Archive for October, 2014


Sherman had no intention of getting stuck in the mud, so he drove his pick-up into the clearing and brought it to a halt on the dry stretch of packed earth several feet from where the water lapped at the edge of the swampy shore.

He jumped from the cab and hustled around to the truck bed, opened the tailgate, and, muscles straining, tugged the heavy barrel out.

He rolled it the short distance to the water’s edge and shoved it in.  He gave a smug smile as he lit up a smoke and watched the gray barrel sink with hardly a ripple into the dark, murky depths.  It barely disturbed the ragged water weeds that covered a good portion of the surface.  A stray cloud occluded the full, rising moon, briefly casting the clearing into darkness, before drifting on across the sky.

He tossed his half smoked cigarette butt into the water, climbed back into his pick-up, backed up cautiously, and headed out of the trees and onto the highway.

Later, he lounged on the couch in the living room of the old house, feet on the coffee table, watching TV and swigging his sixth beer.  Something Ida would never have allowed him to do.

He looked over at the chair where his wife usually sat playing with that damned doll, brushing its hair, straightening its frilly dress, talking to it.

He’d rammed the pickaxe through its eye, cracking one side of its face.  He chuckled, remembering Ida’s outraged screech.  She was looking at the doll, mouth open, when he brought the pickaxe down through her skull.

She couldn’t stop him now, not from the bottom of the swamp.  She and that stupid doll were down there together, forever.  He’d carefully cleaned up the mess, and with some judicious cramming, everything had fit neatly into the large barrel, including the doll, and his pickaxe.

He gave a wet, satisfied belch, flicked the TV off, got up and staggered upstairs to bed, still fully clothed.

A full bladder awakened him.  He opened his eyes to a pitch black room, confused.  Hadn’t the lamp been burning when he laid down?  Why was it so dark?  Bulb must have blown, he thought through a fuzzy brain, as he stumbled to his feet and began feeling his way to the bathroom.

He reached the door, pushed it open, and stepped in, fumbling the light switch on – and gaped in shock.  It wasn’t the bathroom.  It was the attic room of this ancient, decrepit house his wife had dragged him to months ago, and directly in front of him, close enough to touch, was the doll, somehow grown larger, nearly as tall as he was.  Her cracked, one-eyed face leered at him through her bloody, mud splattered hair.

Hot urine rushed from him as his bladder gave way, but he never noticed as the doll  raised the dirt-streaked hand that held his pickaxe, and brought it down through his skull.



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“Aw, it’s jus’ a stupid bird,” said Wally cautiously poking his head out the door of the mausoleum.

The large raven, its ebony feathers gleaming a shade of indigo blue in the light of the full moon, sat silently on the stone gate and cast a beady eye at the stubby, plump man peering out at it.  Wally ducked back in.  “Come on!  Don’t be so jumpy.  Ain’t no such thang as haints! Thinka all that shiny stuff they buried wit’ old man Brome.  We gonna be in the money!”

Bob, a frown on his pinched face, pulled his ball cap low on his forehead.  Jim, the third partner in crime, a tall thin man, held a battery powered lantern and led the way through the small entry.  They reached the stone steps that led down into the crypt.

Jim held the lantern out, peering into the gloom. “Y’all watch yer step.  Ain’t no hand rail.”

Single file, the three grave robbers started down.  It would be an easy job. They didn’t even have to dig. It was a private mausoleum on the old Brome estate, nobody around for miles.  They’d handily gotten over the stone wall onto the grounds, and even better, the door to the mausoleum wasn’t locked.

“Wha’ wuz that?” hissed Bob, pausing. “Y’all hear that? Sounded like footsteps!”

In front, halfway down the stairs, Jim stopped. He cocked his head listening. Then he shrugged and continued down. “Naw, ain’t heard nothin’.  It’s jus’ yo’ ‘magination.”

They headed into the gloom, peering around.  “Tha’s where they laid th’ old codger,” said Wally, eagerly shining his flashlight toward the back.

Jim went over, pulled the drawer out and lifted the lid of the coffin. “Wha’ th’- were’s th’ old bastard at?” he exclaimed looking down into the empty interior.

Upstairs, the door slammed shut with a loud bang.  Wally jumped, his heart thumping.

Bob sucked in a terrified breath and edged toward the steps.  He stumbled into Wally who dropped his flashlight as they both fell, Bob grunting out a pained “oof!” as Wally landed on him.  His hat flew off, his stringy hair flopping around as he scrambled to get to his feet.  His eyes rounded with fright as a shadowy figure stepped out from a corner, and old man Brome stood there, yellow eyes glaring balefully at the thieves.

Jim turned to run and fell over his partners huddled on the hard floor. His lantern went skidding off and fetched up against the booted foot of the old man.

“Hello, boys,” Brome rattled out in a dusty voice. “You’re right, there’s no such thing as “haints”. However,” he grinned, his pointed teeth glistening in the light of the fallen lantern, “did you ever hear of ghouls?”

The smell of urine permeated the air as he strode toward the cowering men.

Outside, the raven fluttered down from the gate, settling on the grass. It listened to the faint screams coming from the mausoleum.  It waited.



Randy glanced up at the darkening sky. “We’d better hurry and find shelter, Brie. Storm’s coming.”

She gripped her bag tightly, nodded wearily, and trudged behind him across the grassy plain.

“Look!” said Randy. “There’s a building at the edge of this sweep. Come on, we’ll wait inside ‘til this blows over.”

Brie squinted. In the distance, she made out a small, deserted shack. She stumbled on. She was tired and needed rest. It would do.

The shack looked even shabbier as they neared. The doors and windows were missing and it looked as if, at some point, it had sustained a fire. Cautiously, Randy edged up and eased his head around the door opening.

“It’s clear.” He went in peering up at the shadowy ceiling and rafters. “Don’t seem to be many holes. It should keep us dry as long as we stay away from the windows.”

Brie followed him in. They’d stayed in worse. Lightening flickered behind her and thunder rolled. She looked around the dim room. Nothing there except the bare floor.

Randy shucked his bow and makeshift quiver, and his dilapidated backpack, settling them against a wall. She put her just-as-ragged bag beside his, slumping down the wall to the floor, hugging her knees. Lowering himself beside her, he placed an arm around her shoulders pulling her close. He was tired, too.

They fell asleep huddling in a corner away from the broken windows, listening to the rain pelt the little shack.

Brie awakened first. The storm was over and it was pitch black.

“Randy? Rain’s stopped.”

She felt for her bag and pulled out one of her precious kitchen matches and a candle. She lit it. And screamed.

Randy opened his eyes – and looked into the face of a monster. It grabbed him around the neck with a huge hairy hand, the flickering candlelight glinting off its jagged rotted teeth, its yellow eyes gleaming.

Shrieking, Brie scrambled up and rammed the candle into its left eye throwing the shack back into darkness. The thing roared, dropping Randy and clasping its eye.

Randy, coughing from being choked, groped for his quiver, pulled out an arrow quickly nocking it into his bow, and rose to his knees unable to see anything in the dark.

“Down Brie!” he shouted. He heard a soft thud, prayed it was her hitting the floor and loosed his arrow toward where he heard the howling creature.

There was a gurgling snarl and Brie gave a muffled cry as something fell across her back. It didn’t move. Light flared as Randy lit a candle. He’d gotten it through the neck. It was dead.

He moved its arm from Brie, made sure she was all right, and set about making a fire just outside the door. Brie found their lone knife and began hacking away at the thing’s pelt.

They didn’t know what kind of monster it was – mutated human or otherwise – and they didn’t care. They would eat well tonight.



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“How much further?” asked James peering out the side window of the truck.

Marcy, keeping one hand on the steering wheel, used the other to gesture.

“Another quarter-mile then I’ll hang a left.  Frank said we’d see it on the right a half-mile down.”

“I hope he knows what he’s talking about.  This is costing us a bundle.  I don’t want to get there and have this be one of his jokes!  Somebody might call the cops.”

“Relax.  Frank wouldn’t joke about this.  Okay, here’s the turn.  Keep looking for it on your side.  It’ll have a sign: “Martin’s Cafe”.  Frank said to drive on in and Grant will take care of us.”

“I see the sign.  There’s a man out front.  Wonder if that’s Grant?”

Marcy pulled the truck around the graveled lot, parking between two other trucks already there.  She and James got out.  The man approached them, smiling, hand outstretched.

“Hello.  I’m Grant. You must be Marcy and James.”

“Yes,” said Marcy, as they shook his hand.

“You’re the last guests to arrive.  Follow me and I’ll get you taken care of right away,” said Grant, turning to walk toward the building.

They looked at each other, grinned, and trailed Grant into the building where they were seated in a raised area on comfortable chairs with a small table in between.  Grant provided them with drinks and told them they would be served shortly.  They could smell the wonderful scent of bacon coming from the back, presumably the kitchen.

They looked around and saw several occupied tables in the dimly lit room.  It was quiet, no one was even carrying on a whispered conversation.  They didn’t have long to wait.

The double door’s at the back swung open and a man and woman dressed in green uniforms came out pushing a serving cart of filled salad bowls.  These were served to everyone.

As they ate, the only sounds heard were the tinkling of forks going in and out of the bowls.  The servers came and cleared the bowls away as soon as they finished.

A few minutes later, the double doors opened again, and Grant came through pushing a much larger serving table.  He parked it in the middle so that everyone could see from the raised seating area.  The large cover was removed and the room filled with appreciative murmurs at the sight of the superbly roasted meat.  It was the source of the delicious bacon aroma permeating the air.

“Choose your cut,” said Grant.  “I will slice and it will be brought to you.”

As each request rang out, Grant sliced and the servers served.  Then it was James and Marcy’s turn.

They’d already decided.  “Rump, medium.  Thinly sliced, for the both of us,” announced James.

Grant smiled, nodded, and began to carefully cut thin slices of meat from Martin’s well-cooked ass.

“Remember,” he said as he placed the meat on plates, “When you send your friends back, tell them to look for “Luther’s Cafe.”




It lay atop a red, upholstered pillow on a bench in the lobby of the hotel.  I picked it up.  There was no title on the scratched cover and it was adorned with an undefined, brownish pattern.  It was held shut with a small, buckled strap trimmed with raised decorations, and had a bright blue, tasseled bookmark hanging from the bottom.

There was no one around so I took the old book to the counter.

“I need your name, Sir,” said the clerk.  “If it’s not claimed, it’ll be yours.”

“In that case, just toss it.  I don’t need it.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Two weeks after I returned from my trip, a box bearing the book arrived at my home with a note that said since there had been no claim, it was mine.

I shrugged, supposing the clerk had put my name on it after all.  I had no wish to keep the ancient, decrepit volume but decided to take a look inside before disposing of it.  I unfastened the holder, allowing it to fall open.  There were several missing pages and the other yellowing leaves were blank.

It was apparently a journal or diary and whatever had been written before had been removed.  I didn’t need it so I put it back inside the box in which it had been shipped and tossed it in the trash.

That night as I was leaving, the book was on my kitchen table.  Puzzled but deciding I’d absently laid it down instead of actually throwing it in the trash can, I dropped it in the garbage on my way out.

But it was back when I returned.  I checked to make sure no one was getting in and no one was.

Again I threw the book away and again it returned.  Unsettled, I flung it once more.

The third time it came back, I found it lying open on the table.  I snatched it up and words written in a familiar script began to appear and continued for several pages.  My heartbeat quickened as I read what was being written and I sat down, shaken.  The handwriting was mine.

It was a description of certain activities in which I’d engaged including my most recent ones.  I took it outside and placed it into a metal bucket, poured in lighter fluid, and set it afire.  I stirred the ashes, noting the blackened buckle and decorations, satisfied.

The book was lying open on the table when I stepped back into my kitchen.

With ice coursing down my spine, I read the new entry.  I pulled out my gun.

The dark entity that appeared after I pulled the trigger tore out the pages, placing them beside my shattered head.

“Come with me, now,” it said.

We left, but before we moved on, it stopped and laid the book on the upholstered, red pillow of a bench in a hotel lobby.

I watched as a man picked it up and took it to the counter.




It was Zeke who found the solution.  Everybody else was too busy running to think of how to fight the things.

“Zeke! Gitcha ass outchere ‘n git ‘n th’ celler!” yelled Granmaw.  She grabbed the kid’s hand and started down the steps.  The kid looked back and saw Zeke come out with a big pan and set it in the yard.

The zombies came shambling up, took a sniff, and fell to eating.  They all dropped dead, with satisfied smiles.

“Yep,” said Zeke. “Et theyselves ta death, they did.”

Everybody always did say Zeke’s barbecued ribs were to die for.


The Wait – a short story


It drifted, waiting.  For what it was waiting, its purpose for being, it didn’t know.  It knew only two things: that it existed, and that it would know when the time came for its wait to be over.

It viewed its surroundings impassively, seeing without understanding what it saw, studying the sparkling points of lights, the thick pulsating cable that vanished into the vague darkness above it, and the glowering crimson-hued disc of churning vapors that floated beneath.  Occasionally, a larger, brighter light would flash before it, momentarily startling it from its state of quiet waiting.  It always returned to this state, content to merely abide for now.

It had no sense of the passage of time; all it knew was the wait, but after a while, gradually, it became aware of a difference, of a disturbance, a ripple of subtle change in its environment.

Its anticipation rose.  It knew its birth was imminent.  The time was nearing for its wait to be over.  Soon it would know for what it had waited, the why of its being, its reason for existing.

More points of light flickered into being around it, pulsing with colors, growing brighter and brighter, filling its entire space with brilliance.  And suddenly, it knew its purpose and that its wait was, at last, coming to an end, and it was filled with delight for its purpose was truly wondrous.

It was born with a suddenness that elicited a cry of surprise, relief, and joy from its parent.  It burst forth with a dazzling flash and was quickly written into a manuscript, becoming the story that was the result of the idea, the brainchild that had incubated and waited in the recesses of the mind of the writer.


Elliot needed his fix and he was broke. But, he had a gun…and an easy mark…

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Elliot followed the mark in the Armani business suit carrying the expensive briefcase, strolling casually down the busy street.  He needed his fix: this was his ticket.

He stayed back so he wouldn’t be noticed until too late.

When the guy turned into a side alley, Elliot thought, smugly, He’s making it almost too easy.

The alley was a dead-end.  If he hurried, he’d catch him before he got inside the one real door there.  Even if he did, it led to a stairwell that only went up, and he’d catch him before he got to one of the upper floors.

The other door there didn’t lead anywhere.  He’d once opened it out of curiosity, and there was only an old brick wall behind it.  Whatever had been there, somebody had decided it wasn’t needed and had built the wall, leaving the door in place.

He turned into the alley to see the man open one of the doors and disappear.

Musta got my doors mixed, he thought.

He could’ve sworn the one the man went into was the one with the brick wall.  He went over and opened it quietly, expecting to see a flight of stairs and instead peered into what seemed to be a large, dimly lit storage room.  The mark was nowhere in sight.

Baffled, he stepped across the alley and opened the other door.  A flight of stairs.  He shrugged.  Somebody must’ve removed the wall.

He went back, stealing into the room, silently closing the door behind him.  It was dim but not dark. The man had to be there.  Maybe he’d gone through to another room.

He looked around.  No other doors.  He scratched his head.  What the Hell? Where was the guy?  He heard a sound from the back.

Ha! he thought. Gotcha!

Staying in the shadows, he crept stealthily to the back pulling out his snub nosed .32…and his head exploded, sending him into darkness.

Gradually, he came to, his head full of pain.

Muthafucker musta seen me, he thought groggily as his mind cleared.

He sat up, his hand hitting his gun lying beside him.

Fool didn’t even take my piece.

But he knew he had to leave before the guy came back with cops.  He stood, and his heart began to pound.

The storage room was gone. There was a tall, wrought iron gate before him, and staring malevolently out at him, were an assortment of hellish, slobbering, obviously hungry, creatures.

He swallowed hard and backed slowly away, glad the gate had a prominent padlock on it.  He heard a click.  The gate slowly began to open, the creatures poured out.

Elliot turned and ran.

As the sound of his shrieks and gunfire died away, the clock in the tower inside the gate began to strike.  Then, except for sounds of chewing and crunching, all was silent.

The man in the Armani suit smiled as he watched from a window in the tower.  Again, his pets had been well fed.



Destined for immortality…

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Bazyli knew his destiny from birth, learned from his mother, who, upon gazing into his newborn face exclaimed, “My son will live forever!”

His father, who was a secretary in the royal palace, knew also, giving him the kingly name of “Bazyli” and schooling him in courtly manners.

Alas, when Bazyli was a youth of twelve, his father was killed when the city was attacked, and he and his mother were taken captive and sold into slavery.

His mother became concubine to their new master and because she pleased him, her son was not sent to work in the quarries as were the other boy slaves his age, where most lived a hard and short life.  Instead, he was given the task of minding the master’s sheep.

Conceitedly believing his station was only temporary, he did not strive to be a good shepherd.  After losing several sheep, he was beaten but again saved from the quarries when his mother pleaded for him.  He was sent to work in the master’s fields but warned: if he did not perform adequately, there would be no other such reprieves.

So, though he knew it was beneath him, but having no choice, Bazyli worked the fields. He was not good at this either, but did well enough to avoid the quarries.

His hair and beard grew long over the years and he fancied himself quite a regal figure.  He would go to visit his mother and she would comb and groom him, remarking on what a fine man he was, telling him his time would come.  She counselled him to remember what his father had taught him, and to refrain from marrying one of the slave women as he was destined for better.  So, he dallied but he never took one to wife, though, occasionally, he dallied with someone else’s wife.

Bazyli was not well liked amongst the slaves due to his arrogant air of superiority, so it was not surprising that, one night, having had enough of his insufferable attitude and of taking up his slack in the fields because his mother was still a favorite of the master’s, not to mention he’d dallied with one wife too many, several fellow slaves cold-cocked him and rolled him down a steep hill.

When he regained his senses, he found himself beside the river.  Indignant, he gathered himself up and prepared to storm back up the hill and demand punishment for his assailants.  Suddenly, the waters of the river roiled and an imposing figure emerged.

“Bazyli,” said the river god – for that was what it was – “We have been watching you, and have decided to grant your heart’s desire.  Speak it, and it shall be yours.”

Bazyli was overjoyed.  At last, his time had come.  He drew himself up and said, grandly, “I am destined for immortality! Make it so!”

The god looked at him sharply.  “Are you certain?”

“Yes!” cried Bazyli, haughtily.

The god nodded – and turned him into a statue for all time.


I must say that this is a good book.  Because I read book two first (at the time I didn’t realize there was a book one), I thought this one would be anticlimactic.  However, I was wrong.  It does answer one major question I had while reading book two, but this is an entertaining story that stands quite well on its own.

The protagonist, a most unlikable man – a telepathic serial killer with paranormal powers – is in prison awaiting trial for his crimes.  He’s bent on causing disruption, both in prison and in court, and “going out with a bang” but is thwarted in his efforts by the Friar of a secretive order of the Catholic Church when he is pressed into service to stop a living legend from the Bible who’s working to bring about the Apocalypse.

It’s a case of fighting fire with fire (or evil with evil) that begins a little slow but twists its way to an unusual, action packed, conclusion.

As I discovered with book two, it is well written with few errors in a style that is easy to read and understand, and I’m looking forward to book three.

I think anyone who’s a fan of paranormal/supernatural fiction that has a Biblical bent, will enjoy this story.

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