Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hello Ween'er

Erin Cole's 13 Days of Horror is almost at a close - what a fantastic set of stories she has had again this year. I have enjoyed them all so far.

If you haven't had a chance to read them, please do so. There are some fantastic writers showcasing their work, and Erin is such a champ for hosting them.

Last year, I was extremely pleased to be selected to have a story there. It was called "Branded" and I really enjoyed the characters so I decided to go back and revisit them again this year. I have noticed that my style has changed somewhat (hopefully for the better) and I present this year's piece entitled "Hello Ween'er".

Hello Ween'er

“...and a Happy Halloween to you, too.” Jimmy waved goodbye, grinning like a lunatic with a packet of Crazy Gum. He knew it was stupid; the customers didn’t give two shits if he smiled and waved – would care even less if he did somersaults and sang the company song naked in six foot of snow. Nope, them bastards just wanted him to fill ‘er up and don’t forget to give the window a good cleanin’ – those damn bugs were everywhere tonight. Is this place built on a fucking swamp? Jimmy would chuckle, nod and then curse them under his breath as they drove off.

When the taillights faded into the distance, Jimmy walked back across the driveway to the store when two figures, standing under a street lamp some hundred yards or so up the road caught his eye. Something about them was familiar...

“Oh, settle down Jimmy.” The words were meant to come out strong and authoritative, but were little more than a whimper by the time he finished. The whimper became a shiver (that became a tremble) as the names Damien and Lilith slapped him broadside across his head – names he had hoped to never hear again.


Jimmy discovered he was holding his breath as the two strangers crossed the concrete apron beside the driveway. The hair stood on the back of his neck and he could feel his balls trying to crawl into his abdomen. They stopped beside the gas pumps at the furthest edge of the driveway. The taller of the two (had to be a man – just look at the size of the fucker) raised his hands in the air and Jimmy could feel his heart doing the quickstep inside his ribcage. With a rush, he brought his hands back down and the fuel pumps exploded; balls of fire roared into the night sky, blinding him momentarily. The heat forced him backwards, and his eyes slowly regained their focus.

What he saw on first inspection of the destruction outside scared him; he could see them, standing there (damn, they were smiling) and they continued toward the front entrance. He got up from behind the counter with the intention of locking the doors, only to be halted by a terrible sense of déjà-vu. A memory of last year’s Halloween; his best friend Richard; impaled with a fireplace poker by a lunatic. That memory scared Jimmy six ways to Sunday.

He wheeled about on the heel of his Doc Martens, crashed through the door to the rear office and came face to face with the man of his nightmares. In a flash, a gloved hand – all sinew and strength - grabbed Jimmy by the throat – he thought he could hear the bones in his neck start to snap, crackle and pop.

A woman’s voice – dull and lifeless - reached his ears and for a moment, Jimmy thought it had come from the big guy who was using his Adam’s apple as a stress ball. Jimmy had to fight the urge to laugh and then the realisation come that maybe that wasn’t such a flash idea after all.

“Let him go, Damien.” The monster released his grip slightly – enough for the sweet taste of oxygen to fill his lungs, but not enough for Jimmy to make any use of his second wind.

Damien, Jimmy thought, damn I was right.

Lilith slithered up beside him and placed the palm of her hand against his cheek. Cold bitch, he though and, once again, had to stave off a case of the giggles. She ran a long, sharp fingernail down the length of his throat. Her cold, dead lips brushed against his ear.

“Nice to see you again, Jimmy – it has been far too long.” He felt his knees buckle slightly and the hulking presence that was Damien kept him on his feet. “Tell me where can I find the others?”

“The others? I don’t know where they are...we all went our separate ways after that night. I haven’t spoken to anyone since...”

“Liar!” Lilith screamed into Jimmy’s face. “You know what we do with liars, don’t you Jimmy?”

Jimmy didn’t know but was pretty sure he didn’t want to find out.

“Why did you run, Jimmy? You and Emily – and the others – were warned what would happen if you did. Now, your spur-of-the-moment, chicken-with-its-head-cut-off decision has come home to roost.” Lilith smiled at her own little joke. “Are you going to tell me where they are, Jimmy?”

One quick shake of the head – two, three – and Lilith screamed; in agony or frustration, Jimmy wasn’t sure, but he was sure-as-shit of the extra-long, blood-red fingernails pointed directly at his throat, and the intention that he could see in her eyes.

“Too bad, Jimmy...just, too bad.”


Outside, a car pulled up beside the gas pumps as Lilith and Damien searched the office for some clues to the whereabouts of the others. Lilith saw the vehicle arrive and nodded to Damien to take care of the unwanted attention.

“What the fuck happened here?”

Damien approached the driver’s side window. “Leave.”

“Don’t get pissy, mister, just askin’ a question.”

Damien reached in through the partially opened window and drove his fist into the startled man’s chest, ripping his heart from his chest and holding it up above his head – like a trophy. Damien spread his mouth wide, clamping down on the drivers face; tearing away skin and bone in easy, practised movements. The body of the dead driver flopped onto the cement driveway with a dull thump.

The sound of the store’s automatic doors distracted Damien as Lilith emerged holding a small, red book in one hand, serviettes in the other. “Clean yourself up, Damien – you look like an animal.” She passed him the handful of napkins. “Now, let’s get moving – I found Jimmy’s ‘Little Black Book’. I know where they are.”

She closed her eyes and smiled “Let the pain and suffering begin - again.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Call For Submissions - The Glass Coin

OPEN MINDS - The Glass Coin is Accepting Submissions for January & February.

January and February will be months for open minds.
There is no specific theme.
Explore an idea.
If you have a pair of ideas you may send those as well.

For these months, they will accept multiple submissions in the body of an email so they can see your ideas together.

The submission guidelines are here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bikes and Pink Dresses - I Dare You

An "I Dare You" Challenge at JM Prescott's "A Reader's World" story.

The challenge this week was issued by Julia Archer, which was "My dare this week is to write about a passage from light to dark." Below is my response to this challenge.

Bikes and Pink Dresses

Light bulb burns brightly...

Photo frames of a smiling girl; a thin layer of dust alters the colour of her blue eyes. Blonde-haired Barbies on the mantelpiece; a child’s age indicated by the mix and match of the doll’s clothing – these are still in pink dresses and ballet shoes. Youth trumps experience when it comes to dressing Barbie – who needs a teenage version with denim skirts and black boots? Teddy bears, tea seats, Hannah Montana – a snapshot of life, a moment in time preserved.

A window overlooks the backyard – a pink pushbike sits abandoned, covered in a fresh dusting of snow. A young child looks through the iron rails of the fence and wishes she could take that bike and make it her own – give it a life, and love, of its own, rather than being stranded and forgotten – just like the girl who once owned it.

A curtain flutters in the breeze yet the window is not open. The light is on yet there is no one home. Faces peer up at the window yet there is no one there.

Light bulb flickers...

Dark stains corrupt the perfect white carpet. Fragments of torn clothes lie scattered over chairs and the floor. Broken hearts and broken lives fled these rooms, leaving them as eternal reminders to a life denied.

A mother leans against the fence, weeping quietly. The once-pink bicycle, now tarnished with rust and ignorance, lies on its side, wheels spinning lazily in the breeze – a reminder of a better time; a time when little girls wanted to ride bikes and play with dolls in pink dresses.

A young girl appears in the window above her head. She waves to everyone but no one sees her; she stares at her reflection in the glass and hesitantly reaches to touch it. Ethereal, spectral, spiritual - she wails in pain once again.

Light bulb burns out...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dog Days Feature At The NOT!

My story, Hearts Grow Fonder, is up at the NOT!

Mine was one of many, many excellent pieces - I don't know how Mr. S did it, but what a collection!!

Do yourself a favour and get over there and read some magnificent 101-word pieces. You won't be disappointed!! You can even download the whole eChapbook HERE.