Posted on 2 Comments

Bitches – Trev Hill

 

 

Trev Hill

Can’t a writer get paid? Give Trev Hill some beer money!

$1.00

Miss Jowens was cross. She had had enough of these young girls and their unladylike language and behaviour. Mind you, she shouldn’t have been surprised. Even at the interview she had been shocked by the way Miss Hayes the headmistress had talked about them. Oh yes, she plainly remembered, Miss Hayes had perused her CV and references with a favourable eye before asking if she, Miss Jowens, would require a residential position.

“Well, I am quite prepared to consider it, Headmistress, but I have found a small cottage on the edge of the moor which would be quite suitable for my needs. Unless the position specifically requires me to live upon the premises, I think I should prefer to live off-site”. Miss Jowens replied.

The Headmistress smiled and nodded,

“Not at all, Miss Jowens. I completely understand. In fact, I think it would be an excellent idea for your first few terms, at least until you feel you have settled in. Many teachers find the girls to be quite exhausting in the evenings and tend to leave abruptly. You cannot imagine, Miss Jowens, what little bitches these girls can be.”

Miss Jowens had been shocked that a headmistress would use such terminology for her charges but she had forgiven the lapse of decorum and accepted what seemed to be a rather splendid job.

The school was situated on a moor in the south of England. The young ladies, although she now gave pause as to whether some deserved the title, seemed good students and extremely energetic (although they could be sloth in the morning). The regular teaching staff seemed friendly and very professional, the pay was good and the hours amenable. A few hours literature classes a day and a little history, then a bracing cycle trip home for an evening by the fire. Very agreeable, or so she had thought.

Her initial reception had been the usual mixture of caution, fascination and a few little challenges, the usual things like feet on the desk, saucy attitudes and uniform infractions; nothing she didn’t expect or couldn’t handle. What had slowly begun to grate on her nerves was one particular class which contained a particular clique of upper form girls, the leader of which, a young madam by the name of Danni Murphy, seemed to have a penchant for high skirts, tousled hair in the morning and the mouth of a street urchin, not that any of the others members of the gang were far behind.

One of the earliest conflicts had come about Miss Murphy’s use of language. With the clanging of the lunchtime bell, Murphy had an annoying habit of jumping up and shouting, “Feeding time, bitches!” to a whoop of delight from her cronies. As the group had headed for the door, Miss Jowens had ordered the girl to remain behind and sternly lectured her about such behavior and language in her, Miss Jowens’s, presence. Amidst the usual teenage eye-rolling and eye-avoiding pouts, Murphy had mumbled something about it being a name she and her “homies” used amongst themselves and no insult was meant by it. Ever after, the impudent young madam had paused before uttering the offensive phrase in time to say something like, “Meal time… ladies!” in her sing-song voice.

Over the next few weeks, it became apparent that there was some tension between Miss Jowens and that particular class of girls. Even some of her colleagues had approached her in the staffroom or taken her aside and advised her, in hushed tones, to watch her step. It seemed that even the staff referred to the clique as “The Bitches”. Miss Jowens, although a little perturbed at the nickname, assured her colleagues and herself that her professionalism would rise above it all.

Time however, took its toll. And Miss Jowen’s nerves were becoming seriously frayed at the behavior and attitude of these stroppy young besoms. This morning had been a near breaking straw when she had come in to teach an early history class about Templar monuments (which had received whistles of derision) only to find the infuriating Murphy sitting on the desk with her skirt pulled high, revealing a scratch across her thigh to her friends.

“I assume, Dannielle, that there is some explanation for such bawdy behavior?” Miss Jowens had demanded. The girl stood, letting her skirt fall back to its full length.

“Yes, Miss. I was showing the girls some scratches I got during a cross-country run last evening when I tried to put my leg over a fence.” She smirked. Miss Jowens ignored it.

“Yes, well thank you, Dannielle, but a history class is not the place for such things…”

“No Miss, sorry Miss, I don’t suppose you’re into getting your leg over things,” came the taunting reply, followed by another comment from a girl behind,

“That would be ancient history!” This remark brought giggles from the class and the declaration of a one hour detention for the entire group that evening. The sentence brought moans and protests,

“But Miss, we’ve got cross-country tonight!”

“Then you’ll miss it, won’t you?” Miss Jowens declared triumphantly. A class of sullen heads bent over the text books and several pairs of angry eyes glared under their fringes at the teacher.

The detention classroom was ready and the girls filtered in slowly and sullenly. There were several books of short stories placed at the desks, Miss Jowens having just finished a literature class on early 20thc supernatural fiction. Danni Murphy slouched in and picked up one of the volumes with a whoop.

“It’s M.R. James time, Bitches!” and the rest of the class cheered. This was the final straw. In a voice of sheer fury, Miss Jowens ordered them to leave the books and to take their places. How dare they disgrace the work of the master with such behavior. They were not fit to read such fine works. And Dannielle Murphy was ordered to the front of the class. She stood, defiant.

“Make me!” she taunted. Miss Jowens fixed her with a glare,

“When I whistle, you’ll come to me my girl!” she replied in a hard voice. The girl moved slowly to the front of the class to stand before the enraged teacher. “Good, now face the class”. With a heavenward  eye-roll, she turned slowly only to receive two lightning hard whacks across the back of her thighs with a pointer. She yelped and jumped around to face Miss Jowens with a savage stare.

“Don’t worry, Miss Murphy, those two won’t go down in the pointer’s diary… but if you’d like some more… otherwise, sit down while you can!”

Seemingly defeated, the sulking girl limped towards a desk. The class was silent, in a state of shock. There was only a mild response when it was announced that Miss Murphy’s behavior had earned them an extra hour of detention. One or two girls pointed out they would miss their evening meal but otherwise the rebellion seemed to have lost heart. Miss Jowens wrote up the detention assignment and sat back, satisfied.

The double detention had meant that the sun was setting as Miss Jowens began her usual cycle ride down the unlit moor road. She wasn’t worried as she had a good light and the weather was mild. It was a straight road and there was no chance of getting lost. But it did occur to her that this was the first time she had crossed this area at night.

Around ten minutes into her ride, she thought she heard the sound of running. Looking around, she saw nothing, although it was so dark that she couldn’t have seen if anything was there. Still she heard a drumming sound like the pounding of feet. Perhaps there were sheep of moor ponies attracted to her light, she thought. However, despite such attempts at comforting herself, she pedaled faster. The road snaked into a broad bend just before the stream bridge and she seemed to hear the running veer off to one side. She sighed in relief but continued to increase her pace as she approached the little flat bridge.

The hard, heavy bulk crashed out of the dark and sent Miss Jowens flying from her trusty bicycle, into the stream which gurgled under the bridge. Struggling to stand, she turned towards the bridge to find a large black canine confronting her with red eyes and a slavering snarl.

Miss Jowens had heard local legends of black dogs but had dismissed them. Legendary or not, however, there could be no mistaking the size and ferocity of the beast before her. She attempted to scramble up the stream bank only to find her way barred by another canine, this time with a lighter coat. Looking over to her right, a third creature was likewise barring her escape whilst baring its fangs.

Miss Jowens choked a scream for help and began to run, stumbling along the length of the stream, often falling and rising, drenched to continue her fruitless attempt to escape. The two lighter beasts ran alongside the stream and then, suddenly, with a great snarling and splashing, she heard the black one charging up the waterway behind her.

Slipping and stumbling, the terrified teacher clawed her way up the shallow bank and began to run across the moor. The thundering of the canine pads came hard and fast as the black dog jumped at her back, bringing her face down into the mud and peat. The other two hounds grabbed her arms in their jaws and dragged her fast and roughly across the sharp, abrasive surface of the moor. Through the pain and the banging of her head the bloodied woman became aware of several other dogs running alongside, barking joyously. The blessed darkness of unconsciousness spared her more.

“Did you enjoy the cross country run?”

The familiar voice crept into her ear, pulling her from the sweet darkness. Her eyes flickered open and through the blurred vision Miss Jowens began to make out a new face, canine, with burning eyes and an almost impertinent grin to its fanged mouth. Miss Jowens shivered as the face came nearer, licking her across the face and thrusting its nose into hers. She shuddered, waiting for the snap of jaws. The animal seemed to snort in amusement and turned its back on the terrified woman.

As her eyesight adjusted, Miss Jowens became aware that this dog, seemingly the leader of the pack which surrounded her had a two toned coat; the upper part around the body being dark but the hind legs being pale, almost white but with two fierce red lines across the back of them. The snarling face turned to gaze at her.

“Kneel, Jowens” came a voice, a singsong, almost human voice. The teacher choked back a cry and stared, quivering as the beast turned to face her. Raising herself onto her knees, Miss Jowens sobbed a final word…

“Dannielle?” she croaked.

The upper lip curled and the eyes rolled upwards before honing in on Miss Jowens’ widening pupils. The other dogs whined excitedly as the cry came,

“FEEDING TIME, BITCHES!”

Posted on 1 Comment

Metallica of Horror

Writers know that music is one hell of a muse. Music, good music, fuels performance just as much as bad music can completely drain the gas tank. Of course, good and bad are subjective. The key is finding that melodic combination that moves you, pumps you up, and pushes you towards your goal.

Music also helps create a sort of frame or backdrop to any creative project. Though I write on occasion, I spend most of my creative energy putting the magazine and anthologies together. There’s a lot that goes on during the process, but each time I have music playing, and the interesting thing is that the band or sound that I listen to during a project definitely helps shape it all.

Deadman’s Tome March to the Grave

HorrorsofWarcover1

 

March to the Grave is the Horrors of War issue of Deadman’s Tome, and a tribute to veterans everywhere. This issue does not glorify war, but doesn’t protest it either. Like Metallica’s Master of Puppets, this issue paints war as a ruthless machine that destroys lives, shatters families, and demoralizes those that survive. It just so happens that Metallica was heavy on my playlist during the development of this anthology. Metallica with a dash of Slayer.

Monsters Exist

cover

Monster’s Exist came together alongside March to the Grave and heavily benefited from a group effort that expanded over two months. Every author wrote his or her story from the ground-up based around a particular urban legend. Metallica and Slayer played heavily in May, fueling March to the Grave, but in June I was all about the raw, hi gain sound of bands like Kyuss, Dozer, and The Truck Fighters.

Real American Horror

RAHCover1

The strong contrast of black, white, and red of a neglected barn out in the middle of nowhere screams Slipknot. Which would make sense, because during development of this anthology it just so happens that my baby girl would NOT go to sleep to anything other than Slipknot’s Psychosocial. I’m not even joking. My daughter would only seem to fall asleep to Slayer and Slipknot. Nothing else would do, and Psychosocial was the song that would sooth her to sleep.

I wonder how this transposes to the reader, though. Because as you read through the stories, I’d imagine you would have your own playlist playing. Maybe you read Real American Horror while listening to classic rock, maybe you read Monsters Exist while listening to some serious gangster rap. I don’t know, but I would like to.

Posted on Leave a comment

Deadman’s Tome podcast with Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry joins Mr. Deadman and the Dynamite Marchese to talk writing, zombies and Marvel comics.

 

https://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632/jonathan-maberry-zombie-survival-and-cap

 

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

Posted on Leave a comment

What is Good Writing?

http://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632/ep-88-pronoun-police-and-writer-snobs

 

Mr. Deadman and Marchese will explore good writing vs bad writing. What’s lazy writing? What’s the problem with pronouns? What does it mean when readers don’t seem to care, on average? Traditional publishers are described as gatekeepers of quality, yet publish Dan Brown, E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer.
These authors are criticized for their poor prose and lazy writing, but are loved by fans, and are living very comfortably off their work. So, what’s the difference between good writing vs bad writing? Appealing to academics, grammar police, and writing elitists or appealing to readers?

Posted on 15 Comments

Uxoricide by Bob McNeil

 

During a Thursday, around 3:43AM, a female and male sauntered towards the driveway of her Spanish Colonial-styled mansion. The woman, Neala Desdemona Johnson, was blonde, in her thirties. Her appearance was comparable to the models found in Playboy. Her male counterpart, Rod Silverman, who was younger than she, favored an actor, Johnny Depp. In an attempt to convey his libidinousness, the male stopped and put his arms around his girlfriend’s waist. This effort at warming the woman to the proposal of having sex worked. Under her red leather skirt, jacket and shoes, she felt a lot warmer. And Rod’s blue Italian suit felt tighter, much tighter.

Mansions were common to Rod Silverman. Being the son of an investment banker father and an art curator mother, he was used to wealth. Irrespective of his family’s moneyed existence, as a young, rising model, Rod was getting riches of his own. Among the profits of appearing in fashion magazines and going to trendy clubs was dating attractive, wealthy divorcees like Neala.

Over to the right of Neala and Rod, crouching behind some shrubbery, the forty-seven-year-old African-American former football star Orello Johnson was wearing a ninja outfit. Disguised by his black cotton Balaclava Ninja mask, anger monopolized his expression. Sans his gear, he had short dark coiled hair, straight features, oval eyes, somewhat narrow lips, broad shoulders, bronze skin and an Olympiad’s musculature. Certain women thought the man was handsome. His awareness of these females made his ego rival the Rungrado May Day Stadium for largest mass.

Unheard by anyone else, Orello whispered, “I should take the blood from her fake breasts, breasts that I bought for her. I am the man who inflated those trailer tires and parked them in my mansion.”

Upon amassing an armory of anger, Orello emerged and unsheathed his head.

“What, what, what drug made you come here, Orello?” Neala screamed. Cold, pale fear encased her from skeletal pillars to the flesh covering her. Letting her fingers unify into fists somehow made the woman resuscitate her composure. The girder for steadying her logic was in place as she continued speaking, “I thought the court explained your visitation rights to you. You can see our daughter and son on the weekends.”

Asleep and oblivious to the fight below, two olive-skinned children with sandy hair were in the right wing of the mansion. Their little bodies, which had the attributes from both parents, were content.

“Pray, puta, pray!” Orello’s reply had all the rancor of a Rottweiler before chewing on its prey.

“Hey, uh, uh, don’t call her that!” Rod tried to posture like a defensive lineman, but the boy knew that if a fight started, Orello would defeat him.

“Shut up, sex toy. Your trampish hole and I have some probing to do. Does this boy know that you drove him in my Charcoal Gray 1969 Ford Bronco? Does this boy know that you’re gonna screw him in the house that I pay mortgage on? Does this boy know that you spend my one hundred six thousand dollars every four weeks?”

“Yeah, I’m a trampish hole, but not your trampish hole anymore. You will never screw me anymore and that’s causing your rage. Well, you had this hole for a whole long time. Some days I was your pleasure and other days I was your opponent in a boxing ring. Did you feel like the Heavyweight Champion of the World after beating a woman, Orello? Other than bringing grief, what else are you going to give our relationship?”

Each word that she lunged turned into a shank stabbing Orello in the abdomen. Psychosomatic or real pain, either way, it hurt as if it were a weapon. Enraged by her, Orello wanted the discomfort of the scene to cease. Walking away was not enough, he wanted blood. Orello wanted to see the submission of defeated fighters. His psychopathic need, the desire to ingest violence, wanted a couple of servings.

Evil was never birthed out of nothingness. Orello’s family proved that aforementioned concept to be incontrovertible. All Johnson men were large. Ranging from the tall and muscular to the stout, they were huge. What they possessed in size, they lacked in compassion for women considerably smaller. Bullying diminutive females was yet another trait these men possessed. Johnson men were known for abusing women. The clan pounced on insecure women. A specific Johnson son named Orello saw his father abuse his mother. That fight left bruises upon his psyche. The bruises metastasized into a murderous adulthood.

With a quick motion, Orello stabbed Rod with his Bowie hunting knife. The blade rammed through the trachea of the Hollywood-model-handsome male. Gurgling sounds, instead of other pained utterances, came out of the victim. Akin to a cocaine high, Orello felt exhilarated.

Before she could run or scream, Orello grabbed Neala. Stifled by his left hand, her howl was hampered.

“As opposed to screaming, why don’t you say this? ‘For giving my boyfriend a means to meet God, thank you, Orello.’ You won’t repeat those words, will you? Even though you won’t praise the gift that my knife gave your man, I am going to give you the same prize. But, first, speak your last words, say them.”

“What will you do with our d–d-daughter and s-s-son? Don’t deny Sandy and Justice a relationship with their mother. Leave before the police arrive. I won’t tell them that you stabbed Rod. Orello, besides thinking about our babies, I am concerned about your other children from your first marriage. Consider Arnette and Jordan before you do another thing right now.”

“Arnette and Jordan are adults now. They hate you. Praise for killing you, not criticism, is what I will get from them. Frankly, as for our kids, being six and seven, they won’t remember you after a while.”

“Imagine our kids’ lives with you in prison then put the knife down.”

“You’re merely another wallet-sucking parasite.”

“Your cynicism will prevent you from hearing this, how-however, I did love you. I profited from your love, never the money. Baby, even after the abuse started, I thought my heart could love you so much that your evil would weaken and go away. No matter how much love I gave, you still found reasons to beat me. Honestly, if I didn’t divorce you, Orello, I would have killed you. Much as I desired your death, I didn’t try to kill you. Two things prevented me from murdering you: our children and my hope that our relationship would become something beautiful. Please, Big O, don’t kill any chance for our reconciliation.”

Believe it or not, Neala was expressing some truth, despite what Orello thought. For a corn-fed 19-year-old Indiana girl, armed with dreams of being a model, L.A. was like paradise. So, between waiting tables and auditioning, Neala thought success was a tip away. Some fifteen years ago, at The Datura Club, when she met Orello, her whole spirit knew they were going to be media town’s hottest twosome. And, yes, around the beginning of the relationship, she did love him.

Years later, she saw that love get tackled until it hurt.

A single portion of the plea was false as a faked orgasm and that was the part about any future reconciliation. Neala would have sooner French kissed Charles Manson than date or remarry Orello again.

A combination of cocaine, steroids, CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and genetics prevented Orello from comprehending Neala’s statement. Exceeding all else, the weapon in his hand was able to communicate Orello’s response. Quicker than his mind’s ability to realize what he was doing, Orello’s arm swung as if it were a scythe mowing grass. Known for its sharpness, the metal went straight through the victim’s neck. There was no way of concealing the sanguinary act, Orello realized. Blood shot out and stretched to greet his clothes. The knife was the bartender and it was serving blood. Unsinewed as a dishrag, Neala fell and a plasma pool widened around her outstretched body.

Soon, though, once the satisfaction of killing his ex-wife dissipated, elation died. Not much later, it became dread and nausea. Fear’s cold hand grabbed the killer’s spinal column.

Leopard-legged and madness-motivated, Orello ran into the darkness. Among his goals, not getting caught for his monstrous act was paramount. Through side streets, the murderer made his way to his new home. About half a mile separated him from his desired sanctuary. Midway to his destination, Orello reminisced about being the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Considering that he was now much older and his stamina had changed since the mark he set during the 1973 season, the former running back was pleased with the amount of strength his legs still possessed.

Orello entered his residence which looked like a place that Elvis would have enjoyed calling home. Although it was large enough to accommodate two jumbo jets, Orello preferred his former home. Expensive divorce proceedings made him lose the other house to Neala.

Disrobing in the dark and thinking about all that took place, the murderer scrutinized his actions. Garments and the weapon went into a plastic bag. The evidence was going to be put in a place as unattainable as Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa and D.B. Cooper. Sneaker prints on the carpet were vacuumed away. Inspired by a childhood spent watching Basil Rathbone on television, Orello mused that he could stump Sherlock Holmes.

Later, in his bedroom, numerous glasses of screwdrivers with a little juice could not remove Orlello’s conscience. Emotion-sedating pills, the kind that could make an elephant sleep, were also unable to remove the disturbing murder from his dreams.

***

“Yes, I killed my wife! Yes, I killed my wife!” Orello cried out. Remorse was a touchdown vulture that stole his demeanor.

“From the first news report, I knew you stabbed that woman. Unfortunately, by a jury of your so-called peers, you were deemed innocent of that charge. Double Jeopardy prevents the judicial system from putting you in a court for that case ever again. This time, however, the State of Nevada will make these unrelated kidnapping and robbery charges kick your prick into the penal system for a long, long bid.”

Orello did not know who spoke to him. He opened his eyes and found out he was not in his home at all, but he was in a 6 by 8 grey prison cell, wearing blue inmate garb. The voice belonged to a Corrections Officer in a green uniform. A middle-aged, tall, muscular white male with short auburn hair was standing outside of the prison door. He was in front of the bars looking at Orello. There, on his cot, Orello realized what transpired.

“Whoa, I was having a real serious nightmare, man. Check it out, um, what I was yelling wasn’t true. I had nothing, nothing to do with Neala’s, you know, you know, murder.”

“Bad dreams aren’t all you have to worry about today, football hero. Your court case is being called again. Make sure you wash yourself well because the jury is going to screw you.” The guard walked away from Orello’s cell. A blitz of laughter struck the walls and bars of the building. Inspired by the officer expressing his appreciation for his own humor, co-workers and other inmates stormed with their chuckles. From afar, Orello could still hear the guard speaking. “Try to understand this, sports star, pretend today’s New Year’s Eve and you’re the only available toilet in Times Square. Justice is going to piss on you. Court TV will let everyone see you get wet. Disappointingly for all the abused women out there, you’re not going to get a lethal injection, or what I call the ‘Juice.’”

Denied comfort, a need to satirize another inmate’s sorrow was on par with escaping. Humor was a tunnel to a freer place. Everyone in that section of the prison enjoyed lampooning the once venerated football player. By laughing at Orello, these criminals and officers felt better about their parts in the melodrama.

Disorientation was exiting with its fog in tow. Memories of situations that brought Orello back into the judicial double arm bar pin maneuver were appearing. The criminal remembered that after fifteen years of freedom, he made a life-defeating mistake. In a Las Vegas’ Auction House, with a gun in his hand, Orello confronted men who allegedly stole some of his valuable possessions. Since he stopped the auction in an illegal manner, Orello was arrested. That June, he was charged with a load of felonies.

Imprisoned by the realization that his somniloquy confessed to a form of unlawfulness while facing another form, Orello sat up on his cot. Right then, his desire for cocaine made him imagine the taste of the white powder on his tongue.

That guard returned to the cell. For a while there Orello thought he was hallucinating, because it looked like Neala exited the Correctional Officer’s body the way steam would from soup. Previous to disappearing, the apparition, dressed in a miniskirt-short ivory-colored tunic, turned, smiled and laughed. It was the type of laughter that people would associate with villains. Hearing the manic cackle gave Orello the feeling icy stalactites were forming on his spine.

***

Entering that courtroom with an infamous murder case in his past did not make the accused criminal look nicer. There was a full meal of reasons to hate Orello Johnson. Each person in that room chewed on some reason or another. Nervous about the setting, the defendant fidgeted.

Compounded with all the legalities Orello had to battle, there was Neala’s ubiquitous being standing next to the jury box. Later, she was standing beside Judge Janis Copper. Other times Neala stood a foot away from the bailiff. No matter where the ghost stood, she laughed throughout the long trial.

“Can you hear and see her?” Orello whispered the query to Criminal Defense Attorney Harvard Moldova.

“Who?” The middle-aged white lawyer in the pinstriped suit replied. Indeed, Harvard did not know to whom Orello was referring. In addition, he wished for another client.

“Neala is standing over there and over there at the same time. Look over there to the right and left of the judge before Neala changes her position again,” Orello whispered.

“Are you trying to get an insanity plea?” Harvard asked. Nervously awaiting an answer, the brown-haired lawyer stared at a client who made him feel hatred.

“Insane, no, I am not insane. I was just saying that some of the women here look like Neala.” A plea bargain for Orello to stay in an asylum would separate him from his children and his assets. His plans would be tackled. Sure, seven hundred fifty milligrams of Depakote and about four hundred milligrams of Theophylline would make the prison bid bearable, but deadening his senses would prevent Orello from getting the ultimate touchdown–freedom.

“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

Nervous about the setting, Orello continued tapping his brown slippers and biting the cuticle of his thumb. He wanted supernatural strength so he could race to a time before meeting his wife. If time travel were possible, Orello thought, he would jettison back to a time when he was loved by the American media.

“Yes, your honor, we have.” Harder than an assassin’s demeanor was the expression on the young, pale woman as she spoke, “Guilty, your honor.” Neala exited the woman’s flesh triumphantly.

His countenance became melted chocolate. All the flesh on his face dangled in a mass of sadness. Muscles that once maintained his structure buckled. Orello collapsed. His body and existence met the floor.

“Now, you’re gonna rot,” Frank, the father of Rod Silverman, screamed.

Age and despondency tormented the Silvermans. Every day the two conditions stabbed another part of them. Frank’s green eyes appeared murkier and sadder since the murder trials. His square jaw, which once gave him an appearance of a strong leading man, now hung as if the floor beckoned it. Over the course of the trial, his dark and full collar-length hair became grey. In his case, it was not the natural aging process. The loss of his son siphoned all vivaciousness from his being. Frank, in his sixties, could have passed for a man ten to fifteen years older.

Another victim of this siphoning process was Rod’s mother, Cheryl. Called the Elizabeth Taylor of the Hamptons, Cheryl’s beauty was admired for many years. Losing her son and finding alcohol turned her cinematic sultriness into a network of decrepit wretchedness. Wrinkles, warts and a disposition that would befit Edward Albee’s Martha replaced the woman Frank married. Undeterred by their divorce after the murder of their son, they attended all of Orello’s trials together.

Right alongside the Silverman family was Neala’s older sister, Daphne Ensler. Both were stairstep children, a mere year separated them. There, at age forty-eight, the auburn-haired buxom woman would sell her eyes and arms to get her sister back. Loss was an exclusive concern for the senior sibling, especially now since the murder of a family member and the death of her parents, Lars and Janet. On the day Orello stabbed Neala, he ran the blade through that farm couple. A little less than two years passed and both the mother and father died of heart attacks. Daphne’s heart was dedicated to her son, twenty-year-old Christopher, her husband, Jack, the contractor, and her career as a writer. Daphne’s books on domestic violence were acclaimed.

United, the Silverman family and Daphne Ensler stood in clothes befitting a funeral—Orello’s funeral.

Turning towards Frank, Orello saw the ghost of Rod Silverman appear, wearing the same type of tunic that Neala had, but his covered both knees. The ghost wore the expression of an individual who wanted to slaughter his slayer. If Orello were beef, Rod would have served the slices to sewer rats.

Even scarier than Rod’s expression was the presence of a brown-haired angelic woman with white wings and a yellow robe. None of the other apparitions scared him as much as the presence of this ethereal female. Maybe she was the devil, Orello thought. Yet, unlike any other known description of the fallen angel, she was not what the ex-football player expected. Materializing when she wanted, the creature was instructing Neala. Towering above everyone in the courtroom, she glared at Orello. Perhaps she was awaiting her moment to kill, the ex-football player concluded.

***

Orello returned to inmates and corrections officers tormenting him with words that felt like a bump and run. Such discomfort that was created by critical quips was not quite as painful as the visions of Neala, though. Without a logical schedule, the slain woman often appeared in Orello’s cell and laughed. Sometimes she was accompanied by Rod and that winged figure. Under those aforesaid circumstances, Orello awaited his next court appearance in two months.

Had Orello known how strange it sounded to others outside of his cell, he would not have yelled at his ex-wife. Testimonials from convicts and corrections officers agreed on this observation: Orello argued with a woman who was unseen and unheard.

In particular, there was this outburst from Orello that an inmate remembered. An unnamed eavesdropper said Orello bellowed the following: “Neala, Neala, appearing just to disappear won’t help you win this game. Stay so I can explain things to you or hide like a scared girl. Either way, I am going to win. I am Orello Johnson. Don’t you understand that in 1966, when your little ass attended grade school, I rushed for 1,709 yards, got me 22 touchdowns and earned the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award all during that same year? Hell, in the Rose Bowl, just three years later, I ran 171 yards. Plus, I got an 80-yard TD run. What’s a pale as bird poop phantom gonna do to this brother, huh?

“I played the pig on the gridiron. America cheered me. America revered me. The reverence was a treasure in my bank. My name became success. My persona became a multimillion dollar advertisement. Back when America transmitted racism through rabbit ears, I was on TV. In people’s homes, I was selling waste and they guzzled it like they liked it. Spread out on the big scene movie screen, I was a buffoon with the stadium-wide smile and audiences wanted more helpings of my trash.

“Soon I am going to play a role that’s better than being in a franchise. This role is going to give me the Oscar for bedding that Lady Justice Broad.”

“Next to ants, you’re a giant. Next to an ethical man, you’re dirt,” Neala stated before her figure materialized.

“What’s a ghost gonna do to this brick house, huh?”

“Yo, Orello, shut your hole or I’ll show ya who’s goin’ to knock your brick house down. Ya sound like you’re crazy talkin’ to yourself,” an unseen inmate yelled from another cell.

Not a soul but Orello could hear Neala speak. Realizing that his responses were what the inmates overheard, Orello imagined cement drying on his lips.

Left with nothing else to do after Neala disappeared, Orello tried to sleep, but even that provided torment. Since his incarceration for his wife’s murder, Orello had nightmares about castration, not just anybody’s castration—his castration. Nighttime hours, rather fittingly it seemed, were now reserved for new horrific scenarios to play in Orello’s mind. The drama that played throughout his nightmare showed Orello tied to a bed and all the women he abused cheered as Lorena Bobbitt and Neala cut off his genitalia with knives. Every night there was this sensation of metal slicing him.

Besides the vision of the mutilating duo, there was another sorority that prevented comfortable sleep. His need to nod was interrupted by seeing Velma Barfield putting a toxic chemical in his meals. A lot of dreams were spent being chased by ax-swinging Karla Faye Tucker. Sweat formed all over Orello after watching Betty Lou Beets and Aileen Wuornos shoot at him. Sleep was a murderess. Nauseated, nervous and pained, Orello rarely got more than three hours of sleep per day.

***

“The judge is getting ready for the game, Mr. Sports Hero.” Those words were the alarm clock and calendar that alerted Orello to the date and time of his court case. It was two months to the day since his last judicial ordeal.

Orello saw himself as the team captain standing in front of a blackboard, drawing diagrams and preparing to defeat the other team. Further contemplation on the subject of his pending court case made Orello come up with what he believed was a good game plan. He envisioned himself mesmerizing the judge. Based on all accounts, Orello was effective in getting field goals on females. Even going back to his youth, the opposite sex wanted the athletic male. Success increased the man’s appeal. Orello figured by letting his charm run with the ball, the female judge would personally lead him to the parking lot. During Orello’s shower and dressing ritual, the idea became erotic.

***

“Is there anything that your client would like to say before sentencing?” The forty-something-year-old judge asked. Her approach to the case was much like the ponytail holding her black hair—severe.

“Your honor, my client would like to make a statement.” Earlier Orello told his lawyer that he had some words to impart.

“You may proceed, Mr. Johnson.” Only Orello could hear Neala’s cackle.

“Ma’am, I’m a simple former athlete. There’s no law degree hanging on my wall at home. Ignorance is the reason why I decided to do an unlawful thing. Someone told me about an auction that was going to take place. Also, I heard that my stuff, stuff that was stolen from my home was going to be sold. Sure, now after learning about the law a little, I understand that I shouldn’t have gotten a gun to get my things. Nor should I have held the thieves against their will at the auction house. Emotions, such as anger and hate, inspired a reaction before I could think about the best action.” Midway to the end of his monologue, Orello thought he made the judge wet.

“Your honor, let me say this, I am sorry about my unlawful act. Certainly, you can understand that I was trying to regain my own possessions from some thieves. My approach, though a little too hardcore, was well-intentioned. Whether some would call me a criminal or a hero, all I wanted was my own stuff back.” Convinced that his monologue was working, Orello started to plan a release party, complete with strippers, hookers, celebrities, booze and drugs.

“This state was always my favorite. A lot of my football fans live right here in Nevada, and I have always been good to my fans. Nothing would ever make me do anything against this area.”

“Mr. Johnson, you have two minutes before sentencing.”

“O.K, try to get into my motivations and you’ll understand why I handled the situation the way I did. Thank you for allowing me to speak in this honorable courtroom.”

Talking got Orello out of myriad personal dilemmas in the past. As a result, he was convinced that his voice made eggs sizzle. Unless the judge was a blind and deaf lesbian, her body should be lava, Orello thought.

“Thank you again, your honor.”

“You are welcome. I hereby sentence you to thirty-four years.”

Nine years before the possibility of parole became a mantra in Orello’s head. Over again the sentence echoed. He had to serve all those years in state prison before being eligible for parole. The judge might as well have shot Orello. There was, of course, the possibility of an appeal. No matter the legal option, the process of fighting the judge’s decision would take something that Orello did not have—patience.

There, as per usual, Frank Silverman was in the audience taunting Orello with condemnation. Orello’s acquittal for the murder of Neala Desdemona Johnson and Rod Silverman was a dagger in Frank’s heart. Granted, the Civil Court passed a judgment against the former athlete for two wrongful deaths, but it could not make the Silverman’s pain of losing a son stop. $66.6 million dollars that the parents were supposed to receive

did not alleviate the lamentation either. Consistent excuses as to why the complete amount could not be paid pushed the blade further into Frank’s psyche.

Ritualistically, beside Frank, Cheryl and Daphne stood.

It was the civil case that forced Orello into questionable business choices. He made a porno film, wrote a book about his wife’s murder and did personal appearances, etc. The celebrity could not let people sack his fortune. So, desperation became his defensive line.

“The Devil is going to bake your hide,” The Silverman patriarch cried out.

Consistently absent, Orello’s four children saw no reason to attend any of the court proceedings. As far as they were concerned, after Orello was arrested, he died.

Anna Simpson, dissimilar to her children, watched all of Orello’s courtroom problems on TV. Wearing a red floral Muumuu, red processed hair in rollers, surrounded by cherry soda cans, barbeque potato chips and a remote control, her pudgy physique was

orgasmic while watching the defeat of her abusive ex-husband.

A Hispanic bailiff, who was about the size of a kickboxer, took Orello out of the courtroom. The bewildered criminal turned to Rod’s father and stared. That uncommunicative state was caused by the presence of three afterlife figures. Overhead, unseen by all except Orello, Neala, alongside some befeathered female and Rod, cheered repeatedly.

***

Once the case concluded and the lawyer told Orello they could appeal the decision, the cell seemed even smaller. Handicapping this jurisprudential game, Orello knew that no appeal would overturn his predicament.

Later that evening, psychotropic drugs were administered to help alleviate the sensation of cleats and knives piercing Orello’s brain and lower extremities. The pills were prescribed because it was deemed that he was suicidal.

Somewhere around twelve thirty A.M., his ex-wife returned. The abusive spouse knew that the woman who bore his child would trek his way once more. Orello wanted Neala to haunt him.

“Now I guess my sentence will be spent being haunted by you.”

“Why would I share another portion of my immortal life providing a source of escape from your loneliness? No, you’re going to detox from your favorite stimulant—attention. Get ready for withdrawals from the warm love of women, football fans and your children.”

“Please allow your spirit to forgive. Please give me that.”

“You’re right. I should give you certain things. Here’s the first thing I will give: information. Recent reports have proven that a woman is beaten every nine seconds. That calculation inspired me to give you a gift. Right at the point some malevolent man hurts a woman, you will feel the blows upon your body. Punches and slaps some unknown woman endures will affect your flesh. Why should women suffer unaccompanied by your presence? Aside from being suicidal, you will experience discomfort a prison doctor will believe is psychosomatic.”

“Your gene pool was as worthless as pigeon crap on a porch. Until I came into your soon-to-be-on-food-stamps life, you were a liability. How could you have such powers?”

“Try to work past your stupidity and listen. That night you stabbed the life out of me, I saw a Goddess.”

“Did you get high before coming here?” A titter accompanied the question.

“She called herself Nemesis. This Goddess and her minions hunt men like you.”

“What kind of weirdo name is Nem-ee-sis?”

Annoyed with the process of answering Orello, Neala’s eyebrows illustrated her anger before she continued speaking. “My wounded form, which you created, angered her. She said, ‘Get up, Gaelic girl. Your parents dubbed you a champion and a champion you will be.’ For my promise to become a fighter on the side of her legion, I was given abilities.

“Far from this dimension, in a stratospheric area reminiscent of ancient Greece, fifteen of my postmortal years were spent training. Taught by Nemesis and other ancient mystics, I learned about bilocation, dematerialization, levitation, metempsychosis, mesmerism, psychokinesis, radiesthesia, telepathy and a lot more. Thankfully, this ghost of an abused woman was given powers by those omnipotent sources. I was using those powers to get you in this prison.”

Binocular-eyed and confused, Orello stood and listened. Neala’s words were unexplored constellations. Lost in her utterances, Orello could not believe how much his

former wife had transformed. Besides the powers the creature gave her, Neala’s IQ increased. His former simple country girl morphed into some kind of Mensa member.

“Above all, being vengeful was not a simple lesson. My folks taught their belief in forgiveness. Unlearning that concept was the hardest.

“Rod wanted justice to come down on you with the force of a mudslide.

Repeated pleas on my part gave me the right to administer your sentence. Albeit simple, my first attempt at attacking you was by storing a meaty suggestion in your mind. Over and over, I repeated these words: ‘Take your gun and get what someone got from you.’ Easier than waving flesh in front of a piranha, you enjoyed the bait.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Ah, Orello, your anguish is the best dish for me.”

Coinciding with the final vowel, she disappeared in a way that would perplex Houdini. In her place appeared Rod Silverman and the other outer worldly lady.

Frustrated with the amount of time Neala used for her revenge, Rod’s interest was his family. Rod was also exasperated by Nemesis and her associates. He was mystified by these beings, living in levitating jewel-encrusted Grecian buildings. From their ancient ceremonial clothing to their arcane rituals that were on par with witchcraft, Rod disliked their oddness.

Instead of yelling at Orello, Rod wanted to punch him and watch his frame become bloody pieces of dismembered flesh. Almost Herculean impulse inhibitors suppressed Rod’s vengefulness. Incapable of expressing his rage, he let Nemesis speak.

“Orello, certain people say I am a demon and others call me a saviour. Neither description matters,” Nemesis stated in a synthesized and genderless voice. “What concerns my existence is seeing parasites like you suffer. All of my ethereal resources are dedicated to a single goal—the destruction of brutish beings. View your torment as you would a tragic play. Moreover, know that Neala and I will enjoy your every upcoming scene.”

Before Orello could respond, the figures disappeared. Defeated, he tried to understand his fate.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Orello yelled while feeling invisible fists pummel him. Doubling over as a result of the attacks, he felt bruises form. Again, being consistent with Neala’s plan, the protuberances were imperceptible to everyone else. “I’m sorry,” Orello screamed once more.

“Yeah, you’re sorry for being such a sorry has-been.” Approximating the style of a stand-up comedian, the guard paused for an audience reaction. Bolstered by the sound of inmates laughing at his put-down, the correction officer continued his critical jokes about Orello. “Don’t be sad, Superstar. You’ll have your football memories to enjoy tonight. The guard quipped outside of Orello’s cell. Laughter that was coming from all sides of the isolation ward became louder than the 1812 Overture. The guffawing made the sobs Orello emitted inaudible in the Lacrimae Rerum Criminal Compound in Nevada.

A prison that was normally known for misery was pleased about accommodating its newest inmate.

Posted on Leave a comment

Interview with Mark Slade

Horror writer Mark Slade has agreed to meet with Mr. Deadman to talk about his latest story Santa’s Bag, which is featured in Deadman’s Tome Krampus Christmas. Listen to the interview as it goes live Wednesday 12/7/2016 at 10PM CST by clicking this link http://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632

Mark Slade is an author whose work has appeared in  The Stray Branch, Wicked Gardens, Weirdbook #32, Detectives of the Fantastic vol. 1 and other publications for Horrified press/Rogue Planet press. He also writes audio plays for 4077th productions, created the audio series The Sundowners and The Hangman’s Dozen. Mark also has a story on Manor House as well, which you can check out on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpYII9bGbGg

Mark Slade is also featured in Dark Dreams, a gripping horror anthology. Dark Dreams contains stories from the minds of: Mark Slade, Thomas M. Malafarina, D. S. Scott, John C. Adams, Emerian Rich, Jason Norton, P. J. Griffin, Mr. Deadman, David Ludford, Joseph J. Patchen, Mark Tompkins, E. S. Wynn, Shawn Clay, Kevin Rees. Cover and Art by Cameron Hampton

Will there be a Friday show? No. But there is a good chance Deadman’s Tome podcast will go live Saturday night at 10pm CST.

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Mr. Deadman Interviews Kristine Hall-Garcia, Author of Highly Popular Dark Erotica Short

Kristine Hall-Garcia, author of Unbloom, meets with Mr. Deadman on Friday at 10pm CST for a live interview.

Kristine is the writer of one of the more brutal stories featured on the Tome. Unbloom was so dark that it was one of the first to bear the NSFW label, which was done solely as a precaution for those brave enough to read stories on this horrible site at work.

Curious about the mind behind such a dark and demented story, Mr. Deadman will ask Kristine about her latest story on Deadman’s Tome, the inspiration behind it, and other projects she has been working on.

You can catch the episode this Friday at 10pm CST and the link will be accessible on the sidebar under where it reads RSS feed. Or you can follow the podcast on Spreaker by using this link: http://www.spreaker.com/show/deadmans-tome-podcast

Or follow Mr. Deadman on twitter (@MrDeadmanDT) and you’ll have access to a direct link once it posts.

 

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Deadman’s Tome Mug