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Issue 3: Deadly Love

“Love me…or else…Die!”

That’s the theme of this special issue for Valentine’s Day. The stories in this issue are about love. The kind that lasts forever. ‘Til DEATH do us part, and maybe not even then!

So here are some stories the cynic and the sick creep in us will love.

I have a special place in my twisted heart for all these tales, but my favorite was Helen Howell’s “S.W.A.L.K.” I had trouble sleeping after reading it.

I hope you enjoy these drabbles and micro-fiction stories, and be sure to read stay tuned for the upcoming post about the contest I’m having for the Blood Vengeance: Vampyre issue. And no, I won’t be writing a story for that issue.

Happy Valentine’s Day from The Were-Traveler.

Issue 3: Deadly Love

S.W.A.L.K. (Sealed with a loving kiss), by Helen Howell (drabble)

Carnal Nature, by Catherine Russell (micro-fiction)

Sleeping, by Quinn Smythwood (drabble)

Breaking, by Quinn Smythwood (drabble)

Snapped, by Ramsey Lyons (micro-fiction)

No Regrets, by Emily Wheeler (drabble)

Damned If You Don’t, by Larry Kollar (drabble)

tick…tock, by Maria Kelly (micro-fiction)

I Gave You My Heart, by Jim Bronyaur (drabble)

S.W.A.L.K. (Sealed with a loving kiss), by Helen Howell

Maya grasped hold of the white envelope. No stamp. She turned it over and saw the initials S.W.A.L.K. scribbled across the flap and what looked like a smudge of blood. They must have cut themselves. She carried it into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and slit it open.

‘Be My Valentine’ the words shouted from the front of the card. She opened it. A lock of hair lay inside—her hair; same colour, same red flecks shining amongst the gold strands. She moved it and gasped. The message written in blood said;

‘So near and yet so far—but not for long!’

Carnal Nature, by Catherine Russell

Her eyes fluttered open to rest upon the lone figure. She stretched, long limbs partially entwined in silken sheets. Sweat from the previous night’s exertions still glistened on her skin.

“Come back to bed, love,” she said, but the shadow remained fixed before the dawn-soaked window.

She extended her legs once more, rising from the bed with fluid grace to stand by his side. Leaning against him, their sweat mingled as their bodies joined once again. Her arms curled around his shoulders.

“It was a mistake,” he whispered.

His chest rose and fell heavily as she stroked his flesh and nuzzled his neck. “How can you say that?” she asked, planting kisses between each word. “It can’t be wrong for us to be together like this.” Her tongue licked salt from his neck, found his jaw, his chin.

“It’s wrong,” he said.

“It’s not wrong for wolves to prey on rabbits; is it?” She took her lover’s face in her hands. “Now that we’re the same, we’ll hunt together. We were meant to share… everything. ” Her hands grabbed his hair, pulling his face down to hers. She sucked his lips, nipping the flesh. His passion rose, breaking free to match her own.

His fingers traced the four long strips torn into her side. Already the wounds were beginning to heal. Despite himself, he longed for the next full moon – with her by his side.

Catherine’s story first appeared January 17th, 2011 at the 52/250: A Year of Flash site.

Sleeping, by Quinn Smythwood

I wake knowing tonight is the night.

As I prepare myself, I recall every fleeting glimpse of you: through the window that first night; on the streets as we hurried to your destination; in your bedroom, while you lay sleeping.

We took it slow.  I’m simply old fashioned that way.

But I’m ready now.  You’re ready.  I’ve imagined this night since the moment I laid eyes on you and now, excited, I can barely dress myself.  My sleeping beauty, tonight I bring you into my world with a single bright red slash of a kiss.

Tonight, you’ll sleep beside me.

"Tonight, you'll sleep beside me."

Breaking, by Quinn Smythwood

I know you’re scared of the dark.

The lights are always on, even while you’re sleeping.

It shouldn’t humanise you.  It does.

Even after all that you’ve done.  Watching you sleep is both a blessing and a curse.  I’m ashamed of myself for not being able to hate you while you sleep; disgusted that you fooled me even once.

But I believed in love.

I look away.  The dark outside the window is ebbing away and the horrible dawn is breaking. You’ve made me afraid of the light.

Soon it will be someone else watching you sleep… your love kills.

Snapped, by Ramsey Lyons

She cried out, arched her back, closed her eyes, then sighed softly.

She heard her lover collapse onto the pillow next to her. He was snoring already.

He couldn’t help it, of course. None of them could. She had that effect on men. Each and every man that bedded her she fucked into the same comatose stupor.

She opened her eyes and grinned. It made things so much easier, that part of her talent.

She sat up and stared at him…oh, what was his name? She shrugged. It didn’t matter. They were all meat in the end.

Now she went to work exercising her other skill, placing a slender hand on each side of his head.

Who needed a gun, or a knife, or poison, when a pair of strong and loving hands would do?

One quick motion. Snap!

Now…she could eat.

No Regrets, by Emily Wheeler

“I’m leaving,” she’d said. “I’ve met someone else.” Twenty years together, gone, just like that. It was untenable.

“Who?”

“You don’t know him.” Hiding her lover’s identity, fearing for his safety.

“I won’t allow it.”

She’d just stared. “Allow? That’s the problem. You’re a control freak.

She’d gone, but he’d found them. The proof was in the bodies on the floor, bloodied and mutilated.

She’d been right: he did like having control. He also hated leaving things unfinished. Smiling grimly, he lifted his hands and kicked the man.

You first.

And he smiled again as the chainsaw whirred into life

Damned If You Don’t, by Larry Kollar

She outlines the pentacle on her carpet with masking tape.

“Look, you’re really cute.”

Five candles, one for each point.

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

Light the candles, one by one. Greasy smoke fills the darkened bedroom.

“But look, you’re only fifteen.”

“If you don’t, I could say you did anyway.”

“Oh, great. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Really mature. Thanks, but I’ll go to prison with a clear conscience.”

Virgin’s tears… if only they would stop flowing.

She lifted the cup and began to chant.

Damned if he won’t. She would make sure of that.

tick…tock, by Maria Kelly

tick…tock…

‘tick tock….tick tock….’

The large wall clock used to be synchronized with the beating of my heart. It doesn’t sound like that anymore. First, it became more like ‘ti-tick to-tock….ti-tick to-tock….’ I used to be able to feel the measure of my wristwatch keeping the same perfect rhythm…could feel it tapping seconds out against my pulse. I stopped wearing it.

When my brother Dave and I were boys, time was not of the essence. Time was not passing us by. We were sure we were going to live forever. Dying was for old people, and we were YOUNG!

He went to California when he was twenty-three and got himself engaged to a hot California chick, a doctor. Beauty and brains.

‘tiiiick…’

I hadn’t heard anything from him in awhile. Then…

His fiance, Anja, called me with the news. She sounded pretty good, I thought, for having just lost the love of her life…then I remembered she was a doctor and probably saw a lot of death.

I got on a plane and flew out there to help tie up Dave’s affairs.

…toccck.

Anja took me to the storage bay where most of Dave’s things were. He’d had a lot of his old stuff put in storage when they moved in together. We found a bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and some old plastic cups. We decided to toast Dave. We plopped down on a beat-up sofa, coughing from the dust rising from the cushions.

“Why didn’t he throw this old thing out?”

Anja smiled. She lifted her cup, then stopped. “You know how he was. Such a pack-rat!”

I grinned. It sounded more like me than Dave.

“You look a lot like him.”

I sputtered, nearly choking on the wine. “I do?”

“Yes.” She stood and walked over to an ugly lamp. I never knew Dave had such terrible taste. She traced her finger down the side. Then, she started talking about how they met. She was a cardiologist, you see.

“Please don’t be angry. He didn’t want anyone to know.”

I yawned, thinking the flight from Buffalo was catching up with me. “I’m not angry. He knew I’d take it hard.”

We talked some more and at some point…I think I kissed her. I don’t know how it happened but it must have been the wine. My head got very fuzzy. I think I passed out on the sofa.

Then I had this crazy dream. I was strapped to a operating table. Anja was standing over me.

She was holding my dripping, bloody heart in her hand. She pulled her surgical mask down.

“You’re worried about this?” She turned my heart in her hands looking at it. It was still beating.

She smiled. “You won’t be needing it anymore. And I really wanted the set!” She pointed behind her. There were shelves with glass jars. Jars containing living, beating hearts. The one she pointed to had a label with Dave’s name on it.

She dropped my heart into another jar then turned to a table behind her. “You’ll do much better with this!” She spun back around and in her hands was an small alarm clock.

My eyes must have gotten wide because she laughed. “But first I have to set it! Now you go back to sleep!”

She plunged a syringe into my arm and I screamed.

It felt like I woke up immediately, but I know it must have been much later. I was in my hotel room instead of the storage bay with Dave’s stuff, and there was no sign of Anja. I ripped open the front of my shirt, but there was just my bare chest, smooth as a baby’s ass, like always.

I tried calling Anja, but kept getting her voice mail. I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk to her anyway. That dream really freaked me out. So, I settled things with Dave’s lawyers and went home.

A few days later, I noticed my heartbeat seemed timed to my watch and clock on the wall. Three months later it started to skip a beat. Now…it’s slowing down.

I hear it when I’m lying in bed at night…no longer able to keep rhythm with the clock on the dresser. ‘tiiiicccck……….toccccckkk’

As I close my eyes I hear her voice in my head…

I really wanted the set!

And I’m afraid of what will happen when the alarm goes off.

I really wanted the set!

I Gave You My Heart, by Jim Bronyaur

Jim submitted this hundred-word literary poetic piece. I thought it went very nicely with my story. In fact, I made a comment on Twitter that Jim and I are like conjoined twins connected at the same sick brain. 

I gave you my heart,

to take from my chest, you did.

The knife, your nails, the crimson cuts,

as your life became a piece of mine.

Together, we laugher, we cried,

I watch now, through glossy eyes,

I feel what you can see.

I gave you my heart,

you hold it, the slithering chunk it is.

Now I realize, without the beat, there is no life.

The tragedy is not the death, or the missing piece of me.

Rather the place I’m at,

Stuck,

Hidden,

Buried.

But worse… without you.

You took my heart,

And I’d like it back.

I gave you my heart...

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