You know I can’t release a book without having a very special episode of Monster Men (kinda like Blossom, she of Amy Farrah Fowler fame).
Jack and I talk about the inspiration behind the true ghost story and how it impacted my own life. If you haven’t picked up The Waiting yet, hopefully this will give you that last nudge.
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.
I have a special treat for you today (I’ll save the tricks for Samhain eve). Today’s guest post by Adrian Rawlings talks about the do’s and don’ts of fleeing from a crazed killer, ala Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees. This is prime stuff, not to be missed if you live near a camp or broken down house with a sketchy past or anywhere in the Bronx.
Read on, then run to your TV and watch your favorite slasher flick!
You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide…
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
A horror movie really cuts to the core of our psyches when it hits close to home. Literally.
Long before R. Kelly took the world by storm with “Trapped in the Closet” (some would call this a horror of a film, but I digress and disagree), Michael Myers was driving Laurie Strode into the same fate.
You know how it goes. You’re enjoying a nice bubble bath, thinking about life, relaxing and minding your own business, when all of a sudden, the call is coming from inside the house.
Your location has been compromised. There’s no rewinding the tape on that one. Now what do you do?
~ The worst place to hide is, as we all know, the closet. It’s the first place murderers are going to look, and there’s only one way out – the way he’s coming in, cleaver first.
~ Don’t hide in the shower. Not only can a bloodthirsty Psycho see right through the curtain or misty glass. Is that how you want to go? And how easy is that cleanup going to be? Prints destroyed, blood washed away. Don’t be so easy.
~ Come on, don’t hide under the bed. Monsters inherently live under there, so they’ll certainly look there first. Same goes for hiding under other pieces of large furniture.
~ Push that copy of Steven King’s IT and step into your rifle-and-canned-food-filled secret passageway. This may be an extreme, but every house has some secret hiding places. Here are 35 secret passages that can be built in to homes.
~ How flexible are you feeling? Can you hold yourself up near the ceiling using four points of contact? Serial killers too often wear masks or have parts of their faces missing, so peripheral vision is not their strong point. Try hiding in an unlikely kitchen cabinet, a bean bag chair, etc. Get creative in where you would hide to avoid becoming an easy target. Look for a piece of furniture you can fit into instead of under.
~ Run outside… with caution. It will most likely be night time. Are you wearing white? A negligee? A white negligee and it is raining? These things make your capture all the more likely. However, if you live near a police station or a town with an unsexy nightlife, you are going to be fine. Hopefully you don’t have to run through the woods, if you do your chances of surviving decreases tremendously.
The serial killer trope will always be alive and well, no pun intended. That’s why they’re serial.
The more they murder, the better they are at hide-and-seek. Deep in our fragile cores, we’re all pretty terrified of a home invasion that results in the ultimate, undignified, drooling-and-shitting-our pants-sacrifice. Hide-and-seek is a universally loved childhood game. Keep your head, don’t move or breathe, and you’ll live to see the sequel. Stay up on the chiller horror shows on Directtv to see how people are being found by their killers. Avoid following those same footprints if you find yourself in those unfortunate predicaments.
Adrian Rawlings is a TV and horror blogger. Look to him for the scoop on hit movies and TV shows, horror, tech reviews, how-to’s, and more.
Location. Location. Location. Real estate’s three most important considerations also apply to fiction. Horror writers need the right location for a creepy story. Well, forget the abandoned house, the derelict cruise ship, clown college (shiver!) As Hunter Shea’s SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and my new novel BLACK MAGIC demonstrate, head for the Everglades.
Everglades National Park takes up the southern tip of Florida. It’s a swampy savannah that stretches out flat as far as the eye can see. It’s sometimes flooded, sometimes not, and dotted with islands of trees. There are good reasons (other than Skunk Apes) to put the Everglades high on the horror locale list:
1. Isolation. Though it’s just miles from Miami, cross the park border and there’s nothing and no one out there. No cell service, no roads and once you trek a few miles in, no landmarks worth mentioning. Expect to get lost moments after starting your hike. Especially in the dark.
2. Scary creatures. I have an evil sorcerer in BLACK MAGIC to up the scare factor, but the Everglades has its own menagerie from Hell. Alligators, crocodiles, vultures, deadly cottonmouth snakes, literally tons of mosquitoes, plus stingrays, sharks and jellyfish where the ‘Glades meet Biscayne Bay. The last time I visited, I counted sixteen alligators and crocodiles sunning themselves at just one observation point. Who’d ever want to meander through that?
Recently anacondas have taken up residence, after being released by moronic owners when they grew to adult size at over fifteen feet and 220 pounds. These constrictors eat anything and everything and have no natural predators. In my novel I describe one eating a deer. I did not make that up. There’s a picture on the NPS website if you don’t believe me.
In BLACK MAGIC, sorcerer Lyle Miller summons all of these creatures (and razor-toothed killer rabbits) to defend him as he tricks unwitting boys to help conjure a hurricane over south Florida. Read this non-tourist friendly Florida tale and you may cross the Everglades off your bucket list, if SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE didn’t already do that for you. — Russell James
Hunter here. I highly suggest you grab a copy of Black Magic. Perfect summer reading! You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the links below:
You can also tag along with Russell as he journeys into the dark and strange at his website.
You are all in for a treat today. Jack Campisi, my fellow Monster Man, has a little something to say about ghosts. I hope this is the start of many guest posts to come. Read on, and remember not to cross his stream….
There is something about a good ghost movie that scares you like no other kind of film. The suspense, tension and inherent creepiness really separate them from the rest of the horror genre. On the latest episode of the Monster Men video podcast, Hunter and I discuss some of the best and worst ghost and haunted house movies of all time. As a kid, there are all kinds of things to be afraid of, like vampires, zombies, demons, hockey-masked killing machines and so on. So why, out of all the vile creatures the pantheon of the paranormal, do ghosts hold such a special place in our hearts?
Maybe it’s because we can’t always see them, so they can sneak up on us pretty easily. Or perhaps it’s because they visit us at night when we are sleeping and vulnerable. I think it’s because out of all the things that go bump in the night, ghosts are the only ones that we still kind of believe in even after we grow up.
Think about it, as a little kid you believe in ghosts along with the monsters in your closet, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and everything else. As you get older, you start to realize that there are no such things as vampires or zombies, but when you hear a strange noise in your house or a door closes on it’s own, you still might suspect a ghost is to blame. Plus, the current landscape of TV does nothing but encourage you believe in ghosts with an endless array of paranormal investigation and medium shows that feature a whole host of adults who not only believe in ghosts, but also have their own TV shows about them.
As Hunter and I went through our list of ghost movies, a few of them stood out for me as particularly memorable or impactful. The one that comes to mind first is Poltergeist. Steven Spielberg’s entry into the haunted house genre brought ghosts into the modern world, set in a brand new housing development rather than a creepy old mansion. It also used state of the art special effects to go where no ghost movie had gone before. But for me, the thing that put Poltergeist over the top was the clown scene.
Throughout the movie, the son in the family is constantly leery of the creepy clown doll that sits by his bed. Then one night all hell breaks loose! The clown comes to life and attacks him. While he is pulled under his bed by this horrific harlequin, his mother is tossed around her bedroom by another entity, making her unable to come to his rescue. As a person who had a healthy fear of clowns when I was little, Spielberg had certainly struck a nerve with this scene. One of my childhood fears was being played out on the screen in front of me.
Then something amazing happens. The kid gets mad… and he fights back!
As a child, it had never occurred to me that I could fight back against a ghost. I’m telling you, as little Robbie Freeling punched that damn clown in the movie, I swung along with him, cheering his every blow. It was awesome and a bit cathartic.
That scene made me think of another great concept brought up in Ghostbusters, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, and not just because it’s hilarious. In Ghostbusters, three scientists figure out a way to capture and imprison ghosts. I really think the idea of capturing ghosts is brilliant. It easily could have been the premise of a serious movie and it works perfectly here. Again, it is a case of the people fighting back, which up until this time was something that was usually only possible with the help of a psychic or some other type of shaman or mystic.
As I watch some of these paranormal TV shows, and I see these “investigators” attempt to clear a house of a malevolent presence, I think that there must be an easier way. Rather than reciting all of those incantations, or burning incense, why not just set a boom box in the middle of the house and just start cranking the Ghostbusters theme over and over again?
It seems to me that the more you say “I ain’t afraid o’ no ghost!” the less power these phantoms have over you… whether they are real or imagined. And if you sing it, it works even better.
I don’t know for sure, but that’s the best advice I can give you. After all, I am not a paranormal investigator; I’m just a guy who loves scary movies.
And hates clowns.
What are some of your favorite ghost movies? What are your favorite moments? And which ones still haunt you today? Check out the latest episode of Monster Men and then tell us what you think. I’ve shared my story, now it’s your turn.