It was August, just before we heard that the last elephants had died. Suze got it into her head we should ride out to the old Viles farm and pick apples, fresh tree grown apples, for some pies.

No Viles has lived on the place for nearly a hundred years, but it’s still named for them, at least by popular consent. The Yadda-Yadda-Yadda name that designates it an historic site, the one you’d find if you were a tourist doing a VIZ-trip, nobody bothers with that dumb name here.

The Purdys were the last to actually farm there. They quit when there was no place left where could they sell apples, corn, tomatoes, or string beans. The markets were gone; government food – tasteless and chemical though it is – is delivered free so no need for stores or even roadside stands, especially with cars banned and busses rare.

So the Purdys quit the place their grandfather had bought from the Viles nearly a century ago, the place everyone still called the old Viles farm. And some bright member of the council, figuring that school kids should have a place to go for field trips, pushed though her idea of an historic site.

Now it’s gone to weed and seed; the farm just sets and waits for nature to take its course. Most people don't even know it exists, but Suze is real fond of it. She’d gone there as a kid, when they still had some state workers to sow and pick and all that stuff, and she’d eaten some of that fresh-out-of-the-garden food. None of us ever have so we weren’t sure she wasn’t just making it up. But you know Suze, when she gets an idea going, there’s no way you’re going to argue her out of it.

We were going to ride our ped-karts out to the old Viles place and pick some apples. It figures to be seven miles or thereabouts each way, nothing too strenuous except for the air. The dust had really picked up and the official word was you shouldn’t be out without the proper breathing gear. Of course we had none. That stuff’s restricted to those who have priority, which isn’t a bunch of lows like us living off the slop-drop and hanging out. We’re lucky they’ve let us keep out karts and play the VIZ.

Henry said we were dumb to go out without that breathing gear, but Suze just kept arguing and said we had these masks, the ones for flu. We had some of those left, and she figured if we put them on it would be enough. So we all gave in. I mean, who was going to argue Suze around? Certainly not me. She’s a crazy bitch, but I love her more than I can make sense. And I guess the others feel the same because they all went along, too.

Got our karts out of the shed, put on those stupid masks, and started down Skylark.

We didn’t get to the Viles place, didn’t get close. The day was brown; at least it looked brown with the wind blowing and all that dirt flying. Pretty soon we were covered black, and those masks were so covered we had to stop every block just to shake them out – not that it made much of a difference.

We followed Skylark to Prince and headed west, which should have got us to the old highway, the one that goes to Shelburgh, but we were too tuckered to go on and sat on the wall of the old library choking and coughing and damning Suze and ourselves for being fools.

That’s when the police came by, called for a backup van and took us home – all except Suze, who was still going on about apple pies and how everyone should have one, how it’s part of our way of life. They took her off to the hospital, and we haven’t heard a word of her. I tried to call, but the hospital claims she was never there. Strange.

Anyway, a few days later we heard on the VIZ that the last elephants had died, somewhere far from here. Now I’ve never seen an elephant - not live, or ate an apple pie. There are lots of things if you look on the VIZ that you don’t see any more. It’s just that Suze wasn’t one of them so why the hell did they make her disappear?

"Apple Pies and Elephants"
Copyright: © 2010 Kenneth Weene
Kenneth Weene is a New Englander by birth and disposition and trained as a psychologist and minister, he has worked as an educator and psychotherapist.

Ken’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications – most recently featured in Sol and publication in Spirits. An anthology of his writings, Songs for my Father, was published by Inkwell Productions. His short stories have appeared in Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, and The Santa Fe Literary Review.

Ken’s novel, Widow’s Walk, has recently been published by All Things That Matter Press. A second novel, Memoirs From the Asylum, is scheduled for release May 20. To order Ken’s novels visit or order at Amazon.

A black silhouette circles above the deserted streets, invisible against a dark, winter’s sky.


My eyes dart from left to right, looking and listening for anything; a movement, laughter, a cry. It’s the same thing night after night. I must feed. My strength is waning, the treacherous weather conditions keeping the streets deserted. Livestock doesn’t do the same to my bloodlust as humans do.

Then suddenly, a faint pattering of rushing footsteps echoes in my sensitive ears. I tilt my head in the direction of the noise, following it through the night air. There, on her own, scurrying down the path and trying to keep to the shadows is a woman of incredible beauty.

The woman has long, dark, hair that bounces gently with each step. Her skin is pale, yet when the light from the street lamp catches her it glows, accentuating her features. I swoop down, getting closer, but still out of sight. The woman is a vision, but there is something wrong. Her eyes are wet and her make up smudged.

Then, more noise, more footsteps running down the street. I catch sight of the owner. A man is chasing her. An aura of menace surrounds him and he is moving fast, his feet steady as they land on the icy pavement. The woman quickens her step but is no match for his speed and he soon catches up, roughly grabbing her and pushing her into a darkened doorway.

“Get your hands off me. Get….off….me.”

A scream followed by silence. The man raises his hand and is about to strike again but I cannot allow that to happen. I swoop down with dazzling speed, grabbing his right hand with my left. He turns to look at me, letting the woman fall to the floor. As he does so, I lunge at his throat, my teeth sinking into the flesh. I suck furiously, drinking down his crimson fluid. The man tries to fight back but my strength is rekindled, victorious over his. I bite down harder, his windpipe restricted against my powerful jaws. Blood is running freely now, staining into his shirt and jacket. I am in a frenzy, my eyes rolling as I try to drink the man dry.

The woman begins to stir on the floor. She cannot see this. Still feeding, I drag the weakening man away from the doorway and in an instant take off into the night. I fly towards the edge of the village. The man is now dead in my arms, his veins almost depleted of blood. In the near distance I can see the dense woodland.

Slowing, as I near the trees, I spot an opening within the branches and come to rest on the forest floor. In an instant, I tear the man’s throat out with my teeth, spitting his ravaged trachea onto the rotting leaves. Tonight the woodland creatures will have a feast.

I return to the street, coming to a stop on the slate roof of the building across from the darkened doorway. The woman is now on her feet, dusting herself down and trying to straighten her soiled clothing. There is a cut on her cheek, a small trickle of blood running down her face, mingling with her tears. I reach out to her, wanting to touch her face, wanting to taste her blood, but her beauty will not allow me.

I will need to feed again, though.

Copyright: © 2010 David Barber

David Barber is from Manchester, England but now lives in Crieff, Scotland with his wife and two daughters. He wrote some years ago but had his writing spirit rekindled in 2009 buy an old friend and the beauty that surrounds him. He has had his work published at Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, A Twist Of Noir, Blink Ink and on his own site He has a piece of writing which is going to appear in an upcoming anthology from Pill Hill Press.

Iaim tapped Bridgid's goggles. "Can you hear okay?"

"My ears are just fine. We're alone."

Iaim looked along the pipe. Even with his own goggles dialed up to 120, it was still as black as if he had his eyes closed. He wished he had hearing as good as Bridgid's. He'd worked hard to get her some radargoggs, even if she didn't like them much, at least she could see sometimes. "Okay," he told her. "I'm going to put out an IR flare and we can get to the spigot. Let me know if you hear anything."


Iaim cocked the launcher, felt the dial and let it self-level. "We good?"


Iaim touched the trigger. The launcher spluttered and jerked. Invisible for a moment, the flare spun along the pipe, even Iaim could hear the whine. Then it ignited and his goggles automatically clipped back down to five, then three.

"I see the spigot," Iaim said. "Forty-five metres. You on the tether? I'm running now."

"Right with you."

Iaim splashed through the sluggish ankle-deep waste along the bottom of the pipe. Mostly it was offal and blood, slightly diluted from the residues of the purges. He had nose-clips and his suit was triple-rubbered, the boots hefty with celermet overshoes. They would still have to spend an hour in the shower when they got back.

"We've got alarms," Bridgid said as she splashed along behind. "I think three or four levels up."


"Just a double-check, but something's picked up the flare as an anomaly. They'll do a sweep, but they don't have an intruder warning yet."

"Good. Slowing down now." They were nearly at the spigot. Iaim pulled the bladder from his satchel as they pulled up. He tried to breathe shallow to let Bridgid hear.

"It's gone quiet," she said. "The alarms are shut down."

"They've just decided it was false, perhaps?"

"We hope. Are we there?"


In the guttering light from the flare Iaim read the patinaed legend on the plate above. Cerebral Drain. He lifted the opening on the bladder to the spigot. He turned the handle and the gloopy flow started flopping into the canvas container.

"Something else," Bridgid said.

The brain fluids slowly drained into the bladder. He could feel the weight increasing.

"Something's happening," Bridgid said. "I can hear movement above."

"I think this is a good load," Iaim said. "Franco will pay well for this." The more viscous hauls were always more concentrated and more valuable.

The container already felt about half-full to Iaim. If the spigot kept pouring at this rate, then they would have enough for Franco's neuron vats for weeks. Perhaps they could buy Bridgid the eye operation.

"Oh," Bridgid said.


"They've ..."

But then Iaim could hear it too. Liquid in the main pipe.

"We don't have long," she said.

"Just let me-"

The roar was growing, increasing in intensity.

"Only moments," Bridgid said. "How much do we have."

Iaim shut the spigot off. "Come on, let's get to the hatch." The bladder lurched in his hand as he took a step back. The sound blasted down, as if there was a building collapsing above them.

"We've gotta go."

In the distance, right at the edge of the flare light, Iaim saw the flood of waste rolling at them.

"Where's the hatch?" Bridgid said.

"A hundred yards."

Bridgid slowed. "We won't make it." The tether went taut.


The air passed by like a gale now.

"Too late."

Iaim yanked the tether and hauled her along. She stumbled after. He reached the ladder and clipped the bucket to his belt. "Start climbing," he said, stuffing the rungs into her hand.

The first wave of liquid hit their legs, rushing across and dragging at them. Iaim pulled himself up, one rung, two. Bridgid followed. The viscous liquid tugged at their legs.

Then the main volume struck, immersing them. Iaim hung on, pulled up, pulled up again. The liquid kept tearing him away. He couldn't breathe.

It was probably a week's worth of funeral home vat purging. Stored just to flush neuron thieves like them. But they would make it.

He touched the hatch. The pipe was full, there wasn't even any air space above. Iaim twisted the handle. He pushed the hatch open.

The edge of the concrete was firm and dry. Iaim pulled himself up, sodden and dripping. He looked back at the hole and pulled at the tether. The end snapped up and slapped the rough concrete.

He stuck his arm into the subsiding flow.

"Bridgid!" he shouted, knowing it was too late. Bridgid was gone.

He leaned back, staring. The bladder wobbled, still clutched in his other hand. What a waste, he thought, crying, and he hurled it away. Striking a curb, the bladder split and the contents drained out and away through a grate.

"The Neuron Thieves"
Copyright: © 2010 Sean Monaghan
Sean Monaghan found a spigot in his yard, and has dug and dug, but has yet to find an end to the pipe. Sean’s stories have appeared before in The New Flesh Magazine and also in MicroHorror, Static Movement and others. More information at his website

“How are you today, Earl?”

The older man looked up at the slim, pretty blonde woman as he scanned her ticket into the computer.

“Just fine, Emily. How are you?”

“Well, the sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze, and I’m playing hooky from work to watch a baseball game. Could be worse.”

Earl smiled and nodded. “Yes, it could. Enjoy the game.”

“Thanks, Earl. Take care.”

Emily headed towards her seat section with her friend, chatting away about shoes or some such nonsense. Earl studied her behind as it swayed with each step she took. He licked his lips, imagining the delicious things he could do with it.

Once the game was over and all the park employees had cleaned up their workstations and punched out on the time clock, Earl ambled out to the parking lot. He may have been seventy years old but he was still a good driver. He’d restored a red and white 1959 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz to cherry condition. Not only was it a classic car but it had the most trunk space of any vehicle made at the time.

He pulled the car into his garage and entered the kitchen, shrugging off his park jacket and hanging it on a hook by the side door. He eased off his orthopedic support shoes and pushed his feet into a pair of Uggh slippers. Yes, he was too old for such trendy fashions but they sure were warm and soft for his sore feet.

He filled the teakettle with water and put it on the stove. He picked up his worn woolen sweater, slipping his arms into its familiar comfort. While he waited for the water to heat up, he made his way to the living room and sat in his easy chair.

Earl looked around at the décor. After his beloved wife died ten years ago, he finally got the chance to decorate the house as he wanted. The bookshelf on his right, holding eight jars with severed heads floating in formaldehyde, was dark cherry wood – his favorite. The matching coffee table, covered with the tanned and stretched skins of four different young women, showed a few nicks and scratches but was in otherwise pristine condition.

He reached for the TV remote which sat in a skeletal hand cut from his last victim, a young brunette he’d met at the grocery store. It amazed him how easy it was to fool trusting, naïve young women into thinking he was a harmless old man.

The kettle whistled from the kitchen just as Jeopardy went to a commercial.

“Time for tea,” Earl muttered.

He shuffled back to the kitchen and grabbed a clean mug from the dish rack next to the sink. A box of his favorite cinnamon tea sat open on the counter and he plucked a bag free. He dropped it into the mug and covered it with hot water. As he left it to steep, Earl studied the pictures of Emily he’d hung on the refrigerator: at the ballpark, her work, the mall, and her home.

“There’ll be time enough for you too, my dear,” he whispered.

Copyright: © 2010 Peggy Christie

Peggy Christie has been writing horror fiction since 1999. Her work has appeared in several websites, magazines, and anthologies, including Sinister Tales, Black Ink Horror, Appalling Limericks, and Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. Her short story, “Why Be Normal?”, opened the anthology Reckless Abandon from Catalyst Press which premiered at the Horrorfind Convention in 2002. Peggy loves survival horror video games and chocolate (not necessarily in that order) and lives in Michigan with her husband, Robert, and their dogs, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Dozer. Check out her website at

She’s waited a long time for this meal.

The hunger has become so painful her stomach burns. Why she has been forced to live, deep down in this black, empty, hollow dungeon, she doesn’t know. But feeding time is her only salvation from this meaningless existence.

But she doesn’t eat her food yet.

She circles it, admiring its form and savouring the distinctive odour emanating from her prey’s body. Her breathing becomes shallow and she salivates profusely at the prospect of tearing into its soft flesh.

Her ravaged body has waited long enough.

It is feeding time.


Lieutenant Tom Barton lies on the cold damp floor.

He sobs and shakes like a wounded animal. Around him, he can see nothing but darkness and black. But he knows that he is not alone. He can feel it watching him.

Then out of the darkness it appears.

He watches in stunned silence as the beast leers at his naked body, drooling from its cavernous mouth. The monstrosity moves closer, so close that he can see its pupils dilate and smell its rank breath.

This must be a dream.

Lt. Barton is wrong; this nightmare is real.

Suddenly without warning the monstrosity lunges forward. He screams and thrusts out his hands in a lame attempt to protect himself. But the beast ignores him, takes hold of his defenceless limbs and swings him upwards, snapping his humorous like a pencil. Then it throws him to the floor, leaving his pelvis crushed and buckled.

The Lieutenant cannot breathe. Shards of bone from his broken ribs have pierced his lungs, leaving him breathless and close to death. He has had enough now, so he prays to God to take him away from his suffering.

But it’s not over.

In one final burst, the creature reaches out its clawed hand, rips his testicles from his body and plunges them into its gaping maw.

As he lies on the floor dying, Lieutenant Tom Barton watches as the two men - dressed in standard German uniform - pat each other on the back triumphantly.

Then smiling they turn and leave.

"Feeding Time"
Copyright: © 2010 Travis James

Travis has had stories published by Dark Fire Fiction, WSU NEXUS, The Patchwork Project and SNM HORROR MAG. His story THE SUFFERING won Story of the Month at SNMHORROR in 08 and has now been published in their Anthology BONDED IN BLOOD 2 available on

We hear the cracking of their guns long before anyone sees the dusty wake of their trucks.

I have just enough time to snatch my precious Mangeni from her wicker cot and crawl into the shelter beneath the church with the other villagers.

There is deadly silence, lest we be heard by the intruders.

We can hear Reverend Kaikara protesting above us as the rebels defile our place of worship with their presence. There is a gunshot, and we hear the Reverend’s voice no longer. This is followed by distant laughter and the sounds of overturning pews.

They are searching for the hidden hatch to our refuge.

Mangeni begins to cry.

Frantically, I rock her back and forth in my arms, but this only makes her crying worse. Yellow eyes—wide and terrified—plead with me in the darkness; the hot, sour breath of those nearest to me is redolent with fear and thick with panic. Sweat begins to trickle down my nose. Finally an old woman with yellow teeth hisses at me. I put my hand over Mangeni’s mouth and I softly whisper a Ugandan lullaby into her warm ear.

This seems to work.

When the looters have gone, the villagers pour from the shelter with a collective sense of relief. I remain behind, clutching my baby’s lifeless body to my chest.

At last, I can scream.

"Mangeni's Lullaby"
Copyright: © 2010 Eugene Gramelis

Eugene Gramelis is a barrister and dark fiction writer from Sydney, Australia where he lives with his beautiful wife and two gorgeous daughters. His fiction has appeared, or is scheduled to appear, in publications such as MicroHorror, Crime and Suspense Magazine, Flashes in the Dark, The Daily Tourniquet, Midnight Echo, Afterburn SF and The New Flesh. Please feel free to visit Eugene's official webpage:

Bill pulled up to the red light and stopped. Moments later a Mercedes-Benz 500 series pulled up next to him, all tinted windows and black paint. The Benz driver had the music cranked, and the boom from the sub woofer shook the windows in Bill's car. Bill frowned at the driver's dark window.

“Hey,” he hollered at the Benz, “you're gonna go deaf, ya know!”

The music's volume increased as the driver's window rolled down. Behind the wheel, Bill saw a skeleton in a black hooded robe. It had gold chains draped around it's neck. Sitting in the car with the skeleton were scores of people with broken and bloodied bodies. Their heads (those that had heads, anyway) bopped in time to the music. The skeleton turned to face Bill and began to rap.

“Pay attention to the road, don't try to be sly! Mind your own damn business or you're gonna die!”

Bill was livid.

“Is that some kind of a threat?” The skeleton ignored him and kept rapping.

“Distractions kill, that's what I'm tellin' you! Hey, the light is green! Better check your rear view!”

Bill glanced up at the light which had, in fact, turned green. He looked in his rear view mirror just in time to see a speeding semi slam into the back of his car.

The next thing Bill knew he was covered in blood, sitting in the back seat of the skeleton's Benz. The music was incredibly loud, but Bill thought he could get used to it. He joined the other corpses in bopping his head to the beat.

"Grim Rapper"
Copyright: © 2010 Robert C. Eccles
Robert C. Eccles is a radio news reporter and anchor who enjoys writing short horror and sci-fi stories.

“Madre de Dios; wake up will ya! Hey! HEY!”

Evan slowly opened his eyes to see a pair of perfect glass circles staring back at him. Through the circles he could see the green eyes of his friend Maria, with a few strands of her bubblegum pink hair hanging in front of them. She lifted her gas mask above her head and slapped him on his cheek.

“You ever tried sleeping at night, son?” she asked “You’re damn lucky I spotted you before the boss did.”

Evan had fallen asleep on the job for the third time this week. He could never sleep at night because of his neighbor’s Chihuahua, Mr. Giggles, who would yip at all hours of the day. This constant barking would penetrate right through the poor excuse for walls that surrounded Evan’s apartment. Ordinarily, this was not a problem; but for the first time in a long time, Evan was on clean-up detail this week. With the canary yellow jumpsuit wrapped around his body, like the loving blankets on his heavenly mattress back home, he couldn’t help but doze off. He had mastered sleeping in any position; today, Maria had found him leaning against an alley wall with one leg up on a garbage can.

“Get your mask back on and let’s go; we found another big one.” Maria helped Evan onto his feet and handed him a shovel.

“Jesus, how are we still finding these things?” Evan wiped a small strand of drool from the side of his mouth.

“Quit your bitchin’ ya wuss,” Maria said as she climbed into their dark green golf cart “this is probably the last one we’ll have to clear away.”

Evan looked at the bright orange M.W.R.S. letters that were spray painted onto the front of the golf cart.

“If you keep slacking off like this,” Evan’s mother used to scream at him “you’re going to end up on the Monster Waste Removal Squad! Don’t do your homework, and you’ll be shoveling giant turds until you’re an old man!”

She wound up being right. Evan’s initial hatred for the job eventually grew into a sense of civic pride.

"You’ll receive very little thanks or glory for doing this job,” Dr. Showa said in the training video “but it is a necessary service for the future of our fair city and the world.”

Something about this inspired Evan; and for the most part, his job was an easy one, once you got past the poop the size of a mall. Giant monster attacks had gotten less and less frequent as atomic bomb tests did the same. Evan rarely worked more than nine days out of the entire year but was paid like it was 365. And whenever he heard the squish of a giant lizard creature’s feces as he lowered it into an M.W.R.S. containment unit, he was the happiest he would feel all year.

Later that evening, Evan began his nightly routine of showering for at least two hours straight. He found this was the ideal amount of time to get the horrific smells off of his body that attached themselves to him like Velcro. Next, he would flop onto his bed and prepare to sleep the whole weekend away, with the occasional disruption from his neighbor’s dog. The yipping no longer mattered though; he was done, quite possibly, for the rest of the year and he planned to celebrate. The glowing digital red numbers of his alarm clock said 12:52 when he shut his eyes.

Evan awoke to the glowing numbers reading 10:30. He had slept through the entire night, completely uninterrupted. Getting out of bed, he could hear a clattering coming from his kitchen. Frantically, he grabbed the lamp off of the nightstand; ready to be used as a weapon if necessary. He peered around the corner into his kitchen; he could see a scaly red shape ripping the knobs off of his oven.

“Hey,” he said “knock it off!”

The creature turned to look at him. It had a tiny white horn on its forehead that was breaking in like a toddler’s first tooth. There was one fiery red eye just below its horn as well as thin skin flaps between his arms and legs allowed the creature to glide off of the oven and onto the kitchen floor. Evan threw the lamp at the monster; it looked like a miniature version of the creature he had spent all week cleaning up after. It wasn’t uncommon for small eggs to be inside of a monster’s excrement; Evan figured it must have snuck into his jumpsuit somehow while he was cleaning. With his fingers shaking he began to dial the number for the M.W.R.S. emergency hot line, but stopped when he noticed a few drops of blood going across his kitchen floor. He followed the trail until he saw a pile of small white bones, stripped bare. On top of the pile was a purple collar. Evan picked up the collar and read the name engraved on the thin piece of gold. “Mr. Giggles,” it read. Evan looked at the helpless red creature, as it stared at him with its giant eye. Maybe he wouldn’t call the M.W.R.S. and maybe he wouldn’t have to worry about getting a good night’s sleep ever again.

"Clean Up"
Copyright: © 2010 Brian Long

Brian Long is a member of the Broadset Writing Collective and the recently formed J Review. He has fingers with minds of their own, that occasionally create entertaining stories. These amusing yarns can be found at:

My name is Duke Darlington, and I’m a folklore hunter. It’s not an easy job, but I do get paid a lot of money to kill vampires, ghouls, goblins and all other things unholy. Most people can’t even imagine the horrors that I have seen and, up until recently, I really thought that I had seen it all.

But then this tall man wearing a hip-looking suit, dark sunglasses and a black fedora walked into my office, and introduced himself as Joe Cool. His voice was harsh, it sounded as though he had a chainsaw stuck in his throat. Mr. Cool went on to inform me that he’d been looking for a new home for quite some time, and after months of searching he’d finally found the one that he wanted. So, he bought it. He went on to say that it was one of the nicer houses in Wolf County. A rustic, quaint home that was nestled nicely in a wooded area.

I smiled (almost politely) and told him to hurry the fuck up with his story! Because time is money, and he was wasting my time.

He seemed offended. But I didn’t care. Joe Cool hurried up with his story and said that there was a rowdy nightclub within a mile from his home. An usual nightclub where only werewolves hung out. At first, he hesitated thinking that I may laugh at him, but like I said, I am a folklore hunter and nothing really seemed to amaze me.

I nodded and said, “My fee is twenty-thousand dollars for werewolf removal.”

The man who had looked all cocky and cool, now looked uneasy, almost bashful. He tugged at his shirt collar, as perspiration formed on his forehead. He wiped it away quickly like he was embarrassed by it. Then he agreed, left and came back the next day with twenty-thousand dollars in cold-hard cash. I told him that I would get right on it.


A week later, I pulled my Bronco to the side of the road. I didn’t know how many werewolves there would be in the nightclub, so I brought along my two Uzi machine guns. I loaded them up with silver bullets. Put on my hiking boots, sprayed myself down with some bug spray and made my way through the large trees and thick shrubs to the werewolves nightclub. It was tiny, loud and and a wooden sign, hanging cockeyed, declared that it was called ‘WOLFSBURG.’ I pulled out my guns, kicked in the door and couldn’t believe my eyes.

Naturally, the jukebox was playing ‘Werewolves Of London.’ That didn’t surprise me, but what did surprise me was how the werewolves were acting. Six of them were line dancing, while one of them was doing the robot. Four of the hairy beasts were sitting at a round table smoking huge cigars and playing poker. There was even a line of them sitting at the bar drinking beer, margaritas and fuzzy navels. I had to blink my eyes several times as I watched two of the werewolves, look around nervously, then sniff up four lines of cocaine.

I shook my head and began firing at them, emptying the clips. Once the smoke cleared my eyes (once again) couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The werewolves sat there unfazed, although some of them did look extremely pissed-off. I started to back up slowly, feeling as though my luck had finally run out.

I nearly wet myself as one of the werewolves put a furry arm around my shoulders. “Where’re you going, Gunner?” he said with a fake British accent. “It’s almost suppertime!”

I didn’t answer, my body froze like a statue. I watched with wide, puzzled eyes as most of the werewolves returned to their partying. That eased my mind, until another werewolf approached me. He was large, smelt like a wet dog and bleeding from a bullet hole in his chest. He smiled and said, “I hope you’ve got some money to pay for the mess that you’ve done to my bar.”

“Yes, sir. I do.”

“That’s good,” he said. “I needed to redecorate anyway.” He glanced down at my guns and added, “Say, how about putting them guns away, and stick around for supper. It’s ribs night here at Wolfsburg, and I hate to brag, but they are the best damn ribs that you’ll ever eat!”

“What the hell is going on here?” I asked swiftly. “Why aren’t you all dead?”

The wolf with his arm around my shoulders spoke, “Because Wolfsburg is built on sacred ground.”

“Yeah,” the other werewolf chimed-in. He looked at the werewolf who was hugging my shoulder tightly and said, “Go and get our new friend here a cold beer. The good stuff, too. Not that imported shit!”

“Sure, boss,” he answered, taking off.

The werewolf invited me to take a seat with him. I did and he began to tell me, “See, mister. Years ago my Great-grandfather had this place built on sacred ground. And as long as us, werewolves, are on this ground. Silver has no effect on us.”

“But I was paid to kill you guys.”

“By who?” he asked.

“Your new neighbor,” I answered briskly.

He pondered the thought, then said, “Well, hopefully you were paid in cash.”

I grinned. “That’s the only way.”

“Good,” he exclaimed, slapping me on the shoulder. “Because that’s who’s ribs we’re having for dinner tonight!”

"All Things Unholy"
Copyright: © 2010 Chad Case and The Matrix
CHAD CASE is the kind of person who sits around thinking about how to save the world. While THE MATRIX is the kind of person who sits around thinking about how to destroy it.

Drunk on half a fifth of American Honey, Gordon cut the end of his big toe off while trying to trim his nails with a pocket knife.

He was fortunate, had been waiting for just something like this to happen. It was out of his hands now. Nothing he could do.

Gordon stuck his leg out and watched the blood ooze up from the white, fish-mouthed gash then down his foot, pooling on the carpet. The pinched end of his toe lay in the middle of the blood, a yoke, the unborn beginnings, all of him folded there into that lump of skin and tissue.

He imagined another him would spring up from that mixture, form right there in the living room, naked and confused. He knew it would stumble to him and talk baby talk and sit in his lap and ask him to read it a story.

Here’s a story, Toe Head, Gordon would say. He would read it Dr. Seuss books slowly and then tell it to go get some clothes on. It would return wearing a pair of his jeans and one of his t-shirts, and it would no longer be his baby Toe Head. Now it was a teenager, and everyone knew how teenagers could be. So he would send it to the room.

Gordon thought of what to do about his teenage Toe Head. From the room he could hear loud music and voices.

Toe Head! You better not be on the phone, dammit!

He really shouldn’t curse at the child. What kind of impression does that make? What would happen if Toe Head were to cut himself off a little lump of toe? What would happen then? Vicious circle. That’s what would happen.

Considering this, Gordon eased himself up from the floor and went to the bedroom. He shoved open the door and turned on the light.

I really shouldn’t have swore at you like that, Toe Head. I’m sorry. I just got upset.

His daughter, smelling of soap and clean pajamas, rolled over in bed.



It’s not nice to call people names. That hurts my feelings.

Gordon closed the door and turned to see the trail of blood from the living room, snaking down the hall to the bedroom. He tried to follow it back to where it started, but couldn’t keep up. It had broken in places and very soon he lost his way.

Copyright: © 2010 Sheldon Lee Compton
Sheldon Lee Compton lives in Kentucky. His work can be found in places like >kill author, Pank, Dogzplot, Monkeybicycle, Keyhole and elsewhere.

She sat across the table, arms folded in anger. I looked down at the plates.

"These dishes aren't going to wash themselves," I said.

She stood up quickly, tears of rage forming in her eyes, grabbed the dishes, and walked into the kitchen. I could hear her banging around in there, cursing under her breath. I walked over to the typewriter and got started.

It was good. The words really flew. It's always good when it's like that: pure, the burning words setting fire to the page. Poetry.

She finished in the kitchen, came in and sat down on the sofa. She had a glass of wine in her hand; deep red wine, the color of old blood on a t-shirt. She looked at me over the glass.

"Writing a story, are you?"

"Yep," I said.

She took a sip of her red wine. She exhaled deeply, smacking her lips, and said, "That’s nice."

I stopped typing. "What's nice?"

She looked at me over the glass...She was running her fingers around the rim, and I could hear a faint hum rising up from the blood-red liquid. It made me feel uneasy, that sound. Like something was writhing around in my brain.

"What's nice?" I asked again.

"Oh," she said, "how you can write one of your stories, while I'm in there doing your dishes."

I was in no mood for that argument. I had had it many, many times before; knew all about it. It wasn't really about my writing, and it wasn't really about the dishes. No, it was about me wanting to do the dishes, about understanding how hard her day had been, etc. To which, I was supposed to say, "Why would anyone want to do the dishes?" and so on and on with that skeleton waltz.

Instead, I stood up, holding the typewriter.

"Here you go!" I shouted, and hurled the typewriter through the living room window. Glass rained down everywhere; it got in her hair, and in her wine. Little bits of crystal danced over the surface of the blood.

"Goddamn you!" She screamed.

She jumped off the couch, threw down her wine glass, and marched into the bedroom. When she came back into the living room, she was holding a long, thin stick in her hand. She walked over to where I was standing. I balled up my fists.


She raised the wand up to my lips, and I felt my throat go dry.

"Shh," she said, motioning towards the blood-red stain on the floor.
"Get down."

I tried to fight it, tried to resist, but my knees buckled and before I knew what hit me I was down on my knees in the wine, looking up at her.

It was the damndest thing.

She stuck her fingers into the corners of my mouth.
"Open," she said.

There was no use fighting, I realized. Something strange had happened, and all I could do was obey, do whatever she said. And the strange thing was I didn't want to fight anymore. It was like all my willpower was gone.

My mouth opened, and she reached her hand inside.

I felt her soft skin with my lips; felt her long, red fingernails slide passed my teeth, tongue, tonsils, and continue down the back of my throat.

"You used to be so sweet," she was saying. "Where did all that sweetness go?"

She was in up to the elbow now, and I could feel her hand going passed my heart. She stopped there for a moment, touched it.

"Tickle, tickle," she giggled, before continuing on to my gut. She felt around in there, and I felt her wrap her hand around something.

A horrible sensation, it about made me sick, and she started pulling her hand out.

Her hand came out of my mouth, and I looked at it.

"What the hell!" I shouted.

"There's some of that sweet stuff!" She smiled.

She was holding a little yellow bird in her hand. I looked and looked at the thing. The little bird ruffled up its feathers, trying to dry itself. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It had a little orange beak and everything!

She walked over to the window, opened it a few inches, and sat the bird on the sill.

"Don't let it get away!" I said. I was surprised at how high my voice sounded, high pitched, pleading; the voice of someone on the verge of tears. She walked over and rested her hand on my cheek.

"Oh, baby," she said, "it's okay! You gotta spread the love around! Now, open!"

I obediently opened my mouth, and she once again reached inside.

I wanted to see what else she could find in there, passed my lips, lungs, and tongue. Her hand busily reaching around, probing the dark recesses of my body, finding...what?

"Ah!" she said happily as her hand popped out. "Oh my, that is too cute!"

I looked.

A little Teddy bear holding a satin heart sat upright in her palm. The heart had white letters that said, "I WUV YOU!!!" I shook my head in disbelief.

"That came out of me?" I asked incredulously.

She nodded. "Yeah," she said. "Isn't it precious?!"

She sat the bear down and reached inside again. I looked at the bear as she dug around. I looked into its little brown eyes.

"I guess it is kind of cute," I thought.

"Aha!" she exclaimed joyously, pulling her hand up through my lower intestine. "I found another one!"

It had been a strange day.

She pulled her hand out and we looked at what she had found.

"The Pull Out Method"
Copyright: © 2010 Dustin Reade

Dustin Reade's work has been published in two small press anthologies, Nerve Cowboy literary journal, Encounters magazine, and the upcoming issue of Sideshow Fables.

The cuckoo clock in Molly Tucker’s living room chimed the midnight hour just as her cell phone went off. Mom! Pick up! Mom! Pick up! the cell shrilled.

Who died, Molly wanted to know. Didn’t people realize she had to work in the morning?

The caller ID showed it was Andy. She unlocked the phone and pressed the green “Answer” button.

“Mom!” Andy blurted. “I got a troll in my closet!”


“A troll!” he said, “in my closet! Hit him on the head and pushed him in and now he’s trying to get out! Help!”

Andy was a sweet kid. He was developmentally challenged, though everyone had always treated him just like any other member of the family. But after her husband passed away two years ago, Molly had helped Andy get settled into a nice place with a new job and some professional supervision. He was twenty-six and finally on his own.

“Mom!” came Andy’s voice again.

“A troll?” Molly said.

“Yes!” Andy yelled. “Can’t hold this door much longer.” Molly considered her options. Was this like the time Andy saw a ghost in the basement? Turned out to be the neighbor’s cat, complete with fluffy white ghost fur. But sometimes Andy did imagine things, like monsters in the breadbox. Molly had to pull out every slice to show him there was nothing there.

“MOM!” Andy bellowed.

“Okay, honey,” Molly said. “Put something in front of the door, something heavy.”

“Something heavy?” Andy said.

“Yes, honey,” Molly answered. “In front of the door. I’ll come by on my way to work and check on you in the morning”

“Morning?” Andy said.

“Yes, dear. First thing. Now do what I said and get some sleep.”


“Love you Andy.”

“Love you too, Mom.” Molly smooched Andy through the phone and clicked off the call. Another crisis averted, she told herself. She went out to the living room and flipped the lever on the cuckoo, turning off the chime. She went back to bed, but not before admitting to herself that she couldn’t wait to see what silliness awaited her in Andy’s closet.

Her dreams were odd. In one she opened Andy’s closet and found a blue baby strangled by its umbilical cord. In another she discovered her husband, alive and well. But when she poked him he evaporated into cloud. In the last she pulled opened the closet door only to find her very self, a wizened hag, cradling her head in the crook of her arm.

Molly woke yawning, and showered and dressed. She pulled herself together and locked up the house and hopped into the Mercedes. It wasn’t her style, but she couldn’t see keeping two cars. She sold her Honda and kept Bill’s roadster. She turned the key and it purred to life. She had to admit she was getting used to it. She was getting used to a lot of things since Bill had passed.

Before she knew it, she was roaring up the drive to Westwinds. She pulled into a parking space by building B and got out and went to Andy’s door.

She knocked. “Andy?” He didn’t answer. “Andy! You there?” The door was open and she stepped in. It was a curious lapse. He was usually so good about locking the door.

She crept through the empty living room, past the sparse-looking kitchen. She stopped outside his bedroom door. “Andy?’ she said, gently rapping. She went in.

Andy sat on the floor, his bloody feet planted against the bed frame and his back up against the dresser he’d dragged in front of the closet. His face was a mask of pain and concentration, sweat pouring in rivulets off his body as his thighs and arms and back strained to hold the door shut. Something was in the closet, pounding on the door, howling.

Oh my God, Molly thought. He’s trapped one of the attendants. She swooped in and knelt down and took Andy in her arms. He stared at her with crazy, reddened eyes.

“It’s all right,” she told him. “You can let go now.” Andy collapsed into her arms, sobbing, and the door slammed against the dresser, pushing forward an inch. “Go into the bathroom, honey,” she said, “and clean yourself up. I’ll take care of this.” Andy struggled to his feet and covered his face with his hands and wobbled toward the bathroom.

“You must forgive my son,” Molly said, standing and pulling on the dresser. “He was just doing what I told him.” The howling on the other side of the door ceased. “I’ll have you out in just a second,” she added. Molly couldn’t imagine what further apology she could make to a man held captive overnight in a closet. She hoped this would not jeopardize Andy’s placement at Westwinds.

With a final tug she freed the door. Inside the closet stood a blue troll in a loin cloth with warts on his skin and a leer on his face. He looked remarkably like her husband.

Before Molly could utter a word he swung a gnarled fist against her skull and dropped her to the ground. The punch should have killed her, but she was a tough old crone, well-disciplined in the art of smothering husbands. She wasn’t going down so easily.

The troll picked her up and slammed her against the wall. She slid to the floor. He knelt down, grabbed her around the throat, and squeezed. She punched him in the face, over and over, but her blows only spurred him on. Darkness crowded around the edge of her vision until finally all she could see was a bumpy blue tongue slithering closer.

Molly felt his hands moving over her. As she blacked out, she had two demented thoughts. Andy had been right after all. Also, it was nice of Bill to pay his son a visit.

"Troll in the Closet"
Copyright: © 2010 Robert Meade

Robert Meade is a transplanted Bostonian now firmly rooted in Mohegan Lake, in Westchester County, NY, with his wife and three children. He teaches at Loyola School in Manhattan. He won the Wordweaving Award for Excellence for his book, Daily Bread: Seven Days to a Healthier Soul. A published author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, his recent work has appeared in Angels on Earth magazine and online at Guideposts and Apollo’s Lyre.