Detritus Peek: Armoire Excerpt

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For today’s free read, an excerpt from Armoire–my contribution to the Detritus anthology. Click the link in this paragraph to visit Omnium Gatherum’s Detritus release announcement. Now, on with the excerpt.

Armoire

by Louise Bohmer

“He’s behind me right now, isn’t he?” Xian leaned forward, tented his fingers over a book bound in leather, and studied her with eyes so brown they were almost black. “Your expression tells a story.”

Ophelia felt her face tense in a mask of fear. The shadow man stepped away from the single bulb covered by a green light shade, which dangled just above Xian. She nodded, watching the shadow man stroke a wispy hand over Xian’s shoulder, before the illusion wedged himself in a slender space between two filing cabinets.

“I felt him then.” Blue smoke drifted up, forming a halo around her mentor’s slicked back hair. “He’s been in there a while.” Rising from his plush, leather office chair, he tapped Ophelia’s forehead. “You’re still collecting rather than banishing, aren’t you?” He blew three rings, watched them float away, then pinned her with another cold, matter-of-fact stare.

“But if I see them,” she whispered, “I feel safe. In the jars, they can’t hurt me.”

The man sitting across from her was the real deal. Not just a tarot reader looking for a quick fifty bucks. Mother told her he was born in Vietnam. Spent a great deal of time studying shamanism as he made his way through India, the Middle East, Europe, and eventually here, to North America, where he’d studied with her mother, until she died from a brain aneurysm. When he gave her occult advice, she trusted it implicitly. In esoteric circles she once frequented, rumor had it he was her father, but he’d neither confirmed nor denied it.

“And what has this one done?” After crushing out his cigarette, he threw his hands up in the air. “This isn’t the first time one has gotten loose and embedded in your brain. You should be banishing the parasites, not binding them to this world. An extended stay only allows them more power over you. You know that. Not to mention, you’ve trapped their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, in there. It’s inevitable they’ll come seeking revenge.”

She fidgeted with the hem of her sweater, looked away from his gaze that saw all within her. “They’re getting trickier. I lock the armoire every night. They’re still getting out.”

He sighed and rubbed his brow as he frowned. “And why do you suppose that is? Your lessons are sorely behind. Would it kill you to come to me once a week for our sessions? It’s been over a year. This isn’t like riding a bike, you know? Training is constant, and diligence is a must.”

Nodding, she huffed her red bangs out of her face. Now, would he throw the whole, “your mother would be so disappointed you’re not following in her footsteps,” spiel at her? She hoped not. Instead, he took a different track, but no relief came. His next question clenched a cold, tight fist around her stomach.

“Does Marta know about the inter-dimensional parasites you’re keeping in your mother’s armoire?” Xian’s eyebrow rose.


Copyright © 2011 Louise Bohmer. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be changed and/or distributed without the author’s permission.


Grab a copy for your Kindle now by clicking the book cover.

The impulse to collect springs from deep within the human psyche Squirrels gather acorns, rats collect shiny things, but only humans assign meaning to the objects they collect. Detritus is a collection of stories about the impulse to collect, preserve, and display gone horribly wrong.

Featuring: Kealan Patrick Burke, Jeremy C, Shipp, Mary Borsellino, Brent Michael Kelley, Phil Hickes, L.S. Murphy, Michael R. Colangelo, Neil Davies, Louise Bohmer, Edmund Colell, S.P. Miskowski, Michael Montoure, Lee Widener, Pete Clark, and Opal Edgar.

Paperback available from Omnium Gatherum for $13.99 (coming soon on Amazon).

Be sure to ‘like’ the book on its Kindle page. It helps up our ranking!

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It’s release day for Detritus, featuring stories from Brent Kelley, Edmund Colell, Jeremy C Shipp, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lee Widener, L.S. Murphy, Louise Bohmer, Mary Borsellino, Michael Colangelo, Michael Montoure, Neil Davies, Opal Edgar, Pete Clark, Phil Hickes and S.P. Miskowski.

Grab a copy for your Kindle now by clicking the book cover above.

The impulse to collect springs from deep within the human psyche Squirrels gather acorns, rats collect shiny things, but only humans assign meaning to the objects they collect. Detritus is a collection of stories about the impulse to collect, preserve, and display gone horribly wrong.

Alphabetical listing:

Brent Michael Kelley Ride

Edmund Colell Shrieking Gauze

Jeremy Shipp Chewed up

Kealan Patrick Burke The Room Beneath the Stairs

Lee Widener Let Them Into Your Heart

L.S. Murphy The Tick-Tock Heart

Louise Bohmer Armoire

Mary Borsellino Shots and Cuts

Michael Colangelo Arkitektur

Michael Montoure Heroes and Villains

Neil Davies Candy Lady

Opal Edgar Crawling Insect Life

Pete Clark In His Own Graven Image

Phil Hickes Mrs. Grainger’s Animal Emporium

S.P Miskowski The Highest and the Sweetest

Paperback available from Omnium Gatherum for $13.99 (coming soon on Amazon). Click the OG logo to grab a print copy.

Tomorrow, I’ll be blogging an excerpt from my contribution to this fine anthology.

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X-posted from the KHP Publishers site:

As of December 23, 2011, KHP Publishers (Koehler – Hintz & Partners Publishers, to be specific) is now incorporated, and going forward will be assuming the name KHP Publishers, Inc.

This decision was made for several reasons with the consideration of our maturing business model. Incorporating protects and separates our personal assets from business liabilities, while securing our name in the state we headquarter our operations. It gives our company peace of mind in terms of investments and contractual agreements that we structure on an annual basis.

Our business is constantly evolving. Annual profits for 2011 are up over 50% and operating expenses are down 53% from 2010. Removing our publishing overhead and converting the house to “digital only” have also been contributing factors.

We thank our authors, retailers, and most importantly, our customers for their continued support of KHP Publishers, Inc. We are excited for the new year and our upcoming publications from Black Death Books, Skullvines Press, Blasphemous Books, and Violet Ivy Press, and hope you are, too.


S.D. Hintz

CEO/Editor-in-Chief

KHP Publishers, Inc.

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Kate Jonez recently posted the release date for the Detritus anthology. January 13 will be the day you can pick up some Detritus anthology goodness. I’ll post a reminder blog when the release day arrives.

Detritus Anthology Contributors
(In alphabetical order)

Brent Kelly: Ride
Edmund Colell: Shrieking Gauze
Jeremy Shipp: Chewed up
Kealan Patrick Burke: The Room Beneath the Stairs
Lee Widener: Let Them Into Your Heart
L.S. Murphy: The Tick-Tock Heart
Louise Bohmer: Armoire
Mary Borsellino: Shots and Cuts
Michael Colangelo: Arkitektur
Michael Montoure: Heroes and Villains
Neil Davies: Candy Lady
Opal Edgar: Crawling Insect Life
Pete Clark: In His Own Graven Image
Phil Hickes :Mrs. Grainger’s Animal Emporium
S.P Miskowski: The Highest and the Sweetest

Upcoming from Omnium Gatherum. Click the image above to pay them a visit.


I’m also happy to announce I’ll have two poems in I Know What I Saw–an upcoming poetry collection edited by Barry Napier and Rich Ristow. This one will be released by Needfire Poetry, and I’ll have more updates as they come. Another fine collection I’m happy to be included in.

Okay, jaw is aching from another wisdom tooth yanked (but I am so glad that bastid is gone), and there’s holiday cards to get ready. Yeah, I’m that late.

Happy Holidays!

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This free read is fresh meat. An early version of today’s free read once made honorable mention in a long ago Apex Magazine Halloween contest. However, since then this free read has been nipped and tweaked. It’s a PG-13 free read. I say that only because I’m paranoid of irate parents emailing me. Anyway, on with the shiny new fiction.

Midsummer Nightmare

by Louise Bohmer

Before Holloway ripped his lover’s eyes out and feasted on her essence, he wanted to give her a night to remember. Her last memory before death should be pleasant–a token to carry her over to the other side, something to comfort her during the transition.

Her murder would be as quick and painless as possible. Sure, he didn’t care for humans, but Holloway didn’t wish to make them suffer needlessly. He was smart enough to recognize the glorified homo-erectus was a necessary evil in the grander scheme of the universe.

He lit two cigarettes and passed her one. “What do you picture when I say ‘extraterrestrial’? Little grey men with wraparound eyes and egg-shaped heads?”

They’d been going at it hot and heavy, but before Holloway fucked this one to death he craved some philosophical talk. Soon enough, he’d bring her to climax as he ripped off the mask and showed her his true countenance. A face that would make her heart explode as she came. The combination of pure terror and pleasure would boil her essence to the surface, where it would bleed through her porcelain skin.

Holloway would lap it up from her cheeks, using it to steal her form, absorb her being, for cover in tonight’s scheduled mischief making. He had a date set for some genetic manipulation that was long overdue, and absorbing a human mask would save him the wasted time and effort of constant shapeshifting. He needed all the extra time he could get.

The plum-haired goth shrugged. “Never thought much about aliens.”

Holloway leaned in close to her. “Those little grey bastards get all the credit, but there are thousands of other inter-dimensional and extraterrestrial life forms mixing and mating with you humans on a regular basis.” He rolled his eyes at her. “You have no idea.”

Her intense stare burned into him with electric-blue fire, and in the dim light of their cheap motel room he could see fear beginning its dance inside her. Holloway grew hard with desire and his mask–this one stolen from a pedophile who posed as the pillar of his community–slipped just a bit, his true face eager to burst through its seams.

Guilt filled him too. The thick scent of her fear, heavy and meaty, was intoxicating. While part of him nursed remorse for her slaughter, so much of him basked in the primal rush to follow.

“What are you talking about?” She backed away from him, her tiny feet skittering and slipping on the sheets.

“Did you like mythology, folklore, when you were a child?” He kissed her forehead, as his arms split open at the wrists and tore a ragged seam up to his shoulders. He grabbed her by the throat and pinned her to the headboard. Birch-bark pale biceps, near thick as tree trunks and of wooden flesh, ruined the businessman mask as they ripped through.

She managed shaky words between sobs. “What do you mean? Like Greek gods?”

“Not exactly, love.” His fingers of root and bone trailed up her thighs. His tongue of moss slipped down her throat. She struggled weakly beneath his eight foot frame, as he entered her and pumped hard. Holloway felt a pang of pity for the goth, deep in his heartcore. When she climaxed, his jagged fangs clamped through her tongue, cleaving it clean off its root. The first sweet nectar of her essence flooded his mouth, and he groaned.

He worked his magicks on her to make her death satisfying, but still shocking enough to the psyche to give him what he needed. Alien witchcraft, Holloway liked to call it. Adrenaline was a marvelous and curious thing, and it worked to his advantage when it came to the necessary combination of titillation and terror. Endorphins worked in conjunction with his whispered sex incantations to bring the essence of his lover-prey within reach. He could smell more of her spirit flowing strong, crawling up from her belly. Boiling just behind the eye sockets, where it was easiest to pluck out by the roots and let flow free.

“We helped create your race. We’re partly responsible for the thing you call a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’, and you don’t even know it.” He smoothed a hand over her sweaty brow as she thrashed and screamed silent screams. For a moment, he regretted robbing her the comfort of her shrieks. Everyone deserved release.

Holloway yanked her baby blues from their sockets and her essence–the same color as that piercing sapphire gaze she wore in life–gushed out and down her cheeks. He clamped his furry mouth over one seeping hole in her face. His tongue burrowed deep into her brain, sucking in this biological coating she would no longer need. He groaned in satisfaction.

* * * *

Holloway checked his new female form in the cracked mirror taped to the wall beside the closet. He examined his lush curves and creamy skin. He tweaked his nipples through the sheer, black shirt and smiled. Nice boobs.

Lifting his nose as he opened the door, he sniffed the night air for the scent of the Mother of Evolution. She’d just returned to her motel room, three doors down from his. It was time to move, take care of the task he’d been sent here to complete.

Together, he and Gaia would birth the rebels: offspring who would help bring this mixed up human race to the next step in their evolution. He and the Mother would have to save humanity’s sorry mortal asses before it was too late, thus saving their own dimensions a shitload of natural and political disaster.

Humans had a way of messing with space and time when they didn’t know enough about it to be playing around, and it was creating havoc with the natural equilibrium of other worlds. All their messing with nuclear bombs and the hadron collider wasn’t just causing blips in Earth’s space-time continuum. It was messing up harmony throughout existence.

The fae and snake people, part of a coalition of beings who created the human ‘spirit,’ were suffering the brunt of the Inter-Dimensional Diplomacy Senate’s wrath for conducting the experiment of boosting the ape-creature’s psyche, with just a small injection of their combined bio-ethers, so many millennia ago.

This is your mess, Holloway, and you and that runaway bitch can clean it up. Concordia Discord, son. Chaos in one realm causes a ripple of turmoil throughout realities.” The Highest Elder’s shrill scream pierced his third eye, and Holloway almost fell on his ass as he tried to maneuver the six inch platforms the goth had been wearing.

He reflected over recent instructions from the Highest Elder:

You need to be covert. I don’t want Gaia to remember who she is before you can corner her. She mustn’t recognize you. She’s buried deep within the human mask, our sources tell us. Don’t spook her or she may bolt.

“Go in wearing the mask of a woman. A small, vulnerable woman preferably. That will let her guard down.

He fished a cigarette out of the goth’s purse and lit it, mumbling a reply to the Highest Elder around the filter. “How the hell do I impregnate her while I’m in the skin of a woman, smart guy?”

Don’t worry about the details of inseminating the human mask. Just get in there, you idiot.”

One of them needed to be in human skin for this fertilization to work. But would the mask survive? Would Gaia let it? Inter-dimensional kinds had long ago left behind the need for crude reproductive methods.

Holloway knocked at her door, and checked the parking lot over. Deserted. He was just about to kick at the door with his monster shoes when the entrance opened a crack.

A woman, shorter than the waif mask he wore, peered out at him. Her hair was as dark as the room engulfing her and it was bobbed beneath a tiny, pointed chin that made her look like a china doll. All she needed was a pink bow clipped at each temple.

Gaia’s mask looked nothing like the forceful beast within. The one he remembered so well. There wasn’t a trace of sleek scales or her ancient lizard eyes. Holloway winced at her façade of fragility, and at his own. They looked so like frightened children, searching for their mothers on a playground, rather than the great, inter-dimensional beings they were, who’d mastered arts far beyond homo sapien’s comprehension.

“H-hello there?” The mask frowned at him, and then gave a rapid barely-there smile. “Can I help you?”

“Ummm, yes. I mean, I hope so.” Holloway swallowed, and cursed himself for not thinking up an excuse for all this sooner. “See, my boyfriend kicked me out of our motel room.” He faked a few tears. “Asshole. Could I come in and call for a ride home?”

Gaia back up and looked like she was going to close the door.

“You can totally search my purse,” Holloway added desperately. “If you’re still afraid I’m carrying anything or whatever,” this he said seductively, leaning against the concrete wall to show off his stunning breasts, “you can search me.”

Gaia’s mask blushed, and Holloway wondered if the show of bashfulness was a ruse. Or was Gaia buried so deep within the skin she truly didn’t smell his inter-dimensional heat coming through his stolen flesh? He wouldn’t let his guard down.

Smiling, but dropping her wide-eyed gaze to the worn carpet, Gaia opened the door and gestured for him to enter. “Would you like a drink while you wait for your ride?”

He sighed and rubbed his eyes, smudging his mascara down his cheeks. It was time to get this over with. He’d have to do this quick if he wanted the mask to survive the insemination. There was still a chance Gaia would try to sabotage the pregnancy by destroying the mask. Really, Holloway couldn’t blame her. What higher level being wanted to find itself stuck in the skin of a hairless monkey for nine months, carrying around a half-human brat? The idea made him shudder.

He walked up behind her, stealthy and silent, while his true self broke through the dainty female form he wore. He wrapped his long fingers around the mask’s waist as he whispered frantic incantations and threw out psychic, sealing glamours, trying to trap Gaia in the human shell before she could set herself free.

“Don’t struggle, love. I know you’re in there, and I know you can hear me. You know why I’m here, and what we must do. Do you remember? I know you do.”

He heard the ripping of soft tissue, and Holloway smelled the perfume of inner meat and blood. He was too late. The dying mask twitched in his grasp as Gaia broke free from within. Holloway had failed.

The shredded mask fell to the carpet and the Mother of Evolution rose, like a phoenix, from the remains. “Oh yes, I remember all of it Holloway. Indeed, I remember, but do you? Obviously you don’t. The Highest Elder lied to get you here.

“Why do you think I’ve been running for so long, protecting you for all these centuries? I can run no longer. You’ve had your time to adjust. Our time has come.”

Oily black writhed and turned to forest green. Holloway watched her scales plump and take on a solid yet fluid shape. His heartcore did a strange flutter-beat.

Supple reptile fingers wrapped around his cock. “Come into me, love. Come into me.”

He couldn’t hold back the moan at her slippery touch. Visions, aeons gone, wafted into empty rooms in his mind.

* * * *

“You want me to what?”

“I’m sorry, Holloway, but I have the better temperament for taking lead in this mission. You’re more maternal, I’m more feral. You know that, even if you won’t admit it.”

“Not more feral,” he narrowed his eyes at her, and crossed thick arms over his wooden chest, “just crueler.”

She bit her serpentine lips, and shook her head at him. “That’s not fair.”

Holloway hadn’t experienced pain in quite some time, so when it ripped him apart and sucked him into Gaia’s bio-ether, smashing his own dense bio-ether to bits like a sledgehammer taken in the teeth, the odd sensation pleased him greatly. He remembered what it was to feel again.

He saw Gaia’s hypnotic green eyes in a dream, and it was then he recalled the fine print on that Treaty of Inter-Dimensional Diplomacy they’d signed so long ago. She talked him into it, with those bewitching lizard eyes and promises of great sex. Without much argument, he’d agreed to work as a melded partnership, on this millennia long mission. They’d play the role as one, rather than two, and he’d take the backseat. He’d be the mother, this time, and she’d be the protector.

* * * *

Gaia woke up with her face mashed into the soiled carpet, drenched in sweat and the afterbirth of her transformative mating with Holloway.

She moved to the full-length mirror hanging by the closet. The mixture of Holloway’s fae essence and her reptilian features made for a striking contrast in this temporary human-looking mask they’d created. Beautiful in an odd way, with exaggerated green eyes and a too-small nose.

Shapeshifting was necessary at this point, but before they went out to find themselves a sturdy, 100 percent human male mate, they’d need to find some sex kitten mask to steal for the insemination. They had to be in a human body for the pregnancy to take. And, they needed a pure human mate.

“Where should we start looking for a suitable mask, Holloway? We’re running out of daylight, and time.” She looked at the weak sunlight pouring in the curtains. They might have to send time back six months, a year or two, even though it was frowned on by the Elder Council and the Inter-Dimensional Senate. But, if they were going to complete this mission, it might mean breaking a few rules. They’d already wasted a handful of years.

Holloway found a comfortable place in the back of Gaia’s mind and settled there. “I still don’t see why we have to share a body on this one, or why I have to bare the brunt of these pregnancies.” He pouted.

She chuckled at her reflection and grabbed their purse off the nightstand. Then, she cooed soft words to him, trying to soothe his broken ego. “We’ve discussed it all before. If someone needs to separate, defend or go out and hunt, I’ve the hunter instincts. Let’s face it, you’re more nurturing, babe. You’re the brains, I’m the brawn.”

Holloway snorted, and it tickled her brain something fierce. She knew he was disgruntled about the combination of their bio-ethers, and the fact that her essence was taking the helm in this mission. But they needed a stronger female bio-ether mixed with just the right combination of male bio-ether, to combine with pure human DNA–nothing too diluted with offworld bio-ethers would do–for this conception to take. And for the children born to successfully receive the next genetic code that would give human’s another step up. Worlds within worlds were demanding the chaos infecting their existences be settled, and she and her partner only had 485 years left to finish the job.

“Don’t be sore, sweetheart.” She slid into the seat of their Corvette. “Aren’t you just happy to be back with me? I did try to save you from this for as long as I possibly could. That’s why I ran. I knew you weren’t happy with the Treaty conditions, and I was worried how it would affect our results. You needed time to forget, to adjust, to soften to the idea.”

“I’m sorry I snapped, hon.” Holloway sounded genuine. “I’ll keep my third eye peeled for a man-killer mask in thigh high boots, while you grab me a pack of smokes in that club over there.”

Gaia chuckled and sighed. “You won’t be able to smoke once we’re knocked up.”

Holloway grumbled something she couldn’t quite make out.

Acquiescing to his request, she guided the Corvette toward the club he’d pointed out.


Copyright © 2011 Louise Bohmer. All rights reserved. No part of this short story may be distributed, shared, or posted online without the author’s written permission.


Want more horrifying Louise fiction? Why not check out Old School? Fourteen short tales offered by David Dunwoody, Jackie Gamber, R. Scott McCoy,Natalie L. Sin, Horace James, Gregory L. Hall, and Louise Bohmer, all tied together by selected poems from Zombie Zak – Old School reminds one of terrors best not forgotten.

Within these pages, evil children terrorize, witches gather the teeth of the young, cosmic blobs eat the world, while creepy crawlies ruin a man’s life and a headless ghost seeks revenge. Wander down this spooky path with poems and stories that revive our nightmares about golems, harpies, and other creatures.

Be sure to ‘like’ the book on its Kindle page. It helps up our ranking!

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