At long last, the issue for which the magazine gets its name has come into being.
A long time ago, I had a crazy notion of writing a story about a lone traveler, a space-faring werewolf.
That idea turned into this here spec fic magazine…and then I put the task of telling the lone wolf’s travels to other authors.
This is the result.
There are space wolves in this issue, but there are also some tales that take place on planet Earth, and some alternate history werewolf adventures, too.
I’m happy to report that although my own story didn’t quite make the cut, the authors in this issue penned some imaginative stories.
Enjoy these hair-raising tales!
Happy New Year;
A hotel for werewolves sounded like the premise to a terrible late-night TV show, but the Blue Moon chain of high-end (yet affordable) suites was both very real and not what it seems.
Linda was employed at their Denver airport location, and was the highest paid hotel desk clerk in the country. Not just because of the secretive and high-pressured demands of the lycanthropic hospitality industry, but also because she had been thoroughly trained in the art of interrogating a werewolf at taxpayer expense.
That specific duty was not called upon nearly as often as she had hoped when she’d accepted the job. As it turned out, a werewolf was far more likely to be a law-abiding citizen than an untainted human.
“It has something to do with the duality of human nature,” the day-shift manager had said to Linda, several months into her position. “People have a dark side that seeps into their lives and pushes them down dark paths. Werewolves grow fangs and howl at the moon for a couple nights a month, and that pretty much gets it out of their system.”
This disappointed Linda, who had been counting on a job that would give her a string of naughty monsters to take her own dark side out on. Instead, she was paid an obscene amount of government salary to deliver freshly dry-cleaned suits to men and women covered in dried rabbit blood and behaving far more politely than she could stand.
Then came the day Elliot Pettygrove checked in. The non-assuming, little man had been on her watch list since Linda first started the gig, and she nearly squeaked with glee when he said his name to her. Getting through the check-in process without bursting into an unstoppable fit of excited giggles was the most difficult thing she’d done in a year. Once he was safely in the elevator and on his way to the room she’d kept perpetually empty for the last two years, she jumped and danced and wiggled as she tapped out a message to her superiors on the multi-million-dollar message encryption app they’d installed onto her phone.
Several hours later, a transformed Mr. Pettygrove was euphorically tearing away at a sheep that room service had lowered into his room, when one of the walls disappeared.
It hadn’t really disappeared, but he’d been so engrossed by the tasty sheep, he hadn’t noticed the wall rolling up like a garage door. when he did finally notice, it was the sight of Linda that made his animal brain forget that it was weird for an extra room to suddenly appear.
Linda had changed out of her Blue Moon Hotels & Suites issued polo shirt and khaki pants, and into a garishly pink bikini with a comically large cotton-ball tail glued to her backside and a pair of adorably floppy bunny ears perched atop her head.
“Oh no,” she said, jutting her lower lip out as far as she could in a helpless pout. “I’m a lost little bunny rabbit, all alone in the big scary forest.”
Mr. Pettygrove leaped across the room and sailed head-first into the carbon-reinforced Plexiglas barrier that stood between him and the tasty little bunny. A furious snarl erupted from his throat as he frantically clawed at the invisible cage. The bunny hopped around in circles, seeming to take no notice of Mr. Pettygrove. Whatever human subconscious remained in Mr. Pettygrove quickly vanished at the intoxicating aroma of the little bunny rabbit’s fear, which was in actuality a mere adrenaline-scented perfume that was being released into his room through the air vents.
“Come closer, little bunny,” Mr. Pettygrove said, the words gurgling from his chest and twisting around his massive teeth.
“Oh my!” Linda squeaked, pretending she was suddenly surprised by his presence. “A wolf! A big bad wolf come to eat me up!” She hopped around in quicker circles now, throwing her hands about the air in a condescending act of faux-shock.
“I’m going to shred your innards and drink you like a soup,” Mr. Pettygrove said, relishing the extra heady fright that wafted from her as he growled the words.
“Dear, oh dear,” Linda responded. “You must be the meanest of the mean old wolves!!”
Mr. Pettygrove threw back his head, a bone-chilling laugh-howl filled the room.
“I am the last living nightmare’” he said, shamelessly living up to the stereotype of a boastful werewolf. “I have toppled kingdoms, broken homes, torn apart families, and crushed my enemies into the ground.”
“Goodness,” she said, trying to look as amazed and impressed as a helpless bunny could. “You must be the most famous evil wolf in the world!”
Another condescending laugh; “Stupid bunny! Nobody knows I did this!” He scraped his claws against the Plexiglas again, punctuating his dastardly deeds. “I made perfect forgeries of the income records. I bribed every appraiser. I signed every schmuck up for negative amortization, even when they didn’t want to. I collected millions in commissions on properties that weren’t worth the weeds growing on them.”
Sparks flew as Mr. Pettygrove’s claws raked against the carbon nanofibres. “I brought this country to it’s knees, and I did it as a human! Just imagine what I will do to you as a monster.”
“But how?” Linda pleaded, sort of. “How does one big bad monster do all that?”
“How else, you cotton-tailed moron?” Mr. Pettygrove snarled. “With minions! Human servants. To destroy you, I’ll use my claws. To destroy the nation I use mortal men.”
“Really?” She cocked her head to one side, genuinely curious. “Who?”
And just like that, Mr. Pettygrove gladly listed the names of his co-conspirators.
The next morning, Linda had already reported her findings and gone home for the day by the time Elliot Pettygrove came to the front desk to settle his bill.
“I got the lamb, right?” He said to Stanley, the front desk clerk for the morning shift.
“That’s what you ordered, Mr. Pettygrove,” Stanley responded. “I don’t see any notations as to a substitution. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know,” Mr. Pettygrove shrugged. “I have this vague recollection of a bunny rabbit.”
The two of them shrugged at the seemingly inconsequential peculiarity of it all, and Elliot Pettygrove returned to the hustle and bustle of his elaborately illegal life.
Jonathan Ems has been making up lies since he was born. The world of fiction has opened his eyes to the possibilities of lying for a living. His collection of essays “Obviously, I Anticipated This…” and his science fiction mystery novel “Modus Operandi” can be found at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats, and for all other ebook formats wherever ebooks are sold. Links to his blog, Twitter, and Tumblr pages can be found at SmileNaked.com.
This story was previously published in Flashes In The Dark Magazine.
“Circle the wagons,” the wagon master shouted. “Get ready to fight for your lives. That’s an Indian war party up there on top of that hill.”
Within minutes, two dozen wagons formed a circle. Women and children poured out and hid underneath, while men prepared for battle.
Clayton, the Wagon Master, walked around checking their defenses.
“Mr. Clayton,” shouted the prettiest woman in the group. “Is there some way we can prevent them from attacking until dark?”
“None that I know of, Miss Elizabeth. Why do you ask such a strange question?”
“Well, if they don’t attack until it’s dark, I can assure victory with no casualties to our group.”
“What makes you say such a foolish thing?” he said to the only single women traveling from Kansas City to California.
“Come closer, and I’ll tell you in your ear.”
An invitation from such a stunning woman was a gift from heaven. Clayton imagined her lips brushing his ear as she spoke. Maybe she’d even press her body ever so slightly against him as she got close enough to whisper.
His heart pounded as he approached her. The closer he got, the more he could smell lavender—so unlike the aroma of the other ladies who reeked of brown laundry soap.
The delicious, delicate fragrance of Elizabeth’s slender form made him think of things forbidden between married men and beautiful single women. Things he craved for ever since waving goodbye to his wife and children back in Kansas City. Things that made him momentarily forget the impending danger from hostile natives.
His blood pressure shot up when her breasts brushed his arm, as she spoke into his ear. But he went cold as she spoke.
“What in the hell are you talking about?” he snapped. “What does that word mean?”
“It means you’re saved. All of you.”
“Woman, I think the prairie heat softened your brain. Don’t waste any more of my time with your crazy talk. Go over to that wagon and stay by Granny Higgins. Do you know how to shoot a pistol?”
“Then take mine,” he said, passing the weapon and a handful of cartridges. “And make every shot count. Don’t shoot until you—”
“See the whites of their eyes,” she said. “My daddy was a captain in Lee’s Army. He used to say that all the time when he taught me how to shoot.”
The hot afternoon ended without a single attack by the hostiles. Everyone figured the Indians would make their move when the full moon rose.
As it grew dark, Indians imitated coyote yells. The sounds unnerved everyone in the wagon train, except the wagon master who’d fought Plains Indians during previous continental crossings.
“Don’t let them get to you,” he whispered, as he made the rounds again, reassuring the folks under his care. “We’re lucky the moon is full. Keep a sharp eye out for moving shadows. They’ll sneak up on us in groups of two or three. If you hear a sound, shoot at it.”
He kept Granny Higgins’ wagon for last, hoping to speak a while with Elizabeth. He felt the need to inhale her aroma and hear her soft voice before the battle began.
“How you doing, Granny,” he asked.
“I was fine until she left me here by myself.”
“What do you mean she left?”
“Five minutes ago, she said she’d be back later on. Next thing I knew, she was flat on her belly and crawling in the direction of the Injuns.”
“What! You sure?”
“Yep. Left me this here pistol. Told me how to use it.”
“Give it to me,” he said. “You might end up shooting yourself. Follow me. I’ll put you in with the Fiddler family. You’ll be safer with them. Mr. Fiddler told me he won medals in the war.”
After settling Higgins, Clayton went back to his own wagon. That’s when the howling began. Terrible night sounds that the fifty year old never heard before. Sounds that made his blood curdle.
An hour passed. Still no attack.
Once again, Clayton made the rounds. “Just because you ain’t seen them yet, don’t mean they ain’t coming. They’re hoping you’ll get real tired and fall asleep. Don’t even let yourself close your eyes for a second. The minute you do, one of them will sneak up on you and slice your throat.”
When he reached Higgins’ wagon, he was surprised to smell lavender.
“What the hell’s going on, Miss Elizabeth,” he whispered. “I looked all over and didn’t see you anywhere. Why did you leave Granny? Where’d you go?”
“For a walk. Everything’s fine now. You can tell everybody to relax. Tell them to build fires and make supper.”
“I never ran into such a crazy women like you before. You smell good and look good, but your brain is soft as corn mush.”
“I swear on my mother’s grave, they’re dead. All forty-seven of them.
“How can you say such a thing?”
“Because I killed them.”
Clayton spat and went back to his wagon.
The night passed without an attack.
At dawn, Clayton and three others rode toward the hill where he’d first spotted the Indians. Well before he arrived, he found bodies torn to pieces and scattered everywhere. He counted forty-seven decapitated heads.
“What on God’s Earth happened to these varmints?” he said aloud, covered with chills. He’d never seen such horrendous destruction, even during the most savage battles against the Confederates.
Returning to the wagon train, he ordered everybody to resume their journey.
“What happened,” some asked.
“They’re all dead. Thank the Lord. We were saved by warriors greater than the Indians. Hopefully those brave souls are up ahead. Maybe we’ll spot them so we can thank them for saving us.”
As the wagons headed toward the Rocky Mountains, Clayton pondered what Elizabeth had whispered in his ear the day before. And once again he wondered what the word meant. Going from wagon to wagon, he asked if anybody had a book that told the meaning of words.
“We got one,” said Fiddler.
“Can your missus read?” asked Clayton.
“She reads pretty good.”
“How about asking her to look up a word for me.”
“What’s the word?”
“Come to think of it, it might even be two words: where and wolf.
Michael A. Kechula’s flash and micro-fiction tales have been published by 150 magazines and 50 anthologies in 8 countries. He’s won 1st prize in 12 writing contests and 2nd prize in 8 others. He’s authored 5 books of flash and micro-fiction tales, including a book that teaches how to write flash fiction. See his publisher’s site at:
to read a free story or chapter in all of his books.
The undead are with us.
They have clawed their way across the face of human history since the ancient times, and have left their mark upon the eons.
We have here for your perusal, twenty-two accounts of how the undead have gnawed across the pages of history from Ancient Egypt to Marquis DeSade. From the the Book of the Undead to the Necronomicon. Famous events, like the Beatles on tour, the Lizzie Borden case, and JFK in Dallas; to more recent events have been visited by our alternate zombie history authors.
There’s something here for all fans of zombie fiction. Past, present, and even some future history collide with the flesh and brain consuming undead hordes.
And Happy Halloween from The Were-Traveler.
Given the choice, I’d prefer the company of zombies to hippie protesters. Zombies smell better and there’s no law against shootin’ ‘em. – Governor George C. Wallace
The zombie epidemic will not hinder our efforts in Vietnam. America will prevail at home and abroad. – President Lyndon Johnson
Zombies are the ultimate Commies. – Governor Ronald Reagan
“Hunter Stockton Thompson.” The fat cop reads my name aloud like a mad mother about to smack her child.
“You the fellah that wrote that book on the Hell’s Angels?” he asks me as he inspects my driver’s license, holding it at arms length, his expression the pained look of a man in need of a good bowel movement. He’s looking at my ’67 Chevy Impala, the Great Red Beast, and I bet he wants to check the car for marijuana, but if he does the pig is going to be disappointed, because I smoked the last of my grass somewhere north of Shreveport.
“The one and only, sir,” I say with a sarcastic flourish.
“What brings you to Louisiana, Mr. Thompson? We don’t have no Hell’s Angels around here.”
“I want to see some of that southern hospitality I’ve heard so much about. I’m on vacation.” I don’t tell him that I’m on my way to New Orleans to check out the hippie scene down there for a piece for Rolling Stone. With the West Coast under marshal law, Haight-Ashbury has lost its buzz, and word is that the Big Easy is the new place for free love and psychedelic drugs.
The cop lets me go with a warning about my speed – “You ain’t ridin’ with the Hell’s Angels no more, Mr. Thompson” – and tells me about the wildlife.
“We got it good in these parts compared to a lot of other places, but we still got zombies walking around the hills here. Be careful. And keep your car doors locked.”
I see the fat cop grinning in my rearview mirror as I drive away. I light up a cigarette and dig out the Colt handgun that I hid under the seat. Louisiana’s Highway 1 stretches before me like a long asphalt snake and I point the Great Red Beast south and hit the accelerator, Nawlins or Bust.
My windows are rolled down and Conway Twitty is playing on the radio. It’s a hot August day and I’m in the middle of enemy territory, not Vietnam but the crazy world of Old Dixie. George Wallace’s political signs are everywhere along the highway, and it’s a sure bet he’ll carry this state, along with the rest of the Deep South in this year’s Presidential election. Was the Summer of Love just a year ago? And now Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King are dead, most of America is under martial law, and Wallace looks like a real contender.
The old lady sitting in the rocking chair in front of the gas station is holding a double barrel shot gun in her lap while she fans herself. Pretty much everybody in these parts is packing a gun. It explains why this part of the country isn’t as infested with zombies as the rest of the nation. America, take note – the Second Amendment saved the South.
A skinny teenage redneck comes out to pump gas into the Great Red Beast. I walk into the station and buy a Coke to cool off. Stuffed zombie heads are mounted on the wall, and for a dime you can buy a genuine zombie tooth necklace.
“I think Wallace has the right idea,” I hear the bearded man behind the counter tell his customer. “Just round up the damn things and drop them on Hanoi.”
His rotund customer agrees and adds a fresh insight. “Yep, he should do the same thing with the hippies and the coloreds.”
I hate to interrupt heady political conversation, but I need to empty my bladder so I ask about the restrooms. The bearded man looks at me with suspicion. I’m sure his cognitive gears are turning, trying to determine whether the foreign invader that stands before him is worth the cost of a bullet, but as I don’t look like a zombie, a hippie or a colored he relents and points me outside in the direction of a nearby outhouse.
As I finish my business in the outhouse, I ponder the irony of a culture able to hold back a zombie epidemic but unable to install indoor plumbing. Last year’s zombie outbreak shut down most of America, with the Army coming in to keep things running, but Old Dixie just broke out the guns and held its own. The rest of America may be going through a new Dark Age, but Old Dixie never left the old one, so praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Walking away from the outhouse I expect to smell the fragrant north Louisiana pine, but the outhouse smell lingers longer than it should, and that’s when I notice the smell isn’t coming from the outhouse.
My heart kicks up the beat like a drummer on speed when I see the zombie. Judging from his movements and the fresh blood stains on his shirt, the black teenage boy is a fresh one. The older zombies are pretty slow, but the fresh ones can sprint. The zombie teenager might be able to catch me if I start running but I don’t have a choice. The Colt and the Great Red Beast are about 70 feet away, and I’m back here alone.
The zombie starts running for me. His eyes are blood red and his teeth are stained with the blood of his last victim. I turn and run towards my car as fast as I can, screaming like a maniac the whole time. I’m praying to God and promising Him that if he gets me out of this jam I’ll always bring a gun with me when I go to the toilet.
I fly past the store and see the Great Red Beast. The teenage redneck has finished pumping gas and is wiping the windshield. He sees me and the zombie coming towards him and he starts running. I don’t dare look back but I know the zombie is right behind me. This is going to be a photo finish.
I reach the car and pull the lever on the car door. I don’t even make it inside the car when I hear the shotgun go off. I turn and see the zombie on its knees, with the old lady out of her rocking chair, holding the double barrel to her shoulder. She moves in closer, points the shotgun at the zombies head, and with a trigger squeeze Granny puts the monster out of its misery and saves my life.
The bearded man and his customer come running out of the gas station.
“Momma, you got you another one,” says the bearded man.
“It’s a zombie and a colored,” says the customer. “Good shootin’.”
The bearded man asks me if I’m all right. I regain my composure and light a cigarette. I tell him I’m fine. He offers to give me the zombie’s teeth if I want them as a souvenir. I pass on the offer, and thank the old lady for saving my life.
“These are the end days,” she responds with a crazed look in her eyes. “God is coming to judge us. The Devil is walking the Earth, and only the righteous will be saved.”
I can’t disagree, so I politely nod and excuse myself to pay for the gas. As I drive off, I think about Granny’s words. Everybody has their theory about what caused the zombie epidemic. Mutant virus. Communist plot. Wrath of God. The last one is just a valid as any of the others, because nobody knows the answer. It’s heavy stuff to think about when you’re driving alone on a long southern highway towards the New Sodom, and I wish I had some grass to smoke.
After years of hunting monsters and fighting ninjas, globetrotting adventurer Reed Beebe has retired to a quiet Kansas City, Missouri neighborhood to write fiction and poetry. This is his first published work. He is still trying to figure out Twitter, but if you’re patient and forgiving, you can follow him at
Bernard Réné de Launay peered out of the comté tower of Bastille prison at the hordes below, writhing and seeming to multiply like maggots. They formed a ghastly syrup of limbs and flesh, viscous and vicious, pouring towards the prison as though it were some fancy sponge pudding soaking up custard. Occasionally a lone creature would break away from the crowd, arms flailing as his stumble became a lopsided run. Inevitably he would either fall or be pushed into the moat, only to reappear soaked but alive, staggering as shots from the invalides blew off his arms and legs or tore chunks from his body. Only when the head was blown off, de Launay noted, did the creature finally give in to death.
The pervert, de Sade, had warned him this would happen.
“I must thank you, Bernard,” he’d said to him, “for releasing me into madness. Charenton will keep me safe, a high priest among holy fools. A dark tide is coming, you see, to sweep your little sand-castle away. Before the fortnight’s over the dead shall walk the earth, eager to piss all over your self-righteous ambitions. They’ll come for you and they won’t leave a stone of this cess-pit standing.”
“And what makes you think we’re a likely target for your walking dead, noble marquis?”
“A kindly fortune teller – a sweet young girl with an innocent, golden smile – actual gold teeth I tell you – told me so not three nights ago. Between gulps and yelps of course. So much wisdom from one so very very young.”
“I see. So she came to see you, did she? Walked right into our most fortified prison?”
“All my daughters have been coming. Your men can be so kind when it comes to family visits. And my girls can be so persuasive. So generous. I’ve been attending to them quite meticulously you know, night after night after night.”
De Launay had dismissed de Sade’s words in the same way that he’d dismissed the rest of the man’s nonsense. Now, even as he stood there in his tower, watching re-animated corpses scratching at the wooden gates to his fort, he could scarcely believe it was happening. It seemed as though the whole huddled mass of the Parisian poor had determined to throw itself at his little prison, like ants upon a bowl of sugar, but to what end.
Not for the first time, it occurred to de Launay that he had a big part to play on the stage of history. Like Caesar or Charlemagne, he knew it would be his to tame the barbarian hordes. France needed a man like him. For although he’d never left the Bastille for longer than a day, and didn’t much like what he saw out there, he had the ambitions and pretensions of an emperor.
His reveries were broken by a knocking at the door.
“How goes the fight?” De Launay asked the captain of the Swiss mercenaries.
“Not good… It’s horrible… Those eyes!”
“One of my men sir… He got bit guarding the wall. They’d stuck a ladder up and he tried to unhook it. And he did unhook it. But he got bit first.”
“So he’s injured?”
“He’s not injured sir. It’s worse. His eyes gone all milky, and his mouth gone all dry and he was like trying to bite us all when we tied him up. He became one of them.”
“And where is he now?”
“The men are restraining him, he should be…”
But a hideous sound of groaning was coming from the courtyard. The two men looked down to see their own defenders, all decked out and decaying in their Swiss uniforms. They were drinking deeply from barrels of rainwater, punching bricks loose from the wall, gnawing at each other’s heads then spitting in disgust. Some of them seemed to be trying to work out the route to the tower.
“We don’t have much time. I want you to follow my orders exactly.”
“I want you to go down and open the gate. Let every monster in Paris into the Bastille. Give it enough time so that the whole flotilla of scum can drift here. Stay alive as long as you can; run if you have to.”
“Ok sir, but what will you do? If I can ask that sir?”
“This fort contains thirty thousand pounds of gunpowder and I’m going to set it off when the time is right. We’ll go down in history, you and I, as the men who saved Paris. The men who saved France. We’ll be remembered forever for our noble sacrifice,” de Launay assured the captain, whose name has long since been forgotten.
The captain scurried off down the stairs and de Launay followed more cautiously. He drank half a bottle of brandy, smoked a pipe then took his time in lighting a torch. Amber light danced around the stairwell as he descended, taking slow steady steps. He carried a loaded pistol in his right hand and the torch in his left. When he reached the bottom of the stair, the courtyard was empty. He wondered for a moment whether the dead had walked away from his prison in search of some other, more twisted amusement. Encouraged by this fancy, de Launay was shocked when he found that the door to the cellar where the gunpowder was kept was hanging open.
He had no idea what the monsters would want with gunpowder, but it wouldn’t be good. He imagined them trying to eat it, or pissing on it, or pouring it on each other’s heads, like children bathing. He really hoped they hadn’t compromised his noble plan of destroying all of them and himself. Another staircase and he was down near the cases of powder. He kicked hard and heavy at the side of one of the cases until powder poured out. It was at that moment that a sound caught his ear, a brutal unholy sound like the sound of deaf children crying. A doorway was visible where he’d never seen one before – boxes had been smashed up, beams torn down to reveal it. Curious, de Launay stepped through.
He came upon a dreadful scene, quite the most grotesque he’d ever witnessed. He saw the bodies of women, girls and boys; on racks, hanging from chains, pilloried or staked. They’d been mutilated beyond recognition; the devices through which this was achieved lay all around: hammers, knives, paddles, thumb-screws, choke pears and breast rippers. He knew straight away that this must be de Sade’s work, the work he’d alluded to so gleefully, so convincingly, that de Launay had declared him insane.
Moving round the room with their clumsy jerky motions, a small group of the Parisian undead had found their way in. Dressed in grocer’ aprons and butcher’s outfits, soldier’s uniforms and tailor’s garb, they were opening cages, lowering chains and cutting bodies loose. De Launay expected them to fall upon the dead and devour them, but instead they laid them carefully, ceremoniously, onto the dungeon floor. The wails of despair were louder in here and whenever one gargling, rasping voice stopped, another began. De Launay knew he had a duty: to ignite the powder with his torch and eradicate these monsters. He stepped back through the secret doorway and into the cellar, torch in hand. He lowered the torch towards the pile of powder, ready for his blaze of glory. But then he hesitated. It was the last decision he’d ever have to make. He would have to try to get it right.
Kenneth Shand is a writer from Glasgow, Scotland. He writes short stories and occasional poems. He has an MSc in Creative Writing. He owns a tea shop. He likes puffins. His favourite colour is teal. He has difficulty with words that don’t sound like the thing they describe, like “emancipation” or “pulchritudinous”.
We’re going to have our first contest here at The Were-Traveler with the Blood Vengeance: Vampyre issue.
First prize: $25 US dollars worth of eBooks from Amazon. If you live in the US, and you want it, I’ll get you a $25 Starbucks card, if you’d prefer a cuppa at your local cafe while you write.
Second prize: Up to $15 in eBooks on Amazon. Or Starbucks (exchange for US residents).
Third prize: E-book of your choice from Amazon. $10 max.
Contest is open to anyone. Free coffee and books. Who doesn’t love this?
How the contest will work: You send in your best Vampire Blood Revenge stories. I’d like to see something different with these. Click here for the guidelines. Play around with the theme and have some fun. I’d totally love to see some alternate history where there are historical figures who were vamps, like, oh say…Lizzie Borden. That would really turn my crank! Different is good. There’s not too much that hasn’t been done. Strong characters are also a big, big plus. And don’t forget, the plot has to be revenge motivated: hunter becomes the hunted, vamp vs. vamp, etc. I wasn’t kidding about Lizzie, either. I have the perfect image to use for it!
So, first, your story has to get by me. After that, the issue gets released and readers will have a chance to vote (via Poll Daddy) for their favorite stories.
And by the way, due to fairness, I won’t be writing any stories for this one.
May the most vengeful bloodsucker win!
‘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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the Creepy Christmas Issue. We’ve got some really twisted yuletide tales for you. Sit back, light the fire, make a cup of hot chocolate, and load the shotgun…Santa’s coming, that fat bastard, and some of us are tired of getting coal!
You’ll like the stories this month. These are stories that dare to ask the hard questions, like: ” If that’s not bats in the belfry, what the hell is it?” or “How does that Angel really feel about being on top of the tree?” and we’ll discover how Santa and the gang has managed to do it all these hundreds of years, and why it’s best NOT to try and catch a glimpse of the jolly fat man on Christmas Eve. As promised, these stories are creepy and at least one of them is both creepy and hilarious. That’s my kind of story, one that can blend horror and humor to such a degree I’m not sure whether to run or laugh.
Happy Holidays from your horror elves at The Were-Traveler!
Issue 2: Creepy Christmas