Posts Tagged ‘horror’
I’m as excited as Riff Randall was in Rock N Roll High School to announce my guest for today (but it’s not the ghost of Joey Ramone). It is, in fact, the Funky Werepig himself, Mr. Gregory L. Hall, with a free read from his new short story collection, Werepig Fever. Details, story, and buy links below, good friends!
About: Writer. Comic. Werepig. For years, in one form or another, Gregory L. Hall has terrorized the masses with his stories, his wit and his radio broadcasts from the No Pants Zone. Here for the first time he’s gathered 20 of his favorite darkly funky tales. And then added 2 more at the last minute to make things difficult for his publisher. From gigantic babies who destroy Des Moines to alien spaceships that cook people like bacon to vampires who suffer from erectile dysfunction, Werepig Fever is full of surprises. With this mixture of humor and horror, the message is clear. Buy this book – or Greg Hall marries your momma.
Gregory L. Hall has a long history in comedy, improv and theatre. He’s a national Telly Award winner and produced the annual Baltimore Comedy Fest to support Autism awareness. His dark fiction can be found in numerous publications and anthologies as well as his novel At the End of Church Street.
Nowadays Gregory is perhaps best known as the host of the popular internet radio show The Funky Werepig. However, he still lists the time he was hugged by Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid, as the biggest highlight of his career.
FACE YOUR FEARS
By Gregory L Hall
A zombie ate my momma. I was only eleven years old but I remember it like it was yesterday. She wanted us to check out the old family home. A rundown farm house on a piece of property we never used anymore. The Lord took Daddy and the bank was gonna take everything else. That chunk of land was the only thing we had left to sell.
So Momma went in the basement to see if the fuse box still worked. I waited at the top of the stairs. I saw the zombie move from the shadows. I didn’t scream in time. Momma got chomped.
We don’t do therapy in this part of PA and my aunt and uncle tried their best to raise me, but the nightmares of that day have never gone away. I can still see him. Ragged clothes. Tufts of hair sticking out on his ugly head. Black fingernails. All these years later and I can still describe his freaking fingernails. How screwed is that?
About as screwed as a kid who told everyone he saw a zombie kill his momma. Oh, sure. The cops went out there. Looked all around the house and down in the basement. They didn’t find nothing. Not even Momma. And the truth is deep down, I knew they wouldn’t. It would have verified everything I said and more.
Life don’t work that way. Even at eleven I knew that.
It was my girlfriend, Cootsie, that talked me into going back out to the house now that I’m grown up. She’s real brave about life. She’s a pole dancer. There ain’t nothing she won’t take head on or stare down. Since we’ve been together she’s made me go scuba diving, bungee-jumping and party at a real live Goth bar. People dressed up as vampires biting each other and acting all dark. I didn’t like it but I did it. That’s what I love about Cootsie. She’s always pushed me to be more than what I am. She’s taught me the golden rule to life.
Face your fears.
I sat in the truck for a long time. That old house hadn’t changed a bit. It was run down and falling apart then, same as now. Weeds and dead bushes covered up the base of the house. Most of the windows were long gone, busted out and the panes decaying. The steps to the front door were rotted away. I could still get in that way but it was much easier to use the concrete steps on the side of the house. They were cracked and covered in green mold but I wouldn’t have to leap up and hang off a doorknob to enter. Plus that door led right into the kitchen, or what was left of it. And the kitchen stood at the top of the basement stairs.
I started the truck and pulled it around to the side of the house. I bounced over the ruts and bumps but didn’t care. Nothing was going to give me a flat tire here. I mainly wanted my baby as close to that damn door as possible. I would go down there like a man and confront whatever ghosts haunted me. But if they were real, I wanted to be able to get the hell out as fast as possible. I left the truck door open a crack. I was a horror movie expert. I wouldn’t be fumbling with any jammed handles.
Cootsie wanted me to go out at night to truly conquer my fears but that got vetoed. First off, she was huffing Lysol and she never makes sense when she does that. Second, Momma wasn’t killed at night. It was in the morning. Broad daylight. Wasn’t like a werewolf attacked her. I didn’t need a full moon. A hungry zombie don’t give a shit one way or the other if it’s day or night.
Still, I had my heavy duty flashlight in my hand. Despite the cloudy sky, plenty of light was coming off the sun. And with half a roof caved in, the house wouldn’t exactly be blocking it out. But in that basement, there were no windows. Just stone walls and a dirt floor. I wasn’t going to be caught blind and helpless.
I felt the flashlight’s weight. Curled it a few times like a dumbbell. I could smash a skull in with this if I had to. I thought again that I should have brought my gun with me but that would have been cheating. Easy to fight nightmares when you’re waving a loaded pistol around an empty basement. No, I was doing this the way it had to be done.
I prayed I didn’t get turned to zombie chow.
The kitchen door creaked on its rusted hinges. If I was hoping to sneak up on anyone, that strategy was blown to hell. I stepped inside holding the flashlight like a billy-club. A few pigeons flew up through the hole in the roof. I didn’t even jump. I was as ready as I ever would be.
There wasn’t much to see. An old fashioned metal sink with two faucets. Raw plumbing hanging out underneath. The cabinets were missing most of the doors and the shelves were caked in rat and bird shit. The wall that connected to the living room had a huge section punched out of the middle of it. Looked like someone shot a cannonball through there. I peeked into the other room but it was in shambles and as deserted as the rest of the interior. Nothing to see. I was wasting time.
It was the basement I had to conquer.
I moved slowly to the top of the stairs and channeled my chi. Just do this and then you can go home, I muttered to myself. My eyes strained to get a clear glimpse into shadows. The base of the steps was fairly well lit but past that? He could be anywhere. Waiting for me to come on down like a fool testing his luck one time too many.
I wondered if he had been waiting for me after all these years. That little boy who ran off screaming and crying, never looking back until he was back in town. I had run the two miles out of the woods and Mr. Treherne picked me up at the main road. He was a teacher at the high school but he knew all us kids. He threw me into his car and brought me straight to the sheriff’s office. But like all the adults, he didn’t say much to support me once I told what happened to Momma.
Well, I was either going to prove them right or wrong today. If that undead flesh-eater was waiting in the dark for me, I’d find out soon enough. I grabbed a chunk of wood that had broken away from a window sill. Old military trick. I’d seen Bruce Willis do it in a hundred movies. The hidden attacker is so ready to jump you, he springs out at the first thing that moves or makes noise. I threw the piece of wood down the stairs.
Nothing. Smart zombie.
I clicked the flashlight on and took my first step. It creaked so loud I closed my eyes in disgust. I wasn’t going to get any breaks sneaking around this house. I decided the slow decent was stupid at this point and opted for ninja. I ran down the steps, taking flight from the last third and landed onto the dirt floor below. In my crouched position I spun around in a quick circle for a perimeter check. Nothing, nothing, nothing. All around me was nothing. Basement was completely empty. My brain caught up with my data intake. Nothing, nothing, man sized figure, nothing. I was in the clear.
He came from behind me and to my right.
“Zombie!” I heard him growl.
I collapsed not out of combat-trained reflexes but because my knees gave way. The zombie’s momentum carried him over me and his stomach landed on my face. I rolled to keep his rot from falling into my screaming mouth. He reeked of pungent meat and death. I grabbed his flannel shirt and it crumbled in my hands. I pushed harder and the zombie flipped off of me.
I scrambled to get my flashlight. He clutched my ankle. His grip was like iron. Voodoo enhanced iron. I kicked back with my other leg and caught him in the jaw. I saw something fly loose from his mouth. I kicked again but this time he dodged backwards and my leg struck air. Dirt flooded inside my shirt and my belly scraped the cold loose floor as he dragged me towards him.
My eyes darted wildly across the room, straining to adjust to the darkness. My fingertips spun the back of the flashlight around and the wall closest to me illuminated. A shovel. Propped up against the stone and mortar. Within my reach.
I lunged for it and it toppled over. The zombie wailed as he tore my flesh and into my calf muscle. I snagged the very end of wooden handle. My fingers wrapped securely around it. The shovel was mine. Yes.
I flopped onto my back and let it rip. I swung that shovel like a steroid pumped jock. I expected a metal clang but instantly realized that would be stupid. I wasn’t striking another metal item. I was smacking a skull. So instead I heard a loud crack. And then a plop as the zombie swayed for a brief moment before collapsing onto the basement floor like a huge sack of wet kittens.
I moved on my hands and knees as fast as I could and retrieved the flashlight. Spinning around on my butt, I shined the light at the creature. Not a twitch. Not a wiggling pinkie. He wasn’t among the Walking Dead anymore. He was among the Dead Dead.
Take that you son a bitch. You killed my mother. This is what you get when you mess with a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Now to finish the job. I couldn’t remember my monster rules. Do I cut off his head? No, that was vampires and serial killers. Zombies had to be lit on fire like mummies and chupacabras. Damn me for not thinking ahead. I should have brought gasoline and matches. I could have burned him to ashes right here in the basement. I guess I could have run back out to the truck and see what I had but I wasn’t about to come back inside once I left this house. I decided it was probably best to go with the chopping off the head.
Way I figure it, a headless zombie can’t do much damage. All he can do is grab at you but that’s no worse than one of the drunks at Cootsie’s club. And as long as you don’t step on his head, it’s not like he can bite you. Let this bastard try and come back. He was about to be seriously handicapped.
I took the shovel and lined up the thin edge to his neck. I rolled him over to get a better shot at the decapitation procedure. God, he was ugly. Sunken-in face. Bug eyes. Mangy beard. Blood was pumping out over those random tufts of hair I remembered.
Blood was pumping out…
Hmmm. I didn’t think zombie’s bled. At least not the reddish kind you and I have. They always have that gunk that looks like clogged motor oil. Come to think of it, you don’t see many zombies growing beards either.
I knew it broke every rule of monster movie caution but I leaned closer. I put my fingers against his cheek and neck. He was warm. And I could feel the blood pulsing under his skin. I leaned even closer and sniffed. He smelled like piss and two dollar wine. I stood straight up.
I may have made a mistake.
I quickly shined the flashlight around the basement again. Stone walls, dust swirling around, a garbage bag. It was next to what seemed to be the remains of a campfire. A recent one. There were tin cans in a small pile under the stairs. A half-empty box of cereal they don’t make anymore. A filthy blanket stretched out on the floor. And a bottle of Boones Farm Ticked Pink.
I looked back to the corpse. It couldn’t be…but there they were. The black fingernails. My childhood zombie was nothing more than some homeless idiot.
I acted on instinct. I didn’t question myself. Some people might have gotten the hell out of there and denied they were ever there. But I knew somehow that would backfire. I had to hide the body. Dirt floor. I had a shovel. It was an easy choice. In case he had some pinko liberal Samaritan who stopped by every month to bring him more cereal and booze, they wouldn’t find a murder scene. They just wouldn’t find him.
It was getting late by the time I packed down the last shovel full. I smoothed it out to get it as flat as the rest of the floor. Deep holes take a while to dig but I was playing it smart. Anybody ever ask me if I was out at the old family house, I’d finally admit there were no zombies. The world was right, I was wrong. Let’s all just have a beer.
I was actually pretty proud of myself.
As I reached the top of the stairs a weird question did enter my brain though. When he first attacked me, he yelled ‘zombie’. Why would he yell zombie? He didn’t know my phobia. He couldn’t have.
My eyes caught something move in the kitchen. She stepped forward into the pale light. Her head hung to one side. I could see her collarbone from where all the skin had rotted away. She limped towards me on a foot that dangled loosely behind her ankle. I looked into her one good eye.
She took my face into her leathery hands. And then bit deep into my forehead.
Today we have a wonderful visitor in the forest. S.P. Miskowski has dropped by to tell us about her new Omnium Gatherum Media release, Delphine Dodd. Please peruse the eerie excerpt below. But, first, a bit about S.P. Miskowski.
S.P.’s Bio (taken from her site): Author of the novel KNOCK KNOCK published by Omnium Gatherum Media and shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award. Three related novellas are forthcoming from Omnium Gatherum beginning with DELPHINE DODD in 2012. My short stories have been published by Supernatural Tales, Horror Bound Magazine, Identity Theory, Other Voices, The Absent Willow Review, and in the anthology DETRITUS. I am a member of the speculative fiction group Wily Writers. One of my scripts, “my new friends (are so much better than you)” was nominated for a Steinberg/ American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award and will be adapted as a Web video project in 2012. As an undergraduate I won two Swarthout prizes for short fiction and edited a quarterly small press magazine. I earned a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Washington and received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, for short fiction and drama.
Delphine Dodd book trailer
Delphine Dodd – an excerpt from the novella
by S.P. Miskowski
Our summer weather varied. We might have two weeks of sunny days and suddenly the rain would return, cold as early spring. On one of these unseasonable days it just so happened that I had to walk to the sanitarium by myself.
Olive lay in bed with a slightly elevated temperature, probably nothing but the change in barometric pressure, but you could never be sure. Eve Alice decided to stay home and keep an eye on her.
The mist had risen from the forest floor. A thin fog drifted across the stream and gently distorted its natural shape, making it tricky to follow by sight. My view of the ridge opposite was intermittent. Then the ridge faded altogether. I was careful to stick close to the path I knew, my shoes clicking on the pebbled shore.
About two thirds of the way, as I passed a cluster of exposed roots jutting from the bluff on my side of the stream, I had a feeling that someone was watching me. I glanced around but didn’t see any crows.
The woods and the ravine could be eerie at certain times of day. Once, early in the morning, Olive and I had seen a wolf drinking from the stream. It raised its head, gazed left and right with shocking gray-blue eyes, lowered its snout, and went on drinking. None of the animals we encountered ever showed an interest, and I never went anywhere without my leather pouch with the tiny jawbone inside. Olive had to be reminded.
“I’m not afraid of bears,” she would say. Or, “That wolf didn’t scare me.”
“It’s because of the witch finger,” I told her.
“How do you know?”
“Livvy, animals aren’t afraid of girls.”
“Maybe they’re afraid of me. I can roar.”
“Don’t be stupid,” I said. “Keep this pouch around your neck, even when you sleep. If you don’t, I’ll tell on you.”
“I’m not scared of wolves, or you,” she whined.
“If you don’t do as Eve Alice said, the lampreys will eat you,” I told her. That did the trick.
The morning I went alone to the sanitarium, there were no wolves or bears. I caught a glint of light from the water and turned, but no one was there.
I walked on. The sensation of being stalked grew with every step. I wanted to turn again, to assure myself that I was wrong, but I couldn’t make myself look.
People often told me I was a sensible girl. Olive was pretty, they said, and I was sensible. I drew on all of my good sense to shut out the uneasiness, but the further along I walked, the stronger it grew. Where I was felt too far from home and too far from my destination, to run. Without meaning to, I found myself staring down at the good luck charm around my neck and wishing I knew a prayer or a chant I could repeat.
I couldn’t run for fear of spilling the broth Eve Alice had prepared. I didn’t see how I could tell her I just got scared and ran away. That would cost us the day’s wages. So I said to myself, again and again, the words I recalled from an old book Mama had given us when we were little:
“Over the river and through the woods… Over the river and through the woods… Over the river and through the woods…”
I must have said this a hundred times, faster and faster as the fear rose up and I felt the cold mist sweep against my back. I huffed and puffed all the way up the crisscrossing terraces, stomping with every step to make sure of my footing, feeling against my chest the pouch with the charm inside, and clutching the jug with both hands. Up the final steps, out of breath, still chanting the words, I climbed until the garden was almost at eye level. With a final hop I was standing at the edge of the garden, and there I stopped dead.
Amid the drifting fog and the ruins of untended rose bushes a gray-white figure emerged. Its shroud clung to jutting bones, and tangled in a mass at the ankles. Stark feet stuck out below the shroud. The figure hung there for a second then started to rotate, so slowly I had time to feel the hairs rising on my arms. Once it faced me I could see its mouth hung open, silent, with long strands of spit on either side.
I dropped the clay jug, spilling all of its contents. The warm liquid hit the ground and steam rose from the spot.
I stood frozen, staring. The figure gave a little jerk of its head and seemed to notice me. It headed in my direction with one shoulder thrust forward and the shroud catching at its ankles with every step. Without a thought in my head I screamed.
Published by Omnium Gatherum Media, Delphine Dodd is available in paperback and ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Delphine-Dodd-ebook/dp/B009GT0ILW
From S.P.: “Delphine Dodd is the first in a three-novella series set in the same world as Knock Knock. The books share characters and themes and may be read in any order. Together they connect in ways I hope the reader will find interesting.”
Click the book cover or link above to order a copy!
Much thanks to Gef Fox for his recent Old School interview and review. You can take a peek at the interview with yours truly here: http://waggingthefox.blogspot.ca/2012/08/sparkly-vampires-need-not-apply.html and you can read the Old School review right here: http://waggingthefox.blogspot.ca/2012/08/rabid-reads-old-school-edited-by-louise.html
While you’re there, be sure to check out all the goodies Gef has up on offer! Thanks again, Gef!
Much thanks goes out to Gef Fox of Wag The Fox blog for his recent Old School review. Keep checking Gef’s blog for his Summer of Short Fiction posts, which will have more Old School goodness included. We Old School authors are thrilled he enjoyed the anthology.
Check out the full review of Old School here:
Why not grab a copy of Old School while you’re at it? 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.
Once upon a time, I walked the streets of New Bedlam with many of my friends. I’m sure some of you will remember those cold, dark streets, where anything could be creeping around the next corner. Here’s a story from those times. In fact it was my first New Bedlam tale. Hope you enjoy today’s free read.
The following account was found in a journal discovered at a New Bedlam heritage site. According to town archives, the original homestead that stood on the property was gutted by fire in 1895. Somehow this journal survived, with all its pages intact.
* * *
Hillary helped me arrange my iron tools in a circle just outside the front door. No clouds in the sky means no threat of rain tonight, so they’ll be safe. I pray the spring storms don’t come anytime soon. We forgot to lay some iron out before the barn, so I fear what it might do to the cows. How I hope we don’t find a mess in the morning.
We could hear it last night, laughing and shouting threats from underneath our bedroom window. I was terrified it would try to get in through the back entrance, but the lock on that door is made of iron so that should keep it out. It hasn’t yet tried the two windows at the front of our cabin.
Its racket woke up our little Mary. She came down from her tiny room in the loft and asked to sleep with us. She could hear it scratching at her wall. I assume it must’ve climbed up to the roof to try our chimney.
I still cannot discern what we have done to make it so angry with us. Hillary and I always left payment for its hard work around our home and farm. We left it bread and honey, milk and some fresh baked biscuits—every night it had a feast, as requested. How did we insult the creature?
Mind you, we are in New Bedlam, and strange occurrences are frequent in this town. I thought moving here would be a fresh start for Hillary, Mary, and I, after we lost so much back in Alberta. Now, I’m not so sure.
Speaking with Rose Trotten—who some townsfolk fear and avoid, as she’s rumored to be a witch in trade with Satan—I learned this area has a history of tragedy. I fear we made a grave mistake coming here. Rose offered me advice on dealing with the creature, so I can at least be thankful for that. She believes something in the town could be warping its intent, corrupting it. This place is starting to stink with a festering malevolence.
I can’t completely blame the town, though. My grave mistake came when I met it at the crossroads and offered it passage in my wagon. I let it in my home and gave it food. It wasn’t until it took off its hat and brushed back its shaggy hair that I noticed its face. The creature—then posing as a man—looked exactly like me. This gave me quite a shock.
It revealed itself as a Fetch—a co-walker to my spirit, a double of my soul. A denizen of Fey, it claimed to be. Was I naïve to take it at its word? In truth, I was afraid of it by then, afraid not to. When it offered work in exchange for a place to stay and some food, I chose not to deny it. My next fatal mistake came there. I gave it too much will over my home and hearth.
I can see it now, from my bedroom window. I watch it as Hillary and I prepare for sleep. It still resembles me somewhat, but its appearance is more akin to animal than human now. Its pug-nosed face has taken on a piggish appearance. Its yellow eyes remind me of a wolf. When I catch a glimpse of it by daylight, its skin shines an odd, light blue. At this moment, it sits in a looming willow and peers in at me. I clutch the iron spike, one of a few I’ve stolen from the railway yard. Should it decide to try the windows tonight, I will be ready.
Copyright © 2012 Louise Bohmer. All rights reserved. No part of this short story may be distributed, shared, or posted online without the author’s written permission.