Let’s take the top story for every month and vote on the Best of 2016! You might notice that the number of stories doesn’t equal the number of months, and that’s because some were repeaters. I will not disclose which ones, but if you really want to know you can listen to the breakdown of the top horror stories on Deadman’s Tome here:
A surprisingly strong collection of dark, often extreme horror, Deadman’s Tome Book of Horrors II is a slender sampling of the genre. There are stories of both supernatural and human horror contained herein, all said to be torn from a cursed tome that has driven men to madness, murder, and more.
The Valley of Sex by Joseph Rubas was an early favorite for me, a vintage pulp-style horror/adventure story in the vein of Howard and Lovecraft, with some nasty supernatural sex deep within subterranean ruins. DOSE by Marc Shapiro was an odd one, with some really stellar moments (the insatiable whore with no face upon her smooth, egg-like face stands out for me), but I expected something more from the climax.
The Chasm Bridged by Carson Winter was another favorite, a haunted house story that effectively shocks with what you can’t see, before taking an unexpected twist. Easily the most human, most contemporary story in the collection, An Identity For Sam Piles by Spinster Eskie is also the most surprising, in that it effectively humanizes a monster, and starts building our empathy before ever engaging our disgust.
The next three stories fell flat for me, but the collection ends on a high note with a pair of Jack the Ripper tales. The Woman in Red by B Thomas was my favorite of the two, giving us a very sad, yet somewhat sexy motivation for the murders, while The Adler Street Boarding House by Kel y Evans takes a more subtle approach, setting up a soft climax that teases a fictional parallel with Edgar Allan Poe.
While it doesn’t sustain the erotic shock value of the first two tales, Deadman’s Tome Book of Horrors II is a better collection for branching out and really delving deep into the depravity of the genre.
After dinner Dad took me upstairs, helped me put on my pajamas, counted to 120 as I brushed my teeth and told me a story about a girl who followed a rabbit into a mysterious world. Poppy was downstairs cleaning up dinner and humming “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Dad read for a bit until my eyes fluttered and I fell asleep. He tried to be quiet as he slipped away from my room and down the stairs but the top step always creaks and I woke up.
I listened, hoping that tonight would be different because Christmas was coming.
Daddies were so happy during the day, smiling as we decorated the tree, holding hands as we walked in the snowy park and taking turns messing up my hair when I begged for a new toy. It was not the same when they thought I was asleep. I would first hear Dad talking very low, saying things like “house” and “bills”. Poppy would also be talking low except for when he said, “we can do this”. I don’t know what bills are but I hate them.
Poppy would keep talking low, but Dad would move something a little bit too loud and Poppy would tell him “Shhhhh”.
One year Poppy got a doll for me. He said it was a special doll from Santa that would make sure I behaved. It wore a green jacket with a red belt and had a pointy green hat. He put it up on a high shelf and it sat there with big eyes that would stare and stare.
As I watched TV it stared. Eating dinner it stared. Poppy even moved it to my room where it would stare at me.
I kicked my robot covers off of me and tiptoed to where the doll sat staring.
I thought maybe daddies needed someone to watch them to make sure THEY behaved, then maybe they wouldn’t yell so much.
I opened the door just enough so that the doll and me could squeeze through. I was good at making myself small and I was really good at hide-and-seek so I was able to get around to the part of the upstairs hall where I could spy on daddies without being caught. I lay down flat on my tummy and made the staring doll sit up and look downstairs. He watched daddies as they pointed at each other with angry faces. The doll watched as Poppy showed Dad something on his phone, which made Dad angry and Poppy cry.
“Who is this?” the doll heard Poppy ask Dad.
I left the doll alone as I snuck back to my room and into bed. I hope Daddies see the doll and stop yelling.
I was dreaming that a goat was running downstairs in the house. It must have been a big goat that worked on a farm because I could also hear chains making a lot of noise as they hit the ground and slammed into furniture. The goat growled like a lion, which was weird. I think my daddies were in the dream too because I heard yelling. Then one of them yelled out my name…
I woke up and then quickly stood in my bed getting a little dizzy.
I jumped down to my bedroom floor and while holding my head called out,
The house was quiet. No daddies yelling and no goat with chains. I could see that the lights were on from the little line of light at the bottom of my door, so I thought daddies were in the living room.
The top step did not creak because I was too afraid to go downstairs. I stood at the top frozen. I wasn’t dizzy anymore, but I felt sick. I could see why Daddies were so quiet. They were not there.
The black leather couch that I was not allowed to have snacks on was covered in a red thick mess. All over the pillows were long sausages that were also covered with red.
Small chunks of meat hung from the lamps at the side of the couch. They were stringy and slowing plopping down onto the side tables. Behind the couch on the wall it looked like black snails were moving down towards the floor. Across the TV it looked like someone used a brush to paint long streaks of crisscrossing red with lots of red dots in-between, above, and below. I looked more and the red was on the ceiling, the drapes, the carpet, the cabinet, the lights, the chairs, the blanket, on Dads book, on Poppy’s phone…
Poppy’s phone was in Poppy’s hand.
Poppy’s hand had no arm, or body.
I was shaking very hard. My pajama pants got very warm for a second, but then it quickly got cold and wet. I could smell pee, and it reminded me of when I used to wet the bed. The house now smelled like my pee, daddies’ red and a dirty animal.
I was too scared to move but I did turn my head to see the doll still sitting, still staring out where daddies had been and where the red puddles are now. In its’ lap was a piece of ripped paper. There was a red streak on it but it did not cover the two words that someone had written. The first word I knew because it was in the story Dad had read. It was “Behave”. The second word I didn’t know but I tried sounding out the letters.
Deadman’s Tome is calling for submissions for its February issue titled No Safe Word.
No Safe Word is themed around dark erotica with an element of horror and bizarre. Submissions should be approximately 1000 words. Deadline is January 25th. However, the call for submissions may close early if I’m flooded with quality work. So, send your submissions as soon as possible.
I offer 10% royalty as payment and an invite to the Deadman’s Tome podcast.
Enjoy Deadman’s Tome Krampus Christmas for FREE on Christmas Eve. Whether you enjoy or loath the holidays, Krampus Christmas has something for you. Dark and demented tales that twist the meaning of the season. This anthology has quickly become something of a favorite to many and has received glorious 5-star reviews. And while Deadman’s Tome Krampus Christmas retails for $2.99, you can enjoy it for free.
Due to a goof when navigating the new Kindle Digital Publishing interface, the print edition of Trumpocalypse is now available!
Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse is loaded with dark twisted stories featuring the President, riffing on his ego, his micro-penis, and his love for his daughter.
Trumpocalypse delivers more laughs than scares, but the dark tones and demented edge is everything Deadman’s Tome. Check out the interview with Donald Trump where he confesses a bombshell.
Get a copy of Trumpocalypse and join that campaign of getting Trump’s attention. I have purchased two copies and have sent one to the Whitehouse and another to Trump tower. One package may not get Trump’s attention, but a dozen would.
This is a fantastic anthology which really captures the darker side of the holiday season. Each of the six stories (one poem) takes great glee in showing the reader just how dark and disturbing Christmastime can be, and from the very first page the pace never relents. Read this in one sitting, preferably with the lights turned down low.
New Deadman’s Tome shirt with Emblem and Title on the chest. When you wear a Deadman’s Tome shirt you not only represent your respect for horror, but for one of the darkest little corners on the internet: Deadman’s motherfucking Tome.