Friday 22 April 2011


Spanish Daggers

Once upon a time in a land far, far away—oh, scratch that shit!
In a ratty-tatty old shotgun house in a town about the size of a matchbox (700 or so) there in that place. I lived next door to an old bastard.
            Now I say he was an old bastard but then maybe I am being a little harsh. I know that from my conversations with him that he had a unique or odd way of situating himself. Conspiracy theories and left-sided political campaigns—but whatever right?
It was a rundown house with planks missing out of the side boards, paint chipping where there was paint and huge gaps of space close to the foundation. The house was like the town, old and in need of repair. Not that this pothole in the road was much of a town, but it was a town nonetheless.
Anyhow, I entertained this old man from time to time and pretty much went about all of it together and untouched for the most part. Kind of handy he was, always slapping me on the ass until finally it became as natural to me as a handshake.
            Well, I was sitting on the rotting old porch, visiting of course, when the old bastard began to rattle off a random tale.               
            The old bastard coughed, “You know this town ain’t been right since those feds came in, ya know?”
            “I know,”   I remarked.
            “People these days and times think and believe just damn near everything, ya know?”
            “Yeah—I agree,” my head bobbing with a gesture not necessarily agreement.
            “Well,” I said noticing his distraction with the noise of the nearby buses passing on Bonita St.
            “How do you handle all the chaos, the noise and such running around on this corner?”                 
            The old bastard just grimaced. “Hell, I don’t tolerate much of that shit anymore,” he sighed and picked his nose, “you see them there yuccas?” The old bastard pointed to the edge of his yard. I watched his finger motion with its crooked, rheumatic bumps.
            “Why do you have all those Spanish Daggers edging your property?” I engaged the idea wanting to hear him spout off like a wound oozing puss.
            “You know as many times as I have told you this ya ought to remember.”                           “Humor me again.” I grinned thinking about his animated face and hand gestures, especially the finger—which always made me laugh the way he flipped people off like it was a Spanish Dagger  cutting out the  heart and leaving the soul  ashamed and bleeding.
            “Those damn kids,” he began, “used to run all over my yard—hell, now they ain’t. HA!” he coughed and spit a plug of mucus over the edge of the porch. “They might fall on one of my spiny friends out there ya see.”
            “I know,” I laughed until I cried, “bet they don’t even come near your property now do they?”   
            “Nope!” he coughed again into his hand and wiped it on his left sleeve.
            I was laughing. The buses and school children were running about noisily. Usually, I am not home to see and hear the entire racket. Today was a little different.
            “Say,” I began to ease into the question, “how many cars have you seen going in and out of that thicket over there?”
            The old bastard turned his attention towards me. “May have seen twenty or so of them there grey boogers going in and out I’d say all hours of the night and day too. Strange stuff is goin’ on over there. Do ya know anything about it, girlie?”
            I shrugged, “All I know is that they from some acronym in Washington showing papers to everyone that they are doing some sort of research on a tree fungus or something. What did they say to you?”
            “Hell, I don’t know. They came up here waving them papers and such and I told 'em I didn’t believe in eminent domain and such shit and wished that I supported owning a gun.”
            I put my hand over my mouth and tried to keep from laughing.
            An old scraggly cat hopped up on the edge of the porch.
“Ah must be dinner time.” The old bastard farted.
            “How long you had that cat?”
            “Ah, I say now, I have had that there cat for about two years now. Came up one day strutting around in front of that there window like he was that there romance model—ya know who I’m talking about?”
            “Yeah, I think I do. Blonde-headed romance model?”
            “Uh huh, that is him alright.” A disgusted grimace followed, “Biggest waste of hair I ever seen! Well that cat there walked ‘round here looking at his self in the window so much I wanted to call him Fabio but...” He shrugged his shoulder and coughed deep—no phlegm this time.
            “Well what do you call him then?” I nudged his arm.
            “I call that there tom, One Ball—because that’s the way he came. Can’t say how it happened though. Tragic I reckon. Guess it was just his lot to be born that way or somethin’.”
            “You call your cat One Ball?” I was holding tight to the edge of the seat trying my hardest not to fall off and get a grip on myself before I lost all composure. “Well do you think that you should go ahead and feed him now?” I said moving the conversation along.
            “Yeah,” the old bastard disappeared into the darkness behind the screen door and came back with a can of cat food. He was completely ignoring me at this point. 
            “This damn old porch should’uv fell in by now.” The old bastard said and laughed to his self as he kicked an empty can of cat food off the edge of rotten boards.
The old bastard began to ramble on. The pile of cat food cans were growing-up like the scraggly weeds--a bastard robot child from the Star Wars sequel.
He hated that sci-fi shit. Who gave a damn whether or not we landed on the fucking moon— ain’t any gold up there. Hell, in his mind it was another scam.
The government pulled all kinds of shit. Them som’bitches had to explain all those embezzled tax dollars to an illiterate nation, somehow.
Most folks would believe anything back then and even now. He laughed about that crazed woman who had made a bundle of money selling tumbleweeds. Yeah, people would just about buy anything.
            “Well now…where was we?” the old bastard cracked his persimmon smile exposing yellowed fragments and gaping holes. Old One Ball, hopped up on the rotting wooden side beam, flicking his tail back and forth. The old bastard leaned over to scrub the cat’s head. Cat food sat in the tin can attracting an entire fly mafia with all its’ connections.
“It’s a conspiracy I tell ya. All those damn scientists goin’ in and out of there like they own the damn place. Immanent Domain my ass! They ain’t takin’ anything that I know of.” His suspicious eyes watched another flint grey booger pull off the road and disappear into the thicket.
I laughed. “Yeah, a real conspiracy is going for sure.”
“You reckon all those hippy researchers been looking for some exotic mushroom to get all there little buddies high on back in Washington or some such shit?” he screwed his nose and mouth up revealing his yellow, broken shards. “Hell, they were disturbing the peace of the land almost as much as the nearby school yard that keep a ringing noise going on year round with a basketball game here and buses coming and going all day long—when is a man going to get any peace and quiet. Those yapping brats! I hate ‘em. Hope they like my yuccas.” He laughed heartily. “Damn little snot-noses, let ‘em run and play in my yard. Con found it.” The old bastard waved his fist in the air with defiance.
All I could do was bow my head and laugh hard. I finally had to get up and walk towards the cat eating from the fly infested tin can. I glanced into his house past the darkness through the screen door. Piles of newspapers stacked up like bachelor tables ready for a pizza box, were scattered amongst the sparse furnishings of the living room. One odd chair from the seventies sat against a far wall covered in peeling wallpaper as the main attraction. An old box set TV with “rabbit ears” on top was the centerpiece. “You still got one of those old TV’s I see.” I looked over my shoulder to see his face change to amusement.
“Hell why couldn’t them ears be attached to them fine bunnies at the Hefner Mansion in Los Angeles?” But an aching gut took away the thought. The old bastard pushed me out of the way and went into the darkness again and emerged with his own can.
“Most of that interest has past me now,” he snorted as he chomped on a sardine sandwiched between saltines.
“Uh, huh, I hear you.” I raised my eyebrow at him and thought to myself what a disillusioned old bastard. “So,” I said, “You know, I wonder if the rumors are true about those government guys?”
“Tell it girlie, what have ya heard?” he gulped down another sardine almost whole. I wondered if he ever chewed.
“Well, I heard that they are researching fungus that grows as a possible cure for cancer.”
“Nahhhhhh,” he opened his mouth sardine meat hanging on jagged edges like Jaws emerging and flesh dangling between deathly spikes.
I turned my head and rolled my eyes. Some damn people should use a toothbrush though in his case none would suffice. “That’s what I heard.”
Then one of those grey boogers parked in the driveway. We had not noticed this car coming down the road. We had been busy shooting the shit. A man in casual khakis and a starched white shirt moved toward us.
“Maam, sir,” agent man addressed us coldly.
“We are evacuating everyone, please come with me now.” Flat tone hit us both with the edge of a steel blade on the throat—cold unyielding.
“But…” I was stammering.
“Hey we ain’t…” The old bastard started.
They took us.
Together in the backseat, we sat silent waiting. I watched the town disappear behind us in the rearview. I felt sternly awake and the agent’s faces appeared only stolid to me. We were locked down in a makeshift detainment area outside of town.
Weeks later, we all found out. Those funguses that the feds had been investigating were actually contaminating the soil via the trees and natural composting process of our region. No one we talked to in the government agency could tell anyone how long the contamination had been going on in our area. Apparently, our town was one of the first ones to get treatment. No one died luckily. But everyone in our town went through weeks or/and months of detoxification as the government called it.
I got home about three weeks later after the incident to find my small pothole in the road an old place with a different feel. People that were usually gregarious had changed. No one talked about the treatments. We all just had been through it. A community rape--a dirty government conspiracy.
Even the old bastard was different. I asked him one day, “Why did you cut down your yuccas?”
The old bastard simply replied, “They spiked us all do we need anymore?”
And the old bastard was right. No one and everyone would ever be the same and chaos and noise had ceased. We all had died. The government had indeed spiked us all to death with Spanish Daggers of their own accord.
The End

Sunday 10 April 2011

9 new tales to wet your fancy

Just a quick heads-up that nine new stories from a mix of both new and old authors (to the site that is) have been posted. Please do take a look back through the list, read and leave your encouragement in the comments boxes. Thanks folks
Ye Olde(st) Editor

Saturday 9 April 2011

THE THERAPIST By Kendra Richards


“You‘re the most beautiful woman I‘ve ever looked at,” Colby who happens to be Jess‘ therapist said as he snuggled closer to her in his warm, vanilla scented bed. It was big enough for a couple of grizzly bears. That’s what Jess loved the most, being snuggled up with a man who she can actually trust, one who already knows of her rape and fears and still thinks she’s amazing.
 Jess smiled so big you could see her tonsils. She’d always heard that if the man’s eyes are closed while kissing, that means he’s into you. How Cosmo of me, Jess thought. It wasn’t like her to get wrapped up in a guy. Not after being raped. She just couldn’t let down her  guard and trust again. She peeked open her eyes, just enough to see if his were closed.
 He began to take things further, holding her even tighter when the most intense feeling of anxiety overwhelmed her. It felt as if a knife went right into her lungs when she realized that Colby was not only her therapist, but he was also her rapist!
She tried to remain calm, hoping that Colby wouldn’t realize that she had figured out who he really was.
“I-I have to go… now!” She said already out of breath, her face displaying a look of disgust.
 “Jess I don’t want you to go,” He said firmly as if to say she had no choice. “Just let me explain some things to you. I promise you’ll understand,” he said sincerely.
 “I promise I won’t. Colby, I trusted you. Do you have any idea--?”
Colby reached out and pulled her away from the wall, holding her freckled hands gently and said “I won’t hurt you, promise.”
 Jess resisted, turned for the stairs and headed straight for the door.
On the drive to her brother’s house a sensation of boulders seemed to form in her stomach.
“My therapist, he’s my rapist!” Jess said, sobbing.
Her brother stood silently on the steps of his porch, the sun beating down so hard that he could feel it deep into his muscles.
“Oh Jess!” He sighed and wrapped her in his arms.
“How blind could I have been? I knew better than to ever trust a man again. I knew better! I knew better!”  She yelled while pacing in circles, with her hands in the air.
“It’s not your fault. You were vulnerable you thought he was a good guy. He led you to believe he could make all of your fears go away.  Colby is the kind of person who sees your vulnerability as a window to take advantage of you. He’s manipulative, he turns on the good-guy charm to throw you off.”
“How could I not have realized that he was the same man who raped me?” Jess yelled angrily as her brand new metallic pink I pod went barreling off the porch.
“Why’d you do that for, sis?” Jamie yelled looking as confused as someone trying their luck at a 9000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
 “It was a gift from Colby. I never want to see that stupid I pod for as long as I live!”
She sat down in the blue hand-me-down-rocking chair from grandma Ruby when she saw a white SUV creeping down the long  dirt driveway.
“Oh sugar! That is Colby coming down the driveway.”
“Stay calm, I’ll handle this. We’ll see what he’s doing here and I’ll send him on his way, just say the word,” he said, the sweat sparkling on his forehead in the sunlight.
  “Let me explain to you! Jess, if you will let me explain, it could change your life forever, if you only knew the truth,” Colby said, slowly approaching her.
Her rush toward the house slowed as she turned to see him standing at the bottom of the porch steps, tears welling up in his eyes.
“She grew silent waiting to hear his excuses. “Stop it right there! Don’t come any closer to me, don’t you do it!” She yelled, holding her hand up at him.
He stopped in his tracks and said “To you I’m just a rapist with no heart and no respect for women. Jess, I know that because I was hurt too. I-I was raped too.”
 “So you get revenge by raping an innocent girl, Colby? Oh, now I understand, why didn’t you just say so,” She spouted sarcastically.
“No. Jess, I was raped for years. I was raped sometimes more than once a day one day it just wasn’t enough anymore. The man who was raping me wanted more. He’s a nasty man, Jess and I hate myself every day for what I’ve done to you. If I didn’t agree to do that to you, he threatened to kill me. Now that I’ve gotten the chance to love you, I wish I would’ve just let him kill me. You didn’t deserve it. I didn‘t think I deserved it either until I did the same thing to you.”

 Jess stood silently in shock, mostly because in some strange way she felt sorry for him. She didn’t see him as the monster who raped her. She saw him as a person no different from herself, someone who shared the same pain she did, if not more.
“I am so sorry,” she said crying as she stumbled off of the steps to Colby. She wrapped her arms around his stout body and everything went silent.


WARNING: Not for the faint-hearted...

Green-Eyed Monster

He checked his watch again and squinted along the dusty Spanish road, the heat shimmering above its concrete surface, cicadas filling his head with their irritating chirping. Where the hell was she? He should have gone with her, should have endured a day of trudging around cathedrals or castles or whatever old shit she’d insisted on going to traipse around. It was all a rouse he was sure of it, she was probably meeting some Spanish waiter, some Raul or Julio or whatever, she’d probably had him on the go for ages, which was probably why she had suggested a weekend in Majorca so soon into their relationship.
Against the azure blue of the Spanish sky a coach began to trundle out of the midday heat toward him. He physically relaxed and sighed with relief, he knew it was okay, he had known she would be back; she was a good girl really.
The coach pulled up with a sigh of brakes and she appeared at the top of the narrow stairs, beaming and sweating from her excursion. He lifted her down gleefully and held her, a moment too long, a little too tightly.
She looked slightly confused and removed herself from his embrace. ‘I was only gone for the day Babes, you okay?’
She could be such a cold bitch. ‘What? I can’t miss you?’ He asked amiably, kissing her cheek.
She relented to his charm. ‘Well,’ she shrugged, ‘I’m flattered. I missed you too, I wished you’d come, God it was so great. This place is so full of beautiful history. It was hot though, baking hot. I made a friend on the coach –‘
‘You did?’ he tried to keep the panic which bubbled to life within him out of his voice.
‘Yeh, yeh, such a nice guy, we buddied up for picture taking else I would have had no photos of those fabulous places.’
She was still talking but his ears were ringing, a cold sensation throbbing in the pit of his stomach, the bitter stab of jealousy. So this was his adversary, the latest man planning to take her from him, there was always someone lurking at the periphery of his vision, just awaiting their chance. Fuck sake, why did she have to be so flirtatious, all the time, with anyone? God knows, he’d seen her with his mates, laughing at their jokes and touching their arms as she threw her head back, shaking her golden hair provocatively. All part of her act, everything she did was, every move, the way she walked, all part of this package intended to entice and lure.
He bet this guy wasn’t even into that old history shit, just got on the coach when he saw her get on, sidling up to her with this whole camera photo buddy bollocks. He knew his game alright, pretending to listen when she spoke about all these crumbling old buildings no one gives a toss about. Bastard, he worked his way in and now he would probably be lurking somewhere planning his next move, how to accidentally on purpose be where she was, talking about old shit again. How could he compete with that? He hated old shit and she was so fucking pretty that it was ridiculous, women shouldn’t be that pretty, it made them a liability and made all the men around go squiffy.
‘You want to go back to the room?’ He heard himself ask her. ‘I can show you just how much I missed you today?’
Her eyes sparkled and she grinned, leaning against him suggestively. ‘Really?’
‘Oh yes, really.’
‘Let’s do it.’ She took his hand and, waving over her shoulder at her new friend, she led him to their room, past the sparkling turquoise pool. He followed her, watching the sun dance on her golden hair, her shoulders a honey brown blushed with pink from walking around in the sun today. He glanced behind him at the friend she had waved goodbye to, so casually, as if they weren’t already lovers, laughing behind his back.
She closed the door to their room, the cool shocking after the searing heat of the afternoon, her flip flops slapping against the cold floors. She blew out air as she smiled at him contentedly. She reached up and kissed him, releasing a small groan of pleasure as she did so. She was so fucking sexual all the time, everything about her reeked of sex, she was such a whore he couldn’t stand it.
‘Let me take a quick shower and you can go ahead and show me just how much you missed me.’ She turned to leave and he felt cold shivers run all over his flesh. She was washing the other guy off her, cleaning herself out, getting rid of the evidence. He couldn’t bear it, how could she do this to him? Cuckold him like this; make him look such a fool?
‘You’re not going anywhere!’
She blanched as if physically struck. ‘What? Why?’ She gazed at him in disbelief.
He quickly softened his tone, determined to get her pants off and find out if she was wet, if she’d been with the other guy, any other guy, he had to know. ‘I want you now, I can’t wait.’
‘But I’m sweaty and stinky.’
‘Don’t care.’
‘But –‘
‘Now baby!’
He grabbed her before he could stop himself and threw her back on the bed. She was too shocked to struggle and he was on top of her, pulling eagerly at her shorts, a look of utter determination in his eyes.
‘Hey,’ she complained pulling at her pants defensively, but he couldn’t stop, he dragged at her clothes and they began to heave over her flesh, turning it white, digging into her skin. ‘Slow down.’ He couldn’t, he couldn’t stop, couldn’t help himself.
Finally her shorts were in his hands, her knickers still twisted inside them and her bare legs exposed and red from the rough dragging of material. Before she could complain about her treatment or cover her nakedness he thrust his hand inside her. She squealed with pain and started repeating ‘gentle’ over and over.
She was dry. He couldn’t believe it. How was that possible? She hadn’t as yet been with another? He imagined her planning it right now, a rendezvous tonight, laughing at him as some stranger pressed her against a wall and thrust inside her.
He realised his fingers were still inside her as images of her fucked every which way from Sunday assaulted his brain. Then he realised he had a huge erection, so fierce and hard. He pushed her back and thrust inside her, covering her mouth as she screamed in anguish, each thrust like knives stabbing inside her. But then the pain began to pass and she was moving with him, seeing this as just overly urgent, him too keen, a lesson to be learned was all this was. She moaned gently in his ear with pleasure, now wet and welcoming. Her acquiescing infuriated him and he thrust harder, determined to make her sorry, so fucking sorry, but she just moaned louder and dug her fingers into his shoulders. Despite himself he began to feel the stirrings, the taking over of himself and they came together, violent and urgent, and moaning with pleasure.
He lay on top of her, panting and hating himself, hating her, hating the other guy, all the other guys. Then he rolled off and lay back, staring up at the whirring fan above him, the cool on his sweat soaked skin making it prickle.
She leant on one elbow and sighed with something like gratification, her cheeks flushed. She dragged a hand through her damp hair. ‘Wow, you did miss me that was …’ she giggled girlishly and he felt fury bubble within him, she was laughing at him, she thought him a ludicrous lover. ‘I’m not sure I shall be walking right for a week!’
He couldn’t be close to her any longer and stood up, frustration pumping through every muscle in his body making them burn. Bitch, bitch, bitch, he screamed in his mind. She was so wanton, she was a slut, and she was jezebel, Delilah. She was Eve, filled with original sin, making him bad, making him wrong. He didn’t know it but he was mumbling, repeating the word ‘wrong’ over and over.
She sat up in bed feeling a trickle of alarm run down her spine.
He continued to pace, repeating in a hushed whisper that she was wrong, this was wrong. She would leave this room and run to him, the guy from the coach who pretended to like the old shit, the castles and cathedrals. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He couldn’t let her leave. She wouldn’t come back.
She was sliding off the bed, her eyes wide, and the whisper of panic turning into a screech inside her. She could see he was wrong and she would leave him, he just knew it.
He couldn’t let her. Fuck, why did she have to be such a whore? Why was she making him feel this way? He couldn’t let her leave, disrespect herself, laughing at him, at how he loved her and wanted her only for himself.
‘What’s wrong?’ she was asking. ‘What is it? Talk to me?’
He glared at her, she was playing him, she knew what was wrong, she was the one who had been fucking the coach guy all day, and the Spanish guy, the reason they were even here, why she’d wanted to come to this stupid country. She looked so innocent, so full of concern for him, her eyes watery and her brow furrowed. She was good, he’d give her that, but he saw what she was, she was filthy, she could not be trusted.
She was edging across the room away from him, her eyes wide in fear. ‘You’re scaring me,’ she said.
He sniggered and in one huge step was across the room and seizing her arms as if she were just a weightless doll. He thrust her onto the bed and she screamed in genuine alarm now, she was afraid of him, there was fear in her eyes. He would show her, he would give her the fucking of her life. She would never want anyone else after this; no other guy would do after he showed her what he was capable of, how he could give it to her. Not walk for a week; she’d never walk again once he was finished with her. He was blind with fury and determination to prove his virility and power to her. She’d spend the rest of their lives begging him to do her again, like he did all those years ago in Spain when he showed her what a real man could do. She’d never look at some other guy, not even one who liked that history bollocks, no one else would ever do after this. He loved her with all of him self, more passionately than he had ever thought possible and after this she would never leave, never leave.
He looked down and that was when he realised: he had crushed her. That was curious, he thought as he looked down at her staring blood stained eyes, her death mask, he hadn’t really meant to do that.  He touched her cheek and rocked her head, mouth gaping, it dropped to the other side. Now she really would never leave him. She looked so beautiful, god she was perfect, she looked like an angel. He couldn’t help himself, he clutched his fingers around his cock and began to massage up and down, moaning involuntarily with pleasure. He became hard quickly as he looked down at her, frozen beneath him, his face the last thing she had seen in this life, the thought of their passionate lovemaking still hot in his head. Then he slipped his erection into her mouth. It felt so good, still so warm and welcoming. He thrust into her throat, groaning with pleasure, his cock battering her mouth mercilessly, his buttocks tensing and thrusting eagerly. He came quickly and it bubbled from her mouth, dribbling down her motionless chin. He sighed and shuddered with euphoria. This was so perfect; she would never leave him now. He lay down next to her; she was a good girl really, he’d always known it.

Claire Rowland is the proud author of ‘Piroska’, a collection of fairy tales for adults, produced in association with ‘Naked Snake Press publishing house’ and currently available for download or in printed format. She has also been included within the ‘Shadows and Nightmares anthology’ produced by Nightfall publications due for release in the summer of 2011. Claire has recently had work included in the ‘Mirador Fantasmagoria’ collection which is currently available on download or printed format.

She is a fledgling author based in Bristol and currently working on her first novel. She has had several short stories published in various British publications including exciting new online magazine, ‘Paraphilia’.

 She has also worked on several exciting projects with the Bristol Evening Post newspaper. Claire has also won first place in the renowned ‘Meridian short fiction’ competition twice along with the ‘Sentinal’ Poetry prize and several other well known and prestigious contests. In 2009 Claire displayed work as part of the Tate modern’s apocalyptic display and has had featured on the ‘writing raw’ website.

She is trained in ancient history, marketing and sales, and is currently working at a Bristol sixth form college. Claire is also involved in a writing group working with Bristol University along with several other literary ventures. 
She is now actively seeking representation and publication.

HEAD GAMES By Jim Bronyaur


Blake found it first but he felt maybe it would have been better if Connor did.  Connor was taller.  Stronger.  And one time he killed a squirrel with his bare hands.  And another time when he and Blake found a rotting deer carcass, Connor sat next to it not bothered by that horrible death smell.
At first Blake wasn’t sure if it was a real foot or some kind of Halloween prop.  What finally gave it away was the toenails.  This foot had faint lines on the nails and where they met with the toe, it looked scratched.
It was indeed a real foot.
A human foot.
Before Blake had a chance to think, he noticed something else.  A hand.  Then another hand.  Another foot.  A leg.  Cut off above the knee and at the ankle.  It looked like a forgotten slab of meat.
Blake threw up.  That part he never told Connor.  Blake wanted to be as strong and mysterious as Connor.  His dark eyes and long hair.  Man, he was freaking cool.
Blake covered up his puke with dry leaves and ran to get Connor.
“I swear Connor, human.  Will you come see?”
“I don’t believe it.  Why aren’t the cops involved?”
“Who cares?  Please Connor, come on.”
“Okay.  Show me.”
“Damn,” Connor whispered.  He put the tip of his shoe under one of the hands and flipped it over.
Blake was in awe how Connor did it without flinching.  Blake wanted to throw up again. 
“I wonder what happened,” Blake said.
“Looks like someone was hacked to pieces,” Connor said and motioned for Blake to keep walking.
The woods grew thicker and the body parts kept appearing.  The bend of an elbow, even a shoulder.  The blood was heavy and had a strange odor.  Not bad but one that Blake knew he’d never forget.
“Hey, why don’t we report this… maybe we’ll get a reward.”
Connor didn’t reply.  He seemed to be in a trance.
“You okay Connor?”
“Fine.  This is… something.”
“I know.  I wonder where the head is.”
Connor turned and looked at Blake.  “You don’t know about a killer's signature?”
And there was that look from Blake.  That dumb, in awe look.

It was a fire.  Not an urge, but a fire.  Who knows when it begin and really, who cares?
Connor liked the fire.  How it felt.  How his body shivered.  And then how it all would go black and he’d wake up surrounded by blood.  It had always been animal blood up until last night…
The scattered body parts were pieces of art.
So perfect, that for a moment, Connor didn’t believe he could have done it.
Then Blake mentioned there was no head.
Ah, the head.
It rested so gently in Connor’s bed.
The thought sparked the fire inside.
Connor stared at Blake and felt his body twitch.  His mind played scenes… scenes to come.  How convenient was it that Connor had grabbed his bag with his favorite knife?
Blake had no idea what was about to happen.
The fire now burned.

Jim lives in Pennsylvania where he sits in a corner and writes horror.  Published over forty times, he is the creator of the award winning story and series, Pulsate, and his fist book release titled In the Corner is due out April 2011.  His site is and he's socially scares people at


...and here's number two...

No One to Depend On

Outside the rain was coming down fast and hard, the night a bumptious affair of electricity and a rattling cacophony of thunder.  But through the paper thin walls of the apartment someone next door was playing Santana’s Nobody to depend on.  A Latino bluesy classic which always caught his ear whenever he heard it.  Sitting in the darkness, half listening to the music and half to the storm, with one leg crossed over the other, his foot kept to the beat of the song.
I ain’t got nobody I can depend on
I ain’t got nobody I can depend on.

Appropriate he thought, staring thoughtfully up at the fly specks on the ceiling.  In this line of work there was no one you could depend on.  None.  Not if you wanted to live.  Shaking his head and smiling sadly, he reached over, pulled back the shade on the window and peeked out into the raining darkness.  Noting the rain coming down in driving sheets on the flooding wet street below he retracted his hand and glanced down at the large bulky looking weapon lying on one thigh.  A Colt Woodsman .22 rimfire semi-automatic.  A special one.  The front sight had been filed off so a long barrel-shaped silencer could be attached to it.  The silencer was as long as the weapon.  A bulky, ungainly thing to shoot.  But one that almost guaranteed to make hardly a peep when the trigger was squeezed.

Now, if whoever it was in the next apartment playing his music would turn it up just a little more.  And as if on queue Santana’s guitar jacked up in intensity twofold.  A smile of wicked delight stretched his thin lips.  Cleary he heard the English and Spanish lines of the classic song.
Ain’t got no one
Tengo a nadie
That I know of
No tengo a nadie

Rain, a hard rain, kept drifting around and slamming into to the window with a swift fury.  The late night summer storm filled with lightning and fierce crosswinds blew in just as he stepped into apartment and closed the door behind him.  It was a lousy night to die.  But then, ‘suppose any night was lousy if death came knocking on your door.  Yet this night—this storm—seemed appropriate.  It’d been a long time coming for the two he was here for.  A long time.  Almost six years.
And he had warned her.  Told her the next time he saw either of them he’d kill’em both.  Their last meeting wasn’t pleasant.  He’d used a tire iron to break the man’s jaw and almost put a bullet in the woman’s head.  Why he didn’t kill them both for what they had done to him still was a mystery to mull over.

Francine.  His wife.

Bill.  His twin brother.

Caught’em both half undressed and entangled in each other’s arms.  Bill was like that.  Anything he had Bill wanted.  Since children, Bill was always the laughing, playful, selfish bad boy of the family who got what he wanted no matter what it cost.  In and out of trouble all his life—fully expecting he, the more responsible brother, to get him out of his jams and make things right.

In high school they met Francine.  Dark haired, brown eyed, with the smooth, flawless complexion of an angel.  Both he and Bill had fallen for her the moment they laid eyes on her.  And Francine . . . Francine couldn’t keep her hands off Bill.  Couldn’t keep her hands off either of them.  Through college she dated both of them.  Made love to both of them.  But Bill acted as if Francine’s desires for him was just another romp.  Just another notch on an already extensive tally of conquests.

Yet one day, in a fit of rare clarity and perspicacity, Francine declared her undying love and devotion to him.  Not to Bill.  But to him.  Her words brought tears of joy to him.  They ran off to Vegas and got married.  They lived an almost perfect life for four years together while Bill—Bill of the laughing eyes and boyish charms—used his considerable charms to win the hearts of women loaded in dough and took every dime they had.

Through the wall came the soul-speaking wail of guitars and drums.  Yes, he thought; so appropriate.
I ain’t got nobody that I can depend on
I ain’t got nobody that I can depend on.

Of course Francine’s words were flatly insincere.  Lies.  She never gave up seeing Bill.  Never left his bed.  Never replaced Bill’s laughing eyes for his in her heart.  For four years both she and Bill plotted and planned and waited for the right moment to arrive.  That day came with their inheritance was finally released by the lawyers.  Both he and Bill received a half million dollars—after taxes—from the estate of their uncle.  And Bill . . . Bill and Francine . . . they wanted it all.  Every penny.  A cool one million dollars in cash.  And to hell with whatever he wanted.

He found out their game.  He realized what was going on.  He went over to Bill’s condo to confront him—and that’s when he saw the two of them making love on the living room divan.

He should have killed them then.  But for some reason he didn’t.  Now—six years later—he was going to rectify that problem.  Had to.  Now they were intruding in his professional life and he couldn’t have that.  Six years after leaving the two of them he had quietly built up his trade. He was well respected in his chosen occupation.  Well paid.   But his twin was again . . . again! . . . trying to take what was rightfully his.  Destroying in the process what he had so carefully crafted for himself.
In the darkness of the apartment he heard a man’s voice talking and a woman’s voice laughing out in the hallway.  The sound of keys jangling and then the lock on the door clicking open came to his ears as he lifted the muzzle of the weapon up and pointed it to the door.  The two came in laughing and carefree.  Bill tossed keys onto a dresser, took a hat off and shook the rain off before tossing it onto an empty chair.

Francine . . . Francine . . . was breathtakingly gorgeous.  Long brown hair fell passed her shoulders as she shrugged off a soaking long coat and turned to walk across the room to a closet.  In the tight fitting dress and red high heels she looked like Aphrodite.  Better than Aphrodite.

The name came out quick and sharp, like a karate chop to the jugular, and filled with fear.  Bill turned first toward Francine and then toward the direction she was looking at.  Toward him. That’s when he shot Francine twice in head. Phat! Phat! The silencer hissed twice.  Francine’s body flew back against the wall and she slid down to a sitting position on the carpet, leaving a long smear of blood on the wall as she collapsed and a look of sheer disbelief permanently frozen on her beautiful face.

Bill tried to escape.  Made it to the door and had a hand on the doorknob. But the silencer spat twice again.  He screamed—but in a surreal twist of fate—the music next door increased dramatically and drowned out Bill’s screams of agony.  He dropped to the floor, both hands gripping the knee and leg which caught the lead, and withered on the carpet in pain.  But not for long.  Coming out of his chair he took a step forward and used a foot to kick his brother—to use his brother’s head like a football—and knocked him senseless.

Ain’t got no one
Tengo a nadie
That I know of
No tengo a nadie

Bending down he took the neatly folded handkerchief jutting out of his brother’s suit pocket and carefully wiped his prints off the weapon.  When satisfied with his task he bent down to one knee, grabbed his brother’s right hand and firmly wrapped the man’s hand onto the grip before letting go.  Standing over his unconscious brother a vicious little smile played across his handsome face as he stared down at his creation.

Years ago his brother had bought the Woodsman to go plinking cans and shooting fish. It was registered in Bill’s name back home in their local police department.  Somehow it came into his possession and over the years he had used the deadly accurate weapon to take out a few hits.  Ballistics would confirm it was the weapon used in at least two assassinations.  It was the weapon that killed Francine.  It was the weapon in Bill’s hand.


Reaching inside his coat he pulled out a cell phone, flipped it open, and called the cops to report a shooting.  Flipping the phone closed he bent down again, wiped it clean with the kerchief, and inserted the cheap pre-paid phone into Bill’s right coat pocket.  Standing up he walked to the door, and using the kerchief to cover the doorknob, opened the door and then turned to look at his handiwork.
Yes.  The music—the night—was absolutely perfect.  Next door the music of Santana continued to play in its mournful whine.

I ain’t got nobody that I can depend on
I ain’t got nobody that I can depend on.

The End


B.R. Stateham is the author of Murderous Passions, a police-procedural novel featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales.  The writer is a sixty year old dreamer of crime noir and dark fantasies.  The second book in the Turner/Frank series is entitled, A Taste of Old Revenge.  Shadow Line Press is slated to publish the novel in August of 2010.  Find the author at www.brstateham.comOr check out many of his Frank/Turner writing efforts at his dedicated noir web site at