Friday, February 21, 2014

The Mountain of the Frozen Bus by John Ledger (Random Title #20)

They saw the bus coming up the mountain road from deep within the woods that they called home, not that they understood what it was they were seeing. Their kind was just as afraid of planes, trains and automobiles as the operators of those machines would be afraid of them. The large yellow object had stopped in place, remaining there for quite some time. A man got out and checked on several parts of the machine, waving his arms around in the air and making unintelligible noises out loud. This attracted more of them; the children were disturbed by his yelling and screaming. This upset mommy and daddy as they didn’t appreciate their baby’s sleep being interrupted by anything. They approached the bus.

    George didn’t have a clue why the bus had stopped running, nothing was working and he had no way to call for help. He was stuck in the freezing cold with a bus full of elementary school students on the side of a mountain. George was lost without an answer, two weeks away from retirement. The children were scared and cold, huddled together tightly inside the bus as George stood in the falling snow smoking his last Marlboro. This night can’t get any worse he thought as he saw them. George was an old man and he’d heard all the legends about Bigfoot and he’d read plenty of stories and watched plenty of movies but none of them prepared him for this. George ran quickly around to the other side of the bus and jumped inside, closing the door behind him. The children were screaming and yelling, some of them crying for their parents as George yelled at them to shut up. George went to the driver’s seat and took his place, watching the monstrosities and waiting to see what would happen. As fate would have it they turned out to have more patience than George.

    As they got closer they smelled the man’s fear before he even noticed them. The scent only intensified as he took them into his vision and scurried away like a rodent. They got fairly close to the machine and stood there waiting. Staring and waiting. After hours the pair of them approached the machine and circled it, looking inside. They realized enough to know that the beings inside other than the man were young like their young. They didn’t know or understand words like ‘children’ or ‘young’ but they understood things on their own level. They tried to get into the bus and this frightened the beings inside, the smell of fear was now overwhelming. They didn’t realize the children were scared to death of them; they only wanted to save the young. They weren’t concerned about the man, they wouldn’t save him. They wanted to eat him. The pair of them backed away a bit and sat in wait for what may have been hours or days, time was irrelevant to the beasts. They began to worry when the young had stopped moving around. No one except the man looked out at them and at one point they saw him eating ravenously as if he was one of their kind. It wasn’t until they saw many bright lights from other machines making their way up the mountain that they ran back into the woods.

30 years later…

    “So what’s this ridiculous adventure going to be called?” Sarah asked her boyfriend in her usual mocking tone.

    “The Mountain of the Frozen Bus” Brad proudly announced in response and he continued rambling on before giving Sarah or the others a chance to interrupt him.

“The story is, about 30 years ago a bus driver went crazy and shit man, he was taking a bunch of kids on a field trip when the bus broke down on this mountain in the middle of a snowstorm. Instead of letting the kids go or going for help he held them hostage there on the bus. When the cops showed up they found all the kids frozen to death but that wasn’t all. The driver was still alive and he was crazy as hell, they found him covered in blood and his hands were both frostbit. George Sommers was his name. He was babbling about monsters and a family of Bigfoot’s, turns out he had started eating the kids on the bus, so needless to say his ass is locked up in some asylum somewhere.”

    “Great story, creepy shit, but what the fuck are we going there for dude?” Kyle inquired from the backseat of the old Chevy.

    “To check it out man, they claim if you’re there at night sometimes you can hear the children screaming and crying.”

    “That doesn’t even make any sense Brad.” Sarah argued with him as she looked out the window very uninterestedly. “How are we supposed to hear dead children screaming and crying and why the fuck would we want to?”

    “Yeah what are you, some kind of creep, Brad?” Leslie chimed in from the back as they all started laughing except for Brad.

    “Yes I am and you all already know that. Sarah did we just fucking meet today or something, do you not pay attention to anything I say? If we hear the children it’s their ghosts that we’re hearing and that’s the whole point of why I do what I do but you should already know that.”

    “Jesus Christ, Brad, settle the fuck down dude. We’re just messing with you man” Kyle added as he was used to having to calm his friend down. Brad was always on edge because of Sarah and her bitchy attitude. Kyle never did understand what Brad saw in her, she wasn’t even attractive? She looked like a rat as far as he was concerned.

    “Alright, this is the spot.” Brad proclaimed as he pulled over to the side of the mountain path and put the old Chevy in park.

    “So now what, we’re getting out or something? Fuck that, I’ll be right here in the car.” Sarah protested as she crossed her arms and stared at Brad.

    “Have fun waiting then.” Brad replied as he and the other two passengers got out and surveyed the land. Sarah didn’t like that one bit but she stuck to her word remaining planted in the passenger seat. Brad, Kyle and Leslie walked across the clearing towards the woods as Brad pointed and explained to them where the bus was parked, reliving his knowledge of the story once again for his companions. Then Sarah started honking the horn. The trio turned to look at the car and Brad figured Sarah was just being her usual annoying self until he heard Leslie scream behind him. Sarah was trying to warn them but it was too late. Brad turned around to see Leslie being lifted into the air by some animal? This wasn’t any animal he had ever seen or heard of before though as it stood on two legs like a human, shaking Leslie around above its gigantic head with its long arms. The beast had long scraggly, grey hair and the face of a baboon. Its hands had sharp, yellow claws and as it opened its mouth Brad noticed teeth that looked like that of a shark. It seemed as if the creature was trying to stuff Leslie into its mouth as Kyle ran at the beast, punching and kicking to no avail. The beast became irritated and tossed her into the snow, setting his sights on Kyle. The only thing making it apparent that it was indeed a he, was the frightening and oddly shaped, baseball bat sized penis hanging from between its legs. It let out a primal scream as it lunged at Kyle and he never stood a chance as the beast was on top of him, ripping him to shreds with its claws and teeth. Brad was helping Leslie up when he noticed more of them running towards him from the woods, another big one and at least a dozen smaller creatures. Mommy and her children joined the massacre and that’s exactly what it became. Brad and Leslie couldn’t run fast enough; the mother went straight for Brad, eviscerating him in quite the same fashion as Daddy did with Kyle. The young were all over Leslie like a pack of rabid wolves and Sarah sat in the car watching all of this.

    Sarah saw her boyfriend and her friends mutilated before her eyes as the only thought that crossed her mind was the fact that she was safe. At least that’s what she thought. Brad had the keys so she couldn’t go anywhere; she was stuck in the Chevy. She had to wait for them to go away and then try to get to the keys. Unfortunately for her, that never happened. They saw the car and Sarah now understood what truly happened to the kids on the bus.


John Ledger lives in Central Pennsylvania with his queen Erica and their four children; Carson, Kaila, Logan and Layla. John likes punk rock, serial killers, dogs and Chinese food. You can find him on Facebook talking a bunch of nonsense.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Parlor of the Uncommon Frozen God by Mari Mitchell (Random Title #19)

They licked and sucked the warm confit from the bone saucers and painted cups. Once tongues were dry from the sticky thistles of the confit. The bones were promptly placed under the cushions of the ottoman and Kintsukuroi began to bounce. “Crush, cry, crush, cry,” the ottoman did proclaim.

Peony, who sat neatly on the mantel of the fireplace that burned bright blue, stopped washing her mischievous paw, and said, “What a cornucopia of cadavers.”

The cook, who had been busy in the graveyard of the great black bees, slid on butter dishes, past the ice window-walls, waving at those who had worshiped the Frozen God - Kothar-wa-Khasis, or perhaps Urcuchillay – no one could quite recall.

Kint inquired as he snapped his spiny tail, “Do you think we shall have any visitors today?”


He sighed.

Peony gave a false smile and said, “What a shame,” for she enjoyed the parlor in its now common form.

The great black bees of the graveyard hummed as they scraped the dark red dust of cayenne pepper off their back legs. Piles of hot spice gathered in front of the worshipers encased in ice.

 A bowl, with zigzags of shimmering gold liquor was carried by the cook; filled with her latest concoction of salsa, of Red Savina Habanero, red tomatoes, purple onions and red bell peppers; all grown in the sands of the Sahara Desert, all drank the waters of the Two Boats and the Sister Peak. All grown in a hot house that could melt the devil himself.

Kint slithered toward the hearth and grabbed the bowl greedily.  He used his claws as chopsticks to shovel the searing salsa to jagged lips, and past teeth of cracked pottery, formed from leftovers and replacing the absent.

The cook lifted the cushions of the weeping ottoman and gathered the crushed contents in her apron.

The great black bees hummed as they sat on the now quiet ottoman and put clotted cream on raw skin. The cook laid the crushed bones of saucers and painted cups upon the table.

Bee Bee, started sorting, finding sharp edges that almost fit, forming fractions into wholes.

Dees Dees stuck out his long tongue and filled in empty, rough space with golden liquor.

Peony leapt from the mantle, past Kint and landed with a soft tinkle. Her patchwork coat clinked as she walked. She picked up the renewed cup. “All that is broken can be.” She placed it on the sideboard. “Lovely.”

“No matter their forgotten ways.”

In a glaciered wall, the remains of shattered, uncommon god watched.

Kint considered the forgotten god. “In the keeping... came the silence of warm prayers.” His breath formed a ghost of a cloud.


Mari Mitchell lives in the high deserts of California. Her backyard looks out to an airplane graveyard, tumble weeds, and the world's first space port. As is the rule, is kept by three cats. She is also married and has two boys. She has a strong dislike of wood chippers and noisy eaters, but has a fondness for cake and coffee. Cookies are very nice too as long as they have no raisins.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Terror at Lost Goblins by David Anderson (Random Title #18)

Frederick looked down at the letters, and the stories contained therein. He missed receiving them, even though he was sure old Tobias was crazy. Around the middle of every month he’d open an envelope containing a cordial letter along with the manuscript for a short story, and sometimes even poetry. Frederick was sure Tobias was mentally ill, or at least suffered from some kind of high stress or anxiety. Although, Frederick thought, anyone could go crazy out there at the Lost Goblins Motor Home Park in Death Valley. Of all the places to go in California, he certainly chose one of the worst.
It had been a few months since he had heard from Tobias, and Frederick was getting worried. The old man was near eighty years old, and drank plenty enough for a twenty year old, let alone someone his age. He should have been dead a long time ago, but something worried Frederick. The last letter contained only a blank piece of paper with I’VE DISCOVERED SOMETHING BIG scrawled on it in pencil.
The fiction that Tobias wrote was unusual, and even for a well-read man like Frederick, it came off as incredibly odd. Frederick read Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Thomas, and other authors of the weird. Still, the strange world of the undead battling each other with laser guns and horses that were also called cheetahs, it baffled Frederick. The prose was only okay, and a lot of the ideas had been used before, but there was something oozing from it, a creepy feeling that invaded the author’s mind while consuming the subpar text of the story.
He missed those shitty manuscripts, with the bad titles. Sometimes he thought old Tobias just mixed random words around in a hat and came up with a story based on whatever nonsensical title he came up with. Frederick guessed the old coot didn’t have anything better to do, and that wasn’t so bad because the old man seemed happy. Still, he felt the urge to try and investigate the old man’s fate.
The road to the mobile home area was incredibly rough, even by desert standards. Once Frederick was off the highway, it was nothing but bumpy dirt stretches with giant, cat sized rocks, in random placement, and nothing that resembled a traversable stretch of sane road.
Finally, he came to a dirty white sign, made of long wooden boards that read LOST GOLBINS, YOU’RE HOME! The text was painted on with green and pink paint, and it looked like, by the style of font, it had been created in the 1950’s.
As Frederick drove into the park, a sick knot formed in his stomach. The place had been abandoned for at least a decade, probably around the time Frederick had first met the old man. Tobias was a friend of Frederick’s late father, in fact his dying wish was that Frederick look after the old man. His father had passed ten years prior, and Tobias had been living in the guest house on his Dad’s estate.
Tobias supposedly moved to Lost Goblins after his father passed and the estate was sold, and Frederick kept up with him via letters. He had never actually met the old coot in person, but he still felt like he knew the crazy son of a bitch. In the age of technology it was strange to not at least see what someone looks like when exchanging over social media or some other platform, but it added a bit of mystery to Tobias that Frederick liked. It was endearing that the letters were hand-written, a nice touch.
Unit 6 was Tobias’ mobile home number, and he pulled in the makeshift driveway that was really just a car sized clearing amongst the trash and debris of the mobile home park. There weren’t any fresh tire tracks, so it probably hadn’t been used in a long time, the two foot weeds growing around sporadically in the clearing confirming that story.
Clumps of dust and small twigs caked the screen door of the unit, which sent a bolt of rage through Frederick. He had come all this way for nothing, no one had opened that door for years. Still, he needed a peek inside to search for any kind of clue as to what was going on. He opened the screen door, which was practically glued to the frame form years of grime. Frederick decided he should get a flashlight, as the sun was setting, so he grabbed one from his car. He ran back to the entrance, the screen door now hanging open, and tried the main door. It was unlocked, so he let himself in.
All the windows were boarded up, and Frederick had his confirmation that no one was living there, and had not for a long time. The letters still had this address on them, and they had to be coming from somewhere. But they could have been mailed from anywhere in Death Valley and still have the right post mark. A fake return address was hardly a new thing.
Frederick was about to consider the mystery solved, or at least partially solved, when he heard a curious noise emanating from the back room. It sounded like a ribbed vacuum hose being pulled across the floor, along with what he could only describe as ‘something wet’. The sun was fully set now, and the inside of the unit was pitch black. He shined his flashlight down the narrow corridor of the mobile home hallway, and the light splashed against a cheap faux wood door. As Frederick crept forward, the intensity of the noise increased.
Frederick, feeling a surge of courage rush through him, turned the knob and flung the door open. Sitting in a chair, placed in front of a worn down bed, was the old man. He had been dead for many years, now a cobwebbed adorned, withered corpse. A pile of paper along with pencils and envelopes, including a stack of recently purchased stamps, resided in front of Tobias. Something stirred from beneath the bed, but instead of aim the light beneath to see what was there, Frederick ran with a speed he thought was only capable for Olympic athletes and dove into his car, shooting rocks around the mobile home park as he peeled out, motoring away from the horrible place as fast as he could.
Finally, Frederick made it home to his apartment in Los Angeles, relaxed that he was finally on familiar turf. On the way to his apartment room he decided to stop by the mailbox, unlocking the small metal door and pulling out the mail, which consisted of only one item. It was a new letter from Tobias.


DAVID ANDERSON lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona. His work has appeared in Surreal Grotesque's online magazine, and other ezines like Bizarro Central, Garden Gnome Pulbications, and The Rot Gut County Blog. He can be found in print in 50 Secret Tales of the Whispering Gash: A Queefrotica and Witch!, an anthology from Dynatox Ministries.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Living Moon of Edible Glass by Ross Baxter (Random Title #17)

Running a floating brothel had never been easy, but the profits had always been worth the effort. As Bruce Valmont pored over the figures one more time on the adding machine he knew what the answer would be before he pulled the handle: the business was definitely making a loss. There had been lean times before, but the seemingly new predilection of every two-bit major in every one-horse town to demand a cut of earnings for using their airspace was costing him dearly. He reached into his desk drawer for a nip of whiskey but found his hip flask empty. With a sigh he rose and headed towards the bar in the public area to replenish it.

“What can I get you, Colonel?” smiled the barman, putting down the glass he was diligently polishing.

 “Either a new way of making money, or a whiskey,” Valmont muttered.

“I can give you both,” answered the barman with confidence.

Valmont looked at him sceptically. “Better start with the whiskey.”

The barman carefully filled the proffered flask without spilling a drop, and then handed it back to his employer.

Valmont nodded his thanks. “So, what about a new way of making money?”

“Religion,” announced the barman.

“It’s already been done,” Valmont replied flatly.

“But can you give me an example of a poor religion?” the barman challenged.

“Probably not,” Valmont conceded, “but I don’t think I’m going to be made a saint anytime soon.”

“I’d say not!” laughed the barman.

After serving together throughout the whole of the war and having spent the last four years in the airborne brothel, Valmont knew he had a point.

“So,” asked Valmont, “how can religion fill our coffers?”

“When our steam-driven dirigible appears in the sky above a town it always creates a great deal of amazement, wonder and speculation. And we work the towns of the most industrialized country in the world, full of smoke belching factories, airships, and steam wagons. Imagine what the reaction would be in places that haven’t seen modern technology; this flying bordello would be a thing of worship. They’d see us as supernatural beings. All we’d need to do is accept their precious offerings, then fly onto the next settlement and repeat the process,” explained the barman.

“So where in the world do you suggest we start?” said Valmont, trying not to sound too disparaging.

“We need to go to places off the beaten track, with superstitious inhabitants who’ve never seen anything like us before and would worship us as gods. Places like the Sahara desert, central Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, or even places nearer home like Sykesville, Maryland!”

“I’m not sure if I could stomach Maryland,” Valmont mused, “but I follow your thinking.”

“We bamboozle them with the horseshit of our glittering technology, and maybe even introduce the village elders to the delights of our sporting girls. There’s a fortune waiting to be made out there.”

“It sounds like a fun type of religion,” said Valmont, taking a nip from his hip flask. “I’ll give it some thought.”

“Always happy to help, sir,” smiled the barman.

Valmont nodded and left the barman to his glass polishing. He strolled out of the quite bar and climbed up to the starboard viewing platform to get some air. The barman’s scheme was starting to grow on him, and with profits at an all time low he knew they had very little to lose. He needed to start working on the idea, and getting the name right would be a good start.

“The Church of...” he mused out loud to himself, gripping the platform’s railings he looked around for inspiration.

The dirigible resembled an ancient living creature bathed in the light of the full moon. Below he could see a client eagerly licking the pudenda of two of his girls like they were the last edible things on earth, clearly visible through the glass roof of their room. Valmont considered the vista for a few moments before nodding sagely to himself.

“The Church of the Living Moon of Edible Glass,” he mused to himself, liking the name straight away.

With a smile he picked up the voice communication tube to the bridge.

“Helmsman!” he shouted. “Plot me a course to Sykesville, Maryland!”


After thirty years at sea, Ross Baxter was made Professor of Disposable Culture at the University of Hard Knocks. The work not classified as subversive by the government can be found listed on his Amazon author page.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Window in the Wife by G. Arthur Brown (Random Title #16)

Before Ralph installed the window in his wife he found her quite hard to see through. Say, for instance, she stood in front of a beautiful flower arrangement. Ralph was unable to see that beautiful flower arrangement—before she had the window. Now, he could easily view all kinds of beautiful things through the pane of his wife.

She was quite quiet after the installation. She hadn’t been very talkative before, and replacing her head with a single panel of glass had just taken the wind out of her entirely. But she was good to look through, and he’d often call up his friends and have them come and look out of his wife at all the wonderful landscapes and creatures of God’s green earth. If his wife knew one thing, it was where to stand for the best tableaus.

It was dangerous to take her to public parks where children were tossing balls and running about carefree, so the couple went out less and less. But it did happen that, after a few short years, her pane did become cracked when an arrant Frisbee struck the wife on a beautiful summer day. And after that point, Ralph would always notice other men looking in at him through the window in the wife, their faces distorted by the broken sheet of glass. Their expressions, hard to discern.

One day he boarded up the wife, moved to another town and bought himself a new family, with a wife that was quite opaque and he found that, despite the lack of pretty views, his peace of mind was increased six fold. Though he did install a camera in the son, to live vicariously through the boy’s antics.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Surreal Grotesque Podcast Interview

This is how I always picture Jeremy Maddux, despite having seen several pics of him.
Jeremy Maddux interviewed me for the Surreal Grotesque podcast. It's a pretty solid podcast, even when I'm not being interviewed. You should probably check it out.

I talk a bit about my book Kitten and give some teasers about upcoming projects. I tell you the secret rules of the universe. And Jeremy says some stuff, too.

You should probably check it out.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Into the Hour of the Red Minutes by Darrin Naill (Random Title #15)

He believed he could stuff his soul into the left front pocket of the green flannel shirt he'd stolen from the Goodwill just over a week ago. He would place the business end of the metal tweezers into his left ear, easing them in until his right ear could hear him screaming, and then quickly remove what must be his soul, and drop it, tweezers and all, into the pocket. His soul would then creep back into his ear at night while he slept, causing him such great anguish that his dreams turned to dying.

He made an attempt to keep his soul from leaving his shirt by placing a broken Pez dispenser in the pocket, hoping the soul would bond with the object and remain dormant. It did not work. More drastic steps were taken. One evening, he pricked his finger and proceeded to stain a white handkerchief red with his blood. After an hour of droplets, the cloth was nearly all red. He let it dry for a bit and then folded it neatly and placed it carefully into his soul pocket. That night there was no anguish and no dying. That morning, the handkerchief was white again.

Ten nights and ten sore fingers went by. He had stopped eating. He drank tap water from a sponge in the dark on his bean bag chair. His fingers were dry. His soul grew to the point where he could almost see it darting around in his shirt pocket. He knew it was a matter of time. He took the shirt to the Goodwill and hung it on the rack, leaving a spotty red and white handkerchief in the pocket. He left the store; his soul; his blood; his dreams. He was sure he would not live another minute.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Punch Bishop by Andrew J. Stones (Random Title #14)

The Punch Bishop stood center-stage swaying side to side as he spoke while his contents swirled inside, saying, “O Fruit God in the Golden Garden, nectar be thy name.” But the Punch Bishop hadn’t been himself lately. Even as he said the fruity prayer, he hardly looked juicy.

    Three days ago, there was a great schism at the Church of Punch Planet. The schism was the effect of a heated fruitology debate concerning the Oranges and the Lemons. The Lemons claimed that the Oranges were being disobedient to the Fruit God because of their pulpy presence in the Punch. For as the book says, the Lemons reminded the congregation of Fruit Punch, “No pulp shall be used in the making of Punch.” Some of the congregants took the side of the Lemons. They’d been feeling sick lately and thought that pulp was as good a cause as any. Other Fruit Punches sympathized with the Oranges because they couldn’t do anything about their pulp—the Fruit God planted them that way. Ultimately, the Punch Bishop decided that nothing was to be done about the pulp in the Punch. This pissed off the Lemons. The leader of the Lemons declared that none of his kind would ever be a part of the Church of Punch Planet again. Immediately following this claim, the Lemons removed themselves from every Fruit Punch throughout the entire congregation and then walked out the front of the church into the Unholy Garden.

    The Lemons constructed a yellow, pulpless place next door to the Church of Punch Planet. They called their small chapel the Church of Lemon Land. The Lemons learned a lot from the Punch Bishop and implemented many of his teachings into their own fruitology. However, they also differed on a few major doctrines. The pulp in the Punch acted as the most significant disagreement between the two churches. But there were smaller issues, too. Like whether or not Fruit Punches with more Passion Fruit or Pineapples should be bishops. Or whether or not there should be a Punch Bishop or many Punch Bishops. The Church of Lemon Land believed that only Pineapple dominant Punches should be allowed to be bishops. The Church of Lemon Land also believed that an army of bishops should lead the church. Giving up these doctrines for the good of the Punch was too catastrophic for the Lemon leaders. And even though their new congregation was small, and their land even smaller, they convinced themselves that they had never been happier.

    The Church of Punch Planet essentially stayed the same. Sure, the congregation shrank slightly and the Punch Bishop seemed sadder as of late. But those were minor setbacks. Nothing the good Fruit God couldn’t fix if the Holy Fruit wanted to. “Give us this day our daily fruit, and forgive us our premature juicing,” the Punch Bishop recited to his church.

    The next couple days the congregants of the Church of Lemon Land noticed negativity. The Lemon Bishops’ sermons kept focusing on how good it felt to no longer be Punch, opposed to how good it felt to be Lemon. Their services felt more smoothied than fresh to the congregants, and hearing never-ending sermons of Lemon smoothie left a sour taste in their mouths.

    During the third day of sour sermons, one of the Lemons left the Church of Lemon Land halfway through the service. As the door swung open and the sunshine filtered in, many of the Lemons missed being part of the Church of Punch Planet. And before the day was up, the only Lemons left in the chapel were bishops.

    It had been three days since the great schism and night was coming to the Church of Punch Planet. The Punch Bishop was about to finish the Fruit God’s fruity prayer when the doors at the front of the cathedral opened. A parade of Lemons walked into the chapel, painted with pulp. “Forgive us,” one of the Lemons said. “We’re sorry for being bigots, for being antipulp,” another said. The Punch Bishop spilled some Punch on the floor as he heard the words leaving the Lemons’ lips.

    The Punch Bishop stood center stage as the Lemons slid back into the Fruit Punch. Without the Lemon Bishops, the Punch was even pulpier than before. “Your juiciness come, your will be done, in the Church of Punch Planet as it is in the Garden of Gold,” The Punch Bishop said, fruitier and juicier than ever.
Andrew J. Stone was a planned miscarriage. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work out. Now he's here to drink any alcohol in sight and root on the Canucks along the way. His work has appeared in HobartGutter EloquenceThe Molotov Cocktail, and DOGZPLOT, among other places. He's currently a student at Seattle Pacific University and maintains a graveyard at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Vampire of the Muddy Atomic Zombie By David Anderson (Random Title #13)

“Y’all’s types ain’t welcome ‘round here,” said the Skeleton Sherriff, his star pinned to the vest that hung around his sun bleached bones.
“We don’t want any trouble, mister lawman,” said Mathias, but he was of course lying. Mathias was one of the Knight Riders, a group of rogue vampires that rode mechanical horses across the countryside, raiding ghoul and skeleton towns alike.
“I don’t care what y’all want, get the hell outta my town!” the lawman said, the near-midnight moon functioning like a spotlight, illuminating the affair.
“Very well, at the stroke of midnight we draw, sheriff,” Mathias said, casting a humorous gaze towards his companions. The old clock of the town square made a faint clicking noise as the hand rolled over to the twelve, and the lightning fast reflexes of Mathias gave him the upper hand as his gat was out and fired before the lawman could even reach for his piece. A crackle of anti-energy forever rendered the lawman an inert pile of bones, and some of the skeletal townfolk shuttered their windows as the Knight Riders made their way to the local town generator to charge their weapons and horses. Gats were great weapons, small and handled like a pistol. Unlike generator based weapons that could fire for long periods of time, Gats used a battery and only had six shots.
The Knight Riders rode mechanical horses called Land Cheetahs, the fastest form of transportation that existed short of a restored vehicle, which was rare outside of the army, who rarely used them anyway. Land Cheetahs were made from the scraps of cars built during “The Old Age” by living humans.
Once the mechanical horse is assembled, the re-animated brain of a ghoul horse is placed inside the artificial horse, and the horse essentially becomes ‘alive’. If a ghoul or skeleton is dismembered, they continue to live on, but their energy is usually collected into the brain or skull cavity. This essence brings to life the mechanical construct, letting it think and act like the horse its brain once was.
Mathias built his Land Cheetah from the remains of a great car called a ‘Ferrari’. This legendary car once belonged to the celebrity Justin Bieber, so he decided to name his horse Biebs. Land Cheetahs were called horses as slang, because they looked the part and performed the same tasks.
“Easy Biebs,” Mathias said as the horse looked to the west, towards The Black Mesa. It neighed and snorted, mirroring the actions of the horse on the Ferrari emblem that adorned its forehead. The sickening chunk of mountainous terrain hung black and rotten in the distance, reaching toward the desert sky with a rage.
“Gentleman, let’s get a move on,” signaling to the other riders that it was time to disembark. “If we ride all night we can make the Black Mesa before dawn.”
“We finally made it,” said Rudy, one of the other riders. He spoke of the long quest from Europe to New Mexico in search of answers, answers to questions that had been hanging in the air for over a hundred years.
In 2050, a peculiar meteorite struck the Earth. It was curious in the fact that it had the politeness to slow down before impact, which is usually a particularly hard feat for an inanimate object. The meteorite did however hit with enough force to lodge itself deep within the ground, the black rock it consisted of forming a small mountain. When it arrived, it triggered the arrival of the undead. Anything that had ever died rose, creating massive, previously buried armies that assaulted the living. The Black Mesa, as the meteorite is called, somehow lets the spiritual, psychic energy of a dead organism reanimate said organism; the only way they can find death again is through an anti- corporeal weapon or anti-weapon.
Vampires, however, existed before The Black Mesa came to Earth. Once the meteorite struck the planet, the vampires became ‘deaders’, the species own term for the affliction they suffered. Sunlight, wooden stakes, dismemberment; these methods of killing a vampire no longer worked as vampires obtained a kind of super immortality. Vampires also lost the need to feed on blood, another way a vampire can become weak and eventually perish.
Without the need for blood, the hunt, some vampires went crazy, laying down on the desert floor, waiting for dawn and the cleansing power of the sun to end their desperate lives. They still burnt, but remained alive, turned into horrifying living statues until the merciful day that an anti-gun takes them out.
“Yes, Rudy, we did. Like all of you, the lack of the hunt, of feeding, has left me feeling empty inside, hollow. But this quest has renewed us, given us purpose. We must find out the secrets of The Black Mesa, find out a way to reverse its effects. Maybe life can spring forth again, and we will finally get to drink the warm fluids of life.”
The men all tipped their hats to their leader, and Mathias turned his view to The Black Mesa.
It was an hour until dawn, and the men started digging their grave holes to bed down for the night. The Black Mesa was only two hours ride away, at least on their blazing fast Land Cheetahs. They parked the mechanical horses and dug in for the evening.
Mathias was awakened a few hours later by the muffled speech of a heated exchange happening above, on the ground. “What exactly you boys doin’ out here at The Black Mesa?” said a voice Mathias didn’t recognize, as one he did chimed in.
“Please, don’t do it, don’t let the sun hit me,” but before Rudy could finish his sentence, Mathias heard the familiar and haunting sound of a vampire turning to ash. He knew Rudy was still alive, but a prisoner encased forever in stone.
“Let’s dig up the rest of these batwinged sons a bicthes while the gettins’ good, boys!” said the same voice that questioned Rudy. Mathias made a mental note of the voice, vowing to destroy the undead bastard that spoke it. The sound of explosions above indicated that the steam-cores of the Land Cheetahs were being overloaded, and Mathias suddenly feared for Biebs.
The carnage continued throughout the day, as Knight Riders were dug up, briefly questioned, and then turned into living statues. As the day went on, they moved closer to Mathias with each screaming body they dug up. Mathias, being a Vampire, was very in-tune with the cycle of the Earth, and sensed night falling. Just as they broke ground over his grave site, his body gave him the cue that lethal doses of light had faded.
Mathias exploded out of the ground, pulling out his two Gats and unloading them on the skeleton men who were unearthing him for his sunlit interrogation. As soon as they were out, he dropped them and picked up two more from a nearby body, firing them into the group of seven men that remained. Everyone ducked for cover, including Mathias who found shelter by a boulder near the campsite.
“Come out with yer hand up, Vampir’” said a skeleton with a voice that matched Rudy’s killer.
“And just who am I surrendering to, Skeleton Man?” Mathias said, trying to buy himself some time.
“I’m Boss Bones and this here is my posse, The Bone Boys,” said the skeleton, dressed in western style clothing, including a cowboy hat.
Mathias took advantage of the brief cease fire and made use of his lightning fast reflexes, a well-aimed pot-shot taking out one of the bone boys as Boss Bones ducked behind a cactus. It was enough of a distraction to enable Mathias to get to Biebs, who was luckily still alive and kicking.
“Well, we should go after him, huh boss?” said one of the Bone Boys.
Boss Bones stared out after the dust cloud left by the speeding mechanical horse. “Yep, I reckon we do, only one place he could be going. Only one place close enough to travel to by dawn.”
Just as the Bone Boys saddled up, Rudy’s ashy tomb began to crack open. Before Boss Bones could react, a glowing, molten hand of some kind of muddy, goopy looking zombie-vampire raked against the boss’ face, ripping the bone clean off. With half of his face missing, Boss Bones rasped orders to his men but it was too late – more glowing zompires emerged from their statue like forms and attacked his men.
Boss Bones and two men that had survived hopped onto their horses and rode west, rode on to find and execute the vampire that had escaped them.

DAVID ANDERSON lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona. His work has appeared in Surreal Grotesque's online magazine, and other ezines like Bizarro Central, Garden Gnome Pulbications, and The Rot Gut County Blog. He can be found in print in 50 Secret Tales of the Whispering Gash: A Queefrotica and Witch!, an anthology from Dynatox Ministries.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Imitation Moon, Imitation Night by Brian T. Hodges (Random Title #12)

The sun was a pregnant orb that never left its nest in the sky. In its thirst, it reached with a long tongue to lap every drop from the fractured soils below. So, too, did it drink greedily from our flesh, leaving behind a worn and cracked tract. I know you remember. You had grown so ashamed of the map around your eyes that you turned your face from the light—from me. You refused my kiss, hiding your pale cracked lips behind a hand. You said that the sun wanted to turn you into the desert floor. I knew then that you had stopped fighting. I resolved to bring you the night—if only for a moment—to chase the afterimages from your head.

We shuttered the windows of my house and stuffed your headscarves under the door. The darkness was complete, and we lost ourselves. Unobserved, unobservable. You kissed me. But it was desperate—an apology. Or was it relief? I couldn’t tell. Your mouth tasted of sand, of dust. You were eroding.

Our respite didn’t last long. We could feel sun bearing down on the house, forcing its way through the walls. Its presence filled the room like a dark mirror, distorting and aggrandizing that which couldn’t be seen. Your hand returned to your face. I heard your breath quicken—a grating rasp.

“The night isn’t black,” you said after a while. You were always confident when stating facts, but you were not so sure of what went unspoken. “And there are stars. So, there is some light … but just a bit.”

“Yes,” I answered.

We pulled open the shutters and painted the windows blue, then black, then blue again until we happened upon a shade of indigo that satisfied you. It was unwise, we knew, toiling away while the sun pressed against the glass, and we sweated.  But when I looked at your hands, I saw that they were stained the color of night sky. I felt nothing but the moment, nothing but the need to bring the night to you. To stop your erosion. So, we continued. We pricked star holes in the darkened plane. A cosmos appeared before our eyes.

    We lay side by side, regarding our starry field. Patterns emerged and we named them: the Arroyo, the Rose, the Fountain. Our hands met, but the touch was slow and hesitant. Our hands drifted apart. Stars alone don’t make night. I could feel your stony tension return.

    Then you said, “Remember the moon,” and swept an open hand across our cosmos.

    “Of course,” I said and scrambled to the kitchen. I returned with a pot lid tied to a broom handle. You laughed at first, but later you flashed a brief smile when I marched the disk across the night sky. It was dark; a shadow drifting over the sky. And I thought I heard you sigh, a sound like sand blowing over stone.

    “Wait,” I said and grabbed a flashlight. “Aim it at the lid.”

    The moon glowed copper as it arced over our cosmos. You relaxed. I propped the make shift moon in our night sky, just touching the cluster that made up the base of the Fountain. You leaned into me. Your hair shone in the dim light as it fell across your face and your eyes narrowed. You kissed me again—your mouth was warm and your tongue soft as velvet. You pressed your body against mine, and stroked my face. You reached out to occlude the moon. I saw another cosmos appear as dust motes danced around your hand. But you saw something else: “I’m turning to sand,” you said, nodding at the luminous grains escaping your hand, “I’m wearing away.” You sat bolt upright and gestured at our moon, our night, “They’re not real.”

You left.

I watched you walk toward that place where scorched sky met burnt earth—you were a roiling veil, ephemeral, then broke apart. Still, the door hung open. Light trespassed on my moon and stars, echoing your last words. 


Brian T. Hodges is a lawyer, non-fiction writer, and musician/recording artist toiling away the Pacific Northwest. After an absence spanning decades, he recently returned to his first love: writing stories of the fantastic and strange. This story is his first piece of publicly available fiction. His works of non-fiction are widely published in scholarly journals, but they are comparatively rather dull.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Desert of the Fish by Matthew Vaughn (Random Title #11)

I call it my reverse fish tank. That’s probably not an accurate description of what it is, but whatever. It’s basically like a spacesuit, but instead of keeping oxygen inside it holds water. I built a pump out of an old leaf blower, it’s not like there’s ever going to be leaves around here again!

So, I fastened this pump I made to the back of this suit, it works surprisingly well. The one downfall is no filtration system. It’s pretty much just pumping the same water around, over and over. I like that it’s warm, though. The fact that there’s nothing to block the sun keeps everything warm. It’s like being in the shower, having that warm water covering your body, all day, every day, twenty-four seven. But it gets old, stale. Piss filled. I haven’t eaten in forever so there’s that to be thankful for. Since I started wearing this suit filled with water everybody started calling me Fish. I mean, I haven’t seen a single person in longer than I can remember. So of course I’m saying the only person calling me by the name of Fish is me!

I keep on walking. What the hell else is there for me to do!? Everything is a wasteland. Literally there isn’t much of anything anymore. I saw some dirt the other day. Then I saw it again the next day. Then I saw it again today. Seeing as how my suit is filled with water my vision is slightly distorted, but I’m pretty sure I would recognize something other than dirt if I seen it.

I would say by far the worst thing is there isn’t a night anymore. Total fucking sun all the fucking time. You get tired of that shit, a human body needs a good solid sleep. I’ve pretty much just given up trying to get any sleep. I mean, sleep is for the weak, right? You can sleep when your dead and shit, right?

Fuck this water is getting nasty. I lost track of how long ago it was I changed it last. Here’s to hoping I can find some water soon. I mean, this freaking place is a desert so I’m not gonna bold my breath, but still, here’s to hoping I find some soon.


Matthew Vaughn fixes machines in an Injection Molding facility. He is a father and a husband, a reader and writer of various genres.  When he is not working with robots and building equipment he enjoys writing bizarre stories and reviewing Bizarro and Horror books .  Matthew’s stories can be found online at Linguistic Erosion and The Mustache Factor, also in a couple upcoming anthologies.  You can follow his ramblings on twitter @ or at his site

Friday, February 7, 2014

Steam-Powered Soul Dog of Hollywood by Christoper Ridge (Random Title #10)

Chompers was a large mechanical dog the size of an F-150, fueled by a cigarette and powered by steam. Wearing dark shades, Chompers strutted down the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd as if he were the most popular movie star on the face of this earth. A large dog tag in the shape of a bone had Chompers written across the front.

You didn't want to get in Chompers’ way. Folks stepped aside when they saw him on the scent for what society calls an unnecessary.

An unnecessary is a person whom the government deemed useless and not productive to society. Chompers was programmed by the government to hunt down and eat all unnecessaries he can find.

An old woman named Harriet Fischer was recently entered into the unnecessary system. She retired from her office job. Well, the company called it retired, she called it being replaced by a beautiful young ditzy girl who would do the job for much less.

At her age she couldn't find a job. Nobody wanted to hire a sixty-year-old woman no matter how experienced she was. Unfortunately, if you haven't found a job within thirty days of your release, Chompers is immediately dispatched.

He'd been after her for five days now.

Chompers usually gets them in one, a day and a half at the latest, so it was ticked off. Determined to eat the old lady.

Harriet wasn't that easy. She couldn't out run him, but she could outsmart the vicious creature.

Nobody outsmarted Chompers.

Harriet was smart, you see. Three times he'd been on her scent. Three times she had escaped.

It was her special secret that helped her get by in the past and prolonged her life now. She no longer needed an address, so Chompers didn't know where she lived. She had access to all the food she needed. For an old woman she was quick on her feet.

He almost got her the other day when he snuck up on her while she was on her way out of the market. Usually she stuck to the alleys in order to stay as obscure as possible.

Chompers spotted her a mile away and was on her in no time.

Vicious, with big razor sharp teeth strong enough to chew up a Volkswagen.

"The dog is out! The dog is out!" A man screamed.

People scurried about like ants ducking into the first open door they could find. Even though Chompers wasn't targeting them, he would chew you up if you were in his way.

She slapped him on the head with her purse. Didn't know why. Silly move on her part. The dog was hardened steel and couldn't be destroyed. Just a typical old-lady reaction, she supposed.

"You're not getting me," she told the dog. “Now you get.”

She thought, How could I have been so stupid, so careless?

Chompers bared his teeth. Steam flowing from his nostrils.

"Get back," she screamed. "Get back." She poked him with her cane.

All she needed was two seconds. It had to be a peaceful two seconds though to allow for concentration.
Next time she would be more careful.

Oil dripped from his mouth as he so eagerly anticipated the taste of the old woman.

It was just in time when she was pulled into a small Italian restaurant.

Chomper's eyes flashed red. He waited at the door wagging his mechanical tale.

“Thank you so much,” Harriet told the customer who'd seen the whole thing from his table and came to her rescue.

“No problem. Hope somebody does the same for me one day if the time comes.”

“Can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Almost had me.”

“You know he's gonna get you some time, don't you? Can't run forever.”

“Not if I can help it,” Harriet said with a smile. “He's messed with the wrong chick.”

“But Chompers always gets his prey. That's the way the government has it set up.”

“They don't know me very well do they?”

“What do you mean?”

The stranger's eyes widened as he watched the old woman turn into a cloudy mist and transformed into a cat.

She tilted her head as if to thank him again, then jumped out the window. When she glanced behind her, she meowed at Chompers who was still waiting at the door.


Christopher Ridge is a short story writer who enjoys B Horror movies, creature features and tales of mutant insects. His flash fiction and poetry has appeared in Flashes in the Dark, a local weekly newspaper in New York and a small Canadian magazine. He lives and works as an exterminator in Indianapolis Indiana with his wife and two sons. You can find more about him on his blog at The Creature Corner. http://

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Guest Mozart by Jamie Grefe (Random Title #9)

Mozart was a bastard long before the fateful evening he used a cheese grater to slit Merv's throat in the kitchen over a tasteless pot of sheep brain stew, though we, my guests and I, did not raise a fuss, was just a manly spat, a mistake any of us could have made. And, as Fortune would have it, Merv's neck-spillage brought the perfect peppering of zest to our tongues. It perfected the dish. Plates were licked clean. Mozart, of course, took all the credit for this culinary turn of the screw. And Merv (we cling-wrapped his corpse to a stool in the corner) should have been deathly proud of the fact his passing was made meaningful by way of so many slurping mouths, satisfied farts, and the celebratory toast that ensued, long-winded as it was. Yet, all things considered, we did not expect Mozart, wretch among wretches, to do what he did after we supped and what he did cannot now be undone, can never be forgiven, I promise you, listen. This is precisely why I was compelled to use the butler's chainsaw to put a stop to his silly antics once and for all, for no one serves swine hooves in a wine glass for dessert, not at my manor, nor in my family's presence or the presence of my guests. And this is not all. If this would have been all, I would have let him eek by with a whipping in the henhouse or an old fashioned toenail plucking by pitchfork. But, I should have you understand the nature of our feast. We were celebrating my dear daughter Casey's first day back from the infirmary, after her horrible mishap in the wood shed with the ewe and the weld gun. It was a messy ordeal. The country doctor had to amputate her limbs, and so it went, limbs, that our guest, Mozart (the bastard), should never have fondled nor stolen, much less minced, chopped, bludgeoned and baked into a chocolate limb-cake and, on top of such a heinous deed, stuff himself (all three hundred pounds of his bastard skin) into the center of the cake, and order my geriatric maids, garbed in Uncle Dieter's military regalia, to wheel out the cake on a pallet into the dining hall, dim the lights, secure the winding of an ugly Bach fugue on the phonograph, and explode (as a joke, so he squealed) his bastard body, naked, from the cake coated in Casey's limb-sludge. It scared our dear limbless Casey to wail, throw back her wheelchair and crash through the second floor window, where she plunged, plummeted, splattered chest-deep, impaled through the ribs on the hand-welded iron fencing I had just constructed and fit into place that very afternoon. I can still see the blood gurgle from her lips, poor girl, darling girl, my only girl. I'm sure you will understand our fevered temper at the sight of such a disgusting and bastardly deed and when Johnson, the aforementioned butler, handed me the chainsaw, well-oiled and set to saw, I did not hesitate to bury its whirring blade in Mozart's flabby belly and rip, with the fury of a thousand limbs, up to his own sheep infested throat. His howls mingling with the saw's buzz made the most melodious symphony, an after dinner poem, and the night-wind from the broken window, against my back and the applause of the dinner guests, their howls like a train wreck, was mere tripe compared to the music that exploded from Mozart's naked body. Yes, that music made it all worthwhile and for the record, if I may be so bold, Mozart, the bastard, tasted just like sliced lamb.


Jamie Grefe is the author of THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE (Eraserhead Press). His fiction appears in elimae, Birkensnake, New Dead Families, Untoward Magazine and elsewhere. He's online at:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Frankenstein Had the Jenny Everywhere by David Anderson (Random Title #8)

“Damn you, I need a jenny here now!” screamed the Ghoul Sergeant into the mic as he talked to Central Ghoul Command. Another patch of dirt exploded nearby, the electric sizzle of an anti-mortar tickling the hairs on the Sergeant’s body as he ducked into the trench. “We need support, now!” he demanded as he watched three ghoul soldiers get electrocuted by another mortar blast, their essence vanishing and their bodies falling slack to the floor.
A shadow appeared on the field and the Sergeant looked up at the undead condor carrying his new generator. The bird was thoroughly rotted, and chunks of flesh rained down in a stream of carrion as ghoul soldiers ran to meet the beast as it landed, delivering the goods.
“Men, we need to get this generator set up right away. Intel says something big is headed our way. Attach one generator line to the anti-mortar unit and the rest to the large caliber anti-turrets.”
The men obeyed, and the ghouls moved like a perfect unit, seeming to accept the barking of orders far better now than when they were alive. Each wore a red helmet with the insignia a rotting hand holing a moldy wheat stalk on it, and of course had the standard anti-rifle, its blue cord twisting its way to the ghouls’ backs where a mini-solar powered generator was attached with shoulder straps.
Anti-guns were the only weapons the undead could use against each other, the blasts they emitted de-organizing the psychic aura that held the dead flesh or bones together. Standard firearms produced little damage to the undead, because unlike the movies, even headshots or complete dismemberment didn’t stop them. The Skeleton Army, run by the skeletal remains of a Kodiak bear, where a prime example of that fact – they didn’t even have brains or other organs meaning conventional weapons were nuisance rather than lethal. Anti-weapons where extremely energy consuming, and usually needed something that generated power instead of just storing it, like a generator and not a battery.
Central Ghoul Command and Skeleton Army had been warring for over one hundred years. Initially they were united as one, purging the world of the armies of the living. Once every living being had been converted to the undead, deep divisions grew in the legions of the undead as they fought to control the planet.
“Sir, we have incoming!” yelled a ghoul soldier right before the static-infused crackling ball of energy hit him, the mortar almost catching him on fire as the anti-energy pulsed through him. His body fell to the ground, a soft, hazy hint of smoke rising up from the body. His death was permanent.
The Sergeant passed angrily in the trench bunker as he fingered through maps and intel reports with grey, rotten fingers. He stopped at one map labeled FRANKENSTEIN LOCATIONS, KNOWN and spread it out on the war-room table. His cracked lips pursed tightly on his cigar as he puffed away on it, hands free, while studying the map’s every detail. Frankenstein was a walking generator; at the start of the war Central Ghoul Command installed a Big Block V-8 engine in the lumbering ghoul’s chest, in addition to covering his massive shoulders with solar panels. Frankenstein was the world’s largest, mobile generator, capable of aiding in combat and self-repair. He was the biggest hero of the war.
“Son of a bitch, if I could get a mobile jenny like that, we might stand a chance,” said the Sergeant to himself, intently starring at the map and cross-referencing it with the map of the bunker’s location. “That bastard is close, too.”
The Sergeant called together his finest men and sent them on a mission to beg Frankenstein’s assistance, since the 8-Foot monstrosity rarely answered radio requests. He knew the intel had to be right, as the skeleton lines wouldn’t be so fortified here unless they were securing a path for something. Word was that something was a mastodon.
There were only a few mastodon skeletons in the world, mostly in old museums frequented by the living, back when they had the planet for themselves and the dead were just oddities. The Skeleton Armies greatest weapon, it seemed, was giant animals. At the Battle of Skull Creek a skeletal blue whale proved to be too much for the ghouls, and not a single fleshy corpse walked away, the giant whale crushing them with its mass, crippling ghoul soldiers until skeleton snipers picked them off one by one.
The aura of the undead was calculated by size. The larger the mass of whatever was reanimated, the more aura it had and the more anti-energy it required to dissipate the psychic force. This made large skeletal creatures the ‘tanks’ of undead warfare.
Frankenstein, lumbering far above your average ghoul, required more anti-energy to take down than a ghoul soldier. This was a combination of size and the fact that he was sown together from multiple bodies, each containing their own aura that stacked on top of the other auras. Frankenstein, essentially, was the ghoul’s version of a tank.
The search team had been dispatched, and the ghoul soldiers remaining in the trenches readied their weaponry. “I think I can see something!” one of them shouted as the Sergeant climbed the watchtower and looked through a scope with his one good eye. Surely enough, on the horizon, formations of skeleton soldiers could be seen marching towards the front lines.
“Look alive gents!” shouted the Sergeant as he ran the outer walls, calling his men to arms and preparing them for defense against the siege.
A distant moan, followed by a faint tremble in the earth, signaled the worst fears of the ghouls – a mastodon was here. Rumored to have been unearthed from the ruins of the Smithsonian, it was probably the last functioning one on the planet. It slowly emerged from the haze of the horizon and appeared to be in the middle of the army, protected on all sides.
A flash of metal about a hundred yards to the east of the skeleton army caused the Sergeant to turn his scope towards the source. If he still had a beating heart, it would have fluttered at the sight of Frankenstein barreling down the field, acting as a moving shield for the Special Forces ghouls behind him.
Frankenstein stormed the skeleton lines, his V-8 engine roaring in his chest, the exhaust flowing out of his mouth in angry black puffs. Fused into his back were four electrical plugs, and blue cords trailed back to the ghoul warriors as they powered up high caliber anti-guns. Frankenstein was continuing to act like a shield, sheltering the men for the small anti-arms fire. The army started to move forward, charging the trenches of the ghoul army.
The towering, stitched ghoul and his team managed to break off an entire unit from the skeleton army, the large caliber guns cutting swaths through their skeletal tanks. Up ahead, the generator in the trench, and its large weaponry, begin to hammer the skeleton army hard from the front, mortars clearing a line of fire to the mastodon.
“Men, fire at the beast, we must take it down!” screamed the Sergeant as a blast of anti-fire screamed through the lines, skewering him in the chest and silencing his orders forever. The men fought on, firing bursts of turret fire into the behemoth, eliciting a bassy moan.
Frankenstein and his men finally caught up to the main fight, and the ghoulish creation grabbed a mastodon leg, ripping it clean off, causing the hulking creature to fall on its rear. Now a stationary target, the mastodon was easy pickings for mortar fire. The skeleton army, now confused, split up, and without their superweapon, either retreated of stormed forward to the lines, meeting their undeath.
With the battle over, the mournful and large ghoul started walking to the west, towards the next battle, without so much as a goodbye. The men watched, red helmets held over their unbeating hearts in salute, as the creature moved on, a walking generator and hero of the ghoul army.

DAVID ANDERSON lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona. His work has appeared in Surreal Grotesque's online magazine, and other ezines like Bizarro Central, Garden Gnome Pulbications, and The Rot Gut County Blog. He can be found in print in 50 Secret Tales of the Whispering Gash: A Queefrotica and Witch!, an anthology from Dynatox Ministries. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bangkok Gunfighter Without Pointless Huck Finn by Alex S. Johnson (Random Title #7)

Of all the trifling and useless monikers fobbed on Larry Dumpkins in the past, Bangkok Gunfighter was perhaps the most serviceable. After all, he had been to Bangkok—once, on vacation, where he narrowly escaped evisceration by Buddhist demons—and although his gunfighting days were over, his hand was steady and still capable of squeezing off a shot, should such a thing be called for.  Larry’s life in retirement might have been perfect, managing a comic book store in the hip downtown area of Bone City known as SoNoe, had he not been saddled with Pointless Huck Finn.

Pointless Huck Finn announced his presence one slow Friday afternoon when Larry was about to close the shop and return to his dragon bong and collection of rare circus punks featuring characters from Peter Bagge’s Hate. Larry loved to set the circus punks up on top of his broken black and white TV set and topple them with a slingshot. His favorite target was George, the quasi-autistic African-American with a fluffy lion’s mane; he could imagine George’s screams of outrage as he flew off the TV, over and over. Larry was checking the day’s take against cash register receipts when Pointless Huck Finn charged through the door, demanding to see Larry’s famous trove of “Dirty Little Eight Pagers,” early porno comics from the Depression era.

“Seriously?” said Larry, taking his time with the receipts.

Pointless Huck Finn poked him in the chest with a pudgy, nicotine-stained forefinger. “Do you have them or not? My buddy Today’s Tom Sawyer tells me you’ve got a choice stash in the back rom and I’m not leaving until I see them. Your sign says ‘Open till 10:00 pm.’ I hope you’re not thinking of closing early.”

“Wow,” said Larry. “Okay, I can show you the books, but lighten up, okay? It’s my store, after all.” Larry’s irritation at Pointless Huck Finn’s manners was salved by the knowledge that should his customer grow tiresome, he could easily blow the man-child’s brains out the back of his head. He felt the police .357 grow warm in its shoulder holster, where he kept it for just such an occasion.

“Follow me,” said Larry. He led Pointless Huck Finn through a door marked “Private” to a store room crammed floor to ceiling with cardboard boxes neatly labeled by genre, age and price range with a felt tip pen. “Third from the bottom,” he said, pointing to a stack against the west-facing wall. “Knock yourself out. I’ve even got some prime Betty Boops in there.”

Pointless Huck Finn looked at him incredulously. “I’ve got a bad back,” he said. 

Larry shrugged. “And?”

“And those boxes look heavy.”

“I’m keeping the store open just for you, I showed you the box. Now you want me to drag it out for you?”

“Okay, fine,” said Pointless Huck Finn. “Today’s Tom Sawyer told me you were kind of a dick.” He fished a cell phone out of his pocket and punched redial. “Yeah, hi, it’s me. Pointless.  You were right about the Eight Pagers, and you were also right about the manager. Can you come down and help me out? Becky Thatcher? Are you still hung up on that little cock-tease? Oh, all right. You had me worried there for a second, dude. Uh-huh. I need some, uh, assistance with the merchandise. Ok, see you.”

“What was that all about?” said Larry, fingering the grip on the .357.

Without answering, Pointless Huck Finn sank to the floor, picked up a copy of The Hulk lying on top of a nearby box and began listlessly thumbing through the comic. Five minutes passed, then the door bell rang.

“You should probably get that,” said Pointless Huck Finn.

“You think?” asked Larry. He shook his head. Sarcasm apparently had no effect on the dude. He returned to the front of the store and opened the door. A tall, gangly man in his early 20’s flew past him, exhaling the odor of burnt corn silk. “Whoa, not so fast there, pal,” he said. But Today’s Tom Sawyer had already joined Pointless Huck Finn in the store room where, with many grunts and sighs, he commenced removing the boxes that stood above “1930’s—Eight Pagers.”

“If it’s not too much to ask, do you think you might re-stack those boxes once you’re finished?” asked Larry. The two ignored him. Finally, Today’s Tom Sawyer lugged the box with the Depression-era porn comics across the floor. Huck and Tom began rooting through it, tossing books until they came to “Betty Boop Does Ming the Merciless.”

“Sweet!” said Huck, whistling through his teeth. “Oh Betty, you naughty, dirty minx, you.” He pressed the book to his lips.

“You going to buy that?” asked Larry. “Fifty bucks. And I’m taking a loss here.”

Today’s Tom Sawyer suddenly rose from the floor, pulled Larry to his chest and began vigorously sniffing him. “Huck has his pleasures,” said Tom. “I have mine. Oh yeah, that’s the primo bio-snuff.”

“Got a good hit?” asked Huck.

“Hells yeah!” said Huck, relinquishing his grip on Larry. Larry fell back, dazed. He felt as though his life essence had been sucked. “What the fuck did you just do to me?” he asked, barely able to articulate the question.

“Today’s Tom Sawyer, he gets high on you,” said Pointless Huck Finn. “Okay, I’ll take the book.” He pulled a wad of cash from his jeans pocket and placed it in Larry’s limp hands.

Larry watched as Pointless Huck Finn exited the store. Today’s Tom Sawyer slid down beside him, a blissful grin on his face. “Since I started doing bio-snuff, my sex drive is less than zero,” he said. “Hey, I’m really sorry about all this, man. Huck hasn’t been the same since he lit out for the territories. When he came back, all he could talk about was vintage porno comics. Me, I’ve been a happy camper since I learned how to get high on people. It’s the greatest drug in the world. Don’t worry, you’ll recharge fully in about an hour or so.”

“It’s all good,” said Larry. Thoroughly drained, he was also past caring. “You’re all right, dude.”

“Thanks,” said Today’s Tom Sawyer. “And here you are, my new friend. The Bangkok Gunfighter without Pointless Huck Finn. You want a hit off of me now?”

 “Why fucking not?” said the Bangkok Gunfighter.  “Why fucking not.”


Alex S. Johnson is the author of several books, of which the most recent is Wicked Candy, a horror story collection called "shocking, perverse and funny as hell" by Queen of Erotic Horror, Lucy Taylor. He currently resides in Sacramento, California, where he tends an assortment of circus punks and foam popsicles and occasionally churns out some weird prose.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hell Block by G. Arthur Brown (Random Title #6)

You scan the shelves at the back of the Waltonbauer’s for a simple, cheap solution to what ails. Ricky had told you that you could find something there to help with your pitiable condition.

You had always considered yourself smart, and, DAMMIT, you are smart. That doesn’t mean you had not been up to a particularly damnable level of folly. Dating the daughter of gypsies is always a tricky avocation. So what--she found a red hair in your underwear? It could have come from literally anywhere. It didn’t have to be semen gluing it there, either. It could have just been a random hair that floated through the air and down into your crotch, glued there by snot that you accidentally spat inside your drawers when you were on the toilet. But she jumped to conclusions, and she happened to be right, and she said that her mother could see it all in a crystal ball and that her father was good with knives. But if her mother had seen it in a crystal ball, then why did she think the red hair belonged to a cis female and not a transsexual? Gypsies don’t know everything. And luckily for you, her father died in a tragic roofing accident shortly after she found that little scarlet traitor hiding in the fabric of your tighty-whiteys. Weird part is: he wasn’t even a roofer. And since he would not be there to slice you bow to stern, her mom put some kind of curse on you.

You ran to Ricky, and he had some great weed, and you guys smoked it and you sat in his Green Room for like an hour. He calls it the Green Room because the whole thing is lighted by weird fish tanks containing no actual fish but plenty of algae. When you get really high, you can totally imagine you are in a low budget sci-fi horror movie from the early 70s. It’s so dim that your vision actually seems grainy like cheap film stock. And sometimes you imagine that clumps of the green slime are moving, coming to life, developing appetites that might give them cause to exit their watery prisons and seek out blood-filled flesh on land. Kind of like a low budget sci-fi horror movie from the early 70s. But where were we?

You got high and you told Ricky your woes. And as he always does, he offered you the solution to your problem. And as you always do, you wrote it down on a slip of paper torn from mail that was probably very important. And as it always is, your handwriting was barely legible, so now you are standing in a drug store, gaze locked on various products intended to cure supernatural maladies. One claims to treat lycanthropy, another is specifically for “witch tit,” whatever that means.

So, you bite the bullet and ask a girl who works there.

“Um, hi. Do you have something called… Heil Black?”

“No, we have no such thing as Heil Black,” she says, not looking up from the box of alien pregnancy tests she’s merchandising.

“Oh, shoot. My friend told me I could get it here.”

“Lucky for you,” she says, looking at you with bright eyes, “we do have Hell Block, a fine product to alleviate damnation by voodoo, gypsy curse, Lord’s name in vain, and many other causes.” She points to the product on the shelf. It comes in a weird bright red box with pictures of cartoon devils all over it.

You pick it up and look for any signs indicating how it actually works. “Is it effective?” you ask her.

“Can’t really say. No one ever comes back from the grave to let us know if they escaped Hell or not.”

“It’s only $3.99. That seems cheap.”

“I got this pen for free,” she says, pulling it from atop her ear, “and it works.”

You frown. “But eventually, you know, that ink is going to run out.”

“Not really a glass-is-half-full kinda guy, are you?” she asks.

“My glass is half full of poison. Does that make me a pessimist or an optimist?”

“I hope it makes you an optometrist, because I really need some new glasses.”

Of course, you are an optometrist. How could she know that? You look into her eyes. Her glasses are a bit out of date. They aren’t too huge for her face, which is how you know they are at least five years old. But even so, you can see beauty in those pale green eyes and you are in love.

Luckily, she turns out to be a tranny, and the two of you live happily ever after. Until you die and go to Hell, because all those kind of products are totally bogus. You shouldn’t waste your money.