Guest Post: Roger Jackson


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The Song of the Counter-Intuitive

By

Roger Jackson

Every writer has their quirks, I think. Whether it be a constant supply of coffee chuckling blackly to itself beside them, or a place where the sunlight is perfect, or even, as Annie Wilkes suggests in Misery, a pair of handmade writing slippers, every writer has a gimmick of their own, perhaps even the smallest talisman or routine that greases the wheels of the writing process. A lot of writers need peace and quiet, absolute silence when they create, but it’s fair to say that most authors I’ve spoken to listen to music when they write, perhaps with the volume cranked up to its apex, rattling the kitchenware like a poltergeist, perhaps with their ears couched in the intimate embrace of an isolating pair of headphones. They listen to what they like, what relaxes them. They listen to what their characters like, or the music that’s playing in a particular scene. They listen to movie soundtracks, something that fits or sets the mood of the moments they’re creating.

I’ve done that, and sometimes it works, but I’ve found something else that works, too. Ones instinct is to listen to music that’s appropriate for a scene, the driving beats of a chase or a struggle, the sweeping strings of a romantic interlude. That works, but I’ve also found it useful to take a different approach, to think counter-intuitively about what music might accompany certain given moments.

To offer an example. I’ve a scene in a novel I’ve written where a character is confronted by a horribly twisted version of a deceased family member. Let’s give this character the entirely fake name of Steve, just in case the novel is ever sold, and someone reading this reads the novel and is like, “Hey, I know what happens in this part! Spoilers! This novel is DEAD to me!” (how’s that for writerly optimism?). Anyways, Steve is trapped with this apparition, and I’ve paced the scene very quickly, nice and terse, lots of breathless paragraphs as Steve’s scared companion tries to break into the room in which he’s trapped with something monstrous.

And it is monstrous. Like most Horror writers, I’m pretty proud of my twisted track record, proud of any moments I’ve written that have touched the reader with fear or disgust or dread. I’d like to think I’ve done a few of those, but this scene … it’s dark. It’s the darkest thing I’ve ever written, maybe. Hopefully, there’s a raw, visceral quality to it that’ll unsettle. There’s imagery, yes, but I don’t think that’s where the Horror comes from. I don’t think it comes from how the monster moves, or what it’s saying, or the terrible transformation that the dead family member seems to have undergone. I think the Horror of that particular moment comes from how heartbreaking it is for Steve to see what’s happened to someone so well-loved, so very missed. He’s terrified, yes, but if we’re playing a kind of psychological rock-paper-scissors game here, then in this instance heartbreak vanquishes terror, hands down.

And so the Horror is borne not from what Steve can see, but what he can feel, and what he feels is a terrible, empty grief, a moment that needs not a soundtrack of action, where there’s an apparition advancing and a concerned companion trying to break in fast enough to rescue him, but a sadder tune, one that reflects the core of the scene. That was the kind of music I listened to when I wrote it, and it seemed to give the sequence the tone that it needed.

I’d suggest giving it a try. Maybe you’re writing something and the words are flowing but the mood of the scene, the beating heart of it, is stuttering on the page. It might be because the coffee is cold, or the sunlight is fading, or even that your handmade writing slippers are pinching your toes, but it might be that your chosen music isn’t oiling the cogs of your imagination like it should.

It might be that you, and the moment your characters find themselves in, need a different song.

 

 

 

Roger Jackson lives in the United Kingdom, drinking tea and owning more Geeky tee-shirts than he will ever live long enough to wear, unless he lives forever, which is sort of the plan. He writes scary stories because he has to, and the most recent to scramble from the graveyard of his brain are the short story, “No-Man’s Land” in the Grey Matter Press anthology Equilibrium Overturned, and his novella, “Cradle Of The Dead” from BloodBound Books. Writing about himself in the third person really creeps him out.

 

Twitter: @jabe842

Blog: jabe842.wordpress.com

Guest Post: Kevin Bond


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Why You Should Carry A Rock in the Zombie Apocalypse

We’ve all seen the meme: “Quick! The first thing on your left is your weapon in the zombie apocalypse! What is it?”

It always ends up being a paperclip, a coffee cup, or a guitar pick, and unless you’re Riddick, none of those are going to be useful for killing zombies.

Of course, a kitchen knife isn’t far away, and you’ve probably got a baseball bat in the garage. Those of us who are more prepared may have an arsenal for backup, gun enthusiasts and knife collectors. You might even have a detailed plan for how to survive the zombie apocalypse.

I’m going to propose a different line of thinking, though, and I guarantee you’ve never thought of it before:

You should carry a rock in the zombie apocalypse.

Not a boulder, not a rock the size of a soccer ball. Just a simple stone that will fit into the palm of your hand. And it’s not a big deal if you lose this stone. It’s very easy to find a new one.

Why?

Because it will save your life.

You can carry a rock in the palm of your hand, out of sight, and it becomes a projectile weapon. You’ll need to train yourself to aim well, so throw a lot.

You could throw a knife too, but a knife is not necessarily expendable, and it’s harder to throw a knife straight than it is to throw a rock. And again, rocks are easy to find.

If you don’t have a spring-assisted knife or a straight blade in your hand already, then if you get a sudden surprise, you may not have enough time to get your knife out and ready. Holding on to a small stone means that you have an instant weapon for instant surprises, like zombies, or thieves.

A stone is much more dense than your hands, so bashing someone’s face in with it will do much more damage than you could do with your hands.

Plus, if you find yourself in a sudden end of the world situation, and you haven’t prepared for it, you may not have a weapon. Having a rock will give you something hard to hit with.

Thousands of years ago, it was common for people to be killed by stoning them. The blunt force trauma from multiple rock projectiles was enough to do major damage to a person.

You don’t need to have fancy weapons to kill someone if you have to. Carrying a rock can provide you with an easy way to distract a zombie or a person who wants to kill you or wants your stuff.
Even if you’re not under a sudden attack, it’s not noticeable that you’re holding something (go for a thinner, smooth rock), so as long as you have good aim, throwing it at the person should give you enough time to escape.

I guarantee this will work, because no one is thinking like this. Throwing rocks at people is just so unheard of.

Remember when you were a little kid and you were throwing rocks at other kids on the playground? No? Well then, I guess I was the weirdo. Anyway, your mom scolded you, and it’s kind of ingrained in your head not to throw things at people.

No one is going to suspect that you’re prepared to throw a rock at them. Practice throwing, and your impact will send them a very clear message.

There may be times when you don’t want to escape, but instead want to steal whatever that person has (remember, it’s the end of days, and just about anything goes) before they steal from you and leave you for dead. In that case, hitting them with that rock will hurt and distract them long enough for you to close in for the kill.

In case you run into a group of scavengers, though, your best bet is to run and live to fight another day.

For zombies, it doesn’t matter if that rock hurts them, because it won’t kill them, and it won’t send them down to the ground unless you throw a really mean rock. The distraction is what you’re after. Hit them to slow them down so you have enough time to grab your zombie-killing weapon, or to give yourself enough time to run past them.

For multiple zombies, throwing a rock won’t work. For groups of zombies I recommend just hightailing it out of there.

You can also use a rock as a noise distraction, for zombies or people. Use it to trick your pursuers into following the sound, or to distract them from your sneak attack!

I hope I’ve convinced you to add a rock to your arsenal of zombie weapons. It’s an easy item to get, and it has a couple of good uses in certain situations. Give yourself this edge against your enemies, and happy surviving!

 

About Kevin: Kevin Bond is the author of HelpZombies.com, a zombie-themed survivalist website. It is expanding to include makeup tutorials, survival guides, product reviews, and even a zombie shop!

Guest Post: John L. Davis IV


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“Horrors” How I See It
 
            Something dark, slimy, gruesome crawls from below, sharp white teeth bared and ready to snap closed on an unsuspecting victim.  Those teeth will easily shred flesh; the jaws can crack bone, disturbingly sexual fleshy red lips seal around jagged shards of bone and draw out the marrow. 
            This nightmare beast isn’t something from a new horror movie, or a recent novel, it’s that thing inside the reader, that creature reveling in the dark tales of horror.  It’s one side of the bloody coin of fear we readers trade in when delving into a novel of terror. 
            The other side is the cowering thing, the one hiding from the beast, afraid of the darkness, afraid of the words. 
            When reading that truly terrifying novel and you find yourself turning on every light in the house, or pulling your feet up over the edge of the bed, that’s the cowering thing that has to draw away, to hide in the light.
            But you keep reading, crawling ever deeper into the dark pit, searching out that next thing to terrify. 
            It is in the center of this duality that the reader and writer of horror can most closely examine the human condition and in far more depth, I believe, than any other genre. 
            In horror fiction the fluff of niceties is often blown away by a throat-ripping scream.  Pomp is hacked to pieces like two horny teenagers in a backwoods cabin.  You’re left with bleak and nearly hopeless circumstance.
            In that circumstance are the dark things and the light things that make us who we are and both can be difficult to look at head on, but when you read about that zombie shuffling toward the now-weaponless hero backed into a corner with nowhere to go, in that moment you are both the zombie and the hero.  The dark and the light.
            Here the beast delights, savoring the scent of fear exuded by the small thing that hides, turns away, curling toes up beneath the covers.  Then that moment has passed, and the reader moves on.
            The cowering creature reads on in hopes that the hero wins, and it can come out of hiding.  The creature lurking in dread waits silently for the next flash of panic to leap out, claws slashing, hoping to tear something away.
            This is horror the way I see it. 
Ever since I first read Dean Koontz’ “Phantoms”, or Stephen King’s “The Shining” I’ve had a  dark love affair with every nightmare inducing permutation of horror literature.  From the splatterpunk ravings of John Skip and Craig Spector, to Shirley Jackson’s dark and brooding “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” to the twisted brilliance of Lovecraft and Poe, I have been darkled by things that claw at the imagination.
Horror, to me, is the one form of literature that shines a blacklight on humanity, revealing those things normally not seen. Then the blades or claws come out, slashing at our perceptions, permitting the reader to view the world with the flesh peeled away, the glistening redness beneath exposing the reality of all that we are and can be, both beast and simpering coward and all that lies between.
JohnDavis
John L. Davis, IV is an avid reader who enjoys adding to his ever-expanding home library and talking books with pretty much anyone at any time. John lives in Hannibal, MO, with his books, his wife — Erica, daughters — Astrid and Hannah, and their much-loved pooch — Pixie. He loves to hear from his readers, so stop by and converse about life, love, and the pursuit of zombies.  He is the author of the American Revenant series, available at Amazon.com
Americanrevenantseries.com

Guest Post: Alyssa Cooper


A Centuries Old Legend – Brought to Life

A few years ago, my parents bought a trailer about 25km north of the city of Peterborough. We started spending every weekend there through the summer, a release for all of us after the work week. My partner, who grew up in Peterborough, spent the days showing me the city, introducing me to its history – and I immediately fell in love.

 

Peterborough is known as the most haunted city in Ontario – most of the ghosts that the city boasts are found in the Trent Severn Canal Lock, a hydraulic lift lock that was constructed over a hundred years ago. One man died during construction of the massive structure, falling into the shell of a concrete pillar – his body was eventually covered over with concrete, becoming a part of the pillar, when it became clear it would be too difficult to remove. After the structure was completed, a painter fell to his death from the very same pillar, when his scaffolding tipped. Years later, a woman threw herself from the top of the lock when her son was married against her wishes – her son followed her down five days later. All of these dead have been seen and heard by workers and visitors ever since, wandering tunnels, whispering and screaming, waiting at the tops of the pillars, and looking out over the river.

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But there is one ghost haunting the lift lock that is more famous than all the others; more famous, and much, much older.

 

In 1840, when Peterborough was still in its infancy, a woman was accused of witchcraft. When she was found guilty, the townspeople dragged her to the top of Armour Hill. They bound her to a stake. The lit her on fire. She died less than 100km from what would become the site of the lift lock, and she has never left that spot. She has been seen in the forests, on the twisting trails, and even down at the lift lock, seeking light and sound and warmth.

 

She was the beginning. And from my fist steps through the tunnel under the lock, seeing the forest at Armour Hill open up before me, I have been obsessed with her.

 

She fascinates me.

 

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The Witches of Armour Hill was born of that fascination. It is the story of that witch, Marion, who loved Peterborough as much as I do, and who was betrayed by its people. It is the story of her daughters and descendants, all the witches they couldn’t burn, taking the city back. It is the story of the magic that floods the forest, that even I could feel.

 

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“Margaret May Reis knows how strange she is; people have been telling her for years. At sixteen years old, though, Maggie begins to realize that strangeness is only half the story. Maggie isn’t just strange – she’s a witch.

Sent to live with a cousin she’s never met, in a city she doesn’t remember, Maggie is sure that life as she knows it is over. It doesn’t take her long to learn that Peterborough is not at all what it seems. Her first week in the city, Maggie meets a stray cat named Elowen, who seems to appear out of thin air, and a strange girl named Rhosyn, who introduces her to a coven of witches, and assures her that life will never be the same.

The newest member of an ancient coven, Maggie discovers new friends, new powers, and a new lease on life. As she works with her young sisters to hone their magical skills, they stumble across the coven’s darkest secret, one that their governing council has kept hidden for over a century. Caught up in a conspiracy that began with the very first generations of witches, Maggie and her friends tumble down the rabbit hole, reaching blindly for the truth.

It will take three young witches to uncover the secrets that their Matriarch left behind over a century before.”

 

Switch is the first installment in The Witches of Armour Hill series. It’s currently available as an ebook on Amazon – paperback edition coming soon.

http://www.amazon.com/Witches-Armour-Hill-Switch-ebook/dp/B011IVD8HG/

 

The second installment, Twisted, is currently in the works. Look for updates and excerpts on any of the pages below!

http://alyssacooper.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/AlyssaCooperLit

https://twitter.com/alyssacooperlit

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6467653.Alyssa_Cooper

 

 

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Alyssa Cooper is a Canadian writer with a graphic design diploma and a passion for story telling. She collects old books and antique typewriters, and has a preference for the darker side of fiction.

Alyssa is the author of three traditionally published books, Salvation, Benjamin, and Cold Breath of Life, as well as an independently produced collection called Whispers, and her first self-published novel, The Witches of Armour Hill: Switch.

She’s currently living in Kingston, Ontario with her cats, her cacti, and her personal library, while she works diligently on The Witches of Armour Hill, Book Two: Twisted.

Guest Post: Kris Baker Dersch


Kris Baker Dersch

A writer friend of mine was helping me edit a short story for a competition recently, and I mentioned to her how long it had been since I had entered a contest or submitted a story.  She just looked at me and said, “I never have.”

She has a B.A. in creative writing and is talented, capable, and produces quality work.  Not only has she never submitted, but the idea completely terrifies her.  I thought I was the only one.

I had no trouble submitting when I first decided to become a writer.  I was maybe nine years old and had been writing stories for a few years.  I told everyone that I wanted to be a writer.  I wrote a story I liked and sent it to a few publishers.  I got nice form rejection letters back from them that my mother saved.  I was undeterred.

A year or so later, after doing some research, I discovered the whole idea of querying.  How wonderful to not even have to send the whole manuscript!  I started querying for a book I hadn’t even written yet.  My query letters started with “I have written a short book.”  It wasn’t close to true or close to the right way to query.  I got more preprinted postcards back from publishers.

At thirteen, I had a short story published in the local newspaper, which occasionally printed fiction by kids (it was a simpler time.)  I got lots of nice compliments on it, but it also made me nervous.  This whole idea of getting published…it meant someone was actually reading what I wrote.  I think that’s when I stopped submitting.

I didn’t stop writing.  Like a lot of writers, I could never shake the bug, so in the decades since that time I’ve written a lot and published very little.  I always figured I would get published…someday.  I’m running out of somedays.

This spring, something made me take the leap, so I launched a short fiction podcast.  I now record some of my own work plus a lot of work by other writers, and send it out into the world.  It has been exhilarating.  And terrifying.

The first time I hit publish and sent my words out to Internet-land, I was terrified.

The first time I sent out a call for submissions and asked other writers to trust me with their words, I was terrified.

The first time I asked my friends and family and social network to listen to the show, I was terrified.  Also the second time.  And the third.  Turns out people don’t listen very well and you have to ask them more than once.

I now have five episodes of the podcast out and am working on a sixth.  I have contributors lined up and episodes planned for at least seven episodes after that and am reading more submissions every day.  I took the leap and spent some of my hard-earned money on a nice mic so I can really do this right.  We even have listeners.  It turns out that while completely terrifying, starting a podcast and becoming an editor were totally doable and really not all that hard once I got past my own fear.  And, as is usually true, stepping outside my comfort zone helped me learn a lot.

I’ve learned that there is a need for community among writers.

I’ve learned that everyone is scared.

I’ve learned that sharing your work is worth it.

I’ve learned I’m not the only writer with good work in a drawer waiting to be shared.
Every day, I learn to be a better writer, a better reader, and a better editor.

There are a lot of voices out there.  It’s a crowded marketplace.  There are a million author blogs, books, and literary websites.  Does the world really need yours?  Google “start a literary journal” or “start a blog,” and you’ll get some good advice, some terrible advice, and a lot of people telling you what’s the point, there’s too much out there, do you really have something unique to say?

Well, nine-year-old me didn’t have a lot that was original to say, but she submitted her little behind off because she hadn’t yet learned to be afraid.  And I’ve waited way too long to try to get her confidence back.  After all, I have just one voice.  Mine.

This 1920s quote from author John A. Shedd informs my writing a lot: “A ship in the harbor is safe.  But that’s not what ships were built for.”  Where does your writing belong?  Where it’s safe?

I know.  The answer is terrifying.

Kris Baker Dersch is a full-time mom and freelance writer living just outside of Seattle, WA.  She produces and edits the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words and is working on a novel.  Follow her adventures in writing and editing at http://twitter.com/noextrawords, and get the podcast on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/no-extra-words/id1000095644?ls=1 or find out more and submit your story at http://noextrawords.wordpress.com.

Guest Post: Alexandrea Weis


 

Title: Rival Seduction
Author: Alexandrea Weis
Series: Cover to Cover
Release Date: Septemer 14th, 2015
Strong willed, independent, and
competitive as hell, Heather Phillips isn’t going to let anyone beat her in the
show ring … that is until Grant Crowley started taking away her blue ribbons. A
wealthy cattle rancher with an attitude and taste for beautiful women, Grant is
the only person who ever made Heather feel second best. Yet she is determined
to beat him, no matter the cost. When an accident brings the two rivals
together, their heated dislike has to be put on hold. Outside of the show ring,
they slowly get to know each other. But what happens when these passionate
competitors discover a different kind of spark? Will Heather use what she
learns about Grant to take advantage of him in the ring, so she can be number
one? 

 

Winning can mean everything until
something sexier comes along.   

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice
registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up
in the motion picture industry, she learned
 to tell stories from a different
perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry
of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid
characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber
with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured
wildlife.

 

She lives with her husband and pets in
New Orleans.
 

 

Guest Post: LP Hernandez


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The Invitation

 

I don’t know why I believed the man.  There was nothing in his speech or dress that indicated credibility beyond what you might expect from any stranger.  As I think about it now there were, perhaps, a few indicators.

He spoke closely, practically in my ear, as if we were old friends.  Or as if he wanted no one else to hear.  I can picture him wiping his hand along the seam of his pants before he reached for mine to shake it the first time.  Each word he spoke was plucked like the petal of a flower from some master script he’d developed over time.  Each word was perfect.

I encountered him a second time and a third.  By the fourth time it was me reaching to shake his hand, and I did so with a smile on my face.  It must have killed him.

Within a month I agreed to watch a football game at his house, though it was nearer to a mansion.  He was knowledgeable about the team and its history.  It all felt quite natural.

“Jake, is it okay if I call you that?” he said.

“Sure.  No one calls me Jacob except my mom anyway.”

“I’m having this thing next week.  If I were a pretentious man I would call it a dinner party.  It’s one of those things I never thought I would have to do in life that has become a sadly regular occurrence.  I would appreciate if I could have someone normal there.”

I recognized the decades between us for the first time in the moment of silence that followed the invitation.  His gray roots were coming through.  He reminded me of my father, a man with whom I had irregular contact.  Maybe that connection inspired me to accept without questioning the previous weeks in our new and quickly evolving friendship.

“Of course,” I said, flashing teeth, and turned my attention back to the game.

 

#

My memory of the evening is fuzzy, spotty for lack of a better word.  I was unconscious for hours by my best guess.  I do recall meeting him at the door and being directed to an upstairs bedroom.  I found a tuxedo on the bed next to an open bottle of beer chilling in a bucket of ice.

I had never worn a tuxedo before and he may have guessed this about me because the bowtie was a clip-on.  I sipped the beer as I undressed.  There was music coming from downstairs but no conversation.  I had not been in that room before and, in fact, had seen very little of the house beyond the living room and kitchen.  Likely a second or third guest bedroom, it was still larger and more extravagantly furnished than my master bedroom.  I was not intimidated by his money because of our friendship, brief though it may have been. I did not know if I would feel the same around his friends.

I sat on the bed and looked at my new shoes, glossy even in the dim light of a single lamp.  I stared, thinking of anecdotes I might need to recall.  I murmured a joke for practice and then pitched forward to the floor, the empty bottle of beer still clutched in my hand.

#

I cannot describe what it felt like inside my head when I opened my eyes.  Pain registered in my brain, but I could not determine the source.  It was like the memory of trauma rather than something new.  I blinked and tried to reclaim my senses, deciding to fixate on the muffled music.  The rhythm of the song was familiar, distantly so.

There was another sound on top of the music, repetitive; my ears couldn’t make sense of it.  In many ways it was very much like being underwater.  Time no longer mattered.

I was looking at soup in a porcelain bowl.  The music was a song, Bob Dylan’s son’s band.  The lyrics floated inside my head, competing for attention amidst the muffled chaos.

“Jake, are you awake?”

That sentence was the repetitive sound I had heard resting on top of the music.  I pulled my head up in the direction of the voice.  He rose from his position at the head of the table, dabbing the corners of his mouth with a napkin and smoothing the wrinkles in his tuxedo.  Soon, he was beside me, his arm draped across my shoulders.

“Jake, this is a dinner party.  Please eat with your right hand.  Keep your left in your lap out of sight.”

There was something in his voice on the verge of disappointment.  How long had I been sitting there staring at my soup?  How embarrassed must he feel to have invited me?

I nodded my head and hoisted my arm onto the table, fumbling numbly for the spoon to the right of the assemblage of forks.  It took a full minute to summon the dexterity necessary to secure the spoon between my thumb and forefinger.  A minute later I cursed myself as half of my hand submerged in the soup in my stone-fisted attempts to feed myself.

The broth ran along the inside of my sleeve to my elbow.  My head drooped beneath the weight of his judgment.

#

The evening and, presumably, night played out in similar fashion.  I implored my right hand to behave and it rebelled at every turn.  I fingered the mashed potatoes.  I flicked asparagus across the table.  Every few minutes he would leave his seat, dabbing the corners of his mouth, and whisper in my ear.  A suggestion.  A velvety admonishment that gave me hope, until the next faux pas.

The pain was more acute as the evening progressed.  It was in my lap, unseen.  The 90s rock song still played on a loop.  I passed in and out of wakefulness, often times not recognizing that I had fallen asleep until the tip of my nose touched gravy.  Upon rousing I would smile and nod to various points of the room.

I saw not faces but smudges in evening wear.  I bit my tongue and blood flooded my mouth.  As I peeled my head off of the tablecloth I realized I had not bitten my tongue.  I had been punched just above my jawline.

“You’re a fucking disgrace,” was whispered in my ear.

My head was lifted by the hair and slammed back onto the table.  The cartilage in my nose crunched and fresh streams of blood issued from my nostrils and coursed down my throat.  I swallowed and passed out.

I was probably gone for less than five minutes.  There was a female voice in my ear, whispering so quickly I only caught snippets.

“…you owe us twenty-one years.  This is only the beginning.”

“Help,” I said, blood bubbling on my lips.

I felt pressure on my left side as someone braced me.  Something hard, likely a baseball bat, broke my ribs.  I was unable to scream.  I passed out again.

“Now, Jake, when the host calls for the toast you will lift your wine glass with your right hand, drink all of its contents, then proceed on to the desert.”

I nodded my head, crusted gravy flaking off of my nose and cheeks, blood spilling from the corners of my mouth.

The toast came soon after and I obeyed his directive as well as I could manage.  I spilled a bit of wine initially, but managed to drink most of it.  I reached for the small fork to the left of the cake and found that I had misjudged the distance.  I reached again and failed once more.  I licked coppery grit from the roof of my mouth, eyeing the empty wine glass as waves of unnatural warmth radiated from my chest.

I peeled back the sleeve of my tuxedo coat and saw two crossed lines of stiches at the end of my left wrist.  I laid my head on the table, no longer able to support the weight.  I opened my eyes one last time before submitting to darkness.  There was a half-moon of a thumbnail protruding from the cake, and a bit of pink flesh.  My mother had always hated that I kept my nails long…

 

Part II is available in Dreadful: Tales of the Dead and Dying by LP Hernandez

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LP Hernandez has been writing since he could hold a crayon.  His path in life took him to the military and away from the craft for a while, but it has always been his passion.  His story Gehenna was a finalist in the 2011 Writer’s Digest short story (horror) competition.  That story and ten others can be found in his debut offering Dreadful: Tales of the Dead and Dying.

http://www.amazon.com/Dreadful-Tales-Dying-LP-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00ZMOHQIS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1436655224&sr=1-1&keywords=lp+hernandez