Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Bottom Step

Johnny stood on the basement’s bottom step intrigued by the sight of the little, wickedly gruesome looking, no bigger than a common garden gnome, creature stare directly back at him from the shadows of the corner.

Pretending, but without touching, and getting closer each time, he would taunt it, sticking his pointed big toe directly toward the dirt floor, as if he was testing a pool's water temperature, and intending to step down.

The drooling creature’s parsed mouth offered sharp, glistening crooked teeth. While it's squinting yellowish eyes opened wider, taking notice and slightly rising, ready to pounce each time he did.

With a giggle, he pointed the toe again and stumbled, slipping off the edge of the wooden step and landing, back flush on the floor.

Immediately he felt jagged nails piercing deep; gripping tight into his flesh. Kicking and screaming, he saw the stairwell getting farther away and the surrounding shadows growing dimmer. Feeling hot moist saliva dripping into his short hair, he screamed again…and the creature bit down.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Just the other day, I was pondering how good it is to be alive. Enjoying the throes of very existence is a wonderful thing. Whether it is the wind, or the sun, or the rain, from daybreak to sunset, it is invigorating, exciting, enjoyable, and each day is pleasantly inviting. I can truly say I enjoy every minute of it.
I have watched and saw, all sorts of neighborhood children, big and small, with their bouncing balls and jumping ropes, frolicking and playing, their joyful voices cascading about like an exploded firework. I have seen lovers embracing in the dusk, their hearts fluttering full of love, their faces as bright as the fireflies that flickered around them. I have watched young hatchlings become mature, only to soar away, never to be seen or heard from again. I have smelled the apple blossom scent, flowing through the air, and the musty, moist, decay that the humidity would bring. There have been horrendous storms that literally terrified me, and the constant threat of instant mandible, beak, or fungi destruction that has also been somewhat frightening. Through it all, I hung in there, basically, savoring every moment and serenely enjoying the bliss.
Although, in more recent days, the bright cheerfulness has grown somewhat dim. and I haven’t been feeling up to par. This wasn’t a quick alteration. It certainly was subtle, and I never really noticed it…until now. Finding it eerie and odd, I have attempted to understand and analyze it, and I suppose it is normal. But, nonetheless, it is still quite difficult to accept. Aging, at times, can be excruciatingly painful, and there have been times that I wanted so desperately to cry out, simply hoping it would aid and assist in eliminating the hurt. I know there has to be millions of us that feel this way. But, it is no consolation; no one will listen to the pleas; the cries will never be heard. No one seems concerned. It is a festering loneliness, never, not even remotely fading, and having only increased. And, I suppose it will continue to do so.
The frequency and speed at which this has occurred is alarming and I have begun to enter the notion of a potential demise when I am forced to endure the horrible fact that many I have known my entire life are now disappearing. It began as a subtle occurrence, one by one, but is now to the point of unpredictability.
Call it a premonition if you will. But, someday soon, I’ll feel that I will be forced to succumb to the same demise. I too will disappear into the oblivion, with no one caring that I had. It is rather disheartening and most certainly discerning. But, I know its coming…I can feel it!
These subtle changes have become more and more prevalent. I am unable to maneuver as I once had and am now becoming feeble and somewhat stiff. It is discouraging and down right depressing at times. But, I do my best to contend, deal with, and remain strong.
But, does anyone ever know? What do their eyes see? Is it a meaningless existence?  This plight I harbor and hold dear with extreme concern, is probably, for many, not even worthy of consideration. Although, I do, for some strange reason, have this wild notion that many believe it to be a wonderful and glorious thing. I, on the other hand, don’t find it to be all that glorious. On the contrary, I find it demented, macabre, and quite despicable that many consider my demise in such a way. I don’t want to die and would feel quite horrible and unsettling if I entertained those types of thoughts about them.
And, I have grown to wonder, more often than not, as to why myself, as well as many others, have become the chosen ones. Who makes that decision? Why have I been forced to endure and confront such heinousness? Why must I suffer with something that others inadvertently find joy in? No sir, it certainly doesn’t seem fair.
Today I may have finally come to grips with the inevitableness that besieges me. Having closely contrasted and compared my symptoms with those of others, the terrifying conclusion is that they are one in the same.
Therefore, I will attempt to consol myself; accept the rustling winds of life to cool and pass by, potentially taking me with it. However, although I accept it, it is nowhere near inviting. The nights are increasingly becoming worse. And, each day’s warm glow is increasingly apparent to be a false façade that I no longer feel or appreciate. It is as though the grim reaper is chronically standing nearby, yet completely out of sight, and simply waiting for his moment to pounce. He is, much like most others, neither understanding nor sympathetic.
          Suddenly, I feel it happen and immediately know the time has come..
My mind screams out in indescribable horror. Yet no one hears, nor is a sound even heard. I flutter, aimlessly down, across and with the cold breeze, allowing it to grip tight, encompassing and taking me away from the security of the only place I have ever known. I now know it is to my inevitable demise and certain death. I can feel the light in me fade and give way to the dark. As I tumble, repeatedly, across the invisible force and constantly falling, the darkness gains speed and closes quickly.
I’m fading in and out rapidly now as the darkness constantly continues to whittle away at what little life I have left. The glowing Jack-O-Lantern I landed softly beside, and come to rest partly against, is oddly inviting. And, with my last whim of life, I realize that I am lying amongst my kind…and it is comforting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wanna cook up something really scary? Try this recipe!

This recipe took me many years to perfect and only serves one. With the proper ingredients, is quite easy to cook up. However, keep in mind that not everyone’s ingredients and quantities will be the exact same. This is a matter of personal preference and is certainly open for variation. It may also require adjustments along the way in order to find the absolutely best ingredients possible. Therefore, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work the first time and keep trying using different ingredients. I was nine when I happened upon my first successful main ingredient, allowing my first real savoring taste of movie inflicted horror delectability. It was with George Romero’s 1968 zombie masterpiece, “The Night of the Living Dead.” (Note: Now days, it is an absolute 100% chance that it will be playing on or near a remote control near you on or around Halloween, and can be a good choice to begin with.)
The second time I would stumble upon a successful main ingredient would be with “The Exorcist.” Arguably, one of the most horrifying films of all time that is about a Catholic priest, well, actually two of them, doing psychological battle with a ten-year-old little girl invading evil demon who calls himself the devil. It’s one of my all time Halloween favorites too. But, be forewarned: It is a very vulgar, sometimes sacrilegious, and horrifying film. Keep the youngsters as far away as possible! And, be sure to get the uncut version. It is considerably a more delicate flavor and certainly much more delicious.

Therefore, let’s bake shall we?

First, start with a big heaping bowl of a visit to the neighborhood movie rental store and get one, or even two scary movies. Of course, be sure to put some preliminary thought into it and take the time to consider your flavors.
Mix in a liberal amount of darkness. This is crucial, the darker the better. With a little luck, the darkness will be filled with scattered lightning flashes, howling winds, and heavy raindrops loudly pattering the roof. Of course, a deathly quiet, house creaking as it settles, night works well too.
Throw in a heaping quantity of I’m completely alone tonight. While it most assuredly can be enjoyable snuggling with a significant other, this will most assuredly limit the final product and desired reaction.
Toss in a pinch of surround sound. This allows all the embedded little odd film sounds to reverberate around the room, taking on a new meaning and usually forcing a quick, dart-like directional glance. Increase the volume as needed.
Pour a bowl of popcorn. But, be realistic and don’t expect to finish it. And, if held on a lap, there is a good possibility that it may end up cascading across the floor. Therefore, save yourself any potential cleaning and be sure to locate the bowl away from accidental bumping.
Press play and allow the ingredients and flavors to slowly simmer and congeal. Cooking times will vary. When you find that the edge of your seat seems to be your constant location, and just after turning toward the darkness to face that faint little noise that you thought you heard, it is done.

Eat hearty…

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm Killing My Wife!

Now, before we get started, lets get a couple of things straight. Actually, she is my fiancé, I simply consider her my wife. And, this has nothing to do with blood, guts, gore, murder, or a crime.  So, with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s continue…
I constantly write. Well, not exactly every single minute of every single day, but it does seem like it and, I would if I could. Regardless, we live in a rather small place. Not what you’d say is small enough to force going outside to change one’s mind, but small enough none-the-less, and this restricts our “quiet” spaces. I find that when I key bang, our living room recliner is where I’m most comfortable. Usually, the television is on but muted, our parrot Kenni is occasionally squawking, the telephone will ring from time to time, and I’m constantly glancing at the clock, hoping that I inadvertently didn’t “over-write” and thus, am late for work. Believe it or not, it works.
Now, there most assuredly is no defined moment when an idea strikes. But, when it does, typically I’ll be whole-heartedly submerged and immensely compelled to quickly get into the throes of jotting it down.
Of course, it’s not rocket science and I must admit that I have analyzed it somewhat. And, I have come to the conclusion that there are primarily two times when it occurs more often than not…while I’m standing nude, having just finished my shower and the water is still dripping from my nose…or… during the, (only one driveway, she works days and I work nights), transportation rearrangement. It is those times that I credit and appreciate this compulsion for automatically placing my legs and fingers under robotic control and directly taking me to my laptop. The other times, when the laptop is not around, the robotic control aims for the notebook chronically lingering in my back pocket.
But, not everyone in this household appreciates my focused compulsive behavior. However, considering that she has seen me published, her understanding and acceptance of my selfish passion has grown.

That was before last Thursday...

Her normal days off are Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I make every effort, most of the time failing miserably, to try to limit writing on those days so we can have quality time together. Sometimes, this passion of mine gets the better of me and I can’t help tapping out a few words, or paragraphs, or pages, or…you get the picture. Before long, the day is gone and quality time has inadvertently been bypassed and must be rescheduled for the following week. I do feel somewhat badly about it. Although, on the other hand, success requires commitment so, it’s a catch-22. I suppose I should just accept the fact that I shouldn’t write on her days off…but I’m stubborn, motivated, and maybe even addicted. Why I do it, I really don’t know. Especially since I typically (on her days off), don’t get much accomplished, other than, God bless her, discussing completely off-the-wall questions like “what do you think the ring of Saturn is made of?” or “if a seedless grape creates no seeds, then how did they grow in the first place?“ or “Do you like mauve or beige drapes?” - when I’m right in the middle of a paragraph. And, her very own stubbornness and impatience ensures the inability to wait for me to finish typing the thought before getting my answer. But, just for the record, most are interesting enough.
However, I’m a typical guy, and therefore could care less about the finer points of home decorating, let alone curtain colors. Maybe it's a chick thing? Point being, my immediate writing thought and overall concentration is abruptly halted in order to discuss one of these arbitrary and usually pointless questions.
Anyways, getting back to her days off and the Thursday thing… For two weeks, I had been viciously working hard on finishing up a piece called “Twitch” – a nineteen thousand plus word novella about a deformed carnival attraction that harbors a dark secret, and was putting on the final touches for submission to Hellfire Publishing. (Note: although I mention final touches, a typical writer, and I’m no different, never truly feels that their piece is completely finished and will therefore, constantly strive to write more. By the way, since then, the novella has been accepted and will be available July 15th
Regardless, on Wednesday, her first day off, she was remarkably silent and sparse. Doing things like facebooking, sitting on the back deck in the sun, and chattering away, like a broken record no doubt, on the telephone out of hearing range. I accomplished much since she was not in the living room watching a cheesy ancient black and white science fiction or horror movie (for the record, I enjoy them too), or asking no bearing whatsoever questions. Then came Thursday…
I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat back with my laptop, (that not finished writer thing), and hit key one. Sitting on the couch alongside the recliner drinking her morning cup, she comes out of the blue with, “Jeezz…I hope you don’t expect me to be like yesterday!” To which I replied, “I’m just trying to finish up Twitch.” Her reply, (an obvious television watching withdrawal symptom), “you’re killing me!”  And, looking from her perspective, I suppose maybe the writoholic in me was.
So, the television turned on and she began exploring the channel guide. (obviously setting the groundwork for the days’ couch laying movie extravaganza). I pondered her odd word selection choice and thought that it was rather drastic, harsh, and intense.

But, then again…I am a horror writer…so maybe it really wasn’t.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The House of Horror UK Duels

The House of Horror Duels is underway and it's my turn. It pits two writers’ head to head, has to utilize the subject they indicate, be written within 3 days, and be 500 or less words. The winner (per readers’ votes) stays in and the ultimate winner receive a spot in their coveted anthology. I've sent mine in. It hasn't been posted yet and fingers are crossed. Stay tuned...

The Eight Legs of Night

The alarm clock rang out at exactly seven-thirty am. Tim Antoine thought about hitting the snooze button, even went as far as to reach out toward it, and simply shut it off instead. He rolled over to the edge of the bed thinking, "tonight is the big Halloween costume party and I’m going to win it".
Being his favorite holiday, meticulously preparing for it was a personal pleasure that was most enjoyable and gratifying. This year was an all out evil clown getup. He couldn’t wait to put it on. Last year’s contest winning Grim Reaper costume came complete with an authentic scythe, borrowed from his father. In addition, while browsing at a yard sale, he stumbled upon a black five-foot chain and matching large round key ring with accompanying attached oversized keys. With the constant chain and keys clanking deeply together, the sound emphasized and completed the long sleeved hooded gown outfit, fully contributing to the overall fright effect. The one to two plus hours it took to carefully paint his face into a horrendous skull was certainly worth the time, and turned out to be quite convincing. But, he couldn’t use it again this year. Everyone would know who it was. It had to be completely and absurdly different. Halloween costume contests, according to common belief, are supposed to provide some sort of anonymity, at least until the stroke of midnight. And, with views firmly planted, never considered straying. Granted, it was a great costume, however, change was in order, and warranted, and after an extreme and extensive search, the clown was chosen.
Standing beside the bed, and rubbing his eyes for a moment, he then stretched, reaching his arms into the air, high over his head. Feeling something brushing against his forearm, he looked up to inspect what it was. Noticing a large and perfectly formed spider web reflecting the early morning sun that was beaming in through the window, it was now clinging to his arm and would glisten brightly with each movement. He jerked his arm back down and used his hand to quickly brush the web away, shivering in the process. It was at that very moment that he felt something ran over and across the top of his bare foot. Already somewhat startled, instinctively and simultaneously, he lifted his foot while looking down, just in time to see the probable owner of that web quickly scurry away and disappear underneath the bed. He put his foot back down onto the cold, wooden floor, turned around to face the edge of the bed, took a step forward, and considered whether to crouch down to give chase. The chill running down his spine held him back. Although, thinking that the creature was probably now hidden in some crevice and would be difficult at best to now find, he abandoned the idea and pondered whether he would ever sleep comfortably in that bed again, knowing that a large black spider had taken refuge underneath it. He recalled reading somewhere before, that many times, regardless of the location; there is usually a spider somewhere within three feet of a person. 
At the time, reading that useless piece of trivia was of no importance and dismissing it quickly, he buried it deep into his psyche, never really giving it another thought…until now. This was the very first time he was able to apply this useless stored knowledge. Of course, it never dawned on him that the theory also applied to where he actually slept, vulnerable to the nightly creeping critters, and it gave him a fright. He envisioned himself snoring soundly, while all sorts of crawlies treated his body, and especially his face as their personal stomping ground. Brushing his hand, down across his face, hoping that it would take away both the imaginary feeling that now incorporated his face, as well as the vision that suddenly invaded his mind. Of course, it didn’t. At least not fully, and it still lingered, festering steadily in the back of his mind.
Forcing his mind to return its thoughts back to the future evenings party, he entered the attached bathroom, attempting to start his day. Reaching into the shower, he grasped the faucet firmly and turned. Water began to spray out of the nozzle. Reaching out and placing a hand under the cascading shower, he felt the cooler water turn warm and then hot. On the verge of stepping under the falling water, he inadvertently looked down. There it was…the creature again, lying in wait, in the back and darkest corner at the base of the shower. Water began to flow up the tiled floor toward it and it lifted itself from the squatting position and took off, quickly running as fast as all it’s eight legs would carry it, across the floor of the shower, and around the edge of the now rising pool of water that began to form and grow over the drain. When it reached the curb of the shower, it sprang up and over it, completely missing it in the process and landing on the bathroom floor…where, without missing a step, it continued on its flight to safety right past him. Instinctively, he jumped backwards away from it, allowing it ample room to make its escape. When he did, slipped and almost fell. Catching hold of the edge of the sink, he rebalanced himself and frantically began searching the tile floor, hoping to get a glimpse of this most unwelcome visitor. But, it had vanished.
Tim unconsciously searched the whole shower, paying special attention to the corners. Finding it free of any other potentially frightening critters, he stepped into the shower, leaving the glass shower door wide open. While lathering and rinsing, he chronically watched through a constantly open eye, the bathrooms tiled floor, hoping to get a glimpse of that larger than usual eight-legged fiend. But, It never showed itself.
After finishing his shower, he reached for a, hung neatly on a rack, towel, and pulled it off. The creature clinging to the backside of it remained unseen, and as Tim raised it to dry his damp face, it jumped off and landed back down onto the bathroom floor, scampering away unseen and unscathed.
Tim wrapped the towel around his waist, tying it at his hip, and stood over to the sink. Pulling his toothbrush up and out of the holder, thoughts about the persistent bug continued to torment him and he couldn’t help but to scan the floor once again. Satisfied that he hadn’t seen it anywhere, he ladled the brush full of paste and began using it. While brushing he continued searching the portion of the floor that could be seen through the reflection in the mirror.
Afterward, he went back toward the bedroom, carefully eyeing the floor along the way, making special note of where exactly he was placing his feet. Reaching the doorway, he stopped at the threshold and looked through it at the inner wooden floor before entering, paying close attention to the edges of his bed’s perimeter. Nothing appeared, and being satisfied that it had obviously gone into hiding, continued on to the clothes dresser.
Pulling on the handles, the top drawer slid opened. There it was again… sitting on the top of carefully folded and stacked clothing, in all its hairy, black, and creepy glory. This time, Tim was close enough to see its beady little eyes looking directly back up at him. Stunned, he backed up just as the spider raised and scrambled across the clothing, up and over the top ledge of the inside back of the drawer, and disappeared into the darkness beyond. Realizing that he had inadvertently and subconsciously removed the towel, he was now clutching it in a death-like grip for use as a potential crushing weapon. But, it was too late and the creature was gone.
Taking a deep breath, he sighed and opened his hand, letting the towel drop to the floor. Somewhat hesitant, he stepped back forward to the open drawer, and slowly reached in. Slowly and carefully, he took out a pair of shorts, and vigorously shook them. Finding them free of any unwanted attachments, he put them on. Reaching in again, and this time taking out a tee shirt, he shook it with the same voracity. A black piece of something flew off and landed on his shoulder. He cried out, quivered, let go of the shirt, and immediately brushed it away, only to find that it was a small piece of lint. He watched it flutter and glide aimlessly, and harmlessly to the floor. Picking up the shirt, he re-inspected it, inside and out before putting it on.
After getting dressed, Tim sat down on the edge of the bed, content that the spider was no longer under it, and was now crouched, somewhere in the shadows, in or behind the clothes dresser.
With the stress and accompanying endless early morning scares, it had most assuredly taken its toll. He now felt utterly drained of any energy and worn out, as if he hadn’t slept at all. He couldn’t resist glancing at the floor once again. When there was no sign of the invader, a wave of relief came over him. He fell backwards onto the bed and he closed his eyes.
The alarm clock rang out at exactly seven-thirty am. Tim felt his soaking wet pajamas as he opened his eyes. A bewildered and perplexed look crossed over his face, and he looked above him, hoping to not see a spider web in the early morning sunlight.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Argument

This was a somewhat humorous piece that I had pondered for a while and finally got around to writing. A special thanks goes out to Amanda Goossen at Lit Fest Magazine for the wonderful and exceptional editing.

The campfire crackled and popped loudly as a spark flew up and out of it. It’s cherry red glow leaving a trail in the darkness as it cascaded down and landed directly on the Frankenstein monster’s foot. His dark, heavy eye lidded eyes nestled high on his greenish face immediately opened widely and showed fright. Quickly, he jumped up off the log where he was sitting and began stomping his oversized foot into the dry dusty dirt. As he did, a dust cloud formed around it. When he realized the amber was completely extinguished and gone, he calmed and sat back down.
Sitting to the right of him and watching the untimely event, Dracula, with his menacing white fangs reflecting in the campfire’s glow, let out a chuckle. Eventually, after the humor element subsided and his laughing stopped, his fangs came to rest sticking out and over his bottom lip. He hadn’t realized that he was tilting his martini type glass while doing so and almost spilled the entire authentic bloody Mary in the process. Righting his glass, he managed to save a small portion as he spoke with a thick Transylvanian accent. “See, you’re afraid of fire and I’m not. Therefore, that makes me the better classic monster!”
“Ah baloney Dracs,” Wolfman, sitting next to him chimed in. “That doesn’t make you the better monster at all. Everyone has a fear of fire. As a matter of fact, it could destroy each and every one of us and is probably considered a universal fear. So, let’s get this straight right now….alright?” He brushed his hair away from his yellow eyes conceitedly and sat up a bit more, obviously feeling somewhat empowered.
Sitting directly across from the other three, the half man-half fish Black Lagoon Creature ignored them and concentrated on placing a head to tail row of freshly caught minnows on his roasting stick, gurgling in the process.
“Shut up! Fish lips, don’t say it!” Wolfman snapped at him. The creature took note and gazed back through his large eyes, flaring his gills in the process. “We all know that water is fire’s worst enemy and I would say that gives you an unfair advantage. And, for that matter, how many movies have you actually been in? Two, maybe three…tops? That pretty much sums it up and tosses you out of this equation doesn’t it?”
“Well now, just hold on there Wolfy,” Frank’s deep and somewhat labored voice boomed and seemed to amplify in the surrounding darkness. “That’s not what you would call fair…now is it? We are all quite well known and I would w-w-wager to s-s-say,” he stuttered a bit, caught himself, and continued. “If you took a poll of lets say…one hundred monster loving movie people, you would probably find Lagooner on the list somewhere in the top ten. Of course, that would p-p-probably depend upon the age group of those polled too.
The vampire cut him off, “That is quite true. All the new breed types of horror movie monsters that have come on the scene within the last twenty or so years seem to make us somewhat obsolete. Look at Freddy or Jason. What about Michael Myers? So, if you were to poll anyone at all and ask each, who the best or scariest classic monster is, you would surely need to distinguish the age group first. Otherwise, the older generation would most assuredly choose one of us…while the newer and younger generation may very well choose one of them. Therefore, lets define classic first”
Lagooner nodded vigorously, pulling his fish encrusted roasting stick out of the fire. He took his webbed hand and slid the one nearest to the end off and popped it into his mouth. His large, wide-open eyes glistened as he continued to nod while chewing.
“And, another thing,” Dracula continued, “Take it easy Wolfy my main man,” he took the last sip of his drink, used his tongue to catch the small red trickle from the corner of his mouth, pulled the celery stalk out of the glass, licked it clean, and tossed it into the fire.
“W-w-wha’d ya do that for?” Franks spoke while intently watching the flames flicker around it as the enveloping heat forced it to hiss and shrivel in the process. “That’s gonna cause another spark to fly out,” he added. 
“I’m sorry Franks, I just wasn’t thinking. I’ll be more careful next time,” Dracs retorted as he tossed the empty glass aside.
“So…as I was saying when I was so rudely cut off,” Dracula continued, his red infused eyes clearly standing out against the firelight. He gave Franks a wink and turned toward the wolfman. “Wolfy, you’re such a egotistical snot. Don’t you realize that we are probably your only friends? You really need to be a little bit nicer to all of us and stop being so sarcastic and mean. We all need to stay a close-knit family with a common bond and stick together. I know you rage from time to time but lets try to keep this discussion as diplomatic as possible and keep a little shred of respect…okay?”
“Alright,” Wolfy nodded back toward him. He then turned toward Lagooner, “I’m sorry pal.” The creature heard him but was more content with his personal fish roast and slid the last remaining fish off the tip of the stick. He held it in his open webbed palm and offered it to Wolfy. Wolfy leaned back a bit, obviously repulsed, raised both of his furry, long nailed paws palms out, and declined the offer. “Thanks anyway fish breath. I prefer my meal raw.” The creature shrugged his shoulders and popped it into his mouth.
Dracula continued, “So, lets get back on track shall we? Where were we?”
Franks neck bolts glistened in the full moonlight as he spoke. “We were discussing who is the better classic monster. I know one thing. At least I can go out anytime I want, day or night, which is more than I can say for two of you guys. Lagooner, you have to stay in water most of the time and that sort of hampers you somewhat. And…fire is the only thing that seems to trouble me a bit. The way I see it, if I stay away from burning buildings and fire in general, I’ll be all right. And that, my friends, is why I am the better classic monster! What do you think Wolfy?”
“Yes, maybe so, but it won’t stop the masses or hordes of torch carrying folks that see you as an abomination and chase you down. Where I, on the other hand, can change and be completely normal providing there isn’t a full moon. This allows me to flow relatively unscathed virtually anywhere. Of course, when fire is involved, I do share some of the fright you harbor. But, it is not the thing that scares me the most. What truly frightens me is a silver bullet. That’s the one single thing that could take me out  whether I am in full bloom or not.”
“I never thought of that,” Franks added.
“Another thing Franks,” Dracula jumped into the conversation, “let’s be blunt, shall we. You aren’t the brightest star in the sky. You may be strong, but you are slow and a bit dim witted.”
The monster reiterated in offense and asked, “are you calling me stupid?”
“No Franks, not at all. Just hear me out. Even you will admit to some of these points. Being slow can cause those people to easily catch you. Just look at your big feet. You certainly don’t expect to run with those do you? And even if you did manage to get away, it will be short lived since they could easily track you. Now, I, on the other hand, am stealth and fast and can easily control those folks with mind control. And of course, I could simply transform into a bat and just fly away. But, I too have certain downfalls. For example, if I am discovered sleeping serenely in my casket and subsequently had a wooden stake plunged deeply into my heart, it could spell disaster. And we all know how I feel about crosses. So, Franks my friend, please don’t take offense and realize that each of us have certain pitfalls that we constantly and meticulously attempt to avoid.”
Wolfy spoke up with conviction, “Wait just a minute! I’m just as fast, if not faster than you Dracs, and I am equally as strong as Franks over there too!”
“That’s true,” Dracs rebutted. “However, that is only when a full moon has forced you to change. If it wasn’t for that, you would be in a mere human form and quite vulnerable. Am I right?”
“I suppose so,” Wolfy lowered his head a bit in defeat. “At least I can go out in the sunlight,” he snapped back, attempting to get the last word in and feel superior.
Suddenly, without making a sound, the creature stood up, walked to the gently flowing adjoining creek, and dove in headfirst. “What’s with him?” Wolfy growled, pointing his hairy thumb toward the rippling water.
Franks giggled lightly. “Nothing…watch,” and pointed his green stitch scarred index finger toward the where the creature had submerged.
The three of them sat watching and waiting intently until the creature broke back through the surface. They continued to watch as he came out from the edge of the water holding a very large fish. Nonchalantly, he strolled back over to his place on the log and sat back down. Retrieving his nearby stick, he slid the end of it into the fish’s mouth and slid the fish along it until the end popped out the fish’s tail.  After carefully inspecting it to ensure it was secure, he held it out over the flames and began carefully rotating it over and over.
Franks lowered his finger and looked back and forth at the other two. “You know folks, I may be a bit dumb, but I think Lagooner has it all figured out. He’s having a snack and thoroughly enjoying our limited time together. He’s not arguing and could probably care less about who is the best and simply has no conflict at all…unlike the three of us. I mean c’mon, we all have our place cemented in history as a classic monster. So, I don’t know what we are really arguing about. Each of us should be proud at our accomplishments. We’ve all done our part in scaring audiences for a long time now, and that should matter. So what if we could be killed by a silver bullet, or a wooden stake, or even fire for that matter. What difference does it really make? We could easily continue this argument if we wanted to. But, why should we? What’s it going to solve? Who cares? I certainly don’t. Right now, I am just happy to be with very old friends on this wonderful moon lit night.”
The four of them glanced around at each other with a somewhat embarrassed look and smiled.
With an odd but somewhat satisfied smile on his face, Lagooner took the fish from the fire and took turns offering it out to each of the others. They each reached out, took a piece, and chewed contently in unison.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

While You Sleep...

This is a piece that was runner-up for Best Suspenseful at Lit Fest Magazine. It's called

While You Sleep...

Noticing the open window, my excitement grows exponentially. Only a harmless and weak metal screen stands between us. That won’t stop me. It never does. Being both adept and confident at removing them quietly is usually rather easy. Experience has taught well. Very well…

Normally, it would only take a small push and the square metal fabric’s frame typically comes loose, especially on older homes. Occasionally, it won’t. Of course, pushing on the screen itself will, most of the time allow and force it to tear, leaving a large gap. However, it can also create a quiet tearing sound that in the black of night will surely become deafening and that’s where my jet black handle, razor sharp knife will come into play. It’s always sharp. Keeping it that way does have certain advantages. And, I do…

Lingering and lurking, hidden in the shadows and ever so deft, being quiet and unseen is absolutely crucial and enticing at the same time. I can always see you but you’ll never see me. It is that one single offering that compels my search. The quest has a simple goal; just one unlocked door or one single open window is all it needs. It’s just a matter of time and choice. And I will find it. I always do…

Testing and wiggling the screen, it is loose, but a somewhat noisy endeavor. The early morning dew begins to saturate my shoes. It feels comforting and cool. I wait underneath the window, verifying that someone didn’t hear my doings. At three a.m., every noise seems to amplify in the still darkness, and I must be sure. There is no room for error. Obviously, the knife will be needed this time. Pulling it out and flipping it open, the blade glistens in the full moon light. I don’t dare look up to share its brightness. Both eyes and ears are equally important, and I am quite aware of this. Of course, I will still patiently wait until I am absolutely sure. Sure that no one was disturbed, that my noise infraction was not noticed…that I didn’t inadvertently wake an internal light sleeper. Time isn’t crucial and I wait, crouching in the wee hours of the darkness. Impatience causes accidents. Early morning light is my only true enemy but there is still time. So, I wait....

The summer breeze gently blows and I listen as it slowly rustles through the trees. All the better to disguise and override my actions. I can smell the faint odor of flowers as it invisibly rides with it. Along the tree line, a cat slinks in the distance and I watch as it ever so meticulously places one foot in front of the other as it seeks an unknown destination. It is creeping around too and I admire that. It hasn’t seen me either, and I watch as it disappears into the darkness. It is time…

Standing at the window, I pierce the blade into the bottom corner of the screen itself and let it slice across, through, and fully around the perimeter of it just an inch or so away from the metal frame. It is a wonderfully clean cut and the screen comes off easily and quietly. I drop it to the ground and wait, contemplating the climb in. Being a single story home, it is not too high and I will certainly be able to pull myself up and in. I listen intently for any sign of inner movement. But, there won’t be. It was too quiet. It always is…

Climbing in is the hardest and most nerve-wracking part of it all. Along with any inadvertent noise making, it is the fear of the unknown on the other side that frightens me the most. An accidental knocking over of something will surely break the silence. Even a small out of the ordinary wooden based squeak or squeal, or the scraping of a body against a metal frame is unacceptable. A rudely awakened previously sleeping pet could be dangerous and ruin everything. It would immediately force the quest to quickly terminate. Usually, a small table or stand located directly below the interior of a window is all that will need to be dealt with. Often there will be a lamp on it that can be the worst part. But, it is not the lamp itself. It is the attached electrical cord that poses the greatest risk. However, if one is cautious, simply lifting the table and the lamp simultaneously and placing it just slightly off to the side is the most profound and dependable solution. But, there is no need to worry about that tonight. Tonight it is a window directly over a kitchen sink. However, the window is smaller than most. But, I can fit. I can always fit…

Pulling myself up and in through the window, I slowly, gently and ever so quietly squirm through it. Gradually I make my way over the stainless steel faucet and onto the marble covered countertop. Lowering myself off of it, my feet firmly plant onto the hard tiled floor and I am standing, ever so still, in the darkness while being safely enveloped by the comfort of your home. The moonlight coming in through the window offers just enough light for the ability to see. A wooden block rack of knives is on the counter. I truly want to pull out the largest one and feel it within my grasp. But, I don’t dare. It could lead to a catastrophe if just the tiniest clank was to ring out. Must be silent. This is a good thing and I can hear my heart beating in my head. It is a loud drum. But, I know that it is simply for only me to hear. So, I listen…

Eventually, my loudly beating heart calms, the sound fades, and I begin to notice the home’s other sounds. Muffled bubbles lightly gurgle in a distant room. I have heard this before and it fills me with relief. It is the one single type of pet that never frightens me at all, an aquarium. The continued silence, wrapping and encompassing the occasional bubble sound verifies that you still don’t know I’m here. This close…

The time has come and I slowly begin to creep through the house, cautious of every single step. Passing through the kitchen’s threshold I notice that the next door is fully open. I can hear faint consistent breathing coming from it. It is a bedroom. Your bedroom. I peer in and see the moonlight cascading in through the window and casting eerie shadows on the wall. I watch as the bed’s blanket slowly rises and lowers with every breath you take. There you are…

I enter the room and make my way to the side of your bed. I stand there and hover directly over your helpless sleeping body. Your breathing quickens. I wonder if you are dreaming and what it may be about. You stiffen somewhat and I tend to think that it very well could be a bothersome dream. Taking a deep breath, you roll onto your side. Exhilarating terror fills me and I remain completely motionless in the silent darkness hoping and almost praying all the while that you never open your eyes. Please don’t…

My body is taunt and tense from head to toe. Your breathing eventually calms down and your relaxed face indicates that you have settled back into a deep sleep. This comforts me tremendously and I can finally unclench my body’s tightened muscles. As the moonlight reflects and brightens it, I look at your face. The face that the public rarely sees…free of make-up and pure, complete with blemishes and impurities. I ponder the thought of blood slowly trickling down over it. I watch contently and soothingly. The knife begins talking to me. It wants to. It wants to feel your warm flesh fully surround it, over and over again with my plunges. Wickedness fills my heart and I somewhat savor it. I sincerely want to. I want to listen to the knife and can almost feel what it describes. Yet, something stops me. Something holds me back. It always does…

Maybe it is just a small shred of goodness that is left in me. Maybe there are still leftovers of love somewhere in this increasingly blackening heart. I do know that, as with anything, the very first time is always the hardest. And, yet again, I sense that this will still not be that first time. The knife protests as I gently turn away and leave the room. Standing back in the kitchen, I reconsider for just a split second to no avail. Coming to terms with it, I ease my body back onto the counter and out the window. But, before I fully leave its confines, I reach out to the knife block and latch hold of the largest one. It has an overly wide blade and as my feet land steadily on the outside ground below, I notice the moon reflecting brightly off of it. My trusty black handled one asks why? I don’t answer and simply tuck the new one away right beside it. They will become friends. I know they will…

Taking a deep, somewhat frustrated breath, I discouragingly walk away into the early morning darkness knowing, I will try… again. Skills are perfected. Open or unlocked doors and windows are in abundance. Choices are unlimited.  Maybe next time I will succeed for, I am close…ever so close. When it finally does occur, my heart, if that is what is exactly holding me back…will never doubt again. It is this unknown invisible barrier that is the most difficult aspect now. Some day soon, I know that this will all change…and I will begin listening, hearing, and abiding. Yet for now, I am once again content with simply knowing that I could have. 

And, I’m the only one who knows it…

Haunted - A chilling flash fiction post for the week.

I'm considering having a weekly "chilling flash fiction post for the week." It will be a quick read that, hopefully, says it all. I may save Fridays for this. What do you think?

There was no time to react. Hitting the brakes hard, the car slid and squealed to a stop. Feeling the bump and hearing the sound of the tricycle's crushing metal was both deafening and terrifying. Subconsciously not wanting to view the horrifying sight, bitterly welcome tears fully aid and easily allowed avoidance.
Thinking back, while in this most serene and saddening place, wonderful bathing sunshine will not eliminate the sorrow. Surrounded by black suits and  dresses and a cross, tears continue to fall all around in every direction. The red rose I hold dear, although sweet, is pungently rotten and I silently beg for exchange.

Kind of makes you want to drive a little slower doesn't it?

Stay Scared,

Condoms Have Feelings Too!

This was a piece, (like I said, I sometimes write thing's other than horror), that I had written for a "Safe Sex" contest. I pictured a condom standing at a podium as a ranting politician would.

To Whom It May Concern,

"Hi my name is Stretch and I am a "Rubber." We Rubbers' have a long and proud history. Yet, my family and I are always kept in the dark. It´s about time that one of us speaks up. We want to be heard!

My family is distinct and comes in different sizes and colors… Some of us are skinny and some of us are fat. Why, our Uncle Alien is the glow-in-the-dark showoff and Grandpa Lump has the bumps and ridges all over him. The chicks dig him… We´re so proud of them! Oh, I´m rambling on, enough about my family and me… anyways… our given name is actually prophylactics but, we are usually called condoms. For you guys, we will cling comfortably around that special… OH! Forgetaboutit!

Anyways, we do a couple of different things.

First of all, we keep the world´s population down, especially with those pesky teenagers who can´t wait. Could you imagine if one of us wasn´t there to contribute to the cause? NO! I´ll bet you never even considered that fact have you! Babies, babies, and more babies, I can tell you that much. Don´t get me wrong, we all like babies but, in proper time, you know what I mean?

And… not only do we run the pregnancy first line of defense, we also help keep two people safe from sexually transmitted diseases too. Of course, nothing is perfect but, we "rubbers" have a pretty good track record and we should be taken seriously and respected.
When should you keep one of us around?
Of course, if you are married, or at least in a long-term relationship and mutually want to have a child, well then, by all means… have at it folks. I guess we won´t be needed.

Now, if you are out at the clubs and having a couple of beverages, dancing, you know, things happen right. Well, that´s where we "rubbers" really can come in handy. Neither of you want to go to sleep childless and wake up as a parent…
How do you know you can trust me?
HEY! I didn´t get shocked, stretched, prodded, and poked for just anything. I meet the U.S. and International Standards. I am reliable. That´s one thing I can say about my family, even if we are a bit weird.

But, the real thing that I want to say is that we´re here for your convenience and want to be taken seriously. What´s so wrong with one of us tagging along on that next adventure? We don´t care how old you are, we just want to save you from maybe making the biggest mistake of your life. We understand that hormones run wild… We promise we won´t take up much space in either a wallet or a purse. And besides, if any one sees me, just tell´em that I´m your old pal Stretch and I want to be heard."

Your Friend,


So, You Fell Into A Mud Puddle!

So, you fell into a mud puddle. What are you going to do now? Complain and make excuses about it? Why? Because your shoes and clothes are wet and dirty? Or, because you skinned up your knee? It's easy to complain about it. However, it is not so easy to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, realize that it just might have been our own fault, learn from it, and go on. The point that I'm trying to make is that a majority of the time, it will be of our own undoings that we fell into that mud puddle in the first place. So, why then do we complain about it and attempt to divert blame away from the true source of the problem?

Why don't we ask ourselves "Why did we fall into that mud puddle in the first place?" Did we fall into it because we tripped? Did we fall into it because we weren't paying attention? Did we fall into it because of..?

Let's apply this principle to real events and I'll attempt to explain my logic of thinking. Of course, keep in mind, that I realize and fully understand that sometimes, there are circumstances beyond control that do apply to these scenarios. Times, such as those, cannot be helped. It's part of life. That is when we do the best to pick ourselves up and go on. However, I personally feel, that a majority of the time, we are guilty of our own undoing.

Here are a few of many possible examples that may explain what I'm trying to convey. Of course, you will probably have your own opinions, as you should, and may or may not agree with me..., and I respect that.

Let's look at loss of employment. Did you lose your job? Why did you lose your job? Was it due to "current economic conditions?" If this is the case, then there is nothing you could of did to change this, and life goes on. But, did you lose your job because you miss work regularly? Did you lose your job because you were late quite a bit? Did you lose your job because you were not capable of what the position entailed? Did you lose your job because you came to work under the influence? If this is the case, then you are guilty of your own situation and therefore, have no reason to make excuses and complain about it.

What about paying the bills? Did you go to the latest concert, or out to dinner, when you knew, deep down, that you really couldn't afford it? Did you buy the latest cell phone, music cd, or download the latest ring tone? Or, did your vehicle break down causing an added expense. Maybe you were sick and had to buy medicine. These are legitimate reasons why a bill may not get paid. But, are they legitimate reasons why a bill should not have gotten paid?

Did you get a ticket? Why did you get the ticket? Were you speeding? Did you run a red light? Why were you in such a hurry? Were you late for work? Why were you late for work? Did you get up late? Did you get up late because you stayed out with your friends, thus causing you to sleep in, therefore, creating your lateness? Whose fault is that? Or, did you have a flat tire that required you to repair it beforehand, causing your lateness? Whose fault is that? An employer will normally understand this flat tire scenario and with simple communication such as a telephone call. Unless, of course, this is your fourth flat tire this week. But, will they understand that you slept in because you stayed out too late. Doubtful. Back to the ticket. Now, ask yourself, was it really NOT your fault?

I have heard a million and one excuses as to why the situation at hand is not the person's fault. Although, I never seem to hear, that I caused this because of...?

In utilizing the above examples, because, I didn't go to work or, because I spent the money frivolously or, because I was speeding.

Responsibility, accountability, and accepting the fact that we are or was the root cause of this problem never seems to be a part of the solution. It should be. For, had we not missed so much work, we may have retained our job, or had we not went shopping we may have been able to pay that bill, or had we gotten up just a bit earlier, we would not of had to rush, thus, probably not getting a speeding ticket.

Writing works the same way. Believe me, I'm heard many times "I want to be a writer." But, wanting and being is two different things. Often, it is those same writer wannabe's that also say, "I don't have time," or "I don't know where to start," or "I don't have a computer,"  or many other excuses. And, if you constantly keep finding excuses to NOT write, well then, it will be your own fault that it never gets written in the first place.

We are all human and make mistakes. And, many times there are extenuating circumstances and legitimate reasons that contribute to many of life's problems. When those times occur, maybe there truly isn't or wasn't anything we could do about it. But, before we begin to gripe, whine, denounce, complain, and make excuses about it, we need to ask ourselves, "Why did we fall in that mud puddle in the first place?" Just remember, whether you can or whether you can''re right!

The Art of the Written Word Scare

Anyone can scare a person. Simply jump toward them and the chances are that they will, at the very least, jerk, move, or fall back. And, when it comes to film, although there are some exceptions, most slasher or creature based horror movies utilize this concept and work in a similar fashion. They are, even though there is some build up, dependent on the quick jolt in order to create the effective scare.

Writing for a scare is different. Different readers ingest words at different paces and comprehend what they are reading at different speeds. This is where the typical horror movie compared to the written word differs. With a film, the speed is a constant. Everyone usually feels the same scare at the same time. With a book or story, the fright, as well as its intensity, depends upon the reader’s comprehension, personal definition and perception of the word combinations.

For example, “The creature jumped out from behind the door at Bob!” Not what you would say is frightening is it? Does it leave you wondering? It should. After all, it is rather boring and bland, leaving a lot of unanswered questions. However, it does have a small inkling of a start when considering that most readers associate the word creature with monster. It is the reader’s mind that distinguishes what type of monster the creature is, depending upon their personal and prior media experiences. Regardless, just by simply using the word “creature,” it doesn’t truly offer a fright? It may imply somewhat, but does not actually scare. Too many questions linger. What kind of creature is it? Is it hairy? Does it have claws? How big is it? Where did it come from? For all a reader knows, it could be a cute little kitten that playfully pounced on Bob after hiding behind the door. No, not a scary read at all. And, all a reader can basically say is that there is a door and that a creature was behind it and jumped out at Bob.
Now, lets try it again. “The creature, it’s long, razor sharp teeth dripping a bloody drool glistening in the moonlight, jumped out from behind the door at Bob.” Now we’re getting somewhere. We now know that this is not a nice creature (no kitten here). No, siree, this isn’t a nice creature at all. It has sharp teeth, (the better to eat you with my dear), that has previously used them, and quite recently we might add, especially since it is still drooling the blood of whatever it was that it ate. And, not only does this creature have sharp teeth and eat bloody things or things filled with blood for that matter, it obviously has yet to have its fill since it is attacking Bob. (Liver, fava beans, and a nice bottle of Chianti anyone?). We also know that it’s dark out from the word moonlight, and sometimes, darkness makes all the difference.
So, we now know that Bob is in the dark, being attacked by a monster that has long, sharp, blood dripping teeth. Considerably scarier than the previous first version wouldn’t you say? Of course, there are still questions involved, but many of the previous questions have been answered.

This is just an example used to describe, convey, and simplify the basic concept. When literature is involved, it is the descriptiveness and action that creates the scare, when properly done.
A writer is typically, not only a master of word definitions, but also a master at specifically arranging the words so that it draws the emotion out of a reader. With horror, the targeted emotion is fright. The writer wants to scare the reader, much like the person jumping at another does. The writer simply chooses a different format. And, most horror writing will generally succeed in evoking this emotion in one way or another. However, great horror writing will do this in a manner that the reader doesn’t see the terror coming, usually leaving lingering effects in the reader for life. 

As with any writing, including horror, the stage can be set anywhere, at any time, with any object, just by exploring a darker view, but also keeping in mind, not all horror consists of blood, guts, and gore. It can be something as simple as a clock, or as complex as an alien life form. It can even be a crossover of some sort.

For example, in my world, Mickey isn’t a large, lovable mouse with big ears. He is a wicked little man inside a mouse suit that utilizes it to get close to his potential victims, and constantly worrying about where he’s going to find the next pair of over-sized white gloves to replace the ones he knows will once again be stained red. See what I mean? Scary…isn’t it?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday night - 10 minutes untill the witching hour!

My story "The Horrors of Easter" will be in the April issue of Suspense Magazine.


My story The Pumpkin Patch was selected to be included in the “Look What I Found” anthology by NorGus Press. It is scheduled to be available in August 2011.
“Little Johnny Walker was an explorer. The Pumpkin Patch was the last thing he ever found!”

So, what am I working on now?

“How Green is Your Lawn?” and “The Smell of Flowers.”
 The Smell of Flowers explores a fitting finality. How Green is Your Lawn? Details an eighty something year-old widowed gentleman, his beloved dog Peetee, the town’s coveted “Best Lawn” award, and a secret ingredient.
Of course, this is besides the 10 to 15 others I have been tinkering with.


It's my turn in the House of Horror UK's Duel Contest. It's a contest that pits two writers against one another. The challenge is to write a 500 word story using the given subject within 3 days. It is then left up to the voters as to which is the better. The winner stays in and the eventual winner gets published in their anthology. Round 5 goes live this weekend. I'll keep you tabbed.

Stay Scared,
Just setting it up today (Wednesday the 23rd). Stop back by Friday to see it completed.