Posted on 3 Comments

Support Deadman’s Tome

6x9_Front_Coverhand
Available on Kindle

If you follow Deadman’s Tome, then you should ask yourself why aren’t I a patreon? It only take a dollar. 

Deadman’s Tome is an online horror zine that publishes dark gritty horror on weekly basis. This, of course, is only possible because of the dedicated work of the contributors. The featured authors have spent hours honing their craft to deliver truly terrifying stories. The sort of stories that haunt you with a chilling sensation down your spine. To reward them for their dedication and commitment, I offer them a publication on a site that strongly encourage community engagement, along with a monetary compensation calculated by the number of views, comments, and likes their story receives.

I pay the authors right out from my pocket. While I do not mind right now, there may come a time where I may not be able to. I honestly do not know when that time will come and I hope it never does.

I’m also looking for artists, and would like to one day publish content with artwork 100% of the time. That, as you could expect, may get expensive. Even the for the love artists want payment eventually.

Please consider becoming a Deadman’s Tome patron. It only takes a dollar, and it does give you benefits and access to discounts, exclusive titles, and insider information. I treat the patrons like a family – a good functioning family, not the Charles Manson style family.

patreonBecome a patron

Posted on 6 Comments

[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.

ReadlikeshareHCH

patreonBecome a patron

facebookJoin the Fan Club!

twitterFollow Mr. Deadman

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.

Posted on 21 Comments

[NSFW] Unbloom by Kristine Hall-Garcia

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!

6x9_Front_Coverhand
Available on Kindle

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?

 

  I lie on the bed, in this room that never smells of sex, and rub one of the many surrounding rose petals between my fingers. These are sex organs too.  

    Looking down at my breasts, I feel the sex organs lying between them, and think of His. I close my eyes. Touch all of the places I think He will want first: lips, throat, breasts, thighs.

    Tick Tock.

    I strike a pose, many different ones. Which will He like the best? Which will cause Him to burn most with desire? This one. I think it’s this one.

    Tick Tock.

    He’s late. I trace the inside of my thigh, higher until I’m pushing into my garden. I ripped all the hair out today because I think that is what turns Him off. He doesn’t want a woman. He wants a girl; a child.

    Tick tock.

    My garden is dry, so I play. I want to be ready, and I have time to kill. If things don’t go according to plan, this may be the most fun I have.

    Tick tock.

    Still no noise. Only the stirring of something inside me. The breaking of the dam: honey.

    My body begs for fast—faster—but no. I am only to carry myself to the edge, not over. I build a perfect agony.

    Tick Tock.

    The front door slams. My body quivers with anticipation; I am ready.

    Footsteps pound the hardwood floor. I gasp, arch, and rest again, on this bed, in this sexless room. I slick my tongue across my lip.

    Tick Tock.

    The door opens. I moan. Husband enters, still in his work clothes. I wait, writhing and moaning, my desire still unquenched. He watches, expressionless. Why doesn’t He come to me? Is this not what every man wants? He tugs at the collar of His fatigues as if they are suddenly too tight. Three tours in Iraq, and He still loses composure at the sight of a naked woman. I smile.

    Unable to wait any longer, I crawl to the foot of the bed where He stands. I grab Him by the pants and pull Him to me. He is like a child too—scared and stiff in all the wrong places.

    I press against Him, and hope the gesture will give him confidence. Then I take His fingers and push them inside of me.  At first, I think He is going to try. He plays, half-heartedly. I moan, arch, and twist. Pretend He gives me pleasure when I was doing better myself. He needs encouragement.

    I look up at Him with smoldering eyes, hope His will do the same, but they are cold. He is elsewhere now, not with me. I bite His lip, hard, to bring Him back to me, and see something far worse than disinterest in His eyes: disdain. Why doesn’t He love me?

    He wriggles His hand free from my grasp and steps away. Fine. He doesn’t have to love me, but why won’t He fuck me? Is that not what men do?

    He walks to the bathroom and wipes my honey on a towel. Meticulous, like a surgeon, He washes His hands. To Him, I am a germ He can kill with soap and water. He leaves the room, me still hanging on the edge.

    Is it my breasts? I shove them into my back, but I can never make them disappear.

    How does one unbloom?

    I gaze at the photo of our niece at her eighth birthday party that He keeps beside the bed. Flat chested, gap-toothed, and freckled, she looks the kind of happy only a child can look, but not anymore.  

    Creak.

    The wooden staircase leading to the basement groans beneath His weight.

    Now, at ten, His niece is a frosted lily shivering in the darkness of our basement. Her endangered smile is Paper Mache.

    I smash the frame against the night table, and shatter glass like innocence.

    Girls dream of becoming women, of knowing our deeper shades of red, of riding our curves. They desire to be like us. It should not be the other way around.

    I look down at my woman’s body, and weep.

    Bastard.

Readlikeshareeyes

patreonBecome a patron

facebookJoin the Fan Club!

twitterFollow Mr. Deadman

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.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Love Electric by Calvin Demmer

BookofHoorsBanner

Edith McCarthy liked to peep on potential clients before meeting them. She had parked her van near their Dutch Colonial-style home and was looking through her binoculars. What she saw through the kitchen window did not surprise her. Missus Collins, the lady who had phoned her, was getting fucked like a bargain priced prostitute found on a street corner with a broken light. She was bent over the kitchen table, panties down below her knees, as the broad shouldered man pounded her. Edith decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and presumed the man to be her husband.

Edith placed the binoculars on the seat next to her, rubbed her eyes, and started up the van. She had seen enough. The couple looked happy—they fucked like it at least—and added to this Missus Collins had said they had recently purchased the home. Edith had the inspiration required.

Back in her small apartment on the other side of town, she paced the living room as she counted down the time until she was meant to meet Missus Collins. She couldn’t stand waiting and decided to get through some training. As she never entertained guests she had set up her own little gym in her living room. Cash was tight, so it was mostly a bench and some free weights. Edith picked out her favorite CD, Classic love songs of the eighties, which she had managed to shoplift.

As her portable CD player pumped out the tunes, she did bicep curls, staring herself in a body length mirror. There was no denying the extra few pounds she had put on since getting out of prison—she had been convicted of assault—but she had also gained more muscle. Having just turned forty-two, standing five-foot eleven and weighing a hundred and sixty pounds, she felt good. She clenched tight on her next curl and grimaced, wanting the bicep to pop. The steroids she had purchased from a man riddled in acne at her gym had been worth it.

Prison had changed her. She had not learnt any rehabilitation, if anything she had discovered how to hate more and from a place deeper within. In fact, she had learned to love the hate, to turn into something beautiful. She had also learned how to take better care of herself in a fight and how to get away with certain things.

Edith finished up her set, wolfed down some food, and showered.

#

When Edith arrived for her meeting with Missus Collins, she found the lady dressed impeccably in a gray skirt and floral white shirt. She also found out Missus Collins first name was Tiffany. Tiffany’s heels clacked on the wooden passageway as she led Edith to the first room she wanted to have painted.

“I was so surprised to find a female painter” Tiffany said, entering the empty room. “Have you been in town long? We have just recently moved here, this is actually the first home we have ever purchased, we are so excited.”

“Nah, I move around a lot,” Edith said.

“Well, this is to be my office, I am a realtor, oh, remind me to give you a card before you go.”

Edith nodded.

“The other room, just down the hall to the left, will be my husband, Harold’s, entertainment area, mostly for him and his buddies to watch sports. You know how it is.” Tiffany smiled. “He was here earlier, but will only be getting home at four, has some or other meeting.”

Edith nodded. She was glad both rooms were on the bottom floor and that she now knew for sure she had already seen Harold that morning. Good, good, they’re in love, how sweet, Edith thought. She checked her wristwatch. It was only one o’clock. There was more than enough time until Harold arrived.

Edith took a notebook and pencil out from her back pocket. She pretended to start writing things down while looking over the empty room. “You have your color in mind already?” she said.

“Yes,” Tiffany said. “A pastel blue. I don’t want it to be too distracting.”

Edith frowned. “How do you feel about red? Bright red?”

Tiffany shook her head. “No, that would drive me mad. Definitely a light, soft blue.”

Edith took a step towards Tiffany. “No, I am afraid that is just not possible. It will have to be red.”

She reached for Tiffany’s wrist.

“What the fuck?” Tiffany said, pulling away.

Tiffany’s reaction speed surprised Edith, but Edith had natural close-combat skills ingrained in her from prison. She moved right up against Tiffany and stabbed her in the lower part of her neck with the pencil. Tiffany let out a shriek; Edith pulled her close and pressed the pencil in deeper. A stream of red blood shot out from Tiffany’s neck, landing on the light gray carpeting of the room. Edith released Tiffany, who fell to the floor and began crawling for the door.

“Look what you made me do,” Edith said. She reached for Tiffany’s legs and pulled her back. Tiffany tried to scream but all that came out was a gurgling sound. Edith turned her over and dodged a kick. Tiffany’s neck was bleeding profusely and even her mouth had become an exit point for some crimson blood. The sharp copper smell hit Edith like a slap to the face.

“Fuck woman,” she said. “You’re wasting the blood. We don’t waste the fucking blood.”

Tiffany tried to kick out but couldn’t lift her leg high enough. She attempted to roll over again. Edith figured Tiffany was trying to escape again and assisted her. When Tiffany was back on her stomach, crawling with less impetuous than a few moments ago, Edith brought her right boot down on Tiffany’s lower back.

There was a dull crack sound. Tiffany’s body writhed back and forth then stopped. Edith moved closer and brought her boot down on Tiffany’s neck.

Edith said, “Fucking blood wasting bitch.” She tensed, her arms became rigid on her sides, but she calmed and found focus. She made her way to her van, now she needed her equipment.

When Edith returned to the room, she stepped over Tiffany’s body and placed her portable CD player in the middle of the room. She pressed play. Her favorite CD immediately soothed her. She put her empty white five-gallon bucket near Tiffany and then lifted Tiffany’s neck over it. Edith removed the pencil and watched as the blood began pooling at the bottom of the bucket. Fortunately, she had a few techniques to extract a bit more blood, but she didn’t need too much. The room was small.

Satisfied with the amount of blood, she added her own special mix. This mix not only helped to thin out the blood but also helped it to dry faster. Edith poured some of the blood, now mixed, into her roller tray. She dipped her roller, which she had attached to a longer frame, into the tray.

Edith made sure she got a good amount of blood on the roller and then made her way to the wall. She began in the middle of the wall to the right and half a roller length from the corner. This would help against the blood getting too thick in the edges. She made sure not to force the blood out of the roller. It didn’t take long to find her groove. Edith painted the room with Tiffany’s blood. She couldn’t resist singing along to her favorite ballads.

#

Edith sat on the large, noisy, and uncomfortable black sofa in the living room. Tiffany’s body had been wrapped in plastic and had been placed her in the van. Her equipment stood in the other room that still required painting. She stared into the blackness of the flatscreen hanging on the wall before her, breathing in deep. Her body still rocked with energy that she had received when painting the room with Tiffany’s blood. Glancing down at her wristwatch, she saw it was four o’clock. She tensed different parts of her body and felt the current rocket there. Her muscles hardened. She was ready.

The front door opened.

A man, who she recognized from the morning’s spying, entered the living room. He wore a neat navy blue suit, and a soft yellow tie swung around his neck. The man was attractive and Edith had to force down the jealousy she felt towards Tiffany. Such emotions had to wait, as there was a job in the process.

The man’s eyes narrowed when he saw Edith. “Oh, hello.”

“Hello, Harold,” Edith said.

“Ah, okay, are you a friend of Tiffany’s?”

“I am the painter.”

“Oh I see,” Harold said. His face seemed to relax. “I thought she was meeting you earlier this morning?”

“She was,” Edith said. “But she wanted me to get your opinion on something.”

Harold removed his coat. “I don’t really have much time. I thought she would handle all this. We’re expecting my parents this evening.” He removed his tie and placed both it and the coat on the side of the single-seat chair next to him.

Edith smiled.

“Where is she?” Harold said. He started walking towards the staircase. “Tiffany,” he called.

Edith got up. “Oh, I will show you. She’s here on the bottom floor.”

She led him to the room she had painted, battling to keep the happiness spreading across her face in check. It was not often she got to show off her work to a client.

Harold looked all around the room, shaking his head. “What the fuck is this mess?”

“The paint job, you don’t like it?”

“Just tell me where my wife is?”

Edith smiled. “She’s here.”

Harold stepped towards her. “Listen, I don’t have time for nonsense. Just tell me where my wife is and what the hell is going on? And what the hell is on the walls? It doesn’t smell like paint.”

“It’s blood. Your wife’s. Do you like it?”

Harold reached for Edith’s throat. “Listen you steroid junkie, tell me where the fuck my wife is.”

Edith hit Harold in his ribs with a clean left jab. He winced and bent forward. She pulled her right arm back and launched a right hook aimed at his temple. The shot clean and Harold nearly toppled over.

“What the fuck?” he said, trying to regain equilibrium.

Edith kicked at his left knee. There was a sharp pop sound. Harold buckled and screamed. He fell forward onto the bloodstained carpeting.

“You fucking crazy bitch!”

Edith walked towards him and lifted her right boot. “I have to break your neck now. I can’t be wasting any more blood today.”

“Get the fuck away from me you freak. I am gonna put you in jail for—”

Edith brought her boot down on Harold’s neck. The dull snap made Edith smile. She stood over Harold and nodded, realizing he was dead. Edith looked over to the recently painted walls and smiled. The current it sent through her almost brought her to tears. She wanted to savor the moment a bit longer, but she had more work to do.

Edith grabbed Harold’s feet and began dragging him to his entertainment room. “What lovely work I am doing these days,” she said to the recently deceased Harold. “You see, once I have finished your room, your new home will be the talk of the neighborhood.”

Once Harold was in the center of the room, she placed her bucket next to him. She reached for her knife.

#

Edith sat in the front of her van staring at the house. Both bodies were wrapped and in the back of her van. She knew a river where she could dispose of them, along with any other items from the house that needed to join. The cellphone she had been using while staying in town could also go. She had stayed in town longer than usual and knew it was a risk, but she had enjoyed her time here. The place had so much love to give. Her operations had also begun to run smoother.

I really did some impressive work here. Both those rooms came out just perfect. Oh, his parents are going to be so impressed when they arrive this evening, she thought. She waved goodbye to the house, and was about to start up the van when the phone rang.

“Hello, this is Welcome Home Painting,” Edith said.

“Oh hello, I was wondering if I could make an appointment for tomorrow morning. My husband and I purchased a home a few months back, and we received some great news this week, we are expecting our first child.”

“Oh that’s wonderful, congratulations.

“Thank you. We’d like to have the room we want to convert into a nursery painted. My husband also mentioned doing the garage while we are at it. It’s our first real home, and we want it looking great.”

“That’s great; you two sound so in love.”

“Ah, yeah, we are. My husband will be at home for the meeting tomorrow. I’m out of town until next week, but I’d like the work done as soon as possible.”

Edith smiled. One more job, she thought. “Well, I just happen to be free, finished a lovely job today. I can even start tomorrow after your husband has told me what he wants. By the time you’re back, I will be long gone any room you need painted will look beautiful. I promise you my work is incomparable.”

“That’s great, thank you.”

When done with the conversation, Edith started up the van, humming the tunes to one of her favorite ballads. She made her way to her apartment. The energy from the day surged within.

Edith wondered if this was what it felt like to be loved.

ReadlikeshareHCH

patreonBecome a patron

facebookJoin the Fan Club!

twitterFollow Mr. Deadman

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.

Posted on 12 Comments

Pruning The Garden by David M. Hoenig

“Won’t you tell me about the girls who have passed, Lily?  No one else is willing to say anything.”  The speaker was a brunette, dressed in a dark red and black corset with stockings and garters, and she sat at one of the saloon tables with a blonde girl wearing a similar costume in white and pale green.  Both her accent and diction placed her origins somewhere far to the east of where she now found herself: St. Joseph, Missouri, ‘Gateway to the West’.

“Well, it’s like nobody even cares that they died, Dusk Rose!  Not the John Laws, not Bo Shanks, who owns this whorehouse.  We mean less than nothing.”

‘Dusk Rose’ pursed her lips, and glanced around to see who might be listening to her conversation.  She leaned closer to Lily, working girl at the Garden of Endless Flowers, and when she spoke her voice was soft.  “That’s exactly why I’m here, Lily.  My real name is Nellie Bly, and I’m an investigative reporter for a New York newspaper.”

“What?  You mean you ain’t a real ‘Flower’?’

“No.  I came because we’d heard of the recent deaths of Becky Hargrave, Jill Wheaton, and Tai Meifing in recent months, and they certainly seemed unusual.  I also don’t like the fact that the news hasn’t carried anything about why or how three young women might die unremarked upon.  It’s not fair and someone’s got to speak for the dead, I say, but all I’ve really learned so far is that no one in charge seems to care much.”

“They wasn’t just deaths, Miss Bly.  Them girls were murdered, and any of us could be next!”

A small furrow appeared between the reporter’s eyes.  “But I was told that they Miss Hargrave’s and Miss Meifing’s deaths were accidents, and that Miss Wheaton committed suicide.”

“I don’t believe none of that.  Pansy–that was Jill Wheaton, mind–was happier than a pig in slop working the Garden!  She was a one who really liked her work, and she’d never have just killed herself.  This life was just fine for her, though maybe she was a mite mouthy over who she took to bed.”

“What about the others?”

“Becky– she was Violet–had a powerful fear of the water.  She’d never have gone down to the Missouri River for a swim, no matter what Sheriff Hooky says.  And Lotus… uh, Tai… well, she drowned in the big tub downstairs, out back.  They said she must’ve slipped and hit her head, but she didn’t have no bumps or cuts, just a peaceful expression like she’d gone to sleep at the bottom of it.”  Lily leaned forward conspiratorially.  “It weren’t natural,” she whispered.

“Is there anything that links them besides working here?”

Lily shrugged.

“Can I trust the House Madam?”

“Miss Ruby?  She’s about the only one here you could.”

“You mean here in the Garden?”

“In St. Joseph.”  Lily maintained eye contact for emphasis before she finally stood.  “I’ll take you.”

Nellie got up and let the girl lead her through the great room and past the early afternoon crowd of the saloon-brothel.  Some of the girls were working the crowd, friendly as sunshine, but to the reporter’s trained eye there was an undercurrent of tension in the way they comported themselves. They went behind the main staircase and stopped at a door along the back wall.  Lily knocked.  After a muffled reply came indistinctly through the wood, she opened the door and led Nellie into the office beyond.

“Now, what do you girls want?” Madam Ruby Beaumont asked from behind her desk.

With an almost shy look at the reporter, Lily told the woman the truth about her newest Flower.

Nellie met the thinning of Ruby’s lips with a hurried explanation.  “I’m convinced that people need to know about the needs of you and the women who work here.  After all, they’re folk, just like everyone else, and especially vulnerable to the evils of the world when they have no one to speak for them.”

“You are looking to stir up a world of troubles, missy.  No one around here cares about these girls except me, not even Mr. Shanks.”  

“That’s exactly the problem I want to address, Madam Beaumont.  I know I can make people care about them.”

“Like you did in New York last year, Miss Bly?  With those poor wretches in the asylum?”

Nellie pursed her lips for a few moments, then abruptly sat in one of the chairs before the desk and crossed her legs.  “You are awfully well-read for a house madam, Ruby.”

“I am.”

“And you don’t seem half surprised enough.  How long have you known who I am?”

The madam leaned back in her own chair.  “There was something off about you when we first met–too self-assured, maybe–but I didn’t twig to your identity until after I went through your things.  After that it was just a matter of research.”  She paused, put a cigarette in a holder and lit it.  “So.  What brings you here besides the thrill of having some cowpoke grunt in your ear as he tries to shove you through a bed?”

The reporter laughed out loud, and the madam smiled along with her.  Lily, standing to one side, had a somewhat forced smile on her face.

When the hilarity had passed, Nellie’s tone was all business.  “I’m here about the recent deaths of Becky, Jill, and Tai.”

Ruby grimaced.  “They were good girls, and treated like less than nothing.”

“And that’s not right.  Lily told me some of the circumstances; I’d like to know more.”

The madam turned to Lily.  “You get, girl.  I think Miss Bly and I need to talk.”

“Alright.”  Lily went to the door and opened it.

“You done good bringing her to me, missy, but mum’s the word for now.”

“Yes, Ruby.”  The girl curtsied and left.

The madam leaned back in her chair after the door closed.  “These girls mostly have nothing else, Miss Bly.  The sad truth is they mostly die young, from disease or rough treatment by unscrupulous men.  Very few ever get out once they’re in this life… and now I’ve got three dead girls in almost as many months.”

“The Sheriff?”

Ruby let out a very unladylike snort.  “Useless as balls on a milk-cow.”

The reporter was quiet for a moment, thinking.  “Did the dead girls share a patron?”

Madam Beaumont bit her lip before finally replying.  “A mouthy woman could get herself pretty dead.”

“I can’t promise you safety, but if there is someone to blame, maybe you and I together can protect your girls.”

Some moments passed as Ruby Beaumont considered this, then the lines of her mouth firmed.  “Mayor Holloway’s wife, Virginia.”

The reporter’s eyes widened.

“Ginny’s a very rich and powerful woman, Miss Bly, and it’s no secret among certain quarters of her preferences.  And yet, if aspersions were cast on a lady of her stature that might threaten her relationship with the Mayor or her standing in town, well, any of us would likely meet the hangman’s noose faster’n a virgin finishes his first time.”

“And you think she’s somehow responsible for your girls’ deaths?”

“I know how crazy it sounds.  But I know Ginny gave Becky a present after their first time together because she showed it to me.  Horrid thing it was, too; looked mean and nasty first time I saw it, and thought ‘what a strange gift to give’.”  She licked her lips.  “But you know keepsakes–what’s important to someone may make it more valuable than what it is, right?”  At Nellie’s nod, she continued.  “But then it showed up later in Jill’s things after she died, and again in Tai’s effects after hers.  I think, somehow, maybe it killed them for Ginny.”  The Madam crossed herself in a very incongruous gesture, considering the surroundings.  “It’s a cursed, evil thing, Miss Bly.”

“Ruby, you strike me as one very sharp woman. You can’t believe that superstitious nonsense, can you?”

“You haven’t seen the devilish thing, or you wouldn’t think it’s so crazy.  I asked questions about it, quietly: an ugly jade toad that first came to town with Ginny’s first husband, a confederate officer.  I don’t know where he got it, maybe somewhere during the war.”

“First husband?”

“Yes.  He drowned–sound familiar?”

“In the river?”

“In a damned horse trough.”

“I think I’d like to meet this Ginny Holloway.”

“Oh, she’d just love you as you are right now,” Ruby gestured at the reporter’s ensemble with a half-hearted leer.  “But you might want to fancy up instead, and catch her over at the Women’s Temperance League for tea right about now.”

Thirty minutes later, Nellie Bly strolled into the building housing the Temperance League, suitably accoutered for the surroundings.  “May I help you?” asked a starchy matron by the entrance.

“I’m a reporter from New York, doing a feature article.  I’d very much like to speak to Mayor Holloway’s wife, if she’s about.”

A quick glance at a table with three ladies affirmed she was there.  “I’ll ask her.”  She went, spoke to a woman easily in her fifties, but immaculate in dress and appearance, then returned to Nellie.  “Mrs. Holloway would be happy to have tea with you in one of our private rooms.  Please come with me?”

The reporter followed the matron to a room in the back.  After a few minutes, Ginny Holloway swept in shortly to take her own seat.  “To what do I owe this honor?”

“I’m doing a story about events in St. Joseph, Mrs. Holloway.”  She told the Mayor’s wife her name and occupation.

“Oh!  Regarding the upcoming Faire?”

“Actually, I’m more curious about the recent deaths of three prostitutes from the Garden of Endless Flowers.”

Ginny’s face closed like the book of Judgment.  “I’m certain I know nothing about such distasteful matters.”

“Are you talking about the deaths or the prostitutes, Mrs. Holloway?”

The look she received in return was scornful.  “I don’t generally concern myself with either of those subjects, Miss Bly.”

Nellie met her gaze evenly, underscoring her disbelief, and the older woman looked away first.  “Even so, you don’t find the circumstances of their deaths worrying for women of this city, Mrs. Holloway?”

“They weren’t proper women!  And, as I understand, their deaths have been ruled accidents or whatever, so it’s nothing to me.”

“So, you wouldn’t have any objection to me looking into their deaths in pursuit of, say, a common patron the girls had, if I believed that the investigation has been incomplete?”

Ginny’s cheeks reddened, and when she spoke her tone was harsh.  “Young lady, if you are not out of this city by dusk, I will have the Sheriff arrest you for troublemaking and we’ll just see how you like that.”

“And he’ll jump to do your bidding?  Are you sleeping with him too?”

“You bitch!” Ginny breathed.  She stood so quickly that her chair crashed to the ground behind her.

Just then the matron came in, and Ginny turned and pushed roughly past her.  Bewildered, the woman looked at the reporter with concern.

“I don’t think she enjoyed the tea, I’m afraid.”  Nellie finished hers and stood.  “Good day.  I’m certain Mrs. Holloway is generous enough to cover the bill.”

She left the Women’s Temperance League and returned to the Garden of Endless Flowers to speak with Ruby Beaumont.  “I’m afraid that I’ve worn out my welcome in St. Joseph.”

“You’d best be out of town then, and right quick.”

Nellie nodded.  “I’m not letting this drop though.  I just wanted you to know that I’m going to write the story as I understand it, and let the facts speak for themselves.  What the women do here and elsewhere may not be glorious, uplifting, or heroic, but it’s not like they could do it if there wasn’t a market for it.”

The madam looked away, then nodded slowly.  

“And, what they do doesn’t mean they don’t merit kindness, justice, and recognition as people just like everyone else.”

When she turned back to look at the reporter, Ruby’s eyes were tear-filled.  “Thank you, Miss Bly.”

Nellie stood, shook the madam’s hand, and went directly to the rail station to take the first train back to New York.

#

A week later, Nellie Bly was at her desk at New York World, editing the article which would champion the rights of all women, not just those of privilege.  A young man from the mailroom arrived in her office.

“Package, Miss Bly.”

“Thank you, Wally.  Where’s it from?”

“Postmark says St. Joseph, Missouri.  Where should I leave it?”

There was a considerable pause before she replied.  “Do me a favor, Wally, and just toss it in the garbage?”

“You really don’t want it?”

“No.”

“Okay, Miss Bly.”

“Thanks, Wally.”

The young man took the package with him when he left her office, and took it home at the end of the day to see what it was.

He was found drowned in the pond in Central Park later that week.  

Sadly, his was not the only such incident to occur in New York City that year…

 

Readlikeshareeyes

patreonBecome a patron

facebookJoin the Fan Club!

twitterFollow Mr. Deadman

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.

 

Posted on 6 Comments

Lost In The Dark by Matt Michaelis

 

The road curved through the swamp.  Headlights preceded the car as it careened over the asphalt, faster than the signs would allow it.

“Slow down, John, you’re going too fast!”

“We have to get to my parents’ house tonight, Sue.  We can’t afford a hotel room.”

“We won’t make it if you slide off the road and into a ditch!”

His voice rose, “Jesus Christ, will you calm down?  You’re just like your mom, you know.”

Sue fell silent, her desire for safe travel losing the battle with her desire to distance herself from her mother.  In her mind, the face of the angry woman who demanded full obedience loomed the way that it did when she was five, terrifying her until she ran to the only safety available, her uncle, Pete.

John had proposed to her three weeks ago.  Sue thought it was weird when he wanted to go to a baseball game.  Suddenly, she found herself broadcast on the  KissCam, with a ring in her face.  Stunned, all she could say was “yes,” unenthusiastically.

Sue looked at him, smug satisfaction shining out of him.  Not for the first time, Sue thought about throwing the ring in his face.  The voice of her mother calling her out for being impetuous and ungrateful kept her from acting in anger, so she kept her opinions about his reckless driving habits to herself.

Thus, the car continued careening down a winding, foggy road, and neither of them saw the plank of wood with the protruding nails until the front tire had driven over it.  The spikes penetrated the inner tube, and the sudden change in balance made John swerve violently.

“Shit!” he shouted as the car hydroplaned.  Sue held her breath, eyes wide, as they spun around and the car fell into the ditch onto its side.

 

The world came back into focus slowly.  John’s voice came through her delirium.

“Sue?  Sue, are you okay?”

“Huh?” she said, shaken.  “Y-yeah, I’m okay.  Wh…are you okay?”

He touched his forehead.  “I think so.”  He took his hand away.  Blood shone dark red on his hand.  “Oh, hell.  We have to get out of here.”

He tried his door, but it wouldn’t budge.  The frame must have bent, keeping it from opening.  Sue’s window had broken over the flooded ditch.

“Okay Sue, listen to me,” John began.  “You have to crawl out the window and into the water.”

“I-I can’t!  There’s glass-”

“Shut up and listen!  There is only one way out of here, and it’s out that window.  You have to go first.”

She looked at the window where the safety glass had shattered.  The swampy water sat, stagnant and dark like pitch.  She hesitated.  The abysmal water seemed endless and full of unknown terrors.

“Sue!”

His shout brought her back, and she tugged at her seat belt.  Her fingers fumbled the latch open with a click.  Sue took a deep breath and crawled into the murky water that lay beneath her.  John followed with a whimper, which he was relieved that she hadn’t heard.

They stood by the road, clothes dripping.  Her arm bore a few scratches, but other than that, Sue wasn’t hurt.  Aside from the cut on his forehead, John wasn’t bleeding.  No serious damage could be seen, although Sue worried about the bump on John’s head.

“Let’s see if we can get the trunk open.  The first aid kit should be in there.”

John moved to the trunk, and with some difficulty, managed to open it.  The kit had stayed together, and they patched their woundss.  John grabbed the tool kit and took out a flashlight, and a folding knife with a four-inch blade.

John took out his phone, but there was no signal.  Sue’s phone wouldn’t come on.  “Damn, that’s weird.  The compass keeps spinning around.”  He put the phone back into his pocket.

Sue shivered.  “How cold is it supposed to get tonight?”

“Low thirties.  Let’s change into something dry.”

They got their suitcases out of the trunk.  Sue looked up and down the road before disrobing.  John gave a snort of derision at her modesty.  He stripped completely nude, toweled off, then dressed.  He handed her the towel, smirking at how Sue danced in the cold to keep warm.

Teeth chattering, Sue toweled off quickly, and put on fresh clothes.  She looked down the road.

“Any idea how far it is through the swamp?” she asked.

He shrugged.  “Hard to say.  I think we had another hour’s drive before anything resembling civilization.”

“How far back was the last house?”

“At least an hour.”

“So what do we do?” Panic crept into Sue’s voice.

“Someone’s bound to drive by sooner or later.  Let’s go ahead and start walking up the road and we’ll stop the first car we see.”

“What if no one drives through?”

John fought the irritation rising in him.  “Then we walk until we find a store or something.  Stop whining.”

They set out down the road, the flashlight bobbing along the path.  Sue wrapped her arms around herself.  Even with dry clothes, the wind whipped through them.  John tried to look unaffected by the cold, but he clenched his teeth to prevent them from chattering.  His hand gripped the knife in his pocket. He stroked the spine of the blade with his thumb, the hard steel comforting him.

An hour later, they hadn’t seen a single car, nor had they seen a single building.

“Maybe we should go back to that turn-off and see if there is anything down there,” Sue suggested.

“It’s at least twenty minutes back, and I don’t want to leave the main road.  Something will turn up soon.”

“But we don’t know that!  You wanted to try the short-cut that you found on the GPS.  Neither of us have ever been here before.”

“For Christ’s sake, Sue,” he rubbed his head.  “I can’t take this.  I have a headache, and your pissing and moaning isn’t helping!”

Sue resumed her silence, and they trudged on.  John’s head got worse.  The steps he took were more uneven as they went on.

“Sweetie, we should probably stop, you aren’t looking so good.”

“I’ll be fine without your constant nagging.  I just need some food, maybe a beer.  Look!”

He shouted and pointed the flashlight into the swamp.  There, over the water, was a light, bouncing over the ground.  It looked like lantern.

“Come on, let’s go!”

“John, you must be crazy!”

“Crazy about getting out of this stupid swamp and getting some help, yeah.”

“He could be a serial killer!”

“Relax, I can handle it,” he patted the pocket where the knife was.  “Come on!”

Without waiting for her, he shined the flashlight on the ground and found a dry patch.  Sue followed him as he slowly picked his way through the brush.

“John, we’re never going to get through this.”

“This is the first sign of life that we have seen.  They must see us because they’re signaling to us.  Come on.”

They pressed on as best they could.  Sue’s jeans got snagged on brambles that tore through to her skin, like the forest was reaching out fingers to snare her.  The further they went in, the more that she felt like they would never get out.

John grunted as his toe hit a root.  “Jeez, he keeps moving back with that light.  I guess he’s leading us to his house.”

“Who could possibly live out here?  There’s no road!”

“There’s probably a back road that connects to a highway.”

Slow as they were moving, they still made progress, but the light stayed ahead.  The brush continued to harass them, as though it was warning them back.  Sue couldn’t tell how far they had gone, or for how long.

“Hold on!” John shouted.  “We’re coming, stop, ow!  Stop moving away!”

He increased his speed, and so did the lantern.  Sue tried desperately to keep up.  His breath came in heavier drags.  Sue was falling behind him, but could still see his flashlight bouncing and the lantern bobbing.

“John, wait!”  She couldn’t tell if he ignored her or couldn’t hear her, but didn’t even break his stride.

Suddenly, Sue crashed into John.  He had stopped in a clearing and was looking around.  He whipped around and yelped, as though he hadn’t known she was following him.  His sudden jolt knocked her over, and he shined the flashlight into her face while she was on the ground.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?”

“You just stopped!  What happened?  Where are they?”

“I…don’t know.  I must have lost him when you bumped into me.  Why didn’t you look where you were going, stupid?”

“I can’t see anything!  You have the flashlight and you nearly left me behind.  I’m sorry,” she said in a hurt voice.

The light they had followed was gone.  The stars and a full moon made the clearing visible.  There was no sign that anyone had been there.  John shined his light on the ground.  No footprints.  The clearing turned into a meadow with clusters of trees.

Sue shivered.  “What do we do now?”

“We go back, what the hell else do we do?”

“John, we barely made it through there once, and we have no way to tell which way we came.”

He pointed back into the woods.  “We walked straight the whole way, it was only about ten minutes.  We walk back, get on the road and keep going.  Come on, before it really gets cold.”

Sue followed him into the brush.  She wondered why she accepted his proposal, then she remembered all the people cheering at the Kisscam.  You can’t say no in front of thousands of people.  She was positive that had been his plan all along.

Her ears perked at the sound of a soft voice nearby.  She tried to listen to it over the cracking of debris under their feet.  Sue couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like her mother.

The quiet is getting to me, she thought.  It’s just the wind.

“Never listened to me either.”

She spun around, that time the voice was clear.  Almost as if it was in her ear.

“Is someone there?” she said, her voice rasping out.

“He’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Her hands clamped over her ears.  The voice sounded like it was still beside her.

“You’d just throw it away, because you can’t shape up for him.  That’s how you’ve always been.  Stubborn.  Useless.”

“Stop it!” she cried.

“What the hell are you yelling about?”

She looked at John, who was standing with the flashlight pointed at her.  He sounded exasperated.

“You didn’t hear that?  That voice?”

“There’s no fucking voice, Sue, or I would ask it how to get out of this fucking swamp!  I wish that there was a voice, but the only voice out here is your pathetic whimpering!”

She tried to cover up the sob that slipped out of her mouth.

John’s tone softened, barely.  “Come on.  We’ll make it back.”  He walked off without offering her a hand.

John went ahead, grumbling to himself.  “Oughta just leave her here.  Stupid bitch is useless.”

“You were the idiot driving.”

He spun around and pointed the flashlight at Sue.  “What the hell did you say?”

She looked at him wide-eyed.  “What?  Nothing.”

“That’s just cute.  Get cheeky, since you can’t be any fucking help.”

“John, I didn’t say anything!  What did you hear?”

She looked genuinely shocked at his reaction, which did nothing to make him feel better.  “Nothing, just shut up and come on.”

They continued, and Sue found the idea of being on a man-made path comforting.  Her heart lightened, and she moved faster, keeping up with John.

They were deposited into a clearing.  John’s curse echoed off the trees as Sue looked around.

“This is the same clearing that we were in a moment ago!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, it can’t be.”

“It is, look!”

His eyes followed where she pointed.  Already, in the mud, were their tracks from when they had arrived before.

“This isn’t happening.  We went back!”

Sue could see his eyes in the moonlight, and his look frightened her.  He was repeating, “we went back,” softly to himself.  She was afraid to say anything, just watched him as he looked around.  Suddenly, she realized that night air had gone eerily silent the moment they left the road.

“John, the crickets are gone.”

“Oh, big fucking deal!” he shouted, rounding on her.  “We’re, lost in fucking nowhere, and you’re worried about fucking bugs!  God damn, you are stupid, woman.”

That was the last straw.  “Fuck you.”

His expression turned dark.  “What did you just say?”

“You heard me, you bastard.  You always want to cut me down!  When we get home, you can choke on your ring.  I’m not marrying some pathetic-”

Something broke in John, too.  “Pathetic?” he said through gritted teeth.  “Pathetic?  I’ve been there for you when you were down more times than I can even count.  You think I cut you down?  I raised you up, you fucking cow!”

“You really are a pathetic, little man.  You can have your ring right now!” she screamed at him as she stripped it off her finger and threw it at him.

The ring bounced off his chest and he caught it

“Fine, let’s see how well you do without me.  Good luck not getting raped and murdered out here, you dumb bitch.”  John pocketed the ring and strode off.

“You can’t just leave me out here!  You have the only flashlight!”

“You should have thought of that before you went after my nuts.”

“Come on, we’ll walk back to the road.”  

Lights popped into her vision when he backhanded her.

“Don’t follow me, you little whore.  If I see you, I’ll kill you.”

Sue stood dumbfounded as the sting in her cheek subsided.  He had never hit her before.  It was like he was some other person, some monster, that she had never known until now.  A monster with the only flashlight.

 

John felt a small amount of satisfaction from leaving Sue whining in the dark.  Her biggest mistake was not appreciating him.  Well, she’d appreciate him now.

She was as good as dead out here, and good riddance.  He would get home, play the bereaved fiancé, then he would be free to find someone else, and give her the ring instead, someone who appreciated what a solid man he was.

The ring!

Shit, if they found her dead and he had the ring, it would look like he killed her.  He couldn’t leave her behind.  He had to find her and make up long enough to get them out of the swamp.  Grimacing and frustrated, he set off to find her before she did something stupid.

 

Sue wiped the tears from her eyes.  She had never felt so alone before.  Abandoned and afraid, she fought the despair that threatened to paralyze her.

“Oh, hell,” she sighed.  “I’m scared.”

“You should be.”

She jumped and nearly fell down again.  A woman stood in front of her.

“Mom!” she cried out.  “Oh, thank god!  How did you get here?  Please, you have to help me get out of here.  John’s gone crazy.”  She ran to embrace her mother.

The second slap made her spin.  “You ingrate!  For years I’ve watched you screw up, and now you’re going to die, all because you didn’t listen to someone who knew better than you!”

Sue looked up, but her mother was gone.  Her mind must be playing tricks on her.  But her cheek still throbbed.

  She had to find a way out.  If only she could stop her knees from shaking and take that first step.

 

John hoped Sue was where he had left her.  Dumb bitch would probably try to find her way out of the damn swamp by herself.  

“Where are you going, John?”

He turned around at Sue’s voice.  “What the hell are you doing there?  I was just looking for you.”

“And I had to find you, because you can’t handle anything by yourself.  Can you even wonder why I wouldn’t want to marry a little boy like you?”

He stopped, stunned by her words.

“We can talk about your attitude when we get to the road.  Come on, let’s go.”

She laughed.  “I’ll find my own way.  I’m leaving you out here.  You’re the one who’s lost.  Like you’ve always been.”

He blinked.  And she was gone.

How dare she talk to him that way?

“I’ll find you, you bitch.”

 

“I’m never going to find my way out of here,” she thought.

The woods had not looked so intimidating before.  Maybe it was the company of another human being, even John, that had made it less frightening.  Now, lost and alone, Sue felt despair creeping up in her.  The brambles tore at her, but she didn’t even notice anymore.  She was focused on finding the road, but she felt like she was just walking in circles through the trees.

“Don’t panic, Sue.  Don’t panic.  The worst that will happen is that you find the road in the morning, and then get picked up by some random driver…who hopefully isn’t a psychopath.  Oh God, I’m going to die out here.”

Suddenly, she heard a laugh, a high-pitched, chattering laugh.  Dismissing it as her imagination, she moved on, but she heard it again, closer this time.

“John?  Is that you?” she called at the trees, but all that answered was the laughter.  

“That’s not funny.  Who’s there?”

She felt something brush at her skin, and she gasped and turned towards it.  She felt it again at her back, and spun.  It brushed her again, this time, it felt like a hand on her shoulder, and she cried out.  It was as though the darkness was alive and mocking her.

“Stop it!  Stop it!” she sank to the forest floor.  The whispers became clearer.

“All alone,” the darkness said.

She put her hands over her ears, but that only made the laughter louder.

“You’re here forever.”

She sobbed as the words penetrated her thoughts.

“Here with us!”

“Shut up!” she cried.

She closed her eyes as tight as she could and screamed to drown out the voices.  When her lungs were empty, she fell to the ground and cried into the leaves.  She heard one last, tiny whisper.

“No escape!”  It trailed off with a giggle.

 

“Shit,” John said as he turned towards the scream.

He hoped she was just overreacting, like she always did, but he tried harder to find her.

“Sue!” he shouted.  “Sue, where are you?”

“Here!” he heard her from his right.  He turned to run towards the voice.  

“No, here!”

He spun around as her voice came from his back now, a malicious giggle at the end.

“Here I am, lover!”

He turned around again, but he couldn’t see her.  “Dammit, this isn’t funny!  Where are you?”

His whole body tingled as he felt breath in his ear, “Right here, baby!”

John threw his arm around in a hook, but his fist connected with the air.  His ear still tingled.  He tried to get his breath to slow down, but it was impossible.

“Calm down, John.  You’re in control.  She’s fucking with you, is all.  Just fucking with you, but you won’t let her.”  Determination solidified on his face.  “You’re in control, and you will show everyone. You’re the man, John.  You’re the fucking man.”

As he started to move again, his thoughts were interrupted by her voice.  “You going my way, cutie?” Sue stood right next to him, a mirthful smirk on her face.

He gave a start and looked at her.  He remembered that he needed to leave here with her thinking that everything was forgiven, so he managed a smile.  “Oh, baby, there you are!  I heard you scream.  Are you alright?”

“I’m better than ever!” she said, her voice sultry.  She walked towards him, her hips swaying seductively.

“What, um, what makes you say that?” he said, puzzled.

“Oh sweetie,” she purred, one hand coming to his cheek.  “I found someone out here.”  He stared at her, all response completely lost to him.

“What the hell are you talking about?” he said.

“I let the dark in.  It’s alive out here.”

“Sue, you’ve gone nuts.”

“No, baby,” her finger touched his lips and stroked them softly.  He quivered with desire, which warred with confusion and rage.  “You feel it, too.  The dark led us out here.  It’s lonely, baby, just like me.”  Her finger trailed down his torso, to his belt and below.  His eyes bulged and he gasped.

“What are you doing?” he said, warily.  She was never the type to be flirtatious or seductive.  Was she capable of this kind of trick?

All women are, he thought.

“I’m trying to help you, John.  We don’t have to be lost out here.  The dark can take care of us.”

The smile playing on her lips pissed him off more than the words.  “You’re not making any sense.  Stop trying to fuck with me and let’s get out of here.”

“We can’t, lover.  It won’t let us.”

“You think you’re going to keep me here?”

“Not me, lover.  The dark.”

“Stop saying that!” he shouted, rage grabbing him by the heart.  He lashed out with the flashlight and struck her in the temple.  Her head whipped back, and she toppled to the ground.

Lying in the brush, she still managed that infuriating smile.  “Is that it, lover?  I could barely feel it.”  Her tongue flicked the trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth.  “As usual.”

She began laughing.  Laughing at him.

The rage boiled.  His heart pounded in his chest like it wanted to get out.  His teeth ground together hard enough to crush bone.  “Shut the fuck up!”

She just looked at him and laughed.  He could feel her laugh all around him, running into his ears and down to his soul, tearing it like razors until the holes in him were filled with something else.

Something dark.

With a roar, he threw the flashlight aside and leapt on her.  His right fist came down on her face and he heard her jaw crack.  Still she laughed.  His left drilled into her eye socket, skin splitting, and slinging blood from her lips as her head whipped around.  Still she laughed.  He struck, again and again, her skin bruising and bleeding, her bones cracking.  Her hair whipped back and forth as her head slung around with each blow that crushed her face into something between meat and human.

And still, she laughed.

His thoughts didn’t collect into words.  The rage was its own language.  He couldn’t feel his knuckles as they cracked against her skull.  He felt her bones come apart.  The opening in her head oozed blood and gore, and still he struck.

And still she laughed.

“J-John?”

He heard the timid voice behind him, and whipped around.

 

Sue didn’t know what to think.

She heard the screams and grunts, and went to see if John was in trouble.  She was not expecting to see him hunched over a rotten log, beating it with his fists.

“John?”

He whipped around and looked at her with sheer madness in his eyes.  Spit frothed around his mouth, his knuckles were wet and dark.

“A-are you okay?  I heard you shouting and-”

He looked back at the log and looked back at her, confusion etched in his face.  He got up awkwardly and stumbled over to her, his hands reaching out to her.  She stepped back.

“Dead.  Why not…dead?  Kill you again…laugh at me, you bitch!  In fucking control…”

She turned and ran.  John had gone insane.  An odd thought popped into her head, unbidden.  Despite rejecting his proposal, she might spend the rest of her life with him anyway.  The idea nearly made the insane laughter in her mind boil out of her mouth.

 

John caught himself on a tree and stood up.  Why wouldn’t his head clear?  Thoughts felt like they were moving through tar.

He’d killed her.  Then she was standing there.  She laughed at him.  No one laughs at him.

“The dark.”

With those two syllables, it became clear.  He could kill her again.  The dark could give him all the Sues he could kill, forever.  This time, he could do it differently.

He pulled the knife from his pocket and opened it, the blade slipping in his blood-slick, trembling fingers.  He tested the edge against his thumb, and felt it slip into his flesh.  A dark bead pooled on his thumb. He stared into it.  He could feel himself sliding, falling into the dark as it filled him with a freedom he had never before experienced.  A freedom from hope, a freedom from consequence.  A freedom from humanity.

Fits of laughter shook his body.  The more that the darkness filled him, the more he laughed.  And with his knife out, he ran to find his love, his victim, and begin his new found life in a Heaven of ripping her flesh forever.

 

Sue slowed to a stop.  Fear and exertion had nearly drained her completely.  Somehow, she had to get away from the thing that John had become.  

The look in his eyes was totally animal, not a shred of human mercy at all.  She couldn’t run away from him while finding the road.  She was going to die here.

The realization did not horrify her as much as she thought it might.  She had been driven to the brink.  She had been brought all the way to zero.  Hunted, lost and desperate, she had nowhere to go but forward.

She heard him shouting her name as though he were calling a pet.

“Sue!  Here, baby!”

She moved away from his voice and took off her jacket, then threw it over a stump.  She picked up a branch and doubled back to a clump of bushes.  The anticipation of turning the hunt on the hunter thrilled her.  She could hear her heart pumping with the adrenaline coursing through her body.

Before long, he came into view, whistling.  Moonlight glinted off the blade of the knife he held.

“Come on, Sue.  Here, kitty, kitty!  Let’s get crazy and see where the night takes us!  You and me, what do you say?”

She saw him through the bush, his face obscured.  He movd towards the jacket, taking the bait.  With a shout of fury, she launched at him and swung for his head.  He turned, but not quickly enough.  The branch caught the side of his temple and he went sprawling.  The ground knocked the wind out of him, stars dancing in his eyes.  Still shouting, Sue brought the club down on him again, and he raised an arm to block it.  He cried out as it connected with his forearm, the crack announcing a fracture in the bone.  Her next swing caught him on the cheek.  He spat blood.

She came in for another swing, this time at his head, but he rolled away.  She toppled forward as he slashed her leg.

Sue fell to the ground with an agonized scream.  She crawled away from John, who was staggering to his feet, knife in hand.  He made a move towards her, but lurched to the right.

The pain of her injury was hard to ignore, but Sue made herself stand.  John had caught himself on a tree, and Sue launched at him and swung wildly, connecting with his shoulder.  As he fell, the knife came up and slashed under her arm.

It wasn’t deep, but her artery was cut.  She was losing blood fast.

John came at her again, but she side-stepped on her good leg, and struck again.  He crumpled to the ground.  With a wordless cry, she delivered a blow to his ribs.  Her vision became fuzzy.  She was bleeding out.  Tearing off her shirt, she bundled it up under her arm.  Clamping down helped staunch the flow, but she didn’t know how long it would take John to recover and attack again.  Her vision cleared, and the club slipped out of her hand as she limped away.

Her steps became shorter as the pain increased.  Each bounce made a little blood from her arm squirt out into the shirt.  Finally, she couldn’t run any more, and sank to her knees.

Half-conscious, she felt her senses slipping.  It was only a matter of time before she’d pass out.  She only hoped that she died of blood loss before John regained his senses and found her.

“He’s going to find me,” her voice came in a croak.  “He’s going to kill me.”

“No, Honey.  He won’t,” a man’s voice said soothingly.

She looked up and saw the moon was brighter than it had been all night.  His silhouette stood over her, and though she couldn’t see his face, she recognized the voice and the comfort of his presence.  But that was impossible.

“Uncle Pete?” she felt his strong fingers grip hers. “You…you died.”

“Everyone dies, but not everyone stays strong.  You held onto yourself.  I’m proud of you.  Come with us, Honey.  Come to the dark.  We have such wonderful things to show you.”

She couldn’t think anymore.  The hand that held hers was so warm and strong, she felt that it would never let her go.  It wasn’t the man who had comforted her as a child.  It was something else, something that could comfort her forever.  And she would be one with it.  One with the dark.

Her last breath came in a whisper that sounded very much like “yes.”

 

Carly drove the car down the foggy highway, faster than she should.  Beside her, John slept in his seat.  It had been a rough two years for him.

He was found dehydrated and raving in the woods and brought to the hospital.  When he recovered enough to tell what happened to himself and his fiance, he couldn’t remember anything.  Where she had gone, or how he had received his injuries, why he had her ring. After they searched the area, they found no trace of her body.  That was all that Carly knew, he wouldn’t talk about it.

He was haunted by nightmares that made him whimper.  He was so terrified of the dark, he slept with a nightlight.  Thankfully, his soul was finally on the way to recovery.

Carly had been a volunteer at the hospital through her church.  They hit it off.  When she stopped volunteering, she still came to visit him.  One thing led to another, and they began dating.

Now she was on the way to meet her future in-laws.

John stirred as they rounded a curve and grumbled.  He rubbed his eye and sat up in his seat. “Where are we?”

“The GPS found a shortcut, I thought I would take it.  We should be there soon after we get through this swamp.”

“Shortcut?” the word was barely out of his mouth when his face went pale.  “Oh God, no!  No!”

He began screaming hysterically and grabbing for the wheel.  Carly’s eyes went wide with fear as she fought to control the car.  When she looked back up, she screamed as well.

A woman in tattered, stained clothes was standing in the middle of the road, her tangled and matted hair over her face.  John’s fit became more intense as they came closer to hitting her.  Carly yanked the wheel to the left, and the car spun off the road and hit a tree.

Carly’s head impacted the steering wheel, and she lay there.  John’s vision swam, but he stayed awake.  He shrieked as he fumbled to get free.  Spilling out of the door, he scrambled to get up.  He ran down the road crying and shouting, “Please!  Oh God, please, someone help me!”

“Here, kitty, kitty!”

He turned towards the voice that he never expected to hear again, and fell back as he screamed. Crawling away on the road, he looked at the figure of Sue.  Her hair was snarled in swamp debris and her skin was lacerated from brambles.  Blood trickled down one arm, where he had stabbed her two years ago.

“No!” he screamed.  “No, it can’t be!  You’re dead!  You’re dead!  You’re dead!”

Her cracked lips parted in a smile that held all the cruelty in the world.  Her eyes menaced him.

“Everyone dies, John,” she said as she advanced, her hoarse voice clawing at his mind.  He scrambled back, gibbering.  “You only need to be afraid if you think you’ve done something bad.  Have you, John?”

Her fingertips touched his cheek.  He shrieked and curled into a ball.  “Shh, it’s okay.  It’s only Hell.  Come with me, Honey,” she extended her hand.  “I have such wonderful things to show you.”

Readlikeshareeyes

patreonBecome a patron

facebookJoin the Fan Club!

twitterFollow Mr. Deadman

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.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Interview with L K Scott

necromeme

necromeme2

Wait, hold on! Did I just see a necrophilia joke AND a rape joke!?!? That’s it. Someone get PC principle on the line. We got ourselves a major case of micro aggression in this post.

If you find yourself triggered, then don’t listen to this interview, because the conversation gets dirty and dark, but with a comedic perspective. Mr. Deadman meets with horror author L K Scott to talk about Snoflower, the inspiration behind the story, evil Canadians, necrophilia, and much more.
https://www.spreaker.com/embed/player/standard?episode_id=8849179&autoplay=false

Posted on 7 Comments

Touch Me, I’m Sick by Mark Slade

 

It was never about love for Mike and Carrie. It was always about sex.

Where ever they found themselves, the attraction was so strong that they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. Dropping their kids off to school, Carrie would climb into Mike’s Classic ’66 Dart and they would pull around the school—behind the chain link fence where the baseball diamond was empty and have their way with each other. On a weekend picnic at the park with Wade and Denny, Carrie would see Mike with Jen and Francine. They would chat a few minutes, then off with their respective spouses and children to eat their lunches. Carrie would excuse herself as Mike did. They would search each other out, go into a Porta potty on the opposite of the park where their families were and go at each other like horny rabid animals.

The funny thing is, up until a week ago, they were complete strangers.

Only Wade and Jen knew each other from work, and had brought, actually, dragged Mike and Carrie to an office party. Wade and Jen were in advertising. They worked closely on an ad program for the Church of Latter-Day Saints that has become something of a pop-culture phenomenon. A child that is bullied at school, bullied at home, grows into an adult, comes back home to help the bully who is now homeless and bring his father home to live with his family.  Not the message, nor the way the commercial was shot, was not the reason the ad was such a big hit. It was the great CGI effects used to morph the child into an adult as he offered his hand to the bully sitting on the sidewalk. For some reason, the campaign had gotten into the American public’s consciousness, sparked debate on social media, for good or bad.  The agency was so proud of Wade and Jen, they threw a party to honor them. Wade was a banker. He found advertising more boring than banking. Carrie felt the same way. Her interest in real estate was waning to the point she was thinking of going back to teaching high school.

“Hey,” Jen said to her husband. “I’d like you to meet Wade’s wife, Carrie.”

“Oh,” Mike changed hands with his drink. “Hi. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you,” Carrie flashed her big brown eyes at him in her usual shy, little girl way. Mike exuded all the arrogant charm of a jock.

Mike smiled, shook Carrie’s hand.

Carrie looked at Mike, Mike looked at Carrie, eyes wild, body full of electricity.  Both of them had this unholy urge and desire to strip each other’s clothes off and screw each other silly, right in front of everyone. It was all both of them thought of the whole evening. For most of the evening they stayed away from each other. Sometimes trading meaningful glances, or nervously brushing past each other as one of them worked the room.

Finally, neither one could take it anymore. Carrie sat her drink down, made sure her purse was on her shoulder and headed out the door for some fresh air. She stood in the parking lot, partly hoping Mike wouldn’t follow, but mostly needing him to. She heard footsteps on the gravel behind her and there he was, hands in his pocket, glaring at her. Carrie trotted to him, grabbed him by the arm and off into the bushes they went. Her dress went up, his zipper went down. Her pantyhose rolled down, his penis came out, driving hard inside her. She pushed her face into the bushes, gripped the tiny limbs in her hands and took it.

Intense as it was, satisfying somewhat, both were disappointed it ended in a few minutes.

Carrie rolled up her pantyhose, fixed her dress. Mike placed his penis back into his trousers and zipped up. Without words, they beheld each other guiltily.  Mike sighed, nodded, and walked away. Carrie waited until Mike was out of sight before she started back.  She retrieved her phone out of her purse and pretended to speak with the babysitter.

“No, Tina,” Carrie gave out a fake laugh as she came upon Wade. “Denny cannot have the rest of that Chocolate pie. Yes, tell him I said that! Goodbye!”

Wade had a strange look on his face. Carrie stopped smiling until Jen strode over like she was on a cat walk and handed Carrie another drink.

“Uggg! Kids!” Their glasses touched in a toast. “But we need them to validate our existence in this world.”

Carrie giggle, took a sip of her wine. ‘Ain’t that a fact!” Carrie stepped backwards and bumped into Charlie Dixon, one of the other Ad people. Carrie nearly fell over backwards, spilling her wine on the office carpet.

“I’m sorry,” Charlie said as he caught Carrie.

“Oh!” Carrie giggled.

“Are you alright?” He asked, showing a bit of concern, but was mostly annoyed.

“Yes,” Carrie said, steadied herself on Charlie’s arm. “I guess I’m tipsier than I thought.”

Charlie smiled, nodded, and headed for the bathroom.

“Hey,” Wade approached her. “Who is Tina? Your Aunt Delia is taking care of Denny tonight.”

Carrie gave Wade a cold gaze. “It was a joke, alright? Just relax. I won’t embarrass you anymore.” She said and rolled her eyes.

****

When Carrie finished her shower, she noticed a bruise on her midsection. She ran her fingers across it. It didn’t feel like a bruise. It didn’t even hurt. It almost looked like a tattoo.

“That’s weird,” Carrie said examining the mark in the mirror. “Maybe I did it in my sleep…..scratching….hmmm….I don’t know….I wasn’t wearing anything tight past few days…..”

“Honey?” Wade called out before entering the bathroom.

“Yes?” carried called back.

“I got an odd phone call from Jen,” He looked distressed, in a daze, almost walked into the bathroom cabinet.

Carrie finished drying off and pulled Wade to her, wrapped her arms around him. She kissed his ear. “Oh, honey, what’s wrong?”

“Remember Charlie Dixon? You met him at last night’s party?”

“Yeah?”

“He died,” Wade’s voice broke slightly. “In his sleep. He was only thirty five.”

“What caused his death?” Carrie led Wade to the bedroom, sat him on a footstool in front of the bed.

“Apparently….a heart attack. He was…only thirty five.” Wade looked confused.

‘Maybe he just didn’t take good care of himself.” Carrie rubbed Wade’s shoulders.

Wade scoffed. “No,” he raised his eyebrows at her. “Charlie was a health nut.”

****

They finished inside the porta potty, again, having almost nothing to say.

Mike shrugged, gave Carrie an embarrassed smile.

Carrie sighed. “This is crazy,” she said, fixed her bra and shirt.

“Yeah,” Mike nodded. “I don’t even know you.” He laughed nervously.

“We can’t keep doing this,” Carrie closed her eyes, reopened them, trying to compose herself.

“I’ve never done this before,” Mike said.

“Well, I’m not a cheater, either!” Carrie said, her nostrils flared.

“Whoa lady….. I didn’t say you were….”

“Is….is it….just me? Or….is this….something hard to control? I mean….I don’t even have to see you…ever since the party a few days ago…..”

“No,” Mike fastened the button on his shorts. “I’ve….been driving down your street, hoping wade wasn’t home.”

“He wasn’t home yesterday.” Carrie breathed uneasily, fixed her honey-blonde hair back into a ponytail.”

“You should’ve came inside.” Carrie touched Mike’s chest.

“Yeah,” he sighed, flinched slightly at her touch.

They heard footsteps outside the porta potty. Carrie withdrew her hand quickly. Mike placed a finger on his lips, Carrie held her breath the best she could.

A man in light brown khaki shorts and a shirt appeared at the porta potty door. Mike rushed out, closed the door quickly. The park worker stood with his hands on his hips, cutting his eyes at Mike. Beads of sweat rolled down the man’s unkempt beard.

“Hi,” mike said.

“Sir? Was there another person in there with you?” The park worker said with all the authority given to him by NATO.

Mike laughed nervously. “No. Of course not.”

“Well I’ll just have a look myself…….”

“Look,” Mike touched the man on his elbow, and he instinctively pulled away. “Okay,” Mike whispered. “Hey….yeah…I have someone in there. I made a mistake…”

“You bet you did!” The park worker growled.

“I’ve got fifty bucks here that says you didn’t see anything,” Mike took the bill out of his wallet and offered it to the man. The park worker eyed the money and Mike, not sure what to do. “C’mon, man,” Mike cleared his throat. “This is a better situation for all involved. I’m sure you’re the only one that has seen anything. Just give us ten minutes and we’ll disappear. As a matter of fact….it looks like rain….we’ll both leave immediately.”

The park work took the fifty dollar bill, rolled it up and dispatched it into his front pocket. “Ten minutes,” he pushed a finger in Mike’s face and walked toward the edge of the lake.

“Ten minutes,” Mike echoed the park worker and watched him disappear around a cluster of trees. Mike opened the door to the porta potty and shooed Carrie out.

“Thank you for not getting me involved.” Carrie kissed Mike.

He tried to dodge the kiss, which was more a brush on the lips. “Yeah, well. We better get back to our families. I’m sure they’re wondering about us.”

By the time Carrie and Mike reached the picnic area, there was a crowd gathered at the edge of the lake. Carrie went to the left to Wade’s side and Mike went to the right, fought to separate the middle of the crowd, where Jen was front and center. Jen glanced over her shoulder and saw Mike. She ran to him.

“Oh geez, honey. I was getting worried.” She said, her hand cupping her mouth.

“I know, I went to find a bathroom and got lost,” Mike said.

“You wouldn’t believe what has happened.”

“Why? What happened, Jen?”

“This,” Jen led Mike to the edge of the lake.

The park worker that Mike had just bribed was floating, face down, his body motionless.


Read more of the story in HORRGASM

6x9_front_coverhorrcensoredRead More

 

Posted on 4 Comments

Pandora by Helen Mihajlovic

Pandora by Helen Mihajlovic

 

The ethereal song of the blackbird infuses an azure sky as Hephaestus plunges his hand into a tepid lake. He digs his fingers deeply into the wet soil removing handfuls of clay, pondering his undertaking: to create the first woman.

He warms the clay in his hands, making it easy to mould. He shapes her

curvaceous breasts, sculpts her hips and lengthy red tousled hair to hang on her slender shoulders. With the carving of her two delicate hands she is complete. He looks at her fair skin and her brows arched over almond shaped eyes. “Pandora,” he exclaims, in awe of his creation. Hephaestus rummages through his filthy bag and removes a box. “You are to take this box with you. It is a gift,” he says, handing it to her.

She holds onto the brownish-red box.  

“But you must not open it,” he warns.

Her brows rise. “Why?” she asks.

“You are only to open it when I give you permission,” he says sternly.

“What is inside?” Her voice rises with curiosity.

He hesitates. “Something very precious and with great power.”

Pandora’s grip on the box tightens.

***

The box weighs on Pandora’s hands as she climbs the steep steps of a palace

built on a hill. She looks at its wooden columns and walks under its tympanum adorned with a sculpture of a titan bearing fire. It is as Hephaestus had described it to her; she marvels at the grand pebbled mosaic floors and the fresco of the twelve Olympians that embellishes the walls.

“This will be my new home.” She smiles at the splendor that awaits her.

As a gust of wind batters her bare flesh, a door opens from the far end of the palace. A man with a peculiar round head and bulging eyes strides towards her. His nose is akin to a pig’s snout and the skin on his neck is shriveled like a turkey’s wattle.

“Pandora.” Epimetheus salivates as his sordid stare explores her naked body. “I am to be your husband.”  

Pandora gasps.

***

The vivid light of noon gradually diminishes to the deep red glow of a setting sun as Pandora spends the day gazing at the box. Her fingers quiver as she touches its rim. She slightly lifts the lid and lowers her head to peer into the box.

“Madam Pandora,” a slave boy calls from the hall. Pandora’s limbs start, the lid slips from her fingertips and the box shuts with a thud before she can peer inside. She lifts her head as the slave boy enters.  

“Your betrothed would like you to join him at the market,” he says, glancing at the box.

She places the box in the center of the table. She leaves, blushing at the slave boy’s lecherous gaze.  

***

Pandora finds herself immersed in pleasure at the sights of colorful tunics, golden necklaces, sparkling gems and pendants inlaid with pearls in the open-air market. Sweet scents of rich oils, rose, myrtle and cinnamon perfume the air. 

A fair-haired young man with curls framing his long neck approaches Pandora and Epimetheus. He holds a basket filled with fruit.

“Madam, would you like a piece of fruit?” he stares at her elegant frame. Pandora looks into the basket full of figs, grapes and olives. “I will have a fig,” she says.

Smiling warmly, he gives her a fig, then turns to Epimetheus and offers him the fruit. Epimetheus shakes his head, giving him a drachma for the fig. Pandora feasts on the young man’s bright eyes as he gives a slight bow before leaving.  

While the sweetness of the fig fills Pandora’s mouth, a tall man with taut cheeks, a broad chin and swarthy skin approaches.

“Chitons!” the man yells, carrying various linen clothing over his brawny shoulder.As Pandora catches sight of his glance, she smiles.   

“Chitons and cloaks!” He weaves his way through the crowd.   

She looks at her betrothed with his strangely protruding forehead and dribbling mouth; an odd inflammation deforms his ears.

Is this to be my husband? He is old enough to be my father!  Pandora thinks to herself in disgust. He will be in the way of my happiness. He will interfere with me finding a man I love.

She falls into a reverie, imagining herself watching her betrothed peacefully sleeping in his bedchamber; his sagging eyelids closed, the rise of his plump cheeks with each horrid puff from his mouth. As she walks closer her brows knit with a scowl; she would go mad living another day near him! She sees his unusually large fingers laid on the bed sheets. Her stomach churns at the thought of his heavily veined hands caressing her body on their wedding night.  Her blood pulses with an unruly anger as she draws closer to him. Oleander flowers sit in a rich red vase on the bedside table; she impetuously seizes the vase and strikes him on the head. He shrieks. With a tempestuous upward surge of her arm she strikes him again with full force. His body convulses. She clouts him once more. Pandora breathes in deeply and steps back. She looks at the walls, floor and bed; a crimson liquid stains all in front of her. Madness. A blend of blood and perspiration drips from a lock of her hair. She shuts her eyes, holds her aching head. The air reeks with the sour scent of the Oleander plant and her senses are besieged by this orgy of blood. As Epimetheus gasps for a final breath, his lungs heave. He is still and his eyes hold a cloudy, empty cataleptic stare.

Pandora rouses from her reverie at the sound of a goat’s bleat. Her breath deepens, impious thoughts stir in her mind and the reverie of the death of her betrothed awakens a delight within her.

She turns to the noise of people hastily rushing on the dirt road and she stands fixated looking at them; it is odd that no one is like her. She wonders why all the men stare at her.

“Where are the women in this town?” she asks.

“You are the first woman created by the God Hephaestus,” Epimetheus replies.

“Other than you Pandora, he has only created men.”

Pandora’s mouth gapes with disbelief. “Are there any women elsewhere?”

“No.”

Pandora feels light headed. All darkens. She collapses.

***  

Pandora wakes with a start to a loud pounding sound; she discovers herself lying in her bed, on her side, near the window aglow with the sun’s light. One grim thought spawns another as Pandora lowers her thick lashes.  She is floating through a life she does not like. Her limbs hold little desire to move. She yearns to sleep and shut the world out. When she wakes may she be happy, may she be in a different life, a perfect life.  

Her grim thoughts cease as a finger crawls from behind her to find her naked nipple. She jolts. It must be my vile betrothed, she thinks. Perhaps he does not have the chivalry to restrain his desires until our wedding night.  

She hastily removes his hand from her breast. Feeling soft boyish skin, she quickly looks over her shoulder into the handsome black eyes of the slave boy, naked and lying next to her.

“What are you doing here?” she asks, her eyes widening.

“I was instructed to wait here until you were awake,” he says. “I crept into your bed when your betrothed left the palace.”

She twists her body to his while hearing a rhythmic pounding.  

“Do you hear that noise?”

He shakes his head. “No, I hear nothing.” He strokes her neck.

“It grows louder.” She turns her head towards the door, imagining the pounding sound to be the opening and closing of the box’s lid.  

“Pandora, only silence fills this chamber,” says the slave boy.

Her heart races; thoughts of the box plague her. She envisages herself opening the box; two glaring eyes look onto her from within and a slithering sound pervades the air. She awakens from her fancy when the slave boy removes the bed sheet that cloaks their naked bodies. A crimson blush flares on Pandora’s cheeks. The slave boy’s hand creeps again to her breast.

All she can think of is the box. She imagines a woman with thick dark hair and glaring blue eyes emerging from the box, waxen skin and large naked breasts. She holds the decapitated head of a strange man on her arm, his mouth wide open showing pointy edged teeth, his eyes holding a mad stare.

The slave boy rouses Pandora from her daydream. He stands naked near the bed and he parts her legs, pulling them towards him. He lifts her and her legs entwine around his torso.

Depraved thoughts of the box flood Pandora’s mind and heighten her arousal: She imagines a fair skinned woman with a large blue serpent wrapped around her body rising from the box. The serpent’s yellow eyes stare at her, revealing its sharp fangs with an angry hiss.

Filled with perverse desire, Pandora’s kiss roughens, her grip on the slave boy’s back grows forceful. Pandora imagines two men with grey complexions creeping out of the box, they bow their heads in shame for all the immorality the box holds. Pandora’s blood quickens as the slave boy’s loins move inside her. She thinks of a destructive fire blazing from the box. She is certain there is some dark, unholy power locked away in that clay box that will fill the world with evil. Her body violently thrusts against the slave boy’s loins. He satiates her desires and she heaves a sigh of pleasure.

***

 An odd sense of fear comes over Pandora as she watches the angelic sleeping face of the slave boy. She sits upright, turning her head in the direction of the constant pounding sound. Heart racing, she stands and follows the sound.

The soles of Pandora’s bare feet grow cold as she walks across the burnished marble floor. Her eyes narrow as she sees the box is no longer on the table where she had placed it; instead it waits for her in the center of the hall, its pounding causing her head to throb, her forehead to crease. She draws closer as she becomes aware of the box’s changed appearance; on one side the clay has disintegrated. The box begins to violently shake. Her breath quickens as she steps back. She grasps the torch from the wall and her hand trembles as she approaches the box. Her brow becomes drenched with perspiration as the warmth of the torch’s flame embraces her naked skin. Her entire body shakes as she holds the flame near the box’s rim, pondering its destruction. She becomes light headed, she screams, howls, confused, frenzied. Staring imploringly at the box, she falls to her knees and sobs.

***

Pandora’s gaze numb, she slumps in the chair, her chin clasped in her hand. I am trapped in my own life; I do not know how to escape, she thinks to herself. A betrothed whom I do not love and nothing of value to keep me to this world. She thinks of Epimetheus, his expressionless face and vacant stare, as if there were not a thought that stirs in his head.

Pandora’s eyes turn to the bookshelf. At the edge sits a garnet book. Thinking

it unusual in size, she grabs it from the bookshelf. Her eyes explore its cover, searching for its title; there is none, only an embossed plant with fringed petals in the centre of the cover. Leafing through the pages, she glimpses several highlighted entries: Hemlock, Rosary, Pea and Oleander. She reads out loud: “Each part of the Oleander plant is poisonous.” She purses her lips.

***

Pandora frowns at Epimetheus as he slurps his soup. She looks at the slave boy standing at the corner behind him; the slave boy reciprocates with a covetous stare.“Where is your exquisite box?” her betrothed asks, looking at the table where she had previously placed it.

“I have placed it somewhere safe,” she says. “It is far too precious to leave here where anyone could take it.”

Epimetheus nods. “Hephaestus gave all of us a box similar to yours.” He fills his spoon and returns to his slurping.

Pandora looks puzzled. “I am not sure what you mean.”

“When Hephaestus creates a person, he gives them a box.”

“Did you get a box?” She leans her head forward.  

“Yes.”

“What is in the box?” her heart quickens.  

He coughs. “This soup has upset my stomach,” he says wiping his brow.

“Did you open the box?” Her voice grows louder.

He screws up his nose at the soup. “I do not feel well.”

Pandora examines his sickly green complexion.

“Yes I opened the box,” he sighs. His eyelids half closed, his neck bends forward and he vomits on the table. Pandora turns her head in disgust; her hand covers her nose. The slave boy rushes to him.

“I need to rest. Take me to my bedchamber.” Epimetheus’ voice falters as he rests his arm on the slave boy’s shoulders.

“Pandora, the garden has many medicinal plants. Please find one to help with this sickness.”  Pandora nods. The slave boy leads Epimetheus to the chamber.

***

The sweet aroma of lilac enchants Pandora as she wanders through the blooming garden. The chirrup of the birds weaves through the air between a medley of crimson, violet and gold flowers. She catches sight of the notorious plant and halts to stare at its roseate petals.

How pretty and innocent the flower looks and no different to the others, she thinks. Her slight hand reaches to pick it. Placing her aquiline nose near the petals she breathes deep into her lungs the heavy scent of the Oleander. She twirls the flower by its stem between her fingers and thoughts of the Oleander’s poison crawl back to her mind.

***

Pandora carries a tray into the chamber where her betrothed lies on a mahogany bed. The cups clink as she places the tray at his bedside table and darts him a look of disdain.  

“Pandora, my dearest, you have brought me a warm drink to soothe my stomach.”

A wicked smile crosses her lips. She watches as he shuts his weary eyes. “Do not forget to drink it before you sleep, I picked the medicinal flower myself.”

His eyes strain to open. “Of course.”

“Pandora,” a voice calls from the hallway. She raises her head to the direction of the voice, then quickly looks back to Epimetheus, already snoring loudly. She rushes out of the chamber. Pandora follows the voice down a long hallway. Her breath deepens as she reaches the room from which the voice calls.

“Pandora,” the voice now whispers from within the box. She looks down with a wild glint in her eye. Her heart pounds as she nears the box; it sits in a corner. She reaches out to touch it; her fingertips feel its cold exterior. Her forehead sweats as she lifts the box; it feels heavy in her slender hands. What could there be inside? She thinks, looking at the box. If Hephaestus told me I could eventually open the box, then surely there would be no harm in opening it now.

A chill runs down her spine as she holds the edge of the box. She opens the lid. All is still. Where is the chaos she had expected? Pandora looks up as Hephaestus rushes into the room with a winded rage.

Her eyes scan the entire box. “There is nothing here.” Her mouth hangs wide open.

“I cautioned you not to open the box,” he yells.

“You made me believe there was more!” Pandora’s tone grows angry. “There was meant to be something precious and powerful inside.”

“There was something precious and powerful,” he says.

“You are lying,” she stares at the box. “It is empty.”

“You were not to look into the box until you developed your character,” he says.

“Then the box would be opened and you would have the one thing that was missing when I created you.”

Her heart quickens. “What is it?”

He hesitates. “I have watched you from afar. Your behaviour has been a harmful influence to it,” he says. “Your actions have shown little thought for others.”

“The box called my name. It whispered telling me what I should do.”

“You do not take the blame for your doing, you blame the box or any other thing for what you willingly do.”

“No!” she shakes her head. “I loathe my life. I did it in the pursuit of happiness.”

He interrupts. “Your putrid nature grew so much in force that it could distort the very box in which it lay.”

“What was the precious thing inside the box?” her lips tremble.  

He huffs. “Your soul was in the box.”

She gasps. She shakes her head.

“What shall happen to me now?” she asks, helpless.  

Her heart violently pounds; descending into a dark void, she frantically bangs on a clay wall. She has become imprisoned inside the box.

About Helen Mihajlovic

Helen Mihajlovic is a published writer in books and online magazines. Her short story ‘A Dark Love story’ is in the book ‘100 Doors to Madness’ available at Amazon. Other published stories are ‘A Sinister Nature’, ‘The Temptation of Eve’ and ‘The Prince of Devils’. Helen also makes films, her film ‘Dominica- A Tale of Horror’ may be viewed online. She is grateful for a good editor Alison Strumberger and feedback from Roger Smith. All stories are dedicated to her brother Bill and mother.

 

readlikeshare

Become a patron today and support the online magazine!
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3340730&alert=2&ty=h

Deadman’s Tome Book of Horrors Anthology
https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/21/deadmans-tome-book-of-horrors-pre-order/

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, lovecraftian literature, or erotica. The darker the tale the better. Pandora touches on a Greek myth and literary classic and for a reminder that curiosity and desire often lead to terrible fates, even if they’re pleasurable at the time. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.