Horrorfest Short…Ooze

Ooze

by
Tony Talbot

The last candle is nearly burned out now; I don’t have long to finish this letter. I only hope to G— that someone finds it before the thing is too late to stop.

The slithering has begun from the apartment next door again. It’s louder this time; hungry again, no doubt, after the ingestion of the landlord. I can see the wall to my left – the one that abuts the neighbouring room – bulging and heaving with it, and a little more of The Ooze comes through the wall every time, suppurating like a sebaceous cyst with its greased creamy whiteness, sliding down to the floor and writhing there, tendrils reaching with a blind hunger towards me.

But I must not look at the thing, or it will drive me to Bedlam or beyond, seduce me with its awful power until I am unable to resist. It wants me, and I am unable to resist for long. Write on, write on, and only sweep the candle flame to those pseudopods that quiver too close to me.

If I leave nothing else to this world but a memory of me on this parchment, then I had better start at the beginning.

Or as far back as matters, anyway.

***

My name is not important; nor how I came to be dragged so low as to require such a sordid lodging as this. Enough for me to say: I was important once, called upon by leaders and thinkers; but fortune blew my vessel into a reef and shipwrecked me on an island of misfortune, washing away all I was and all I held dear.

It was all I could do to flee my life and its burdens with a few pennies and a shirt upon my back, and for a while, I stumbled from friend to friend and home to home until my welcome was as worn out as my spirit. I took myself from the last of them…Lor, only two days ago! So long it seems, when one does not dare sleep.

I found myself, after a blank wandering of hours, down at the edge of the detritus of the river, staring at the black abyss that rolled by me, contemplating its cold waters while rats scurried by and other nameless insects crawled over the sorry remains of my boots, seeking the taste of my skin as though I were already a feast for the eaters of the dead.

 Would that I had jumped into the seething darkness! So quick it would have been, so painless. Instead, some aboriginal survival instinct recalled me to myself and I stumbled on, following the river downstream, past broken warehouses and slattern houses that stared at me with unseeing eyes, into a heathen wasteland far beyond civilised man.

So I found myself here, the last boarding house on the last street; decrepit, worn down, leaning into the river that was ready to claim it, much as I was. I banged on the miserable excuse for a door until the landlord appeared, his appearance a broken mirror of the building he kept.

His odiferous stench repulsed me, until I realised my own body smelt no better. He held a weak lantern to his face; it was half eaten away by a pox, the cavity of his nose and mouth a gaping hole of black shadow, one eye a sightless storm of albumen. Mangy tufts of white hair, matted and yellowed, spun from the scaly desert of his scalp.

“Waddawant at this ‘our?” He shouted, his breath sickly with weak gin and rotting meat.

“I…I want a room. Any room. For a few nights, at least,” I stammered.

The landlord looked me up and down. “You look like a gent, but can ee pay though, squire? Can ee?”

I held out the limp remains of my coin purse and he snatched it from me with superhuman speed, opening it with rapacious hunger.

“Just one room left. Right over the river.” The landlord turned and showed me his hunched back, taking the circle of light with him as he retreated into the house, his slippered feet slapping the floor with a dull, irregular thwap, thwap, thwap. I followed him with alacrity; he had not returned the coin purse, after all.

Along leaning and twisting corridors of mould and damp we walked, the naked boards beneath my feet warped and twisted with river rot, walls off kilter and bulging like a boiled body with gas gangrene. Multi-legged black and grey shapes on the walls scurried away from the feeble lantern, whispering feet returning after we had passed. I bit my lip as we walked deeper, trying to still the urge to run from this place. Only the thought that I had nowhere else to go kept me from taking to my heels.

Eventually, we came to a feeble threshold, an excuse of a door. A few slats of wood with gaps large enough for my arm to fit through, a frame that had probably never been straight. The landlord waved the lantern at the door and left without another word, the halo of light and weak warmth departing with him. Before the light fled entirely, leaving me in unutterable darkness and the thrall of its insectile minions, I leapt for the door and barged my way through it.

The single room consisted of one bed, one table and three unlit candles with a lone Lucifer match and striker. A high window shone a small square of olinaceous wan moonlight upon the floor, or all would have been nothing but shadows. Prodding the bed, I shifted the larger rats from it before I sat down; they went sulkily enough off to the corners of the room, plotting their revenge on me, no doubt. Then I noticed the yellowing pieces of parchment and the pen and ink beside them; but having no reason to write (at least then) I ignored them and lay on the bed, presently to sleep.

 ***

It must have been three or four hours later, in the deadest hours of the night, when the chanting woke me.

At first, it slid into my dreams of the better life I had left behind as a low moaning. As H— and I sat on the riverbank again (in my dream) and picnicked, the singing began from nowhere; I was not alarmed at first, but then the stridency and immediacy increased until I awoke in a cold sweat.

That was when I heard the first woman scream.

I rolled instantly out of bed, my impulse to rush to the high window and see if I could raise the alarm. Then another scream, rising from the room beside mine. I had taken a step towards my own door, intending to offer my aid, when another scream stopped me. A different timbre, I realised; a different woman.

And something else I realised as well, with a start that made me colour. The women had not cried in terror, but in the extreme pleasures of a sensuous release; and as the screams reverberated around me once more, I felt myself stir from their intensity. Drawn against my nature and my will, I placed my ear to the parboiled flesh of the wall, feeling its slippery fecundity intimate against my cheek.

The cabalistic chanting began again, a low sound, getting louder and faster, pulsing in a fevered heartbeat, and then the screams came again and again. My eyelids fluttered and my brain submerged in a miasma, drowning in the primal sounds. I felt myself tugged and pulled towards the carnal noises, seeing the vile street-women who must be screaming with such abandon; certainly, no lady would permit herself such pleasures!

I saw them ravaged and writhing beneath their brutish men, submissive to every whim; and suddenly I could see myself standing over them, engorged as never before, eager to pleasure them and myself, my essence splattering their bodies, eyes, lips, tongues, hungry and longing. I shuddered and shook with an ague, a hunger to be among them more intense than any I had ever known.

Disgusted with my base instincts, I ripped myself away from the wall and lay down again, seeking a solace in slumber. But the chanting and screams of pleasure did not cease, and as I lay on my bed, only the thin wall between us, my body conspired against me, my sanity fighting against the primal throbbing, pulsing, lure of the song. I bit my knuckles until they bled, until the pain shouted down my tumescent loins, and I covered my ears with my hands until the muscles locked and they ached for surcease.

Suddenly, without realising I had moved, I found myself outside my neighbours apartment, my fist raising to demand entry; but the instant I knocked, the noises ceased and silence crashed around me and swept over me. Only a low hooting of some riverboat passing on the river outside broke it as I stood there, irresolute.

My body slowly returned to my cold control, and I began to imagine I had dreamt the whole incident. So, feeling emboldened and now willing to complain, I raised my hand to knock again at the rude door, but it swung open as if pulled before I could touch the rotting wood.

 ***

The room was larger than mine, stripped bare of all furniture and fittings, nothing more than a box of mildewed walls and low ceiling. I recoiled, my eyes wide, when I saw that on the floor in the centre was a large chalk circle and heathen star of some kind, surrounded by extinguished black candles.

Some pagan mass, I thought, stepping across the threshold. Ungodly thing that the circle was, I felt my eyes and my body drawn to it again as I studied the room. I managed to look away long enough to study the floor and walls, but the weak moonlight conspired against me; it was several minutes before I saw the bodies.

Three women and a man, all bereft of clothing, huddled in the corner. The women were of the low sort my imagination had thought them, their nakedness shocking, their pale white skin torpid and flaccid with the look of death. The man was slumped over them, a rough brute of a creature, obscene, with body hair as thick as a hound.

Despite my revulsion I went to them, but as I suspected, all three were dead by some means unknown. I backed away from them for a step, but then came back, puzzled. I pushed my fingers against the arm of the man. I was able to squeeze it completely flat; there was no resistance, as though the bones and flesh had been sucked out of him, leaving only a bag of skin; but there were no other injuries I could detect.

While I pondered this, there was a movement at my feet. Suspecting one of the women to be still alive, I tugged the man out of the way. Sliding over the skin of the woman was a turgid off-white cream, about a pint, that slithered and roiled over her breasts and pudenda. Naturally, my mind associated it with a masculine discharge and my expression twisted in disgust.

But as I watched, The Ooze thickened and groped blindly towards me, somehow aware of my presence. I felt my brain slipping; I should have been repulsed, but felt myself pulled to it, feeling myself stir and thicken as I had when I heard the women scream in pleasure.

I longed for its touch on my bare skin, for its silky creaminess to possess me and devour me. Observing The Ooze slide around the body of the naked dead woman aroused me as much as the carnal chanting. I longed to shed my inhibitions and cavort with it and her as I would with a Bohemian lover, to pleasure myself with them both in a total moral abandon. I shuddered, and not from revulsion.

A tendril reached my hand and I turned it over so it could fill my palm with its smoothness. Entranced, I watched it slide along my wrist, titillating the nerves along my fingers with a lovers touch, stimulating every nerve ending with intense pleasure.

For luck, some part of me broke then; some part of me recalled my failing sanity. I gagged and flicked The Ooze from my hand with a violent gesture, and it splattered against the wall. It rose towards me, hungry blind fingers seeking my skin. I turned and fled from it in a terror of madness, noting as I did that more of The Ooze rose from the centre of the chalk circle from wherever these foul people had called it, writhing and pulsing, seducing and repelling.

 ***

I found the landlord asleep at his desk, his feet raised and his head back, the gaping maw of his mouth and nose a black hole in his face. I shook him awake without preamble and recounted the events of the evening in a hurried remembrance.

He was unimpressed. “Bloody gent, knew I shouldna let you ‘ave a room.” He leaned back in his chair, his arms folded, obviously unwilling to move as he studied me with his eye.

“For the love of G— man, come and look! If nothing else, for the poor souls who died tonight,” I implored.

He rolled his eyes towards the heavens and hauled himself slowly from his chair, taking up his lantern with a sullen slowness, lighting it from the spluttering gas, grumbling to himself under his voice. I bade him hurry only once, and he gave me the short side of his tongue, threatening to sit down and sleep again if I said another word. I bit my lips shut and said nothing more.

I followed the feeble halo of light as we walked with sulky slowness towards my room. I pointed mutely along the corridor, the door down there now shut again.

“Bloody gents,” he ejaculated, stumbling the last few steps with me behind him. He raised the lantern and knocked once. Receiving no reply, and about to give up, I pushed the door open for him; it was not locked and swung open easily. The landlord took a step into the room and then stopped, swearing once. My body locked up behind him, cold terror unmanning my legs and arms.

He waved the lantern outwards to each corner of the room and then spun back to me. “Don’t think much of yourn sense of fun, mister. Good mind ta arsk you to leave.”

“What…what do you mean?”

“This rums empty as your ‘ead.”

I pushed past him and stared at the corner where the bodies and The Ooze had been a few minutes earlier. “No…they…they were-“

The landlord had stopped listening to my rantings, and was studying the chalk markings on the floor behind me. “That’s bloody queer. What’s…wazzat stuff in the middle?”

Cold water poured down the back of my neck and circled my waist, my legs turning to ice. “Don’t look at it. For G— sakes man, look away.”

“Nowt to be ‘fraid of is there…it looks…looks-” His voice trailed off, his eye growing wide. A leer grew and stretched his cheeks upwards. “Oooaye, nowee, ‘ow about that. Mmm, thar’s nice.” His free hand stretched slowly down to the creamy albumen at the centre of the circle and he cackled with a low lascivious need. “Oooh, thar’s…thar’s…lovely, lovely darncing stuff.”

I turned towards the circle myself, and then felt the pulse in the back of my head start to rise, and my body start to rise with it. Smashing myself on the nose with a fist, I broke the spell of the thing before it had me, turning away from it, trying to drag the old man away.

He fought me every step, the lantern cavorting wild shadows on the walls. “Lemme go, lemme go to it, it won’t hurt ee,” he moaned, his eye glued to The Ooze as it writhed towards his feet.

In desperation, I snatched the lantern from him and hurled it at the circle; a ball of yellow flame rose to the ceiling and was gone, and I had to hold my sanity with both hands when I realised it was contained within the circle and nowhere else.

The effect of the flame upon The Ooze was instant; it recoiled and retracted on itself, hissing with a sound of pain that penetrated to the back of my brain. But the effect was only temporary. It gathered itself and spat a tendril to the landlord’s hand and wrist, encasing them in a foetid grip. The old man’s eye rolled back and he groaned in what I took to be pain; but as the ooze spread along his arm, I could clearly see the pleasure etched in his crude face.

I tugged against him, pulling him away from the growing ooze, but the struggle was an uneven one; not only was I fighting The Ooze, but the old man’s twisted intentions. The old man hauled me backwards, and when he bit me viciously, I had to release him. I made it to the door and hung on to the frame with a death grip, turning at last at the scene in the room.

The Ooze had the old man up to the shoulder now, and with his free hand, he was divesting himself of the last of his clothing, tearing at his skin in his eagerness, his excitement obvious. As I watched in a mute, fascinated horror, compelled to watch, The Ooze fastened itself upon his member and began to slowly pulse. The old man shuddered with intense pleasure and his eyes rolled up and closed.

Then around his arm, the grey goo grew red, a red flecked with white; it seemed to squeeze his body in a lethal embrace; as it did, it grew and swelled, pulsing as it sucked the very blood and shattered bones from his body through his very skin. Now I understood the injuries of the hirsute heathen whose body I had examined earlier; and thence it must have devoured the remains of the bodies while I had sought out the landlord, as a spider will devour its prey from the inside out.

When the old man screamed for the last time, a high note that shook the rafters of the old building, my nerve snapped and I ran for my life back to my room without thinking. I flung myself upon the floor and berated my weak nerves; thrashing my fists and head against the floor until I fell into a welcome stupor.

It must have been an hour before I came to myself again; when I did, the eternal damned night had at last ended and feeble daylight shone upon me. My first impulse was to flee, and I staggered to my feet and to the door.

I had taken but one step when I saw The Ooze, coiled at the base of my weak threshold of a door, quiescent for now, throbbing with a slow torpid life. I felt myself begin to slip into its foul erotic mesmer, and tore my eyes away while I could.

Hastily I looked around the room, retreating to the high window. I forced open the frame and shouted across the dank river, my voice lost in the vastness of the empty vista it revealed. I shoved my shoulders against the lathe, but came not even close to being able to squeeze myself through the tiny gap.

Trapped! I realised. It must only be the daylight that had saved me so far; I reasoned as The Ooze reacted so strongly to fire, that perhaps it must sleep during the day.

Fire! I groped for my three candles and the Lucifer match, my hands shaking with palsy so badly I had to strike the match four or five times before it caught. My fingers danced to the first candle, and I wafted it to the door, waving away the turgid grey pseudopods; but alas the flame wasn’t sufficient to ward them off completely; and I could not look at them for more than an instant without feeling myself fascinated by them, entranced by their wretched beauty.

I retreated again to my bed, husbanding the candle; too late, I realised that when darkness came again, the candles would be the only protection against it. I contemplated setting fire to the room, but the dampness of the wood around me divested me of the notion. In this rot, nothing would burn.

I had been on my bed but an instant when the wall beside me bulged with a foul life and tendrils slid through the growing cracks; I realised The Ooze must be filling the room next door, straining to escape its confines. I retreated to the desk, holding the candle out as a benediction, waving away the pseudopods that reached for me.

And having nothing else to do but wait for death or salvation, I took the pen and started to write.

***

The light has faded again, and the last candle is at the smoking end of its wick. Around my feet, The Ooze has covered the floor, sliding tendrils across my ankles and up my calves, questing upwards. Oh, the sensation of it, the longing I have to feel its light touch against my skin! I shall not be able to write much more without succumbing to it; I grow tumescent again, aching and aching for it. Already it curls around my fingers, tugging my pen away.

Anon, I shall blow out the candle – and with it my life – but I must resist for as long as possible; I thought I heard voices on the river an instant ago, an alarm raised, but I do not have the strength or desire to rise to the window and find out.

I look back upon the last few months, at the ruin of my life, and The Ooze offers me a peaceful solution to all my problems if I go quietly. I can almost hear it, whispering to me with a lover’s voice, promising me peace. Is it too much to ask for a last kiss in the dark, even if the kiss means certain death?

The Ooze promises me something I had never thought I would feel again, a sensation I thought I would never experience.

I can only hope.

Horrorfest Short…Tonight is the Night

Tonight is the NightTonight is the Night

by Lynxie

I pushed a post-it note into my shirt pocket as I hurriedly packed up my books.

I placed my glasses on top of my head and wiped my eyes before placing the pieces of glass and metal back on my nose. I started shoving the books into my satchel and threw it onto my shoulder as I whipped around the side of the desk in the library.

“Please Sir, you must hurry up. The library should have been closed ten minutes ago,” the old, wrinkly librarian practically screamed at me from behind the front desk. Her lavender and light grey shirt washed out the colour of her droopy skin, yet strangely matched the colour of her hair.

Smirking to myself as I ducked out the door, I avoided making eye contact with her.

“What an old witch,” I forced out under my breath along with a heavy sigh as I walked towards the empty bus stop. I kicked a small stone on the ground before me; the onyx lump ricocheted off the metal seat inside the small bus shelter. Making myself jump at the loud clang, I slowly shook my head in disbelief.

“Quiet!”

I looked around quickly.

“What the hell?” I quipped quietly as I searched the immediate area for the person who’d yelled at me.

“I said quiet!”

“Stuff you!” I yelled into the quickly darkening sky. “I don’t have to be quiet!” I kicked another stone at the bus shelter reveling in the loud clang.  “I’ll be as loud as I want!” I kicked another stone, this one missing the bus stop, I continued to search for the owner of the voice, but seeing nothing, not even a stray cat, I shrugged and went to sit on the cold metal seat.

An incessant buzzing in my pants pocket brought me back to the present. Fishing my phone out, I read the text on the screen.

“Oh great! Alone for dinner again,” I sighed and plopped down heavily on the seat. “I have such a crap life, my own mother can’t catch up for dinner,” I sighed again and slumped over my legs, supporting my head with my hand. “Why the hell am I talking to myself? Anyone would think I’m insane,” this elicited a snort of mirth from me.

I would have to be the furthest thing from insane. I majored in mathematics and psychology at school and was currently working on my thesis on the human brain and dreaming. It covered some pretty psychedelic stuff, but not for someone who could potentially be insane. Though one could argue that if I were insane I could come up with some of the best dreams for my thesis and then break them down.  I’d have to ponder that thought some more later. I filed it away in my mental thought bank, yes, I said mental thought bank. That’s how I am, highly organized and methodical. I have a photographic memory, and utilise that frequently to assist my analytical thought processes. People call me a nerd. I call myself organised and efficient. I intimidate people; they don’t understand me. That was through no fault of my own. I am highly articulate too, probably too much so for some of the slobs and brain dead dropouts that attended my school.

Shoving my phone back into my pocket I saw the bus come around the bend down the road. I stood up and waited as it drew closer to me.

“Psst…”

I swirled around quickly; my heart beat racing a little. No one there.

“Psst… in here!” whispered into my ear. I continued to whirl around in a circle trying to find the person who was now whispering to me.

“Where are you?” I asked. I had to at least pretend I wasn’t about to pee my pants.  A loud roaring engine and the hiss of air brakes shocked me. The bus pulled to a stop behind me.

“You gettin’ on here Mate?” The dimwitted bus driver drawled. I turned around to face the bus and nodded, not trusting myself not to sound as freaked out as I felt. I could see the hostility and distrust emanating from him as he watched me take a seat at the back of the bus.  I shrunk down into the seat to try and get away from his continued stare.

“Why don’t you just drive the bloody bus instead of checkin’ me out back here?” I yelled up at him, feeling aggressive.

Aggression wasn’t an emotion I was familiar with, being an academic I was more used to sitting quietly in the library or study hall. What was going on with me?

The bus driver slammed his breaks on and stopped the bus. I was pitched forward, hitting my right shoulder on the seat in front of me.

“That’s it! I won’t take any more! Get your freaky ass off my bus!” He screamed at me, spittle flying from his mouth as his bloodshot eyes bulged out. I looked at him with what must have come across as incredulity.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?” I squeaked out. “What the hell did I do?”

The bus driver stepped menacingly towards me. He came up the isle to where I was sitting and stared down at me. I could see the beads of sweat forming on his greasy brow. I had only a few seconds to think how gross that sight was before his bear like hands grasped the front of my shirt and jacket and picked me up. He continued to manhandle me down the isle and pushed me unceremoniously down the steps from the bus and onto my ass on the curb outside.

The bus doors shut quickly and the hulking metal beast left me in a mess on the side of the road. Brushing myself off, I slowly rose to my feet and picked up my satchel. As I swung it over my head to place it on my shoulder I noticed a dim red light pierce the darkness around me. Where’d that come from I wondered.

I checked the phone in my pocket. Nothing. Looked around for taillights of a car. None.

I twirled around like a prima ballerina looking around again. What the hell was going on with me? Did that bus driver make me hit my head when he shoved me off the bus? No, I was hearing things before I got on the bus…

That thought dispersed as I lifted my left hand up to unconsciously scratch my ear. The red light appeared again. This time I managed to catch where it came from.

Me.

More accurately, the inside of my jacket. I glanced down at the inside left breast pocket, feeling a little apprehensive about what I might find. I slid my hand into the pocket and my fingers brushed against the cool, shiny surface of a photograph. I remember putting it in there a few months ago at my Grandfathers funeral. My strange distant cousin had been passing out photos that had been found with the rest of my grandfather’s belongings. I had glanced at it and shoved it into my pocket that day. I didn’t know many of my extended family, but I’d been there to support my mother. She’d had a falling out with her Dad years before I’d been born and I’d never really spent any time with the rest of the family. It was just Mum and me at home, but granddad’s funeral was tough on her. It didn’t mean much to me.

Taking the photo out of my pocket, I flipped it over and saw glowing red eyes looking out from under the brim of a low-slung hat. My mind reeled.  I didn’t remember the photo glowing when I was given it. I probably would have paid more attention to it if it had.

“You’re going to die,” caressed my ear.

A shiver sped up and then down my spine and I dropped the photo.

“Who said that?” I jumped and searched the immediate area. The neighbourhood was deserted. None of the houses had lights on inside, no cars drove by, no one was out walking their dog, I was alone.

Suddenly feeling chilled to the bone; I picked up the photo. The red eyes glowed brighter and a sinister smile graced the man’s face.

Was that there before? Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Am I going crazy?

I continued to ask myself these questions as I quickly walked down the street, hugging my right arm around my stomach, my left hand holding the photo.

“Psst…” tickled my earlobe.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I could feel eyes on me, I felt watched. I hunched my shoulders and rushed quickly down the empty street. My eyes were darting from left to right trying to find anyone, someone who could help me, someone who could be making these noises. Someone. Anyone.

“I’m going to kill you…” hissed into my ear.

“Stop! Stop it! Please…” I begged as I rushed faster still down the street. Whipping my head to look over my shoulder, I tried to catch a glimpse of someone in the shadows. I strained my ears to hear another set of footsteps racing down the street after me. Nothing.

I passed under the archway into a small grassy park, ploughing straight into it, too afraid to stop or to walk around.

“I’m coming to get you. I’m going to enjoy stripping your bones…” echoed all around me as I stumbled up a small grass knoll.

Making it to the top of the hill, I had a 360 view all around me.  My eyes darted about focusing on everything, yet nothing at the same time. There was no one. Not a whisper of wind, no movement. None.

“You’ll never find me, but I’m going to find you!” Threatened the disembodied voice. I shuddered and swallowed the scream that welled in my throat.

“I’m coming, can you hear me? I’m going to kill you, can you feel my eyes watching you?”

I whimpered and whirled around again trying in vain to find this evil that was terrorising me. I twirled again, tripping myself on my own foot and fell heavily onto the damp grass. The photo lay in front of me. One of my eyes was closed and squashed into the grass, but the other was open and focused on the evil red glow that came out of the photo.

A pair of sinister red eyes bore into my single green one. The sadistic smile grew larger before my eyes. I watched in horror as the photograph started to come to life. The man in the dark trench coat in the photo lit a cigarette and took a drag, blowing a lung full of smoke out. The smoke swirled around his head in the photo, then left the photo and escaped hurriedly into the dark sky above me.

A strangled noise that was a mix of a scream and a howl of laughter escaped my throat. My heart beat so fast I was sure it would escape my chest. I could feel beads of sweat trail cold rivers down my back as I watched the man take a step towards me. I closed my eye, afraid to watch more.

“Look at me! You little piece of crap.” Flowed almost musically from the photo.

My body appeared to be frozen in place, but my eye opened again and stared straight into the murderous red ones of the man in the photo.

I think I peed my pants as his first hand punched through the shiny skin of the photo. His evil, twisted laugh erupted in my ears and I heard him take a deep breath through his nose.

“You are pathetic!”

I shivered, my wet pants sticking to my legs and my face still partially pressed into the grass where I’d fallen. His second hand escaped the photo, closely followed by his hat and those evil, glowing eyes of red.

I screamed.

 ———————————–

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Horrorfest short story 🙂 It was written as a creative exercise for a group competition…

“I’m a regular on www.GoodReads.com I have a number of pieces in various stages of completion on my profile too, but I kind of shocked my socks off, when one of my groups (The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword) had a competition and my result came out like it did.

The prompt was: AN OLD FAMILY PHOTO OF A STRANGE MAN IN A TRENCH COAT – Now, you can describe it, or write of the person in their time or of you finding it, or whatever, have fun with it!

I decided before sitting down to write that I wanted a visual prompt for this story. I did some googling (don’t we all when we need a little inspiration) and I located this picture [shown at the top of the post].”

And here’s a little more about the author, Lynxie, who blogs at Coffee2words

Coffee2words is me at my most basic in terms of my writing. I drink copious amounts of the darkly, rich stuff and attempt to convert it into at least partially amusing or interesting written word. I am sure those of you who check back here from time to time will see various spatterings of my work adorn the pages of my blog.

In other aspects of life, I enjoy reading, reviewing the books I read and interacting with the over 10 Million members on goodreads. I have spent a great deal of my life with my nose shoved between the pages of a book, and more recently pressed against the screen of my kindle. On a good week, I read between 1-4 books and I endeavour to review each of them. Reviewing is still quite new to me, having only picked up my quill late in 2011, I am still finding my own style.

When I’m not writing, reading or stuffing my husband’s or my own face with food, you can find me out walking my beautiful Border Collie dog, Tammy, frequenting the gym or sewing up a storm in my sewing room.

Thanks for taking part in our Horrorfest Lynxie 🙂

Horrorfest Review…Like Death by Tim Waggoner

likedeath

This book needs a bit of an intro before you read my review… it was truly strange.

Synopsis

Scott Raymond is a man haunted by his past and terrorized in the present. As a young boy, he witnessed the brutal murder of his family, but there is so much of the gruesome tragedy that he simply cannot remember — including the identity of the killer or why Scott alone was spared. The memories won’t come, but the trauma won’t go away.

Scott is an adult now, still emotionally scarred but learning to deal with it. He has come to Ash Creek to write about a different mystery, a six-year-old girl named Miranda who has disappeared in broad daylight one year ago. Here, Scott meets another girl named Miranda, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the one who’s missing — but this one’s a teenager. She will draw Scott into the bizarre hidden world known as Shadow. A world where nightmares are very real . . . and very deadly.

What the synopsis doesn’t tell you

Anything, even things just barely on your level of perception will be thrust into this world of crazy! If you’ve ever dreamt strange things that kinda freaked you out when you woke up, this will likely talk about and explore some of them! It wasn’t creepy (well not to me) but I wanted it to be. Perhaps I’ve just done a good job of creeping myself out of late. On another note, everything in this book has a latent sexuality to it. If not immediately, down the track some sort of sexual innuendo will be made about it.

Who I would recommend it to

Anyone interested in a complete mindscrew.

Having said that, it doesn’t ring true to horror, so some horror fans would be disappointed; it’s not even totally gore, though it is probably closer than horror. It’s not even in or outside of the science-fiction realm either. It contains some aspects of mystery and some crime-thriller themes. It seems to be a mash of a lot of genres, just a very gruesome one.

Review

Like Death: I’m not 100% certain as to why the book was called Like Death I think perhaps the PR guy thought ‘complete mindf*ck’ wasn’t appropriate. Even something relating to darkness or evil would have been a bit more appropriate in my opinion.

Don’t rush into this story if you can’t handle gore and horror. Don’t rush into it if you can’t stand constant WTF moments. Don’t rush into it if you don’t like talking/reading about killing, screwing, blood, guts, and all other manner of darkness.

This book was certainly all of those things; it was deep in the world of a sick mind (Scott Raymond’s, the main character). There was a lot of sexual innuendo mixed in with the horror and gore; everything seemed to be tinged in boobs, nipples, penises and sex. It did get a little, dare I say it, boring, tedious, same-same.

There were things I did enjoy. Some of the craziness was absolutely unexpected. I liked that feeling of being completely thrown off balance by a twist in the story. I also found the ending to be a bit odd, but I felt that it was a good ending to this truly strange book.

I didn’t feel creeped out by this book. I wanted to. Some of the scenes were heading down that path, but I didn’t feel the tension, I didn’t feel goosebumps on my skin or the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. This left me feeling a little disappointed.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Horrorfest review, here’s a little more about the author, Lynxie, who blogs at Coffee2words

Coffee2words is me at my most basic in terms of my writing. I drink copious amounts of the darkly, rich stuff and attempt to convert it into at least partially amusing or interesting written word. I am sure those of you who check back here from time to time will see various spatterings of my work adorn the pages of my blog.

In other aspects of life, I enjoy reading, reviewing the books I read and interacting with the over 10 Million members on goodreads. I have spent a great deal of my life with my nose shoved between the pages of a book, and more recently pressed against the screen of my kindle. On a good week, I read between 1-4 books and I endeavour to review each of them. Reviewing is still quite new to me, having only picked up my quill late in 2011, I am still finding my own style.

When I’m not writing, reading or stuffing my husband’s or my own face with food, you can find me out walking my beautiful Border Collie dog, Tammy, frequenting the gym or sewing up a storm in my sewing room.

Thanks for taking part in our Horrorfest Lynxie 🙂

Horrorfest Interview…Author Nicky Peacock

Today we’re welcoming horror author Nicky Peacock for an interview…

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Nicky PeacockNicky is an English author living in the UK. She writes both YA and adult horror and paranormal Romance. In her spare time she runs a local writers’ group and can be found online through the links at the bottom of the post.

 What do you like about writing horror, over other genres?

There’re so many more options available to a writer when you throw horror into the mix. Ghosts, vampires, witches, zombies, werewolves, angels and demons – they are all great characters before you even start creating the character itself. They can also do things that normal people can’t, and this adds more facets to your story-telling.

 Which authors inspire you and your writing?

I have so many, and they change constantly. There are loads of established writers such as: Poppy Z Brite, Rachel Caine, Rachel Vincent, Charlaine Harris, Keri Arthur, Kelly Armstrong, Karen Marie Moning, I could provide a massive list! But there is also some great new talent out there too. When it comes to inspiration, I’m inspired by anyone who takes the time to tell a good story, who puts effort into their prose, editing and imaginative concepts.

 Any spooky real –life experiences that have influenced you?

I have had a few spooky experiences – the first ghost I ever saw was that of an old man who lived across from me as a child. I saw him in the window looking out at me in this bright red jumper. I was a bit of brat back then so stared right back at him – the odd thing was that he seemed to disappear right in front of me. I ran home to my mum, to tell her how rude he was to stare at me. She told me that I couldn’t have seen him as he’d died the day before.

 Reveal.50ShadesDo you believe in ghosts?

Yes, but no. I don’t think everything is paranormal and a lot of experiences can be explained away with natural occurrences. There are a few things though that simply cannot be rationalized.

 This or That: Zombies or Vampires?

I do love a good vampire paranormal romance and a gory zombie horror. I kind of like them both – for very different reasons though!

 It’s your fantasy Halloween party – who would you invite into your haunted house, and why?

Hmmm, I’d have to have all my friends and family there. No matter what we do we always have a blast. I’d like to scare the bejeezes out of my older brother, as he’s pulled some frightening shenanigans on me in the past.

Alexandra Skarsgard in his True Blood Viking prince costume wouldn’t go a miss either!

 This or That: Night owl or early bird?

I’m an early bird who is training to be a night owl as well. I recently stayed up 23 hours straight to get a manuscript finished. I do not recommend it – I actually slept more the next day to make up for it – so really didn’t gain any time in the long run.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your books?

I need the money! LOL just joking – I’ve got a number of stories in anthologies which range from paranormal romance to horror – so there’s plenty of variety and dark, sticky thoughts to get your reading fangs into!

 Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

I do love to listen to music when writing, it’s especially helpful when writing dramatic or emotional scenes. I always try to put up a playlist of the songs I listened to when writing particular pieces – they can then become kind of a soundtrack.

 What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I’m a multiple manuscript kind of girl so I always have a couple of books going at once. I write both YA and adult and am trying out the new NA too.

 What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

There’re all pretty crazy! I did have a brain storming session with my young nephews recently which came up with a goblin family that eat car tires (the flavor dependent on the color of the car) – I’m unsure as to how to work that in somewhere though! LOL

 What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Don’t eat yellow snow! Just kidding, although that’s still good advice. It’s probably to just keep trying till you succeed. There is a famous Thomas. A. Edison quote I live my life by. When attempting to invent the light bulb he was asked what it is like to fail 10,000 times – he replied, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ Every failure is still a step toward success. You just have to keep walking.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website for my Writers’ Group: http://www.creativemindswriting.co.uk

Horrorfest Post…Why Stephen King missed his calling

This post by Tony T orginially featured on the blog in October last year, but I thought it fitted well with this event and so have re-posted it today 🙂

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I’ve read quite a few Stephen King books. Not all of them by any means – I believe the list is now up to sixty two, – but I’ve read enough of them to know his writing pretty well.

We all know the genre: Joe Average (who has a habit of being a writer) finds himself in a supernatural situation, gets himself out of it – though doesn’t always survive mentally.

And fair enough, some of them are gruesome to the max – I believe all aspiring writers should read Misery, just as an object lesson to run from anyone who tells you, ‘I’m your Number One Fan’, and as a delve into the writing process.

But I digress, and back to my point.

I put it to the world: He missed his calling. The man was born to write YA.

I came across the review Em posted on here for The Long Walk, and flicking through my shelves of King today, it occurred to me that the works I think are his best are all, at heart YAs: IT. The Long Walk. The Body (Stand by Me, for those who only know the film). The Talisman. Christine. Carrie.

But what about the horror? What about the profanity? Some might ask. I’d ask if they’d read any YA recently. I’d pick up a Bali Rai and point out the profanity in there. I’d pick up a Darren Shan and show you the gore inside. He’s not written anything in the books I’ve mentioned above that couldn’t be handled by a teenager.

The simple fact is Stephen King works best when he’s writing about teenagers and children.

He knows on a fundamental level how they tick, the elemental fears that move and shake them. He knows how a dark cellar scares the lunch out of them, how sunlight gleaming from the ankle bracelet of the first girl you ever love melts your heart.

And he knows the value of childhood friendships (The Body: I never had any friends later on like I had when I was twelve. Jesus, did anyone?), the easy pain cruel parents inflict on their children – and not always physically.

That’s why his horror works so well…he knows the fears of childhood and knows we’ve all been there. Who’s never been frightened by a clown like Pennywise in IT? Personally, I don’t remember a time I didn’t find clowns scary.

Even Christine, which is perhaps a borderline case for YA, is all about the losers in high school, full of teenage angst and anger. Breaking the rules for the first time to get what you want, breaking away from your parents.

Stephen King missed his calling. He’s wasted on all those adults! YA’s should take him as one of their own!

So I put it to the world: Start a campaign. Stephen King should write YA!

Horrorfest Review…Live Undead by Steve Warren

LiveUndead

ReviewStars-4

Live Undead – a wicked ride slick with blood, guts and fangs

Synopsis: The first installment of the Undead Chronicles.

Live Undead tour the country, bringing their blood-slicked shock rock to out of the way dives and underground clubs. Their obsessed fans follow them from city to city, unaware of the band’s horrifying secret. The lacerated throats and acts of self-mutilation isn’t simply makeup and effects – it’s all real. The members of Live Undead are vampires. They prey on the black-clad, disaffected, and depressed teenagers who flock to their shows, while leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake.

Depressed, sexually confused, and bullied at school, Nothing desperately longs for escape. He dreams of rock and roll stardom and thousands of adoring fans, but will settle with knowing what it’s like to be special. That’s the question he needs answered when he finally gets his chance to meet Live Undead.

Eric’s life has been in a downward spiral ever since his pregnant girlfriend went missing thirteen years ago after a concert. When Eric stumbles across Live Undead, he’s shocked by their uncanny resemblance to the band that had played the night his life changed forever.

Inspired by splatterpunk novels of the late 1980s and early 1990s, LIVE UNDEAD contains depictions of explicit sex, gruesome horror and graphic violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Thoughts: 133 pages. While not for everyone, this book was fairly easy to digest in terms of writing style. It took me two days to read.

Where to buy: You can buy from Amazon on kindle for $2.99.

Review: Live undead will not be a book mainstream book readers will read, it has far too much death metal, hard rock and gore in it, but there will be a loyal group where it will make its mark.

Akin to the cult following of the band ‘Live Undead’, the book too will likely find a niche with the horror/gore fans. I must admit, however that while I am no horror/gore enthusiast, I didn’t find this book to be overly offensive. Perhaps it is that through the reality of today’s society that we are becoming desensitised to this subject, but while definitely in the gore realm, it wasn’t truly in your face.

There is a lot of sexual violence, blood, fetishism and murder among other things, so if these areas bother you, don’t pick this one up!

I think even more-so others will be put off by the large amount of gay sex in this book. This too could be another area for potential fans, I am sure there is a group of M/M fetish/horror/gore fans out there.

Add to this wicked little tale a dark undercurrent of paranormal themes, including the non-sparkly vampires, a very heavy dose of hardcore music exposure, and you have yourself a tidy read. (Blood and guts aside of course).

The writing is clear, the plot reasonably well developed and a few twists thrown in to keep you guessing, the ending is a bit of a let down, but I feel there will be a continuation down the track that will probably fix that. I personally would have stopped after the mention of Hollywood.

If you want a comparison for this book, think Marilyn Manson meets a twisted Twilight meets an episode of Law and Order. Give it a try!

*NOTE: The author provided me with an electronic copy of the book in return for an honest review*

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Have you ever read any books dripping with blood? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below. Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Horrorfest review, here’s a little more about the author, Lynxie, who blogs at Coffee2words

Coffee2words is me at my most basic in terms of my writing. I drink copious amounts of the darkly, rich stuff and attempt to convert it into at least partially amusing or interesting written word. I am sure those of you who check back here from time to time will see various spatterings of my work adorn the pages of my blog.

In other aspects of life, I enjoy reading, reviewing the books I read and interacting with the over 10 Million members on goodreads. I have spent a great deal of my life with my nose shoved between the pages of a book, and more recently pressed against the screen of my kindle. On a good week, I read between 1-4 books and I endeavour to review each of them. Reviewing is still quite new to me, having only picked up my quill late in 2011, I am still finding my own style.

When I’m not writing, reading or stuffing my husband’s or my own face with food, you can find me out walking my beautiful Border Collie dog, Tammy, frequenting the gym or sewing up a storm in my sewing room.

Thanks for taking part in our Horrorfest Lynxie 🙂

Tony’s Review: The Sacrifice, Charlie Higson

5/5

Everyone over the age of 14 has been consumed by a virus that essentially turns them into zombies. Only the children are immune…for now, maybe.

This is number four in what Charlie Higson is now planning to make a seven book epic, and there’s a sense of things being set up for the later books, especially in the later chapters. There’s a change in the behaviour of the adults, for good and bad – the good guys get an ally, and the bad guys get a leader.

This is a book without fault. There isn’t a single wasted character or event, no matter how minor, and all the strands of plot tie up at the end and then leave room for more books (apart from DogNut, who I’m sure will appear in Book Five or somewhere down the line…).

What’s getting hard after four books and a gap of a few years between them, is to get the timeline sorted out. Events in this book overlap events in the other three, and it’s hard to remember who all the characters are in the previous books and their ‘status’ in this one. But that’s a minor niggle.

Higson goes to lengths to point out that the monsters inside – the children who decide to lead the children – are as dangerous as those outside. There are shades of Lord of The Flies in Ed and Little Sam and the situations they find themselves in, and I think the comparison is a worthy one.

This is not a book for the squeamish. A nine year old boy gets flogged, anyone can die (and they do), and the fights against the adults are long, bloody and vicious. It doesn’t go into extravagant details, but it doesn’t shy away from them either. Be warned: This is the book Stephen King would write if he wrote YA.

The real star of the show are Little Sam and the delightfully batty (or is he?) The Kid, who talks like Alex from A Clockwork Orange but is sharp as a sat-on-box-of-pins. Sam’s grim determination to find his sister and then The Kid is one of the underlying themes of the book – and there are so many: dictatorships, loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, not judging people by their appearances, rebuilding society. Everything is packed in there, but nothing feels rushed or thrown in. This is a book carefully constructed to make you think and reconsider, and I’m already hungry for the next three sequels.