Intermission + Some Updates

Thursday, November 29 will be the debut of Act II of Masquerade with my new short story Swallow.

From here on out you can expect to see new short stories (~1,500-2,500 words) posted regularly on Thursdays unless stated otherwise, with perhaps some super-short flash fics/poems (>400 words) sprinkled around randomly. (I do looooooove flash fiction.)

I’m overjoyed to return to writing to say the least. I’ve written a good part of Swallow and it just feels like I’m back where I’m supposed to be, like I’ve been on vacation for a year and I’m finally back at home sleeping in my own bed.

That said, having this creative energy flow through me once again is just as terrifying as it is exciting; some poor fictional soul is going to die. Who’s is going to be? My bet’s on the butler.

See you Thursday. 😈

Red Rain, Ch.2

 

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Read the first chapter here!

Jamie yelled for the old man again to no avail. Where the hell was the old man when he needed him?

The boy dodged a decomposing Mr. Phillips and Jamie’s sister, Gail. He jumped over Ronnie’s ex-wife Shelly, who was charred from the torching, scrambling for a bite of fresh meat. The barn door was just left swinging as Jamie ran back to the house. It did not take long for the farm to be completely overtaken by the reanimated army. What was once a devious scheme totally backfired and turned into total chaos.

By the time Jamie arrived at the shack, the trucks and tractors were toppled over, dominated by a team of dead flesh sacks. Blots of blood, soured skin, and guts crisscrossed the land, the putrid stench enough to knock anybody plum off their feet.
“Ronnie!” Jamie dashed into the house, hoping to find the old man and get the shotgun before the corpses trapped him inside. “Get your ass over here! We hafta go!” Jamie got nothing but a set of demented moans coming from a young girl. Her yellow pigtails were soaked with blood and shit. The groans came with a stream of vomit and spit, falling out of the jawless mouth hole onto the floor with a splat. Some of the spit specked Jamie’s pant leg.

Jamie checked the back bedroom, in the large chest under the bed where Ronnie kept most of the guns and ammunition, and found it completely empty. “Bitch!” Jamie screamed, peering into the bare chest of a decapitated Mrs. Umphrey. In one hand she grasped a bloody machete, the other one was knotted in a head of hair.

Mrs. Umphrey held Ronnie’s head in her gnarled fist. Just as she tossed the mangled cranium towards Jamie, he had leapt out the window, crashing to the ground with a broken arm and a shoulder splintered with glass.

Suddenly, one of the trucks in front of the house exploded, erupting torn limbs and gore. The flames spread to the house and to the grass. The remaining bodies trekked hidden amidst a wall of thick, pitch-black smoke.

With the sun turning warm orange and purple in the sky, Jamie knew he had a half hour sunlight left, at best. There was no way he was letting himself get stuck out there in the dark with dozens of lurching carcasses.

So Jamie ran for the hills. He jumped over the barbed wire fence his father set up twenty years ago; he sprinted through his mother’s old tomato garden, which had been reduced to a sad plot of pale dust and brown stalks. He had to reach town to tell the others of what he and the others had done. Jamie had to tell them everything, starting with Ronnie’s ingenious, diabolical plan.

Moving Hosts

“Back up, Mom! Shit -” Nate slammed the PlayStation controller against the bloody floor. “I told you fifty times that I can’t pause the game when I’m playing online – you just made me die.” He exhaled. “Thanks a lot.”

Headliner

The black eye I give him complements his black heart. Colossal Shadow, they call him – also fitting with the beating he was getting.

With a sharp right hook, his face breaks under my fist. A roundhouse kick knocks him off balance, and a strong knee to the chin sends the behemoth down. Newspapers before the big fight headlined the brawl as a battle of David and Goliath, only with an even more intimidating Goliath.

With the beast unconscious in the hot sand – his face glowing red with blisters from the heat – the audience roars and seethes a steam of hatred and relief. The bully has finally fallen.

“Blade or stone?” an official asks, offering me a red dagger or a river-washed rock the size of an apple.

“Stone,” I mutter through my teeth, brandishing the rock around the defeated, deflated monster at my feet. The deal was that only one would exit the coliseum alive, in exchange for the winner’s continued participating in future matches.

Back at home, I am a simple peddler; I support my mother and sister with the few pounds of food I manage to steal each day and the pathetic daily wage of a dirt sweeper at the butchery. It wasn’t until the Shadow raided my little settlement that I decided to defeat the bastard once and for all, and his defeat would be in front of all of his supporters. He had to pay for the lives he destroyed the night he attacked the village.

Drool oozes from my mouth and disappears into my shirt. Bloody knuckles, a dislocated shoulder, and an indomitable thirst for revenge are all that is left of this peasant dirt-sweeper boy. To save my family, I contentedly forfeit my innocence. To defeat a monster, I became one.

As I prepare to pelt the monster with the stone, a weak gurgle emits from the beast. “You’re just a kid…” He wheezes. “You have to escape this before it consumes you.” The colossus spits out a concoction of blood, saliva, and teeth. “I was just like you once; but they make you change. All those invasions, they forced me to do all of that.” Then, before the official places a quietening black strip of tape over the whitewashed brute: “Please, save yourself.”

His warning does not faze me, however. Rather, I am too overwhelmed to consider anything he is saying is true. Instead, I paint the sky with his blood, his cries muzzling the exasperated spectators.