Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas In A Strange Place

This post is another answer to a Chuck Wendig flash fiction call. He asked us to write about any situation that would fulfill the strange Christmas request.

I have had little Elizabeth in my head for a while. She's been begging to have a story written about her, so she gave me the following.

I call it...


 “Wake up, Elizabeth. It’s Christmas.”

A small Elizabeth shifted away from her brother’s shaking, deeper under the covers.

“Elizabeth, come on!”

Elizabeth grunted.

“Let’s see what presents Santa brought us!”

Elizabeth’s eyes opened, filled with excitement, if only for a moment. William had already jumped out of bed.

It was very quiet.

As she sat up, her excitement left her. She knew what to expect.

Pretty soon her parents were beside her bed, urging her to get up. She did so reluctantly, with a scowl on her face.

Passing by a small window, Elizabeth could see that it was dark outside. She sighed.

“Come on kids,” said their father, smiling brightly as he guided them to a small table set with bowls at each place.

They all sat down and soon the clinks of spoons scooping and scraping at the bowls filled the air. Elizabeth didn’t eat a thing. She only watched the others and felt angrier.

They finished up, leaving the bowls on the table.

“Let’s go see if Santa came,” said their father, clapping his hands together. His happiness gnawed at Elizabeth. She crossed her arms. No one seemed to notice.

William was the first to get to the tree.

There were presents under it, of course, and Elizabeth watched as he fell to his knees, beckoning for her to come sit next to him.

She shook her head and didn’t move.

William shrugged and began to pass out the presents.

Elizabeth’s became a pile at her feet.

The others opened their presents, sharing their surprise and excitement.

With the last present open, one by one, they looked at Elizabeth with concern.

Her mother spoke first.

“Why haven’t you opened your presents, Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth was exasperated.

“My presents?” barked Elizabeth. She bent down and picked up one of the still wrapped presents. “You mean this doll?” She put it back down and grabbed another. “Or this bag of candy?” Reaching for the last one, she said, “How about this set of new hair clips?”
Her parents stared at her blankly.

Elizabeth pushed the presents away from her with her foot.

“Did you go snooping?” asked her father, who was beginning to be cross with her.

“Snooping? I don’t need to snoop! I always know what they are.” Elizabeth started pacing and flailing her arms as she spoke. “You do, too! You’re just blind to it.”

“What do you mean?” her mother broke the silence with a whisper.

“Think about it! Every year it’s the same thing. William gets a ball, a set of jacks, and some licorice. Father gets a tie, and some socks, and mother gets some powder and a kerchief.”

They all began to look at their presents and back to each other in shock.

“You still don’t see it, do you?”

Elizabeth marched to her brother. “Come here.”

William got to his feet, and their parents did the same.

Elizabeth took them by the window where the first rays of morning were softening the sky and back to the table.

Elizabeth grabbed a bowl.

“See. They’re empty.”

She walked around the table tilting each bowl so that they could see.

“But we finished our meal,” said their father, trying to sound strong but squeaking out the last word.

“But look at mine.” She showed it to them. It was empty and clean. “I didn’t eat.”

Her mother’s eyes were starting to brim with tears.

“You could be tricking us,” her mother pleaded, her hand covering her mouth.

“You still don’t see!” Elizabeth squealed.

She grabbed William’s hand again and led them out of the room, down the stairs.

They all stopped abruptly at what they saw.

There was another family in the living room. They were sitting at a Christmas tree, and a small child was opening presents.

“What is this?” asked their father.

Elizabeth said nothing.

Their father walked slowly toward the people.

“Excuse me, but who do you think you are, breaking into my house?” He shouted as he stood with his hands on his hips.

The family did not answer, did not even acknowledge him.

Getting annoyed, the father walked in front of the other man.

“Now see here,” he said, stooping down in front of his face.

The man kept laughing with his wife, looking through their father.

Elizabeth went to her father. His face had turned blank, and he let her guide him away. Her mother’s soft cries could be heard behind them as they walked back up the stairs to the attic.
When they opened the door to their room, everything had changed. They could see the dining room table was really an old piece of furniture, beat and banged up. Elizabeth and Williams bed was an old washtub, the Christmas tree, an old, broken coat rack.

The room wasn’t bright and happy anymore; it was brown and dirty.

“We died in this house many years ago, on Christmas Eve night. There was a fire. See?” Elizabeth pointed at the black marks that spread up the walls to the roof.

Their father held their mother as she sobbed.

“We’ve been here since then. We always celebrate the same Christmas that we died. Every year. That’s how I knew what presents I would get.”

Turning back, their true form appeared. Burned and scarred, the family saw each other as they really were.

For the first time, they could accept their fate.

Elizabeth walked to the small window.

Her family joined her, and they held each other tight.

The snow fell softly outside as the sun rose above the horizon.

Elizabeth and her family faded away together, into the light.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have a new flash fiction story to offer you folks. Finally. After doing Nanowrimo, and other projects, I realized how much I missed my flash fiction. They keep the pot stirred, so to speak, and are like a taser to the ol' creative jugular. 

Without further ado, here we go. Enjoy!


The rain fell as a mist, sticking to Stew Boy’s skin. The grime slicked down his stubbled cheeks. He reached up absently and wiped at it, smearing black streaks across his jaw. He sat on the cold cement sidewalk, his back up against an unforgiving wall.

His craving had become uncomfortable a few hours ago. He wouldn’t make it through the night without starting the tremors and sickness if he didn’t get his fix.
Grabbing a piece of newspaper from beside him, Stew Boy draped it over his head to shield his face from the rain.

He dozed off for a few hours, and woke up to the feeling that he was going to be sick. He turned his head just in time to begin retching on the sidewalk. He missed himself, but the spams racked his body, causing him to jerk and shake.

In between bouts, he felt something grab his shoulder rough. His eyes were watering, and his vision blurred, but he barely made out the silhouette of something running fast down the end of the alley. On the ground beside him was a piece of folded paper.

Stew Boy picked it up, and found this note inside:
            You need it, we got it.
            Go to 11753 Harlan

Once the sickness had passed, he got to his feet, and began to stumble down the alley. Harlan wasn’t too far away, but something in his gut was telling him not to go. Twice he stopped, ready to turn back, but his body was steadily detoxing, and he needed, no, he wanted the drugs.

By the time he reached Harlan, his hands were shaking so bad they kept coming out of his pockets. Blinking back tears, he struggled to see the numbers on the old, decrepit buildings.


It hurt so bad.


His legs didn’t want to cooperate.


Stew Boy groaned with each step. He would be crawling if it was much longer.
His toe stumbled on a crack in the sidewalk, causing him to fall to his knees. His pants ripped, and blood ran fresh down his leg.

Crumpled up, he lay on the sidewalk; his body contorted in the fetal position, crying so hard there was a trail of snot running down his lip.

After a few minutes, he lifted his head to see that 11753 was one house away.

Stew Boy got to his feet for what he hoped was the last time that night and limped to the old house.

The windows were boarded up, and most of their glass was missing. There was spray painting on the sides of the house.

Pushing at the front door that was barely hanging on the hinges, it popped right open with a loud squeak.

The inside was worse than the outside, if that was possible. The floor was speckled with holes, and in between, the floorboards were thin and dangerous.

He lumbered as carefully as he could through the house, poking his head into each of the rooms. Finding nothing, he scoffed that he could have been so stupid to begin with.

His shaking started to get bad again, and his heart was pounding.

Stew Boy noticed there was one door that was closed.

He went to it and tried to turn the knob. It didn’t budge. The door itself was warm.

Stew Boy was desperate, and threw himself at the door repeatedly.

Finally it opened with a crash, throwing him out of balance. He held onto the door to keep from falling.

It was very dark inside, moist and warm.

He paused trying to see anything, but his eyes wouldn’t adjust.

Feeling his way back, he reached for the wall to get a grasp on the room itself. His hand touched something wet and slimy. He recoiled as a reaction.

“Don’t go,” a deep voice croaked.

“What the hell?” said Stew Boy, his eyes straining at the dark.

The doorknob jerked out of his hand and the door slammed shut.

Stew Boy yelped.

A wet sound started to fill the room.

Stew Boy reached into his pocket and found a lighter. He flicked it and squinted.

The walls were moving.

They were wet, red, and moving, all at once, in vertical lines, like rippling, wet tubes.

He held the light out, moving around in circles. His breath came out in short gasps as he took in the scene.

Quickly he started to look for the door, and thinking he might have found it, he lunged forward.

The wall in front of him started to bubble outward. A head and face grew.

It was in Stew Boy’s face now. Small, red eyes and a mouth opened simultaneously.

A loud scream came from it. Before he could make a sound, the head lifted up, and came down directly on top of Stew Boy.

It began to swallow him whole, gulping him in like a snake.

The walls stirred more quickly, erratically.

Stew Boy was but a lump in the tube on the wall that was attached to the head, which started to recede back into the other lines. The lump moved down. All of the lines trailed down the walls, to the floor, where there was a large hole.

They pulsed into the hole, and the lump that was Stew Boy was pushed down into the darkness.

Far away screams came forth from the hole.

Faces began to come out of the walls.

In the midst of the moving walls, a man stood near the corner, his face wet.

A piece of paper fell from his hand to the floor.

Beside the man a new face formed from the wall.

Stew Boy opened his new, red eyes, his mouth unhinging in a hideous grin.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Woods

This story is a call to Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge to create a brand new monster. Monsters are my thing. They breed inside my head like a swirling mass of snake orgies. When one is written down, a new one is born. I see them in my dreams, I hear their bastard noises in my head as I write. 

So I couldn't pass this one up, right? 

I give you my little homage to the recent news of a possible ancient kraken. Those articles really seeded into my brain and I spun this tale on a whim. I hope you enjoy!


He could hear the raspy breathing.

David hunkered down in the dark woods, trying to stay quiet. His heart pounded hard in his chest and he was sure that would give him away.

He thought of his wife and children, how they were probably sleeping sound in their warm, familiar beds. For a moment, a streak of warmth spread through him, only to be replaced by an ice-cold dread that ran through his bones when he heard twigs break nearby.

He couldn’t stay here in the open, hiding feebly behind a tree.

Before he could talk himself out of it, he peeked around the side in the direction the noise had come from. It was so dark that most of the forms were nondescript shades of black in the night. The trees canopy blocked out almost the entire moon light, leaving him mostly blind.

Something moved in front of him and slightly to the right.

He took off in the opposite direction.

With his body tucked tight and low, he ran. His feet hit the ground, light and swift. He was amazed at how little noise he was making.

He took off in a sprint, running a zig zag pattern occasionally, other times straight shots in one direction, trying to lose it yet waiting for it to grab him from behind.

Glancing back over his shoulder, he wasn’t sure, but it looked like there might have been movement about 30 feet behind him. It wasn’t directly behind him; instead it was as if the thing was paralleling him, merely staying with his pace.
He knew he would have to stop soon. His breath felt like fire in his chest, each burst burning up his trachea, rushing out his open mouth. Sweat fell into his eyes, stinging, but he didn’t care. It had been many years since he had ran like this. Honestly he didn’t know how he was doing it now, other than the sheer, raw feeling of survival coupled with fear coursing through him.

Another glance, the same. Suddenly his leg met with a sharp object. He fell head over feet to the ground, rolling onto branches, twigs, and the mossy floor below. Pain shot through his left leg and he heard a sickening snap as the bone broke.

His sharp scream bit into the night.

When he came to a stop, he was disoriented from the tumble and his body began to throb with the pain.

It was here.
It was stopped, and looking at him, its head cocked to one side.

The shiny, almost transparent skin was rippling. Two large eyes slanted upward, moving their gaze over him.

Tentacles, too many to count, all sizes and lengths, undulated in a never-ending spiraling mass around its body.

As he watched, it moved forward using two thick legs that bent backward, the opposite of our own. The tentacles curled up at their ends and touched the earth much like an ape’s fists.

When it was directly beside him, it leaned its enormous head over his body and peered over him.

Afraid to move, and no longer noticing the pain, he watched.

Slowly a mouth opened underneath its eyes. It started as a small slit, and enlarged to a gaping hole. Many teeth glistened, and it drew breath in large gasps.

Watching its mouth, he never saw the tentacles fold in over his body. Quickly they lashed onto him, and the poison was warm, filling his body with a pleasant numbness.

It drew him up under its body. There was no more pain in his leg.

His body rolled a few times once it reached the creatures belly, and he could make out the strong legs. They were covered in a course, sparse fur, and flexed with each small movement.

They began to move.

He began to feel as if he were being pulled backward through a tunnel. Now he couldn’t feel anything. It reminded him of being numbed at the dentist office, only all over his body. That thick, spongy feel covered him.

He could hear the sound of water. It was the lake.

Still, he felt no fear.

Nearing the water, it lowered itself to the ground, splaying the tentacles out all around.

He could barely see anything now. Everything seemed so far away.

It drug him along the ground, sliding and pulling him at the same time.

They entered the water, and slipped in with ease.

When the water filled his lungs, he felt nothing.

His vision merely left him. Faded out.

The creature swam deep, taking him to its nest.

Once there, it tore him limb from limb.

But he was already gone.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Hello all! Well, it's been a month since I've last posted, and I feel bad that I let this happen. Things got in the way. Life... got in the way. But I have been blessed to have more writing projects come to me, and I have been busy in other ways, too. 

I wasn't sure what to come back with until it hit me one day. It's getting close to Halloween, my favorite time of the year, so why not do a post about Halloween. This is also going to be about the history and origins of trick or treating because there are so many wonderful memories of this for me. 

So here we go. It's like riding a bicycle. You never forget, you only have to keep your balance. :)


October 31. It's Halloween. What you and I think of as Halloween wasn't always around. In fact, Halloween was originally called All-Hallows-Even in 16th century Scotland. The word became shortened over many years into the current Halloween. 

The Celtic festival of Samhain can be connected to Halloween. Samhain marked the end of the harvest. It's also been explained to mark the end of the lighter part of the year, leading into the darker, and in this way it can be regarded as a new year celebration. Samhain can be traced back to medieval Ireland in the 10th century.

All Saints falls on the following day, November 1. The definition for All Saints varies within religions. For instance, for Western Christians, it signifies a day of commemoration for all who have attained beatific vision in Heaven, yet for Roman Catholics, it is for the faithful who have passed on but have not been purified or reached Heaven. It is thought that the Roman Catholic church was trying to do away with Samhain, and therefore began All Saints to take the attention from Samhain. Needless to say, it didn't work.

For Wiccans, Samhain is a celebration started at sundown, where some will celebrate those who are deceased. Some rituals involve inviting the dead to join them in the festivities. Samhain is considered a festival of darkness for Wiccans, and would be an opposite to their spring festival of Beltane, which celebrates light and fertility.

Samhain is considered in the Gaelic culture to be the time of the year when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead would be at their thinnest, allowing the dead to come back into our world and cause mischief. This reasoning was attributed to sickness or diseased crops.

The use of costumes were employed in order to trick the spirits of the dead. If a person looked like they did, the spirits would purportedly leave them alone and continue on to wreak havoc somewhere else. Food was sometimes left outside of their doors that night to draw in the good spirits, while the others who had dressed up would go through the towns and villages making much noise in order to scare the bad spirits away.

The familiar jack o' lantern was originally carved from turnips in Ireland and Scotland. In America, pumpkins were more abundant and larger, making it easier to carve. Making a jack o' lantern can be traced to 1837, but was connected to the harvest. It became associated with Halloween around the mid 19th century. 

Souling was a practice made for All Saints Day in order to celebrate the dead, where children and the poor would go from door to door, singing and requesting a soul cake. These cakes were filled with sweet spices, raisins or currants, and topped with the mark of a cross. Glasses of wine were also set out with the cakes. The children would call out in song and say prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would be symbolic of a soul being freed from Purgatory.

There is a Peter, Paul and Mary song from 1963 which speaks of this tradition:

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!
Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul, & three for Him who made us all.

Souling was thought to be the practice from which modern day trick or treating evolved from. Another early practice similar to trick or treating is guising. This was recorded in Scotland in 1895 at Halloween, and included people dressed up in costume carrying turnips that had been scooped out and used as lanterns, going from home to home receiving cakes, fruit and money. 

Guising in America can be traced back to 1911, 1915, and in Chicago in 1920. The phrase "trick or treat" was written about in 1934. Trick or treating, as we know, appears to have become widespread in America during the 1930s. 


In October 1947, the children's magazines Jack and Jill, and Children's Activities, spoke of trick or treating. The Peanuts comic strip mentioned it in 1951. In 1952, Walt Disney released the cartoon Trick or Treat, and the surge went forward from there.

When I was a child trick or treating in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a brief scare surrounding the activity. Fear of items being introduced into candy such as razor blades, poisons, and needles became a serious concern. Nationwide the alarm was sounded, and the once innocent act of trick or treating became cloaked in parental fear. Kids were no longer allowed to eat their candy straight from the bag, but instead brought it home to be inspected first. Some hospitals offered free x-ray services as a means of precaution.

Halloween has always held a special place in my heart, and I'm sure it always will. I hope you enjoyed reading a little of the fascinating history surrounding this holiday. There were many points that I did not write about, so if you know of anything to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments, or simply tell me if you like Halloween as much as I do!

Information in this post was found at various locations such as: Wikipedia,,,,, and

Monday, September 5, 2011


I have Chuck Wendig to thank, once more, for another inspired blog post. His challenge for this week was based on the theme of revenge. Any genre.

I know my last post was a crime laden tale, and, surprisingly, this one is, too. 

He gave us 100 words this week instead of 1,000. An entire story, not a vignette. This was a challenge, but a fun one.

I give you my offering.


"You did it and now you will pay."

The gun dug into the soft skin under his chin.

He swallowed and choked out, "Please, I didn't know."

"You saw us together. You knew she was mine."

There was a sharp pain and a loud crack as the baseball bat met his ribs.

He bawled like a baby.

"You did it and you will pay."

He could hear the trigger being squeezed.

"No, please!" he shrieked. His hands, tied behind his back, opened futilely.

The gun fired and he fell to the floor.

"She's all mine now," she said.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who's Got the Money?

When Chuck Wendig issued his weekly flash fiction challenge, I looked at it thinking, I don't know much about guns and crime is not really my modus operandi, so I filed it in the back of my head and figured I would skip this one. The prize, however, was very tempting. He would pick his one favorite story and the writer would receive a copy of CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA by Frank Bill. Well, hello howdy, that was some incentive. The thought of getting that precious gem in my hot hands was eating at me all week. 

What happens but twenty minutes before the shut off for getting my story in, I have a glimpse of a tale involving crime and guns. I decided to write it and even though I won't be considered for the book, I would have challenged myself to write something I normally wouldn't. We'll call it an exercise in crime, or futility. Whatever. 

The story follows, and I hope you enjoy. It's short and to the point, and it just may be a little too predictable, but please take it for what it is: a fun little foray into crime and guns on a Friday afternoon. 

Who's Got the Money?

“For fuck’s sake, you could have gotten us killed!”

Bob used the butt of his gun to whack Toby up the side of his head. A dull thud resulted.

“B-buh ma gun jambed,” said Toby, holding his head.

Ma gun jambed,” Bob mocked. “You’re a fucking idiot. You’re lucky I don’t use the other end on you.” Bob panted his words out in choppy syllables as they sat in the darkened room.

“Th-thorry, d-don fweak out.”

“Freak out? FREAK OUT???” Again with the gun and thud. This time Toby cried out and started to whimper. “Where’s Angel? She should have been here by now.”

Their backs were pressed up against a metal shelving unit, which dug into their flesh with each movement. This didn’t really matter. What did matter was that the duffel bag was beside them, cash in hand, so to speak.

“You th-th, th-think we’re thafe?” asked Toby softly.

“What are they going to do? Run after us on their bloody stubs?” Bob snorted.

“Angel was going to take care of anybody that was left. You do remember the plan, right shithead? And I don’t doubt that she had a bit of fun while doing it.” Bob sniffed.

“Wh-what now?”

“What now, you stupid twit. Now we wait. Angel will be back soon. When she gets here, the plan sticks. We leave. That’s it,” he continued. “We’re done. No one left to come after us, and we celebrate. “

Bob hopped up and walked to the end of the shelves, ducking down and looking around the corner.

After a moment’s pause, he shuffled back, low to the ground.

Toby rubbed his aching head.

Bob sat down next to Toby, closer this time, and started fidgeting. “Listen, there’s something you and me need to talk about. It’s Angel. I don’t think we can trust her.”

Toby stopped rubbing and looked straight ahead.

“Sal said she was dirty. I’m talking real bad. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my days wondering if she’s going to come and get me, do you?”

Toby sat still.

Bob was fidgeting more, shifting, and making a small sniffing sound, messing with his nose.

“The way I see it, we need to take care of this problem. Tonight.”

Bob pulled another gun from his pocket and handed it to Toby.

“Here, use this. Just make sure you get a clear shot, and don’t let her suffer. She may be a bad egg, but she was good to us once.”

The gun sat in Toby’s limp hand. He could feel the sweat from Bob’s hand on it. It felt greasy.

“Don’t say a word, and I will try to get her so you can have a clear shot. Just don’t hit me, ok?”


“OK?” Bob nearly yelled, his voice echoing in the empty room.

A moment passed with nothing, and Toby still sat with the gun in his hand.

Bob lifted his hand to strike Toby in the head again, when there was the small sound of a bullet passing through a silencer.

Bob made a stifled grunt and fell sideways onto Toby, his blood and brains oozing from the hole in his forehead. Some of the mess was on Toby’s legs.

Angel slid around the corner, putting her gun away as she walked.

Toby shoved him away, and stood shaking his legs to rid himself of the gore.

“You did good, Toby,” she purred as she walked up to him and ran her hands through his hair. “Now it’s just me and you. I will take care of you.”

Angel bent down to grab the duffel bag.

“We need to get out of here before the cops come. I took care of the leftovers. The DeLoache’s are all gone.”

Angel stepped forward to Toby, running her fingertips over his cheek. She pulled his face to hers and started to kiss him.

The shot was loud, ringing off the walls.

Angel fell.

Toby pulled the duffel bag from her hand.

“No, bitch, the DeLoache’s are still here.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Jar

Here's another offering to the Wendig machine that is the flash fiction challenge of the week. His instructions were simple. Compose a story about the flea market. That's it. For me, I had memories of strange adults and adorable puppies in a box. However, my story is not one filled with cute puppies, but if you've read my work, you will already know that.

What follows is my take on the wild, the speculative, the macabre things that can be found at the flea market. Let's just hope you don't make the same decision...

The Jar

He couldn’t look away from it, no matter how hard he tried. James had been at the flea market for an hour looking for the perfect gift, and he was just about to give up. Here it sat on the rudimentary table made from plywood board sagging over two old sawhorses. It was an old Mason jar with a rusted lid, but inside it was filled with a multi-colored iridescence that drew him in.

“You want this?” A harsh voice croaked and he broke his gaze.

James looked up and was staring into the face of an old woman who looked like a gypsy in her shawl-covered dress, with fabric spun around her head and bracelets clinking on her wrists. Her bony finger pointed to the jar.

“Yes, ma’am,” he stammered out, aware that he sounded nervous.

She mumbled incoherently as she rubbed her hands together.

“How – how much do you want for it?” This was James first attempt at haggling, and it didn’t seem that it was going to go in his favor. He would pay whatever she wanted.

The woman stopped moving and looked up at him, her eyes widened abnormally behind the thick glasses.

“Five dollars,” she said with a greedy smile. Her eyes gleamed hungrily.

Surprised, James found a five-dollar bill and handed it to her. She snatched it from him quickly and shoved the jar into his arms.

He turned to leave when the woman began to laugh.

There was something different about her voice. It became deeper, and rose and fell in waves. The hairs on the back of his neck stood in a salute to the fear that washed over him.

James quickly left, putting the jar in the front seat of his car.

Once home, James placed the jar on the kitchen table and retrieved a cold beer from the refrigerator. Going to sit in his favorite chair, he turned on the tv and found a baseball game. A quick glance at his watch showed him that Anna would be here in a little while. He kicked off his shoes where he sat. As soon as he was starting to feel relaxed, a prickly sensation shot through his body. It felt as if something was watching him. Taking another drink, he tried to ignore it and get into the game.

Again the odd sensation came over him, making his body tingle with electricity.

Finally, he turned his head and noticed that he could see the jar sitting not ten feet away. The colors inside it were brilliant, but subdued, and boy, did they shine. As he watched it, it began to move.

What was the stuff inside that jar anyway, he wondered. It hung in the jar, almost suspended. The jar itself didn’t weigh much at all. It didn’t look like a liquid, but it didn’t really look like a solid, either.  

He watched as it began to turn. Slowly.

Something happened in the game, and the crowd began to yell. This caused him to look at the tv to see what had happened. His head felt funny, like he had been asleep. Noticing that his beer was almost empty, he got up to grab another one.

On his walk back to the chair, the beer bottle accidentally clanged into the jar. The sound of glass hitting glass was loud, but it wasn’t this noise that James heard. There had been a small scream. It had come from the jar. He stood very still to see if he could hear it anymore.

There was nothing but the sound of the air conditioner humming in the window.

He knew what he had heard. It was very much like a woman’s scream. A short, muffled one, but a scream, nonetheless.

Going back to the chair, he tried once more to get into the game.


It was the same voice, and now it was saying his name. This was impossible. There was no one else here. He was alone.

“James. Please help us.”

This time it was louder, and there were many different voices together.

He looked at the jar. The colors inside were moving a little faster now, swirling and spiraling around the glass. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The colors mixed, forming new one’s. It folded in on itself and burst outward at the same time. It was amazing. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it.

Before he knew what he was doing, he had got up and crossed to the table. As the colors moved, the voices wailed softly, reminding him of an echo in a tunnel.

“Help. Help us. Please.”

James reached his hand out to the jar. Gripping it carefully, he began to open the lid. It turned easily. The noise grew and became a sweet, familiar melody.

James sat the lid on the table and kept his hand lightly on the jar.

The colors rose and lifted up over the lip of the jar, bending and lurching toward him. His body swayed slightly with the song.


When it touched his hand he felt a small vibration. Fluidly, and with speed, it began to spread up his arm.

He could feel it sliding up his neck. There was a small sucking noise coming from the mass as it slithered around his body. James became numb.

Moving up, it ran across his cheeks and over his nose to his eyes. When it spread across them, everything turned black.

It covered him, swirling and expanding. Within a few moments, his body was dissolved, bone and tissue joining the gelatinous mass. Slowly it made its way back into the jar.  

The baseball game was over, and the sun was down, leaving the room dark.

“James?” Anna said as she walked in.

Closing the curtains, she noticed James’ shoes sitting in front of his chair.

She looked at the table and saw the jar with the beautiful colors.

“Oh! What’s this?” she asked as she walked to it. Anna swore she heard a voice call her name softly.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

One Buck Horror Debut!

Fellow Horror Writers Association member, Christopher Hawkins, teamed with his wife, Kris M Hawkins, have compiled a collection of horror for our enjoyment. The first issue, One Buck Horror Volume 1, has been released on ebook for Kindle, Nook, iPhone and iPad. As the name implies, each volume can be purchased for the low price of one dollar.

This volume features five scary stories by various authors. Each tale brings spine-chilling, brain candy for the horror enthusiast. Edited by Christopher and Kris, complete with spectacular cover art by Shawn Conn, this is one you won't want to miss out on!

New volumes are slated to be released bi-monthly, at least, and feature 4-6 stories that are less than 3,000 words in length, making it a quick, fun read. The stories are from new and established writers, and follow the tradition of popular writers such as Stephen King, Richard Matheson, and Ray Bradbury.

One Buck Horror is open for short story submissions of less than 3,000 words. If you're interested, you can find more information in the submission guidelines.

In this issue are the following stories:

  • "Jenny's House" by Ada Hoffmann. A fascinating tale of child's play taken to a whole new level.
  • "A Lullaby for Caliban" by Mark Onspaugh. Kids, a carnival, and carnies. A great mix!
  • "The Last Nephew" by Elizabeth Twist. A creepy story that will keep you guessing.
  • "The Cornfield" by Mike Trier. Nobody likes a cornfield at night, right?
  • "The Ginger Men" by Julie Jansen. I may never want to eat another baked good from the nice lady next door. 

I asked Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins if they would mind to give me an interview, and they graciously accepted. Please read on to find out more about them.

 1. What made you decide to start up One Buck Horror?

Well, we'd been kicking around the idea of doing an anthology for a long time, and with the rise of ebooks and the flexibility they provide, it just seemed like the right time. We knew we wanted to create something that would appeal to casual horror fans as well as the real aficionados, and we wanted to offer it at the best price we could. That's when One Buck Horror was born!

2. Do you design your covers based on the type of stories, or theme in that particular issue?

Our covers (both of which were created by a fantastic artist named Shawn Conn), were intended to stand on their own, and necessarily not tie in with the contents of their volumes. However, our Volume Two cover ties in nicely with one of the stories inside, even though that wasn't intentional.

3. Would you consider Lovecraft-inspired stories, or do you anticipate an issue dedicated to his themes, such as the Cthulhu Mythos?

We definitely consider Lovecraftian stories for One Buck Horror. We do have a special issue planned for the near future, but it's not Lovecraft-themed. If that does well, then we'd be open to doing more. A whole issue of Cthulhu Mythos stories would be a lot of fun to put together.

4. Do you see One Buck Horror branching out to publish stand alone novels or novellas in the future?

It's certainly possible, but right now, we're focused on putting out the best anthologies we can. But if that's successful, then the sky's the limit!

5. Can you give writers an idea of the type of horror story you are looking for?

We're looking for stories that are scary, first and foremost. Stories that grip readers right from the beginning and leave them wanting more. Beyond that, we're open to a wide range of styles and themes, as long as the stories are 3000 words or less.

Thank you for your time and for your dedication to the genre! I look forward to watching One Buck Horror evolve as time goes on, and I eagerly await each issue. Horror lovers, let's unite for support!

For more information about One Buck Horror and Volume 1, please visit here.