All posts for the month July, 2015

David Bowie was playing on the stereo when I killed Amanda Welsh. “The Jean Genie”. I felt my head bobbing and swaying from side to side in time with the music as I held the garotte. It was kind of irritating that her feet were out of synch when they flopped and thumped on the floor.  That didn’t last, though.
Some time after her last twitch I peeled the wire from where it had sunk in to her flesh. trapped air escaped in a huff and I leaned in quick to suck it into my lungs. Nothing like that last dying breath. It’s that connection with death that only certain people know well. It’s almost like breathing in their memories. The last of everything they were is in there.

One thing I do hate about urban kills, though, is the noise factor. So much easier to crack the skull with a bonesaw, but they seem to draw attention with the sound they make. They’re like a minigun winding up before it starts thundering. So no power tools tonight. This is old school. That’s why I have the toolbox.

It doesn’t take nearly as long as it used to. Back seventy or forty or even twenty bodies ago and it would have been a lot of work and time. I’ve got it pretty worked out now. Pop the skull cap, dig in with a blade. I make a little triangle pattern around it and just hoist out a chunk. Bingo. One pineal gland from a nineteen year old Caucasian female.  That leaves me eighteen more to go.

The younger it gets, the easier it is. Finding the women for ages ninety through one hundred was probably the hardest. Those that are alive at that age are usually under some kind of care. Eighty to ninety was a little easier. Mid-sixties up to the eighty mark? Gravy. No one remembers them much, and by the time someone checks on them I’m long gone. Down to about fifty was easy to find, but I had a few fighters. From fifty through the mid-thirties they all fought. After that I chose more carefully. I had a large pool to pick from. The one with the fresh cast on her arm. The one back from the rather painful ski mishap. Amanda had one of those inflatable boot things on her right foot. What’s she going to do? Run away?

Back at home the gland in its bath of oils and unguents goes into place with the other eighty-one of them in the safe. Miles away, Amanda Welsh’s home is turning into ash around her remains. All that is left of her now floats in a baby-food-sized jar. I can feel it staring at me as I close the door.

It’s a pain in the ass having to take this many glands, but the books are quite precise on what I need. All the non-perishable ingredients have been assembled. The basement floor has all the circles and shapes as written. Cut and polished by hand, two years work. Every groove filled with molten silver. Everything so precise. Nothing to chance.

Eighteen more glands. Eighteen and I will have the key to open the gate.


Every week we have a prompt to play with. This week, the prompt was “An immediate need to relieve oneself”. To that end I present the following short:


Sweet Release
You ever have that moment when you just know if you don’t deal with an issue now, and I mean right now, it’s gonna get messy? You’re running along and that urge hits and you think, “Nah, I can deal with it later.”
But later might not get there in time, if you know what I mean.

I’m standing there in line for the movie when it hits. The urge. I’m just standing there looking like a complete dope telling myself, “Nope. Just wait. You can make it. At least until you get the ticket.”

I mean, I know people can see me, right? Other customers, the ticket sellers, the construction crew repairing some kind of elaborate display, those little dudes that take your ticket stub, all of them. They can see me standing in line, kinda doing that dance thing. It’s not too bad yet, but as time goes on, I know I’ll be giving myself away. The line shifts forward a pace and I can feel the pressure start to build.

“Just a few more minutes, man,” I whisper out loud. The blonde chick in front of me turns and gives this half-hearted grin.

“I know, right?” she says in some kind of exaggerated surfer accent. “It’s like, we should be up there by now, you know?”

I agree and chuckle at what she thinks is the situation I was addressing. She turns and looks away, the way polite people do. The urge is intensifying now, a steady increase of pressure, and a part of me wonders if I can even make it through the line. I keep thinking of other things, desperately trying to keep my mind occupied. I watch the construction guys working. Beats staring at the concession stand crew.

Surfer Girl is getting her tickets now, and I’m gritting my teeth and taking slow breaths. “Please, please, please,” I’m thinking over and over.

She turns and waves a pair of tickets at me before flouncing off. I don’t watch her, even as enticing as the rear view might be. I want to get my ticket bought before I lose control completely. The guy takes my card and punches in the ticket request. He misses the credit card slot the first time and the extra five seconds is an eternity. I’m licking my lips now waiting for the feeling to subside, even though I know it’s not going to happen. I sign the receipt in a flash, my signature looking like a squiggle, and snatch my ticket and my card from him.  Two steps away and I almost lose it, a cold feeling washing over me. I can’t wait any more.

I tuck the ticket in my pocket and start off on a fast walk across the lobby, my shoes squeaking on the tile. Closer with every step. The pressure is building to that almost intolerable level and I know it’s gonna be too late in minutes.

I snatch a screwdriver from the construction crew guy and his leather toolbelt. A dead sprint now as he jumps up and gives chase.

I brace the little cross pattern of the Phillips head against my forehead and dive headfirst for the wall. As the handle hits the wall and I feel the sharpness of the impact, I know the pressure of the screaming voices will be gone soon.

Sweet relief.


I’m sitting looking at the screen. It’s blank, and it’s fucking killing me. I remember what it was like to be the writer I once was, where words would tumble from my brain faster than I could put them to paper or key. I want it back. That carefree, “look at it all filling the page” kind of writing that once consumed me. Daily writing that numbered in the thousands of words is now in the low hundreds at best, and I feel cheated. Wronged.

I bled words once. It was as if I could slit my wrist and pour a lexicon across the page that stole the tiniest part of my soul for the reader, inscribing with my own blood the very ideas I wished to convey. I gave them freely, knowing that even if I came out the other side a lesser person, the story was there. The sacrifice was well worth it.

Now the blood is just that: Blood, carrying letters instead of volumes. Gallons spill for the smallest of declarations. I bleed dry just to carry on meaningful dialogue.

How fucking weak I feel, reduced to spitting out everything I am for a meager paragraph. Drained of strength, I flop back and wait to regenerate enough to form another. Minutes have become hours and days. Still it gets no easier.

I look back and I can see me, sitting strong and proud in front of the monitor as words spewed from my veins and ran through the keys in crimson rivers. Cigarette in the corner of my mouth trailing smoke into my eyes, my twelfth cup of coffee cold beside the keyboard. Outside sounds blurring into a general susurration that is at once everything and nothing, meaningless noise and a constant stream of aural information. Fingers like blurs on the keys.

I want it back. I feel it, and it is just out of my reach. I can taste the air, thick with smoke and swirling with ideas that I seemingly plucked from the sky. It hovers there, just out of reach, and my heart screams to have it back.

Stolen in a moment of misery and pain, my muse cries and gnashes her teeth as she is separate from me.

Bring her back, I beg the universe. Capricious gods jeer and point, unwilling to grant even such a meager request. They are amused with my feeble attempts to be what once I was, and they hold her apart from me, letting a single tear drip through the veil now and again that I might never forget her.

I feel the brush of her fingers on my cheek, like ghostly reminders of the past, and I clutch at them for all I am worth, only to find them dispersing like smoke within my grasp. Why can I no longer feel her loving touch?

Why is my blood less than once it was?

Why am I unable to complete the simplest of fictions without the strongest of efforts?

How do I get her back?

She has my soul.


Back in the day, as it were, I submitted a short story to a competition and rolled out with the #1 slot. I recovered the tale the other day, and thought folks might enjoy a chance to check it out.

“Shapes of the Season” is a quick little read about a teen shapeshifter who decides that Hallowe’en is a good time to try taking the form of his favorite superhero…just in time to be caught in an ambush by the hero’s nemesis. Now Bill is a captive in the villain’s lair and must figure a way out of the situation.

Another of those quick shorts that you can zip through on a long break or during your lunch, it’s running under a buck for award-winning superhero prose. Enjoy, folks!

Shapes Amazon Mod