Our little story is coming along nicely

In case you missed it, we’re up to Chapter 5 on the Emerald Dragon blog with our horror tale Night Aggressions. Here’s how things are lining up:

ChapterAvailable
​Chapter 1: The Real WorldOctober 4, 2019
Chapter 2: How about them cops?October 11, 2019
Chapter 3: Screw the Johnson boysOctober 18, 2019
Chapter 4: Hellfire and hypocrisyOctober 25, 2019
Chapter 5: Fun for the whole familyNovember 1, 2019
Chapter 6: The Twisted JohnsonsNovember 8, 2019
more to come…stay tuned…

We still have some writing to do to wrap it up, but there’s plenty of chapters already just waiting for eager eyes. We post a new chapter every Friday morning at 7:30am CST.

For fun, here’s my music playlist I’ve been using while writing Night Aggressions. I also sometimes find myself listening to the Hellraiser soundtrack as backdrop while writing.

If you use an RSS reader, and want to follow along that way, here is the link for that: https://www.emeralddragontales.com/1/feed.

#ebook, #ebooks, #horror, #novella, #novellas, #short-story, #shortstories

Emily Stuart and the Alpha and Omega (short story and opportunity)

Emily Stuart is victim #6. She didn’t hesitate to be put on ice when I showed her my card for the project at Stone Spiral on a Wednesday night. You can review the previous entries here.

You can learn more about the gig and sign up yourself at this link.

Download the Files

You can read the short story included in this blog post, or by following this link and downloading the format of your choosing (epub or mobi, and DRM free) from Liberio, and then reading in your favorite reader or device. Alternatively, for desktop users, you can download the PDF from here on Dropbox.

Emily Stuart

Emily is half of the band Catching the Westbound, the other half being her boyfriend Andy. They play a mixture of folk, blues and mountain gospel. They’re really good, you should totally follow the link to their website and give them a listen. But that’s besides the point.

image of Emily Stuart

The real Emily Stuart.

I’ve known Emily since about January or so of this year, when I started attending an open mic at Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios in Maplewood, Missouri. She and Andy play live at the open mic quite regularly, and have been subjected to me sharpening my teeth doing standup comedy at the open mic. Emily is loads of fun, one of the few friends I’ve made up here in the St. Louis region since we made the move last year. So, it was with great pleasure that I could kill her*.


Emily Stuart and the Alpha and Omega

Commander Emily Stuart woke from her long sleep shivering and in shock. It was the unfortunate and uncomfortable standard for deep space travel. She rolled out of her open cryogenic chamber and crashed on the floor in her officer’s quarters. She spewed enzymatic fluid on the floor, leftovers from the nutrients that were fed her during her cryotherapy. Her body was sore and stiff. Her vision was blurred, but as it focused she recognized a familiar stain.

Blood.

She flipped over onto her back, rolled her shoulders and stretched her arms. The muscles hurt and bones cracked. She rocked her head back and forth, popping and crackling sounds emitted. She stretched her neck to the left, and then to the right.

“Omega, play Mr. Blue.” She said out loud to her ship’s artificial intelligence, Omega, which was also the name of her ship.

“Yes, Commander.” Omega said in her calm and gentle female voice. The song by The Fleetwoods began to play. “All systems are checked. All seems a go. How was your cryogenic therapy, Commander?”

“Just peachy.” Emily continued to exercise, she worked her legs with stretches. “Why is there blood in my quarters?”

“I am not sure, Commander,” Omega began to explain, “As you know, I was only running the essentials during cryotherapy. My cameras are just now documenting this as well. Is it yours, Commander?”

“No.” Emily flipped over on her stomach and began pushups. “Do a quick check of the crew, Omega. Is anyone offline?”

There was a silence while Omega ran a check of the life systems connected to each crew member’s cryogenic chamber. Omega spoke up through the intercom system after a short silence, “I have no read on Private Daniels’ cryogenic chamber. Running visual scan of his cryogenic chamber confirms that he is missing. There is a blood trail from his chamber. Give me a moment while I run visual scans of the corridors and rooms, tracking his path. Let me see if I can find his whereabouts. Be back shortly, Commander.”

Emily finally stood up, her bones cracking and aching as she did so. When she stood up tall, she placed one hand over her head and stretched the opposite direction, and then completed the task with the other arm in the other direction. Her eyes were finally cleared up enough to piece together the gruesomeness before her. She saw a trail of blood that entered and led right up to her cryogenic chamber. A bloody handprint was smeared across the controls on the front, as if Daniels was trying to eject her from her the chamber. She saw another handprint that smeared around the side of her chamber. She followed it around to the backside of it and hidden behind it was Daniels’ mangled body.

Emily bent down and examined him up close. He had what appeared to be a large bite of some kind in his neck. Further investigation made it appear as if several bites were taken, and some of his bone was exposed. His torso had been ripped open, and it was his fatal wound. Something had gnawed at his stomach and tore out his intestines. He appeared to be missing several organs. His spine was broken and pulled through from the back, piercing a kidney. It was not an easy way to go. Before Emily had been expelled from the United Nations Academy, she had studied the Jack the Ripper case. Daniels’ condition had a similar grotesqueness to the victim Mary Jane Kelly, who had been carved out and even her breasts were removed and placed on her nightstand.

“Omega, I’ve found Private Daniels.” She said.

“Where are you, Commander? I’m not seeing you on my camera.” Omega said.

She stood up and waived to get the attention of her sensors. “Over here, behind the chamber. It’s a mess.”

A small camera rotated around the roof of the room and repositioned above her and Daniels. “Yes, Commander, that is a mess. Shall I wake the others?”

“Yes.” Emily said. “And check on the prisoner. I want a report on her activity, or inactivity, before I reach the bridge.”

“Yes, Commander.”

Emily stepped into the shower to rinse off the sleep, and grit. She stood, the hot water pouring over her body, and she thought of the possibilities. Someone, or something, on her ship had killed one of her crew and that infuriated her. No one killed her crew. They were her responsibility, and she felt it hard and deep. A strike against her crew was a strike against her. It was as if someone had cut off her limb without even asking her name. Whoever was responsible for the death of Private Daniels was as good as dead.

Moments later with her long, brown hair still dripping from the shower, she had joined her crew on the bridge. None of them were aware of the death of Daniels, unless one of them was the killer. She scanned them with her eyes, piercing, and then finally, she spoke. “Private Daniels is dead.” Everyone began to react. “He was murdered.” She added, louder, over their murmuring.

Silence.

“Someone, or something for that matter, murdered Private Daniels while we were asleep.” She continued.

“Wait a minute,” Doctor Bond spoke up, “What do you mean by something?”

“The wounds seem like bite marks, and non-human at that.” Emily added. “But that’s not for certain, that was just my immediate assessment. Doctor Bond, I need you to conduct a full autopsy of Private Daniels and give us your verdict within the hour.”

“Within the hour?” Bond replied. “I don’t know if—”

“There’s a murderer on this ship, Dr. Bond,” Emily said sternly, “I’d prefer to know who they were right now, but I’m giving you an hour, tops.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t guarantee I can conclude an autopsy in a single hour.” Bond said, crossing his arms and legs, a sign of his disdain for her leadership. “Especially, if we’re talking about a foreign and alien species. It could take days, weeks even.”

It was standard practice for the older generation of her crew to toss their weight around when Emily gave orders. It was partially because of her age, she was only 31 years old, one of the youngest commanders in the universe. And her petite size only added to the difficulty of pushing the old dogs around. She wanted to punch him, flip him on his back and stick a gun in his face, but she knew that wasn’t going to get the job done any faster.

Instead, she stood up tall, as much as she could with her tiny frame and spoke through her teeth. “You will do it within the hour, or I’ll have you charged with obstructing justice.”

Bond sighed deeply, he didn’t like being reprimanded and threatened by a younger officer. “As you wish, Commander.” He stood up to leave.

“Wait.” She said, and he turned around with a red face. “Nobody walks this ship without a partner now. Not until we determine who the killer is and have them tossed into the brigs.”

Bond shrugged in disgust. “I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder. Besides, what if you send the killer with me?”

“Then, I guess you’ll have to arrest them.” Emily said. “Or, they’ll arrest you. But as of right now, I’m treating all of us as innocent until proven otherwise.”

“This is stupid!” Sergeant Marx tossed his hands up and slammed them down on the table. “We all know who the killer is, so let’s just march down to the brigs and put us out of our misery by nuking her butt.”

Others agreed.

“I know, I thought the same thing.” Emily said. “It was the first thought that crossed my mind. So, I had Omega run a scan of her cryogenic chamber, and she hasn’t been out since we exited earth’s atmosphere.”

Another silence.

Marx slammed another fist on the table. “That doesn’t prove anything. I hear she can hack, she probably hacked her way out.”

“While she was asleep?” Emily asked. Marx looked confused, he didn’t know the answer to that. “I know you wanna flex those huge muscles, Sgt. Marx, and I’d like nothing more than to pull a trigger on the face of the person or thing that killed Private Daniels myself. But the fact is that we don’t know enough to start blasting faces off each other, and I need you to buck up right now and be a calm and sturdy component of this crew.”

Marx slouched in his chair. “Sorry, Commander, I’m just so… mad.”

“I know.” Emily said. “Trust me, I know.” She looked to everyone else and sighed. “When a crew member of mine is murdered, that chisels at me, and I will out who killed Private Daniels and put that person where they belong. The brigs or out to space without a helmet. Now pick a partner, and man your stations.” She looked to Marx, “Sergeant Marx, take command of the bridge, I’ll be making a visit to our guest in the brigs.” She looked to Bond, “What are you still doing here? Get your partner and get to work. Private Daniels’ body is located in my officer’s quarters, behind the cryogenic chamber. Move it to the medic center and conduct your autopsy. Send your report via Omega as soon as it’s complete to Sgt. Marx and myself.” She looked back at her crew. “We will meet back here at the bridge after Sgt. Marx and I have had time to analyze the data from the autopsy and consider whatever I get out of our guest.” She looked over at the fresh-faced Jonas Smith. “Private Smith, you’re with me.”

“Yes, Commander.” Smith stood up quickly, knocking her knees against the bottom of the table top. She was a rookie and was eager to serve, but nervous to a point of weakness. “Sorry.”

“Apologize to yourself, Private Smith,” Emily said, “They’re your knees.”

Emily and Smith exited the bridge, and Marx assumed command immediately. He barked out commands in a forceful, gruff voice. People scattered to their stations.

Just outside the doors to the brigs, Emily turned to Smith who was significantly taller than her, and most women for that matter. “Have you ever conducted an interrogation on a suspect?”

“Only in training, Commander.” Smith replied.

“Well, then this will be a learning experience.” Emily said. She entered a six-digit code into a side panel of the door. The doors opened, retracting into the walls.

They entered the room which houses only two, small holding cells. One was empty, and the other had an opened cryogenic chamber. Emily gripped the handle of her gun, still holstered at her side. She didn’t immediately see her prisoner. She saw movement on the corner of her eye, it was coming from the small cot. Her prisoner rolled over, completely covered in the blanket. She pulled it back and revealed her face. She was still thawing out from the long sleep.

“Hello, Commander.” The prisoner said.

“How did you get out of your cryogenic chamber?” Emily demanded, her hand still resting on her gun.

“Omega let me out just a little bit ago.” The prisoner replied. “I can’t stop shaking.”

“Omega!” Emily yelled at the AI.

“Yes, Commander.” Omega replied.

“Did you release the prisoner from her cryogenic chamber?”

“Yes, Commander.”

“I didn’t tell you to do that.” Emily said. “Don’t ever do that again without my authority.”

“Yes, Commander.” Omega said. “It won’t happen again.”

Emily released her grip from her gun. “Looks like your story checks out.”

“Commander,” Omega chimed back in. “I have a report on the crew’s sleeping habits. Shall I report?”

Emily looked at Smith, and then at the prisoner. “Sure, Omega. Report.”

“Only Daniels exited his chamber during the cryotherapy phase of our trip. And, as you know, he had to have been let out by someone else. It appears you have a stowaway.” Omega paused. “That is all to report. May I be of more assistance?”

“Not at the moment. Just keep checking for any abnormalities.” Emily said.

“Yes, Commander.” Omega said and went silent.

Emily stepped closer to the prison bars, the only thing separating her from her prisoner. “Tell me, who are you? And why are you in my custody? What did you do?” It was common practice when transporting high security prisoners to be given the least amount of information possible. The United Nations liked to transport high threat prisoners off the books, so as not to raise alarms and put any information out across the databases that could be hacked by someone wanting to perform a jailbreak.

The female prisoner sat up on the cot, tossed the blanket back and stretched her arms. “The name’s Myrna. That’s all you need to know on that front. My crime is treason, but it’s bogus. I was trying to prevent a hostile takeover. But, the powers that be don’t like being told when they’re wrong, I guess, especially by a woman.”

“Political crimes?” Emily questioned out loud. “What about murder?”

Myrna looked at her coldly. “Not murder. Anyone I’ve ever killed, I did so legally. I’m a bounty hunter. Or, was one, I guess.”

“A bounty hunter, guilty of treason. That is a first.” Emily said. “Can you get out of a cryogenic chamber by yourself? Do you hack?”

Myrna laughed. “No, I don’t hack. And this was the first time I’d been in one of these things. What a mess. You’d think we’d have it figured out a little better by now.”

“Well, here’s the thing, Myrna,” Emily started and walked right up to the bars. “One of my crew members is dead. Someone killed him, tore him to shreds, while the rest of us were sleeping. And I’m half inclined to assume it was you and put a bullet in you right now, just in case.”

Myrna rose from the cot and shuffled across the small cell to the bars. They met face-to-face, “I didn’t kill your crew member. But if I had, I would’ve shot him. I don’t like getting messy.”

Doctor Bond and Private Milton entered the officer’s quarters. And wondered to the back of Emily’s cryogenic chamber. Upon seeing the gruesome site, Milton immediately turned away and vomited all over the floor. Bond examined the scene.

“Yes,” Bond said, “It about matches the description she gave.” He bent down and put on some gloves. He examined the wound at the base of his neck. “Nasty bit of work. Definitely not human. And not any alien bite I’ve seen. Though, I’ve not seen every nasty alien species.” He stood and looked over at Milton who was finally recovering from the initial shock and puking session he’d just enjoyed. “Are you quite finished, Milton?”

“Shut up.” Milton grumbled under his breath. “That’s disgusting.”

“Yeah,” Bond said absentmindedly, looking about the room. “It’s awfully suspicious to me.”

“What?” Milton asked, finally standing up straight again and breathing regularly.

“Well,” Bond started, “The body being found here, right behind the Commander’s cryogenic chamber. I’m not accusing anyone, mind you, just saying that it looks awfully suspicious.” There was a silence while Bond let the paranoia seep in on Milton.

Could the Commander have perpetrated this heinous act?

“Well, let’s stop lollygagging around,” Bond said, “Pick this thing up, and let’s get it back to…” Bond slowly trailed off talking, as he looked back down at Daniels’ body. Something had changed while he had been turned away and talking to Milton. “Here now, what is this?” He moved in closer, and bent down, placing one knee on the ground next to Daniels’ head.

“What is it?” Milton asked, afraid to look.

“Hair.” Bond said. “A lot of it.” Bond looked at the face he had just seen moments ago, and he had recognized it before as Private Benjamin Daniels’ face, but now it was covered in hair and distorted. He examined further up the body and noticed hair on his arms and hands. His fingers appeared swollen and there were claws at the tips. “And, claws?”

“CLAWS?” Milton shouted in horror and looked. He was horrified at what he saw before him, and how it had changed in a matter of seconds for no apparent reason. “What is it?”

“It’s Daniels, somehow.” Bond said. He looked back into the face, he could barely see the resemblance now. “I wonder.” He reached with his fingers to open Daniels’ eyes, to check and see if he even had the same color eyes. He laid his index finger on the eyebrow and his thumb just below the lower eyelid. Before he could stretch them and pull apart his eyelids, both of Daniels’ eyes opened wide up and his pupils quickly dilated and noticed Bond hovering over him. He was alive again, if only barely.

Bond went to push back and away from him, but Daniels’ bit the inside of Bond’s right thigh and tore a chunk out as Bond fell over onto his back. He pushed himself away with the palms of his hands on the floor behind him.

“Milton, help!” Bond yelled.

Milton was frozen, still staring at Daniels, or rather the creature before him. It growled and hissed, but couldn’t move because of the spinal injury it had suffered. It stared at Milton with yellow eyes, desiring to eat him whole. Milton couldn’t think, couldn’t move.

“MILTON!” Bond yelled a second time.

Milton snapped out of it and noticed Bond compelling him for help. He ran around to the other side. He positioned himself behind Bond, and wrapped his arms underneath Bond’s armpits and began to drag him across the floor. The creature growled and barked at them as they made their slow but certain escape.

“There.” Bond said. “Toss me up on her bed, we need to stop this bleeding.”

“But—” Milton didn’t want to stop until they were back to the bridge and in the presence of others, and feeling safe once more.

“No buts,” Bond said, “Do it, or I’m dead.”

Milton reluctantly lifted Bond onto the bed, and pushed him back just enough that his legs were hanging off the edge. “Now what?”

“Find something to tie it off with.” Bond said. “Scarf, towel, shirt, I don’t care.”

Milton ran into a nearby closet and tore through Emily’s apparel, looking for something suitable. He grabbed a black, formal dress with an insignia on the right breast. He spun it around tightly and ran back into the room.

Bond was standing at the edge of the bed, his shirt and pants torn. He turned and looked suddenly at Milton with a jerk of his head. He had turned into the monster as well. Milton froze for a moment, not sure what to do, but when Bond came leaping at him he did all he could. He took a quick snap with the dress and hit Bond in his right eye, he bounced back, and grabbed at his eye while moaning. It was cause for irritation, but only that, so Milton ran around him and headed for the door which lead to the corridor.

Just as he reached the door and pressed the button on the panel to open it, he felt four quick and sharp pains across his back. The door opened and he fell into the corridor on his knees. Bond had slashed him across the back with his claws. Milton went to stand up, but felt a paw push his right shoulder down and he crashed back to his knees. With the other paw, Bond tilted Milton’s neck to one side and reached in for a bite on the neck. The virus leaked from the pours in his teeth and into Milton’s bloodstream. He pulled back from the bite, and then pushed him over to the floor. He walked down the corridor while Milton grouped at his neck and back in pain, crying and wailing for help.

“Commander.” Omega called out to Emily in the brigs.

“Yes, Omega.” She replied.

“There’s been an incident in your quarters.” Omega said, and there was a slight pause. “Again, that is.”

“What is it?”

“Some sort of virus, I’m assuming at this point.” Omega started. “Private Daniels’ reanimated somehow, passed the pathogen on via a bite to Dr. Bond, and from Dr. Bond to Private Milton.”

“Good grief.” Emily groaned.

“Reanimated?” Smith spoke for the first time since entering the brigs.

“Yes.” Omega continued. “As an animal of some kind. Half man, half dog perhaps. I did a quick run of ancient folklore from earth; I believe the appropriate terms are Wolf Man, Werewolf, or Lycan.”

“Yes.” Emily sighed. “That is correct, Omega. Please tell me you have the armory stocked with silver bullets like I always request.”

“Affirmative, Commander.” Omega replied. “But I should warn you. All three are dangerous, though Private Daniels is immobile. Doctor Bond and Private Milton are both moving about the corridors.” There was a slight pause. “It appears Dr. Bond is destroying my cameras in the corridors, Commander. I won’t have eyes on them for much longer.”

“They’re cognitive.” Myrna said.

“It would appear so, Prisoner 4716.” Omega said.

“Thanks.” Myrna replied sarcastically.

“I do not understand.” Omega said. “Why are you thanking me?”

“Forget it, Omega.” Emily interrupted. “Patch me through to the intercom.”

“Are you sure that is wise, Commander?” Omega asked. “If they are cognitive of the cameras, and my AI presence, they may also still understand the English language.”

“I’m aware, Omega,” Emily replied. “Patch me through.”

“Yes, Commander.” Omega said, and a medium length beep sound was heard. “Crew of the Omega, and Prisoner 4176, your Commander has a message. Listen well. The floor is yours, Commander.”

“Everybody listen up,” Emily started, “First things first, Sgt. Marx I need you to lock all entrances to the bridge. Do not, I repeat, do not let in Dr. Bond or Private Milton under any circumstances. Now before you panic, and think they killed Private Daniels, that’s just not true. It appears we are carrying a strain of the Wolf Man virus. I learned about it during my training at the academy. It’s ridiculously contagious and it acts fast. It turns its host into a half man, half wolf—thus the name. The virus can only be killed by silver. When the silver enters the bloodstream of the host, it will destroy the virus. It also, unfortunately will destroy the host. The only cure for the virus will kill the host, that’s just the way it is. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. We have silver bullets in the armory, and Private Smith and I will be retrieving them and bringing them to the bridge.” She looked at Smith, who was white as a sheet at the prospect of having to move through the ship with no eyes on Bond and Milton. Emily continued to address her crew, “In the meantime, you can kill a Wolf Man through blood loss or beheading. However, it is important to remember that since no silver is administered to the bloodstream in those cases the blood spilt is still contagious. Do not touch the blood of a Wolf Man, period. Private Smith and I will be with you shortly. Oh, and one more thing, don’t use the communications, as we have reason to believe that despite their animal nature, Dr. Bond and Private Milton are still very cognitively aware of their surroundings. Your Commander, over and out.”

“So what about me?” Myrna asked from behind the bars of her holding cell.

Emily gave her a cold look. “You better just hope we eradicate the virus before it reaches you.” She looked at the bars. “You might be better off than us with these bars to protect you.”

“Right,” Myrna scoffed.

Emily was nervous for Smith, this was no way to start out as a rookie. She could see that she was already sweating at the thought of their task before them. “Private Smith, ready your weapon. If you see Dr. Bond or Private Milton, start shooting. Don’t hesitate. Any hesitation in this situation could prove fatal. Understood?”

“Yes, Commander.” Smith said with a shaky voice. She cleared her throat and pulled her weapon from its holster, clasping it in two hands before her body.

Emily stepped up to the door of the brigs. “Smith, I’ll lead, you watch my back. Got it?”

“Yes, Commander.”

“Hey, Commander!” Myrna called out to Emily, who turned and looked at her. “Good luck.”

Emily just nodded. She pulled her weapon from its holster, cocked and opened the door. She peered out; first left, and then right. Nothing. And it was all quiet. She gripped the standard issue gun between her sweaty palms, and headed out into the corridor. Smith followed and the door closed behind them. Myrna did not envy them, but she was concerned about how she was going to fend off such a creature if it came into her cell.

Emily and Smith proceeded through the corridors, slowly but surely making their way to the armory. All doors were opened, and they had to stop and clear each room before moving past them. It was a slow, tedious and dreadful task.

The armory was located on the backside of the cafeteria, and they would have to cross the cafeteria before reaching their destination. They’d be vulnerable in the wide open space, as there would be nowhere to hide. Emily and Smith stood at either side to the entrance and looked inside. It appeared empty and quiet.

Emily made eye contact with Smith, her face was covered in sweat and her eyes were wide. “Look, we make to the left wall, and we follow it all the way down. We stick together the whole time. Got it?” Emily said.

Smith just nodded, afraid to speak.

Emily nodded back and stepped into the cafeteria. Smith took her place behind her and they quickly tiptoed across to the left wall. They continued down it, past the metal tables which were sparkly clean. They hadn’t been used yet since the woke from their cryotherapy.

Just as they were about to reach the door to the armory, there was a noise from the corridor. Emily turned and looked back, pulling Smith behind her to protect her. But while Emily looked towards the entrance they’d come through, Smith panicked and opened the door to the armory. She wanted those silver bullets and to put some space and a wall between herself and whoever (or whatever) was coming for them.

The door slid quickly into the wall with a whooshing sound, as all the doors did on the ship, and there was Milton ready to pounce. He was in his new form, and dripping saliva from the mouth. He came flying at her like a wolf pouncing its prey, and he dug his claws into her torso and they went flying back into the kitchen. He ripped into her throat with his fangs, tearing at flesh, muscle and bone as they slid across the floor.

Emily had turned as soon as she had heard the door, and watched in horror as they both vanished into the kitchen in a flight of violence. She ran into the kitchen, took aim and shot Milton twice in his hairy back. He spun around on all fours, growling and ready to attack her, but when he saw who it was he was taken aback and whimpered like a dog. He stepped back from Smith’s body and bowed his head, not making eye contact with Emily. He was acknowledging her as his alpha, and offering Smith to her.

Emily slowly stepped one foot forward, not sure whether she could trust Milton. He stayed bowed, not looking. She took another step and looked down at Smith. She was gasping for air with the gaping whole in her neck, and she tried to apply pressure to it with her hand. Blood poured from it without end. She was already a ghostly shade of white. Her struggle slowly began to whither, and then she apologized. “Sorry. Sorry, Commander. Sorry.” She kept repeating the word “sorry” until the last of her life drained from her.

Emily knew this wouldn’t be the last of Private Smith, unless she put a silver bullet through her. She looked back to Milton who was still cowering in fear. She decided to play the alpha card. She took her gun and hit him with it on the head. He whimpered. “Bad! BAD!” He whimpered and backed up. “Now stay. STAY!” She slowly backed out of the kitchen, her gun fixed on him. “Stay, Milton, STAY!”

She quickly rushed into the armory and grabbed a clip with silver bullets. She loaded it into her gun, and dumped the rest of the silver bullet clips into a backpack. She put the backpack on and went back into the kitchen. Milton was still cowering and whimpering. He had peed himself and a puddle of his own urine was on the floor beneath him. He was standing in it on all fours. Smith was still dead, for now.

Emily took a few steps in and took aim at Milton first. She fired two bullets into the top of his head. He fell over, instantly dead from the wounds. She looked down at Smith, and she saw her eyes change color from the blue they were to a yellowish tint. The change was coming. She fired one bullet into her forehead. The eyes returned a natural blue and rolled up into her head.

She walked out of the kitchen, and approached the nearest table. She sat down for a moment and sighed. She felt like the worst person in the world. How many more of her crew would she have to kill before restoring order to her ship? She wanted to cry, but knew Bond was still on the move somewhere. She didn’t want to be caught off guard by him. Plus, she had the silver bullets and she needed to get those to her crew on the bridge as quickly as possible. She thought of Myrna. If she was a bounty hunter, and according to her preferred guns, she could use her help making it to the bridge. But she didn’t know if she could trust her. She finally decided she could at least trust her up until a point, because they both needed each other to survive the virus. The brigs was on the way to the bridge, and she could quickly release her on the way. She retrieved another handgun from the armory, tossed it in her backpack and set off to the brigs once more.

Emily stepped back through the door to the brigs, and closed it behind her. Myrna stood up from her bed in the cell. “You made it!” She exclaimed, but when she didn’t notice the presence of Smith, she frowned. “I’m sorry about Private Smith.”

“This is how it’s going to be, Myrna,” Emily said sternly, still huffing from the adrenaline. “You’re going to accompany me to the bridge, so we can properly equip my crew with silver bullets. The way I see it, the only way any of us survive this is if we work together to eradicate the virus.”

“Sure.” Myrna said, “Except you’ll still be marooning me on a maximum security prison after this is all over. Doesn’t sound much like surviving to me. Maybe I’ll just take my chances.” She sat back down on the cot and folded her legs.

Emily tore the second gun from the backpack and showed it to her. “You won’t last long without one of these. Trust me, I’ve seen one of these creatures in action.”

Myrna stared at the gun for a moment, and then stood up and took a deep breath. “OK, fine. I’ll help you get to your crew.”

“Don’t make me regret this.” Emily said before unlocking the cell door.

“I know this won’t sound like much to you now,” Myrna said, “But I’m not your enemy.”

Emily and Myrna approached the doors to the bridge, and were not set at ease when they saw the doors had been ripped open. It appeared Dr. Bond had tore through to the bridge. Emily was thinking of the potential massacre that would be laying before them. She was infuriated at the thought of losing her entire crew.

Myrna laid a hand on her shoulder. “Now think about it: it’s likely they’re all dead or changed in there. Do you really want to find that? Or should we just use the escape pod and bolt?” Myrna said.

“I won’t argue with logic,” Emily said, “But those are my crew in there. I won’t leave them without a fight.”

Myrna nodded. “Fair enough.”

Emily and Myrna snuck up on the crashed doors, and peaked inside. The entire bridge of the ship was inhabited with werewolves. Some were sitting, licking wounds they had sustained when being turned. Others were pacing, waiting for something. In the middle of the bridge, sitting in Emily’s chair where she shouted out commands was the good doctor. She could tell it was him because portions of his doctor’s coat was intact. He looked defiant.

Myrna noticed something on the corner of her eye, and looked to see one of the creatures slowly creeping up from around the corner behind Emily. When Myrna made eye contact with the creature it lunged at them.

Myrna pushed Emily out of the way and fired three rounds into the creature. Emily fell into the bridge, startled. And the creature died at Myrna’s feet. When Emily saw what Myrna had done, she thanked her with a gentle nod, but then slowly turned around to view the room. All of the yellowish eyes were glued on her, and they were all growling through their teeth. But none moved, waiting for a sign from Bond, their new alpha. She looked up at Bond who stood from the chair, his chest sticking out in defiance. He growled at her and sneered down at her tiny frame. She slowly rose to her feet, her gun in one hand at the side of her leg. She wondered if she should bother or just run. Maybe Myrna was right.

Bond lifted his head and howled, long and loud. All of the others followed suit, following his lead. And that was enough for Emily, she was tired of the good doctor defying her. She was going to finally just shoot the idiot. She raised her gun to take aim and before she could pull the trigger, Bond reached out and slapped her hand. The gun flew across the room, and his claws tore through her forearm. She spun around and fell to one knee, groping the gash in her arm. Bond howled and the others followed suit again, it was a mockery. He couldn’t just kill her, they had to make a show of it.

Emily looked at her wound, it was bleeding bad. Her adrenaline was driving fast, and her rage was making her hot. That was when she noticed the little hairs start to grow out of the skin on her arm. She could feel a warmth moving across her whole body, and she knew it wasn’t just adrenaline. She was one of them. But no, not just one of them. She was the alpha, the first. It all made sense now, the mystery was solved. Her cryogenic chamber was the only one she hadn’t thought to have Omega check. She had killed Private Daniels, and he had tried to escape her by taking her empty cryogenic chamber. He didn’t come to her quarters for help, he came there to escape her animalistic wrath. She had started this, all of it. She was the host who had brought the virus on them. She had killed her crew. Her and no one else. She was a monster.

“What do you want me to do?” Myrna whispered to her beneath the howls. She had her gun raised, gripped firmly between her palms. She was ready to fight it out with Emily, but was unaware of the change that was taking place inside her. Unaware of the epiphany she had just had.

Emily looked up to her and her eyes changed from brown to yellow. “Run. You run and don’t look back.” Myrna looked at her in shock, seeing the transformation start before her eyes. Emily suddenly jerked her head back, and her face tore out into a wolf’s snout. The fangs cut out through the insides of her mouth. Her arms jerked and snapped. Claws tore through her finger tips and she pointed a claw at Myrna. “I said RUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNGGGGGHHHHH!” She yelled and her voice carried over into a growl.

Myrna didn’t hesitate the second time, and ran out into the corridor. She tore off into a sprint for the escape pods.

Emily turned around to face her adversaries, her own crew. The howling stopped. Bond was staring at her, growling and hissing as she transformed before him. The others slowly backed away from her, and bowed their heads. Bond saw this act of respect, and he growled and barked at them. He even reached with his right claw and scratched up Marx for defying him. Emily barked at him for that act of aggression, and he looked at her, his yellow eyes burning with fury.

Her transformation completed, and she stood up on two feet. In her new form, she was larger than he was and she had an albino coat of fur. Her eyes shifted from yellow to pink. She stared him down and growled in a deep, harsh voice, “You’ve been a very bad dog. It’s time to put you down.”

Bond took one step up on the Commander’s chair and lunged through the air at her. She turned to the side, and caught him with one claw on his throat and the other between his legs. She followed through with the momentum of his jump, and tossed him across the room. He crashed into the wall and fell to the ground. She had pierced his neck and genitals with her claws while catching him. He was whimpering and spitting blood. He pawed at his genitals and held onto his throat. He tried to crawl away from her, whimpering as he did so. She stood over him and looked down on him. He choked and gagged on his own blood. She stood there for a moment, and then turned away and the rest of the crew charged and tore him limb-from-limb while he howled and whimpered in pain.

Emily returned to her Commander’s chair and sat down. A white beast, and leader of her pack.

The crew finished feasting and came over to her. They bowed and rested at her feet.

THE END


Footnote.

  • DO NOT READ THIS BEFORE READING THE STORY. SPOILER ALERT. So, I technically didn’t “kill her” in the traditional sense of the word. If you are someone who has read much of my writing, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I have a tendency to blur certain (traditional) lines. Antagonists are often empathetic characters in my stories, and protagonists are often very flawed. In Emily’s story, she requested to be the antagonist. In a way, she is the antagonist of the plot or conflict, but Dr. Bond is the antagonist of the story. She mostly comes across as a protagonist throughout the duration of the story, until she realizes she was the person who introduced the virus to her crew and was personally responsible for gruesomely killing Private Daniels. All that to get around to saying that I took death as being once you’ve been changed by the virus, because the crew members had to die before becoming a werewolf. Theoretically, Emily was already dead before the story even started, it just took the duration of the story for us (and her) to figure that out.

#ebook, #horror, #longread, #sciencefiction, #scifi, #shortstory, #writing

The Haunting of Weasley Manor, Chapter 1

I’ve had this idea for sometime to write a series of books about a pair of sleuths, an investigative journalist and his adopted teenage daughter. The idea came about many years ago, and has gone through many iterations without much words being written. I don’t do this often with stories, I normally get an idea and jump into the deep end of the pool and start writing. I tried that with these stories at first, and the deep end swallowed me whole. My first outing was very much churning up garbage, so I discarded that and went back to the drawing board. It needed way more development before I could start writing it seriously. Continue reading

#ebook, #horror, #longread, #novel

The Last Man on Earth (1964) Review

Note to self, I need to watch this film. Started to years ago, and never got to finish. To those who know nothing about it, it’s the first adaptation of I Am Legend with Vincent Price. Later, we’d get Omega Man with Charlton Heston. And even later still, we’d get I Am Legend with Will Smith. True story. Well, that those are adaptations of the same story, not that the story is real.

#horror, #movies

Damien Boath’s Festival of Horrors (short story and opportunity)

Damien Boath signed up to be laid out. He is victim #5. You can review the previous entries here. The body count is rising and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. Which is OK with me, I’m fine with selling out, if it means the death of a few people.

You can learn more about the gig and sign up yourself at this link.

Download the Files

Click here to download the files from Dropbox (epub, mobi, PDF and DRM free)

Damien Boath

Damien is a co-host on the podcast Newbie Writers. He is also a writer of fantasy fiction and poetry. He lives down under and is 6’4″, but I have confirmed he is not full of muscle. Most unfortunate. You can find Damien Boath on Google+ and Twitter, should you want to connect with him.

When you sign up for the gig on Fiverr, I make you answer a few questions. And when Damien signed up, there were a few items in his answers that just told me what the story needed to become. Note the screen capture of his answers below:

screen capture of Fiverr answers

Click to enlarge.

In the image, you can see I have emphasized 4 points by underlining them in red ink.

  1. Damien is tall (6’4″)
  2. Medieval fantasy
  3. B-grade horror film
  4. Damien will be the antagonist

Well, I knew that’s what the story needed to be right then and there. And so, the work came alive on its own.

But, enough is enough. On with the story, I say, on with the story. Huzzah!


Damien Boath’s Festival of Horrors

Misty Klovus stepped out of the diner where she worked and said goodbye to her manager, who was always trying to get her to let him walk her home. He was old enough to be her grandfather, but that didn’t stop him from making passes at her every chance he got. He was locking up the door when she took off into a hurried walk. This was usually the moment she took to get away from him during closing shifts.

“Wait,” he shouted to her, “I’ll walk you home.”

“I’ll be fine!” She hollered back, not even bothering to turn and face him when she spoke.

He tried to plead with her one last time, but she shot him down and turned the corner at the end of the block. She had thought of looking for another job to escape his harassment, but the diner was only three blocks from her home and he was pretty much harmless. He just couldn’t take a hint.

She continued at her hurried pace, even though her feet disagreed with her. She had been waiting tables all night, and the soles of her shoes were worn thin. She needed to buy a new pair of work shoes, but couldn’t really afford to do so. Perhaps she could set aside some tip money and save up for it in another month. But this time she’d focus on getting something with a little more padding underneath.

She turned another corner and walked down the middle of the street. When it was late at night, you could do that on her street and stay in the glow of the street lights. She liked it better that way, because on the sidewalks the trees blocked out any light and you were left in the darkness. Her street lights had orange bulbs that illuminated an orange haze on her street. It was a familiar glow to her, and up ahead, at the very end of the cul-de-sac she could see her modest house.

That’s when she first saw it.

Something shinning, glistening in the street between her and her house. She couldn’t make it out, because with each little movement the street lights reflected rays off of it. She kept walking, but steadied her pace. The noticed the more she walked, the larger it got. She couldn’t quite discern all of the features, but she began to make out limbs and a head. It was a figure of some kind, but it didn’t look human.

Her heart was pounding in her chest. She could feel sweat building up on her back and goosebumps broke out on her arms. She slowly started to swerve herself over to the sidewalk, but it followed her movements.

Maybe it was in her head. Maybe it was just some reflection that looked weird no matter which way she looked at it, but it would come to light when she got closer. And she would feel completely ridiculous when it did. She needed to feel completely ridiculous.

As she reached the edge of the curb, and stepped into the shadows, she stopped under a tree. She rested her hand against the tree and watched the figure walk up into the shade of the trees. She got a good look at it for the first time.

It was a knight in medieval armor. She could hear the clanking of his metal on the pavement as he walked. He wore chainmail and a breastplate across his torso. Sheathed at his side was his broadsword. He kept one hand on the hilt while he walked, so it wouldn’t bustle to and fro. Across his breastplate he had a cloth banner, an emblem of a cross. She recognized it as the Knights Templar emblem. Atop his head was a helmet that concealed his entire face with small slits for his eyes to see out.

She wondered if she should still be terrified, or if perhaps this man was on his way to a festival or costume party somewhere. It seemed unlikely, but she was trying hard to turn a weird situation positive. Innocent. She pulled closer to the tree, as if it would protect her from his advances.

He stopped.

He stood just short of the curb. Slowly he turned and deliberately faced himself at her. She couldn’t see his eyes, but she knew he was looking at her. He stood there, staring. She could only hear the sound of her heart and her frantic breathing.

“What are you looking at?” She shouted to him. She couldn’t take the silence any longer, and needed to know if he was a threat or not. She needed to know if she should be running and calling for help on her mobile phone, or apologizing to him for being so easily frightened. He kept staring and said nothing. “I am this close to calling the police.” She yelled.

He reached around his back and pulled out a crossbow with one hand. With the other he pulled an arrow from over the back of his shoulder. She had her answer.

She spun around and took off up the street at a full sprint. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone. She looked back and he was loading the crossbow and walking at the same time in her direction. She turned and darted up onto the sidewalk, weaving between the trees to do so. She kept running, but her feet were really angry with her now. She could feel the blisters bleeding in her left shoe, but she didn’t slow down.

She looked back and couldn’t see but a few steps behind her, the light was being completely shielded by the trees. She wasn’t safe here, either. She needed to make up her mind on where to go.

Her fingers finished dialing emergency services, and she held the phone to her ear. But before she could say anything to the operator on the other line, she heard the firing of the crossbow and realized the glowing of the phone had given him a direct line of sight to her. She went to turn out into the street, but it was too late. The arrow entered into her right shoulder and knocked her to the ground. Her phone fell from her hands, while her hands naturally tried to save her from the fall. After scratching up her palms, and feeling the pain of the arrow. She looked around and saw her phone glowing a few steps from her. She got up and lunged at it, but a second arrow entered her left calf and crumbled to the ground. She wanted to help ease the pain, but she needed to get to her phone. She dragged her leg and inched towards the phone. She could hear the metal feet behind her. He was right on top of her by the sound of it. She reached out with her hand and gripped the phone in her hand.

He stepped on her hand, crushing it and the phone under the weight of the armor and metal. She screamed in pain. The glow of the phone went out.

She looked up and he stood there, towering above her. A dim lamp from a nearby house was casting just enough light to cause his armor and chainmail too shine in the blackness. He was staring at her, not speaking. Keeping silent. “Why are you doing this to me?” She asked. That’s when she noticed the audio recorder. He held it out over her, capturing the sounds of the pain and agony of a person at the end of their life. In the valley of death, facing evil in the face, and he was recording the sounds. “You’re recording this? Why? Who are you? What did I ever do to you? Please, just let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

She heard him moan in discontent underneath his helmet. “No more begging.” He said in a warm, yet emotionless voice. “Just. Scream.”

He slowly pulled the sword from its sheath and she did as commanded.

Officer Ricky Sands had been going door-to-door for an hour, trying to find one witness who could give some insights on what had happened to Misty Klovus. She had only been dead three hours, and the crime scene guys were still scrapping her up off the sidewalk and street. So far they had gotten very little out of witnesses in her neighborhood, except that there was some screaming heard. But no one saw anything. The poor girl had been shot twice with arrows, and then hacked up by a sword—according to the coroner’s initial look at the wounds. Her limbs were tossed around on the sidewalk and street, her left foot was found in a front yard. Her head was left in the middle of the street, and was the first item found when the police responded to her call that operators had only heard brief moments of before the call was cut out.

Sands came to the end of the cul-de-sac, where Misty lived. Only one house left before he entered her home and took a look around there for any helpful evidence. Any indication to who could have committed the terrible attack. Someone who might own a sword and arrows. He felt like he was in a nightmare, that he would wake up soon and share with his wife about how he dreamed he was in a B-grade horror film. They’d be laughing about it over breakfast.

He knocked on the door.

It opened and a small, wrinkly woman was standing there. “What do you want? Do you know how late it is?”

“Sorry to bother you ma’am,” he said politely.

“Miss. T’aint been married for years,” she said, “Don’t assume because I’m old, I’m a ma’am.”

“Yes, my apologies, miss,” he said, “I’m Officer Sands, and we’ve had a murder take place out here on the street where you live. I wonder if you might have heard or noticed anything unusual tonight?”

“No more unusual than normal,” she said.

“How do you mean?” He asked.

“My son, Damien, thinks he’s an artist.” She explained and pulled a cigar out of her bathrobe, which opened up and revealed her skimpy negligee that was scarcely clinging onto her old body. He cringed, and she continued, “He likes making his stories.”

“Sure,” Sands said, “But anything out of the ordinary?”

“No sir,” she said, taking a big puff of the cigar. “T’aint noticed nuttin’ all night.”

“Thank you,” he said, “May I speak with your son briefly? How old is he?”

She looked him up and down, and raised an eyebrow in interest. Sands cringed again. “Sure, officer, come on in.”

She let him inside the little, yellow house with the green shutters. He looked around and it was an utter mess. Stacks of magazines, newspapers, and boxes were all over the place. Columns and columns of magazines and papers, differing in size. You had to follow certain paths to get around. Atop one small column of magazines was a bowl of cat food. He didn’t notice any cats. But it smelled like something rotten. She took him down a path into the living room. There was one spot left open on the couch, between two columns of National Geographic magazines. He recalled a time he and his friends thumbed through them looking for the native breasts of Africa.

“Sit here,” she said and pushed him into the open spot on the couch. The magazines almost fell on him, and he propped them back up. “Let me go get Damien. You just sit there.”

She wobbled out of the room, and he noticed for the first time that one leg was longer than the other. It had to be a dream, he was sure of it. He looked around the room, taking in the chaos of things. She had a book shelf stocked with a collection of lava lamps. They were all plugged into a series of power cables, which were plugged into one outlet. A fire waiting to happen. They were all turned on, and creating a strange and colorful effect in the room. He looked around some more, and saw a series of old lanterns on the dining table behind another couch across from him. That couch had two spots, sunken in, which he assumed meant that one was used more than his couch. The lanterns on the table were of various age and sizes.

“DAMIEN!” He heard the old lady yelling down the hall. He heard a door open, and more yelling, but it was less distinct. He couldn’t hear if Damien responded or not, but eventually he heard the door close again. He then heard the heavy footfalls of someone much taller than the little lady who had answered the door coming closer.

Damien ducked under the entrance to the living room, and stepped inside. Sands sized him up to be about six foot and four inches, roughly two-hundred pounds. He was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, with sweat stains underneath the armpits. Sands noted this as strange, as it was warm and no one was wearing long-sleeves at the moment. He came over to the couch and sat down, spreading his legs across the two open spots on the couch. His mother returned to the room, and started lighting up the lanterns on the dining table.

“Don’t mind me,” she said.

Sands continued to study and look over Damien. He was certainly man enough to have perpetrated the crime, but that didn’t make him guilty. He had no evidence linking him to the crime. But there was something about him that just made his gut churn, which usually meant he had just met the murderer.

“I just have a few questions,” Sands started, “If you don’t mind, Damien.”

“I don’t mind,” he said in a cold, calm voice.

“There was a murder out here on your street tonight,” Sands said, “Were you aware of this?”

“Yes.” He said coldly.

“Did your mother tell you?” Sands asked.

“No.”

“Did you notice anything unusual tonight?” Sands asked.

“No.”

“Hear anything unusual?” Sands asked, and then looked through his notebook to feign looking for his next question, implying his line of questioning was just something he was asking everybody.

“No.” Damien said, his tone always the same.

“Where were you three hours ago?” Sands asked.

“Home.” Damien said.

“Have you been here all night?” Sands prodded.

“Yes,” Damien said, “And all day, too.”

“You didn’t leave the house at all today?” Sands asked. “Not once? Not even to go for a walk? Get some fresh air? I mean, come on, this house isn’t exactly a good source of oxygen.” Damien didn’t laugh or even crack a smile. He just sat there and stared at Sands with cold eyes. Unblinking. Sands tried to understand what might be going through his head, but couldn’t get a read on him at all. He seemed tone deaf to emotion. Sands looked past Damien for a moment, he focused on his mother in that old negligee. He wondered how many times, days, weeks and months Damien had seen his mother in that or similar negligees. He thought of the National Geographic magazines around him, and wondered if Damien too had used them for youthful exploration into the human body. He wondered what other stacks of magazines he might find hiding in Damien’s bedroom. He also wondered about what his mother called his stories. He decided to play nasty by running with his hunch. “You a virgin, Damien?” Damien didn’t respond or blink. “Just curious. It seems to me like it would be really hard to get any action around here, what with your mom and this mess. What girl wants to come in here and push this stuff out of the way? And that smell, what is it even?” He paused for a moment, and Damien was still not phased. “How do you do it? I’d go crazy. You can’t keep these sperm trapped forever, you know what I mean? Of course you do, you’re a guy, like me. So how do you do it? How do you keep sane? Do you go over to the girl’s house? Is that it? Do you hit the stripclubs? That’s expensive though, and you don’t seem like you have a lot of money. What about the internet? Is that it, porn? Porn’s cheap. That’s gotta be it. Wait, I know, don’t tell me,” he stopped and leaned in to Damien, “You and your mom?”

It wasn’t much, but Sands saw a tiny spark or flinch in Damien’s eye. He was getting somewhere with that. There was something between him and his mother that made him break for a moment. He finally reached through his stone cold exterior and found some emotion buried within.

“She seems overbearing to me,” Sands said, “I don’t think I could live with her. And all this stuff of hers, I would have thrown it out years ago.” He could tell it was getting to him, the distain he was casting at his mother. “And, tell me, be honest… has she always dressed like this?” Sands shivered mockingly.

“You do not know my mother.” Damien blurted out in irritation.

“Do you know Misty Klovus?” Sands asked.

Damien almost retaliated, but then paused for a moment to catch his breath. He then said, “No, I did not know her.”

“She’s your neighbor,” Sands said, “Lives next door. How can you not know her? Especially with that body.” He made a sound of approval and rolled his eyes. “Ridiculous.”

“I didn’t talk to her.” Damien said, noticeably getting uncomfortable. His palms were sweaty and itchy, and he scratched them across his knees.

“I don’t know, I’m just saying,” Sands started, “I’d like a piece of that, wouldn’t you?”

“No, I never did.” Damien spouted off.

Sands frowned at him, “Why do you keep talking about Misty in the past tense?”

The name of the victim had not been released to the public yet, they always held that information back until the victim’s family was notified and identified the body.

Damien looked legitimately shocked. He had come into the living room in complete control of his emotions and demeanor, but was breaking down. “Well, because she’s dead. She was murdered. That’s why we’re talking.” He stopped for Sands to reply, but now Sands was the one remaining silent. “Isn’t it?”

“My mom tells me you make stories?” Sands said after a brief moment of silence. “So, what, you write?”

“No.” Damien said.

“You make movies?” Sands said. “I think my son is gonna be a filmmaker someday, he’s always making videos with his little mobile phone.”

“No. I don’t make movies.” Damien said, irritated and scared. His eyes were darting around while he tried desperately to gather his wits.

“Go get one of your tapes, Damien!” His mother rejoined the conversation, overhearing them talking about the stories Damien makes.

“No, mother!” Damien yelled at her. “They’re not ready.” His legs, which had once been spread apart, were now pulled tightly together against his clasped hands. He was slowly but surely becoming emasculated before Sands’ eyes. And his anger was boiling up.

“Oh, shut up!” She spouted back at him. “They sound fine. And like I keep telling you, you just have to take a chance.” She stepped over a small stack of papers and knocked them over, they spilled across the floor and she nearly slipped on them when her slippers skidded across them. “Wait, I think I still have your last one in the stereo.” She stepped up to an old stereo with a tape cassette player on the front. She turned it on, and popped open the tape cassette player. “Yep, here it is.” She closed it, rewound it and pressed play.

Damien stood up from the couch, pointing his finger at her. “Mother, I forbid you to play that tape!”

“You forbid me?” She said in a disgusted tone. “You forbid me? How dare you.” She walked over to him slowly, chewing him out the whole way. Sands tried to focus on the audio of the tape, drowning out her scolding and chastising. All he could hear was some rustling noises of metal that slowly was gaining volume. “How dare you talk to me like that. After all I’ve done for you. After all I did for the two of us. You think it was easy being a single mom in the 80s? You think it was easy raising a no good, deadbeat, godless, thankless son like you?” She slapped him hard across the face.

Amid the silence in the room, Sands continued to listen to the audio on the tape. It was still just strange metal rustling. It wasn’t making any sense, and he slowly began to wonder if it wasn’t going to be some idiot’s metal band music. If he had been barking up the wrong tree this whole time, he was going to feel like utter garbage.

Damien stormed out of the room.

“Yeah, you run!” His mother yelled at him. “When are you gonna hit puberty and let those suckers drop? I could use a man around the house.”

Sands rolled his eyes. He was so sick of the domestic drama. In the least, he could break up their fight and offer Damien the chance to press charges for physical assault against his mother. Which, he obviously wouldn’t do. He stood from the couch, and walked over to the speakers of the stereo. He got up close to hear better. He heard what sounded like a female voice, though it was faint. He got down on his knee and leaned his ear right up to the speaker. He could hear the clanking and rustling of metal. Some of it sounded like the rhythm of footsteps. He heard the female voice again, more distinctly this time, though he couldn’t make out what was said. He reached up with his hand and grabbed the volume knob of the stereo, turning the it up louder. There was a brief silence on the tape, but it was shattered with a long and screeching of metal. It was so loud that Sands pulled back from the speaker. The woman screamed, and then after some rustling and clanking of metal, he heard what sounded to be the first blow against the woman’s body. He heard the sound of blade meeting flesh and bone. It was a sound he’d heard before, when he had been stabbed while working as a beat cop in his early days on the force.

He heard another blow. More screaming. Another blow. More screaming. More screaming. Another blow and another. Silence. Cutting, hacking, chopping. Silence. The tape stopped.

Sands stood up and turned around. Damien’s mother was standing there looking at him with a smirk. “That’s it. That’s what he does, every day. Making those stories. Been doing it for years. It’s a bit macabre for my tastes. But you get the idea.” She seemed oddly proud of her son, if not oblivious.

Before Sands could even muster a word, he watched in a frozen state as Damien came walking back into the living room fully clad in medieval armor. He stuck a sword right into his mother’s back, it pierced straight through and came out just underneath the heart. She didn’t scream, she just gasped and her eyes rolled upwards into her head. Sands could hear Damien screaming in despair under his helmet. He forced her off of his blade and she fell to the floor. Damien stood over her, staring at her, moaning through the metal.

“FREEZE.” Sands pulled his handgun and took aim at Damien. “Drop the weapon!” Damien didn’t comply, still staring at his dead mother. “I said drop your weapon!”

Damien charged at Sands, who fired two shots. One bounced off Damien’s chest, the other of his shoulder. The bullets only slowed the inevitable. Damien stuck Sands through the chest with the sword, clasping the hilt with both hands, he shoved him into the stereo. He raised him up with the sword off the floor, Sands feeling the pain of the sword in his chest. Damien turned him quickly and pinned him against the wall with the sword.

Sands was just inches off the floor, just high enough he couldn’t reach with his toes and give himself relief. His heartbeat was becoming irregular and he knew he didn’t have much time. But there was no way he was letting Damien live to kill another soul.

Damien was face-to-face with him, yelling unintelligible things through his helmet at Sands.

Sands looked past Damien and saw the lava lamps and lanterns. This was his chance. He took a deep breath, and then lifted his legs up and wrapped them around Damien, pulling him in close. He wrapped his left arm around his helmet and held it tight. He pressed the barrel of his gun against the slit for Damien’s left eye. “This is not your night, Damien.” Sands said, and then pulled the trigger.

Damien screamed in pain and thrashed, trying to break free of Sands’ grasp, but he would not let him go. He held him with his left arm and legs, and then took aim at the shelf and fired two more shots. Three lava lamps shattered and spilled onto the dangerous collection of cables below. Sparks began to fly, and eventually flames. He took aim at the lanterns on the table, which was a further distance, and he knew it was going to take more effort for accuracy. He was losing strength between the sword and Damien’s thrashing in pain. He knew he only had two more shots left. They had to count. He took several deep breaths, and then fired two shots. The first missed and hit the wall. The second took out two lanterns, and the fire spread quickly across the table. The old table cloth beneath them was also helpful to the cause. Within a matter of minutes the flames were eating up the walls of the dining room, and a few minutes after that the magazines and papers were spreading the fire further through the house. But what Sands didn’t realize was that the nasty smell was of kerosene, and it was caked all over the walls of the house from an improper use of kerosene heaters through the years. The house would be a mere pile of ashes within twenty minutes.

Within that time, Sands tossed his gun with the emptied clip, and held tightly onto Damien. Refusing to let him go, he held him there, making sure he would not escape the flames. Together they enjoyed the embrace of the tongues of fire, Sands taking pleasure in knowing Damien died before him.

Misty Klovus’ case would be turned over to Cold Case a few months later.

THE END

#ebook, #horror, #longread, #shortstory, #writing

The Affairs of Mrs. Blackwater, Chapter 1

Author’s note.
I’ve had this desire to get back to writing some horror again, and in that vein I started developing a story tentatively titled The Affairs of Mrs. Blackwater, which will likely be my homage to the old school Hammer Horror and Universal monster movies. Below is my first jab at the opening chapter of the story, which has been nudging me for the past few days to be written.

Hope you enjoy, and let me know how I’m doing and what you think? Would you read it? Does it have your attention? What’s your favorite Universal monster movie (Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, etc)?


Chapter 1.
Godfrey Townsend entered the office of Manchester and Townsend, and found the remaining owner of the original partnership, Luke Manchester greeting him with a smile.

“Godfrey, how good to see you.” He gestured to his office. “A word?”

“Yes, sir.” Godfrey recited his usual response. “May I?” He began to remove his overcoat, which was dripping from the rain being dumped on Whitechapel without mercy. “A moment to dry off?”

Manchester nodded sternly and retreated to his cold office.

Townsend deposited his hat and coat on the rack, and took up near the fire that was nearly all but ashes. He picked up the poker and bent over to stoke it some. The coals were still hot, and he moved them around a bit, encouraging them to do their purpose. He found a few logs to the right of the mantel, and laid them neatly above the coals and attempted to get warm. It was a nearly fruitless task, as the office just did not hold heat. And the cold streets of Whitechapel rolled their brisk air under the doors, around the window panes, through the ceiling and even down the chimney.

Standing there his mind wandered from him, as his eyes met a portrait on the mantel. It was a small oil painting, a likeness of his grandfather, who was the founding father of the firm. His name now relegated to second place behind Manchester, and would likely remain so. Manchester was a crude business man, and Townsend always had trouble understanding why his grandfather ever went into business with such a man. It was his father, Robert Townsend, who had found himself in debt, who allowed himself to foolishly give up 25% of his half of the firm. Manchester had told him, it would suffice as a loan while he paid off the debt that was breathing down Robert Townsend’s neck. That in a year or so, he could easily buy it back and become half owner once more. But Robert Townsend had underestimated the shrewd and greedy nature of Manchester, and he found this out when he went to buy back his piece of the pie. Manchester simply sneered at him and said, “I’m not selling at the moment. Sorry.”

Townsend took a deep breath, not sure what to expect from Manchester on this damp morning. He was sure of one thing, it wouldn’t be getting back the 25% his father fizzled away.

He picked up his messenger bag, dusted the rain off the side with his sleeve and entered Manchester’s office.

“Have a seat, boy.” Manchester just loved to call him boy. He smiled a wicked grin behind his white beard. “I’ve got an important task for you. Are you up to it?”

“Yes, sir.” He sat and held his messenger on his lap.

“Well, pen and paper. Write this down.” Manchester also loved making him take notes, as if he were just some messenger boy writing a note to deliver to the cook about how many eggs to use for breakfast.

Townsend took out a quill, ink and paper. He sat the ink on the edge of the desk, popped the top off and dipped immediately. “Ready, sir.”

“There’s an old bird up in Wolfedale.” He stopped and sneered over his small, round lenses in their wiry frame. “Have you heard of this, boy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Right. Well, this bird has had an account with this firm since its first year of establishment. And, up until last night, was an excellent client.” When he spoke, he looked around the room as if he had an audience.

“What happened? Did she drop the account?” Townsend asked.

“No. She died.”

“Oh, well, sorry to hear that.” He tried to be empathetic, afraid Manchester was going claim he really liked the old woman.

“Good riddance, really.” He picked up some warm tea and took a sip. “But…”

“But what, sir?”

“She was rich… filthy rich… and lousy at accounting.” He sighed long and hard. Then he spoke fast and sharp, like a ball from a canon. “I need you to ride to Wolfedale, and check into their Inn for a few days while you sort out the affairs of the late Mrs. Blackwater.” He raised a file from his a drawer and placed it on the desk between them. “This will give you the address, and some background to her account with us.” He bit his lip. “I never could get her to come in and write up a will, the stubborn old bird. Even sent one of our agents down there once.” He stopped again.

“Well, what happened?” Townsend asked.

“I didn’t get that will.” He leaned forward on to the desk, resting his heavy arms across the file, still unwilling for Townsend to look at it. “I’m going to be honest with you, Godfrey.” Which meant he was about to lie. “This isn’t going to be easy. A lot of paperwork to sift through, no doubt. But, it is very important to me that you do this. And that you do it well. It’s a test in a way, to see if you’re ready to take on some more responsibilities around the firm. What, with your piece of the partnership, it stands to reason you should.”

Townsend could see that it pained him to admit he owned a piece of the company. “I’ll do my best, sir.”

“You won’t.” He spoke sharply. “You’ll do better than your best. Because I’ve seen your best, and it wasn’t good enough.”

“Quite right, sir.” Townsend hated these conversations, and always looked for the easy way out, which usually involved agreeing to a lot of things he didn’t agree with. “When shall I start with the Blackwater account?”

“Now, boy!” He finally released the file from his arms and sat back up in his chair. “I’ve already sent a telegram ahead of you to reserve a room at the Inn. The owner is a friend of mine, treat him nice, and tell him I sent you.”

“Yes, sir.” He rose to his feet and turned to leave, but Manchester called him back for one more thing. It was his standard practice to intentionally forget something.

“Oh, yes.” Manchester said. “And one more thing…” He opened a drawer and pulled out a revolver. He dropped it on the desk for effect. “Do you have a pistol, boy?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, then take this one. It’s old, but it gets the job done.” Manchester smiled a queer sort of smile.

“Why would I need a gun, Mr. Manchester?”

Manchester’s eyes darkened and he leaned forward once more. “Because there are all manner of beasts in those woods near Wolfedale, and you will want a proper companion.” He patted the revolver.

For once, Townsend had to disagree, though it came out as a whisper. “I don’t like guns.”

“Trust me, boy, when you have to decide between a wolf chewing the flesh off your bones and pulling a trigger… you’ll choose the trigger every time.” He gestured the pulling of a trigger with his finger as he spoke.

Townsend caved, and took the revolver with six rounds in its chamber. He gently placed it in the bottom of his messenger and headed back out into the Whitechapel rain.

#fantasy, #horror, #novella

Jason Richard Wright, Chapter 1

Cassie
Jason Richard Wright was a modest, young man. He was shy and had a smile that cracked under pressure of use. He was harmless to the eyes, ears and was easily offended. But, he seldom lost his cool. He was notorious for taking insults with a shy turn of the head and bashful lower of the eyes.

Jason Richard Wright was a hopeless romantic. He kept his eyes peeled for that one girl who would change his world. He knew that somewhere out there, amidst the cosmos, was a girl with his name carved into her forehead. They were both just waiting for that chance encounter, that moment. The moment when they would cross paths and they would just know.

Her name was Cassie. He overheard one of her girlfriends call her by such one afternoon and he knew within his heart that this was the one. He was emptying a library can into a larger can for dumping outback. Jason Richard Wright was a custodian for the university and he didn’t mind, after all, “A little dirt never hurt no one,” his mom often instructed him as a child. The hours were few, but the pay was decent enough for living. For Jason Richard Wright this was enough.

Cassie was a student, maybe 21 maybe 19. In these days, it’s hard to tell the difference. She had medium-length, wavy dusty blond hair and a frame that was fragile and petite but sent a message of independence and strength. Jason Richard Wright was smitten with the love bug.

He was never much with speech, but he tried so. He once followed Cassie and a group of her girlfriends halfway across campus just trying to summon the courage to walk up and say, “Hello.” In the end, she entered a classroom and spoke to a boy more her age and he turned and left. It was after this that it began to become a nasty habit. He’d be mopping a floor, turn and see Cassie walking. He would then set his broom down and pursue her, then she’d turn into a classroom or a bathroom and Jason Richard Wright would go back to the mop.

One night, Jason Richard Wright had endured all he could take. He abandoned his custodial duties and made his way to Jenkins Hall. It was there he waited for Cassie’s class to end, she came out talking with two girlfriends and a boy. They headed out and Jason Richard Wright followed from a distance. In the McHammon Memorial courtyard, the two girlfriends departed from Cassie and the boy and went into another direction. Jason Richard Wright continued to pursue Cassie and the boy. There’s a walkway which goes beneath a business intersection, it’s decorated with gravity of the vulgar kind. At night, the walkway is barely lit with one light bulb in the center of it. Cassie and the boy entered the walkway, Jason Richard Wright stood without. The boy reached above his head, standing on his heels. Cassie giggled as the boy turned the light bulb, loosening it so that the light goes out. Jason Richard Wright bent down, using the angle to place the street light out the other end of the tunnel to make silhouettes of the two. He watched their dark figures lean into each other and against the wall, they kissed passionately. As they embraced and kissed, Jason Richard Wright felt a cold touch scrape his spine and there was a tingle in the base of his neck. This was followed with a queer warm feeling that immersed from his feet and flooded upward to his head. He felt his eyebrows lower into a scolding fashion. His jaw locked and began to grind. He watched as the boy began to touch Cassie in, as Jason Richard Wright would later say, “inappropriate places.” His left fist clinched and he involuntarily punched the concrete wall near him, it sent a smacking sound through the walkway. Cassie and the boy became startled, she giggled and the boy laughed. They turn and ran into the night.

Some time had passed, how much Jason Richard Wright was unaware of. He was depressed, he was upset. It was late and he sat in the custodian closet of the library, it was located in the basement and offered a retreat to him. He worked alone in the library custodian duties and few students came to the basement, as it was mostly comprised of newspapers from other eras. He sat in a chair that was tall, skinny and on wheels. It was red. He stared into his bulletin of reminders before him.

There was a gentle knock on the door, it then slowly opened.

“Hello,” her voice called out softly, “Hello, you here, man?”

Jason Richard Wright recognized the voice in an instant, he tightly gripped a yellow-handled flat blade screwdriver on his table in front of him. He slid it onto his right thigh and turned around on the pivot of the chair. He looked at Cassie, she stood just inside the door with an empty coke bottle in her hand.

“Hey, I got this bottle, but I couldn’t find any recycle bins to put them in.”

“Please close the door,” Jason Richard Wright spoke with all nerves removed, “I like to keep the closet warm.”

“Okay,” she replied; she complied by shutting the door, “Where do you want this?”

“I’ve got the recycle bins over here,” he explains, “I was cleaning the soda stains out.”

“Oh, thanks, man,” she walks towards him and the bins with the bottle in hand.

Jason Richard Wright felt his eyebrows lower, his jaw locked and it began to grind. Much later he would tell Cassie where to put the bottle.

#crime, #horror, #novellas