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Bryan W. Alaspa – Granny Horror Game and American Horror Story 1984


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Bryan W. Alaspa is a Chicago born and bred author of both fiction and non-fiction works. He has been writing since he sat down at his mother’s electric typewriter back in the third grade and pounded out his first three-page short story. He spent time studying journalism and other forms of writing. He turned to writing as his full-time career in 2006 when he began writing freelance, online and began writing novels and books.

He is the author of over 30 books of both fiction and non-fiction and numerous short stories and articles.

Mr. Alaspa writes true crime, history, horror, thrillers, mysteries, detective stories and tales about the supernatural.

Granny Horror Game and American Horror Story 1984

Deadman’s Tome podcast is a variety show covers everything from horror writing, horror movies, filmmaking, youtube drama, and fringe communities. Deadman’s Tome has stong stance on free speech and is open to exploring conspiracy theories and social issues. While the show has a comedic bent to it, some many heartfelt moments have been explored on the program. #horror #writing

Live stream every monday, wednesday, and friday at 9:30pm

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Aaron Thomas Milstead, Notre Dame Fire, Church Police

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Aaron Thomas Milstead

Aaron T. Milstead lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with his wife and three children. He is a lecturer at Stephen. F. Austin University and is the author of the horror novels They Don’t Check Out and Ear Worm published through Blood Bound Books. Other publications include the short stories “Identical, Only Different”, “A Succession of Nearly Identical Ripples”, “The Pickled Man”, “Castration Complex”, “Ways the World Breaks You Down”, “Rampant Immorality”, “A Losing Battle” and “Take Your Time”. “Silent Auction” will be published in November in the Crash Code anthology.

Deadman’s Tome podcast is a variety show covers everything from horror writing, horror movies, filmmaking, youtube drama, and fringe communities. Deadman’s Tome has stong stance on free speech and is open to exploring conspiracy theories and social issues. While the show has a comedic bent to it, some many heartfelt moments have been explored on the program. #horror #writing

Live stream every monday, wednesday, and friday at 9:30pm

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Dallas Mullican and Criminal Actresses

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After spending twenty years as the lead singer of a progressive metal band, Dallas Mullican turned his creative impulses toward writing. Raised on King, Barker, and McCammon, he moved on to Poe and Lovecraft, enamored with the macabre. During his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he received degrees in English and Philosophy, Dallas developed a love for the Existentialists, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and many more great authors and thinkers. Incorporating this wide array of influences, he entices the reader to fear the bump in the night, think about the nature of reality, and question the motives of their fellow humans.

A pariah of the Deep South, Dallas doesn’t understand NASCAR, hates Southern rock and country music, and believes the great outdoors consists of walking to the mailbox and back. He remains a metalhead at heart, and can be easily recognized by his bald head and Iron Maiden t-shirt.

Allison Mack tearfully told a judge on Monday that she first joined the cultlike group known as Nxivm to “find purpose.” She was unsatisfied with her acting career, she said, despite her role on the successful television series “Smallville.”

Felicity Huffman plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud

Deadman’s Tome podcast is a variety show covers everything from horror writing, horror movies, filmmaking, youtube drama, and fringe communities. Deadman’s Tome has stong stance on free speech and is open to exploring conspiracy theories and social issues. While the show has a comedic bent to it, some many heartfelt moments have been explored on the program. #horror #writing

Live stream every monday, wednesday, and friday at 9:30pm

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Does Everybody Know Your Name? Sweatiest Movie and Drunk Stories

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PayPal… Funny Drunk Stories and Good Memories. What is the sweatiest movie ever made? Tribute to Cheers with good vibes


Deadman’s Tome podcast is a variety show covers everything from horror writing, horror movies, filmmaking, youtube drama, and fringe communities. Deadman’s Tome has stong stance on free speech and is open to exploring conspiracy theories and social issues. While the show has a comedic bent to it, some many heartfelt moments have been explored on the program. #horror #writing Live stream every monday, wednesday, and friday at 9:30pm

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Jonathan Lambert- caption contest winners and meat grinder standings


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We talk to Jonathan Lambert, tease Mr. Deadman about the caption contests and talk about the Meat Grinder. Who is ahead?

Jonathan Lambert was born in a hospital in the 1960s. He grew up in Bowie, Maryland in a rancher style house with two brothers and a sister.
He graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a degree in Mathematics, and has held many jobs, including: carpenter’s assistant, landscaper; steak house assistant manager; cook, butcher, programmer/analyst; network engineer, data base administrator, and sometimes, babysitter.
He now lives in Virginia with his wife and two offspring, and he desperately wants to retire and be an Uber driver.
When he’s not working, reading, writing stories, or surfing the Internet, he’s probably sleeping

Deadman’s Tome podcast is a variety show covers everything from horror writing, horror movies, filmmaking, youtube drama, and fringe communities. Deadman’s Tome has stong stance on free speech and is open to exploring conspiracy theories and social issues. While the show has a comedic bent to it, some many heartfelt moments have been explored on the program. #horror #writing

Live stream every monday, wednesday, and friday at 9:30pm

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The Meat Grinder 2019!

New Meat grinder writing contest for April 2019!

The following stories are competing for 30 days to get the most points! A Unique visitor is 1 point, a like is 5 points, and a comment is worth 10 points (authors own comments and duplicated messages don’t count).

First place winner gets $50 in CASH (paypal)! Second place gets $25 dollars in CASH (paypal), and third place gets something called an honorable mention.

Who will win?

The Best Show Ever – Ray Prew

The Girl Without a Name – Mark Towse

Miasma – Daniel L. Naden

The Wheel – Michael Picco

Troy Story – Veronica Smith

Sentenced to Suffer – Feind Gottes

Up the Dark Alley – Trev Hill

The Meat Grinder is not you’re average writing contest. No sir. The Meat Grinder is an intense horror writing contest that puts the stories at the mercy of the readers. The readers decided with their views, likes, and comments whether a story is good or utter garbage.

The stories showcased are not edited by anyone connected with Deadman’s Tome. The authors are responsible for sending in their best work to compete with others.

Let the best author win!


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The Best Show Ever – Ray Prew

Ray Prew

Like the story? Throw the author some change


Have you ever been to the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Have you ever wondered about the camaraderie that goes on within a rocky cast? Oh boy do I have a story for you! Who am I you ask? I think it best not to identify myself I don’t need problems with the police.

The Rhode Island cast colloquially called RKO ARMY (the latest of several name changes) had just finished their best show ever; over 200 people were in the audience I was among them. I should have been up on that stage performing a part I was a star at for 20 years, but no I was in the audience. Our cast (or rather my former cast) at its height was over 30 members strong. Now it’s down to about 20. I used to be in their number but for reasons I’d rather not go into I was expelled.

I am still friends with a few of them so I have knowledge of issues and get togethers. The cast had just finished its 1000th show and they planned to celebrate. One of our members had a secluded house deep in the woods of Cumberland, it was ideal for parties. There were no neighbors to disturb and difficult to reach, so the police weren’t inclined to pay visits without a reason.

Their 1000th show, and in my opinion the best one the cast ever did. They were going to party and they invited cast members from over two decades past and present and other casts from neighboring states to help celebrate this milestone. Except, they didn’t invite me. First I got expelled from the cast I helped to start (I am a founding member) and then I was purposely uninvited to their grand celebration. For this they would pay, they would all pay!

I sat patiently in the audience waiting for the show to be over; watching the audience leave telling cast members how good the show was. I was hoping some of my former teammates would at least acknowledge me; all I got was a few dirty looks. They knew that I knew about their party, but no one invited me including the house owner who was hosting. Oh how they would pay!

I drove away but reentered the plaza from a different point that allowed me to watch them leave unobserved. I knew exactly where they were going, I had been there before. In fact I had visited there just recently when I knew no one would be around. I wanted to case the place and learn the layout of the grounds and woodland area. I have locksmith skills so I was easily able to make duplicate keys to every lock and padlock on the place. I planned my revenge carefully. I purchased a high powered crossbow and some arrows from a sporting goods store. Who needs guns? They are loud noisy things. Arrows are nice and quiet and you can always pull them out and use them again.

I parked my car about a mile from the road that led to the house and covered it up with broken tree branches and bushes. It made pretty good camouflage I thought. As I walked through the woods towards the house, I checked to see if the machetes and axes and other things were still where I had hid them. It was all still there. Now for my revenge, now for justice.

I hid high up in a tree with my night vision gear and watched them as they started their barbeque and broke out their beers and drinks, they had no idea I was there.

As the party got underway two of them walked off into the woods together obviously for sex. I knew these two. I first met them in a graveyard next to a parade the cast was putting a float in. We smoked a couple of joints together. I knew for a fact they were among the people that lobbied for my removal from the show. They did that behind my back, all the while smiling in my face, even after I gave their new baby a teddy bear. I overheard them laughing when they thought I couldn’t hear about how they just threw it in the trash. They were now nice and isolated from the rest they would die first.

I notched up an arrow in my crossbow and took careful aim watching them for the best moment. I waited until they were in a close embrace up against a tree and fired. The arrow went through the back of his neck and through both their throats and into the tree pinning them to it. They were still alive making gurgling sounds, so I put another through their heads. As I watched them die I thought to myself Jason Voorhees has nothing on me.

I climbed down from my tree to better pick my next victim. The next one was a good one he was a veteran cast member. I had worked with him many times. In the earlier years he made several jokes about me comparing me to teddy ruxpin, a talking teddy bear. He stopped doing that after he watched me in a fight with a drunk and I tossed the guy over a bridge into the Blackstone River, however I never forgot the insults. He walked away from the house to smoke a joint and have a piss. I didn’t want to waste an arrow on this guy; I wanted to do him up close and personal. I took my machete and snuck up from behind. He turned and saw me. “You!? What the hell are YOU doing here?” Those were the last words he would ever speak in this world. Before he could even move I took his head off with one swipe of my machete. I took his head with me I thought it might prove useful later.

I figured sooner or later they will make a run for it so I’d better disable their cars. On one car, a pickup truck, I opened the hood and connected a wire to one of the spark plugs then ran the wire underneath the truck to the gas tank. Then I put the other end of the wire into the gas tank itself. The wire was the same color as the truck and it was dark, so in a panic they would be unlikely to see it. The end result would be when someone started the car, boom! The next car I simply punctured the gas tank to let the gas drain out into a gas can. I thought the gasoline might prove useful later. On another car I loosened the lug nuts on the tires so the tires would fall off. The others I simply flattened the tires. No one would escape me this night.

The owner of the house was a kinky bastard. He enjoyed sex toys and restraints. In his back yard was a human sized turn table with restraints for forced group sex. After a while one of the girls went out back with two guys to play on the turn table. This bitch went with every single guy in the cast but me claiming I was too creepy. Jeeze, a guy gets caught with one damn sheep and he’s marked for life. I waited until she was restrained and blindfolded. After the first man, a heavy set comic book store owner, inserted himself into her from behind and she opened her mouth to take in the second guy, an equally large man and would be politician, I fired from five feet away. The arrow went completely through the first man’s head and into the throat of the second man. They both died instantly, but the man who inserted himself stood rock steady on his feet, his brain had caused some kind of muscle freeze. An extra bonus for me! The man with the arrow in his throat had an arterial spray sending blood down on the woman on the turntable for a few seconds before he fell over. Apparently she thought he was urinating on her as she squealed in delight, and I’m the creepy one? I ran up quickly and severed the penis of the first man at the root so the shaft stayed in her.

At this point she seemed to realize something was wrong and tried to get free of the restraints. I took her head off with my machete, another souvenir for me to use later. I walked away carrying her head. Before long the others would start to notice people were missing. So far the score was six down and twelve to go. This was getting to be fun.

I returned to the woods to plan my next victim and soon I got a two for one. Two cast people walked out the front door heading towards the cars. At first I was worried they would find the sabotaged cars, but no they just wanted to smoke a couple of joints. One I knew well he used to be a very close friend of mine, but when the ouster took place he didn’t speak up for me. He stood by silently and allowed them to vote me out. His death would be painful. The other I didn’t know at all but I recognized her from her movie roles. This woman was one of a very few cast members to actually advance to becoming a professional actor. She wasn’t involved with the vote but I really couldn’t leave witnesses so she had to die as well. In this case I simply walked up to them carrying my machete and gas can. “Hello Andy,” I said. “Hold this for me for a moment will you?” I handed him the gas can. “I need to get at my weed.” This guy was a bigger stoner than me and that’s saying something. His eyes sparkled at the thought of more pot. In one quick motion I swung my machete and decapitated the young actress. Her head seemed to actually live for a few moments before it bled out her eyes looked at me with a ‘why?’ expression. “I’m really very sorry,” I told her before she bled out. “I can’t leave witnesses.” My old friend looked at her headless body in a shocked silent horror. “Shame on you,” I told him. “She was young enough to be your daughter! Suppose your wife Fran learned of this?” I kicked him hard in the testicles. As he dropped to the ground holding his groin I took the gas can from him and poured the gas all over him. “You should have spoke up for me buddy,” was my last words to him. I walked away about ten feet. I lit one of my arrows on fire and shot him igniting the gas. Amazingly no one in the house heard the whoosh of the gas going up or smelled the burning flesh. I knew the music was a bit loud and they were all indoors but damn you’d think they would have noticed . . . something at least. I returned to the darkness of the woods.

I hid in the darkness and watched the house from behind, they still didn’t notice anyone was missing, they were partying so hard. The barbecue was fired up for food later but no one was attending it because they hadn’t put the steaks and such on it yet. I snuck up and closed the lid and placed the head of the man on top of it, once they found him that would really get the party started, at least my party anyway. As a side note to any who read this story, see what happens when you exclude people from your party?

After about a half hour they decided to start cooking the food. Two of the girls went out back to get the barbeque going and saw the head on top of the grill and screamed. The rest ran out to see what was happening and saw the head. Not very far away they saw the turntable with the headless woman and two men. They started to panic and decided to make a run for the cars to get the police. I ran around to the front of the house and threw the head of the woman from the turntable through the window! I crouched behind a big rock with my crossbow at the ready. They all came spilling out the front door at once in a blind panic falling all over each other in a desperate attempt to escape!

I put an arrow through the head of the owner. The kinky bastard was supposed to be my friend as well. He was the cast leader and could have stopped the vote but he let me get railroaded out. That was bad enough, but he didn’t invite me to the party and he invited cast people that hadn’t performed in years. I got him right between the eyes.

A few of them saw me and recognized me, but it didn’t matter nobody was getting away. They made it to the cars. A few quickly learned all four of their tires had been flattened. One of them learned his car no longer had any gas. They all piled into the remaining car, the pickup truck, the one rigged to explode! The boom was quite satisfying. I thought I got them all but surprisingly one actually climbed out of the wreckage. All four of his limbs were on fire! He screamed in pain and danced a macabre dance trying to put out his flames; he dropped to the ground and trying to roll it out. This was my final stroke of luck for the night; this was the guy that started my ouster vote in the first place. He actually managed to put out his flames and looked up at me from the ground moaning in pain. “You know I could have pissed the fire out for you if you wanted, all you had to do was ask,” I told him as I notched my final arrow and put it through his head.

I collected my crossbow and machete and looked around to make sure I didn’t leave any evidence of my identity behind. I got in my car and drove away. It was a shame I thought to myself, they had just done the best show ever.

Three months later, after all the police investigations had died off for lack of evidence, I went to the theater owner we had performed at for so many years and asked if I could resurrect the show in the memories of all my departed friends. He knew of the ouster of course but didn’t know I was purposely not invited to the party. Rocky was a money maker for the theater so he readily agreed. I simply took possession of the spotlight and props. I ran an ad in the Providence Journal asking for new cast members to come join our new show. Many people replied including a few old faces that simply weren’t there that night.

The show and the Rocky cult will go on as it always has as it always will. No more ousters it hurts people’s feelings.

Monsters Vs Nazis Cover (Logo)
You’ll enjoy this thrilling book!
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The Girl Without a Name – Mark Towse

Mark Towse

Like the story? toss a few dollars at the author!


The drive had been long, and her Dad seemed to be taking them into the middle of nowhere. She couldn’t remember the last time they had seen a living soul. Finally, they turned off into the longest driveway she had ever seen, and as they slowly trundled towards the house, the long arms of ivy reached out and menacingly clawed at the roof, and the thick hedges on either side played the part of a car wash that only cleaned your car of paint.

Her Dad told her the place was early nineteenth-century and, to Annie, it certainly looked as though that was the last time anyone had done any gardening. She wound the window down, but the musty smell of overgrowth began to seep through the window, an unpleasant and oppressive odour that made her screw her face up and shut the window so quickly she rapped her knuckles on the door and winced.

“Are you okay, love?” her Mum asked.

“Didn’t hurt,” she replied.

The light had changed since they turned in, the sky blocked out by the sprawling bushes that lined the driveway, and the place had that stereotypical haunted house feel, the only thing missing was thunder and lightning and perhaps a few crows lining up on either side. Annie let out a little shiver of nervous excitement as the house came into view and gave out a little “caw” and giggled to herself.

The car pulled up, and she looked out the window and could see a few pebbles scattered in between all the weeds. She took in the surroundings and imagined it back in its day, how grand it would have been, and turned to face the house and noted the decaying and slightly misshapen windows and eroding brickwork, victims of age and the elements. She felt sad for how neglected it looked but was pleased they were going to breathe new life into it.

“So what do you think, Annie?” her Dad asked.

“I like it, Dad. It’s even older than you eh?” she laughed.

He dropped the suitcase and started to run towards her, and she laughed and set off towards the house and passed an old fountain that looked like it had been there since the beginning of time. She noted how old and green it looked and she caught that damp smell of rotting vegetation again that was starting to make her gag. They arrived at the front door together, and they both pushed it open. The place was huge, high ceilings and a massive hallway leading into the kitchen and living areas and it looked just as sad and neglected inside. “Christ, what have we done Annie?” he asked smiling at her.

He picked up the white envelope on the hallway table next to a bottle of champagne.

Jim and family, welcome.

The envelope gave way, and the keys spilled out, and the subsequent clatter echoed through the hallway. Made of some form of metal, Annie immediately thought how ancient and purposeful they looked.

“It’s okay Annie, I’ve always liked heavy metal,” Jim gleefully joked.

“Dad joke alert,” she replied.

“Liz, champers! Annie, you’ve got a ten-second head start, and I’m coming for you,” Jim said and pretended to claw at her face.

Annie giggled and ran upstairs, her footsteps were thunderous on the wooden floor, and the high ceilings served only to provide the perfect acoustics for noise.

“Liz, we are going to need some more rugs,” Jim commented.

Annie flung open the first few doors of the hallway until she found a room with a large dark brown wardrobe in. As with the fountain it looked as though it had been there for eternity, heavy and old, with a huge ornate metal lock across its front. She tried the door, and it opened. Even more spacious inside than it looked; it was empty and had a strong musty smell that she could only put down to age. She cautiously checked inside for old vampires having a midday snooze but of course, found nothing, and stepped in and closed the door. She shuffled into the storage space to the left of the doors and waited.

Annie had already seen quite a few horror films; unbeknownst to her parents, but they could never get across the smell of the old buildings and the thick taste of history in the air. The wardrobe creaked as she shuffled to try and get comfortable and the feel of the cold wood on her skin was only slightly unpleasant, but the smell was oppressively present, and it was dark, no light got through at all, and she became gradually nervous.

She heard her Dad slowly and noisily coming up the stairs, most likely carrying one of the heavy suitcases, or perhaps it was a monster, making its way up and dragging a huge sledgehammer behind. She scared herself and reached her hands out to open the doors and momentarily forgot she’d shuffled to the left, and when she pushed the wood, nothing happened, just another ominous creak. She felt something under her left palm as she started to panic and flail and finally, she managed to throw the doors open, and was relieved to see her Dad stood at the entrance to the room with her suitcase.

“You’re mine now!” her Dad shouted and grabbed her and swung her around by the arms.

As she spun around, she noticed the mark of the cross on each of the walls, where the previous owners had obviously suspended them, and the surrounding wallpaper had yellowed over time. They gave her an uneasy feeling, as far as she could recall none of the movies she watched that contained crucifixes had a happy ending.

“It’s going to keep us busy this place,” her Dad uttered as he gently put her down and trundled back downstairs.

She poked her head inside the wardrobe to find someone had carved the letter H roughly into the wood, and just as she leaned inside to inspect, something hit the window behind her. She turned quickly in fright and emitted a strange gurgling noise that she would laugh about later, but not right now. Heart thumping, she slowly edged over to the other side of the room and nervously peeked through the window but could see nobody on the sprawling driveway below. When her Dad called out lunch, she didn’t hesitate and ran downstairs.

“So what do you think to your room?” her Mum asked and then finished the glass of champagne.

“That one is mine, is it?”

“Sure is, we gave you the biggest so you can get all your Chinese plastic in there,” said her Dad.

“Funny, Dad, you should do stand up.”

“ Liz, pass the bottle would you please?” asked Jim. “I could get used to this.”

“So how can we afford this, Dad? I mean our last house was tiny in comparison.”

Jim looked across at Liz; Liz shook her head and poured herself another glass.

“We just got lucky with our house Annie, and this came on at a bargain. The right time, the right place really,” he said.

Annie went across to a cupboard in the kitchen and pulled at the heavy oak door to unveil a huge pantry. “This is the size of our old living room,” she commented with glee.

She walked inside and ran her fingers on the shelves, “You could get about a million cans of baked beans in here.”

“Jeez, we would need a million cans of air freshener though, sport!”

Annie and Liz laughed, and Jim asked them to guess what was for lunch. They were both right as he slammed the can on the table and got a loaf out one of the bags.

Annie walked back to the table and started rifling through the rest of the stuff. “Dad, how come there are still lots of their furniture in the house? There are old wardrobes, cupboards, chests of drawers, and some beautiful rugs, like the one I am stood on, and look there is still cutlery in the drawer. Don’t they want their stuff?”

“You are too smart for your own good,” he said and looked across at Liz and shrugged, “the previous owners died, sweetheart. The bank had to sell the house to repay the loan, and it meant we could buy the house as is, with all the furnishings. Our poxy collection on its own wouldn’t come close to filling this place. So there you have it, Sherlock.”

There was no sign of a can opener in the cutlery drawer, everything but, so she went through some of the other drawers and cupboards.

“No good, Dad.”

Jim walked over to the kitchen and looked in the same places she had and then took a knife from the wooden block next to the sink. Annie noticed there was one missing from the set as her Dad started ferociously stabbing the can of beans with the knife. Tomato sauce started spluttering everywhere.

“Dad, you’re killing it, stop!”

He put the knife blade under the lid and eventually forced it enough to get the contents out. They noticed an absence of a toaster, so they put the grill on and waited for what seemed an eternity for it to warm up.

“So how did they die, Dad?”

“Accident,” he replied, and too quickly for her liking.

“Dad, come on, really, how did they die?”

“They asked too many questions,” he replied.

After lunch, she explored more of the house before returning to her room, and to find the cupboard door closed. She was sure she had left it open and tentatively walked towards the door, grabbed the heavy metal handle and pulled it towards her. The heavy door creaked open, and Annie made a note to ask her Dad to oil the hinge. She was happy to find nobody behind it but put her hand in first just in case; she traced the now familiar H but gasped when she felt the other marking next to it.

She looked behind her nervously with a fleeting feeling someone was watching but, of course, there was nobody there. She could hear her parents talking downstairs, and with that comforting sound in the background, she quickly stuck her head around the cupboard door and then immediately back out again. There was a letter e, and she would bet her granny it wasn’t there before.

The cobblestones crunched outside as someone pulled up the driveway and Annie rushed across to the window. The furniture van had arrived.


“Please no, Mum, not again!”

“Get in,” the burly woman shouted, grinding the rosary beads in her hand as though they were coffee beans.

“Mum, I didn’t do anything!”

“Do you want me to get your Dad up here? You know what will happen,” she said menacingly.

The girl without a name stepped into the cupboard, and the heavy doors were shut behind her and locked. She cried for a while but not for long, she had been here many times before, and the crying never helped. She didn’t want to give that asshole Frank a reason.

When they let her out last time, she could hardly walk. God knows how long she was in there for but she had finally come to the conclusion that God didn’t care anyway.

She hoped it wouldn’t be as long this time.

Her life for as long as she could remember, was this normal?

She knew the bible back to front, a perk of God-fearing parents. If she ever did get passages wrong, they would beat her, but there was never anything in the bible about being treated like that or doing those kinds of things to kin. She gripped the handle of the knife and imagined doing things, acts of violence that God would not approve of, and lifted it to the cupboard door and clumsily carved the letter H into the wood.


Annie woke up to the sun pouring through the moth-eaten curtains, and for a moment forgot where she was and then looked around and admired her work from the day before. Her old room had felt so cluttered with stuff, but it didn’t touch the sides in the new one. She spotted the key on the pillow next to her and did a nervous sweep of her room; someone had been in while she was asleep. The thought lingered for a while and gave an uneasy feeling. She knew there was no such thing as ghosts, no good or evil spirits, no God, no Devil. Her Dad said that there is enough evil in the world already, even if there was a Devil he would be holidaying in the Bahamas year-round.

Her attention turned to the key, and the nervous feeling slowly subsided with admiration of its ornate beauty. She picked it up and slowly twisted it around between her fingers, and thought it so beautifully intricate that it must open something incredibly precious.

Who are you? Where are you?

She jumped out of bed and put on her dressing gown. She tried the key in the wardrobe door, but it wasn’t a fit and had no luck in the other rooms. Downstairs, she thought.

“What are you up to chick?” Liz asked as she came out of the bathroom.

“Just playing,” she said, wanting to keep the key her little secret.

“Okay, can you be extra quiet? We are both tired after yesterday and want some more shut-eye.”

Annie slid down the bannister, “Yeehaw!”

She landed gracefully. From now, Mum, sorry.

She looked around downstairs but could only find locks on the front and back doors, and there were several on those, but the key didn’t fit in any of them; she would pause for breakfast and continue the hunt later.

Even with their furniture in place, her footsteps still echoed loudly, so she started to tiptoe, and headed over to the pantry with the intention of filling a bowl with as many Cheerios as would fit. When she opened the door, she found the box already open. Her parents hated sugary cereals. Unless they secretly didn’t, and it was just an act she momentarily thought. It was then that she heard a faint noise that sounded like someone crying, and she immediately took a deep breath and held it and listened intently. When no further noise came, she slowly breathed out and then thought she heard more noises that sounded like movement. They were faint but present, and coming from deep within the pantry.

Probably rats?  

Rats don’t cry,” she whispered to herself.

She moved some of the boxes out the way, some were light, but others had to be shoved aside as they were heavy and full of pots and pans. Finally, she reached the back of the pantry but could no longer hear any noise. She traced her hand around the panels and under the shelving, and then she felt an indent and bent down and saw the unmistakable shape of a keyhole and the outline of the white door, camouflaged against the rest of the plasterboard. There were some scuff marks near the keyhole itself as though someone had tried to get through in a hurry.

“Gotta be,” she whispered.

She heard her Dad running downstairs, and she pushed some of the boxes back and grabbed the Cheerios and rushed back to the table.

“Thanks for being so quiet, Miss Thunderfoot,” he said sarcastically, and reached into the pantry for the muesli and poured some into two bowls.

“What are you going to do today?”

“Probably just explore,” she replied.

“Okay, we are going to pop out later to pick up some paint, and a can opener. Any idea what colour you want for your room?”

“I don’t need a can opener for my room, Dad,” she said smiling, “can I borrow your laptop to get some ideas for paint though please?”

“Sure, make sure you are ready to go soon though.”


Annie picked up the laptop from his room and took it into hers. She typed up their new address into the search bar and found a news report of a murder-suicide from two months ago. The bodies discovered were at least a month old. She read on. Frank, and Melissa, blah blah blah, people never saw them apart from at church, and even then they didn’t speak to anyone, just sat on the back pew. No family, no kids, no friends, and lived an isolated life. Both found upstairs. Frank with multiple stab wounds to the neck, chest, face, and Melissa a single stab wound to the chest.

No wonder they got a good deal on the house!

“You ready, love?” her Mum shouted.

Annie quickly closed the page and deleted the search history. She put on a pair of jeans and her red t-shirt on and ran downstairs, “Red, I want red.”

“Anything but red, Annie,” Liz replied.

They left the house and didn’t get back until dark, the car full of pots of paint, wallpaper, flat pack furniture, and a can opener.

Annie carried the paint to her room and found the cupboard door wide open again. Once again she cautiously poked her head inside and saw another letter, an l. Hel now carved into the inside of the wardrobe.

She started to go through some of the possibilities, Helen, Helga, perhaps not Helga.


As she glanced down, she noticed the hairs on the bottom of the wardrobe and carefully picked some of them up and held them against the light from the window. They weren’t hers, they were a different colour, dark brown and long, and as she rolled the hair between her fingers, she thought how dry it was. She put it in her Jeans pocket and went down for supper and thought only fleetingly about telling her parents. They seemed happy though, and since Mum lost the baby they needed this, and she wouldn’t ruin this new start for them.

She ate her food, said goodnight and ran upstairs.


Frank came into the room; he brought with him some bread and a can of soup and put the tray down at the end of her bed.  He put his hand on her leg just above the chain, and she immediately stiffened.

She had a plan, but he was strong, and he would kill her for sure if she didn’t get it right. Sometimes she wondered if that might be the best thing that could happen.

He moved his hand up her thigh and smiled down at her.

“It’s wrong, Dad, you know that.”

“Child, you don’t exist. Nobody knows you are alive, you are invisible, an accident, and a bug to bear and I will have what’s mine,” he replied.

He knocked the bible off her table. She closed her eyes and bit her lip and fantasised about sticking the blade into his neck, eyes, and chest. She would feel no guilt. She was locked in the chains, though; she would have to wait until they moved her.

No guilt, would that make me evil?

She had seen Melissa looking at her too recently, with envy possibly and perhaps she wanted some of it. Frank had been relentless since she started bleeding, he said it’s because she is bad and she’s bleeding out all the evil inside her.

Next time, she thought.


Annie woke up after hearing a loud creak and saw the wardrobe door wide open. There were rushed footsteps on her floor, but it was too dark to see. She quickly got out of bed and turned on the light.  The bedroom door was ajar, but the hallway was pitch-black, and she was still squinting from the light. She couldn’t make anything or anyone out. She glanced back at the inside of the wardrobe door and when her eyes finally settled she saw the word Hell.


She stepped into the hallway, slid down the stairs and ran into the kitchen and heard a door shut.

“Annie? What’s going on?” her Dad shouted after her.

She stared at the pantry and then said, “Nothing, I think I can hear rats in the house.”

“All I heard was one big rat! You woke us both, go back to bed.”

She thought about telling him but didn’t. She was thirteen now, and she could handle it.

She surprised herself and slept through until late morning, and when she awoke found a scrunched up piece of paper on the side of her pillow. She straightened it out and read the text.

John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

Above the text in red pen, written very clumsily was HelP, somebody had written Hell first but changed the last l to a P.


They dragged her out of bed, and Frank slapped her across the face.  Before she knew where she was, Frank hit her again, hard, and she fell against the bed. She knew something was coming and quickly grabbed the knife from under the mattress and slid it into the right pocket of the gown and out of sight.

The knife was a small victory.

She had bided her time and waited for the right moment, and as Frank led her out of the pantry one day, she had quickly turned around and grabbed the knife and slid it into her bible.

“Get upstairs now! You have sins to repent!” Frank screamed at her.

She wanted to do it right then and felt her hands tremble at the thought. Hell terrified her though.

If this is normal, what is Hell?

She walked upstairs with Frank closely following, “You are going back in the cupboard, we might leave you there for some time,” he said.

Frank pushed her into the room, and she saw Melissa in the bed, and some relief set in when Frank unlocked the cupboard and shoved her in. She could hear them in bed, and they moaned and groaned. The same noises Frank made when he was on top of her.

“Can you hear us?” Melissa shouted.

“Do you want to join in?” Frank said and laughed.

She heard whispering.

She prayed that if there was a God for it not to happen. She clenched her fists and held her breath. Someone fumbled at the lock with the key, and then the doors were opened.

“Okay, as a treat,” Melissa shouted, “come, join us.”

Frank got back into bed and smiled and beckoned her with his finger.

“If you don’t come here right now, I will slit your throat.”

She edged closer to the bed and put her hand in the right pocket and wrapped her hand around the blade. She eyed the crosses on each wall of the room, the rosary beads hanging from the dresser and the bibles on the tables either side of the bed. Judgement was everywhere, but she could not control the rage that surged through her body. She rushed at Frank and before he could even try and defend himself the blade sank into his neck, driven by years of stale hatred.

He stared at her in disbelief with wide eyes and put his hand to his neck to stem the bleeding. She ripped the blade out, and the fountain of red followed. As she subsequently drove the knife down hard into his chest, she screamed until there was nothing left to exhale and her lungs were empty of all the festering hate. Melissa screamed then too, finally finding her voice, and then Frank’s arms started flailing and almost knocked the knife from her grip. She stabbed him again, this time between the legs and then through the eye.


“Where is God now?” she asked as she turned her attention to Melissa, Frank now a gurgling mess.

Melissa started to beg, “D … Don-”


She pulled the knife out and watched crossed legged as her Mum’s life drained until she finally stopped breathing. Annie then threw herself to the floor and on all fours and wept and heaved as though vomiting out the evil within and seeking redemption for her sins.

Finally, she stopped and looked at the bloodshed around her. They were her parents, yet she felt no remorse, just relief. She guessed she was going to Hell, but questioned how it could be any worse than what she had already experienced.

She spent the next few hours cleaning the blood away. She wiped the blade of the knife and wrapped Frank and Melissa’s fingers around it, and then placed it between them on the bed.

The tears came, a mixture of relief and terror, and she had no idea how long she had been a prisoner or why her parents thought her evil or did those horrible things. They were the only people she had ever known or even remembered setting eyes on, and now she was on her own and wondered how she would survive. She had killed people, broken a commandment, and surely there was no way back from that in the outside world.

Why did God let me suffer through this?

She wandered around the house for a while and tried the windows and doors and, of course, they were all locked. The thought crossed her mind to smash the glass with a chair or some other heavy object but the plan stopped after that, she was a murderer with nowhere to go. Before long she was soon drawn back to the room where she had been held captive for most of her life, harrowing but familiar, sickening but home.

Thanks to her parents zero tolerance for other people, the pantry was full, and after that, she would be in God’s hands.

She grabbed some dried noodles and closed the door behind her and said a prayer.


Lunch was spread out on the table, an assortment of bread, cheeses, and meats. Annie thought they were finally getting their act together. She helped with the dishes and went to put the remaining crackers and bread in the pantry and checked the Cheerios to find nearly half the packet was gone. She put the leftover food on the same shelf next to the box and closed the door behind her.

Liz got out the Monopoly board, and Annie and Jim moaned in unison.

“It always ends in tears,” Jim said.

“Normally yours,” Liz laughed, and he nodded and shrugged.

The game lasted four hours, and in between, they ate pasta, and her Mum and Dad drank lots of wine. Jim won by a mile, and he let them know about it frequently, at one point doing a lap of honour around the living room with his t-shirt over his head and singing the words from Sweetest Victory.

As they packed up, Annie told them she was tired and wanted to go to bed, and they both had looked stunned but gave her a kiss goodnight and said they would be up soon anyway.

Annie went up to her room and grabbed the torch from the hallway cupboard and waited. She played for a while and read a few pages of her book, and when she finally heard her parents coming up the stairs and giggling like children, turned the torch off and ducked under the covers. They both came in and kissed her goodnight, and it was all she could do not to break out into a nervous giggle. A few minutes after they left, she grabbed the torch and stuck her head out the door, and heard more giggling and then the light finally went out, accompanied by more laughter. She took her chance and slid down the bannister to avoid the creaking floorboards.

Annie picked out some leftover cheese and ham from the fridge. She flicked on the torch and opened the pantry door and noted the crackers were gone, and there were crumbs from the bread leading to the back of the room. She closed the door behind her and took the key from her dressing gown pocket and slid it into the keyhole and turned, and heard the mechanism unlock, and she pushed the panel inwards.

She shone the torch into the makeshift doorway, and then slid herself in and closed the door behind her. She was in a new room, one that shouldn’t be there and one with a very unpleasant odour. The torch was shaking in her hand, and she felt she had become the stupid protagonist in one of those silly horror films she had seen, the one that made all the silly decisions.

Get a grip, Annie!

As she started to move the torch from the left side of the room to the right, she stopped mid-sweep and almost dropped it. In the middle of the bleak and very bare room there was a bed, furnished with dirty yellow sheets that were possibly once white, and then her eyes were drawn to the chains.

She moved closer and heard a noise from behind the bed and gasped as a head popped up, a dirty face underneath a flurry of auburn hair, matted in places but erratic in others. Her eyes were just as wild, nervously darting from side to side as if watching for predators from both sides.

“Who are you?” Annie asked.

“I don’t know,” was the answer.

A girl.

“Why are you in our house?”

“This is my house,” the girl replied.

Annie knew she was out of her depth but didn’t feel in danger; she edged over to the girl and held out the food and placed it on top of the mattress. She noticed the bucket underneath the bed and the nasty yellow sheets speckled with dark red spots. The smell was overpowering, but she stood her ground. She saw the empty cans of food and empty packets everywhere and then spotted the elusive can opener.

The girl stood up and grabbed the cheese; she broke huge pieces off and shoved them in her mouth.

“Jeez, you are hungry,” Annie commented.

As the girl slowly stepped from behind the bed and edged toward her, Annie noticed the out of place looking bump for a belly on the otherwise skinny frame.

I guess it might be okay now, the nameless girl thought.

“I’ve stopped bleeding. The evil has left me,” she told Annie.

Monsters Vs Nazis Cover (Logo)
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