of human meat. The ghoul can be destroyed by the kiss of flame to its evil eyes. Be wary! Ghouls are as hard to restrain as they are to find. Beware of its bite, lest you be marked as well.”
I wiped a tear from my eye. “That’s little help. It doesn’t tell us how to find or catch one, if that’s truly what’s plaguing our family.”
“But it does say it’s demonic in nature. Mercy, I’ve already danced with a demon. I know that I would be able to feel its presence if it came near. I think that’s why it’s gone after Esther and Mother. It’s kept clear of me to remain hidden.”
“So what do we do?” Despair began to take hold of me and all I wanted to do was saddle our mare and find Father, even if it meant riding all night, alone in the dark.
Jessamine closed the book and pulled me close. “Tonight, you stay by me. I doubt any ghoul would dare come to you as long as you’re in my embrace. I’ll stay up and watch over you. Get some sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll think of something.”
I fought sleep for as long as I could. I desperately wanted to stay awake. However, my eyelids felt like great slabs of stone and I couldn’t stop from yawning.
“You promise you’ll hold me all night, and never take your eyes off me?” I asked.
She smiled, and brushed a lock of my hair from my face. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
I nestled my head into her lap, pulled Lucy under my arm, and let the sandman in.
It’s Terrortober and I have the books you should be reading right here. Now, those of you following me on Twitter know that every day I post what horror movie I’ve watched with a rating and the hashtag, Terrortober. To add to the fun, the Monster Men have put together an episode dedicated to a plethora of great books available at Samhain Horror.
OK, grab a pen and paper and get ready for your mandatory reading list. This will count for 75% of your grade!
I’m back from a tiny vacation and working like a madman down in my dungeon where I keep my computer and ghosts in a jar. I’m very happy to share my first ever gothic horror tale, MERCY. Part 1 is featured on the Pen of the Damned website. It starts with an exorcism, and goes into dark, myserious places from there. You can’t beat the price (Free!). Check it out when you have a chance and hit those share links at the end of the story to let folks on FB, Twitter, and everywhere know where to find it.
Special thanks to my ghoulish assistants, Ivy and Veronica Shea, who dreamt up this creepy story and gave me inspiration.
Now, Part 2 isn’t scheduled to be out for another 7 weeks, but if I get enough demand, I’ll feature it right here on the blog sooner, followed by Part 3 on Pen of the Damned. It’s all in your hands now. (cue sinister laughter)
And if you dig this, Evil Eternal is right up your alley!
Back when I was just a guy who loved to read books and hadn’t thought of writing my own, I was blown away by the genre hopping greatness of this Texan dude named Joe R. Lansdale. He could effortlessly go from western to comedy to horror to high drama without missing a beat. I’ve been an ardent fan for decades and thought meeting him 2 years ago was the high point of my fanaticism.
From the publisher :
For the first time collected together, the best weird fiction from Morpheus Tales, the UK’s most controversial weird fiction magazine! Only the very best weird fiction has been hand-picked from the Morpheus Tales archives to create the second collected volume of the magazine Christopher Fowler calls “edgy and dark”. Featuring fiction by K.C. Ball, Skadi medic Beorh, L. R. Bonehill, Tonia Brown, Jesse Click, Tim Eagle, Chris Ewing, Ray Garton, Lee Gimenez, Gail Gray, K.J. Hannah Greenberg, Ian Hunter, Gary Inbinder, Dev Jarrett, Mark Howard Jones, Paul Johnson-Jovanovic, Fred R. Kane, Brian Kutco, Joe R. Lansdale, David Lear, B. Miller, Louise Morgan, Lee Pletzers, Hunter Shea, Fred Venturini, Nathan Wellman, C.E. Zacherl, and A. David Zapata. Established horror best-sellers rub shoulders with rising stars and newcomers in this diverse collection of short weird fiction.
Lovely cover, ain’t it? I’m so thrilled to be a part of this, I feel compelled to find some Lone Star and celebrate!
E-book can be found at Amazon (with print coming soon).
It’s been a while since I posted an original story here on the old blog and chain. This one is for my sister and brother-in-law, right down to the Cowboys jersey. This is a little flash fiction piece I call “Dinner With Ghost Hunters”. Hope you enjoy it. Please comment away!
It had long been a rule of Tom’s not to go to dinner parties hosted by people he either didn’t know or didn’t like. He gripped the steering wheel a little too hard on the ride to the Gundersons, angry at Carolyn for ignoring one of his cardinal rules.
As they pulled into the driveway, he said, “Okay, call me when you’re done and I’ll pick you up.”
Carolyn playfully slapped his arm, ignoring his discomfort. “At least you’ll get a free meal out of it.”
“Yeah, at what cost?”
Tom was so busy fuming about the night ahead that he didn’t notice the parked van until he walked smack into the rear double doors.
Carolyn was already at the front door, pinwheeling one hand to urge him forward. He joined her side, a tad woozy and holding his nose. Carolyn paid him no mind.
Missy Gunderson answered the door wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey and denim shorts. Hank Gunderson came up behind her smiling in his blue Giants jersey.
“Hey guys, come on in!,” Missy said. “We were hoping you could stay after dinner and watch the game. Hank just got one of those huge plasma TVs and is dying to show it off to someone.”
Casual dress? Plasma TV? Football?
Maybe I’ve been wrong about all of this, Tom thought.
After a round of introductions, Hank led them to the dining room for cocktails. As they walked past the living room, Tom noticed three men and one woman sitting in front of a folding table loaded with small monitors and computers. The quartet never looked their way.
“Don’t mind them,” Hank said to Tom. “They’ve been here for a week and we barely even notice them anymore.”
“Who are they?” Tom asked. Carolyn shot him a cautionary look. Don’t pry her eyes pleaded.
Missy laughed and said, “You’re not gonna believe this, but they’re from that TV show, Ghost Trackers. Hank thinks this house is haunted, so one night after watching the show he sent them an email and, well, here they are. I was dead set against it but they paid us some money, so Tom gets his TV and I get my new laptop.”
“And most importantly, I get some answers,” Hank added.
“Sounds exciting,” Carolyn said.
Missy leaned towards Tom and Carolyn and said, “Trust me, it’s pretty boring stuff. They do a lot of walking around and looking at monitors. I don’t know how they stay awake.”
Hank walked in carrying a tray of margaritas and they settled into the dining room. And true to Hank’s word, they soon forgot about the Ghost Trackers team in the next room. Tom quietly admitted to himself that he actually liked the Gundersons.
Two pleasant hours and one delicious steak dinner later, Tom was startled by the sound of high pitched beeping coming from the living room. That was followed by the shuffling of feet and excited conversation.
“What’s going on?” Tom said.
Hank peered into the living room, his arm frozen in place, drink halfway to his lips. “I have no idea.”
One of the team members rushed into the dining room and turned off the lights. “Get a camera in here!” he shouted.
The rest of the team followed, one holding a little handheld device that whined nervously, another with something that looked like a radar gun and two with large cameras propped on their shoulders.
“It’s right over there,” the woman shouted, pointing towards the area behind Tom.
“Flash!” someone shouted and a camera flash went off, momentarily blinding everyone.
“What’s over here?” Tom asked. He was promptly shushed by the woman.
“Do you see that mist, just over his head?” one of the cameramen whispered.
Tom jerked his head around but only saw darkness.
“Temperature’s dropping. Down five degrees, seven, ten degrees.”
“EMF is spiking at five. It’s right here, I can feel it.”
“Whoa, did you see that blue light? It just went behind him!”
Tom grabbed Carolyn’s hand and knocked over his chair as he jumped to his feet.
“We’re outta here,” Tom shouted. Again, he was shushed.
“It’s following him. Quick, keep a camera on him.”
Tom and Carolyn made their way through the darkened house while the Gundresona sat in mute shock. He slammed the front door on the cameraman that was hot on his heels, leaving the madness behind them.
“And that’s why I have rules,” he said to Carolyn, and promptly smashed face-first, again, into the front of the Ghost Trackers van.