Saturday 27 February 2010

JOEY AND ROANNE by Robert Crisman

Joey and Roanne

Some people were made for each other.

Joey and Rob went to Summit on Capitol Hill, dopefiend alley. Joey had two grams to drop off. Seventeen-oh-three was the first stop, quick in-and-out, and then down at the end of the block, an ugly green house and then—hey! Look at this!

Roanne, traipsing out of the ugly green house. Loaded like dump trucks. Well now…

Roanne had copped from Joey one time. Joey had wanted to take her on home for a nightcap.

They watched her ambling their way. She hadn’t yet seen them. Her whole stroll was casual, baby. She floated along like tomorrow can go take a leap off a bridge. She wore a cream-colored blouse, black, tight-ass jeans, and black pumps. The blouse looked all wilted, the jeans had some stains, and they looked like she’d slept in them two or three days.

Still, she looked good, or as good as a dopefiend can hope for out there. A soiled hottie, slim-figured, with Mediterranean skin. She’d been out now two weeks and she wasn’t sucked up, though she did have a bit of a pallor and darkening shadows under her eyes. Meanwhile, her jeans weren’t all drooped off her ass. Maybe she’d stayed off full-throttle or something…

Hard to believe; she was truly a go-get-‘em dopefiend.

Yep, she looked good all in all. Joey sure thought so. Rob waited to see him start licking his lips.

Now she was two cars away and she still hadn’t seen them. Joey stuck his head out the window. “Hey, Roanne!” She looked up, saw him, looked closer—and, slowly, smiled.

“Joey?” She quickened her pace. Joey got out of the car. She came right up and stopped.

“How you doing?” he said. She shrugged. “I dunno, just—what are you doing?”

Both of them, grinning…

“You’re high, girl,” he said. Roanne laughed.

“Well, yeah, I am.”

“Feeling good.”

She nodded. “Uh huh.” Her eyes were bright. She’d speedballed. Joey, speedballer supremo, liked that.

“You want a ride?”

She looked in the car and saw Rob. “Sure, why not? Hey, Rob.”

She climbed in the back seat and sniffed. “It stinks in here, Joey.” She lifted her ass off the seat and checked it for dog hairs. She didn’t see any and settled back into the seat. “Why does it smell like a dog farm in here?”

Joey laughed. “Elizabeth, man.” That was the name of his dog.

Rob told her, “He’s kidnappin’ dogs.”

“Yeah?” Roanne said. “Any money in that?”

“I don’t know,” Joey said.

“Let me know. I could use some.”

They all laughed. They all could use some.

Joey looked at Roanne. “So what are you doing?”

“Riding around with you guys,” she said. “What are you doing?”

“I don’t know, just riding around. You want some candy?” Joey had shoplifted ten pounds of Hershey’s and Mars Bars and so forth a half-hour before. He passed a couple bars back. She said, “Sure.”

Joey started to rap, this riff and that. This lady he’d dropped off some flowers to in Edmonds: 400 pounds with a bald spot and teeth that clacked in her mouth like the Cannonball Special. Then, Amtrak—logical segue—He’d ridden it once down to Oakland, dopesick as goats, him and Chili, back in the day… They’d gone through six states, gotten stranded outside of Reno, the worst fucking day of his life. Cops popped them and tossed them in jail. “In Nevada, man, damn! Don’t ever get stopped by the cops in Nevada.” And so on.

Roanne told them that Chili was clean, playing guru in meetings.

“Guy’s out there 500 years, he oughtta be some kinda guru,” Rob said.

“Maybe on how to stay dopesick,” she said. With a sniff.

“All those people in meetings,” Joey said, “they want to pretend like they never got loaded. I bet I could go in there tonight with just what I got in my pocket and come out with $500.”

Roanne snorted. “I bet you could.” She wasn’t quite sure that was true, but she liked the idea.

“Oh, hey,” she said, “could we go up by 12th? There’s something I’ve got to pick up at this place.”

“Oh yeah? What?” Joey could never simply say yes to requests. He always asked questions. He didn’t necessarily care about answers, it was just, he didn’t like giving anything up free except on his terms. He liked to play hard to get. He’d do it, take her on up there, but first he had to go through his little dance.

Dopefiends and power trips. You know the drill…

She told him she had to pick up some stuff and some money. That cut the dance short.

Afterwards, they went for coffee up on 15th, this little place, the three of them sprawled there, Roanne and Joey into each other, rapping away, blah blah, blah blah blah. Rob didn’t feel like watching the movie, so after awhile he split.

Roanne and Joey went out to his crib for the night. They rolled up and went in and got a good groove on. Joey dished her a speedball. They fucked and then wrestled and goofed and giggled around. Joey would pounce and wrestle her down and jump off. She’d pounce and he’d let her wrestle and hold him, then shake her off. They’d sprawl there awhile, side by side, then Joey would poke her and tickle and she’d tickle back.

They played and whinnied like four-year-old kids. Joey, on the verge of a pounce or a poke, had this way of looking dead at her, with shiny, sharp eyes. Face frozen just short of a grin. His going-for-the-cookie-jar look—Can you catch me? Roanne’s own eyes brightened; let’s see where this leads…

They banged until daylight.

Walking into the place had almost given her pause. His room was a sty like his car; rigs, butt-choked ashtrays, spilled pop cans, old food tins, rank clothes and crap strewn around like the wind had tipped over a dumpster. The room was all dark and gloomy, the window taped over, and so forth.

And on top of it all, the dog-smell from hell. Dead letter perfect…

Nothing much in that room she liked except Joey. Yeah, she liked Joey. What was it again? Cute, sexy, yeah but—something way more. There had to be more for her to put up with the smell…

Then, on the bed, this imp-grinning, four-year-old devil, cookie-jar larceny deep in his heart. Her bones, blood, and guts got the message:

Sweet, dirty Joey, unwashed and free, unrepentant, no shame in his game whatsoever. My oh my… She got wet.

No wonder, then, that she didn’t much mind when Elizabeth the dog snuggled onto the bed as she fell off to sleep.

Meanwhile, Joey was smitten. He saw Roanne as someone to play with his own special way, a dark, sexy soul mate of sorts. This girl had spunk. Of course, any soul mate of Joey’s was made to be bitten and bled, not that he let himself see it in those terms exactly… A condition of his: she’d have her own sharpened teeth, not too sharp but, sharp enough.

Sexy danger, you know? He saw them locked in a game made for players.

Whoever gets swallowed is out of the game.

Joey had a feeling he wouldn’t be bored for awhile.

A match made in heaven…

Robert Crisman knew Eddies and learned early on that they'd die for nothing. He wanted to live so he cut them loose. He tries to bring them alive in his stories, however, through acid-noir looks at the way they did business. He loves Dashiell Hammett, who also knew Eddies, and thinks Raymond Chandler is bullshit.

Thursday 25 February 2010

HAPPY NOW? by K. Patrick Moody

Happy Now?

He cupped her cheek in his hand and wiped away the tear with his thumb; the blood from his hand smudged it across her face like war paint. She was quiet now.
I'm going. I won't be home tonight so don't wait up for me.
He stood next to her, the knife in his right hand dripped onto her once white blouse. The press would describe it as a frenzied attack, multiple stab wounds.
They don't know the half of it!

"I've put up with you for five years." his voice wavered. "I'm sorry, I just don't know what else I can do to make you happy."

Tears flowed down his face turning the spattered blood into a grotesque mask. He stepped back from her body. He loved her more than any other, but she was never satisfied. Jewellery, clothes, cars, the best restaurants; she took everything but gave nothing; just that awful sneer. He turned to leave, but as he did there was the faintest sound.

"You're still alive! You bitch! Even that wasn't enough for you!" He grabbed her hair and twisted back her head, exposing the smooth flesh of her neck, and raised the knife again.

K Patrick Moody enjoys writing flash fiction and has, thanks to the National Novel Writers Month, two short novels to edit, one fantasy, one sci-fi. He produces non-fiction for two news letters and the web. By day it is IT customer support and its associated technical writing.

Further examples of his work can be found at

Monday 22 February 2010

A THING OF BEAUTY by J. R. Lindermuth


Her mother always preferred him.

Call it incestuous if you must; it was simply a fact he early recognized. Though he valued her support in his many arguments with his wife, he never consciously wanted to exchange one woman for the other. Obviously, as he was to learn, her mother felt differently about that.

Perhaps it was their similarity in age. Olivia was less than 10 years older than Neal and he was double that number of years older than Leslie. Or, perhaps, rather than the mere fact of age, it was their similarity of temperament. She and Neal were quiet introverts while Leslie was a confirmed and vociferous extrovert.

This difference in temperament was often the source of their arguments. How could he have imagined it otherwise when he married her? Should he not have realized it was his affluence and not his appearance persuaded this young and beautiful woman to marry him? How could he have thought a life of solitude and books would offer her the contentment it did him?

Oh, he was devoted to her in his way. She was his wife and he loved her. Despite their many disagreements, Neal always eventually gave into her whims, bought her many gifts, allowed her to roam at will, turned a blind eye to her many indiscretions. What else was he to do? He loved her.

When Leslie took ill he was devastated. He sat by her bedside long hours, helpless as she writhed in pain until her life faded away. It never occurred to him then her mother had poisoned her.

The night Leslie died her mother went to bed and slept soundly.

In the morning Olivia came into the bedroom where Neal had tossed and turned away the hours until dawn. Olivia sang happily as she entered the room with a pot of tea and two cups. She sat beside him on the bed, shook out her hair and smiled.

Neal shrank from her in horror. She was the image of his dead wife.

Days, then weeks passed. Each morning Olivia came to his room with a song and a pot of tea. On the morning of the third week, he accepted the tea and that night Olivia got into bed beside him.

The next morning he looked on her and smiled, thinking of that line from Keats—“A thing of beauty...” She looked exactly like his dead wife, but she treated him as he’d wanted to be treated.

He thought he might prefer her to Leslie.

Watch The Hour (April 2009), Whiskey Creek Press
Corruption's Child (June 2008), Whiskey Creek Press
The Accidental Spy (July 2008), Lachesis Publishing

Friday 19 February 2010

A GOOD SHOWA by Glenn Gray

Glenn's back with his own inimitable style...

A Good Showa

Damn, there ain’t nothin like a good hot showa.

Nice an burnin hot. Hey, you drippin all ova.

Throw me that towel, will ya, hot stuff?

Ah, you lookin all tan an muscula, ya know? You a hottie wit the body.

Now you talkin

Let me dry that back.

Lookit these abs, huh?

I could do some frickin laundry on them things.

And these guns.

A real-life bronzed God.

I mean, a good hot showa is like the key to everythin. The friggin key to life.

And it’s gotta have good presha.

Hell yeah. Good strong presha’s the best. Like gettin a massage.

Little fingas workin you ova.

Dancin around. Tickle tickle nice.

And I can put it you know where, hmmm?

Get outta here, yeah?

Why not?

Whateva works for ya.

Once in a while. In the showa. Betta with the hand-held extension thing.


Does things like nothing else does.

You dang horny puttana, you.

Watch it, Big Boy.

Sorry. You gettin me all worked up. Gimme the towel back, hah? I gotta dry something, know what I mean?

All I’m sayin is it works. Sometimes betta than a vibrata.

No way.

It’s got that constant rhythm and presha.

Works betta than this thing here?

You know we ladies don’t like when you flop that shit around like that.

You started it. All that talk about the vibrata and the presha.

That means you gotta swing it like a propella?

Just gettin warmed up. Stretchin.

For what?

You know what.

Hold ya horses, Bigshot. I’m not done with the presha. It’s just that presha is good. In general. Good hard presha. Pins an needles presha.

I gotcha. What about this thing ova here? I’lllll give you some presha.

I’m sure you will. If there’s no good presha, the soap leaves that scummy shit all ova you.

I know, right? You can’t get it off. Eva. Even if you scrub like hell.

Definitely gotta have good presha.

Presha I think is more important than tempature, ya know?

I think it’s just as important.

I guess.

So what’re we doin here?

I guess a half an howa this time.

Okay then.

How much that gonna bang me up?

Buck fifty.

Maybe you wanna get in the showa, hah?

No thanks. Do that on my own time.

It’s got real good presha.

Fuck off, hah?

Glenn Gray lives in New York. He’s got stories forthcoming in the 1st Beat to a Pulp Anthology, the 3rd Thuglit Anthology and Zygote in my Coffee’s 8th print edition. He’s also got stories in OOTG 3, 5 and 6 and a buncha places online.

Tuesday 16 February 2010


The Dog Returneth to His Vomit

I drove back to my office. I made coffee but I wanted a drink. Tico’s Place beckoned like divine fire to a fasting desert saint—except that I was long way from grace when I first decided to hang my p.i. shingle in this crappy resort town.

“Tomàs.” Tico grinned at me.

I had no idea why he was glad to see me. I was his worst customer and I was probably the reason for the spats he had with his plump, doe-eyed wife Marta.

“I’ve just been interviewing a charming young wife for the next issue of Country Living,” I said, “and I discovered I needed a drink of your best malt.”

The woman, in fact, was Danny Portis’ live-in girlfriend, a crackhead named Leona he bounced off the walls of his trailer whenever his own meth twitches started up. I was out there looking for a missing dog. That should tell you everything you need to know about my financial prospects.

I waited for the amber liquid to restore some equilibrium to my tilted universe.

“Tico, I need Cesar’s Jeep tonight. A little job. I’ll pay him a handsome fee.”

“I can’t just let you borrow it like that,” he said. He could be stubborn when Marta was around.

“I’m on a job,” I said happily. “I just need it for a couple hours tonight.”

He gave in to me as he always did. Tico fought his way out of the garbage dumps of Guatemala to get here.

Danny wouldn’t get started until dark, but I had to get ready for my outing in the woods. I kept a cot and an alarm clock in my office, which is where I headed next. I hadn’t carried a gun in years. I make most of my cases with legwork and phone calls. I usually chase little runaways back to their rich daddies for a living, but this was the offseason to the offseason. I was almost dead broke.

I drew the shades, shut my eyes, and slept a dreamless black sleep for three hours.

The first pickup arrived around nine-thirty. Then they came in steady intervals every few minutes. I counted twenty big engines droning along the path behind Danny’s trailer. All working trucks, a few Silverados and F-150s—Danny’s crowd—not your sporty SUV suburbanites.

I grabbed the bag and worked my way in the darkness. Truck doors slammed in the distance, loud men hooted. I heard dogs. Then lights speckled the blackness like giant fireflies. Danny had rigged some wires between posts and strung some low-watt bulbs. I had Army-issue night-vision binoculars that showed the whole layout of churned-up earth bordered by truck tires. The jerry-built cages for the fighting dogs were stacked next to a hut with chicken wire stretched across the front for the bait dogs. I discerned a squirming mass of hindquarters, muzzles, and tails in the phosphorescent glow of my lens.

I counted at least twenty-five men and five women. The women were mostly hatchet-faced skanks who chainsmoked and wore sweatshirts with goofy or obscene sayings on the front.

Danny grabbed a short-haired dog by its tail from the coop and dragged it to the center of the pit. He straddled it and wrapped duct tape around its muzzle. The dog abruptly sat down on its haunches in the center of the ring, terrified, whimpering and jerking its head around.

The shouting grew a notch and then a black blur streaked to the center of the ring. The action was too hard to follow with the glasses. Even with human eyes, you’d need the shutter speed of a fly to track its fury. The bait dog was ripped from stem to stern by the pit bull. He tore open its throat and shook it in its powerful muzzle. Even when Portis pounded the pit bull’s head to force its jaws open, it wanted to stay clamped on the dead dog’s forepaw. Its slavering fangs appeared ghostly white in my lens.

Then another dog was brought out, this time a large poodle. The end came when the attack dog rammed the poodle into the corner post like a linebacker sacking a quarterback; it worried the poodle’s hind quarters with shrugs of its bunched-up shoulder muscles. I watched the dog spasm and twitch until Danny entered to pull the dog off the carcass.

The next fight lasted fifteen long minutes. Neither dog wanted to quit but they were both cut and foaming blood and saliva by the time it was called off. I watched some redneck take his bruised warrior off to the side where a piece of tarpaulin lay on the ground near some buckets. He emptied one of the buckets over his dog to clean him of blood and drool. The dog whipped its tight body like snapping a towel and sent a shower of drizzled spray in all directions.

A commotion near the opposite side of the ring made me turn back to a cluster of men surrounding Portis. I watched him slip a long-barreled Ruger into a holster tied to a corner post. The losing dog lay dead between the legs of the men who had witnessed his coup de grâce. Danny dragged it off by the hind legs and hurled it into the weeds.

Danny’s dog won the second match. He took the congratulations and pocketed a wad of bills just like the other man. He didn’t bother to wash off his dog. He hoisted it up by its stub tail and threw it into a top cage near the ring.

My plan changed when Bruce was hauled out next. I zeroed in on his white chest markings and saw the same paint-spill splotch as in the photo. The odds of an identical dognapped Corgi winding up out here was too remote to contemplate.

I pressed my sorry face into the dirt. I had no time to call the sheriff’s because Danny was already gripping the dog’s muzzle. A loosened tail of duct tape dangling from his hand.

I had my Glock out of the bag and then I was running, stumbling through the brush toward the lights. I felt like a suicide bomber. Private eyes toast our fallen comrades at reunions for strokes and clogged arteries. It was never my goal to be the toast.

Danny’s hand was still gripping Bruce’s fur when my slug tore into the dirt at his feet. Their menacing stares told me I had just entered a shit fight without a shield.

“I’m taking the dog, Portis,” I said. I sounded like every stooge in every bad cop film who gets the shit beat out of him right after saying, “Don’t try to stop me.”

But Bruce didn’t know me from Adam. He was in such primeval fear that when I reached down to hoist him up into my arms, he jerked free, whirled around and bit me on the forearm. He put his low-slung body into high gear and bucked out of my grasp. I watched him bolt past me into the thicket. He was gone like smoke, his little alligator legs churning like wheels.

Danny threw out a fist that glanced off the side of my neck. A couple big men balled their fists and took a step toward me. I backed them off with my gun.

The first shot crinkled the air just behind my right ear. I heard the thwack of the slug bury itself in one of the plywood cages. Then the air was sizzling with rifle and pistol fire. I was standing on the edge of a lit circle about to become the target of twenty hillbillies shielded by their trucks and armed with deer rifles and .357s. I took off between the cages and ran as fast as my own legs could carry me.

Hours later, I made it back to the Jeep somehow—bedraggled, muddy, my chin smeary with dried blood from twig lashings, a dozen lacerations from stinging branches whipping at me from all directions, my clothes full of brambles and seedpods. I smelled of swamp rot and sweat. I was limping from some varmint hole and I was one boot short. Some swamp muck back there had sucked it off my foot. I ran in darkness so black it was like the bottom of a mine shaft.

I called the sheriff’s office from the highway. The dispatcher sounded bored. The adrenalin had subsided to a hot lump in my stomach.

I parked the Jeep behind Tico’s and walked across the rain-glazed street to my humble digs. I crashed on the cot, too tired to drive home and shower. In the morning, I’d go in search of Bruce and hope he hadn’t gotten hit running onto a freeway.

The alarm bell chirred at seven. I called Stuart’s house and got the house maid. When Stuart came on the line, he sounded morose. Bruce, that brave soldier, had found his way home in the dark.

“If you think you’re going to charge me for nothing, you’d better rethink your bill,” Stuart said.

“The dog didn’t find himself, Mister Stuart,” I said. “He had some help from me if you’d care to hear the details—”

“You’re getting exactly one day’s fee from me, no extras, not a penny more. My lawyer is going over every line item you submit, by the way. As it is, I’m going to have to pay some veterinary doctor to sew up the gash in his paw.”

I drove back to the Portis trailer. I saw the flashing turquoise and cherry lights of the cruisers parked in front.

A deputy knew me from the old days and let me pass. I followed the four-wheeler path behind the trailer.

Danny is well known in the way that newspapers like to say, “So-and-so is no stranger to the police.” Some scumbags won’t shoot you in the back, but they are cowards, chiselers, and they will lie their asses off to you. I used to ride with an old homicide cop who quoted this to me one night: Homo hominis lupus est. “Man is a wolf to man.”

Leona was in the pit where she’d been torn to pieces by dogs. I hoped she was stoned.

They were still snapping photos when I got to the pit. The crime scene tape was looped around some birch trees and stretched around the circle as far as the tarp where I had seen the bearded guy.

By the time the cops arrived, all the dogs were dead or dying in their cages. They were all shot in the head. The ones not dead would be euthanized because the county doesn’t have the money for surgery.

“Yo, Pete,”

“Ah shit, Tom Haftmann. You look like a drunk stumbling into traffic.”

“Where is she?”

“Over there,” he said. He pointed to a pile of muddy rags in one corner of the pit. “And over there. And there and there . . .”

Cop humor.

“Catch Portis yet?”

“No, but we’ve got a BOLO out. You know these jackoffs,” he said. “He’ll run around and then he’ll fuck up. Danny couldn’t find a skyscraper if it was standing in front of him. What brings you out here so early?”

“I was looking for a missing dog,” I said.

“You got it made,” he said. “Sleep in, no kissing asses until your tongue’s as tough as shoe leather.”

“Yep, Mister Easy Street,” I said.

I got dizzy and leaned over to vomit up yellow bile into the weeds. I badly needed coffee—something.

“Sir, can I help you?” A young cop looked at me.

“Nobody can help me,” I said. “I can’t even find a runaway dog.”

His eyes bored into my face, a cop’s auger, assessing.

I walked over to my car by concentrating on the steps.

I drove back and parked in front of my office. I was about to cadge my first drink of the day out of my last friend in this cesspool of a town where people hire me to find missing children and dogs they should have kept better eyes on in the first place.

Terry White has been writing and publishing noir and hardboiled fiction for the last five years. Among his recent publications are “My Gypsy Girl from Bluefield” in Hardluck Stories, “Siblings” in Demolition, and “Desideratum of the Adjunct Professor” in Storyglossia (July 2007). He has also published in Hardboiled (“Nocturne for Murder”) and in the British online fanzine Noir. One of his stories was named Best Of 2009 by 10,000 Tons of Black Ink. He has a full-length suspense novel represented by an agent. His main theme is the corruption of life in the Midwest. His protagonist in “Dog Returneth” is an existentialist private eye who made his first appearance ten years ago in Thrilling Detectives.

BAD BLOOD By Kia Storm

Bad Blood

He had a kind face, and I promised them he could be trusted. I considered myself a good judge of character.

My sisters were sceptical of his quiet ways, so I kept reassuring them. “He is reserved, a loner, and never says a bad word about anyone.”

A few weeks went by, but my older sister, Berry, still didn’t trust him. “I love him!” I would say. “So what if he acts weird? So what if it’s only been three weeks? Looks don’t mean a thing.”

“Well, uh. . .,” my younger sister stuttered. “Sometimes we feel like he has something to hide. He never talks about himself. He’s scrawny, and I saw him wink at Berry.”

Berry laughed and then spoke in that low- guttural voice of hers. “I bet he leads a double life,” she joked. “Or maybe he´s scared you´ll tear him to pieces with those long nails of yours.”

At age twenty-two, Berry still loved to pretend she was a deranged killer covered in blood. She´d wield knives in front of my guests with my sister screaming at them to run for their lives. And my guests would. Once Berry offered an old boyfriend a glass of water. She poured him some from a jug marked “Rat Poison.” He spat real fast and ran for the door. Berry had the nerve to ask why I was always single.

My younger sister giggled. “Or better yet, scared you´ll cut him into tiny bits and feed him to the dog.” She looked up at Berry, who egged her on to continue. She turned to our pet dog, who slept next to the sofa as she teased: “Hear that, Rocco? You could be getting real human bones tonight!”

Rocco lazily woke up, yawned, and then curled into a tighter ball on the floor. Berry looked impressed by my younger sister´s taunts.

“You guys are so silly! I just hate you sometimes!” As usual I would leave them giggling like two naughty mischievous kids in a schoolyard.

The persistent niggling to dump my darling often sent me running passionately into his arms. I would storm out of the house angrily, and I vowed to prove them wrong. I didn’t care what they thought of him or what he looked like. I needed him, and he belonged to me.

One evening I decided to surprise my darling. I was dead excited. In a paper bag I brought him the vanilla fudge ripple ice-cream he preferred. It felt cold against my hip. A bottle of our favourite Shiraz wine made the bag awkward to carry. I found his spare key in a secret mud hole and opened the door.

The room had been tarnished in blood.

Bloody writings on the wall said: “Blood for blood - flesh for flesh.”

My beloved was nowhere to be found.

My crazy sisters were always playing jokes on me, but this time did they go too far? Nervously I ran upstairs with a sinking feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. My poor sweet beloved. Had they decided to play another silly game?

I sprinted into the bathroom. We locked eyes. My beloved and me. But the body on the floor was Berry´s. My beloved tried to speak, but his mouth encumbered a piece of her flesh. And then I felt it for the second time. That sinking feeling.

I ran for the door. I was trapped inside and my beloved was moving towards me, still chewing Berry’s flesh in his mouth.

Kia Storm lives in England, where she occasionally daydreams about sky diving over the Pacific Ocean, climbing Mount Everest and dreads the day when she will have no choice but to grow up, well at least that’s what her friends tell her anyway.

Other work by Kia has appeared in numerous on-line venues including,, and various others. Her short story, ‘Run Coward Run,’ was published in “Twisted Dreams Magazine”, 2010 Issue. The Invisible Alien Watcher has been featured on

Monday 15 February 2010

TWO MEN TALKING by Brian J. Smith

Brian brings us something a bit different on his TKnC debut...


“THIS place is bullshit.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Shopping malls are bullshit.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Yes, they are.”

“Why do you say that?”

“They’ve made these things especially for people who don’t work a fuckin day in their lives can--.”


“You didn’t let me finish my sentence. What I was going to say was that ‘they created these things so that people who don’t work a day in their lives can spend other people’s money.”

“Wrong again.”

“Then why don’t you enlighten me, Smart One.”

“They made this shopping mall because of one reason and one reason only. So that big businesses can move in and fill the mayor’s pocket or in some other way, keep the town’s economy from going belly up.”

“Don’t give me that lecture.”

“Which one?”

“The one where you tell me it all has to do with more than one simple thing.”

“It does. What happens is a town or a city needs to make some money but they can’t raise taxes anymore than necessary so the only way to boost a city’s economy and pour some money into the town to be afford street repair or school-type issues like new textbooks, new computers and other stuff. Besides, this kind of thing gives kids someplace to go after school. It’s better than seeing them hang out with the wrong crowd or doing drugs or something.”

“Is that what you think?”

“It’s exactly what I think.”

“Kids are the other thing that really piss me off. Especially nowadays.”

“Why do you think that?”

“When you and I were kids, I never expected us to be the most perfect kids in the world. We had our ups and downs.”


“And I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone else.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You said you were trying to insinuate that you were better than anyone else. And I just agreed with you.”


“And you were saying?”

“Kids these days don’t have structure. You walk over to that Wendy’s kiosk over there and what do you see?”

“A whole bunch of fattening food.”

“Not really. They took the bad oil out months ago and made all the restaurants use trans fat but that not what I’m asking. What do you see when you go up there?”

“Not much.”

“My point exactly. But what you do see is some forty year old who can barely make it by on the finances they get from that crappy job. They drive whatever piece of shit car they can get their hands on as long as it gets them from point aeh to point bee everyday for the rest of their lives until the day they die and no matter what that car needs done to it so it can do its job or what highly expensive bill comes floating along they have to sacrifice themselves to make sure they come up on their promise.”

“So what’s got you all fired up?”

“I’m not fired up. I pisses me off that Sam Forty-Year-Old has to work his or her ass off to get the things they wanted while Barbie and Ken don’t have to work a day in their entire lives because Mommy and Daddy are too busy taking care of their problems, buying them all the cars, clothes and God knows whatever else they want without batting an eye. Meanwhile, you’ve got people who have to rob Peter to pay Paul if you get my drift, you’ve got people who can’t afford gas for their cars. Last week, I saw a guy in dirty jogging pants standing outside of a broken down Winnebago holding up a sign that said WILL WORK FOR FOOD and what made matters worse was the fact that his kids were sitting in the front seat of their broken down behemoth, staring out at the highway like a couple of abandoned puppies. And just seeing that really burns my ass. Here this guy is willing to bust his ass for his kids, to feed his kids and not to mention himself but the government says ‘hey let’s not give it to him, let’s give it to this guy’s spoiled little brat.”

“Maybe that guy isn’t as innocent as you think.”


“Maybe it was his fault he and his kids are in that predicament in the first place. Maybe he did something to put--.”

“What the hell are you saying?”

“What I’m trying to say is that good people wear evil masks, too. Maybe he’s responsible for his situation. Maybe his wife or his girlfriend or his room-mate or whoever didn’t like kids and they kicked him out of his house. They may or may not have had reason to kick him out. That’s what I’m saying. People whether rich or poor have always done something to put themselves in their own situation. They’re no different than you or me.”

“You saying you don’t understand where I’m coming from?”

“I fully understand where you’re coming from. I don’t like to see a man down on his luck, either. I’m all for a world where people don’t hold cardboard cut outs detailing their current situation. I’m just saying not everyone is perfect.”

“Understood. You’ve made a very good point and I respect your opinion but do you understand where I’m coming from or what I’m talking about?”

“I do think kids should get a better idea of what it’s like to work for a living but it’s no different than these stupid fucking toy companies.”

“What about them?”

“You remember your first toy?”

“It was G.I Joe Command Center. I got it for Christmas one year and it took my father three hours to put it together.”

“Was it your only toy?”

“No. I had lots of them.”

“And did you play with them?”

“Not exactly.”

“What time is it?”

“Ten till noon.”

“Alright, set the timer for ten minutes and then drop it in the trash can.”

“You sure we can do this?”

“Just do it. Just drop it in and let’s get out before the whole place goes. ”

“I’m walking toward the trash can.”

“I’m behind you. Just drop the fucker in.”

“The timer’s set so let’s go.”

“I’m going.”

“No, you’re not. You’re just---.”

Brian J. Smith has been featured in Drabblecast, Darkest Before The Dawn, Crooked, New Voices In Fiction, The Forbidden Zone, Postcard Shorts, The Horror Zine and The Flash Fiction Offensive. He lives in Chauncey, Ohio.

Saturday 13 February 2010

THE COP CAME CALLING by Robert Crisman


Schindler’d been sitting there in his car for close to an hour, waiting for Yolanda to show. It was late afternoon, climbing on five. If the guy’d told Schindler right, Yolanda was at this address, two houses from Greenwood here on 105th. Not that far from the dopehouse Yolanda’s old man had knocked off. Another of life’s tiny ironies, right?

A dank, drizzly February day, Schindler’s day off. It had taken him a month and four days to catch up with Yolanda. She’d up and split from the Burien house, her face full of stitches, broken jaw wired, eyes all but closed. She’d done a quick in-and-out of the Burien house. She’d gathered up Esme and stuff she could throw in two bags. They socked in at Carmens’ for two nights. Then she’d sent Esme back home on a bus and went underground to let the bones knit and decide what to do with the rest of her life.

A neighbor’d told Schindler that he’d picked Yolanda up off the street a half a block from her house. She was bleeding, half-conscious, and all busted up. She wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him what happened. He took her up to the hospital then and that’s all he knew.

The landlord had said she’d been a good tenant, her and her husband. Paid rent on time. The guy came on kind of scary but…

Davis over in Yakima said that, as far the YPD knew, she hadn’t showed up back around.

Then they got lucky. Parker in Narco had dropped a snitch in their lap. A julio, trying to dig out from under some warrants. His old lady’s sister was stashing this bitch up in Greenwood. His old lady had told him the bitch’s old man was in on that thing at that dopehouse, the one where those people got killed Christmas Eve. He’d heard it was really Rodriguez’s gig. Rodriguez the dopeman. Yolanda’s big brother.
The snitch also heard that Rodriguez had offed Yolanda’s old man and beat town.
Yolanda wasn’t home when he knocked, so Schindler went back to wait in the car. He had the evening if that’s what it took.

She showed at ten after five. Walking slow, tired, hunched, bundled up. A good-looking woman, delicate features — until the threshing machine had ripped up her face. The scars just leaped out, even at this distance. Her nose had been flattened and her face was lumped up on the side where her jaw had been broken.

Ramon did this. Schindler knew it. She’d been the one who called in. Ramon maestro’d the Christmas Eve slaughter and then wrecked Yolanda. Stone fucking bastard…

Schindler got out of his car and walked over. Yolanda, key in the door, turned around. They locked eyes. Hers narrowed, then widened, then went into shadows. She’d known cops forever. She watched Schindler come to the foot of the steps. He stopped and looked at her there on the porch. Yolanda’s heart banged. This gray-suited white man with hawk’s eyes and big, meaty fists. Fucking cop.

Like she needed this. But — something… What was this guy doing?

She knew what filled up cops’ eyes: ice and contempt, and, so often, lust. They all want to fuck the cute little Mexican bitch. But this one… No trace of ice or contempt or lust in his eyes. What does he want?

She knew, though. Ramon. And then she knew: Ramon was this cop’s mission in life.
He stood there, eyes on her face, the destruction… She wanted to hide but, those eyes — she couldn’t move. Rage leapt in those eyes. Rage at the harm that was done her.

“He really did a number on you.” He said it so quietly.

She heard all the rage in the world. She still could not move. The key in her hand… She broke from his eyes, looked off down the street, and she nodded. It was a half-nod, staccato, and she could not stop. She turned to the door to let herself in, to escape, and she fumbled the key.

He said, “Ms.—Yolanda?”

She had to turn.

He said, “I’d like to talk.” He gave her his name and said, “I think you know why I’m here.”

She looked at him and darted a glance at the door, barely breathing. “I can’t talk…”

He watched her. This woman shrieked fear. Talk to a cop? Cops had always meant harm to women like her. He could take her downtown. Material witness, you know? They could take her and sweat her — for what? No comprendes? Chinga du madres? She’d spit on their graves if she could. For her, in the end, the cops and Ramons were the same.
He would rather lose her at this point than take her downtown.

“Those people at that house,” Schindler said, so quietly still. “The one Dennis robbed. Three people were killed at that house. The two people who lived there and an old woman walking by on the street. We know Ramon set it up. And Dennis. We found him dead on Capitol Hill. And then you. I see what Ramon did to you.”
Schindler’s eyes, burning, took in the wreckage. “We want him.”

Yolanda, stricken, stared off and away. An instant of memory flashed: Ramon’s fists and feet. With memory this thought: how helpless the weak really are.

Yolanda and Schindler stared at each other. A raw blink of time charged with — what? Shared outrage and pain? Or the conviction, brought to the surface within her, then swiftly tamped down, that the evil who prey on the weak should be taken right out of this world by whatever means.

Yolanda and Schindler stared at each other. Yolanda said, “I—I’ve got to go in.” Her eyes, almost pleading. Fear still held sway.

Another long moment, then Schindler nodded. “Okay,” he said. He went in his pocket, came out with a card, and handed it over. She hesitated, then slowly took it, eyes on him, refusing to look at the card.

The card meant commitment…

“You can reach me anytime at one of those numbers,” Schindler said. “The bottom’s my home phone.” He turned to go, then looked back. “Call me, Yolanda.” He walked toward the street.

In the car he remembered the pain and the rage in her eyes at the ruin inflicted upon her. Her ruin forever. She needed time…

He’d give her time. They’d put an eye on the house and see how she went.
He had a feeling. Give her the time, she’d come in.

Robert Crisman knew Eddies and learned early on that they'd die for nothing. He wanted to live so he cut them loose. He tries to bring them alive in his stories, however, through acid-noir looks at the way they did business. He loves Dashiell Hammett, who also knew Eddies, and thinks Raymond Chandler is bullshit.

Friday 12 February 2010

ON THE RUN by Joshua Massen

TKnC welcomes another new writer, Joshua...

On the Run

Figgis had left the car along with Cobb in the ditch. Cobb had been injured and would only slow him down. That’s why Figgis had shot him. It was his last bullet and he had left the gun by Cobb’s body.

Now Figgis found himself running through pitch black woodland with no idea where he was going. He just knew that he needed to get as far away from the car as possible. Branches whipped at his face and snagged at his clothing and from somewhere nearby he heard the cry of some sort of animal.

It was then that he saw a light in the distance. A house Figgis thought with excitement, somewhere where he could hold up for a while. He crashed through the last few metres of woodland before emerging into a field directly in front of the house. He could see that all of the windows were illuminated by light from within, drawing him towards it like a moth to flame. As he ran across the field he wondered what his story would be.

By the time he was ringing the doorbell he had thought of one.

A few minutes after ringing the doorbell Figgis heard slow shuffling footsteps from within the house. He heard the sound of bolts being withdrawn before the door was opened. A small, old woman stood within. She smiled up at Figgis. “A guest,” she said.

“My car broke down not far from here,” said Figgis. “Is there any chance you could let me use you phone.”

“I’m sorry dear,” said the old woman shaking her head. “We haven’t got a phone but you can come in and have a cup of tea if you like.”

“Yes,” said Figgis. “That would be fine.”

She ushered him into the house and locked the door after him. She then led him into the living room. An old man was sat reading a newspaper in an armchair. “This is Harold. My husband,” said the old woman by way of introductions. “I’m Dorothy. Please,” she said motioning to an empty armchair next to Harold. “Make yourself comfortable. We’ll be having tea soon.”

She shuffled out of the room and Figgis sat down. He was surprised by the ease he had managed to get himself invited in. He expected that an elderly couple living out here on there own would be extra cautious about letting strangers into their homes. Little did they know that they had a hardened criminal sitting in their living room - armed robbery, assault and murder, all that could carry a pretty hefty sentence.

As he scanned the living room he noticed how sparsely furnished it was. There was no TV and no other furniture apart from the two armchairs and the fireplace, even the wooden floor was carpet-less.

“Nasty thing TV,” said the old man looking up from his paper as if answering Figgis’s unanswered question. “Full of filth these days.”

“Here we are,” said the woman as she bought in two mugs of tea and handed them to Figgis and her husband. “Will you stay for dinner?” she asked before leaving the room.

“Oh no thanks,” said Figgis. “I can’t be staying long.” She smiled and left the room. Figgis sipped his tea. It was quiet apart from the occasional crinkling of paper as the old man turned a page. It was over this quiet that Figgis heard a sound in the distance, the unmistakable sound of police sirens. Shit, thought Figgis. They’ll find the car and then they’ll bring out the dogs and follow my path down here. Figgis put the tea down and got to his feet. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But I really must be going.”

The old man put down his paper and stepped in front of Figgis blocking his path to the door. “You can’t leave yet... we’re going to eat soon.”

“Look,” said Figgis beginning to feel frustrated. “You’ve been very kind but I really need to…”

The old man charged at Figgis. Before Figgis could react he had his hands wrapped around his throat. Figgis fell backwards and banged his head on the wooden floor, dazing him. Figgis felt his airway being constricted as the old man strengthened his grip. He tried to pry his hands from his throat but the old man was too strong and he just tightened his grip even more. Figgis felt like his head would explode under the pressure as the strength from his limbs started to ebb away and darkness began to creep into the edges of his vision.

Figgis summoned his last reserves of strength and brought his fist up into the jaw of the old man. The old man grunted and Figgis felt his grip loosen. Figgis brought his fist up again and smashed into his nose. The old man grunted and rolled off Figgis clutching his now broken nose.

Figgis scrambled to his feet and tried to make a run for the door, as he did so an arm snaked itself across his neck getting him in a choke hold. Figgis jabbed his elbow back into the old man’s belly winding him and then into his face. The old man released his grip on Figgis and staggered back. Figgis turned to face him, ready to finish this.

The old man was now leaning on his armchair. Blood was running from his nose and mouth. The old man spat a tooth out onto the floor and wiped the blood way. He smiled. “Well you’re a strong one you are. We’ll enjoy eating you.”

Figgis heard a sound from behind him and turned to see the old woman had emerged from the kitchen and was now holding a carving knife. The old man grabbed Figgis and clamped his teeth onto his neck. Figgis tried to push him away but his strength had already left him as the old man’s teeth punctured his carotid artery. He felt warm blood pour down his neck and was then bought to his knees as the old woman used the knife to hamstring him.

The sound of police sirens faded into the distance as they feasted.

Joshua Massen is a budding young horror writer from Cambridgeshire, England. He blogs at

Thursday 11 February 2010

WHAT TED SAW by Pixie J. King

Pixie's back with a unique little tale...

What Ted Saw

Big, friendly eyes watched from the bottom of the bed. They watched her with fear and morbid curiosity.

Brown fluffy ears heard the tearful sobs and whimpers – the sound he heard every day.

He was picked up tenderly by the paw, the child seeking him; a symbol of comfort and hope. Yet he cannot save the child.

He wondered why the alphabet blocks spell out the words ‘hurt’ and ‘pain’. He wondered why she cried herself to sleep every night. He questioned why there is a shiny object from the kitchen on the bed. He wanted to know why she is using it to cut her wrists.

He was scared she is going to die.

He saw warm blood trickle from her wrists; he felt the damp patch where she wept. He has had the thing explained to him, but he doesn’t understand.

He cannot cry out for help. His mouth is sown up.

He has to watch her die; all the while he is wondering why.

He feels so helpless. He is dying inside. Like a chilling darkness after the lights have gone out.

He is only the child’s teddy bear. He cannot help.

Just comfort her.

Pixie is a student who is new to the writing world, and writes when she can, where she can. Her work is mainly flash fiction and poems with the occasional short story. She is now however embarking on the mammoth task of writing a novel, and is finding it very daunting.
Pixie’s work can be found at:
Alternatively, for a more warped version of Pixie’s thoughts, try:

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Competition Up-Date - IMPORTANT CHANGE

Many of you will have alreay read that I am running a competition to win a signed first edition hardback of Joe Hunter 3 - SLASH and BURN - and the rules can be found by clicking here

Well, after much thought and deliberation, I decided that you all should have the opportunity to read the wonderful stories being sent in, with the opportunity to read them all and to comment and vote on your favourite.

I thought that this would be a fairer and more translucent process than me picking my favourites (it also dispells any claims of favouritism on my part!!)

So here's how it's going to go now:

I have set up a new blog called 'JOE HUNTER'S FIXERS' and you can find it here:

I will post each story anonymously, so the stories themselve rest on their merits and not on the name of the author. Please do read and leave comments, but if you are the author please don't make it known by replying to them - yet -you can do that once the competition has ended if you wish.

On the closing date for entries, I will open voting by way of a poll.

The top three (voted for by you and me) will then be posted here at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers and over at my personal blog at Matt Hilton Thrills and voting will be re-opened to find everyone's favourite. I will collate the votes from both sites and then announce the winner on 1st April and arrange for the book to be sent to the winner.

Remember, this is just a bit of fun. Copyright remains the property of the individual author and your story is yours to do with as you wish following the closing date. I will of course credit each story with the authors name afterwards. Happy writing - and good luck.

I hope you all agree that this is a clearer and fairer way of judging, and now invite you all to go over to JOE HUNTER'S FIXERS to read the first entries already posted there.


Monday 8 February 2010


This was judged the winner of January's One Word Challenge over at Writers News Talkback - please welcome Joseph aka 'collide-o-scope'...

Lightning, Lightening, Something Frightening

The clock on the mantelshelf chimed the half hour. Charles removed his spectacles and closed the book that rested on his lap. He had intended to retire at midnight but found the book so chilling that he allowed himself an extra thirty minutes.

A fierce thunderstorm passed overhead and Charles walked to the window to watch. He opened the curtains and stared into the darkness as the rain came down, a relentless noise of sustained applause. Suddenly a flash illuminated the scene and in that brief moment of light Charles flinched in fright at the sight of a man standing at the gate. He wore no coat or hat and was soaked through. The man turned his head to look directly at Charles before the returning darkness made him invisible again.

Charles quickly extinguished the lamp and returned to the window. His heart pounded as he waited for the next flash. When it came he was relieved to see that there was no figure there.

Charles laughed softly as he pulled the curtains shut and he chided himself for reading excitable books at bedtime. He re-lit the lamp then suddenly froze as three loud knocks boomed through the house.

While I make my foccacia & flora writing articles I've had some success in other areas including publishing of a pocket-sized football book that sold 30,000 copies & I wrote an episode of a BBC radio soap. I live on the north-east coast of England in Blyth & for my sins I support Newcastle United.

Sunday 7 February 2010

FISSURE By Lily Childs


Bernard Baker had an ‘orifice’. It wasn’t an orifice he was meant to have; what’s more, it wasn’t a discreet, insignificant little opening, it was a “bloody-great, super orifice” according to Mrs Baker, which was how Bernard learned the word. He would have called it a boil.

‘Lie still’ Barbara shouted at Bernard as he struggled beneath her. The weight of her was only slightly more bearable than the suppuration that fizzed and frothed near the base of his spine. He groaned. Barbara climbed off her husband’s back and squatted next to him on the bed.

‘It’s a fuckin’ chasm, Bernie. Where’s it come from?’

‘Oh God, I dunno. It wasn’t there this morning. Didn’t know nothin’ about it ‘til we went to the pub after work. Kenny came back from the bog and started freaking out; said me shirt was jumping about. Rippling and shit.’

Barbara prodded the edge of the wound. It spasmed at her touch, a mass of wrinkled jelly and pink blancmange.

She shrieked.

‘What? What Barb? You’re scaring me.’

Barbara jumped off the bed. She stood, staring at the eruption. She shifted her gaze down to Bernie’s frightened eyes.

‘It’s… I don’t know. It’s moving. Like it’s alive.’

Bernard strained his head. It was no good. He couldn’t see it, but he could feel the bastard pummelling at him, breaking loose. He stood up, cheap jeans and baggy boxers around his ankles, and waddled over to the bedroom mirror.

‘Here. Use this.’ Barbara passed him a hand-mirror.

‘What am I supposed to do with this?’

‘Don’t be an idiot. It’s what they do when you go to the hairdresser. Do you remember - the barbers – when you had hair? If you look in the small one then you can look at your reflection behind you.’

They glared at each other a second. Bernard grunted and snatched the ornate piece of framed glass from Barbara’s hand. He shuffled, bent over, stood up straight, wiggled about and craned his neck until he got a really good view of what was chewing at him. His heart thudded with the effort. It pounded even harder with the sight that met him. The volcanic, ribbed wound sucked and blew, hissed and bubbled – a bath-time fart in the flesh. It stunk as bad.

‘Jesus H!’ Bernard tripped over his feet, falling hard; his knees slammed down onto the laminate floor. Pus spat across the room but Barbara fought her disgust and threw herself down to take her whimpering husband in her arms.

‘What’s the matter Bernie? What now?’

Desperate tears bulged from Bernard’s yellowing eyes as he stared up at his wife. He shut his lids tight against her concerned expression. His florid complexion pulsed with tides of horror and embarrassment before he could bear to face his wife again.

‘It winked at me Barb.’ His voice fell away with sobs. ‘It fuckin’ winked at me.’

A furious stench the size of Belgium hit the room. Mr and Mrs Baker fell away from each other, vomiting as the rancid odour rushed down their throats. When they were spent, they lay exhausted. The reflection of Bernard’s infected supplementary arsehole teased him; the sight of his wife’s bulk, gently weeping hit him just as hard.

‘Help…’ Bernard gulped. ‘Help me Barbara.’ He fingered his way across the floor, sliding through spatters of steaming puke to seek out Barbara’s hand. He found her face first, her jowls jangled as her lament grew louder. For a moment, Bernard forgot about himself and wrapped his arms around her.

‘Ssshhh. Ssshhh Barbie.’

Barbara jolted up and shot him a look. Of all the bloody times to compare her to a plastic super-model, this was not the one. Before they could argue, a long, highly-indulgent slurping noise screamed from Bernard Baker’s back.

‘Lickin’ myself home, Bernie boy.’

The voice; a smarmy, grinning voice, came loud and clear from the fat man’s hole. Bernard stared at his trembling wife as she shifted her position to take a look. She gasped.

‘No. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Oh God.’

Bernard crawled at speed back to the mirror. As soon as he caught sight of the long tongue protruding from his body he slumped down onto his belly. The tongue wavered around, its spittle dribbled and drooled, wetting Bernard’s hairy arse, before it plunged down to lick the gob back up again.

Bernard watched in morbid fascination. The sensation of sucking and entering, probing and retreating throbbed through his body and Bernie was horrified to find himself disturbingly aroused.

Without warning the orifice tore itself apart, exposing Bernard’s crumbling spine.

‘Heard of Ouroboros, Bernard Baker?’

The voice that shouted from the void was deep, guttural… ancient. It questioned its host again.

‘The dragon that eats its own tail? Circling, ever renewing itself?’

Bernard shook his head as he died, wanting to understand. This must be something from myth-o-logy, he thought it was called, some kind of fancy history. He knew nothing about it. Didn’t care about it - until now.

Vaguely aware of Barb sneaking out of the room, Bernie dragged some empathy from his heart and tried to reason with the creature.

‘What do you want, Horrid Boris? Why me?’

The demon roared with laughter, working its tongue further inside Baker’s sphincter.

‘Ha, you idiot. I didn’t say I AM Ourobouros. I just like his methods.

Bernard relaxed.

‘Thing is, I’m fuckin’ lazy!’

Bernard screamed as his insides turned out. His guts boiled as they hit the air. His life expired in seconds.

The demon, freshly reborn wiped the bloody detritus from its honed, blue-skinned body. It admired itself in the mirror, turning this way and that, grinning at its glistening erection.

‘Barbie?’ it called, in perfect impression of its former cocoon. ‘Everything’s alright now. I got rid of it. We’re OK babe.’

The stupid woman returned to the bedroom, her footsteps heavy along the hallway. Surprise slapped her in the face as she opened the door. She genuinely believed Bernie had gotten rid of the thing; that he’d be standing there in front of her, completely recovered.

She looked the demon up and down, taking in its strong, lithe form. An involuntary twinge quivered between her legs.

‘Oh God’ she said.

‘Not quite’ the demon replied, and dived in.

© Lily Childs 6 February 2010


Lily Childs is a budding writer in the mystery, chiller and horror genre, and is thrilled to have her short stories published on Thrillers Killers 'N' Chillers.
She is currently writing her first novel and lives on the Sussex Coast with her artist husband and beautiful 6-year old daughter. Lily blogs at:

Saturday 6 February 2010

TENDER by Victoria Jayne Lewis

I chose this as joint runner-up in Writers News Talkback's One Word Challenge. TKnC welcomes Victoria aka 'SA'...


We watch through the window as she strips to her underwear, climbs into bed and clicks off her lamp.

“This is the best part of my day,” I say. “Not seeing her undressed — although that’s fine by me — but watching her sleep.”

With a blush like rose petals in the snow and blonde hair cascading across her pillow, she looks like an angel.

“I can certainly see the reason for your… fascination,” he agrees cheerfully, although his serpentine grin is chilling. A fearful shiver races to my feet like a lightning strike surging for ground. “Are you sure this is what you want, Mike?”

The dark window is a mirror, my reflection a silver ghost. My love is in there, beyond the moonlit glass, so close but a million miles away. I want her enough that I’d pay any price to have her, even one this high.

I turn to the tall man beside me, and nod. “Yes, sir. I’m sure.”

“Come now, Mike. Let’s not be so formal. We’re going to be together a long while.” The Devil’s black eyes flash fire as he reaches out to shake my hand and seal our Faustian bargain. “Call me Lou.”

Victoria has always loved stories, and thinks writing is the best, most fulfilling, most terrifying, most awesome job in the whole wide world. She is currently working on a series of novels for young adults, and occasionally remembers to blog at

Friday 5 February 2010

C-DIG By James Hilton

Jim has seen the future, and the future is Noir....


I was born on millennium night.

The big zero.

While the rest of the world watched the celebratory fireworks, my mother was squeezing for all she was worth. Seventeen hours in labour, but well worth it, if I say so myself.

My mother used to tell me stories of how the egg heads were convinced that all of the computers in the world were going to shut down at the stroke of midnight; December thirty first-nineteen ninety nine.

Yeah? ‘Nil-poi’ for the mind monkeys there!

Yet Fifty seven years later, the world’s still turning. Not that that’s necessarily a good thing.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I’m not really. About two years ago the same brain fiddlers that were shitting their corduroys at the turn of the century invented a device for downloading real human memories onto a hard drive. Then a computer-construct program re-assembled the information and produced a virtual animation of the said memory.

It worked like a cerebral camcorder. You could relive every minute of that honeymoon in Maui. Shiny!

They say the mind works just like a hard drive; that you never really forget anything, you just have to locate the memory file in that big gray sponge. The C-DIG (Cerebral-Digital Interface Group) Neurorecorder did just that.

Sounds cool right?

No – WRONG. Mucho wrongo.

At first people used the C-Digs for recreation, showing the kids how their loving parents met, yay. How they looked taking their first steps. Aw.

Then the mental mechanics came up with a new use. Instead of recreational downloading, the governments of the world enforced compulsory brain-scans on every living private citizen. Every dirty secret you had was downloaded into the thousands of super-computers scattered around the globe.

Of course if you had enough money and influence you could buy an exemption licence. This effectively meant that the guys with the biggest secrets didn’t get mind-fucked.

Another application of the golden rule; those with all the gold make the rules.

Thankfully it was a slow process. At the end of the day there are a shit lot of people in the world to get through.

The recordings were made legal in the world courts and convictions escalated ten-fold. Any individual convicted of a violent or political crime was removed from his country immediately.

In response to this, colossal penal colonies were established on every continent. Thousands of convicts were brain chipped and controlled by the twelve mega corporations.

Big business, the same businesses that had pushed the brain-tap laws now had a virtually infinite labour force. The mortality rate in the camps was astronomical. To most, a conviction meant a death sentence.

Your assigned labour function was dependant on your crime. The worse your crime; the worse your task.

You ever wonder who scrapes the shit off the inside of sewer walls? Who mines for ore and minerals so deep in the earth that you need an oxygen tank strapped to your back.

Not the brain-fiddlers that’s for sure.

But let me get back to me.

My trouble started when I became the leader of the Lancaster Bombers; a street gang that peddled everything and anything illegal under the sun. The risks were huge but so were the rewards. Guns, drugs and skin, you know the story.

A business rival called Kurt Carpenter decided that the North of England wasn’t big enough for the both of us and paid me a visit.

I could tell by the meat cleaver that he carried it wasn’t a social call.

Carpenter was what is known in the trade as ‘a big fucker’. Six-foot five with a head so big it had its own postcode.

He came through my front door like it was made of balsa wood. Screaming about all the mutilation he was about to inflict.

The first shot from my pump-action took off his left foot just above the ankle. I’d shot a guy with a pistol before but the mess the twelve gauge made shocked even me.

Carpenter transformed into a spastic break-dancer. He tumbled through a strange version of a cartwheel, blood streaking the walls as he turned mid air.

In the movies people usually fall down dead and quiet after a gun shot, but let me tell you; that’s not what Carpenter did. He screamed and squirmed at full volume. He kept trying to stand up as if he could magically re-grow his amputated foot. That wasn’t happening…but ten out of ten for effort. Splinters of bone and ruined flesh protruded from the top of his Gucci loafer. In between scuttling around on his arse and one good leg, he tried a feeble swipe or two with the butcher’s blade. I shook my head in disappointment. I’d expected more from him.

I shucked the action on my Ithaca. The next blast of lead pellets detached his cleaver hand. Hells bells, it was like a grenade exploded. Maybe it was because the cleaver’s handle redirected the pellets in unexpected directions but his fingers flew off into the four corners of the room.

Now he was doing a fair impression of a goldfish out of water. His eyes showed only disbelief. He was taking long rending gasps of air; sounding like someone had sucker punched him in the gut and winded him.

The third shot I placed to the back of his neck. This all but decapitated him. Fight over.

Ding-ding, another bum!

I high tailed it out of the house and never looked back.

My life was sunshine and Chablis until I got pulled over by the police six weeks later for speeding. The hailed me into the station…yep, you guessed it; the fuckers scanned my memory.

Three hours wired into the C-Dig and my arse was in more hot water than a lobster at lunchtime.

I was charged with seventeen crimes in all. I won’t bore you with the full list. The judge was having way too much fun with his gavel for my liking.

Six weeks later I was cargo-shipped to an ungodly hole in the ground in sunny Somalia. My new place of abode was a seven by seven concrete box. The powers that be had built an entire city sized penal colony underground.

After a rudimentary medical at the penal hospital which left me unconscious, I was attached to work group 2-Peter-2:4.

I awoke to find some lumbering prison guard kicking me and screaming to get up. I stumbled to my feet. A short handled shovel was thrust at me.

“Dig!” barked the guard.

I cast a look around at the skeletal shapes scraping at chopping at the stone walls.

I decided to show him I wasn’t one of these bony little fuckers he was accustomed to. I cupped my crotch, “How about I dig this up your arse?”

A blinding flash of pain erupted behind my eyes. It was like someone had let off a firework inside my head. I fell to the ground and vomited the remains of my last meal into the dirt. My limbs shook involuntarily as if possessed.

“Dig,” ordered the Guard.

I picked up the shovel and wound up like a baseball player.

Another mind numbing spasm sent me face down into the dust one more. The convulsions were so severe that I lost one of my shoes.

Another prisoner helped me to my feet. “You just arrived?”

“Yeah,” drool dripped from my chin.

“I figured as much. I guess they didn’t tell you about the chip?” the old guy looked like Smeagol’s uglier brother.


“You’ve been implanted with a C-Dig behaviour control chip. We all have. If you refuse an order or try any violence the chip electrocutes your brain from the inside. You’ll only try it a couple of times,”

“So how do you get it out?”

“You don’t.”

“So what do we do now?” I asked.


I started to protest but felt a strange tingling begin deep inside my head. I reconsidered. The tingling stopped.

Hot tears seemed to burn my skin as I picked up the shovel.

“Dig!” warned the guard.

With my chin and bottom lip trembling I scraped at the wall next to Smeagol.

My tears made tiny Rorschach patterns in the dirt as I began to dig.

James Hilton is a writer of horror, crime and dark fiction and is currently working on his first thriller novel. He has work appearing at TKnC, Pulp Metal Magazine and at

Thursday 4 February 2010

Sunday Lunch by K. Patrick Moody

I recently judged the One Word Challenge over on Writers' News Talkback forum. The word was 'Chilling' and this tale from 'Scratch' was joint runner up...

Sunday Lunch

He pulled the bag from the freezer. It crackled as the ice broke away from the others. The fresh meat had spread blood around the inside of the bag and it was difficult to see the contents.

"Mum!" he shouted through the door connecting the garage to the kitchen, "Is this the one?"

He held the bag high so she could she it. She looked away from the vegetables she was preparing, placed the large knife gently on the chopping board and dried her hands in the towel.

"Yes, that's the one. A nice piece of shoulder."

Eddie closed the freezer and peered through the frost on the plastic bag, to the pink flesh inside.

"Mum, what's this blue mark?" he pointed to the design on the skin. A wave of panic flushed across her face, her eyes widened.

"Where? Show me!" Eddie pointed to the round shape. "Oh, that," she said, "that's the Danish Bacon mark." She forced a smile.

Eddie reached up to the worktop and placed the joint on a plate to thaw.

"Hmm ... it looks just like the tattoo on dad's arm - before he went away."

K Patrick Moody enjoys writing flash fiction and has, thanks to the National Novel Writers Month, two short novels to edit, one fantasy, one sci-fi. He produces non-fiction for two news letters and the web. By day it is IT customer support and its associated technical writing.

Further examples of his work can be found at

Wednesday 3 February 2010


Here's another new voice. Please extend a hearty TKnC welcome to Chad with...

It’s Called Tenderizing

Al was in a foul mood when he walked in, but after the third “disabled person”, which in this place meant too fat for their own goddamned legs to carry ‘em, almost ran him over with their shitty motorized scooter, he was through.

He was there for flatbread, lettuce, refried beans and beer. He could feel the eyes of the other shoppers on him, the stereotypes buzzing to their tongues, and stopping there by pursed lips till he had moved out of earshot. They weren’t even that original most of the time and always seemed to be followed by statements like “taking our jobs” which was just damn hilarious as far as he was fucking concerned; a regular punch line that never stopped delivering the punches.

Al’s first job was working for at an apartment complex. The official title was Painter’s Helper, but he did about anything the boss asked including smiling at the wife when the boss and one of his girlfriends occupied an empty apartment for about 30 minutes. Al was sure the boss was so lazy he just pulled his pecker out of the damn zipper so no clothes had to be removed or wrinkled while also serving the purpose of clearly laying out to the woman that this was a simple “thank you mam” situation.

Picking up a head of lettuce, beginning to go brown, Al shook his head with disgust. It would have to do, he thought as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He craved his small dinner, his beer, his bed.

One of the first days at work, he was told he’d be picking up trash around the apartment including in front by Arlington Street, the major thoroughfare that butted up to the apartment’s main entrance. He figured money was money and if they were going to pay him to pick up trash, no sweat. Then he met the boss’s son who was ordered to help him. This was a cruel joke to teach the son responsibility or some shit. The boss told him, “Make that boy do his fair share, you hear?”

The kid was all leather and tattoos, nose weighted down by silver, black eyeliner and blue jeans. A real dumbass.

The kid suggested they separate so they could get the complex done faster. “I’ll take the back,” the kid said shoving a thumb toward the pool. Al nodded. What else was he supposed to do?

After about an hour and close to three disparaging catcalls from passing cars including one that included tequila and a part of the body he had never heard of before, Al headed back to the office. On the way he just happened to look in one of the empty apartment’s windows and saw the kid inside. Al rapped the door and the kid jumped.

Inside, the kid ran his hands through his hair, eyes darted one way then the next. Al’s garbage bag bulged with plastic bottles, aluminum cans, papers, rotting food. The kid’s bag was near empty. “I,” he stuttered, “you know, dude, I just can’t. I can’t pick up garbage.”

Rounding the aisle, Al sighed relief. Not one damn person here buying their Wonder bread gawk and nod and smirk to their fat spouse’s about what how the fucking Latinos can’t even eat American food here in America. He grabbed his flatbread and threw it in the basket.

The more he thought of that kid, it really burned him up. The kid whined, “Dude, it’s so disintegrating.” Al grabbed the kid’s bag, poured half of his garbage in it and left the apartment before the boss came around. He didn’t have the luxury of feeling ‘disintegrated’. Stupid kid didn’t even know his own fucking language.

When Al got to aisle with the beans, the weight of the day really hit him. He unconsciously felt his face, the dried paint specks he got while rolling the ceiling, and then he yawned. He daydreamed of a shower and a beer, maybe even a beer in the shower, and that’s when he saw an inflated man with calves the size of his biceps on a scooter coming at him with a teenage boy in tow. The guy had wiry stubble jutting from his chin and sideburns reaching down over his jowls. His faded American flag hat fit too snugly over his broad forehead making a roll of flesh poke under like a small wave. Al picked up his pace to the beans ready to just grab and get.

The teenager was chubby too, man boobs poking out his white undershirt, hair cut short, slits for eyes, drank a Coke as he walked alongside the scooter. Al noticed the nod and smirk the kid gave his father, but the father did not reciprocate while Al watched. They never did while he watched.

Al didn’t realize the refried beans were on the bottom shelf, so he had to kneel down to find what he needed. He could hear the electric engine hum closer. Al plucked a can of beans, Taco Bell, and stared at the picture: dog food. Fuck it, he thought; he was damned tired. Out of the corner of his eye, Al noticed the scooter parked by his thigh.

“You need some help reading’ that?”

The teen sniggered.

“I need by. My chili beans are up there and yer in my way.”

“One second,” Al responded.

The fat man inched up his scooter. The teen laughed and Al could hear the fat man chuckle too.

“You comprehende? I need by.”

Al looked around. There was no one in the aisle and the fat man seemingly read his mind, “I can’t turn this thing to get around you so you hafta move.”

Al squeezed the can in his right hand. He could feel the blood pulsing in his neck, his temple.

The fat man inched up again and bumped into Al’s knee. Al popped up squaring off to both of them, then turned aside. His mouth was dry, tongue swollen, and his fingers dug into the can. The teen and fat man eyed one another and smiled. Screw ‘em. Al just wanted to get his beer and get home.

Leaning down to the fat man’s ear, the teen said, “I’m tired of them people. I bet he don’t even have a green card.”

It was a wild swing that caught the teen under the eye and Al was just as surprised as the teenager. The cheekbone exploded, the bean can making a semi-circle slash so deep, so significant it sprayed blood a foot away. The only sound the teen was able to make was with his face bone cracking into shards.

The fat man moaned. He pressed the handle on the scooter and his voice squealed; his head twisted back trying to catch a glimpse of Al.

Al was strangely calm, stalking, tapping his thigh with the can. Marching forward, Al caught up to the scooter and the fat man yowled while trying to weave from one side to the next. Pasta sauce, Rice-A-Roni. When the can was brought down on the fat man’s head, the scooter came to a dead stop. The fat man’s head lolled. Al brought the can down again, again, and blood poured out from under the fat man’s hat, ran down his face and back while bone was rammed into his gray matter.

Al dropped the bloody Taco Bell can on the linoleum and looked around. People gawked. People covered their mouths with their hands. People ran away.

Al made his way to the beer aisle with only one thing on his mind: he hoped he would get at least one Budweiser before the cops showed up and hauled his ass away.

Chad Rohrbacher has had stories published at Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive, and Pulp Engine. He blogs here:

Tuesday 2 February 2010

A Gracious Word of Thanks (or three) from the Editors

Matt Hilton says:

A few weeks ago, I posted here to say that Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers was nominated in the Preditors and Editors readers' poll to find the favourite webzine on the Net. Now, I must say that the site is primarily aimed at readers of Horror and Dark Fiction, so we were in a more favourable position than some of the other crime/noir sites (some of them that I would quite happily have voted for myself) due to the fact that a pretty large quota of our contributors are writing in the horror and dark fiction genres. Well, it's with great pride and with great gratitude that I announce that TK'n'C did indeed win the coveted first place position, beating off some pretty damn fantastic competition along the way. We don't claim that we're better than they are, maybe we just have more voters. Have a look here for confirmation of the results:

Now then, I like to think of myself as a humble and self-effacing kind of guy, so I don't want to take all the praise or adulation. I want you, our contributors, our readers and our supporters to bask for a moment in the glory. Without any of you TK'n'C would be a pretty boring place to visit.

Thanks to everyone who voted. Thanks also to Col Bury for all his hard work in making the site as great as it is. And thanks to Preditors and Editors for bestowing the award on us.

Col Bury says:

To beat off some extremely stiff competition and win this accolade in our first year is breathtaking . It's an absolute pleasure and honour to accept this award on behalf of our fantastic band of contributors. It's a privilege to be the co-editor of such a diverse and entertaining site, so a heartfelt 'thanks' to Matt for giving little old me the opportunity to play my part. This award proves there's not only an abundance of undiscovered talent out there, but also here on TKnC. It's customary to thank me mum so 'thanks mum!' Also I raise a glass to blog-monster extraordinaire, Lee Hughes (there's summat in it,am not gonna smash it over his head TKnC style!), for nominating us, and of course to Preditors & Editors for running the poll.

Most importantly thanks to all our writers, readers and to everyone who voted.
Onwards 'n' upwards,


Monday 1 February 2010

SKINS By James Hilton


Mickey Clegg spat the chewed remnants of the pen from his mouth and stabbed a tattooed finger at the front of the convenience store. “Das the place...”

The six shaven heads clustered around him turned as one. Malice shimmered in each pair of eyes. All were dressed in like attire; tight jeans worn high over Doc Martin boots…green bomber jackets and red braces over white tee shirts. Skinheads had been in and out of vogue since he’d been a little kid but Clegg had only recently collected a motley crew of his own. He’d first caught the bug watching American prison dramas. While most reviled the exploits of the Aryans, he was entranced; something about the pride…the power…the purity. It was a small step away from the British skinhead ethos. He’d soon found others with the same mindset.

Now it was time to show those rag-heads just what Britain was all about. Just what kept Britain - Great.

Clegg’s second in command Doug Stamford, stepped up. “What we gonna do?”

“Just what we talked about last night…”

“What if there’s a load of the sand-niggers in the back?”

“Das no problem,” Clegg produced his Stanley knife from his back pocket. The small triangular blade reflected the orange glare from the street light under which they congregated.

“Why the hell did someone build a shop way out here anyway?” asked Wilcox. The industrial estate was on the outermost edge of town.

A scar the shape of an inverted smile decorated his chin, the product of an encounter with a broken beer bottle a couple of years earlier.

“You know how it is; if they see an empty corner they build a shop on it.”

The gang laughed at Clegg’s wit.

Wilcox pointed at the red letters over the shop window, “What kinda name is Patsasmin?”

“Dunno, it’s not English so what does it matter?”

No one argued the point.

“Benny, you go and have a look. I want to know how many’re getting the treatment tonight.”

Benny nodded with enthusiasm as he pulled on a woollen hat to cover his baldness. He crossed the road with a cocky swagger.

The brightly lit shop front was framed on both sides by corrugated sheet fencing. The building was a breezeblock affair with empty plots either side. Tattered posters advertising events at the O2 Arena decorated the fencing. A large colour promo for the Cirque de Macabre show was almost pornographic. Beneath a nearly naked model was emblazoned the legend ‘Introducing Gemma Nye-Panthera – Mistress of the Dark’. Clegg pursed his lips, “I know what I’d like to introduce to her.”

Less than a minute later Benny emerged from the store clutching a chocolate bar and gave the thumbs up. He trotted over to the gang.

“So?” asked Clegg. He flicked the blade in and out of the carpet knife.

“Just one woman. No cameras. Easy.”

Clegg’s face distorted with his cruel approximation of a smile. “How old?”

“Er…about thirty-something,”

“Nice job Benny-boy,” Clegg started towards the shop. “You ever shagged a bit of brown?”

Benny was young looking for his seventeen years and was yet to score a hit with any girl regardless of colour. “Nah man, I tend to stick to blondes.”

The gang laughed and Benny tried not to blush.

“Is your right hand blonde then, Benny-boy?”

“Get lost Wilcox,” was all he could manage in way of a comeback.

The gang was still laughing as they barged into the grocery store. The last man in and the gang’s newest member, John Lee, flicked the sign on the door from open to closed. The door closed with a clatter. His chrome necklace glinted in the harsh fluorescent light. The words ‘Mark 5.9’ carved into the metal meant nothing to the gang but Lee held them dear.

The woman behind the counter regarded the gang with calm detachment. Her features were perfect to the point of being unsettling. Her large brown eyes flicked from each man in the group but her expression never wavered.

Clegg walked up to the counter. He spoke in an overly exaggerated polite voice, “May I please speak to the proprietor of this prestigious establishment?”

Lee sniggered, “Prestigious pile of shit if you ask me.”

The woman replied in equally perfect English, “I am she, and you may.”

Lee and Wilcox moved deeper into the shop and began turning a chrome stand containing self help and fitness DVD’s. The cases inevitably showed a before and after picture of the celebrity endorsing the fitness program. On all of the before poses, the ‘celeb’ was overweight and dressed in dowdy clothes. Their faces looked like someone had just swapped their Chablis for a measure of cat’s piss. In the after pose they had miraculously lost two thirds of their body mass, gained a full perfect tan, a whiter than white smile and visited the trendiest spandex shop in London. Lee picked up a box titled The Cinch and smiled approvingly of the leather clad model on the cover. Exercise routines for the bondage crowd?

Wilcox checked out the fire door at the rear of the store but it was padlocked from the inside; so much for health and safety.

Clegg glanced over his shoulder as he raised his voice. “Well I need to know how much it will cost…”

The woman tilted her head slightly.

Clegg repeated his question.

“How much what will cost?” her voice was tinged with the faintest of accents.

“How much to shag you up the arse?”

The gang erupted into laughter and whoops of encouragement.

The woman looked bored and waved a hand towards the door. “You should leave now.”

Wilcox pushed his hand behind a row of bottles and sent them crashing to the floor. The odour of ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce filled the air. “Oops!”

Another burst of laughter.

“You can put that on my tab,”

The woman fixed Clegg with a stare. She ignored the crashing of her merchandise and resulting smashing of bottles. Benny stuffed a dozen assorted chocolate bars into his pockets. Wilcox snatched at the magazines from the top shelf. “Hey, skin-mags…” the rest of the gang missed his half-baked pun.

Clegg grabbed at the woman and hauled her around the counter. He tried to throw her to the floor but somehow she glided with him like a dancer and remained on her feet. He released his grip and snatched his knife from his pocket. “It’s time to teach you some respect.”

The gang stalked closer to watch Clegg in action. They all knew that women were terrified of having their faces disfigured. Even the threat of a lifelong scar could command obedience.

“Well now Lady Patsasmin, what say I cut one of those stupid Indian dots into your forehead, eh?”

“Why would you? I am not Indian.” The calmness of her tone was really starting to grate on Clegg’s mind. How could she be so blasé about this?

“Indian, paki, wogger, it’s all the same.” The surrounding men nodded and leered at the shopkeeper.

“I was born Abyssinian.”

“Like I’m bothered,”

“My people were the rulers of the known world while yours were still living in caves.”

“Shut it,”

“Don’t you read your bible?”

“Bullshit!” Clegg pushed the blade to within a fraction of an inch from her left eye. Then without warning he slashed down at the buttons and fabric of her blouse. A couple of severe tugs and the woman was left naked from the waist up.

“Now that’s more like it,” yelled Wilcox.

The gang shuffled closer. They all understood that Clegg would go first, but she looked fresh enough to last the whole train.

The woman ignored both his groping hand on her breast and the knife which hovered again near her eyes. “When we vanquished an enemy it was our custom to take their head and display it as a war trophy.”

Clegg sliced the razor sharp blade into her perfect cheekbone. “You’ll be giving head today not taking any,”

The woman cupped her hand over the laceration. Within seconds dark crimson fluid had filled her palm. Now the calm facade dropped from her face. Clegg scowled in triumph, at last, now the fun could really start.

The woman swept her hand behind her and the blood splattered across the front of the sales counter.

Wilcox stepped back, pointing, “What the fu…”

The blood had spelled out her name as it sloshed against the laminated surface. PATSASMIN…in crimson.

Clegg stepped back as well. His mind struggled to comprehend the situation.

The woman smiled, her wound gaping.

The men shuffled back, all thoughts of pillage forgotten. The dormant survival instinct that lies in every man ignited in each of the skinheads’ psyche.

Benny yelped and staggered back, “Look!”

The blood-formed letters were re-arranging themselves into a new formation. The self-animated haemoglobin spelled out her true identity.

Clegg pushed himself back, moving to the door; “Come on.”

The gang slipped and jostled to follow their leader.

“Get out of the way, John.”

But the skinhead was rooted in front of the exit.

“Come on,” shouted Clegg. “It was your idea to come here in the first place. A shit storm is what it is…now get out of the way.”

“You really should read your bible,” said the woman’s voice again.

John was shuddering at the door, his face contorting into something alien.

“What the fuck is happening?” screamed Wilcox. Benny clutched at his friend’s sleeves.

The thing that was Patsasmin now convulsed in time with the man at the door. “And Jesus demanded, ‘What is your name?’…and he replied – My name is Legion: for we are many!”

“What…what?” yelled Clegg as the two shape-shifted into their more bestial-selves.

Benny pointed repeatedly at their former gang member. “John Lee…Lee John…Legion…”

“Let he who have understanding…” she nodded to the boy.

“Get the fuck out my way.” Clegg rushed at Lee, slashing with the blade. Deep wounds opened on Lee’s face but no blood issued forth. Scaled reptilian hide sought escape from the fragile outer covering of human skin that the betrayer wore. Lee’s shuddering and pulsating grew in intensity.

The skinheads sought escape by the back door but the lock held fast.

The woman that had been Patsasmin had shed her skin and long tatters of flesh now hung like rags on a disaster victim. Two lurching steps forward and she had Clegg’s head in her elongated fingers. The soft skin under his chin proved no barrier for the creature’s questing talons. Clegg emitted one ear piercing scream before his face and most of his bald scalp was ripped away. Clegg fell to the ground, pink bubbles frothing from the gaping hole where his mouth used to be.

Patsasmin waggled the sack of skin like a bizarre glove puppet, two misshapen fingers jutting through the eye sockets. “Now there’s a face only a mother could love!”

The second being that had masqueraded as John Lee now dominated the doorway in the form of an unimaginable fusion of reptile-bird-man. It now rasped the same word over and over with a tongue that was no longer suited to human speech. “Legion-legion-legion-legion…”

The last seven minutes of life shared by the Manchester Aryan Brotherhood were filled by screams, the rending of flesh and the frenzied consumption of hearts, brains and genitals by the two entities of the Legion.

The two abominations walked out into the night, re-sheathed in human guise. “You were right. That was fun.”

Legion nodded to his sometimes female companion, “Your turn.”

Patsasmin shook her head vigorously and assumed the persona and outer shell of a sixteen year old girl. “There’s a housing estate just half a mile over that hill.” A leather-bound clipboard appeared in her hand. “Excuse me sir, would you like to save some money on your utility bills?”

Legion laughed as he assumed a fresh-faced and slightly over confident visage to match Patsasmin’s. “Here, I brought travel snacks,”

She took the two eyeballs and dropped then into her mouth.

Legion smiled again at his superior, then spat out the remains of a tattooed finger. “I’ll bet you five souls that I get invited in before you do.”


Jim Hilton is a writer of horror, crime, thrillers and dark fiction. He has had work showcased at Pulp Metal Magazine, Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers and has up-coming work at House Of Horror Magazine, and is currently working on his first novel - a crime thriller.
Go to to sample more of his short stories.