Wordslinger Shootout – Round 2

BE SURE TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE. AND COMMENT AT THE END. FOR THIS ROUND KT JAYNE IS GIVING AWAY AN E-COPY OF HER STORY “PUSH BUTTON, GET BACON” FROM THE ANTHOLOGY DEAD SOULS I’M GIVING AWAY A COPY OF MY COLLECTION, THESE OLD TALES (WINNERS CHOICE OF EBOOK OR AUDIOBOOK) FOR AARON BESSON. YOU HAVE TO COMMENT TO WIN. VOTING AND COMMENTING CLOSE WHEN THE NEXT ROUND BEGINS.

Round2

THE USEFUL TOOL

by KT “Kalamity” Jayne

A wire brush is a useful tool in the zombie apocalypse. When things went to shit, I didn’t know what would be helpful. I pretty much just did a sweep of my workbench into my tool bag, grabbed a shovel and ran like hell. There’s lots of things in that tool bag that I’ve used. Hammer, wrench, pliers, flashlight. But none of them has been used as much as that wire brush. Not even the shovel. That’s a great zombie killing tool. Gotta separate the head from the spinal column after all.

So, here I was. Barely able to catch my breath, leaning against a very heavy wooden door with zombies clawing at the opposite side. I could hear them. Rasping and scraping. Sniffing. What the fuck do they sniff for? I have no idea what the hell that’s about, but whenever they get close to live people, they start sniffing. Maybe they can smell us thinking. I found that stirring up some dust with my handy wire brush throws them off the scent, though. They sneeze and it’s like their systems freeze up.

The wooden door was starting to bow inward. I didn’t know how long I had, but I suspected that it wouldn’t be long before those fuckers would swarm through the door and beehive me like four year olds on a soccer ball. I looked around the room. It was the back storage room of a bar. On the wall opposite me was another door that I figured led to an alley. All back doors in bars lead to alleys, don’t they? I also figured there would be a dumpster out there. It was a long shot, but a plan was starting to formulate and it would require me moving quickly and being right about the alley and the dumpster.

Taking a deep breath, I mustered what was left of my strength and dashed across the room, bursting through the door. It was dark on the other side. I cursed myself for not thinking to grab my flashlight before I rushed out. I’d been in the bar for several hours sleeping in a booth before the zombies had found me, so I knew in my head somewhere that it would be dark. I stopped and waited for my eyes to adjust. A streetlight glowed dimly at the end of the alley and I saw that there was indeed a dumpster. Glancing back, I saw that the wooden door I’d just left was starting to crack. No choice but to crawl into the dumpster and hope that they shamble past.

Seconds later, I was hunkered in the bottom of the dumpster, lid shut and trying not to throw up the last meal I’d had. I heard the door give and crash to the ground. Zombies hit the alley and they knocked against the dumpster. I knew they weren’t smart enough to lift the lid, so I waited. There was no telling how long it would take them to get bored and go away. I pulled some cardboard over my head and said some prayers to hurry them along.

I checked my watch again and again. An hour crawled by at a snail’s pace. My legs were tingling with pins and needles so I shifted. A sharp pain ran up the side of my calf and I aimed the flashlight down. Pulling my jeans up, revealed a thick dark red line running down to my sock. Digging around in my backpack yielded a box of wipes and a first aid kit. I spent a few minutes cleaning the jagged cut on my leg and digging glass out of it. I put a band-aid on it and then edged over to the slime covered wall of the dumpster. Out came the wire brush and I used it to clear a small circle to listen. An occasional thump met my ears, telling me the zombies were still outside.

One thing about zombies. They are very fucking patient. It’s not like they have anything else to do. They will mill mindlessly around for hours. Waiting. I needed a plan and nothing was jumping out at me. I moved myself so that I could take inventory of my belongings once more. There had to be some way to get out of this situation and I hoped that the inventory would give me some stroke of inspiration.

Tool bag, toiletry bag, flashlight, first aid kit, notebook, pen, extra change of clothes, ipod, jacket, and of course, the wire brush. It didn’t look like much, but it had gotten me a month into the apocalypse. I expected it to get me through the rest. I rubbed my eyes. I could starve to death trying to out wait the zombies. I’d seen it happen.

Planting my feet on the floor of the dumpster, I rose slowly, lifting the plastic lid just enough to allow me a narrow view of the world outside. Two zombies shuffled around the dumpster in full satellite mode. Dropping back down, I reached for the small bag with my minimal self-care items. I opened the dental floss container and tied the end to my wire brush. My plan was to throw the brush as far down the alley as I could. I was hopeful that this would distract the zombies and send them on a wild goose chase away from me. In theory, the plan was a beautiful nugget that worked perfectly. In execution, the plan was clumsy, but mostly effective.

The clattering of the wire brush on the pavement toward the mouth of the alley did distract the zombies and draw them away from me. I didn’t plan on one of the zombies grabbing the wire brush and yanking. The dental floss snapped and my wire brush started to move out of my sight. I didn’t think. Grabbing up my stuff and shoving it back into the backpack, I clambered over the dumpster wall and dropped to the ground. I moved forward until the two zombies were in my vision again. The female zombie sat down on the sidewalk and turned the wire brush over and over in her hands as if trying to remember what such a thing might be used for. A glimmer of recognition went across her face and she lifted the brush to her head, using it to comb through her knotted hair. She dragged it through the snarls pulling hair and small pieces of scalp with each tug. I usually used my wire brush for cleaning, I didn’t have to wash it very often.

I watched in horror as the female zombie continued to comb until all of her hair and most of her scalp were gone. Reaching back, I released the shovel and gripped it firmly. I tiptoed toward the pair, pulling my arms back so that I got a good deal of force behind it. I aimed for the man first. His head flew to the side and hung at an odd angle, staring at me accusingly. I then shifted my attention back to the girl who was still combing her hair with my wire brush. I lifted the shovel once more and swung toward the female. Her head made a satisfying crunch and her entire body fell over. The wire brush fell out of her hand and I reached to pick it up.

As I bent, I heard footsteps coming toward me. I looked between my legs to see two small boys, both under six heading straight toward me and looking ravenous. I picked up the brush and slowly straightened to strike these two creatures out as well. I turned toward them, pulling the shovel into position only to find the zombie boy running to me with his head down. I swung, hitting him square on the back of the head. He fell face first and I rammed the shovel down through his neck until his head rolled away. A low moan came to me and then a thump landed on my back. Before I could think, I lifed the brush and rapped the zombie on the head. That only stunned him, so I smacked the hands that were around my neck on the knuckles. This had a better effect and the zombie fell away from me for just long enough for me to whirl around to face him. He proved to be too quick again and barreled at me, teeth bared, poised to bite. I instinctively raised my arms with my wire brush still in hand. The zombie bit it and then yanked hard. I fell backwards and the wire brush flew above our heads only to land back into the alley.

“Damn it, that’s the best tool I have.”

I lifted the shovel and swung it furiously from side to side. It didn’t matter who or what I hit, just as long as I connected. This zombie leapt backwards with the momentum and hit the brick wall of the building hard, sliding down. No more zombies awaited me in the alley. I walked down into the alley, scanning the ground, looking for my brush. When I found it, the handle had gotten lodged in a man’s skull up to the hilt. He lay on his back, looking up at me pathetically. I stepped on his head, and pulled on my brush until it was free in the palm of my hand.

Yep, you just didn’t know what would be helpful in the zombie apocalypse, but it didn’t hurt to have a wire brush.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Do you know what to do in case of zombie apocalypse? How about when surrounded by a mad horde of Doctor Who fangirls? What if the Mothman invades your town? What if aliens land and start shooting up the place? Lucky for you that you have met KT Jayne. She knows exactly what to do if any of these things happen. She should, she’s spent her entire life obsessing about all these “what ifs” and more. Lucky for you, too, she has Asperger’s and with her out of the box thinking and whiz kid know how, she might just save your skin. Or your soul. Grab your shovel of death and prepare to face whatever form the apocalypse will take. Or just stand behind her. She’ll figure it out. No matter how the apocalypse manifests, KT Jayne does not die at the end.

KT Jayne lives in a small town of central Indiana with her husband.

CONNECT HERE:
BOOKS:

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A FIELD WELL TENDED

by Aaron “Cockeyed Rattler” Besson

We’re gonna need to be getting’ ready now. The blood moon rose an hour or so ago, so things’ve gotta go just right or it all ain’t worth nothin’, probably even worse than that. Gramma practically beat that into me when I was first learnin’. They’re real particular about the ways. I wish there was another way to do it all, because this all seems like a lot more trouble than it’s gotta be, I’m sure you agree.

After Momma and Poppa died, Gramma was the only kin to take me in. What other kin I got never really were around, so no great loss there. Gramma made things real clear day one when I got here. She kept the ways right and proper, and tarnation if I wasn’t gonna as well. Seems like a lot for a young girl to take on, right? I gotta say I took to it pretty quickly, quicker than a body would think. Gramma said it was my knack, just like she had. After she died there were a few hiccups in my performin’ the ways, and They don’t really cotton to mistakes, but they gave me a second chance. You gotta appreciate that, all things considered.

The ways were almost fun at first. There was the dress up and the fixins that They insist upon. I thought it was all like playin’ weird tea party at first, but Gramma quickly knocked that idea outta my noggin. “They don’t play.” Gramma scolded me. When I first met them…boy howdy, she weren’t kiddin’. I got the law laid down on me and how, so you best believe now that it all goes by the book, no pun intended.

Look at it. It’s just an old wire brush, right? Sad, tired lookin’ thing. It didn’t have too many bristles when I first came to live here, and considerin’ that only three or four have been plucked out since I took it all on, you get an idea of how long all this has been goin’. Don’t rightly know if I’m gonna be here when the last one is pulled, but I sure ain’t gonna lie and say that it wouldn’t be an interestin’ thing to see. It gives you an appreciation on how long the ways have been kept. Kinda nice, gettin’ a clear view of takin’ part in somethin’ bigger than you, right? Who wouldn’t want to see that come to pass?

I thought the story about it all was just Gramma gettin’ into her dizzy juice good an’ hard the first time she told me, but as I said, Gramma weren’t one for jokin’. I might’ve been a wee thing when Gramma told me this here was the Devil’s hairbrush, but just because I was a little squirt don’t mean I was stupid. Children are a lot smarter than people give ‘em credit for. Yup, knew you’d agree. Anyways, that’s how the brush got its mojo. It’s all filled up with the Devil. You know how you brush your hair and it can get all crackly, and you touch someone and give them a little shock? This here brush is just like that, just a bit different. How Great-Great-Gramma got the brush is a tale to tell, but I ain’t got the time or the head for it, goin’ on about “promises in blood” and “thrice-scourged metal” and the like. I gotta admit, I still don’t understand half of what Gramma went on about, but that don’t matter none just as long as I know what needs knowin’ and do what needs doin’. Good thing, that.

Hey, y’hear how the crows and the wind just stopped at the same time? That means They’re close. I gotta warn you, to say that They are a sight don’t put no justice to Them. You best believe I screamed my damn fool head off the first time I saw Them, who wouldn’t? Even now it gives me a headache just to look at Them, with those weird eye-mouth things and the shapes that make you feel like you got the flu. The smell, too…you think you’re smellin’ it, but you’re really hearin’ it. That’s not the weirdest part, even. They pour right into the bristle when the time comes, just like a lake goin’ into a thimble. That’s how they take the bodies. They can’t stay long in the world unless They take a body, that’s the only way they can stay here and do what they do. Gramma told me that when all the bristles are planted, then our job is done and They’ll take it from there. Sorry, I’m probably not explainin’ this well at all. You’ll see what I mean.

Honestly, the whole thing with the bristle is the part I hate the most. Cuttin’ out the tongue, really? Why not just poke the bristle in the tongue? There’s still going to be plenty of blood when you do that. Gramma said that little pain and blood weren’t enough for Them. The bristle needs to take root in the mouth for it to work right and proper, and the tongue just gets in the way of that happenin’. There’s still gotta be a better way, I reckon.

That’s the reason I cut your tongue out while you were still passed out from the dope I put in your water. I’m sure it still hurts like blazes, and I’m right sorry for that. Believe you me, it would’ve hurt a helluva lot worse if I’d done it while you were awake and aware, so small blessins and all that. This’ll probably poke for a second, but I promise it won’t hurt long once Th…ah, hear that smell? They’re a-comin’. Okay, open wide for me now…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aaron Besson is a writer of horror and dark fantasy from Seattle,Washington. His writing has been published in the Weird Fiction Review from Centipede Press, James Ward Kirk Publishing, and Spinetinglers.

CONNECT HERE:

BlogGoodreads Author Page,  FacebookTwitter

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Wordslinger Shootout – Round 1

BE SURE TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE. AND COMMENT AT THE END. FOR THIS ROUND ANDREW NIENABER IS GIVING AWAY AN EBOOK COPY OF HIS LATEST BOOK, STZ  AND KEN MACGREGOR IS GIVING AWAY AN EBOOK COPY OF HIS NEW COLLECTION, AN ABERRANT MIND. YOU HAVE TO COMMENT TO WIN. VOTING AND COMMENTING CLOSE WHEN THE NEXT ROUND BEGINS.

round1

. . . DO US PART

by Andrew Nienaber

She scurried to the camera, giddy, and picked it up. She turned it over in her hands, hit the button on the back, and checked the picture, cooing.

“It’s perfect. We look…” she wiped away the tear crawling languidly down her cheek. “We look like a cake topper. Just perfect.”

She turned the camera around to show him, but he remained indifferent. She smiled at him anyway. His stoic manner was part of the reason she’d fallen for him in the first place. He reminded her of her father in that respect: the Platonic ideal of a quiet, steely Midwestern Scandinavian-American patriarch; practically a stereotype.

“One more,” she pleaded. He didn’t respond, which she took as his usual patient consent. She set the camera down on the counter, set the timer, and dashed back to his side. She adjusted the veil down over her eyes, smoothed her dress, and grasped his hand. She still felt a shock every time she touched his skin, a jolt that began as a series of pinpricks in her fingertips then spread slowly up her arm. She grinned. They’d lost it for a while, gone through some hard times, but through Herculean effort on her part, she’d managed to re-forge their bond, made it stronger for the mending.

The red light on the front of the camera blinked briefly, then the flash lit the room. She danced to the counter, picked up the camera, and checked the picture.

“I don’t think this one is as good,” she said, turning the screen so he could see it. The basement room was warm, and he shifted slightly. She thought he was getting uncomfortable – he had been in that tux for quite some time after all – but knew he would never complain. He didn’t complain about anything; he never had, really. Instead, he used to show his displeasure with the back of his hand. He never told her she had over-salted his dinner, or that she failed to look pretty enough for him when he got home from a long day’s work, not in words, but she always knew when he was displeased. She always had known. It was different now. She fixed it. Everything was perfect now.

“Ok, just one more,” she said. In days past this would have earned her a split lip and a gout of blood from her nose, but he was a new man now, a changed man. Infinitely patient. “I really want this to be special. We only get one tenth anniversary!” She set the camera back down on the counter, aimed it precisely, hit the timer and ran back to his side. Just as the red light began blinking, indicating that the picture was imminent, she licked her lips and lifted up onto her toes, kissing him on the cheek. The flash fired, blinding her for a second. Her lips lingered for a moment longer, stretched as she pulled her face away from his, then broke free with a soft, delicate tearing. She smiled to see the livid red lipstick mark she left, peppered with small, pale tatters of her soft lips. He had nothing to say about it.

She picked up the camera and, satisfied that she’d gotten all the pictures she needed for the invitations to their vow renewal party, she stowed it in its soft neoprene case, which she slung around her shoulder.

“This was a beautiful day,” she said, sauntering toward him until their faces nearly touched. “Thank you for this. Truly.” She reached up and set her hand on his cheek, feeling the familiar shock to her skin. “I can never really express how glad I am that we patched things up. Thank you for being the man I always knew you could be.” She pressed her lips to his, a chill spreading throughout her face. The kiss lingered, her pressing his head between her hands passionately, as if trying to wring every last drop of emotion from his stoic lips.

Then, with effort, she pulled herself away. She looked him over, took a deep breath and smiled. He was the perfect husband now. He would never hit her again. He would never make eyes at that little slut Jill over at the Wing Palace anymore. He was hers – all hers – forever.

She opened the lid of the chest freezer – the one he used to store the meat he dressed from deer and elk carcasses back in his hunting days – and, with no small effort, tipped him over inside. It was far more difficult to get him to fit correctly now than it had been when she’d first stuffed him in after stabbing him fifteen times in the ribs that night when he’d come home smelling like Jagermeister and Cowgirl Chic perfume and decided she needed to be taught a good, solid lesson about questioning his activities before he passed out on the bathroom floor.

She gently folded his arms across each other – she’d had to break the bones to make that possible, but it was the only way to get him inside the freezer – gave him one last kiss on the forehead, whispered “Goodnight, my darling,” and closed the lid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Nienaber has been an ice cream truck driver, a bartender, a teacher, a writer, a blogger, a director of operas, and all-around theater professional and a long-time observer of the human condition. He is one of the founders of FatalDownflaw.com and his short-lived blog about his experiences selling ice cream, The Ill Humor Man, drew hundreds of hits per day. Andrew’s premiere novel Truly, Deeply Disturbed was nominated for novel of the year by both Pulp Ark and his story “What We Found” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can receive periodic updates about his work – as well as a huge amount of snark – through Andrew Nienaber’s Grammar Correction Institute at http://facebook.com/ANGrammar.

*********************

OUT OF THEIR DEPTHS

by Ken “Mad Dog” MacGregor

“Happy Valentine’s Day, baby,” Carla said, nuzzling into Mike’s neck.

“Was that today?” Mike asked.

She slugged him. He laughed and hugged her. She held him close and they stayed like that for a while.

“So, what grand, romantic plans do you have in store?”

“You’ll never guess,” Mike said.

“Is it fancy dinner, movie, live show or swanky hotel? ‘Cause, really, I’d be okay with any combination of those.”

“All good guesses, but no,” Mike said. “We’re doing something different. Something I doubt any couple has ever done on Valentine’s Day.”

Carla leaned back to look Mike in the eye. She raised her eyebrows in her well, tell me already expression. Mike broke the hug and grinned at her. He turned away and looked back at Carla over his shoulder.

“Come on,” he said and walked into the study. Mike walked past the small desk. The swivel chair was tucked under it and his laptop sat closed in front of the chair. Turning to look at Carla again, Mike pulled a book off the shelf. It was bound in cracked brown leather and the pages were a pale yellow.

“That’s an old book,” Carla said. Her voice was quiet and reverent. Mike nodded.

“Published in 1848,” he said. “It’s about Baraga.”

“Seriously? Why would anyone write about this town?”

“Well,” Mike said, “according to this, this little tourist trap used to be the edge of a thriving copper mining community. It says the copper mined here was so pure you could turn it into pans without having to refine it.”

Mike handed her the book. Holding it gingerly, Carla leafed through it, scanning the pages without reading them.

“Okay. Cool, I guess. But, what does this have to do with our romantic plans for this evening?”

Mike flipped a few dozen pages ahead and the book fell open. Between pages 112 and 113 lay a folded sheet of vellum. Carla looked up and Mike flicked his eyes to the sheet, then back to hers. Setting the book down on the desk, Carla unfolded the vellum.

It was a map. It looked like something out of Dungeons and Dragons, all tunnels and notations about cave-ins and fortifications. After a moment, she turned to Mike.

“Is this the abandoned mine?”

Mike nodded. He was trying to hold in a grin.

“Check this out,” Mike said. He flipped open the lid to his laptop and hit the power button. The machine warmed up and the onscreen image became clear. It was the same map, but the one on the vellum had details the digital one lacked. After switching her gaze back and forth a few times, Carla smiled.

“If this is right, whoever drew this knew about a secret part of the mine that the records don’t show. Am I seeing that right?”

“You are,” Mike said. “I think my grandfather drew the map. Could have been his father. I don’t know. They were both named William.”

He pointed to the signature on the right border: Wm. Greene.

“Will you please tell me why I’m looking at this instead of getting dolled up to go out with you?”

“Because you’re not getting dolled up. You’re going to dress warmly and you and I are going to go find that lost vein of copper.”

“I’m sorry. What?”

Mike put his hands on Carla’s hips. He moved in so he was almost touching her. His lips brushed hers in a near kiss and he whispered in her ear. Her hair tickled his nose.

“Copper is worth more now than ever in history. If we find the vein, and I think we will, we’ll be rich. We could move out of this town, go somewhere warm, buy a big house, get married.”

“I’m sorry,” Carla said. “But, did you just drop the ‘M’ word?”

“I’ve been thinking about it, you know, a little.”

“Keep thinking about it, tough guy. Maybe someday I’ll let you propose to me.”

“Maybe you’ll let me, huh?”

Mike grinned at her. Carla shrugged.

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, I agree to go with you to an abandoned mine on Valentine’s Day. We find this alleged copper vein and then what? Put it in a wheelbarrow and roll it to a scrap yard?”

“Carla, if I’m right, there could be thousands of tons of copper in there. It’d be worth millions, maybe hundreds of millions.”

Carla whistled.

“What are we waiting for, Romeo? Let’s go.”

***

Moving stiffly in winter coats and snow pants over street clothes which in turn were over thermal underwear, Mike and Carla got out of the 4X4 and into the biting winter wind coming off Lake Superior. Most of their skin was covered,save for a spot below the hood and above the scarf so they could see. Their eyes watered from the cold and tears froze on the wool of their scarves.

Inside the mine was no warmer, but being out of the wind made it seem almost balmy. Mike pulled the scarf down off his chin. His breath plumed out around his head and drifted up to the stalactite-like icicles hanging over their heads.

Their high-powered flashlights illuminated rough stone walls buttressed by 8X8 wooden beams every twenty feet or so. The tunnel curved to the right as it declined into the earth. Mike shined his flashlight on his own face.

“Carla, my darling, would you be … mine?”

“Dork.” But she laughed.

They followed Mike’s grandfather’s map to the point at which it deviated from the public record. The wall on their left was a side-passage blocked with 2X4s. Barely legible red paint warned of a cave-in.

“All this way for nothing,” Carla said. Her shoulders slumped.

“It’s a trick,” Mike said. “To keep people out.”

Setting down his gym bag, Mike moved aside the coil of strong rope and grabbed the pry bar. Even through his thick winter gloves, he could feel the cold of the steel. Jamming an end in, Mike pried off the first board. It came away with a screech of rusty nails. In ten minutes, Mike was sweating under his winter gear from exertion, but the passage was clear.

The lovers shone their flashlights into the side tunnel without venturing in. The walls in there were rougher-hewn, like they were carved by trolls instead of men. The tunnel was narrow, too and the supports were 4X4 beams. They did not look up to the job.

Mike and Carla exchanged a glance. Neither radiated confidence.

“Better be worth it,” Carla said.

“Yeah,” Mike said.

They stepped over the threshold and the temperature dropped another ten degrees.

Before long, the passage curved left and slanted down steeply. They had to lean backward a little to keep from falling forward. As they descended, it got colder and colder. The heat was being leached out of Mike and Carla’s bodies despite the layers of protective clothing. Ice coated the walls of the tunnel and icicles spiked down from the ceiling just over their heads.

Checking the map, Mike nodded to an even smaller tunnel off to the right.

“This should be it,” he said. His voice, barely a whisper, billowed out in a cloud of frozen moisture. Beside him, Carla shivered a nod and they climbed through the hole.

Side by side, there were only a few inches between them and the tunnel walls. The ceiling was still a few feet up, but they had to duck under the hanging ice several times. They came to a fork. Mike glanced at the map in his flashlight beam and they veered left. Carla clamped her jaws down on her chattering teeth.

The tunnel opened up into a wide, roughly circular chamber. Their lights picked up reddish gold reflections along the walls. All over the walls, rich copper sat fat for the taking. There were low, narrow side passages leading off, but they were not on Mike’s map.

“It’s really here. Oh, Mike, we’re gonna be rich.”

Carla threw her arms around his neck and pressed her body to his. He held her tightly. Their flashlights pointed behind each other toward the floor.

A sound made them freeze. It was a shuffling, slithering sort of sound, like someone sliding to the side on concrete steps. Both lights were up and searching as they broke the hug.

The noise got louder and was clearly coming from the low side-passages. Mike and Carla pressed against one another and edged back toward the tunnel they had come out of. They both flicked the beams from passage to passage. Their breath quickened and they shook from more than cold.

All at once, pale shapes filled the side passages. They stood on two legs, hunched over almost double. The creatures pointed their faces in Carla and Mike’s direction, but they had no eyes. Fleshy hollows indented their faces. Their noses, barely more than slits, sniffed the air. As one, the creatures moved toward the lovers.

Carla dropped her flashlight. The bulb popped on impact and the mine got a lot darker.

“Come on,” Mike said. He pulled Carla gently and they backed into the tunnel, keeping the remaining light trained on the blind cave beings. The creatures gave chase. They emitted a whining, mewling, hungry sound and moved faster.

“Ow. Damn it,” Mike said. An icicle stalactite fell to the floor after connecting with his head. It shattered. Reaching back, he felt wetness, and could see blood on his hand in the light.

“Shine it up,” Carla said.

“What?”

“The light. Shine it up, Mike. Now.”

Mike did and Carla grabbed a large icicle as high on it as she could reach. After a brief struggle, she broke it off. Mike brought the beam of light down.

There was a pale, rubbery, grasping biped less than a foot away.

Mike gave a cry and backpedaled. Carla drove the icicle through the thing’s belly. Red blood welled around the makeshift spear and began to flow.

Mike and Carla backed slowly away, keeping the light on the creature. The others of its kind touched it, probing with fingers that ended in jagged claws. They felt the ice, dipped their hands in the blood and tasted it. The stabbed one made a pitiful noise in its throat. It reached a hand toward Mike and Carla. Carla shook her head, no.

The mob fell on their wounded comrade and tore it apart, shoving mouthfuls of it into themselves. Mike and Carla ran. They didn’t stop running until they were out of the mine. Mike ripped off a mitten, dug his hand into his coat and used the remote to unlock the truck. As soon as they were in, he locked it again.

They sat, staring through the windshield for several seconds. Finally, Mike started the truck and kicked on the heat and defrost. After a few silent minutes, two small, clear circles appeared in the frost and began to grow.

“Mike?”

“Yeah?”

“We pulled down the barricade,” Carl said. “They can get out.”

Mike nodded. When half the windshield was clear, he drove.

He didn’t stop until they were in Florida.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken MacGregor writes mostly dark, comedic fiction. He can be found at Facebook and Amazon and his website. He has just released his first story collection “An Aberrant Mind” which can be purchased HERE.

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“Mantid”

COMING OCTOBER 2014
Synopsis of my story:

A boy tasked with retrieving a crayfish discovers a far more terrifying creature.

Truth or Dare? – edited by Max Booth III

Description:
A Shared World Horror Anthology from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Table of Contents:

  • JOE MCKINNEY
  • JEREMY C. SHIPP
  • RICHARD THOMAS
  • WILLIAM MEIKLE
  • JESSICA MCHUGH
  • ELI WILDE
  • JAY WILBURN
  • SANFORD ALLEN
  • CHANTAL NOORDELOOS
  • JAMES CHAMBERS
  • NIK KORPON
  • VINCENZO BILOF
  • KENNETH W. CAIN
  • USMAN T. MALIK
  • PETER GIGLIO
  • SHANNON GIGLIO
  • ERIC J. GUIGNARD
  • T. FOX DUNHAM

Enjoy a book and help defray some medical costs with Post Mortem Press

Originally posted on exlibrislarsen:

"A chump-stumping shock-cinema party book of the highest order!" -- Chris Alexander (Editor, FANGORIA Magazine)

“A chump-stumping shock-cinema party book of the highest order!” — Chris Alexander (Editor, FANGORIA Magazine)

James Newman, author of 666 HAIR-RAISING HORROR MOVIE TRIVIA QUESTIONS, needs your help. While enjoying the park with his wife and sons the last weekend in April, a tree fell on him.

I wish this is a joke, but it’s not.

Newman is recovering from multiple injuries, including a broken back. The good news is, his doctors say he has suffered no neurological damage, meaning he should make a complete recovery, but it will take another couple of months for that to happen. In the meantime, there are bills…

To help James and his family, Post Mortem Press is collecting the Amazon author royalties from select books, including LOSING TOUCH, through the end of June, to donate to the Newmans, their expenses, and medical bills.

If you already have LOSING TOUCH, there…

View original 189 more words


Horror 101: The Way Forward

Horror 101 The Way Forward - small

Available from:
Horror 101: The Way Forward – a comprehensive overview of the Horror fiction genre and career opportunities available to established and aspiring authors.Have you ever wanted to be a horror writer? Perhaps you have already realized that dream and you’re looking to expand your repertoire. Writing comic books sounds nice, right? Or how about screenplays?

That’s what Horror 101: The Way Forward is all about. It’s not your average On Writing guide that covers active vs. passive and other writing tips, Horror 101 focuses on the career of a horror writer. It covers not only insights into the horror genre, but the people who successfully make a living from it.

Covering aspects such as movies, comics, short stories, ghost-writing, audiobooks, editing, publishing, self-publishing, blogging, writer’s block, YA horror, reviewing, dark poetry, networking, collaborations, eBooks, podcasts, conventions, series, formatting, web serials, artwork, social media, agents, and career advice from seasoned professionals and up-and-coming talents, Horror 101 is just what you need to kick your career into high gear.

Horror 101: The Way Forward is not your average On Writing guide, as it is more focused on the career options available to authors. But don’t fret, this book is loaded with career tips and behind-the-scene stories on how your favourite authors broke into their respective fields.

  • Foreword by Mort Castle
  • Making Contact by Jack Ketchum
  • What is Horror by Graham Masterton
  • Bitten by the Horror Bug by Edward Lee
  • Reader Beware by Siobhan McKinney
  • Balancing Art and Commerce by Taylor Grant
  • From Prose to Scripts by Shane McKenzie
  • Writing About Films and for Film by Paul Kane
  • Screamplays! Writing the Horror Film by Lisa Morton
  • Screenplay Writing: The First Cut Is the Deepest by Dean M. Drinkel
  • Publishing by Simon Marshall-Jones
  • Weighing Up Traditional Publishing & eBook Publishing by Robert W. Walker
  • Glenn Rolfe Toes the Line with Samhain Horror Head Honcho, Don D’Auria by Glenn Rolfe
  • Bringing the Zombie to Life by Harry Shannon
  • Audiobooks: Your Words to Their Ears by Chet Williamson
  • Writing Aloud by Lawrence Santoro
  • Ghost-writing: You Can’t Write It If You Can’t Hear It by Thomas Smith
  • Ghost-writing by Blaze McRob
  • The Horror Writers Association – the Genre’s Essential Ingredient by Rocky Wood
  • What a Short Story Editor Does by Ellen Datlow
  • Self-Publishing: Making Your Own Dreams by Iain Rob Wright
  • Self-Publishing: Thumb on the Button by Kenneth W. Cain
  • What’s the Matter with Splatter? by Daniel I. Russell
  • Partners in the Fantastic: The Pros and Cons of Collaborations by Michael McCarty
  • The Journey of “Rudy Jenkins Buries His Fears” by Richard Thomas
  • Writing Short Fiction by Joan De La Haye
  • A beginner’s guide to setting up and running a website by Michael Wilson
  • Poetry and Horror by Blaze McRob
  • Horror for Kids: Not Child’s Play by Francois Bloemhof
  • So you want to write comic books… by C.E.L. Welsh
  • Horror Comics – How to Write Gory Scripts for Gruesome Artists by Jasper Bark
  • Some Thoughts on my Meandering within the World of Dark and Horror Art by Niall Parkinson
  • Writing the Series by Armand Rosamilia
  • Running a Web serial by Tonia Brown
  • Reviewing by Jim Mcleod
  • Avoiding What’s Been Done to Death by Ramsey Campbell
  • The 7 Signs that make Agents and Editors say, “Yes!” by Anonymous
  • The (extremely) Short Guide to Writing Horror by Tim Waggoner
  • Growing Ideas by Gary McMahon
  • Filthy Habits – Writing and Routine by Jasper Bark
  • A Room of One’s Own – The Lonely Path of a Writer by V.H. Leslie
  • Do You Need an Agent? by Eric S Brown
  • Ten Short Story Endings to Avoid by William Meikle
  • Submitting Your Work Part 2: Read the F*****g Guidelines! by John Kenny
  • Rejection Letters – How to Write and Respond to Them by Jasper Bark
  • Editing and Proofreading by Diane Parkin
  • On Formatting: A Concise Guide to the Most Frequently Encountered issues by Rick Carufel
  • How to Dismember Your Darlings – Editing Your Own Work by Jasper Bark
  • From Reader to Writer: Finding Inspiration by Emma Audsley
  • Writing Exercises by Ben Eads
  • The Year After Publication… by Rena Mason
  • Writing Horror: 12 Tips on Making a Career of It by Steve Rasnic Tem
  • The Five Laws of Arnzen by Michael A. Arnzen
  • The Cheesy Trunk of Terror by Scott Nicholson
  • How to be Your Own Agent, Whether You Have One or Not by Joe Mynhardt
  • Networking at Conventions by Lucy A. Snyder
  • Pitch to Impress: How to Stand Out from the Convention Crowd by RJ Cavender
  • You Better (Net)Work by Tim Waggoner
  • Vaginas in Horror by Theresa Derwin
  • Friendship, Writing, and the Internet by Weston Ochse
  • Buttoning Up Before Dinner by Gary Fry
  • How to Fail as an Artist in Ten Easy Steps by John Palisano
  • Writer’s Block by Mark West
  • Be the Writer You Want to Be by Steven Savile
  • Afterword by Joe Mynhardt

Horror 101: The Way Forward is perfect for people who:

  • are suffering from writer’s block
  • are starting their writing careers
  • are looking to expand their writing repertoire
  • are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
  • are looking to pay more bills with their art
  • are trying to further their careers
  • are trying to establish a name brand
  • are looking to get published
  • are planning on self-publishing
  • want to learn more about the pros in the horror genre
  • are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
  • love the horror genre
  • are not sure where to take their writing careers

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing
Cover art by Ben Baldwin
Edited by Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley
eBook formatting by Robert Swartwood 


“Fragments”

charity-antho

More to come soon!

Synopsis of my story:
Caleb is a special boy whose hunger outweighs any other need. But in his pursuit of sustenance he encounters someone he hadn’t expected. (This story first appeared in THESE OLD TALES)

Fractured Realms:

Description:

For too long a time, a shroud of darkness was thrown over those who’ve had boundless potential to transcend greatness – shunned and cast out – often put down and made to feel ‘less than’. But a brilliant mind can’t be caged away forever; instantaneous flickers in time will reveal the magnitude and depth of the human spirit.

Extraordinary people marked ‘not normal’ come from all different walks of life, and at times the rest of us can consider ourselves fortunate to have witnessed moments when they have broken through the shell of misjudgment forced upon them. People like Susan Boyle, from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, who took a bus ride one day that changed her life forever, or Dan Aykroyd, a writer and actor who brought laughter to many on Saturday Night Live. As Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana, who competed in the Miss America pageant, said, “Normal is just a dryer setting”.

Table of Contents:

Edited by Suzie and Bruce Lockhart 2nd

  • Autumn Leaves – By Dorothy Davies
  • The Voice Inside the Mirror – By Lindsey Beth Goddard
  • The Wish Box – By Ray J Robbio
  • Fragments – By Kenneth W. Cain
  • The Online Dead – By Gary Murphy
  • Unfounded – By Jay Wilburn
  • The Number of the Beast – By Mathias Jansson
  • Meteorite on the Move – By David S. Pointer
  • Make Me Something Scary – By Patrick Tomblety
  • Dark River – By Thomas Brown

The Big Book of Monsters & Friends

Untitled

Available from:

 

The Big Book of Monsters & Friends exists in a large part thanks to my children. They came up with ideas, told me what would be fun, and tested everything out for me. Without them, this book, as well as the characters and stories inside, would not exist. Therefore, I dedicate this book and all that is inside to my two lovely children.

In these stories children will learn about friendship, accepting loss, how to cope with fears, do arithmetic, memorize the alphabet, understand bullying, how to cook with easy to follow recipes, about allergies, rhyming stories, poor eating habits and much more. They can color, solve puzzles, complete math problems, and figure out brain teasers. They can create their own comic strip, monster, and alphabet. They’ll even get to read a story about a marble and learn how to play the game of marbles. This book is jam packed with lots of fun activities and stories to keep your children entertained.

My primary goal in creating these stories has and always will be to make children smile. Many of you have contacted me with stories or left reviews to share a story about your child’s reaction and I’m very thankful, as they have made me smile as well. To those children I say, never stop dreaming.

You can still pick up any of the original full-color print editions at most online stores or by clicking on any image below, which will take you to that books Createspace order page.

__CookingwithMonsters-Cover-digital


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