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The Boy in the Trunk – Nicola Lombardi

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 The Boy in the Trunk – Nicola Lombardi

Paolo was sitting on the stool, slightly bent over, right opposite the trunk. A ray of milky-white light filtered through the skylight’s murky glass, exposing the swarms of dust, otherwise invisible, drifting thickly through the attic. Around Paolo’s heavy breathing everything was dead quiet, a quiet that resided there above and was now lingering in the dim shadows, waiting for the voice from inside the trunk to be heard again.

When it returned, the spider webs abandoned among the beams above vibrated as if trembling.

“Are you still out there?”

Paolo was startled, almost as if he hadn’t expected to hear his brother once more.

“Yeah, Marino,” he replied anxiously, “I’m still here. And you . . . do you really want to get out?”

The tiny voice of the boy imprisoned inside seemed to originate from another room, as if the trunk were bottomless, as if it had been sunk deep into the floor and been lost in a dimension that extended well beyond the old house.

“I can’t do it by myself, you know. You left me shut up inside here, and you have to get me out. If you really want to . . . .

Paolo drew his hand through his hair. “I . . . I want to let you let out, Marino, believe me. It’s just that . . . “

“It’s just that what?”

“I’m afraid of what you could do to me.”

Still more silence, for a moment or two. The leaden beating, in fits and starts, of Paolo’s heart made his head ache.

When Marino spoke again, Paolo could not hold back his tears any more.

“You knew I was hiding inside here, you knew it very well. But you didn’t tell anyone about it. You always cheated when we were playing hide-and-seek. You spied on me when I was climbing up into the attic, you knew I’d shut myself up inside here. . . . And you didn’t tell Mom and Dad. Why didn’t you?”

Paolo could not manage a reply. The tight knot clotting his throat prevented him from uttering a sound, while his mind was already casting backwards, fumbling through his memories, to the day when Marino’s disappearance from the great vacation house had imposed a drastic turn to their family’s well-being. He could still hear his mother’s wailing, and behind his eyes that image of his father persisted even then, with that gaze of his lost in emptiness and his finger intent on endlessly scouring an unshaven cheek. He saw himself, over and over again, as he closed and locked the attic door and carefully replaced that key in the spot where they had always kept it, in the small bottom drawer in the cupboard, in the hallway. They were playing hide-and-seek he had told his Mom, his Dad, and all the other persons who had questioned him. Marino had wandered off toward the brushwood, a hundred meters or so from the house, going back up along the beach, hiding who knows where. So he had said, and they had believed him. He knew that Marino would not have yelled or called out, suffering as he was from asthma. And after days of searching, days steeped in tears and grief, they finally got away from there, returned to the city, and from then on, they never set foot again into that quiet, solitary, mournful house, the home of their summer vacations. What he had always wanted, he had at last obtained. He was back to being the only son, he had recaptured all that love and attention his brother, four years younger than he, had taken from him. Mom and Dad were once again his.

“Come on, Paolo. Let me out of here.”

Marino’s voice was now just a whisper, the gray wing of a moth that snatched Paolo from a spider web of memories.

“Yeah, I’ll do it, Marino. . . . That’s what I’ve come back for.”

Having said that, Paolo grabbed the heavy metal hinge that, having fallen in place, had made it impossible to re-open the trunk from the inside. After a life spent consumed by remorse, he was now finally ready to take the step he had never ceased dreaming about.

The metal began to creak, for the first time since that accursed day sixty years before. When the lock was released, Paolo’s spine experienced an agonizing rasp as he straightened his back.

“There,” he whispered. “Now you’re free once again.”

Then he lowered his head, burying his face in his hands. He knew he would not have the courage to look.

Barely a handful of seconds elapsed, and then the groan of the trunk’s lid rising cut through the quiet like the chalky grinding of a dull razor, raising shadows among the frenzied thoughts thrashing about in Paolo’s head. The old man prayed for his heart to spare him, to stop right then and there. But that didn’t happen.

A terrible odor spewed forth into the attic, and whatever remained of Marino began slowly to emerge.

 

(END)

translated by J. Weintraub

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.

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North by Due North – David M. Hoenig

Deadman’s Tome is home to Book of Horrors, a horror anthology loaded with terrifying horror short stories that’ll chill you to the bone!

 

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DISCLAIMER: Deadman’s Tome is a dark and gritty horror zine that publishes content not suitable for children. The horror zine proudly supports the freedom of dark creative works and stands against censorship. Hardly any subject matter is too taboo for this horror zine. As a result, Deadman’s Tome may feature content your mother would not approve of. But she doesn’t control your life, right?

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Leviathan by Adam Sturch

 

I woke to shrill screeching, and my bed shaking like it was the end of the world.  Bright sunlight flooded in as the window shade flew up.  The digital clock read 2:37 AM.

The rumbling continued, and my heart slowed as I realized what it had to be.  I doubted I’d get any more sleep, so I got out of bed, dressed and geared up, and went above deck.  I found the Captain of the Norwegian Coast Guard Vessel Svalbard at the bow, looking over the railing to the water, and speaking on a handheld communicator.

“Aksel,” I said to him, interrupting.

He held up a hand, and continued speaking into the walkie, looking over the bow as he gestured vigorously.  The engines reversed and the ship backed, turned, and forced its way into the ice at a new angle.  It seemed to make better progress.

“Ja?” Captain Aksel Falk was in full uniform, and looked back over his shoulder at me as the ship shuddered as it cut into the frozen sea.

“Situation?”

“We are making progress north; we’ve hit pack ice, about five hundred kilometers north of Longyearbyen, a little over eight hundred from your destination.”

“Satellite data?”

“The North Pole is solid ice this time of the year.”  At my look, he shrugged.  “This year, anyway.  We will have to see how close we can get before you will take a helo from the ship to your goal.”

I closed my eyes and turned my face upwards.  I could feel the ‘midnight’ sun warm against my lids, turning them bright red, and the color triggered an awful memory which lay too near the surface.  In my mind’s eye, I saw Cerise’s torn body, her blood staining our bed the same color, and I shuddered.  My lover, my truest companion upon my mad quest to struggle on against the return of insane, alien horrors had been murdered despite all I could do.  Her last reading had brought me to this point, on my way to defeat the Windwalker before its cosmic conjunction arrived and gave it the power to manifest.

I opened my eyes to a sudden sense of dislocation.  Aksel was gone.  What…?

Cries from far behind me.  Calls.  Shouting.  And then I saw a streak of blood at the railing before me!  The ship lurched as it went into reverse, and as we pulled back from the ice I saw the Captain’s body lying on the pack ice, blood splashed around him.  I saw a greyish black rope around his chest, and my first thought was how out of place it seemed.  Then the thing squirmed and I realized it was a tentacle, come up through a crack in the ice and pulling my friend further away from the Svalbard.

I looked around as the ship lurched again, this time to a sudden stop.  A glance over the side showed more tentacles from the water on both sides of the bow, clutching at the Svalbard, weaving their way up to the decking.  They were far too long to belong to a shoggoth such as had attacked Cerise and me just over a month ago, but we were sailing roughly two and a half miles above the Amundsen Basin, the deepest point of the Arctic Ocean.

Home to polypoid deep ones and to their Master, the Great Old One, Othuum.

But it made no sense!  First, it would have to be aware of me, and I was only mortal, my successes to this point of minimal impact.  Pyrrhic, in fact, considering how I’d lost Cerise–my love, my Oracle only months before.

The ship shuddered again.  I heard a helicopter’s blades begin whirling from the flight deck.  An alien god’s minions versus a modern, top of the line war machine- I had no idea how it would turn out.  But the Captain might not be dead, and I still had to get to the North Pole to stop the Windwalker in order to prevent that catastrophe.

I backed up for a running start, and another disturbing thought crashed into my mind.  Had this Old One sent the shoggoth to slaughter my love?  Had it known of me?  Of us and our war against their kind, and my coming north?

There was no time to consider all this now, not if I was going to help the Captain.  I ran for the rail and vaulted it, leaving the deck of the Svalbard for the bloodstained pack ice where Aksel’s body lay.

My right foot plunged through the crumpled ice as I landed, and I sank in up to my thigh.  The knee-high arctic muck boots I wore didn’t stop the shock of the frigid water as it soaked through the pants and rushed in to freeze my foot.  I braced myself on the slippery surface to pull it back up, then felt something under the ice grab and wrench me back downwards.

I sank to my crotch as the ice crunched beneath me and couldn’t stop the involuntary shout at the pain and surprise.  The muscles in my upper leg began to spasm as I fought the pull, and then I heard a muffled *crump* behind me.  I turned in time to see a missile dart from one of the airborne helicopters into the water where it then exploded.  Blood and chunks of meat burst into the air, and the water boiled angrily around us.  Several tentacles, ravaging at the bow of the ship, suddenly recoiled into the water.  The pressure pulling me downwards also vanished, and I fell forward onto my stomach with the abrupt release.  I crawled along the pack ice and pulled my numbed leg out of the water.

I heard another helo take off, and then the deck guns of the Svalbard opened up into the water as well.  I began scrambling towards the Captain, and then a huge explosion slapped the air behind me, pushing me forward in a helpless slide.  A fireball rolled in my direction, hissing over the edge of the ice before dissipating far too close to me.  When it cleared, I saw one of the helicopters motionless, lying ninety degrees to the vertical and impaled on a scorched tentacle for just a moment before both dropped into the ocean and were gone.

I got to Aksel just as I saw him jerk suddenly upright.  Like the doomed helo, he, too, was transfixed on an oozy, grey tentacle.

Then his throat moved and a grotesque parody of his voice emerged:

Sorcerer

This was not so not good.  My gaze was frozen on the horror my friend and ally had become, even as the sounds of hyperwar went on behind me.

You have become emboldened by success and your dreams reek of your self-assurance I care not what victories you win over others but your fear and pain and despair taste far sweeter You will fall to chance or to error or to horror or to the elements or to time and your task will remain undone while I endure I offer this gift to feed your nightmares…

… and Aksel’s body fell to the ice before me as the tentacle whipped downward out of his body and into the sea.

I turned back to see the other ropy limps disengage from the Svalbard and also slide into the water.  The cutter had sustained significant damage to the upper superstructure and the railing, and fresh scoring along the steel hull was apparent.  One surviving helo flew tight circles around the ship, nose down like it was sniffing for signs of the disappeared enemy.  I waved to get the attention of its crew, and it lifted to level and flew my way.

The muscles of my leg still spasmed and cramped, but I forced myself upright, and then to Aksel to lift his corpse from the ice.  I turned back, unsteady on my feet, to see a harness lowered for us from the helicopter.  I strapped the Captain’s body tightly, and it was winched up as I waited my turn.  My teeth chattered and my leg ached, and I knew that neither of those things could be blamed completely on just the cold.

Back aboard the Svalbard, the medical clinic was rife with the sound of pain when I reached it.  As battered and chilled as I felt, I was in much better shape than several of the Norwegian crew seeking attention.  So instead of going in, I went past it to the bridge and walked in on a heated discussion which stopped when the officers saw me.

Since they looked both shaken and angry, I thought it best to speak first.  “What’s the current situation, gentlemen?”

The First Officer looked at the others before answering me in a sharp-toned, heavily-accented English.  “We have sustained casualties, lost a helicopter, and the ship is damaged.  What the hell was that thing which attacked us?”

I reached for calm before I spoke.  “Arctic sea life.”

“That is just so much shit.”  He looked at his fellow officers, then at me with disgust.  “We’ve never heard of anything like it, and we’re all career in the Coast Guard.”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, Commander Adamsen.  But Captain Falk did explain the purpose of this mission to you and your men?”

“Only in general terms, I am afraid.  That you have connections which made it possible to have our top-of-the-line Cutter available to take you, an American, to the North Pole, was clear enough.”

I didn’t like that past tense of ‘made’.  “Do I still have your support?”

“Sir!  We must turn back.  We have injured who need far more care than we can give them here, and we’ve lost a helo, expended ordnance…”

“No.  I’m afraid it’s an absolute priority that we proceed onward to the Pole.”

An angry conversation broke out in hurried Norwegian among the officers.  I waited.

The Commander silenced the others and turned back to me.  “Out of the question.  We have a duty to those who are wounded and to the families of those we’ve lost, and to report what has happened.”

I held up a hand.  “Who will assume command with Aksel dead?”

Everyone looked at the Commander expectantly.  He collected their gazes, exhaled deeply, then nodded in my direction.  “Me.”

“Then I need to speak with you alone,” I told him.

Adamsen spoke to his men, never breaking eye contact with me.  “Hold position here.  Try again to establish satellite communications with our base, and wait for me.”  He then led me off the bridge and into the Captain’s operational room.  Once inside, he closed the door behind us.  “Now, who the hell are you, and why are we here?  When Captain Falk was in charge, I followed his lead, but now I’m the one who needs to know.”

“My name isn’t important, only my mission.”

He folded his arms.  “And that is?”

“To stop bad things from happening.”

“You didn’t stop this ship being attacked!”

“On the scale of bad things to stop, this was nothing.”  I saw him about to retort angrily, and interrupted before he did, holding up a placating hand.  “I’m sorry, Commander; I didn’t mean that to sound as though I was trivializing your losses.  Please know that I’m deeply sorry about Captain Falk and your other casualties, but what we’re doing is necessary in the larger scheme of things.  Aksel understood that.”

He deflated a bit, mastering his anger, and it made me respect him more.  “Then make me understand, too.”

“Okay.  That thing we fought; it’s like nothing you ever saw before, right?”  He nodded.  “It’s too big, too powerful, and far too intelligent.  It’s one of a bunch of such…things, beings, what have you… that the governments of the world have either turned a blind eye towards because they’re a difficult truth to acknowledge, or which they ignore because they’ve already been subverted.”

Adamsen’s eyes bulged.  “Conspiracies?”

“Or deliberate ignorance.  Look, you saw that thing in action, saw what it did to the chopper you lost, and to this ship.  Did you think anything natural could have fought the Svalbard as it did?”

He sat suddenly, as though the strength had fled his legs.  “My God!  What was it?”

“Ancient.  Perhaps alien, or at least so I believe from the Book of Eibon.”

“What was this Eibon?”

“Not a what, but a who.  He fought against these beings twenty thousand or so years ago; figured out how to use their power against them, left a lot of instructions.  That’s what I do, Adamsen.”

“But, I don’t understand!  There was nothing twenty thousand…”

I stepped close and put my hand on his shoulder.  “I lost someone very dear to me recently.  She was slaughtered by a thing much like that-” the Commander blanched- “only smaller, sent to stop us from heading north on this mission.  We need to reach the pole on schedule, to prevent something even more powerful than what we fought today from manifesting fully.”

His face paled and his eyes were wide as he looked up at me.  “Worse than that?”

“Much.  And, Adamsen–the woman I lost… she was Aksel’s niece.  That’s why he knew, why he had agreed to help me.”  

His eyes took on an introspective, vulnerable look, and I guessed that he was thinking of his dead Captain at that moment.  But he was trained military, and his eyes soon focused back on me.  “Tell me everything,” he said in a more firm voice.

“I will, but we still need to go north, and we have to go now.”

I saw the decision in his face when he made it.  He stood, opened the door to the bridge and gave orders in Norwegian to the crew there.  I listened for arguments, but heard none.  Adamsen spoke again, more softly, and I heard the sound of the ship cutting into the pack ice began once again.  Finished, he turned back to me.  Unconsciously, he straightened his uniform before he spoke.  “I need to address the crew, see the wounded, explain why we cannot return to base.  I’ll have dinner brought here, and then you’ll explain everything–from the beginning, mind–so that I can understand what I have committed my men to as fully as Captain Falk did.”

I nodded.  He left.

Alone in the Captain’s operational room, I reflected on how I’d just recruited the next pawn in the war against the Ancients that I would never stop fighting.  Not if it cost the lives of everyone on this ship including mine, and especially not even after the shoggoth had murdered the broken girl who’d been my lover and Oracle.

The costs of my war against the Ancients had already been beyond my once-naive reckoning, and would only escalate from here.  But I also knew that the stakes were too high to give up striving against Them.  For if I failed to stop the Old Ones from achieving their return to full power during their cosmic conjunctions–as painstakingly laid out in Eibon’s text–all of humanity might end up paying a horrible price.

However painful, victory was necessary, so I’d go on regardless of the toll.

And for now that meant north.  

Due north.

END

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes terrifying horror short stories and horror flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker and grittier the tale the better. If you enjoyed the horror short, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Inky Beast – M.J. Nicholls

The featured horror short story can also be read in the Best of the Tome

 

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Alan Barbrush, Chief Editor at Scalped Olives Publications, had always been accused of skulking around the office cynically. Yet today, his undying cynicism had reached such a huffy zenith, it was as though the weight of a lifetime’s misery had finally – after twenty years – crippled him.

For two decades his organisation had – cynically – waded through over 1,292,827 submissions, rejecting every single one and publishing material from its own editing staff. Having failed to break even the previous year – losing £10,000 on a self-help guide for brainless neurotics, Stop Whining & Just Do It – tensions were running high around the office.

The new secretary, Lorraine, fresh from her Creative Writing MA, was looking to screw her first novel, Elaine’s Chest, into print. Alan had hired her because her grades were outstanding and she had a bright, burgeoning clitoris. He knew that regardless of whether he hired her or not, she would ascend to a lucrative role in the industry, either horizontally or legitimately.

She tapped on his office door, a gentle but firm tip-tap, signifying she knew her place but would soon have people tip-tapping on her office. He swigged from his vial of absinthe and coughed up a pubic hairball – he had been snacking on the vulva of an underground poet-cum-hooker the previous night.

“Come in,” he said, muttering sotto voce, “my face.”

“Morning Alan. I trust your wrinkly old pecker found a home in the snatch of some rancid Chelsea tart over the weekend?” she asked. Alan found this remark rather forward for her third day – she must have been chatting with the co-editors.

“Yes, something like that. Do you have the final edit of Danny’s novel? What godawful putrescence masquerading as contemporary genius are we churning out now? More self-help to the terminally retarded?”

“You can’t say that word anymore, Alan. The correct term is mentally spastic,” Lorraine corrected.

Alan wanted to bash her face in with a tire iron and spit mercuric chloride over her breasts until her pretty pink skin singed into a bloody black painball. Yes, he was almost definitely in love.

“Lorraine, I want your honest opinion on this novel and Danny’s so-called talent. I mean, he’s simply another snotty sub-Burroughs arse-budgie churning out hackneyed schlock, isn’t he?” he asked. He reached for the pills on his desk and hurled two down his throat, not bothering to check the label.

“God, you’re an ancient fucker, aren’t you? Alan – the kids today lap this shit up like heroin pasties. Kids are always looking for the latest decadent poet-of-the-streets to come blow their tiny minds with his trashcan rhetoric,” she said, parting her fringe. For all its spirit-level straightness, it served merely to enhance her clone-like chic.

“I know, but this feels like a step too far. You can only serve the same roadhouse slop for so long before the clientele starts choking to death. Anyway, it’s too late now. Maybe we can slip it out in summer unnoticed. No one reads books in the summer.”

“Ready for the team brief? Your minions are awaiting your instruction,” she said, smirking – a smirk that masked a desire to drain the blood from his decrepit body and steal his chair.

As Alan left his office, he stopped to look at the painting on the wall. It had been commissioned by an acid-popping millionaire asshole who spent his days draining his spunk into a fish tank for his latest installation, Spermy Gills. He wanted to punch a hole in the wall.

“Are you all right, Alan?” Lorraine asked.

“Fine. Just fine,” Alan replied. He wasn’t fine. He was so far away from fine, fine might as well have been hidden in an underground catacomb somewhere halfway across the world.

As he looked around the office, every nuance of the place piqued him. The photocopier sat like a constipated rhino atop the hideous green carpet, snorting out endless pages of fuming hot poop – next month’s poorly received zeitgeist-throttling wank. The windows and their peek-a-boo blinds bugged the arse off him. His staff could surreptitiously gawp inside as he was downloading his X-rated entertainment for the evening.

His industrious worker-bees were buzzing around the office, sharing gossip, taking pops at new submissions, and trying to close the drawbridge between colleague, friend and lover. More vats of magma spurted inside him. He knew these people so well, so bloody well, he wanted to belt them around the brains with an iron dildo. His eyes turned to Mark.

Oh, Mark! Mark, writer of profound hodgepodge about single mothers and abused children. Reports from the frontline of life. So devilishly moving and clever. Alan knew Mark was trying to wheedle his way into the slacks of Rebecca, the copyeditor whose capacity for snide humour knew no bounds. She was a proponent of slick comedies about the endless push-and-pull of man-woman relationships, fuck-and-fight fests for self-loathing students.

As he looked around the office at the pitiful display of subhuman life, it struck Alan that he was descending into oblivion. This was the beginning of his much-anticipated end. His emotional scaffolding was about to collapse. When he shut his eyes, he imagined a dozen donkeys dumping their bowels around the office until the entire room was seven cubic feet of whiffy excreta. He yearned badly, so bloody badly, to rid himself of this nightmare, this endless burden of printing words, that he seriously started to think about a career in advertising.

“Right, listen up,” he began. “Danny’s novel is a petrochemical aberration. I want every copy printed to be pulped. Seriously, pulp the fucker.”

“Actually, I think you’ll find Tarantino’s already made Pulp Fiction,” Rebecca chipped in.

“Shut up, Rebecca,” he scolded, his left hand twitching. “Just shut up.”

This was it. The moment of his meltdown. It had come so suddenly. Ten minutes ago, he had been looking forward to searching the internet for uncopyrighted material he could plagiarise for his winter schedule. Now he was in the teeth of a full-blown nervous meltdown. His chin was wobbling. He wondered if everyone could see that – his freakish wobbling chin.

“Just… shut… up.”

A silence descended in which the entire staff turned to face Alan, staring through him in case he dared to show a crack in his veneer. A soft rattling noise emerged from the silence, ignored by all. Lorraine bit her knuckles beside the photocopier: she knew it was close. Her time on the throne. Alan could feel his jaw clamp shut, speechless at the thought of his own demise. He knew this day would come, but had prepared nothing to save himself.

The rattling sound intensified, followed by a susurrant hiss, like air being let out a tyre. The source of this interruption was the photocopier – a faithful old banger that had lived in numerous offices and had seen more arses than a Russian bordello. Lorraine was too captivated by Alan’s imminent blow-up to notice the noise: her time as chief cock-at-the-top was near. Soon she would be sipping chianti with Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie and killing the dreams of saps daily with the twitch of a finger.

Meanwhile, a small portal was opening up inside the paper-loading tray of the photocopier.

A blinking black eye, dripping with ink toner, was expanding through the plastic panels of the machine. As the silence widened, so did the eye, absorbing the plastic and paper as it coughed up thick balls of inky sputum onto the carpet. Lorraine was halted – she didn’t know whether to take Alan outside, pop him in a cab, then steal his desk, or let him dribble down himself before taking him outside, popping him in a cab, and stealing his desk.

“I have had… it up… to HERE with you self-interested shitmunchers!” Alan cried out. Several titters escaped the pros, while the newbies looked on dumbly, anticipating a very funny joke.

Lorraine’s eyes goggled in expectation, her pupils expanding in tandem with the squelchy orb of the photocopier, which made an audible gargling sound at her side. The portal had expanded to cover the entire left half of the machine, coughing Malteasers of ink at Lorraine’s feet. A few hacks looked over to see what the problem was, but Alan’s meltdown was much more exciting than office equipment, so they returned to the show.

“You can take this company and… and… and shove it up your arses! All you want is to get your rotten books into print, so you can sip chianti with bloody Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie. I’ve… had… enough!”

The photocopier was buckling now, its insides churning with thick grogs of ink. It kicked and struggled like a horse gone mad; its engorged panels aspurt with hot liquid menace.

“Would someone shut that bloody photocopier up!” Alan shouted. Lorraine finally took her eyes off Alan to acknowledge at the puddle of ink at her feet. As she stepped onto dry carpet to protect her expensive shoes, the photocopier spasmed nearer, spraying a hot jet of toner across her legs. She leapt back in shock, but the inky beast powered up and lunged after her, backing her against the wall.

“What the fuck? Would someone stop this thing?”

The portal opened fully into a wide, bottomless void. A stream of ink blasted her legs, knocking her to the ground. She shrieked and slithered as the portal took hold of her body, sucking in her legs, reversing the flow of ink so it ran backwards then forwards. The flow was relentless, encasing her in a bubbling torrent of viscous ooze, slurping in her hips amid menacing mechanical gargles, then her torso, and – at last – her head.

After devouring Lorraine, the photocopier inched back into its regular spot, turning its ink shooters off. The office froze in hopeless stagnancy. What are you supposed to do when your colleague is devoured by the photocopier in the middle of your boss’s mental breakdown? Call out the technician? Upon shedding their bowels, no one had the slightest idea how to react.

A moment later, the machine rocked left and right, flashing its buttons in a victorious green swirl. The beeping stopped. Calm beckoned. From the silence came a cavernous munching sound. Then more silence. Then the machine shook, spitting out the inky black skeleton of Lorraine in a mighty belch, her ribcage shooting across the room towards the slush pile. The room erupted in horror. Distorted wails, horrified screams, and despairing murmurs came from the staff as the lights went out, the blinds streamed shut, and the doors self-closed.

Lockdown.

Alan stood still, oblivious to everything – a bystander in his hijacked nightmare. Copyeditors leapt around the room as the office equipment mobilised in a tyrannous revolt against their masters. 30cm rulers pinged from the desks in unison, pinning Dennis – the newbie working on a graphic novel retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff – against the toilet door.

A strategy of desks broke loose from the creative throng, churning monitors and keyboards around the room, cornering Simon beside the file cabinets. Simon had no time to wonder, as the drawers opened and shut against his head, pummelling him into submission, whether his poetry book 9 Dreams would make the 2011 winter catalogue. He certainly didn’t have to think about the 2012 catalogue as the desks nailed him to the wall, severing his legs from his torso. The desks clanged and clattered in a ritual triumph dance, soaking their scratched pinewood surfaces in his blood.

Temp #2, Vincent, with his four weeks experience editing novels from Rambunctious Slime Press, found himself at the mercy of the paper shredder, which chased him around the room until it sank its teeth into his blazer. Like the photocopier, it expanded its depths to accommodate human prey, showcasing an impressive set of gnashing razors and slicers. It nibbled on Vincent’s scrawny legs, widening its jaws, as he began to feel a deep regret at having left his old job so quickly.

Arising from the dim corner of the room was the leaning tower of rejected manuscripts. Swirling through the air, this enormous pile of unloved writing no one had bothered to read sped into a small interoffice twister. It set about the editor-in-chief Ronald Steegers. Ronald, caught in the grip of this 1000MPH vice, was swirl-sliced by a record number of papercuts. The blood drained from the forty million lesiures in his skin, sluicing out cartoon-like as his bones were dumped in a bundle by the dustbin.

Rebecca, agog at the mayhem, was oblivious to the guillotine making its way up to the ceiling. It positioned itself at a diagonal distance from her, swung down in a parabola, lobbed off her head, then flopped back into its old spot by the disused monitors. Nice and clean.

Hot coffee scooshed from the percolator, scolding unfortunate Frank. He didn’t even work in the office – he only came down to drop hints that his novel Custard in Outer Mongolia was looking for a publisher (wink wink). Still, as the scalding coffee melted his flesh into mulch, and an impressive silver-red froth foamed upon his bones, he had to admit to himself – it wasn’t very good anyway.

Danny hid beneath a desk, but a band of chattering staplers advanced upon him, staples shooting from their jaws and spiking his neck, making a perfect suture around his windpipe. Hole punches drained the blood from his skin, easing him into the big sleep.

It was almost over. Receptionists banging on the exit door were clobbered and strangled by flying keyboards. Others were taken out by CD trays ejecting at frightening speeds, overhead fans snapping from their cables, being spun to death on swivel chairs, fire extinguishers shooting people out the sixth floor window, and pens boring holes into hearts and squirting toxic acid in there for a laugh. The Venetian blinds wounded no one.

Mark – the last man alive – cowered as the photocopier cornered him three feet away from Alan.
“You did this, didn’t you? You sick bastard, you did this!” he said. The portal opened and the inky deluge came flooding out once more, sucking in the sub-Tarantino hack. Alan didn’t emote.

With the whole office massacred, the equipment returned to its previous positions. Alan bit his lips.

“Right, well. That’s that, then. Back to work,” he said.

And it was. Back to work, indeed.

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.

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Mad Love – Blair Frison

 

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Enhance your coffee

 

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Plot Twist by Adam Sturch

 

He lay in wait like a spider.  Thick, clinging darkness enveloped him as he listened for the sound of her car pulling in the driveway.  He hadn’t moved from the couch in hours.  He was patient, impossibly patient.  He knew patience was key.  He couldn’t rush these things.  Everything had to be planned down to the smallest detail, or he’d end up in a cell for the rest of his life, a shame and an outcast to the few people he still loved.  Nothing but a bad memory.  A nasty scar.

He banished those thoughts and prepared for the task at hand. She was due home any minute. He caressed the hammer which lay beside him and this comforted him.  He thought of broken teeth and exposed brain matter.  Wild, animal eyes and anguished screams.  He could barely contain himself.

He heard a car coming down the street and he knew it was her.  The headlights momentarily flooded the room as the car pulled in the driveway. The sound of gravel being crunched under the tires made him tremble in anticipation.  A door slammed shut.  Then another.  He heard voices, drunken laughter.

She brought a man home.

His breathing became laboured and he felt dizzy.  He clutched the hammer tightly.  The key was fitted into the lock and the door opened.  They stumbled towards the bedroom without turning on the lights.  They didn’t see him as they hurried past, tearing at each other’s clothes.  He rose from the couch as they entered the bedroom, still gripping the hammer tightly.

Rage consumed him as he slowly neared.  He pictured them sweating and groping and fucking, her moans causing him to see red.

He finally entered the bedroom.  His eyes were already adjusted to the darkness and he saw the man was on top thrusting wildly, the woman screaming in pleasure.  Then she saw him.

The screams changed from pleasure to terror as she frantically tried to push the man off her.  The man turned around and, before he knew what was happening, the hammer came down in his face with a loud crack.  Blood spattered the walls and the ceiling and the screaming woman.

The man collapsed in a heap on the bed. The woman’s screams turned to crazed laughter.  She jumped up and rushed towards the man with the hammer, leaping into his arms and kissing him passionately, telling him how much she loved him, how much she enjoyed helping him kill.  

He dropped the hammer, then put her down gently.  He turned the light on so they could revel in the sight of their cunning crime.  They took in all the bloody details, then smiled at each other for several long seconds before he took a small box from his pocket and got down on one knee..

 

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes terrifying horror short stories and horror flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker and grittier the tale the better. If you enjoyed the horror short, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Entertaining Threesome

 

 

If a threesome isn’t entertaining, then you’re doing something wrong.

Authors Gary L. Robbe, Sarah Doebereiner, and Dan Lee talk about their stories, inspiration, and other projects.

Stories discussed are My 1963 Ford Galaxy and the Maniacs of Dearborn County https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/02/my-1963-ford-galaxy-and-the-maniacs-of-dearborn-county-by-gary-l-robbe/

Schrodinger’s Dilemma
https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/26/schrodingers-dilemma-by-dan-lee/
Candied
https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/05/candied-by-sarah-doebereiner/

also discussed: Schrodinger’s Cat, Exploitation Films, B-movies, Nudity and sex in horror, Murderous Grannies and zombies

 

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes short stories and flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Book of Horrors – Scuttle Bug

Scuttle Bug – Matthew Johnson

Amanda’s gut churned, ripping the delicate fabric of sleep. Her eyes flew open as waves of pain shuddered between her legs. She threw off the covers, thoughts veiled in thick fog of disbelief, a dream-like numbing skirting the edges of nightmare, and slowly, as another wave of pain struck, she comprehended what was happening and screamed.

Visible in the morning half-light, a black tail wagged through a ragged grapefruit-sized hole in her purple panties. Blood trickled down her thighs, staining her crotch dark red and soaking into the mattress cover. The cramping worsened as the creature burrowed inside.

“Get out!” she screeched, grabbing the black tail and yanking. Only it wasn’t a tail, but a segmented shell with pincers at the end that pinched the fleshy part between her thumb and palm. They pried at her hand as she tugged its backend. Amanda gasped, tears rolling down her cheeks. A strange mewling escaped her mouth as she struggled to birth the monstrosity clawing its way up inside her. Greased by blood, her hands slipped off the creature’s segmented rear, allowing it to dig further inside.

Amanda tried to sit up, but the pain cramping in her uterus dropped her back onto the bed. Her shoulder bumped against the nightstand, knocking off the copy of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, followed by the glass of water which shattered on the hardwood floor. Once more she wrapped her hands around the creature’s black, waggling abdomen. She carefully pulled, trying not to imagine the creature splitting in half, spilling its blood and innards inside her.  

A horrific certainty filled with panic: if it didn’t get out now, it never would. She would die with it inside. Then what? Lay its eggs in her ovaries to hatch a hundred baby creatures that would chew their way out of her bloated corpse? Her hands began to slip. She squeezed harder, bearing down not just with her fingers, but also her pelvic muscles. Her bladder released a warm flow of urine down the creature’s back and over her hands. The smell of blood and urine burned in her nose.  

She felt it slipping from inside her and falling half way out. It squirmed to get back inside. Two scuttling legs tangled in her pubic hair tried to gain traction. They twisted, tearing free from the fine hairs, only to slide out from the blood. More of the creature followed until an almost foot-long black body, six legs flailing, and finally a head the size of golf ball with antennae cleared the shredded folds of her panties.

“Get the fuck away from me,” she screeched, tossing the creature across the room. It thudded against the far wall, leaving behind a red smear where it struck. She trembled, bile crawling up her throat as its beady black eyes turned on her, and its head tilted as though weighing its options. Its mandibles, glossy red with a shred of flesh hanging from them, clicked together producing a chittering noise. Amanda threw a pillow and the creature scurried towards her. She screeched, listening to its feet pattering on the hardwood floor beneath the bed. She stared down at the mattress terrified that it could crawl back up to get her. No, there were springs and foam inside to stop it.

As if in reply, it thumped against the bottom of the mattress.

“What do you want?”

Another thump, followed by tearing of fabric. Vibrations shook the mattress directly beneath her. Amanda crawled to the opposite side of the bed, watching as the cover split open and black pincers poked through.

She jumped off the bed, crumpling onto the floor, doubled over by painful cramps. Tiny red droplets speckled the oak-wood. Antennae popped up between the split cover, touched the blood and bent them towards its mandibles. Its beady eyes tracked the room and discovered her. They stared at each other for a brief moment.

Then it crawled up through the mattress and scurried after her.

Amanda scooched backwards leaving a red trail. The pain hurt like a hot poker jammed inside so she couldn’t walk let alone run away. Her tattered panties slid down her thighs. She backed against the wall next to her open closet. The creature dropped to the floor, its antennae touching the blood Amanda left behind. It made a jittering sound of vibrating clicks as it approached her, testing the blood every couple steps. Amanda, without taking her eye off the creature, reached into the closet for anything she could grasp. One antennae touched her foot and she pulled it up under her.

With its mandibles open, the thing scuttled quickly towards her. Amanda’s hand frantically grabbed the first it could from the closet. She swung a high heeled shoe, the two inch tip smashing the creature, crushing its head, and pinning it to the floor. The creature twitched and several white, gelatinous balls rolled out from its backside. They pulsated on the hardwood floor. Amanda recognized them as eggs.

The thing intended to bury them inside her and turn her womb into an incubator for monstrous babies.

She plucked up the high heel and smashed the eggs repeatedly until they were nothing but white goo. Laughing cries hiccoughed from her throat, the room echoed with thromping of plastic sole on hardwood. The shoe flew from her red, sweaty hands clattering out of reach. Amanda sat back, wiping her dripping nose on her pink nightie. Rage sated, the pain returned. The bleeding hadn’t stopped and she didn’t think it would on its own. She needed help.

She removed the tattered remains of her panties and used them to cover the dead creature on the floor. Looking at it made her quiver in disgust. She managed to hide the smashed head, leaving its black segmented end sticking out, and crawled to the bed. After dragging herself up on the mattress, she reached across to the nightstand and picked up her cell phone, dialing 911.

“What is your emergency?” the operator asked, a woman which Amanda was grateful to hear. She might sympathize more than a man.

“I need an ambulance,” Amanda said. “I’m bleeding and it won’t stop.”

“Where are you bleeding?”

“Down there,” she said, hoping this lady operator would understand. “I was attacked.”

“Are you safe?”

“Yes.”

“I have dispatched an ambulance, ma’am. Stay on the phone.”

Less than twenty minutes passed and she heard sirens pull up in front of her home. Amanda dropped the cell phone on the pillow. There was a pounding at the front door. She remembered locking it last night, a night that seemed months ago, but couldn’t get up to unlock it. After some shouting, the wooden door splintered and two firefighters entered her room.

Amanda had pulled up a sheet to shield her dignity.

“Can you move?” one of the firefighters asked.

She shook her head and pointed at her lower belly.

“Holy shit,” the other firefighter said, staring at the dead creature on the floor by the closet. “What the hell is that thing?”

The other firefighter kicked off the panties.

“Looks like a giant earwig.”

No, it’s a vaginawig, Amanda thought, hysterical laughter choking her once more. The firemen looked at her, but didn’t say a word.

A pair of EMTs brought in a gurney and the four men used the mattress cover to transfer Amanda onto it. As they wheeled her outside, she noticed a white van parked in her neighbor’s driveway. Advertised on its side was a cartoon bug surrounded by gas and clutching its throat, eyes bulging. Peter’s Pest control. A man wearing a mask and carrying a tank on his back stopped to watch the commotion. The goggles protecting his eyes made them insectile– black and round. He held a metal rod connected to a hose in the tank. He just watched as they wheeled her past.

“I don’t know why they bother with poisoning?” One of the EMT’s commented. “The bugs find other places to hide and breed.”

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.

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Book of Horrors – Babel Frequency

Babel Frequency – David Wright

It was as if a giant magnet had passed across the earth and erased the collective hard-drive of humanity.

The woman woke from fitful sleep, her hair drenched with sweat, the visions of the dream world still fresh in her consciousness.This was the most important time. Only in sleep could she remember the past.  Only in the dream world did she truly know who she was and what things were.  But there was a danger, for in the dream world, dead men walked.

“Dead men walking.  Dead men walking.  Dead men walking.”  Her breath came in short gasps, racing in rhythm to the quickening beat of her heart.  She began to shake violently.  She felt as if she were about to die, alone in a dark empty world.  She was about to scream out into the darkness when strong arms wrapped around her from above.  They held her tightly as if to squeeze the fear out of her heart and the breath out of her words.  She remembered the arms.  They were her lover’s arms.  Slowly, her lips stopped moving and the fear ebbed from her like water from the shore.

Three nights ago, she saw the city out her apartment window.  It was alive with the sound, motion and purpose of ten million souls.  It pulsed to the rhythm of their heartbeats.  It breathed with the inhale and exhale of their lungs.  Until, in a moment, in the first moment, the once vibrant city was thrown violently into chaos.  She didn’t know why it happened or how.  In fact, she knew almost nothing at all–not the time of day, not the meaning of a word, not even her own name, only the warm touch of her lover and the unspoken knowledge that they must stay together.  As they huddled in terror, the city died all around them, and dream by dream their memories came back–frightened birds returning to their cages.

“I saw them again,” Lyra began.

“Hush.”  Her lover rocked her slowly.  Darren—that was his name.  She remembered.

“No, Darren.”  She tried the name for the first time in three days.  “I must tell you.  They’re real.  Their skulls are white like…like the moon.  Their eyes sunken in.  No skin, but their hearts are still beating.  They walk, and when they catch you, they drag you down to death, and they burn you with fire, and you can’t get away, no matter how hard you fight.”

“Just a dream.”
“No.”  Lyra pushed his lover’s hands down and reached into his pocket for the picture box.  It was one of the few things Darren had on him before zero hour and until a few minutes ago Lyra had not known how to use it.  Her fingers paused over the light emitting paper for only a second before touching the icon and bringing the ghoulish apparition to life.  “I saw this.”

Darren looked at the ghoul with distaste.  She knew her lover had not yet dreamed of dead men walking, but she knew others had.  She saw them in the night, huddled under benches or in doorways, shaking and screaming until their hearts stopped and their last breath wheezed out of them.

“Just like before.  Just like the first time.”  She looked into her lover’s black, sunken eyes–blank eyes that seemed to know only fear and confusion.  Over his shoulder, the first rays of sunlight were snaking their way into the bowels of the dead city.  Lyra and her lover stood, viewed the giant green woman over the water as she moved into the light, and once again set off in search of something, anything they could remember.

Hours passed.  Lyra grew hungry like she had yesterday and the day before that, but not knowing what food was, she could not satisfy her hunger.  She became thirsty, but knew nothing of drink.  They came to an intersection where, three days ago, the cars had crashed into one another or slammed into bewildered pedestrians who had wandered into their path.  Dead bodies, some with dried blood caked on their faces and in their hair, sat peacefully in the cars and under them.  The traffic light was still changing from green to amber to red with undaunted precision.  The smell of death choked at Lyra’s lungs and tugged at her empty stomach until she gagged.  She remembered the horror of zero hour and dragged her lover away.

Over the last three days and nights, Lyra had watched without understanding as, depending on their size and condition, people began to die.  The small ones were the first to go as their fathers and mothers wandered aimlessly away forgetting the once familiar sound of their children’s cries and leaving them to starve helplessly.  Lyra was more fortunate than most.  On that first night, she had dreamed of her lover, the burn of his unshaven face and the odor of his unwashed body.  Lyra had awoken from her dream to find her lover nearby, quietly watching the bugs gather around a streetlight.  Since that time, they had never been apart.

Even now, baffling visions from the dream world were cycling without meaning through her mind.  A woman, her mother, her soft lips, the warm touch of her hand.

They stopped at the corner before the next intersection.  Large buildings rose on either side of the street blocking all sunlight.  She remembered seeing a woman at this intersection two days ago.  The woman was not her mother.  She was screaming in terror at the sight of a cat or a fallen bird that had forgotten how to fly.  Cat.  Bird.  She remembered these words although she did not know them two days ago, or yesterday.

Her birthday cake.  Ten candles.  The smell of chocolate.  Hot dogs.  Her mother’s quiet, sad voice.  Turkey in the oven on… on Christmas.  Burned meat.  The smell of burned meat.

Lyra was not dreaming now.  She smelled burned meat and remembered.  She remembered the taste.  She remembered cutting the flesh and feeling it warm her tongue.  She remembered chewing and the cold splash of ice cold Coca-Cola as it ignited sparks down her throat.

Lyra pulled her lover down Park Avenue in the direction of the smell.  She stopped in front of a shop window.  Inside, the blackened flesh of some animal was still turning and smoking over a skillet.  Lyra walked blindly into the window, bruising her forehead.  She banged on the window with her hands.  Her blows grew fierce as the scent of burned meat grew and burned in her nostrils.  The smell of burned meat.  Frantic, now, with memory, she smashed at the window with her hands and knees.  The window shattered.  With bloody hands, Lyra ripped at the blackened carcass.  The taste of ash and flesh.
#
“Dead men walking.  Dead men.  Dead men.”

Lyra woke from the deep sleep without dreams.  The room was dark but warm.  She heard screaming, her lover’s scream.

“Dead men.  Dead men.”

Lyra fumbled in the darkness until she’d found her lover’s shaking body.  Lyra tried to put her arms around him, tried to squeeze the fear out of him, but she was pushed aside by his strong arms.

“Dead men.  Dead men.”  Darren’s chanting grew louder and more urgent.  Lyra struggled to hold him down.  She pulled on the big man’s arms and legs.  She grabbed her lover’s hair and scratched at his face trying desperately to wake him, only to be thrown down again and again until one final blow knocked her head savagely against the wall.  In the distance, she heard her lover’s frantic screams grow to a crescendo and then stop.  Exhausted and badly beaten, Lyra crawled across the cold pavement in the direction of the last scream until she found Darren’s motionless body.  Lyra was just in time to feel her lover’s heart stop and the last breath wheeze out of him.

Lyra stayed with her lover’s lifeless body for two days.  There was hardly anything left alive, now, in the city, except flies and maggots.  She awoke on the sixth day to see them feeding on her lover’s eyes.  She tried to brush them away, but they were coming out from the inside.  Lyra couldn’t breath.  The smell.  The pain of hunger gripped her once again.

Lyra returned to the store with the burned meat, but the meat had been almost completely devoured by bugs.  Lyra smelled burning once again, but this time the smell did not bring to mind memories of food.  It was an unpleasant smell, a repulsive smell.  The narrow streets were filling with smoke.  Lyra’s lips were bleeding.

She pushed on, falling from time to time but feeling no pain.  She found herself in the trees when the lights went out.

Lyra was still alive when her picture box began talking.  They were there on her picture box.  The ghouls.

“Unit thirteen, take the next block on Park Avenue to the trees.  Clean it top to bottom.  Should take the rest of the morning.”

There was silence again and the box went dark.  Then another ghoul appeared.

“I hope not.  This place is beginning to stink.”

The box went black again.  Lyra listened.  Light was cutting a wedge on the grass.  She could not move.  She’d dreamed again–skating in the snow in a place she remembered–two blocks away.  She was only seven or eight.  It was cold.

“Dickie, hold up.”

Another ghoul appeared on Lyra’s picture box.  The ghoul reached his white hands up and took off his white, eyeless, faceless skull.  Lyra was surprised to see another head underneath, a human head.

“Dickie, I know we’re at war, but this is…  I mean, look at all these people, all these bodies.  What did this—a bomb?”  The ghoul spoke.  His voice was deep and his speech slow.

“Well, it’s not actually a bomb.  It’s a virus, a computer virus.”  The second ghoul appeared on the box.  He, too, had a human head under his white skull.

“A computer virus did this?”

“A special computer virus–the first computer virus to be successfully transmitted from hardware to wetware.  These poor suckers caught the virus from the ultra low frequencies emitted by their digital equipment–their computers, their cell phones, their calculators–and they died.”

“Yeah, but how?”

“The virus counts down in their brains to zero hour, then it savagely attacks the fear centers of the brain with visions of death so terrifying that either their heart stops or their brain, in defense, wipes the slate clean.   It wipes out their memories.  They forget how to eat and walk and talk, and then they just die.  Either way, they die.”

“What if they’re not all dead?  I mean, what if we see some survivors?”

The second man shook his head.  “We can’t take a chance of it spreading.”

“So.  What do we do?”

The second man shrugged.  “Dead men walking.”

The first man put his helmet back on.  “Tough way to go,” he said and flamed another body.

Lyra looked up from the picture box to see smoke rising from the trees.  They were coming closer.

Read more Chilling Stories in the Anthology.

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes short stories and flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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[NSFW] Fly Blown – Kenneth Whitfield

 

She has an earthy smell about her. Musky. I chalk it up to her being on the dance floor so much. Hot and sweaty, honky tonking, showing off her ample assets in a tight half-shirt with even tighter Daisy Duke cutoffs. She’s pretty, long dark hair, heavily made up brown eyes, full pouty lips and a seductive smile. Infectious laugh. But coming off a bit desperate.

I wave away a fly buzzing at my head as I watch her.

Maybe she’s horny. Maybe she’s trying to make someone jealous. Or maybe she’s just drunk. Probably a combination of all three. I watch as she shakes it all alone on the dance floor, appreciative men cheering her on; their girlfriends giving her the stink eye.

The annoying fly lands on my table. He rubs his little hands together happily, and then starts lapping at the ring left from my mug. I smile and tip my beer to him as I go back to gazing at her.

It’s early, the bar not too crowded yet. Whenever a man approaches her she smiles and shakes her head side to side, no no, not missing a beat. She comes back to my table between dances, drinking my Jack and beer chaser, leaning in closer and closer, whisper/yelling in my ear over the jukebox. Her breath a bit rank, telling me how she just loves to dance and wishes I’d join her. Rubbing her bare underboobs against my arm.

Nice.

The fly drinking from the beer ring on the table has been joined by some friends. They scatter when she visits, but settle quickly when she hits the dance floor again, not willing to give up the free beer. I chuckle, ordering another.

I’m flattered by her attention, her sour breath and body odor accepted. But I’ve seen this scenario before. I believe she’s just looking to start something, to prove something. I don’t know why she has latched onto me, maybe because I’m quiet and not drooling all over her like the other guys. Maybe because I’m alone. Most likely because she’s seen the wad of cash I’ve been peeling bills off when the waitress brings me a drink. (Today was payday.) I really don’t know, but I do think I know where this is probably heading.

The flies are having their own little party on my table, about five of them now lapping at the spilled beer, lined up side by side jostling each other. Belly up to the bar boys.

As the night grows on and the bar gets more crowded, she gets rowdier. As do the cheering men. I guess it won’t be long before that belly revealing shirt is above her boobs, and her shorts will have crept up to become denim thongs.

I give it serious consideration, and then decide I’m just not up to playing any games tonight. I chuckle again, reminded of that Skynyrd song Gimme Three Steps. One lyric in particular from the live version: “Lord I ain’t going to fighting over this cunt.” I throw a twenty on the table to finish covering my, (well, mostly her), tab, scattering the flies. I smile and nod at her shaking on the dance floor as I head out the back door.

She catches up with me just as I am opening my truck door. Tugs on my arm gently and asks if I can take her home. I turn and look. She cocks her head and smiles broadly. I look over her shoulder and don’t see anybody coming out the door after her. Looks like she’s slipped away and is serious about spending time with me. No games. I stand aside and wave her in, her aroma wafting over me as she climbs in.

She slides over just enough to let me behind the steering wheel. Her left thigh is pressed up against my right. She laughs and jokes and uses her right hand to gesture all about as she talks. Her left hand she keeps on my leg, rubbing gently. Her smell is stronger in the confines of the truck. It’s a warm evening, so I discreetly roll down my window.

She likes to lean in close as she talks. Her breath is cigarettes and beer and something a little riper. A rotten sweetness, like fruit going bad.

She points to a button I have pinned to the passenger sun visor. It has a picture of a grinning possum hanging by its tail from a branch and says “Eat More Possum”. She laughs, saying at first glance she thought it said “Eat More Pussy”. I smile. That’s the joke, I say.

She rubs my leg and squirms her hips a bit, smiling back at me.

She lives in a trailer park about a mile from the bar. Tells me she walks back and forth all the time. (I bet she gets rides back more often than not.) The park is pretty big and looks like it’s been around a while. Lots of old trailers lined up almost on top of each other, most with their paint fading and peeling. I see many cars in tiny yards in various stages of decomposition – hoods up, engines out, tires missing. Trash cans overflow in driveways. Indoor furniture – easy chairs, tables and sofas – is outdoors on porches and in yards.

Her trailer is gray with pink trim. I guess it was black with red trim at one time. There’s a sagging little wooden five foot square porch at the front door with rusted steel stairs leading up to it. A bare, fly specked 100 watt bulb is screwed into a grimy porcelain light socket base attached to the porch ceiling. A couple of sticky brown fly strips are hanging down, twisting in the warm breeze, each covered with dozens of tiny black bodies.

She heads up on the porch, digging the key out from the back pocket of her painted on shorts. I hang back, telling her I need to pay the water bill. She smiles playfully as she opens the door, telling me to let her know if I need any help. I smile back, saying yeah, the doctor told me not to be lifting anything heavy. I hear her laughing as I turn and take a couple of steps back through her over-flowing trash cans.

I have just gotten a good stream going when the breeze shifts and a smell makes me gag and almost piss on myself. A smell of rotted meat and decay. I finish quick, tucking myself back in. Morbid curiosity makes me look. I poke around the split open black trash bags with the toe of my boot. I flip one shredded bag over, and lying under it is a possum. Its dull gray eyes look up at me, lips pulled back in a grin showing sharp little teeth. It’s deflated; gray fur all stiff and matted. There’s a clouted hole in its side and a mass of flies are swarming over it. I wave my boot over them and they buzz away, revealing a writhing mass of maggots feeding inside the possum. The flies settle quickly back down, refusing to abandon their offspring and free lunch. I hold my breath and back away, heading up to the porch. She’s holding the door open, and I dodge the fly strips as I go inside.

After the smell outside, the smell inside is very faint.

She points at my crotch saying I left the barn door open, and then goes to make us a couple drinks. I pull my zipper up, watching her root around in the piles of dirty dishes, disturbing a few flies, finally finding two red Solo cups. She gets a bottle of Jack from on top of the refrigerator and pours us both good stiff ones, adding a splash of hot flat coke from an almost empty liter bottle to each. No ice.

She hands me mine, and we both take deep drinks, looking at each other. I feel the warm flush coming over me as the liquor goes down. She rises to her tiptoes and kisses me, hard. Smashing our lips, pushing her tongue past my teeth, licking and then sucking. She pulls back, grins, motions with her head for me to follow. She heads down the little hallway to what I am sure is her bedroom.

I follow, watching her butt shaking, barely noticing the smell, taking another drink to wash away her aftertaste.

In her bedroom, the single window is open, the warm breeze bellowing threadbare curtains. The screen in the window is full of holes, and I see several flies crawling through. More are flitting about. Her bedroom is about as clean as her kitchen, and we add our clothes and underwear to the piles we step over getting to her unmade bed.

Lying next to her, she giggles throatily, taking me in her hand. I watch the curve of her breasts as I reach between her legs, gently stroking. My fingers touch large fleshy lips, swollen with excitement. As I reach between them, the incredible moistness sucks them in, four fingers disappearing up to the second knuckle. She moans, arching her back.

This sure ain’t her first rodeo.

When I pull my fingers out, I am struck by the smell. It’s cliché, but there is a heavy fish odor. She bucks, pulling me on top of her. The hand I had between her thighs is now by her head and I smell the funk on my fingers even stronger. She sucks feverishly on my neck, distracting me. And before I can think any more about the odor she grabs my butt with both hands and I am sliding inside of her. I think of Daisy Duke wearing cutoffs with black stockings and as I empty into her, I feel a burning sensation. I’ve experienced similar when ladies used spermicide. It’d get backed up and in some kind of backwash burn like hell. I didn’t see her slide any spermicide in, but I know ladies can be discreet about that. (Though she didn’t strike me as the discreet type.) I grit my teeth and roll off her, the sensation slowly fading.

She smokes a cigarette as I finish my Jack Daniels. After that, we don’t exactly snuggle, she just lays close alongside of me. Presently she falls asleep, and not long afterward I do too.

I awake needing to pee again and swatting at a couple of flies buzzing around my head. The room is ripe with the smell of sour sex. Her back is toward me now, her breathing slow and steady. Her firm buttocks outlined with bikini tan lies. I ease out of the bed, tip toe around dirty clothes disturbing more flies, and ease the bathroom door closed behind me.

Flipping on the light switch, there’s a hum and then one dirty fluorescent tube above the mirror flickers and provides dim light. The dingy full moon and yellowish area light showing through the little open window provide a bit more illumination. I look at myself in the mirror, raising my chin, shaking my head at the giant red hickey on my neck. Waving away more flies I step over to the toilet and relieve myself. The burning sensation is still present, though not as bad. And there is a prickling sensation, an itch all throughout my crotch. Both inside and out. Everything looks red and irritated and I wonder if she gave me a dose of the crabs. Never had them before so not sure what the symptoms are or how long they take to show. I make a mental note to see a doctor. After finishing, I open cabinets looking for a bath cloth to wash off with. Can’t find any and I don’t want to touch the used ones mixed in with dirty underwear in the overflowing hamper. Everything in there is damp and stained. I twist the hot faucet meaning to rinse using my hands, but the foul smelling brown water trickling out changes my mind. I’ll take a hot shower and scrub good when I get home.

Back in the bedroom, I ease about finding my clothes. I dress silently, watching her sleep. She is very pretty. Lying naked on her side in the ruffled bed, no covers, hair mussed, breathing so heavy it’s almost a snore. I smile, the itching in my groin and the sour smell now seem fair trade for having shared that body. I walk over to wake her and tell her good bye. We both knew what this was so there’s no reason to sneak away in the night. I’m not that much of a dick.

As I lean over the bed and reach for her shoulder, she rolls over. I back up as she moans. She raises both her arms over her head and smacks her lips sensually. I smile broader, looking at her sleeping, happy face. Her big breasts, flat nipples quivering with each breath. Her taut stomach with a belly button piercing, a diamond, (probably cubic zirconium), rising and falling slowly. Her slick pubic hair quivering.

She pulls one leg up at an angle, exposing herself. It looks like a butterflied, abused veal cutlet. A trickle of thin, white fluid leaks out from between those enlarged bruised lips. A couple of flies land in her curly hairs and walk about in the stickiness. Another couple land and work their way toward the pooling white wetness. The smell of fish and foul meat is strong. More flies land in her stiff and matted fur.

I look closer and see a small white worm emerge from inside her and fall into the milky fluid. Then another. And another. They coagulate; form a small knot, squirming over each other. More flies land and begin to cover her pubes as the maggots continue to cascade from within her. Goose bumps pop up on her pelvic region, spread up towards her stomach, appearing and disappearing as the flesh undulates with the roiling masses beneath. More and more flies land on her, appearing as a single black mass. She moans and shifts position slightly. The flies rise, but settle back down quickly, unwilling to abandon their meal and offspring. The smell of offal rises in the thick heavy air, causing me to retch silently.

I back away from her, swallowing my gag reflex. Ease my way out of the bedroom, shooing flies with one hand, pulling and tugging and scratching at my groin with the other. I stumble through the living room, snatching the front door open. Staggering across the porch, I become entangled in the fly strips, fighting their stickiness, yanking them from my face and head along with skin and scalp. I fall down the steps and hit the driveway hard, ripping my jeans, skinning both knees and the palms of my hands on the sharp gravel. Getting to my feet I run to my truck almost yanking the door off its hinges.

The truck starts and I back out of her little driveway, tires spinning as I put it in drive while still rolling backwards. Leaving the trailer park entrance with dust and gravel spraying behind me. Tires squealing I hit the pavement of the main road, rear end fish tailing as I floor it. By the time I pass the bar I am doing better than ninety.

All the while scratching and tugging at my burning groin with one hand while flies buzz around.

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.