Monday, 30 August 2010

Review of Lucky Stiff by Tonia Brown (Explicit Content and Language)

Well, what can I say about Lucky Stiff! This book had me roaring with laughter, biting my lip in tears and almost all the way through it trying to force myself NOT to read the book with one hand! Tonia Brown is an amazing writer of horrotica. Her ability to make each and every scene something new and unique is amazing, afterall there is only so many words you can use for the male and female genitalia!

The story begins with young Peter Lyles visiting New Orleans with his friends for spring break. But of course he isn't into the partying his scene much to his friends despair. After studying hard, all Peter wants to do is rest, relax and enjoy the scenery. But for some reason he cannot seem to switch off and rest. Stupidly, he accepts what he thinks are sleeping pills off one of his friends and winds up dead. Of course you would think that was where the story ends. But you are so mistaken. This is where the story begins.

Peter's friends drag his body to the house of a mystery voodoo witch where she is able to bring his body back. But there is a catch. He an only come back as a zombie. But no ordinary zombie. He is still looks and acts relatively human.

After saying goodbye to his friends and telling his mom and dad he won't be going back to school or coming home for a while, Peter lives with the voodoo witch, Madame Sangrail where she teaches him how to stop himself from eating human flesh like the M.O of a zombie. The only way for him to do this is to feed off the light given off when a woman orgasms. Madam Sangrail teaches him all kinds of things until it is time for him to leave the nest and go out into the world, and even make a visit back home to see his mom and dad. This he does, but things don't go so well.

Peter travels the world, shagging his way through the female population to feed his hunger, and meets a whole load of people. He even works for an escort agency and his new Madam, Niki, advertises his services as a vampire escort. He uses a range of medical conditions to explain his features, one of which is a constant erection and the inability to come.

I loved this book. At times, I wondered whether the sex was over-done as there was a sex act on almost every page, but the rest of the story balanced it out well and Tonia's ability to take it from the boring x goes into y, made it a much more interesting read.

I have never really been into zombie stories, but this mix match of zombies, love, hate, sex and rivalry and betrayal was exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed joining Peter on his journey to sexual enlightenment.

There really is only one word to describe this book and that is H.O.T. Trust me, once you start this story, you better cancel all dates, unhook the phone and turn off the TV. You are in for one hell of a ride and you will not want to put this book down until you have ridden Peter all the way. Let him take you to the brink, let him dangle you there while you scream his name and let him FUCK the living daylight out of you!

Review of Whispers of a Witch by Suza Kates

Whispers of a Witch is an enchanting tale of mystery, adventure and sexual awakening. The tale of Shauni, a young woman with the ability to talk to animals, takes us on a path of enlightenment where Shauni's life will change forever.

The story begins with nine young women suddenly sensing the need to pack up everything and move to the beautiful Savannah, but why, they do not know. It is a calling and they all must answer it. Shauni is one of them and takes her cat – who she can communicate with – along for the ride. It turns out that when all of the women come together, they all own cats and their names are unusually meaningful. The nine women are confronted with another young woman named Anna and are taken to a large secluded house where they are told why they have come together and what they must do.

Amongst the madness and the magic, Shauni manages to find love. The delicious Michael. And we know that he is delicious because Kates describes him in so much detail, you can feel your eyes glazing over and your heart pumping faster when he enters the scene. Even with all of her secrets, Michael wants her and will do anything to have her. But he too has his own secret and will eventually use it in a bid to save Shauni's life and inadvertently put his own in danger.

Kates has a remarkable way of expressing every little detail throughout the book. She concentrates on painting a picture so vivid, that the reader can almost smell th fresh air and feel the wind on their face. Her ability to make the readers read the words like they are playing out like a movie in front of their eyes.

I really enjoyed living Shauni's adventure with her and sharing her thoughts and feelings about her new life. And when things get hot and heavy with her new found love, well, lets just say I could not put the book down. I enjoyed the underlying tone of this book too. The fact that despite everything that is tossed in front of you, love and understanding can conquer all in the end. Even if there are bumps a long the way, fate will find a way for two people to come together.

I look forward to reading the next instalment of this enchanting tale and more from this wonderfully talented writer. If you are going to pick up a book this week, then let it be, Whispers of a Witch. This is one book that you can snuggle up with by the fire.

Exciting, enthralling and at times erotic, you will surely not want to put down Whispers of a Witch. Suza Kates is an upcoming name to look out for.

Inteview with Suza Kates, Author of 'Whispers of a Witch'

Suza Kates was born in Jacksonville, Alabama, the youngest of five children. Growing up surrounded by siblings and parents who were bookworms, she naturally developed a love for the written word. She attended Jacksonville State University, majoring in English and biology.
After receiving her degree, Suza pursued a lifelong dream to live abroad, teaching English to students from various countries. A long, cold, German winter caused her to pick up the pen and begin writing. Then she was hooked.
Upon her return home to the States, she taught at a local community college while going back to school herself for a degree in nursing. During the few hours that remained between classes, clinicals, and studying, she worked on her novel, She Who Is Hidden. This book opened the door to a world of romance fueled by history, adventure, and peril that developed into the She Trilogy.
Shortly after graduating, Suza moved to Savannah, Georgia. It is there among the moss-covered oaks and whispered secrets that she continues to find inspiration for The Savannah Coven Series and the various kinds of trouble her witches seem to conjure.

Welcome Suza to my House of Horror, probably a little different to your other interview locations huh?

Different, yes, but I feel right at home. I was a horror fan long before I discovered romance. The first movie I ever saw was “Bambi.” The second was “Jaws.” I’ve been warped ever since. Halloween is THE holiday, so…thanks for the change in venue!

Now, this book was vey forthcoming with details of the craft. Are you in fact a fellow Wiccan?

I don’t practice Wicca but have a great deal of respect for the basis of the craft. I embrace many of the same ideals in my life and find some similarities between Wicca and Native American customs. Having said that, I am fascinated by the idea of potions and spells and would love to find a little power in myself someday. Who wouldn’t?

Tell us a little about the book

“Whisper of a Witch” is the first of book of the series, so it introduces us to the coven as well as telling Shauni’s story. The nine women that make up the coven find themselves pulled to an island off the coast in Savannah, Georgia. There they discover something about themselves and a prophecy they are meant to fulfill. Oh, and there are a few “hot points” (as my mother calls them) between the hero and heroine, just to spice things up a bit.

What were your inspirations behind writing "Whisper of a Witch"?

I’ve always wanted to write a book about witches, and the opportunity presented itself after I moved to Savannah. The scenery here is gorgeous and mysterious, the perfect setting for my witches! The idea of a group of women banding together to fight evil surrounded by a rich, southern background seemed delicious, and I can hardly wait to start plotting each witch’s story!

I hear that there will be a sequel out next year. Can you tell us anything about this one and will it follow the trait of being centred on one member of the coven.

Yes, it will be another witch’s time to play her part, though I can’t tell you who it will be! I’ve gotten a great reaction to the coven, and some readers have written in asking for a certain woman to be next. I love these witches, and I’m so glad others do, too.

How long have you been writing for?

Technically for about nine years, but seriously writing for three. Something clicked inside me, and I realized I wanted to write full time. I’m not there, yet, but the response to “Whisper of a Witch” is very encouraging. My dream life is waking up every day to make coffee, fire up the computer, and have a cat in my lap as I write the next book.

Tell us about any other projects you have coming up or in the works.

“Conviction of a Witch” will be out in February of 2011, but a couple of other projects are slated for this fall. My first romantic suspense titled “She Who is Hidden” involves some history, adventure, riddles, and, of course, hot romance! I just found out another of my books will be released in e-book format in September. “Hallowed Eve” is also a romantic suspense and will be out just in time for Halloween. It definitely satisfies my horror addiction. Mua ha ha!

If you were to have a fantasy dinner party, who would be your guests - living or dead - and why?

Ooh. Fun question. Of the dead, I would pick River Phoenix, because he was just gone too soon. I would also love to have Joan of Arc, because c’mon, how cool was she? Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Isaac Newton because they are both supposed to be ancestors of mine. I’d like to know if that’s true or not. : )
In the world of the living, I would have M. Night Shyamalan. I love his twisted mind! Nora Roberts, to ask her how she writes so fast. And if I can play a little with this fantasy, I’d like to have Eric Northman from True Blood, because…well, isn’t it obvious?

Do you have any inspirational words of wisdom for those seeking to become a better writer to trying to get published?

Absolutely. Go to writer’s conferences and join a critique group, but try to stay in your genre. I have found that a sci-fi writer does not always understand romance, just as a romance writer might want to soften up a horror novel. Other writers in your genre will know the market you’re writing for and give more valuable feedback.
A new author might also want to submit shorter works to e-book publishers. Be open, and don’t hoard your works for that “big break.” Small presses are a great way to get started, and any editorial advice is worth its weight in gold. (Oops. That was a cliché.) Plus, it will get an author’s name out there and the sooner the better.
Words of wisdom? I tend to be a little bit of a rule breaker, so I would tell authors to write to please their readers, not agents and editors. If the story is there, the readers will be, too.

Thank you so much for being here today, Suza. Just because I like you, I am going to give you a free pass out of here. Just take this bag of past guests brains and throw it at the zombies as you near the door. If they get you, it ain’t my fault! Any final words?

If I don’t make it out of here, make sure someone feeds my cats!

Inteview with Kevin Wallis Author of 'Beneath the Surface of Things'

Kevin, welcome to my House of Horror, how are you? Here have a glass of red wine. . . or at least, I think it's wine. . .

Hmm, I'm more of a beer drinker . . . Less bodily fluids to confuse beer with. Well, I guess that's not true.

So, you have a book out now, Beneath the Surface of Things. Please tell us a little about it.

It comes out September 1st through Bards and Sages Publishing. It's 25 stories of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, woth a humor piece thrown in for grins. It's gotten some good, positive reviews so far: Gary Braunbeck said, "An impressive, often unnerving, and always gutsy collection . . . showcases Wallis' determination to break through the so-called boundaries of dark fiction . . ." Bailey Hunter from Dark Recesses Press said, ". . . a vivid tapestry of horrific prose. While the stories seem to have an underlying theme of human condition, they are anything but common. This collection runs the gamut of the classic cool creep to the more visceral and gut-wrenching."

It's been a long time in the making, from the writing to editing to finding a publisher, so I'm very excited about it, and I hope it's a springboard to bigger and better things. I've always wanted to be a major league catcher, so maybe this will help.

You also work as an editor for Liquid Imagination Publishing, I see. I can imagine that takes its toll on your spare time. How do you manage your own writing with that of being an editor and also your personal time?

I usually let the submissions from Liquid Imagination build up until I can't ignore them any longer, then I spend a few days ignoring my own writing and strictly going through the LI stories. It wirks good for now, but when Liquid Imagination blows up and takes over the online literary world, I'll probably need to hire some help.

You're a family man with a wife and three children. What do they think about what you're doing?

Ha. They're extremely supportive and proud of me, but my wife does not understand, appreciate, or have any need for anything horror-related. I think the Amityville Horror traumatized her as a kid, and I'm paying for it now. But, her dislike for scary stuff just makes her support of what I do that much more special to me.

As for my kids, they understand that they won't be able to read most of my stories for another decade or so. I write stories specifically for them, though, so it evens out. (One of the stories I wrote for them, and starring them too, is being published in Yarns For Our Youths by Static Movement soon.)

What other genres do you write?

I still write mostly horror, but I like the more subtle scares. I don't write blood and guts stuff. That's boring to me. I still try to keep it about the characters rather than the scare.

I write sci-fi occasionally if the plot calls for a setting like this, but I'm not smart or tech-savvy enough to pull it off usually. And there are several stories in my book that aren't horror or sci-fi at all, but more mainstream and personal stories that don't fit nicely into a specific genre.

Tell us about any other projects you have coming up or in the works.

I finally started my first novel, after saying I'm gonna do it for ten years now. Hopefully it'll help attract an agent, which is the next step in my writing goal flowsheet.

What were your inspirations for writing this collection?

Every story was inspired by something different. I actually include a short explanation after each story stating what inspired me to write that particular story.

I grew up reading King, Barker, Lovecraft, Poe and the like, so I guess much of my writing is directly inspired by the masters, especially Lovecraft.

When did you first begin writing and at what moment did you realise that it was what you wanted to do most in life?

I've been writing since I was a kid, although not many people knew I was doing it. After getting a couple stories in my high school fiction magazine (man, those stories were bad), I didn't write much until after college. Maintaining my stellar B and C average just didn't allow for the time.

I finally got serious about it about 3 years ago. I never thought I'd even get one story published, but after having a modicum of success these past few years, I want more and more - score an agent, publish a novel, become the starting catcher for my Houston Astros . . .

Do you have any words of wisdom for those seeking advice from a pro?

This sounds cliche, but just don't quit. Take every rejection and turn it into a lesson to improve your writing. Study the craft, don't ever take rejection personally, and put in the hours. Too many aspiring writers want success but aren't willing to put in the hard work to achieve it.

Thank you so much for being here Kevin, I was beginning to wonder what I could feed to the zombie girls. Do you have any last words before I let them loose on you?

I have 23. Thanks for the time. I hope people enjoy my book. And next time feed me some O+. O- goes straight to my thighs.

Run Kevin, run for your life! It makes your meat taste better mwah ha ha ha ha!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

A Pint of Bloody Fiction closed to submissions. ToC's announced

“200 Words” Neil Leckman

“Pistol Whipped” Dave Rex

“The Blade Bites Deep” Stanley Riiks

“Insomnia” Pat Lewis-Bussard

“The Toy” Charlotte Emma Gledson

“Jilted” Brian Barnett

“I love my Job” Gary McKenzie

“Jars” Neil Leckman

“Crimson” Meagan Elizabeth Hightower

“The Worse Thing I Ever Did” Jason M. Tucker

“The Yearning” Sara Saint John

"A Woman of Taste” Angel Zapata

“The Idol” Terence Kuch

“Ladies Man” Pat Lewis-Bussard

“Library Of Souls” Neil Leckman

“Night Song” B.A. Sans

“Home Movies” Kevin L. Jones

“Salvation” Gary McKenzie

“Rorschach's Vampire” Jason M. Tucker

“The Door” Adam Francis Smith

“The Devil's Quest” S.E.COX

“Instruments of Torture” Flo Stanton

“Spiders” Neil Leckman

“The Lady or the Vampire” Ken L. Jones

“The Shoot” Brian Rosenberger

“Funeral at Louisiana Bayou” Theresa C. Newbill

“The Winner” Gayle Arrowood

“Water's Pity” Chris Keaton

“Little Nikita” S.E.COX

“Down a Hole” Gary McKenzie

“Gift Wrap” Neil Leckman

“In the Moment” Nandy Ekle

“The Good Husband” Christina Hugh

“Bellies Bucket” AJ Brown

“Faceless” Nate Burleigh

“Shard” Brandon L. Rucker

“Jack” Francis W. Alexander

“Three Degrees of Freedom” Theresa C. Newbill

“Lost Connection” Neil Leckman

Anthology Call ~ Tales of a Woman Scorned

Tales of a Woman Scorned.jpg

Tales of a Woman Scorned

This anthology will be a collection of all those stories of what women will do to get what they want. From bunny boilers, to black widows, we want to read your darkest stories about these psychotic women.

Story Guidelines

We are looking for stories of between 2000-5000 words. Reprints are welcome as long as you have permission to sell your story again.

Submission Guidelines

All submissions should be pasted into the body of an email. We do this simply to keep out any computer viruses as the editor’s laptops and computers are most precious to us, and also it makes for an easy transfer from editor to editor without constantly having to download an attachment. Anyone who sends us an attachment will not be read and their submission will automatically be deleted without notification.

Please only send one submission at a time. This means no multiple submissions. By all means, if we reject a story, then send us another – this goes for the poets too –one submission only! Simultaneous submissions are OK as long as you let us know if it has been accepted elsewhere whilst sat in our queue.

Put “Tales of a woman scorned/title/wordcount” in the subject line and send all submissions to and please be aware that your submissions may be shipped around for second or third opinions.

Please note that anyone who is a friend of the editor or from another publication/eZine etc, their work will be stripped of identity and sent to another editor for reading. I do not want to be biased when reading for this anthology. Theoretically as Editor in Chief, I will have the final say, but I will take into consideration the comments and notes from the other editors before making my decision.

Please format your submission with the following:

12pt Times New Roman – no other font please. Single spaced with a 2cm paragraph indentation. No returns after paragraphs. Mark scene breaks with three stars with two spaces between each one e.g. * * *

All em dashes – must be true hyphens – with no spaces between words. Sentences in Italics should be in italics, not underlined.

In the body of an email before your submission, please introduce yourself, maybe tell us a little about the story – we like to hear about writers that submit to us, not a lot of publications do, but we want to get to know our writers and also include an interesting bio of 100-200 words. Please make your bio’s interesting. We do not want a reel off of publications and websites, pick your favourite three and keep it at that.

Open to submissions now and closed when full. We’re looking for about 30 stories for this fun anthology so get yours in as soon as you can. Expect to be put on a short-list or a rejection. Acceptances will be given out when we have all chosen stories.

Expected Publication date:

Mid to late Octopber 2010


We offer $5 per story and $3 per poem, Also we have a contributor's royalty scheme. Upon publication, each contributor will choose their own reference number. Any books bought quoting their unique reference number, said contributor will recieve a further $5 or $3 via paypal depending on whether they had a story or poem published. There is no limit to how many books you can sell quoting your reference number, the more books that you sell, the more money you make.


We are also looking for some plain black and white sketches to open the anthology - just two or three. If you would like to submit any sketches in keeping with the theme of the anthology then please use the same channels as story subs. All pieces accepted will receive $5 per sketch.

Have fun writing and I look forward to reading all of your stories!

~ S.E.COX – Editor in Chief, House of Horror

Saturday, 21 August 2010

House of Horror's Halloween Special Submissions Call

Issue #17 out October 30th is our special Halloween edition. We are advertising now so you have plenty of time to get those subs in. Please see the regular guidelines at on how to submit but we are looking for erotic horror, graveyard stories and good old fashioned ghost stories that are all centred on Halloween. Also looking for artists and photographers to submit their work to showcase.

Again, please check the guidelines.

Don't forget, any stories accepted by House of Horror from now until December, stand a chance of being chosen for the House of Horror best of 2010 Anthology

Monday, 16 August 2010

House of Horror to Beat Last Years Children in Need Pledge!

Last year, House of Horror pledged £100 worth of donations from contributors, friends and fans. This year, we want to beat that. Even if it is just $1 if 300 of my 1000 friends on Facebook alone donate then we will have already smashed it. Please share this post with everyone you know and please pledge a dollar towards Children in Need.

Children in Need is a big charity run night on TV that runs from 7pm to 2am here in the UK. It also runs in communities such as schools and churches, fates and festivals a couple of weeks before and after the show.

I am donating £1 from every book that is sold so plase also grab one of our fab anthologies!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Pandora's Apothecary Anthology Submissions Call

Pandora's Apothecary

What we are looking for:

Six stories of 5000 words or more about doing something, going somewhere or opening something that you know you shouldn't. These stories should be about curiosity taking over even though you know that it will unleash all kinds of terrors. The premise behind the anthology is that each story is the contents of a sealed jar in Pandora's apothecary.

How we want it:

Please paste submissions into the body of an email and send to Text should be Times New Roman 12pt single spaced, all paragraphs indented and no gap between paragraphs. Scene breaks should be represented by three * * * with two spaces between each asterisk.

Please also provide us with your real name, byline and Paypal information within the body of the email.

Reprints, Multiple ans Simultaneous submissions:

We will not accept any of these for this anthology. We want brand new stories – never before seen. We also do not want to be messed around with losing stories because they were submitted elsewhere. Please submit to House of Horror and only us. Please send just one story to this anthology. Should we reject your story then please feel free to send us another one – not before.


We are purchasing first world rights for a period of six months after publication. After which, all rights will be returned to you. Once rights are returned, you are the free to submit your story as a reprint elsewhere, but we ask that you mention that it was published first in Pandora's Apothecary.


We are offering $15 per story paid upon publication via Paypal only. Make sure your Paypal information is included in your submission.

Please note, no payment will be made without the signing of the contract.


We aim to have this anthology out before Xmas which means leaving the editors with at least a month for editing and formatting. With this in mind we have set the deadline at no later than October 31st. That being said, we also hold the right to bring the deadline forward if we think that we have our six stories.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The FINAL round of the House of Horror Writing Duel

As the crowd are getting more and more anxious, shuffling in their seats and straining their necks to see, Dragon Queen stands in the arena, patiently waiting for her next contender. She smiles smugly to herself, knowing that one contender has already backed out, terrified of losing to this ferocious female warrior. And now she stands and waits for her new contender to step out into the arena.

Suddenly a dwarf, caped in a dark gown runs from the opponents cage and up the steps to where the House Madame sits on her throne of bones. Silence falls upon the crowd as the dwarf whispers something into the House Madame's ear.

The House Madame stands and raises a hand into the air. Dragon Queen kneels.

"It would appear that not only one, but two contenders have refused to battle against the mighty Dragon Queen!"

A loud uproar travels through the crowd. Boos and hisses spread through the stalls, disappointment among them knowing that there are no more contenders.

"Silence!" The House Madame Shouts. "We shall have one, more, duel!"

The crowd rise, clapping, stomping their feet and cheering loudly.

"We shall bring two back from the dead for one last duel. The two contenders with the highest wins shall have one more chance. If they succeed they shall become immortal."

Dragon Queen stands, a look of bewilderment on her face.

The House Madame points her outstretched finger and a flash of light fills the arean. Two figures rise from the light and stand tall in front of Dragon Queen.

"Dwight the Fright and Jayradikill. You both have had the most wins before you were defeated. Now is your chance to prove to me how much of a warrior you really are. The three of you will do battle to the death. The last one standing will be the winner. Good luck to you all. . ."


Jayradikill, Dwight the Fright and Dragon Queen. This is the final round. You have all be assigned a creature. For this last round you must write a story about this battle using the three creatures I have assined you to. You must write as if you are the winner. Any narrative, any tense. 1500 words. You have one week. Stories must be emailed to me by August 12th. Readers choose the winner.

The winner shall receive a copy of The Duel Anthology, a House of Horror t-shirt, a choice of three other House of Horror Anthologies, also a Winner of The Duel certificate that will be emailed to you.

Both runners up will receive one free copy of The Duel Anthology and one PDF of any of House of Horror's Anthologies.

Assigned Creatures.

Dwight - Werewolf
Jayradikill - Zombie
Dragon Queen - Vampire



The Final Battle - Dragon Queen

I step back, shedding my cloak. The silver on my dagger and belt, sparkles in the torch light. “Well Gentlemen? Are you man enough to take on an unarmed woman?”

“You’re not unarmed. I can smell what you are.” Dwight growls.

“And either you haven’t bathed since you were defeated or you’re as much a pure Human as I.” Leaping into the air, I somersault over the top of him, faster than most of the crowd can follow. “Of course, I haven’t been Human for a long, long time now.”

Dwight spins and as he takes a swipe at me, I dance backward. “Stand still, Bloodsucker!”

Laughing, I evade every attack with flair, drawing on my martial arts and gymnastics training to make Dwight look as clumsy as possible.

The crowd cheers as I lead him in a circle around Jayradikill who hasn’t moved or said anything since the start of the duel. Curious, I move in close to the silent man. “Jayradikill?” He raises his head and the stench from his breath almost knocks me out; I back away. He groans and reaches toward me.

Dwight skids to a stop in front of me, focused on attacking me and not noticing that Jayradikill has started to shuffle softly forward. “I’ve got you now, bitch.”

Either it’s a trick of the light, or he’s starting to change… I glance around, trying to plan my next move. …Huh? We’re not in the arena

The cheering crowd and slimy dungeon walls have vanished. Around us lie gravestones of varying antiquity, long grass sheathing most of them. The cemetery is surrounded by a forest, conifers scenting the evening air and moss draped oaks cast eerie shadows as the last of the
sunset vanishes behind the trees.

Taking advantage of my distraction, Dwight lunges at me.

Thank Caine I jumped out of reflex. I thought hovering in mid air, about six foot above the two males.

“Get down here you-ooooo!” Dwight howls in frustration.

“If I were you, wolfman, I would get away from Jayradikill or he’ll start carving you up for lunch.” I call back, wafting myself a little

Dwight jumps, trying to grab hold of my feet; as he comes back down Jayradikill grabs hold of Dwight’s shirt. “Huh? What the…” he pullsaway and his shirt rips like paper in Jayradikill’s grip.

Stumbling, Dwight scrambles over a gravestone. In the twilight, Jayradikill looks up at me and flails his arms. “Geeeeerrrraaagh.”

“Sweet Denmother! He’s a Zombie.” Dwight heads toward a large mausoleum, climbing up onto the roof. He perches there, glaring down at the drooling Undead attempting to climb up. “Must have been out too long to be brought back to being Human properly.”

Resting on another tomb, I listen to the rasping gurgling of Jayradikill’s breathing and look up. High thin clouds scud across the sky and a faint white glow on the eastern horizon suggests the moon is
about to rise.

Running swiftly through the spells I can use, I realise I am too low on blood to do much yet. While Dwight is busy trying to crush
Jayradikill with pieces of the tomb he is sat on, I slip into the
forest, moving softly over the twig littered ground.

“There has to be a large animal around here somewhere I can feed from.” Using what is left of my last feed and stopping my breathing, I cast out an Ethereal net. Dwight shows up immediately, some three hundred metres behind me. I’m not feeding from him. I shudder and cast it again. The shape of a deer, about fifty metres to my left shows up; I begin my Hunt.

* * *

“Wheeeeree sheee gooaarrn?” Jayradikill looks around.

Dwight hefts the stone he has, aware that the moon has risen and he is minutes away from changing. “You can still talk? I didn’t think Zombies had enough brains for that.”

“Brrrraaaiiinnns!” Jayradikill moans and starts trying to climb again.

“Looks like I was wrong.” Dwight shrugs and drops the stone onto the zombie, sending half the creature’s face splattering across the grass.

“Aaarrrrggggh!” Jayradikill shuffles backward out of range.

Dwight glances up at the sky. The clouds have gathered high up and the wind has dropped. The stench of the rotting human below him fills his nose and he coughs. “Phwargh! I have got to get rid of you, Undead.”

“ooogh iiigh eiiigh geehh ooo fffiirrss.” The zombie has shambled around behind him and is slowly scrambling up the ruined back wall of
the tomb.

Dwight jumps off the tomb and runs through the tall grass toward the Chapel at the edge of the cemetery; the Zombie follows him. Half way across the full moon emerges from the clouds. “No! Not… now.” he gasps, dropping to the ground, writhing with pain, unable to move much

“Goooghh ooo nnooow.” Jayradikill speeds up, obviously hoping to get the werewolf while he is vulnerable.

“That’s not particularly sporting.” I call down from my perch on the Chapel roof.

“Waaggh ooo dooinnngg abbboo ittttgh” Jayradikill spits several teeth out in a spray of blood as Dwight manages to kick him across his ruined face.

“Well, I could let you kill him, then dismember you.” I raise one hand and whisper a bloodspell. A shaft of light appears and solidifies into a transparent sword. “But then you would come after me, so …” Taking the sword I launch myself over the prone, writhing form of the part changed werewolf and slice one arm from the zombie’s body.

Jayradikill stumbles backward and I turn on one heel behind him, removing the other arm. Blood and mucus spray across the grass, dripping down nearby gravestones and matting Dwight’s fur as he
scrambles away, panting, from Jayradikill.

Ignoring the weakened werewolf for a few seconds longer, I somersault over the armless zombie, spin in front of him and slice a leg off.

Jayradikill balances on one leg. “ooo ‘ooootttennngh ammmppiiirrrghh!”

“Speak for yourself!” I continue the motion through his other leg. His torso thumps onto the earth as I stand up, flicking gore away. “Any last words?”

“Bbbiiigggtttccchh!” Jayradikill swears at me and I can see his body parts starting to inch their way back towards the torso.

“Oh, no you don’t!” with one last swipe, I cut the thing’s head from the body and mutter another bloodspell. Blue flames flare up around each part and I have to step back from the heat. “That should deal with him.” I mutter and raising my sword, I look around for Dwight.

A rank, animalistic scent tickles my nose and I sneeze, just moments before the werewolf lands on my back, knocking the sword out of my hand.

“Gotcha, Bloodsucker!” Dwight snarls into my ear. “Thanks for the help, but you just signed your own death warrant.”

I step forward. “Just because you’re on my back, doesn’t mean… you’re… going to…stay… there!”

Grabbing his paws with both hands, I bow low, sending the massive rug-like animal flying over my head and into the side of the chapel. A crack appears in the mortar holding the stones together and there’s a creak; a few slates fall from the roof, smashing on the gravestones around Dwight.

I feel at my belt as the walking wolfpelt scrambles up; my fingers find what I am looking for. “You won’t get the better of me, Animal.” Spinning, my silver dagger flies from my fingers, thudding hilt deep into Dwight’s chest.

He laughs and pulls it out, a stream of blood following it. “Nice try, but you’ve been reading too much Human Fiction. Silver doesn’t touch us.”

I shrug. “It was worth a try; I’m always well prepared.” He charges and I jump, watching him pass underneath me harmlessly.

“Stop doing that!” he growls, spinning.

“But then I wouldn’t get to do this…” Swooping down, I ram a glass bladed throwing knife under his jaw.

Dwight coughs and a stream of silvery liquid dribbles down his jaw. Dropping to one knee, he fumbles at the hilt. “What...” he starts before he falls onto his back, the silvery liquid seeping from the
corners of his eyes. He gasps.

“Quicksilver or Mercury, as it is known to Humans, is poisonous when ingested.” I say, landing beside him. “It is the only metal known to be poisonous to Werewolves, especially this particular type. Any last words?”

“Bitch!” Dwight gurgles as the spelled Quicksilver uses his blood and other bodily fluids to multiply.
There is a roar of a crowd as the arena shimmers back into being. By one wall there is a pile of ash. In front of me, Dwight coughs and bubbles.

“And the Winner is…” the Madame watches as Dwight’s mouth fills with Quicksilver and breathes his last. “The Dragon Queen!”

Retrieving my cloak, I sweep it around my shoulders and bow deeply to the House Madam. “I couldn’t have done it without help from Dwight and Jayradikill!”
As the Slaying Goes - Jayradikil

A great flash of white-yellow light filled the stadium. It ran through the stands, the concessions, and the blood-soaked battlefield. The crowd instinctively pulled their eyes away. Dragon Queen – the competitor with the tensed, pulsating muscles and dribbling fangs – winced at the phosphorescent phenomenon. The only figure left with wide eyes was the one atop a throne of skulls and spines: the infamous House Madame. She grinned a maniacal grin and nestled deeper into her perch of skeletal remains; the show was about to begin.

A flash. In a gladiatorial ring inside a decrepit stadium within a long since abandoned city there was a godly (or perhaps ungodly) conflagration of light and smoke; one might be inclined to call the place a ‘Ghost Town,’ but here, ghosts are the least of anybody’s worries. The flash hung in the air like a dole of doves and squirmed like a dumpster full of maggots. The light was blinding, yes, but it also carried a certain prominence that motivated all within its graces to bow their heads…all except for the House Madame.

Dragon Queen, the closest to the great light’s ghastly epicenter, moved nothing but her heavy, mascara-scarred eyelids; she did not even so much as bring a cautionary hand to her brow. Her ravaged and bruised legs dripped with torrid blood that was her own while her chin collected thick crimson dregs that were not. To say, by this point, that she had been through hell would be a gross understatement. By that token, she had already looked right into the tired face of the devil, saw the nine dark circles under his eyes, and scoffed. Out of numerous battles and innumerable gallons of blood spilled, Dragon Queen was called winner. At her feet: pools of vomit and puddles of urine, stacks of ribs and piles of broken teeth – little macabre forget-me-nots from warriors past. The Madame’s masked crew were still fervently carting off the bodies, body parts, and peculiar charred remnants that looked a lot like body parts. The air was beginning to clear when Dragon Queen saw them. She pressed her tongue scornfully against her pointed teeth. The prestigious and pestilent House Madame fingered the jagged femur that was her armrest; the show was about to begin.

As the audience too regained sight, a deathly hush fell over them. Dragon Queen’s ears perked to a peculiar and disheartening sound – that of gelatinous meat sliding over sandpaper. Out of the mostly dissipated smoke staggered a carrion-encrusted entity. The rotted hominid edged closer and closer, pulling its useless left leg behind it like a gravedigger’s shovel. Dragon Queen did not tear her eyes away from the disgusting being as she spoke, “Zombie…” The word came softly but spitefully, seeping from her lips like blood from a reopened wound.

She then heard a coarse, pummeling growl and flinched, but only slightly. Then the filthy beast appeared, leaping into Dragon Queen’s view from the remainder sprawl of smoke. It growled again through its large, gritted teeth. Suddenly, it took to its burly hind legs. Its hair stood like needles, its eyes burned like napalm. Yet, Dragon Queen did not even take a single step back. She only muttered vehemently under her breath, “Werewolf…” Her long gnarled fingers tensed just about into claws. The three grotesque combatants stood in a perfect triangle, mere feet from one another. High up in the stands, the voluptuous and venomous Madame sneered amusedly.

Dwight, the frightening man-wolf, made the first move. He took to the air from a pulse of his great hind legs. Glinting claws outstretched, he pounced upon Dragon Queen’s position with surreal speed. She smartly sidestepped, only feeling the effects of the nail on Dwight’s outstretched pinky finger, which still pried open a sizable gash on her cheek. Jayradikil, the postmortem warrior, slumped closer to the action. Dragon Queen and Dwight, vampire and werewolf, met in a heated grapple. Though wearing the wounds of war, the vampiress held her own against the wolf, keeping his treacherous maw at bay with her left hand while slashing at his leather-like belly-flesh with her right. Meanwhile, the automaton with the milky film over its eyes inched ever closer.

Through the struggle, Dwight struck the vampiress at her exposed shoulder. A rough bloody chunk left her flesh with a juicy slap and arched into the raucous crowd. Nicholas Coffin chortled as his son retrieved the blood-riddled souvenir from the area around his feet.

“Can I, dad?” Little Chris Coffin held the warm modicum of skin and muscle out before his watery eyes.

“Oh, of course, son. What kind of father would I be if I said no?”

Dragon Queen yelped hard but did not relent. She reared back her hand and swiped a baleful slash just above the beast’s blackish belly button. His liquid insides crept curiously to the surface and, once the coast was clear, filed through the impromptu orifice. Dwight sounded his displeasure to the heavens above. The enraged vampiress delved her hand deeper into the meaty cavity and riffled through the beast’s vital organs. Dwight screamed the blood-drenched scream of a man lacerated before whimpering like man’s best friend on death’s dog-bed.

Dragon Queen finally excised a greenish tubular prize – presumably a segment of his large or small intestine – and whipped it into the uproarious audience. The slimy organ flew through a group of emerald ghosts seated in the third row, smacking the bleachers behind them with a squishy thud. The middle phantom looked to the others, there was a tinge of shock across his features, yet no more than you would expect from an entity bound not by mortality: “Oh dear.” He spoke sardonically through an upturning grin.

Finally sidling up, Jayradikil made for the werewolf’s quivering bicep, its diseased teeth seeking flesh, seeking sustenance. Yet, instead, it caught the behemoth’s straining backhand upside its head as it flung out in struggle and pain, cocking the zombie’s head grotesquely down to its shoulder. A bemused breath left his emaciated lips, a feeling his former human self would have certainly categorized as disappointment. Putting a firm palm to his scalp, the zombie righted its head. Its neck crackled and projected a slivery bone-chip into the crowd which hit and pierced Dr. A, a surgeon in the seventh row. The good doctor glanced to his forearm with dejection and lethargy, where the bone-chip had stuck, then focused back on the action.

As the zombie positioned its skull back to its liking, it noticed the virulent vampiress had already felled the beast. She was straddling its gaping midsection and clawing away without aim, without pattern, and without reserve. She howled and squalled at uncomfortably high pitches, proving herself even louder than her unfortunate prey. The House Madam looked on, upright in her seat, sensing every rip and every tear deep inside her gut and along her thighs.

Mick, an empathetic werewolf in the audience, cried out as Dwight wheezed out the last few breaths he would ever take. The tension left every muscle like fleeing insects. The vengeful vampiress then felt two cold – deathly cold – hands grasp at the back of her throat. She rose and quickly vaulted back, up and over the human-like creature. The zombie stood, filled with as much confusion as his primeval brain would allow. Dragon Queen then forced her hand into its back, easily navigating through the leprous tissue. Latching onto its spine, she yanked it out like the pit from a rotten peach. The zombie’s desecrated torso fell back, causing it to double up on itself like a decomposing Jack hanging outside of its equally decomposing Box.

With a sinister grin stretched over her lips, Dragon Queen hurled the bone trophy into the crowd. It fell at the feet of two bloodthirsty adolescents.

“See, I told you that zombie was spineless.” Alex enjoyed his joke a little more than his female companion, Shelley. Yet, soon after, she too joined in the laughter.

Believing herself the victor, Dragon Queen raised her arms and let loose a long, gravelly shriek. She immediately caught the viperous eyes of the House Madame, who returned her a look of discontentment; the show was not over yet.

With the top half of its body slumped over its pelvis and legs, the zombie slapped its cold, bloated fingers around Dragon Queen’s ankle. It then buried its black and hollowed teeth into the vampiress’ calf with predatory grace, staring blankly off at nothing in particular. Dragon Queen yelped, more frustrated than anything else. She forced the ravenous body from her leg and gazed down at the freshly gushing blood. Disgusted, she wiped it and the black saliva from her calf and headed off, off toward a nearby pit of razorwire and broken glass; she could feel the change welling up from each extremity. She was downright nauseated, loathing the idea of becoming one of those things.

Dragon Queen cast herself into the hazardous hole. The airborne blood misted a married couple seated in the front row. Rick looked amiably to his wife, Debra. He would have seen the child-like smile across her face if it wasn’t for the large steel muzzle around her nose, mouth, and jaw. Rick offered her a convivial, side-armed embrace.

A strange silence took the crowd – that is, until the House Madame rose from her seat and curtsied before her disfigured champion. Rocking fidgetingly from left to right, the zombie stood as winner with his head held high – well, (thanks to Dragon Queen’s dexterous fingers and surgical precision) with his head held as high as his own cold, withered ankles.

Truth In the Midst of the Battle - Dwight Patterson

Dwight shook his head free of cobwebs, blinked and took in the cage he lay in. The wooden crate stank of feces and rot. He pushed onto his knees. Bones shifted beneath his weight; a skull toppled from a small pile. A hole sat in its center, the bone splintered.

"Where am I?"

He reached for the door, steel bars welded into a steel frame and bolted to the wooden cage. In the light of the moon, he saw the fur on his hands and arms, the extended claws of his fingers, yellowed and cracked and caked with dirt and what looked like blood.

"No," he said and patted his chest. Hazy memories of a war, of his brethren falling to an unseen enemy, of a bullet laced in silver, screaming through the night… "I should be dead."

One finger found the hole, poked around until it touched the warped slug.

"Our final combatant has awoken," a booming voice yelled, followed by the cheers of hundreds, of thousands of humans.

Dwght shook his head again. The humans, he fought for them. A deal was made… His thoughts searched the wreckage of his mind, but recollection avoided him. He stood and lumbered to the door, placed both hands on the steel bars. A jolt of electricity shot through him. His hands locked up, his grip tightened; fur singed and organs cooked as lightning ran through him.

"Away," the guard yelled and jabbed him with a rubber-tipped lance. Dwight fell away from the door, staggered and fell back. He landed in the pile of bones. A howl escaped him as one of the broken bones ripped through his thigh.

The crowd cheered at his wail.

Dwight started to rip the bone free, but stopped when the door began to open. He stood, clawed hands clenched into fists.

"Come," the guard called. "Come face your end."

My end?

The barrel of a shotgun appeared in the door, followed by the quick whispers of the guard. "Silver bullets will end your existence. If you resist or attack, I will kill you."

Teeth gritted, Dwight stepped through the door and into the arena. He scanned the screaming onlookers. They threw stones and sticks, not only him, but two others who stood outside the entrances to their own cages. A dead man swayed from side to side, his arms dangling, his head cocked to one side, mouth slackened. A vampire—a woman with long brown hair, her fangs bore for the crowd to see—held defiance in her stance, one that said if she were to live through this, she would kill every human within her reach.

"You are the last of your kind," a woman's voice called. The rabid mob grew quiet.

The last of my kind? His brain latched onto the memory, no longer searching, but knowing the truth. The gun was held, not by the enemy, but the ally, a human who had signed a treaty with the wolves; a treaty of unity after the eradication of the undead who threatened to annihilate the human race…

Anger rose as heat coursed through his body. The final words of the woman's speech trailed into his mind. "A fight to the death."

The multitude cheered.

Dwight stood still as the vampire raced toward him, not wanting to fight, to kill again.

"You don't have much time," the guard said from inside the cage. "The sun will be coming up soon."

Off in the distance, the brilliance of the moon faded and morning beckoned. "Bastards."

The vampire lunged, her hands extended, mouth open. "You die tonight, wolf."

They toppled backward. Dwight let out another howl, this one filled with the anger and hurt the onlookers lusted for, as the vampire sunk her teeth into his forearm. They rolled over, she falling away and Dwight rising to his feet.

"Wait," he yelled to the vampire, hoping to join forces against their new enemy. He read her eyes. Insanity had set in. There would be no reasoning her. Like him, she was the last of her breed and faced extinction. Any hope of getting her to help him vanished as she attacked again. He dodged, his thigh screaming as the bone jutting from it shifted, tore through muscle.

He tucked a shoulder, rolled and came up onto his feet. The vampire fell forward, falling to the ground with an exasperated shriek. The zombie approached him, a moan in his long dead throat. He scraped Dwight's shoulder with a ragged fingernail. Dwight spun away from snapping teeth, trying to keep an eye on the vampire and ward off the zombie at the same time.

Stop dancing around. His mind screamed as images of the past surfaced again. His world had been dimming, eyes struggling to stay open as… as humans advanced on the wolves' ranks. The undead lay wasted along the crumbling streets of the dying city. The vampires were on the run, fleeing at night while their numbers were still plenty, but dying during the day when the wolves and humans pinned them in buildings or caves or in the sunlight. The bullets rang out, the anguished cries of the dying wolves, their bodies reverting back to the flesh and blood of man, only to be stamped out by the humans. Their guard had been down. How many of his people fell that day?

The zombie shambled forward, his groan pulling Dwight from his memories.

"Not again. Never again," Dwight said and swiped at the rotting corpse. His claws tore through decaying flesh, snapped his spine in half and sent the zombie to the ground in a heap of fetid brown blood and organs. The zombie crawled after him, its hands sinking into the ground for leverage.

Dwight gripped the bone poking from his thigh. He gave a growl and yanked it free. Hot pain seared his leg. He raised the bone high, brought it down on the zombie's head. Its skull cracked, split and the creature went limp.

"I'm sorry," Dwight said.

He turned to see the vampire coming at him, her face a mask of hate. The moon was fading in the horizon, the sun waking. His body tingled and his fur thinned. In seconds, his thick arms and legs would be normal and average in strength at best.

The vampire pounced, her nails sinking into both shoulders. Her eyes widened, the sneer became a grimace. They landed hard on the ground, Dwight on top of her, the bone in his hands shoved upward between two ribs. Tears leaked from her eyes and her mouth moved without speaking any real words. For the second time that night, he voiced his apologies.

The sun rose higher and the vampire's skin began to sizzle. Dwight held her down, keeping the bone wedged in her chest. He stroked her hair like a lover. "I'll make them pay for this," he said. "I promise you. I'll make them pay."

A faint smile formed on her cracking lips. Her hair became brittle and broke away beneath his fingers. Hate grew within him. As her body deteriorated, he yanked the bone away. Her ashes flitted in the early morning breeze. The people cheered.

Victory was his. Freedom was—

"Back into the cage with you," the guard snapped, nudged Dwight with his shotgun.

"I won," Dwight argued. "I get to go free."

"Sure yah do. Now, get in the cage."

Dwight put his hands above his head and limped back to the blackness that awaited him. Before the door closed, he turned back to the guard, taking in his dark uniform, his helm covered head, the gloves on his hands… its lone weakness.

"Your kind are the real monsters," Dwight said.

"What's that you say?" the guard spat and poked Dwight hard with the barrel.

"You're liars. You break your promises."

The guard leaned in the door. "Well, I promise you this, wolf, you won't see another night after the last one."

"Are you certain?"

Dwight grabbed the gun and drove the bone under the guard's helm and between his breast plate to the only exposed part of his body—the front of his throat. The guard lurched forward and fell into the cage with Dwight

The crowd let out a stunned gasps and screamed when the shotgun went off. Dwight had little time to pull the guard's clothes from his body. He hoped the other soldiers wouldn't notice the hole in the ground where the shell had been discharged. He slid the guard's clothes on, set the helm on his head. For good measure, he fired the shotgun again, taking off the dead human's head.

Dwight stepped from the cage, gun in hand, as the others ran for him. "It's okay," he called, put a hand out to them. "The wolf is dead."

"Did he hurt you?" one of the guards asked.

"He tried." Beneath the helm, Dwight smiled. Tonight he would get revenge…

Monday, 2 August 2010

Stitched Up! Anthology closed for submissions.

Stitched Up! Table of Contents

Quilty as Charged - Nate Burleigh

White Christmas - Joleen Kuyper

Johnny's Banner - John "JAM" Arthur Miller

The Photo Shoot - Kevin L. Jones

Brand New Lover - Jen Steffen

Lunatic Shadow's - Randy Rhon

This Meat is Legal Tender - Mike Damascus

Stitched Up - A.E. Churchyard

The Bride of Frankenstein Dances with Celebrity - Chris Hugh

Something Shambling - Ken L. Jones

Guilded by Forbidden Love - Theresa C. Newbill

The Bride Wore Black - Brian Rossenberger

Meat my Mother - S.E.COX