A Glimpse into an Upcoming Story

The following is a look into a short story from my next book; The Darkness Defines Us, a collection of horror stories I am releasing late summer.  This story follows the protagonist as she wakens to a nightmare that only continues to worsen with each passing minute.


She opened her eyes and looked fearfully about the room.  It was a small sound that had awakened her, so soft that had she not been a light sleeper, she might have missed it.  Constellations spun across the ceiling, random images that weren’t in their actual positions according any known star chart, projected by a small box sitting on her dresser.

She yawned sleepily and brought her tiny fists to her eyes, rubbing them vigorously for several minutes in an attempt to chase away the lethargy.


Though she called out softly, she was surprised to receive no answer.  Her mother’s room was across the hall from her’s and their doors were never closed. Whenever she couldn’t sleep, she could usually count on her mother to comfort her after her first cry.

Curiosity got the better of her and she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and hopped down to the floor, wincing when they were instantly chilled by the cold wood beneath them.  Pausing only to grab her blankie, she clutched it against her chest and quickly closed the distance between herself and the door.

From somewhere downstairs, an explosion of glass broke the silence. She stepped away from the door, frightened by the sudden noise below.  Her body trembled in fear as she listened to something she had never heard in her home before.

Her nose crinkled in disgust as she caught scent of something foul in the air and she gingerly pinched it closed with one hand.

“Eww,” she moaned.  Moments later, another voice answered.


It was a man’s voice, but it was deep and guttural.  It was one she didn’t recognize. Her eyes grew wide as the realization dawned upon her that there was a stranger in the house.  She darted across the hallway and into her mother’s room, not knowing the danger that waited for her inside.  There was no reason for her to expect anything other than for there to be the one person she could trust, inside, and it was her innocence that prevented her from sensing otherwise.

The room was darker than she was used to.  Her mommy had forgotten to turn the light on in her closet so that she could find her way, if she needed to, and she froze just before entering the darkness inside.  There was something warm and sticky beneath her feet, and the foul smell she detected in the hall seemed to be everywhere.  It reminded her of the time that mommy had found something rotten in the back of the fridge, something that had once been a chicken enchilada mix. There was another smell as well, one that reminded her of her Grampy’s basement, the one with the dirt floor.

“Mommy,” she whispered.

But again, she didn’t answer.  What’s more, what she did hear only added to her confusion.  It was a wet smacking sound, very similar to how Grammy sounded when she took her teeth out to eat.

But, that couldn’t be right?  Grampy and Grammy lived far, far away!

She jumped as whoever was eating in the darkness bit into something extremely crunchy.  She felt a fresh wave of warm liquid running between her toes, thick and sticky against her skin.  The eater grunted out of contention as it bit into something that crunched like an apple, then chewed noisily on whatever it was feasting on.

She began to cry.  She couldn’t understand why her mommy didn’t answer her. The smell was more than she could bear, and what on earth was she eating?  She turned, wanting nothing more than to flee to the safety of her bed, only then to be blinded by a bright beam of a flashlight.

“Holy shit,” a male voice said from behind the beaming light.  It hurt her eyes and she squinted them so tightly until she was only looking through a narrow slit.  A hand reached toward her.  It was nearly as large as her head and was worn from hard work, though she couldn’t know that.  To her young eyes, they only looked very strong.

“C-come here now, little girl.  It’s alright,” he assured her.

She placed her little hand into his, stepping back into the hall as he gently guided her out of her mommy’s room.

“Have you been bitten,” he asked nervously.

What an odd question for someone to ask?  Of course she hadn’t been bitten!  She giggled as she shook her head quickly from side to side.  The man wasn’t content to trust her words, however, and he roughly turned her about as he inspected her with his light.  Try as she might, she still couldn’t see him very clearly.  He was only a large shape in the darkness.

“Ow,” she complained when he was too rough.

“Hush,” he commanded.  “You don’t want that thing in there deciding that it wants something new to nibble on, do you?”

Again she shook her head in denial, but this time he seemed happy to accept her answer.

“Good.  Is this your room,” he asked as he shined the light on her door.

“Y-yes,” she answered.

“Stay here,” he said.  “I just need to get you a couple of things before we go.”

She felt panic beginning to rise inside of her.  Go?  Where was this stranger man going to take her?  Who was he for that matter?  Why was he in their house?

The questions flooded her frightened mind faster than she could even begin to answer them and she trembled uncontrollably.  She could hear him going through her drawers, but at the same time, she could also hear the eater in her mother’s room behind her.  With her feet no longer in the viscous liquid, they was quickly becoming dry and crusty.  Her toes were sticking together, a feeling that was as unpleasant as it sounded.

The man reappeared in the hall with a small bundle under his arm and for the first time she was able to get a look at him.  He was wearing dark clothing.  The shirt and pants looked very much like a policeman’s but she didn’t see a badge on the front. She also saw several pouches on his belt, but it was only a brief glimpse.

“Are you a policeman,” she asked.

“Uh, yeah,” he answered.  “Sure.  Now, I need you to come with me.  It’s, um, not safe here anymore.”

He started to lead her toward the staircase leading to the first floor, but she couldn’t leave.  Not without the one person she trusted more than anyone else.

“But, mister,” she protested.

“What,” he grunted in response.

“Have you seen my mommy?”

Burning the Midnight Oil

Last night proved to be one of the longest nights I have had in long time, and not in a good way. In order for you to understand, however, let’s rewind just a little bit to yesterday afternoon.

My wife and I had just watched two episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’, on television.  We are so far behind on episodes that it would literally take us a week to get caught up, and only then if we were to have the free time.

I’m a huge fan of the show.  Now only does it have one of my all time favorite types of undead in it, but it is masterfully written as well!  The episodes we watched were; 18 Miles Out, and Judge, Jury and Executioner.  I’ll just say this, for any of you who haven’t watched the show yet (but are meaning to), or aren’t caught up;  I’m glad it was Daryl.


Yeah, that was an emotional moment.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I probably went through most of the twelve steps in three seconds, but it was a perfect three seconds.  “Sorry, brother.”  I hadn’t felt that range of emotions so quickly in a long time and it felt good!  I was inspired!  I wanted to write and boy did I ever…

But alas, it could not be.

My bedtime had come and gone, and if I was to have any rest before my PT job, I had to attack that pillow with the back of my head like there was no tomorrow.

I have already experimented with a story about the zombie apocalypse.  I wrote a short story set during the beginning stages of it last year, so I have already got a feel for it.  However, I haven’t really spent any time with my rotting little friends yet.

I can’t give away any details just yet because I plan on releasing this story in a collection after my trilogy is complete, but I will answer one question; the story doesn’t place the zombies as the focus.  As a result, I have yet to get into the really nasty business.

“Have you shelved your putrid pals,” you may ask?  Not at all!  In fact, in my second book, I have introduced a most malodorous mischief-maker into the fray.  This little nasty mcassty has something unlike any other brain muncher you have ever seen; a sentient mind!  Oh yes, not only is this foul flesheater intelligent, but it has identified itself to one of the main characters as well!

Okay, before things get out of hand here.

This is a special type of undead, I realize that.  It seems like I have a few unique creatures up my metaphorical sleeves and there is no short supply of them either!  Let’s put them aside for now and return to where I started, shall we?

So here I am with a dilemma on my hands.  I have the worst kind of writer’s block!  Except, I’m not being blocked between my mind and my fingers.  No, the block happens to be this annoying chunk of time I have to fill with sleep and…  Ugh, just say it already; work.

It would be sixteen hours before I would be able to sit before my screen again!  Seriously, what a waste of creativity!  Or, was it?

When sleep finally caught up with me, I tumbled over the precipice of consciousness and into those murky depths where only the most horrific of terrors lurked.  I may or may not have played catch with Frankenstein’s monster, and, I may or may not have spread some of The Blob onto a peanut butter sandwich…   What I DID do was dream about those stinking piles of vacuous vultures as they chased me down a cold, dark alley.

I remember it well…

The sky was cold and grey, the wintry air unforgiving.  I pulled my jacket tighter around my round frame as close to closed as I could get it, but it had been years since I had had a zipper with which to do so.  The streets were empty.  A transparent layer of snow-covered the ground, allowing only the barest glimpse of what was underneath and it had yet to become too treacherous to walk upon.

There was a foul stench hanging in the air.  It was one that I knew I should recognize, but for some reason I could not place a name to it.  Was it garbage?  The cooking of some exotic food?

A low moan interrupted my reverie, floating only a decimal higher than the sound of the blustery winds around me.  Now here was a sound I recognized!  Somewhere across the street, in the shadows behind the vehicles, someone was hurt!

Moving as fast as I dared to across the accumulating snow, I closed the distance between me and whomever was over there.

“Hello?” I called out.  “Do you need help?”


I cocked my head to the side as I listened.  There was probably twenty feet between me and that poor…man?  Woman?  I wasn’t quite sure which one it was, which I do find a little unusual now that I about it, and had I spent more time reflecting upon it things might have gone a little differently.

The distance between us slowly continued to shorten as I approached.  That unknown smell continued to waft out from between the vehicles and I felt really sorry for whomever it was.  There was hint of feces in the air, a smell that I can’t say I was happy to identify, but it led me to the conclusion that the person could be elderly, or incontinent.  Of course, there was that OTHER smell as well, but I was no longer worried about it.  I had to help!


“Hang on!  I’m almost there!”

What a fool I was!  As I smacked my forehead with the palm of my left hand, my right reached into the pocket of my jacket and closed around my cell phone.  I might be able to offer my jacket for warmth, but I didn’t know the first thing about first aid!  If this person was really hurt, where the hell were my good intentions going to get them?  There was less then ten feet between me and the shadows when I dialed that triad of numbers most commonly used for those in need.

“We’re sorry, the number you are trying to reach has been disconnected or is no longer in service…” 

“What the hell?” I asked.  

I shook my head in frustration as I replaced my phone to my pocket.  I had never had the need to use this service and the first time I need it, it’s out-of-order?!


There was a slight scraping noise from behind the vehicles.  I squinted my eyes and tried to determine what the vehicle model was, but it was just too dark.  It didn’t matter, however.  The person I was trying to reach had grown tired of waiting for me to get there.  

From the darkness behind the car in front of me, clawing its way out of the shadows was the hand of the one I had crossed the street for.  It was long and slender with a large diamond ring on the fourth finger of (her?) hand.  I couldn’t be sure, the color of skin was off somehow.

“Uh, miss?”


At that moment, all of reality came crashing down around me.  She crossed the threshold of darkness and into the light with her hair hanging around her face.  She could have very well been Sadako crawling from the well at that moment, come to take first my eyes and then my soul!

Her hair might have once been blond, not that it mattered.  I don’t think that even if it did, she would be brushing it anytime soon!  From the middle of the top of her head to somewhere around where her nose would be, her scalp had been torn from her skull.  It flapped back and forth in front of her mouth as she continued to pull her decrepit body toward me.  

I could only stand there in shock.  It was as if my feet had suddenly sprouted roots, which had in turn busted through the asphalt beneath them and taken hold in all directions.  I now knew the name for the odor which had been tickling my nose and turning my stomach.  It was decay.  

The crawling dead lifted her skull upward, focusing her glazed orbs upon me and I could hear the bony sound of her teeth clacking hungrily together.  I was in her sights.  At that moment, I had no doubts that this is what a donut must feel like when it crosses the threshold into a police station.  I began to back pedal away, moving nowhere near fast enough for my sanity to bear.

I fled backwards at a crawl.  My mouth hung open in a perfect “O” and I could feel my eyes bugging out of my head.  Her hands worked in overtime, *clack*, *shcrrr*, *clack*, *shcrr* as they feverishly pulled her torso fully into the light.  If I had had time to think about how comical it looked, I might have laughed.  


This sound was different.  I was looking directly at flap-face, but it had emanated from off to my right.  As if I were underwater, I slowly turned my O-face to the right of my groan gal, only to see a new antagonist approaching.  

He was probably around my height, let’s say six-foot for shits and giggles, and wearing a black and white pinstripe suit.  Or, rather, I should say he was wearing what was left of it.  The once ‘All Business’ attire was shredded and hanging from him in bloody tatters.  Also hanging from him were his intestines as he dragged several feet of them toward me.

The smell of rotten flesh intensified .  It was the worst thing I could ever have imagined, and you believe me when I say that I have imagined some pretty effed up stuff!  My eyes began to water from the pungent assault and I finally managed to snap my mouth shut.  This one stank like the interior of a slaughter-house.  The scent of blood hung around him, thick and iron-y, wafting toward me with his approach.  

That was the breaking point, I’d had enough of this shit.  I turned and ran.  

The buildings blurred past me as I left behind my loathsome lady, but her rictus grin was quickly replaced by dozens of her putrid pals.  They closed in quickly.  Some were crawling, others were ambling forward with their arms outstretched.  I took the first right turn I came upon, dashing down an alley between two buildings.  

A dead-end!


“UUUUHHNNNN,” came the groan from somewhere next to me.  From ground level, a hand reached out and grabbed me by the ankle, holding me tight…  I was trapped!

It was at that point that my alarm called to me, screaming its message from worlds away.  As always, I feel myself being pulled upward, drawn toward the sound that beckons from afar.  The grip around my ankle lessens and is gone.   So too, does the snow-covered streets of Dreamtown USA fade away and suddenly I am opening my eyes and looking at the clock.

*sigh*  Time for me to get to work.

And so it was.  I spent the next nine hours stocking the Chemicals department of my Wal-Mart, trying to hold onto that inspiration I had went to bed with earlier that day.  It wasn’t easy.  I won’t lie to you, I forgot most of the ideas I wanted to write down.  Okay, okay, I won’t lie to you.  I forgot them all.

When I got home this morning, I spent nearly two hours trying to recover that lovely bit of fiction I wanted to write about, but it wasn’t meant to be.

That’s really too bad, too, because I think you would have liked what I had to share with you!  🙂