Guest Blog Posts
A story written for the Bloody Valentine Horror Event 2017 hosted by author A.F. Stewart
Rodney pestered me for weeks about asking Jennifer LaRoe to the Valentine’s Day dance. I didn’t see what was so important about it, especially not to him. Why the hell did he care if I went, or who I went with? That’s how friends are, I suppose. They worm their way into your personal life and try to ‘help’ you make the ‘right’ decisions.
Tired of his constant nagging, I finally caved and asked Jen if she’d go. If I hadn’t been sure she’d decline, I would never have bothered. I figured I could get Rod off my back. It wasn’t like I would actually have to take her.
But she said yes.
“Yes?” I mumbled. She caught me off guard. I didn’t know what to say.
She smiled and nodded. “Of course I’ll go with you. I was hoping you would ask.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Are you okay?” Her eyes squinted and she tilted her head closer to me.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
“Here’s my number. Give me a call.”
Tearing a page from her notebook, she wrote her number on it, handed it to me, then smiled and walked away.
Rodney ran up and grabbed my shoulders. “Holy shit, man. You did it. You asked her. She said yes?”
“See? I bet you didn’t think she would.”
“You’re right, I didn’t.”
With my plan backfiring, I had to come up with an excuse not to go. It disturbed me that I cared about rejecting her. I never had a conscience before that day. Maybe I’d been around people too long. It must have had an unexpected effect on me. As much as I wanted to cancel my date with Jennifer, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Every time I picked up the phone, I put it down before dialing.
I tried convincing myself that I should just go to the dance and try to have a good time like everyone else. Then I remembered I wasn’t everyone else.
Maybe the dance was an opportunity; I figured it was time to move on anyway, especially considering the ill effect my prolonged contact with humans was causing. At least I’d have a hefty meal before slinking into hibernation again.
I picked Jen up at seven in my surrogate mother’s Honda. I anticipated hunger, temptation, but instead found intrigue. There was something about Jennifer LaRoe that set her apart from any human I’d met in centuries. We rode to the dance in complete, comfortable silence. Neither of us felt the need to talk, which was fine by me.
We walked into the gym where the dance was held, side by side but not hand in hand. Before I had a chance to unleash my true self, she’d already begun. Her skull split gracefully, releasing a set of three tentacles. Each bore long spikes at the tips. Her skin tore and fell away as the gargantuan wonder within burst forth. Bodies were lifted from the screaming masses, speared through the abdomen. She brought them into the air before curling her tentacles inward, sucking them into her gorging body.
My mouth watered as I watched her feed. Then, I transformed and joined the feast.
In July 2016 I was a a contestant in the Spider Romance Microfiction Contest hosted by author Betty Rocksteady. Below are my entries from the competition.
Waiting for Flies
Her eight sexy legs crawl up my cheek.
Oh! It feels so sweet.
My eyes strain to see her. So beautiful, that red mark like hot lipstick waiting to be kissed. Flies buzz above and my heart races every time one gets near.
The apparatus holds my mouth open for beloved to build her web. She’s done a special job, as seen from the mirror on the ceiling.
It’s like she’s made it just for me.
We still haven’t had our first kiss; I wait for it with a warm tingling in my stomach.
She crawls onto her web which spans my open mouth. She sits, watching the flies as I do, waiting for one to get caught in her perfect creation. If she gets enough I know she’ll share with me.
Patient. Just be patient.
Eventually she’ll crawl in. My finger is on the button that releases my jaw from the machine’s hold, ready to embrace her in moist darkness where I can love her forever.
Gregory glanced up from his cards and spied the faces of those around him. Everyone wore a stone expression, each face unreadable. The pot already contained three hundred dollars. He held an ace and a king, not a bad hand to start.
“Greg!” His wife’s voice rang out from the kitchen. “How’s it going out there?”
“Just fine, dear. We’ll be done soon.”
Harold dropped the turn card. Greg struggled to keep a straight face. A three didn’t help.
He sensed the tension in their air, the carved rock faces of his competitors about to crumble. But they held their shape.
Greg placed a bet of five-hundred.
Ben looked to his competitors. “I’m out, guys.”
Charlie saw Greg’s bet but didn’t raise.
Harold looked back and forth between Charlie and Greg, sweat dripping down his cheeks in spite of the air conditioning. “That’s it, I’m out too.” He then put down the river card.
Greg nearly jumped from his seat when he saw the king, but managed to stay calm. He bet a grand.
“You’re fucking with me,” Charlie said.
Greg gave no reply.
“Fine, you bastard. Let’s have a go. I’ll see your thousand. And I’ll raise you…” He spread his money out on the table, then slid the cash into a pile and tossed it into the pot. “A thousand.”
Greg struggled with his decision. What to do? He saw the bet and dropped another grand onto the pile.
“Alright, what do you got?” Charlie asked after throwing down his pair of queens.
Greg flipped his ace.
“That ain’t shit,” Charlie said.
Greg put down his king.
“Son of a bitch!” Charlie slammed his fist on the table.
Greg wrapped his arms around the pot and pulled it to his chest. “Sorry guys!”
“You’re not sorry, you shit!” Charlie removed his hat and crumpled it in his hands.
“You boys okay in there?” Greg’s wife asked from the kitchen.
“Yes, love!” Greg answered. “I cleaned ‘em out tonight!”
“Oh, good for you, dear!” She replied. “Can I come out now?”
“Yes, Martha. The game’s over. They’re all yours.”
The kitchen door swung open and a hairy, black appendage emerged.
“What the fuck is that?” Charlie screamed.
Everyone stood from the table and tried to run for the exit. Greg sat and watched.
Ben made it to the door first, opened it and ran into an enormous silk web. He tried to break free but only managed to entangle himself further.
Greg smiled at his wife who came over and wrapped two of her enormous front legs around him. Her mandibles rubbed against the side of his face.
“It turns me on so much when you win,” she said.
He rubbed her palps. “Then I’m glad I won.”
She released her husband and wrapped Charlie and Harold in silk.
“I’ll save them for later. Let’s go to the bedroom.”
Thin strands of silvery white envelop me in silky embrace. My body wrapped, hung, and waiting…
She creeps from above, eight legs clawing their way down the web. My abdomen tingles, knowing I’ll soon be liquefied and sucked inside. How wonderful a thought to be within my sweetheart.
Her venomous bite like a sweet first kiss, I longed for it since the moment I was stuck in the world she created.
Just a common moth, what love was there for me but in her body? I could sustain her, keep her alive, be her delicious salvation from hunger. What better way to serve such a dear creature?
She comes ever closer. My wings try to flutter in excitement.
Her fangs inject me with digestive enzymes. All fades as my insides liquefy and she begins to drink.
Ron wiped the sweat from his brow as he walked up to 59 Hanford Street. He pulled the mail from his bag and went to place it in the mailbox when he noticed a note taped to the lid.
Dear postal worker:
I’m sorry to ask, but there’s a horrible spider inside the mailbox and I can’t get my mail! Can you please take care of it for me? I’d really appreciate it!
He carefully lifted the lid and peeked inside. Yesterday’s mail was still there. He jerked his hand back when he saw the web. Ron hated spiders.
He took a deep breath and opened the lid again. I’ve got to deliver the damn mail— snow, rain, heat, and even spiders.
Slowly, he reached in to pull out the letters and junk mail. He froze when the tiny black creature crawled up his hand.
“Sorry to bother you, but I couldn’t help notice how handsome you are.”
Ron’s mouth hung open. The fucking spider did not just talk to you. It’s the heat. Yeah, it’s just the heat fucking with you.
“You look like no one’s ever complimented you before,” the spider said.
“No, I’m sorry. It’s just that… Spiders don’t talk!”
“Well I’m a spider, and I’m talking to you. Because you’re hot stuff. How about you and I go somewhere dark and damp, chat for a while.”
He didn’t know how to respond. Am I losing my mind?
“Listen, babe. How about just one date? Let me make a good first impression. My name’s Rachel.”
“Okay. I guess so. I mean, this is really weird though.”
“Don’t worry, one night with me you’ll forget all about how weird it is.”
A week later he took Rachel to work. She crawled down his hand before he put the mail in each box and laid her eggs between the bills and credit card offers. Every house got their share.
After all, Ron always wanted children. Lots of them.
In February 2015 I was a contestant in David Wellington’s Fear Project. Below are my entries from the competition.
Something Touched His Skin
Something touched his skin. He looked down to see that a skeletal hand had reached from the ground and taken purchase on his leg. It crawled up his calf like a spider. When it reached his thigh it gripped hard, pulling him down into the snow-covered swamp.
His heart thumped like a tribal drum, playing a song written by millions of years of instinct. “Help!” he screamed.
His boot sank beneath the surface. He tried pulling it out. The murky water held it in place like cement.
The dome of a skull rose between his feet. Its empty sockets glared over the surface and gazed up at him. Helpless, he stood still as the rest of its head rose from the deep. The jaw dropped, and out came a sickening gurgle that sent his stomach into his bowels. Water roiled in its mouth, spilling black ooze over its bottom teeth.
Nausea rose from his gut and planted itself in his throat. Bitterness splashed over his tongue, and soon his lungs began to fill with acrid swamp water.
Black slime dribbled from his lips as he choked, coughing and gagging, trying to expel the vile fluid. The undead pulled him further into the soft ground. Waist deep, body thrashing, he tried to make himself vomit. But a skeletal hand covered his mouth, forcing everything back in.
As his ears went under, and the sounds of the world above faded, he closed his eyes and met the cold darkness that waited below.
Plunging his arms into the black liquid, the fetor of decay bubbling up from the sink, he felt for the drain and pushed the hose inside. He twisted it, and then pulled, and it came out with a wet pop, bringing out the mess of slime and hair lodged in the pipe. He subdued the urge to retch as the water surged down with a slurping that turned his stomach.
Hot breath tickled Carl’s neck. Its stench penetrated his skin like needles. He turned to see a wide grin on the old woman’s face, exposing blackened teeth.
“Thank you,” she said.
“No problem. Mr. Plumber is always on duty.” He hated that line, but he hated unemployment more.
“How about something to drink, sweetie?”
“I really shouldn’t. I have other calls.”
“A hardworking man like you should take a break. Come sit.”
She led him to the living room where he sat on an old couch. Filthy, lime green walls surrounded him, cracks running from floor to ceiling. A solitary light bulb hung from above, casting deep shadows behind the furniture. Roaches scuttled back to their hiding places; he could hear their tiny legs ticking against the inside of the walls. The acrid scent of urine wafted from the sticky carpet and rested on his tongue.
The old woman brought him a mason jar filled with black, slimy liquid.
With a sudden bang the door closed, followed by the click of a lock.
“Drink up before it gets cold!”
Silence in the Willow Field
Whisper, whisper Willow Man
The trees speak his name
The dirt-encrusted cloth moved with an awakening breath. It sucked in and out with a pounding rhythm, life emerging from the long-dead remains only inches beneath the ground.
Whisper, whisper Willow Man
To him you’re all the same
Bony arms thrust his decayed body through the thin layer of soil separating it from the land of the living. He brought himself to his knees and looked up at the night sky through the sack over his head.
Whisper, whisper Willow Man
Come play our little game
The Willow Man stood, attention turned to the words that woke him. He heard them giggling, their shrill voices like razors in his head. With an unnatural gait he made his way across the field, following the scent of warm blood—young blood.
The boy’s eyes widened and a spine-shattering howl escaped his lungs. The pike revealed itself through his chest, crimson life dripping from its tip. He cupped his hands around it in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding.
The other stood there and stared; the tattered cloth stared back. Willow trees swayed in the wind, whispering in voices of the dead.
He thrust the pike into her stomach. Its rusted point tore through her back, bringing with it stringy bits of carnage. As the girl spat an abstract painting of red onto her blouse, the whispers hushed, and silence put the Willow Man back to sleep.
I Think I’ll Go Outside
The beasts patrolled the street, viscous saliva dripping from their gnarled mouths. Giant, insect-like legs navigated the crumbled remains of the sidewalk in large steps, tails and tentacles trailing behind them, leaving a slimy residue wherever they went.
I watched them through the window. Two currently lumbered back and forth in front of the house I’d been hiding in the last few days. Most likely they could smell me. Luckily the rain has been steady. I think it dulls their sense, makes it harder for them to hone in. If not for the heavy downpour I’m sure I would’ve been eaten already.
I don’t know how I’ve managed to survive the past three weeks. It seems like an eternity since the end came. When the sky turned red, time slowed, and each day became a lifetime in hell. The planet split open and released the horrors nesting inside. Sadistic and hungry beings now roamed the Earth; we no longer stood at the top of the food chain.
I don’t even know if anyone else is left, haven’t seen another person in at least a week. It’d be awfully lonely being the last one. I think I’ll go outside. Maybe they’ll kill me quickly.
Dancing steel did a free spin through the swarm of hungry creatures. Their blood caressed the sharp edge like a tender lover, spilling with a willingness reserved for the young at heart. Heads rolled at the beauty of the swift slaughter, and like ants to sugar, they just kept coming.
With a hard thrust he drove his sword deep into the guts of the closest walking corpse. Putrescent hands embraced the weapon, carelessly severing rotten fingers. Intestines fell from the wound, a bouquet of carnage, green and stinking of death.
With the immediate threat dispatched, he ran to the group. Three nasty looking bastards had overtaken them and were voraciously gnawing on his comrades. He moved with supernatural speed, adopting a ghostly quality as he glided across the pavement.
Raising the blade skyward, he brought it down with the strength of a skilled headsman, decapitating the foul thing feasting on Juan’s leg. It was too late for them; they’d all been torn apart. But it wasn’t too late to kill every last motherfucker with human flesh between their teeth.
He pushed the two remaining undead onto their backs and stomped their faces until they broke like fresh eggs. Tobias scraped the gore off his boot and set his back to the massacre. As he put one foot in front of the other he wondered–why am I always the last?
2015 Interview with author Gwendolyn Kiste, about my story ‘The Bones of Hillside‘ included in her anthology, A Shadow of Autumn: An Anthology of Fall and Halloween Tales. Click HERE to read!