Do you like to read horror and dark fiction? Do you hate spending money? Well guess what? Deadman’s Tome is offering Deadman’s Tome Best of the Demonic and Deadman’s Tome very first issue for free.
Deadman’s Tome very first issue was under the name Demonic Tome. As a first issue, readers should expect a certain amount of roughness. With that said, the issue contains supernatural horror, werewolves, ghost hunting, and chilling dark fiction. If you like Stranger Things and Stephen King elements, then you ought to consider giving this issue a read. Why not? It’s free!
We’re also giving away Deadman’s Tome Best of the Demonic – a collection of horror tales and dark fiction picked by readers and editors. This issue contains an assortment of speculative horror and supernatural horror.
Captain Jonathon Riesner reclined in his bio-chair, staring out the portal into the black seas of infinity – his head throbbed with what had become a never-ending headache. Three crewmembers had died mysteriously over the past five days. Officially, he reported the deaths back to Sector as accidents, but they were not. The crew was on edge. He had slept very little since the first death, tormented by a reoccurring nightmare and the feeling of extreme dread – and he feared it would only get worse. He was not the only one, the ship’s doctor had told him, when pressed that five of the remaining seven crewmembers had come to him complaining of trouble sleeping and seeking his help. The doctor was reticent to say any more when asked further questions, but there was something more to it – as the doctor himself was deteriorating with dark circles under his blood shot eyes and a nervous tic that drew up his mouth on the right side in a grimace, now occurring with greater frequency and severity.
They had only two of the bodies, Science Officer Varda Negrev had opened an air lock – what remained of him was somewhere out in space. Technician Lordis Mason had died of exsanguination, her throat torn out, apparently by her own hands because she was the only one in the pod at the time. Captured on security camera, Payload Specialist Jim Paulson had put a pneumatic driver in his right ear and turned it on. Lieutenant Souder was the only other person he had allowed to see it since he was concerned of the effect it would have on the rest of the crew if they saw it.
He turned on the com unit and made the end of day recording: “Outlander 3, Mission Gamma Circuit, Day 1423, Return to Earth. Fuel Cells at 48%, Food supplies for another 36 days. Three of four water recyclers functioning at optimal levels. At current capabilities should dock at outer Earth station Micron in 33 days. Nothing of significance to report. Captain Jonathon Riesner out.” The ship will make it back – If any of us survive, he thought.
He had taken a Somalune earlier in hopes it would help him sleep and he did feel drowsy. He reclined his chair fully, gave the audio command for the cabin lights to dim, and prayed that he would not dream. The white noise hum of the air recirculator helped him slow his breathing and heart rates to match it, his eyelids fluttered and he soon drifted off.
Great cyclopean cities of titan blocks with mile high monoliths piercing dark skies all dripping with green ooze, sinister with latent horror, something suggestive of ancient and profane cycles of life in which man’s world and his conceptions have no part. A sound reverberated in the distance: thump, thump … thump, thump … growing louder with each passing second – hideous wings flapping – It was coming!
His vital sensor system began its high piercing alarm waking him. It issued an audio warning:
“Warning, Heart Rate at Dangerous Levels, 132 bpm”
He knew if he did not calm himself the cardiac pacemaker that had been implanted in him (as every crewmember had) would shock him to attempt to get back to appropriate levels. His hands were shaking and sweat was dripping from his face. The capacitors in the cardiac assist device, he knew were charging up – he had moments before he would feel the searing pain. If he could control his breathing, he might be able to get his heart rate down. He began breathing in, counting for five seconds, held his breath counting for eight seconds. Exhaled slowly counting for another eight seconds. Repeat.
“Warning, Heart Rate at Dangerous Levels, 128 bpm”
It was coming down but not fast enough. Riesner placed three fingers of his right hand on the carotid artery on the right side of his neck and began a massaging motion stimulating the vagal nerve. He continued with the breathing exercises.
“Warning, Heart Rate Elevated, 118 bpm”
The beeping alarm occurred less frequently – it was working. After about another minute his heart rate was within normal range and the audio signal stopped. He knew that the capacitors would harmlessly discharge.
He lay back and rubbed his eyes. It was the same dream every time he slept except that whatever approached got closer and closer. What was it?
He knew he would not sleep that night. Resigned, he sat up and went to the console, replaying the video that he had seen at least fifty times already. Payload Specialist Jim Paulson, “Pauly”, entered the pod, the camera in the corner looking down. His arms were jerking about his fingers as if some sort of fit of spasms flexing, bending, pointing making unrecognized gestures. He looked briefly up at the camera, his eyes wild, laughed shrilly and chanted: “Ph’glui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagal”. Foam started pouring out of his mouth and he lowered his head. Looking up, he hurriedly went to the tool bench in which all the instruments were strapped down, picked a pneumatic driver, stuck the end of it in his right ear, turned it in and forced it in. Paulson began screaming, but continued to force the device in, blood and gray matter poured out between the shaft of the driver and his now enlarged ear canal. Finally, he jerked wildly and dropped to the ground – with enough damage to his brain done so that his autonomic system shut down, stopping his heart.
They had done analysis on the words and the language was unregistered in the computer. Also, they had interviewed every crewmember to see if anyone had noticed anything strange in the time leading up to the suicide. He had been the first, Lordis Mason killed herself two days later and two days after that Varda Negrev had decided to take a walk into the great unknown. Things had begun soon after they had gone through the wormhole.
Wormhole Gamma breached a tunnel to the Andromeda Galaxy. After the discovery of the element Prometheus on Saturn’s moon Titan, everything changed. The ore, a natural source of exotic baryons, resembled any ordinary ore in its inert form. However, once femto-refined it could stabilize wormholes, even artificial ones. With negative energy density, the exotic baryons could produce a locally mass-negative region of space-time, which allowed faster-than-light travel through the Casimir effect. Artificially produced wormholes were now possible with only an initial investment of energy.
The first manned ship had gone through Wormhole Alpha to the Crab Nebula just twenty-three years ago. The first ship to return to Earth through a wormhole occurred eleven years later with the crew alive. Currently, seven artificial wormholes existed within the Earth’s solar system for interstellar travel as formerly unreachable and sometimes even unknown areas of the universe now became accessible as space exploration consumed humanity. As space-time in the immediate galaxy began to resemble Swiss cheese, many urged caution in poking holes in the universe, as they believed that they were on the verge of some galactic cataclysm. However, the same wander lust that had brought man to new lands on Earth to explore and eventually populate the entire planet now propelled him to risk all to find new worlds overriding rational concerns and fears. The biggest fear – the wormholes can just as easily lead Whatever is out there to here – to Earth and the end of humanity.
An alert sounded and Lieutenant Souder spoke to him in his earpiece, “Captain, Come to engineering … IMMEDIATELY.” The last was in a panicked tone.
The Captain looked at his watch 3:15 AM Ship Time. Ship Time, based on an artificial 30-hour clock to help the crew maintain a regular schedule, established a sleep/wake cycle. Everyone except the duty officer should be in their quarters sleeping.
He left his quarters, hurried down the hallway past the other private quarters, half climbed down, half slid down the ladder to operations level, past the engine bay to engineering. There were two concerned crewmembers standing outside and the wall was in transparent mode so they could see everything. The door slid open and he went immediately to the control and set the wall to opaque.
Technician Tom Bailey had Doctor Kendra’s arms pinned behind his back. The ship’s doctor was thrashing about, his face red, spittle dripping from his mouth yelling, “We can’t bring It back with us!”
Lieutenant Souder was standing to the side, wringing her hands.
“What’s going on?”
“He was trying to sabotage the ship.” The Lieutenant said not believing her own words.
“He was attempting to close the friction valve in the oxygen exchanger.”
“Why?” Riesner moved closer to the two struggling figures. If the friction valve closed the oxygen flow could have ignited in the feed line – fire would have consumed everything and everyone in the ship within seconds.
“Why?” the Captain asked again.
The doctor briefly made eye contact and Riesner’s blood froze – there was a look of shear madness in them.
“Why?” Riesner asked this time more forcefully.
“We can’t bring It back with us!” The doctor shook his head.
“Bring what back?” The Captain asked fearing the answer.
“Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagal” the doctor said.
“What does that mean?”
The doctor shook his head, distraught; eyes closed tightly, “Those are the words I hear in my head.” He stated softly.
“Can I trust you if we release you?”
“Cannot bring It back with us!” the doctor repeated.
“Let’s get him back to his quarters.” The Captain said. “Lieutenant you had medic training can you give him a sedative?”
“Yes, but we should keep him under watch.”
“Yes of course.”
Bailey frog marched the doctor back to his quarters. With the help of the Captain, he placed him on the bed and the Lieutenant gave him an infusion of sedation. The doctor struggled less and less and lay quietly on the bed. The Captain went to the desk. He was stunned at what he saw. The doctor in his spare time liked sketching and painting watercolors. He had beautiful landscapes taped to his walls of idyllic places on Earth but what he saw on the desk was far from beautiful. It was quite alarmingly hideous – It was a watercolor of some foul creature. It was a white polypus thing with red luminous eyes. It could have been part octopus, part mythological dragon and part human. Tentacles hung from the head and it had a scaly grotesque body. Wings spanned out from the back and dramatic claws on hind and front legs. Riesner’s heart skipped a beat – It was what was in his dream, what he never saw but was coming. He knew It was! Riesner rubbed his head.
“What is it?” the Lieutenant asked looking over his shoulder.
“Have you had any dreams? Strange dreams?” The Captain asked not making eye contact.
There was a pause. “Yes, but …” and her voice trailed off.
“Tell me about them.”
“They are just dreams.”
“I will tell you about mine.” And he told her about the alien cityscape, the approaching Thing, and the overall sense of dread.
He turned and locked his gaze on hers. She looked down.
“Dreams are only random firings of neurons based on memories and influenced by imagination, they are …”
“Are your dreams similar?”
She swallowed deeply, “… yes …”
Riesner took the watercolor sketch and went to the doctor lying in his bed. Bailey had brought a chair over and sat vigilant. The doctor’s eyes though glassy now because of the drugs still had a look of panic in them. His body lay listless.
“What is this?” the Captain asked the supine doctor showing him the art. The doctor looked away.
“You are a man of science and the sanest person I know, least you were.” The Captain said. When the doctor did not reply the Captain moved closer to him and so that only the two of them could hear, “Tell me John what is this? If the ship and crew are in danger I must know.”
The doctor closed his eyes and the Captain thought he was not going to say anything, then he did,” Cthulhu that is the name associated with It. You would think that It is only someone with a diseased malignant imagination could conceive. It is of eldritch origins – older than humanity. The others – they all have dreams of it. The city under the water, R’lyeh, will rise up and bring a rule of tyranny of madness upon the Earth. It would one day return to Earth when the stars aligned but the wormhole – it created a way for It to return, a path for madness to descend to consume all.”
“How do you know all of this?” The Captain asked, wanting to doubt the doctor’s sanity but somewhere deep inside knew that he was right.
“It communicates through thought, through space. It will enslave the soul of humanity if we do not stop it. “The doctor stopped and Reisner thought he was finished but continued, “I thought at first it was mass hysteria – a mass hallucination, But … “and the doctor shrugged his shoulders, “the madness is real, all the suicides – they are the end result.”
The captain patted the doctor on the chest, “Rest.”
The doctor was not done, “I was mistaken, blowing up the ship will not stop It – we must destroy the wormhole and Its path! “
“Ok, Ok.” Riesner stood and spoke quietly to the Lieutenant, “Put a block on engineering so that only you and I can gain entrance.”
The Lieutenant nodded her head.
To Bailey he said, “Stay here and watch over him.”
Upon exiting the doctor’s private quarters, he met the rest of the crew.
“What’s going on?”
“What’s wrong with the doctor?”
Bombarded with questions, he could no longer hide it from the rest of them, they knew something was wrong, but he needed time to think. “The Doctor is not feeling well. Go back to your rooms and get some rest. We will have a meeting at 8:00 in the galley.” He left and went to his room.
He began pacing.
This is all madness. He thought.
But, it is affecting the entire crew.
What if what the doctor said is true?
He unconsciously went to the overhead compartment above his bed, removed the chain around his neck with the key and took down the bottle – Glen Fiddich 100 year old single malt Scotch whiskey – it was almost empty, he had been going to it more and more lately. He reached for a glass, thought better of it and just began drinking directly from the bottle. He was so exhausted. After a half hour of pacing, he lay on his bed. Just a couple of minutes of rest – just close his eyes.
The greenish skyscrapers of non-Euclidean design reaching towards the poisonous sky. Pestiferous slime dripping from everything and the beating of wings: thump, thump, Thump, Thump, THump, Thump, THUmp, THUmp, THUMp, THUMp,…, No look away! THUMP, THUMP and IT was there before him, descending – the atrocity – the stealer of minds. Blotting out the sky, white phosphorescent slug like body, tentacles twitching about from the face, claws extended, the eyes – NO Do not look into the eyes! No too late! The searing red rending his soul!
Riesner woke with a start. He knew what he must do. As he strode down the hallway, he heard screams and sound of anguish coming from the other quarters. Though concerned he was undeterred from his mission. He went directly to the bridge. Though it should not have been, it was empty. He sealed the door and went to the helm, changed course back to the wormhole.
Within moments, he received a communication from Sector, “Sector to Outlander 3, why have you changed course?”
“Must not allow It through.”
“Must not allow It through.”
“Outlander 3, do not understand, why have you changed course? This is not part of your mission.”
“My mission is to save humanity.”
Riesner turned off the com. Liuetenant Souder was at the bridge door pounding – it would not open its controls fused.
“Captain, what are you doing?”
“Must not let IT through.”
“Captain we will not have enough supplies if we do not dock at base Micron soon.”
“The rest of the crew, you see them, you hear them.”
“Yes but, it is just, …”
“No, It is real, IT IS COMING!”
After about an hour the Lieutenant stopped pounding on the door and pleading and began sobbing. By the time the ship reached the portal to the wormhole she had gone quiet then began chanting “Ph’glui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagal”. The Captain watched over this period as four of the seven remaining crewmembers’ system sensors, which shown on the control panel, flat lined.
The entrance was a glistening sphere showing distorted images of the Andromeda Galaxy on the other side. Upon entering, it was like traveling down the center of a wide tunnel, surrounded by concentric circularly distorted repeats of the same view. An Einstein Ring with the whole view of the Galaxy wrapped into a series of rings that got more and more closely packed together as the Captain looked to the left or right -consequences of general relativity and the curvature of warped space like light viewed from a curved lens. Riesner watched the wondrous view, momentarily forgetting why he was there. But images from the dreams shook him and he choked with the stench of a thousand open graves and the stark reality of what was at stake brought him back.
Riesner projected a hologram of his family into the bridge chamber. He began sobbing uncontrollably then closed his eyes, reached for the key board and began turning off safety overrides. He ejected positive mass-energy into the wormhole and right before it collapsed and became a black hole his eyes rolled back in his head and yelled “Ph’glui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagal”.
As the wormhole became a black hole, masses nearby such as three of the outer moons of Uranus disappeared and the planet wobbled then stabilized. In Whitechapel London a fifteen year old full of teenage angst began spray painting the word “Cthulhu” on the sides of buildings though he did not know what the word meant. In a SOHO studio a painter who was one of the highest paid living artists began painting figures of a great grotesque figure with octopus features on a dragon body though he knew not why. In a South American village, a primitive tribe began dancing wildly around a fire chanting “Ph’glui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagal”. In …
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Mechanisms of Despair, Gary Buller’s debut collection, features dark psychological horror that will keep you hooked. This collection contains some of of Gary’s earlier works that have be re-written line by line, and put through the editing process again. Gary would like to think that the readers are getting a ‘high definition’ version of the original tales, and he’s absolutely correct.
The talented Shawn Langley was commissioned to work on the cover art, and he did a fantastic job. From the cover, you get a good idea of what each story is about. They say don’t judge by the cover, but in this case, judge away.
The best part is that all of the profits are going to charity! Mechanisms of Despair will raise money for both the The Alzheimer’s Foundation and Sarcoma UK – a charity that helps people suffering with bone and soft tissue cancer. When you buy Mechanisms of Despair, you’re actually going to help a noble cause, AND receive a chilling dose of brutal, psychological horror!
Deadman’s Tome: Book of Horrors features ten solid, terrifying horror shorts designed to instill absolute terror. The anthology opens with a dark, brooding story of occult practices and an odd disappearance, then leads into a gritty reminder that a closet isn’t a good place to store dead bodies. Haunted houses cursed with ghost children, demonic visits, mutated bed bugs with a fascination for pink flesh, and exploration into the unknown make for a chilling read.
Buy the anthology and support the Tome and support the authors!
We are calling for submissions for a vampire themed horror writing contest in which the readers get to decide the winner. The rules are simple: Original story (no reprints), no multiple submissions (it was allowed before, but this isn’t a lottery), story must be both horror and vampire-themed (no teen drama stories. I will burn them.), within 9,000 words or less, and lastly tailored for a mature audience.
The winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon. The runner-ups will be featured in the Deadman’s Tome podcast.
The stories will be presented on the blog as soon as they’re screened, and winners will be determined by a mixture of comments and likes.
Contest will be running from now to the end of August 2013.
Send submissions to Legato10@ Swbell.net with Contest as the subject.
The forlorn mother put the twelfth candle in place. The basement was dark. The fetid smell of decomposing flesh hung heavy in the air. ―This has to work,‖ she whispered. ―This just has to work.‖
The mother‘s name was Bethany, and she was preparing to perform a ritual she discovered on a necromancy website. She followed the website‘s directions perfectly. Failure was not an option.
On her basement floor she drew a chalk circle inscribed with the image of a soaring raven. Along the circumference of this magick mandala she placed twelve candles. Eleven candles were white. The twelfth candle was red, made of wax crimsonly colored with her blood. Baby Bridget, her beloved daughter, rested in the circle‘s center. She was silent. She was lifeless.
Bethany was not usually the type to believe in magick. But this was her daughter. She had to try something. The website claimed the spell was genuine, translated from ancient hieroglyphs written by fallen angels. She was just desperate enough to believe that.
Bethany lit the candles one by one around the divination circle. The red candle was the last to be lit. She clasped her hands over it, closed her eyes, and spoke the website‘s incantation.
―Azrael, almighty Angel of Death,‖ she cried. ―Release this innocent child from your grasp. I give to you an offering of fire. Now rekindle the fire in this child‘s heart. Come, Azrael! Accept my tribute and let this child live again!‖
Bethany opened her eyes. The basement was silent. Nothing happened. She was ready to collapse in anguish, when suddenly she felt something. An eerie wind entered the sealed basement and began to blow the candles‘ flames toward Baby Bridget.
―This is it,‖ Bethany said tearfully. ―It‘s working!‖ The flames entered Baby Bridget‘s mouth, leaving the basement in total darkness. Baby Bridget opened her eyes and started to cry.
Bethany joyously arose and rushed to the circle‘s center to embrace her reanimated daughter. As she moved forward, though, she began to sweat. The basement grew hotter and hotter. Suddenly, Baby Bridget erupted into flames. She screamed and screamed and the flames grew higher and higher. Bethany stumbled backward and was caught in the blaze. The fire grew stronger with each of the baby‘s tortured wails.
The fire consumed the basement and eventually the whole house. It was only after everything was reduced to ash that the cries ceased and the fire died down. Bethany had hoped to bring her only daughter back to the world of the living, but she brought forth a demon instead.
The aged priest put the twelfth bowl in place. The basement was bright, but shadows surrounded him like dark sentinels. The smell of smoldering flesh hung heavy in the air.
The priest‘s name was Father Robert, and he was preparing to exorcise a fire demon from the basement of the Morris family‘s five-year-old home. He was meticulous. Given what this demon was capable of, failure was not an option.
On the basement floor he drew a chalk circle inscribed with a dodecagram. Along the circumference of this purification circle he placed twelve bowls. Eleven bowls were white. The twelfth bowl was red.
He filled the bowls one by one with holy water from a silver decanter. The red bowl was the last to be filled. He clasped his hands over it, closed his eyes, and prayed.
As Father Robert recited his prayer, he began to sweat. The temperature in the basement began to drastically increase. Then, fire spewed forth from the center of the purification circle. The light and heat were tremendous, but Father Robert stayed strong and remained in place.
From within the incredible inferno the fire demon appeared. It looked like a skinless human infant, a pulsating mass of charred muscle and tissue. With its daemonic red eyes it scanned the basement. It stared down at the purification circle, then directly at Father Robert. ―Who are you and what do you think you‘re doing?‖ it asked in a shrill, otherworldly voice.
Father Robert was astonished by the creature‘s ability to speak, but he kept his composure and responded. ―My name is Father Robert. I am here to bring an end to the suffering you have caused and free the soul of the girl you devoured.‖
―Girl?‖ said the demon, feigning innocence. ―What girl?‖
―You know full well! The little Morris girl! The innocent child that lived in this house who you burned alive!‖
The fiery creature chortled. ―Oh, I remember now! But you can‘t blame me for what happened to her. She‘s the one who sought me out. After her family moved into this house, she heard me crying and came to ‗comfort‘ me. She threw me scraps of wood to eat and squirted lighter fluid on me to drink. She made my flames grow bigger and stronger.
―Do you know how much that hurt? Can you imagine how much pain she put me in? I roasted her body and ate her soul! She tasted just like my dear, sweet mother.‖
―Devilish creature,‖ Father Robert said calmly in reply, ―I can see you are in a great deal of pain. However, that gives you no right to make others suffer. I am a servant of God, so I will send you back to the fires from which you were spawned.‖
Father Robert continued reciting his prayer. At first, nothing happened. The demon chortled, mocking the holy man. Then, the holy water in the bowls rose into the air.
The holy water rushed into the demon‘s mouth. It gurgled. It gasped for air. Finally, its flames were extinguished and it crumbled into a pile of ash. The fire demon was destroyed. Father Robert hoped that this would mean the little Morris girl could rest in peace.