Weekly Spooky - Horrors to Chill You To The Bone!
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Ep.84 – The Black Museum - A Collection of Horrors Awaits!

Episode Notes

Antiques are so cute, a fun waste of money with an educational flavor... Unless the history is dark and gruesome... and EVIL.

The Black Museum by John Oak Dalton

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Transcript:

They were taping the Halloween special at the visitor center in Ipswich because they couldn’t afford Salem at Halloween but fuck it, Steve thought, the rumor was this was the last season of the show anyway.  He would just say in the cold open they were in Salem and who would know the difference. There was a guy with a Jim Abbott rookie card which wasn’t worth much, but the guy was telling a good story about seeing him play at the University of Michigan, so they’d probably use it in the episode.  They only had a trickle of people here wanting their junk to be appraised for the show so they would have to take what they had. Junkin’ Coast to Coast had been broadcast for seventeen years on a second-tier cable channel and had been steadily declining in viewership since the original host had the temerity to kill himself.  It used to be called Junkin’ with Joe but Shit with Steve didn’t have the same ring to it so there you go. The bitch of it all, in Steve’s mind, was fucking Joe died with a belt hanging around his neck and a bunch of furry porn around his feet, but all of that has been conveniently forgotten and Steve was never going to be considered as good as the original guy. His videographer Yvonne had the baseball card guy squared up on a head and shoulders shot and was half turned away texting somebody.  She had been his primary shooter on the East Coast, and since the budget of the show kept shrinking year over year they traveled less and less and stayed closer to New York, and Steve’s other videographers in other parts of the country dropped away. But even though they spent a lot of time together when they were shooting the show, and stayed at the same hotels and ate together every night, they had never hooked up.  Never even brushed hands.  Yet Steve felt like Yvonne was breaking up with him. This old lady comes up with another fucking Blenko vase and then after that was a lull, and Yvonne stepped out into the cold fall night and called somebody.  Steve watched through the windows of the visitor center.  When she hung up Steve went outside to confront her. “Are you looking for another job?” “It’s the last show of the season, Steve.” “Yeah, but we’re starting again in Portsmouth in January and people have always cleared out a bunch of shit over the holidays.” Yvonne shook her head.  “I’m hearing this is it.  Even if it isn’t I gotta keep an eye out for me.” Steve pointed at her cell phone. “Who was that?” Yvonne just shrugged.  “It was Rich, he’s on that dive bar show now where they show people how to fix them up, make a new drink menu, that kind of thing.” “Where he went when he fucking cut out on Junkin’, yeah.” “That’s not how he sees it but yeah.” “The asshole who hosts that?  We were at the upfronts in Boston with the network guys, and he was a douchebag to everybody.” “Yeah, but Rich says that’s only when he drinks.” “The whole premise of the show is him fucking drinking!” “Well, Rich says he needs a second shooter, so…” “So you’re the first shooter on my show!” Yvonne just looked at him, then slides her eyes back through the window of the visitor center.  Steve follows her line of sight and sees a guy in coveralls with a little book under his arm, and fuck my life if that isn’t probably a Civil War diary about somebody nobody gives a shit about. So Steve just set his jaw and Yvonne followed him back into the visitor center.  A blast of warm air and close smells hits them. “Hey, thanks for coming out to the show, if you’ll sign this release we can sit down and I can check out what you have there.” The guy looked pretty nervous up close and only gives a little bird-like nod.  While he is scratching his name on the clipboard Yvonne holds out to him the fake smile dropped from Steve’s face. “Hey, can I look at this while my videographer sets up real quick?” “Sure, man, that’s why I brought it.”  the guy said.  “I found it when I was cleaning out my uncle’s attic.  He passed over the summer.” Steve swallowed hard and takes the small, soft-edged book while Yvonne gets ready to clip a lavalier mic on the guy. Steve frowned with distaste and puts the book down quickly on a nearby table.  Both Yvonne and the guy look at Steve with surprise. “Take that mic off, we can’t talk to this dude.”  Steve said with finality. The guy in the coveralls raised his hands in mock surrender. “Hey, man, I just want to know what I have there.” Steve looked at him steadily.  “It looks like you have a diary bound in human skin, and I don’t dick around with shit like that.” Now the guy looked more surprised than he did before.  He holds his hands open wide. “I-I didn’t know that.” “You said you got that from your uncle?  Maybe you should turn that over to the police.” “The police?  What?  It ain’t like that.” Steve just shrugged.  “I don’t care what it’s like, I’m not going on camera with a book made out of somebody’s skin.” Yvonne retreated behind her camera and doesn’t check her cell phone, for once. The guy in coveralls looked through the window of the visitor center to the darkness beyond, where nobody else is coming to bring their old crap tonight.  Then he looked square at Steve. “Okay, this is the straight story, man.  I’m a plumber, okay, I work for the city, we get this call there’s water running out of this old abandoned building, way down by Choate Bridge.  We go down there, water running across the street, eventually I gotta break into the place, look for a busted pipe, see?” “This is the most boring fucking story that involves a diary made of human skin I have ever heard.” “Okay, okay, so wait a second, I get in there, I shut off the pipe, I start looking around a minute.  This old boarded up place is full of all kinds of shit.  It looks like medieval torture shit and a bunch of other stuff I don’t know what it is, but there’s probably some money in all that, right?  But I can’t haul all that out with my partner just outside so I just grab this book off a shelf and thought I would bring it here tonight, see if this shit was worth anything.  My grandma watches your show, you know?” Steve is actually able to ignore this comment because his mind is working, working. “What’s your name, dude?” “Why you got to know my name?” “I’m not calling the cops, I just want to know what to call YOU.” “Jimmy.  Jimmy Corey.” “So what other kind of stuff was in this place, Jimmy?” Jimmy shrugged.  “Maybe some other weapons, some guns and shit, but I’m not touching somebody else’s guns.” “I have a feeling that was a good idea.  Just hang loose a second.” Steve lifted his chin, and Yvonne follows him to the corner, out of earshot. Yvonne looked at him like he was crazy. “Yvonne…I think this dude here found a Black Museum.” Yvonne arched a brow at him.  “A BLACK Museum?!” “Jesus, not that kind of Black, calm down a minute—“ “Now I have to calm down?!” “It’s not that kind of Black Museum!!  The original was in London, but now it refers to any place where somebody has collected artifacts from various crimes…on the circuit, you know, the world I live in…sometimes you hear about private collectors…” “You mean people that want like, a picture a serial killer painted, shit like that?”

“I mean, that’s a mild example, but yeah.” “We’ve never seen anything like that come through.  You sure that is human skin?” “Yeah, it is.” “So what do you want to do?” Steve looked back at Jimmy. “We need to get this guy to take us to that place.” “What?  Why?” “Just trust me.  And when we get there, don’t stop rolling tape for anything.” “My contract says I’m done at 7:30.” Steve shook his head angrily. “Forget about 7:30!  We’re looking at Season 18!  Believe me.” “Uh-huh,” Yvonne said flatly.  “Season 18.” A few minutes later Steven and Yvonne piled into Jimmy’s panel van and headed towards the river. “You oughta do a whole show on the Choate Bridge,” Jimmy offered as they got closer.  “It’s one of the oldest bridges in the United States, if not THE oldest.” “Can someone take that bridge down and bring it into the Ipswich Visitor Center?  No?  Then it can’t be on the fucking show.” Jimmy just shook his head.  “It was just an idea.  And when did you shave your beard?” “What?” “He’s talking about Joe,” Yvonne threw in. Of course he’s fucking talking about Joe, Steve thought. “Never, Jimmy.  I never shaved it.” Jimmy blinks owlishly, then steers the panel van into a gravel lot next to a large, dilapidated building with the bridge looming close by, close enough that brackish water seeped up through the gravel all around them when they stepped out. Steve looked around.  “Somebody could urban renew this shit, put in a boardwalk, turn this into something.” “ It’s gotta fit in with the history, it’s how we do things around here,” Jimmy answered, as he fiddles the latch where a snapped-off combination lock hangs. Yvonne crowded in closer to Steve. “There’s some sort of shape over there.  Looks like a dead raccoon or something.” Jimmy doesn’t turn around. “I’m a plumber for the city.  If it ain’t got at least one shoe sticking up we don’t check it out.” Steve was about to ask Yvonne if she was rolling, get her focus back, when something came out of the darkness ahead with a sound like THWIP THWIP THWIP and suddenly the blackness around Steve was total. When Steve next opened his eyes something warm was running down his face, and he knew it was blood because Yvonne was directly in front of him and blood was running from a scalp wound on her head, too. Near her was a guy dressed all in black, with an ugly face tattoo, and fuck if the guy wasn’t swinging a bola from one hand. Jimmy stood stiff-legged off to the side watching as Yvonne stumbled in a loopy circle and carefully put the camera on the ground, seemingly in a daze. Then the man in black uncoiled like a serpent and let the bola go, and the rope wrapped around Yvonne’s neck, and the two steel balls at the end clapped against Yvonne’s skull and her legs went out from under her, and she quit moving. Steve’s vision swam.  Jimmy’s voice, growing shrill, cut through the gathering dark clouds. “You said you’d let her go!” The man turned his gaze on Jimmy, who took an involuntary step back.  But he kept on with his protests. “You said you’d let my girlfriend go if I got him here!” The man in black’s voice skipped down Steve’s spine.  “I did set her free.” It was the last moment you have before reality sets in.  Jimmy licked his lips. “Where is she, then?” “Over there.” Jimmy didn’t want to look.  “Behind them boxes?” “Behind them…what didn’t fit in them….” Jimmy fell to his knees, his eyes rolling back in shock. The man in black took a step forward, pulling a six-inch blade from an unseen sheath and opening Jimmy’s now-convenient throat from ear to ear.  Steve watched the blood make a bright red arc before he passed out. When Steve awoke this time the man in black had been busy.  He had strapped Yvonne, still only semi-conscious, to some sort of torture device that Jimmy had described as medieval.  But the strained part awake in the back of Steve’s mind told him, despite the terror flooding all the other parts of his brain, that it wasn’t built that long ago, maybe as recently as the 70s.  Could have been a sex toy somebody built in their garage, or a prop from a chintzy b-movie. Steve’s mind snapped clear when the cold eyes of the man in black sought him out. “You’re back with us, junk man,” the man said, and Steve thought, oh, we gotta do this shit like that. Steve got to his hands and knees, then slowly to his feet.  He surveyed the torture device from a short distance, with a critical eye. “So this is a Black Museum.” “Your unfortunate friend Billy did not lie about that.  I’ve been quietly working on my kingdom here for some time, and the pieces are almost complete.” “That bola?” “It was used by a teenager in Mexico City in the early 2000s.  He threw it off an overpass through a bus window, killing the driver and causing the bus to flip, killing a dozen children.  He was listening to a band called Clowns Eat Little Girls and he said in court the music told him to do it.” “And the knife?” “It’s a Korshun with the serial number filed off, of course.  Translates to ‘Kite Bird.’  A former Russian Special Forces soldier used it to kill more than 20 prostitutes in the Balkans throughout the 90s before INTERPOL caught up to him.” The man in black lifted Yvonne’s chin with one pale hand and studied her skull like you would a piece of fruit in the produce aisle. “We will start with this device,” and something in the voice now made Steve’s hair stand on end.  “It was built and used in the early 70s by the man who became known as the National Road Killer, and many a poor hitchhiker with fewer prospects than this young woman spent their last hours here.” He turned his eyes back to Steve again. “But you can set her free.  All you have to do is assist me with the final pieces of my red puzzle.” “So I can end up like Jimmy?  Thanks anyway, dude.” Yvonne mumbles.  “Steve…” The man in black frowned, and his disapproval is like a hand closing around Steve’s throat. “The simplest switch on this device starts moving joints in ways they should not go.  Then it gets more complicated from there for your friend.” Steve barked out a laugh. “You got this shit all wrong.  She’s not my friend.  She works for me.  And you can get camera people by the bagful in New York.” “Fuck you, Steve!”  Yvonne cried out, her voice warbling with desperation. “It’s the gig economy,” Steve shrugged. Steve’s comment even brings this stone cold killer up short. “Do you not even want to know what I want you to do?” “Lay it on me, scribble face.” The man in black waved the Russian blade in a slow, lazy arc.  Then it disappeared with a whisper back into its sheath. “This is a grand blade, one that has taken many lives, but several years ago, an elderly man brought a knife to your show, and you sent him away after telling him that the blade was worth very little.  That man was named John Wallace Hansen, and he died last year.  On his deathbed it was alleged he revealed he had killed a dozen women with that blade, but was never caught because he had made a pact with the devil.  He was probably never caught because of his fabulous wealth, which he also ascribed to his pact. I believe that knife now rests with his daughter.  I want—I need—for you to reach out to her and offer to re-evaluate that knife. Then do what you have to do to bring that knife to me.” “Where does she live?  If it’s Peoria, it’s gonna be a minute.” “As it happens she lives very nearby in Salem, where you taped the program her father appeared on.” Steve shook his head.  “You got something wrong.  We never taped a show in Salem.  We couldn’t get in there this time either.” “You had a beard back then.” The pain in Steve’s skull cleared, but his eyes began to see a red haze. “I never had a fucking beard.” “It was many years ago now.” “I’ve hosted this show seven years.” “No, before that.” “Before that…” Anger flooded through Steve’s rubbery limbs. “That…was…THE OTHER GUY!!” Without realizing what he was doing, Steve lunged at the man in black.  His hand instinctively went to where he had seen the tattooed man slip the knife away and suddenly Steve had it by the handle and was pushing the blade upward, upward, and it went under the man’s chin and through his tongue and stuck somewhere in the roof of his mouth before blood began gushing out through his teeth. He fell to his knees as Steve had watched Jimmy do, and with that in his mind he picked the bola up from where it lay on the concrete floor nearby and pulped the other man’s skull with it until even the twitching stopped. Steve started undoing Yvonne’s bonds with blood-slicked hands and as he looked closer at the device it was a fucking good thing it never started up, he might have puked. “Yvonne, what I said, it was bullshit.  That guy was never going to fucking let us live after I did what he wanted.” “Steve, what I said?  I meant it.  Fuck you, Steve.” “Fair enough, I got you into this.  We both got hit in the fucking head, that’s not great, we both said some shit.” “But I did what you told me to.  I never stopped shooting. “ Steve stops untying her for a short, surprised moment. “What?” “I never stopped shooting.” Steve looked over at the camera Yvonne set on the ground when they first walked in. “Oh shit.” Eighteen months later everything was working out fine for Steve.  He wasn’t charged with anything, and the footage made him a kind of hero.  There was renewed interest in his show, but Steve got too big for it and now was about to host a special on a major network, live from the original Black Museum in London, with the current curator from New Scotland Yard answering his questions. He had invited Yvonne to join him as a producer but she didn’t want to leave the dive bar show.  She had ended up hooking up with Rich, so maybe that was part of her plan all along.  Rich and Steve had mended fences, and Rich told him Yvonne hardly ever woke up screaming any more. Of course, as soon as Steve was cleared by the cops he went to Salem and found the daughter and bought the knife with what savings he had left, though the daughter had heard the rumors too and was happy to get rid of it.  Not for fucking free or anything, Steve noted. The first couple of days Steve didn’t do anything with it, but eventually he went down to the dumpsters behind his Astoria apartment building at night and waited for rats.  A couple of nights after that and he finally hit one after getting pretty good at throwing the knife, and also having plenty of targets. The very next day a woman who had dumped him came back into his life and they went to bed together right away and then she moved in a few weeks after that. But before she decided to move in Steve was able to kill another rat with the knife and the next day an aunt he never fucking saw anyway left him a couple grand. So fuck it, he started figuring out this dark web shit and advertised the knife for sale to collectors.  And he zeroed in on a guy in Philly who bragged about having his own Black Museum. Steve drove out there one weekend and this dweeb started showing him all the stuff he had squirreled away before he showed him any money.  Steve’s trained eye instantly saw his Hitler stuff was lumpy bullshit but the serial killer paintings were probably real so as soon as he killed the guy with the knife he took the paintings and a couple other things. The next day the network called about the live show.  So he was going to go back to the dark web.  These creeps shouldn’t be buying that shit anyway.  And guess what, he didn’t have to sign his name in blood in a book or go to the crossroads in some Southern town at midnight.  And if he actually did make a deal with the devil it was like he told Yvonne, TV was the gig economy, he’d probably already sold that shit.

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Ep.83 – Wilson Road - A Creature is Loose in the Woods!

Episode Notes

Two cousins saw something BIG and furry in the woods, now they have to investigate as the sun begins to set... We know curiosity killed the cat, but what did it do to the WOLF?

Wilson Road by Charles Campbell Buy the book at http://valleyboypublications.com

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Transcript:

There is nothing like a dirt road in the Deep South. The dust kicked up by your truck when you race up the hill after a long day of hard work. The occasional deer that looks back at you curiously when you round the corner is a sight to behold. There are snakes that slither across the dirt road to get to the other side of the woods. You will see hawks scoping out prey from the trees as you move down the dirt road. There are many surprises when you go up or down an old fashioned, in the woods, authentic dirt road. I should know. I grew up in a big house at the top of the hill of one of these roads. A road that was named after my family – Wilson Road. There is one story above the many that stands above them all. It was late summer and my cousin came running up the road. He was out of breath and it was a night none of us would ever forget. “Danny! You got to come down the hill!” Tanner hollered. He had his hands on his knees as he sucked in air like no tomorrow. “What happened?” Danny asked as he rose from his seat on the back steps. “I saw something down there. It took off in the woods. Go in the house and get the shotgun real quick,” Tanner said, finally catching his breath. “Was it a deer? You know we can’t shoot a deer with a shotgun,” Danny said and began to sit back down. “Don’t get back on your ass! Get in the house and grab the shotgun! It wasn’t any deer. I don’t know what it was exactly, I just caught a flash of it but it was big and it was an animal.” “You probably just saw a dog,” Danny replied as he turned to open the door. He’d grab the Remington that sat just inside the doorway. What the big house was not low on was shotguns. There were a few Winchesters, a couple of Mossbergs and four Remingtons. Danny grabbed the box of shells and Tanner was waiting for him at the edge of the dirt road. “Come on, I’ll show you where I saw it.” “I ain’t shooting a dog, Tanner, just telling you that now.” “It weren’t no dog! Come on!” Tanner wasn’t a small guy. He was a seventeen year old that hit his growth spurt at thirteen. He was six foot three and still had a little growing left in him. Danny was much smaller in stature by comparison, standing at just five foot six with a slender frame which made it kind of funny that he was the one in charge of the shotgun. Tanner lumbered down the hill like Sasquatch with Danny following close behind. Tanner pointed, “It was down there near the bottom of the hill, off close to the creek bed.” “Alright then,” Danny racked the Remington and stepped off the dirt road and led the way in front of Tanner. The two of them made their way down to the creek bed and Danny noticed something right off the bat. There was a litany of broken branches lying about. It was as if someone tossed them about haphazardly all over the ground. They were definitely out of place as the tree line was approximately fifteen yards or so from the edge of the creek bed. “You see anybody dumping their sticks down here?” Danny asked Tanner. “No, there ain’t no tire tracks. I don’t know why they’d lug all these branches down here by foot; be easier to run them over to the Langley dump,” Tanner answered. “Well, these limbs didn’t magically fly from the trees. We ain’t had no big winds in a couple of months at least and I was down here at the creek two days ago and these weren’t here,” Danny said. He did a three sixty to see if anything else jumped out at him. Tanner acted as if the limbs weren’t a big deal. The big deal was the something he swore he saw. “I don’t know nothing about the stupid sticks but what I saw was standing about where we are now.” “You see any prints?” Danny asked. Tanner was looking at the ground looking for that very thing. “No, but you know how this ground is. It don’t hold prints that good.” “True,” Danny said. “Let’s walk up the creek a bit.” Danny took the lead and Tanner followed. It was going to be dark soon but the two of them knew these woods better than they knew just about anything else in the world. “Keep your eye out for moccasins,” Danny warned. Tanner rolled his eyes to signify that Danny must have forgotten who he was talking to. Tanner fancied himself as the moccasin king. He had so many skins hanging on his wall that he lost count of them. “I don’t know where it could have gone. We’re almost up to the old finishing plant,” Tanner said. “You think it might have went in the plant?” Danny asked. “Could be. I just got a quick glance before it took off. It was big and dark. You’d think I was going crazy but I know what I saw and I ain’t smoked any weed in the last week if that’s what you’re thinking. That bad shit I got from Frog last time taught me the error of my ways,” Tanner said with a nervous chuckle. “Yeah, I don’t know where he got that shit. He must have grown that out by Langley Pond. It messed you up pretty bad. Glad it didn’t kill you,” Danny said and chuckled himself. Darkness was creeping up around them. They could still see the lights from the big house but it was quickly receding. “Wish I would have grabbed the flashlight out of my truck,” Danny said. “You want me to run up there and get it real quick?” Tanner asked. “No, you about died when you ran up there a little while ago. I’m not telling Nana you died of a heart attack while we chased your fake monster to the finishing plant. You got your lighter, don’t you?” “Yeah.” “We’ll just light a few sticks if we need to. We know our way around here.” “That we do.” There was a crash. It sounded like a boulder was dropped from the second story of the finishing plant. The two of them looked at one another and they knew they were going to find out where the noise came from. Danny broke into a jog and Tanner fell a little behind. The boys came up on the tricky part of the trek. They had to cross a narrow pipe on foot. One misstep and they would go tumbling into the creek below. Danny could walk it in his sleep. Tanner could move quickly across it in the stark light of day but he took measured steps in the narrow light. He could tell that he would probably have to take the long way back to the hill when they were done at the plant. No way could he balance back across the pipe in complete darkness. Good news is that Danny would take the long way with him. Danny stood at the end of the pipe patiently waiting on Tanner to finish crossing. He stayed quiet as not to startle his large cousin. “Alright, let’s go,” Danny said once Tanner cleared the pipe. The boys walked the grooved out path to the old plant. There was a redneck Hansel & Gretel trail of tossed cigarette butts and rolling papers. The abandoned plant was a cool place for the Valley kids to break shit. Danny suspected the crashing sound they heard on approach was one or more of those said kids screwing around the decrepit building. And it was probably one of those kids that Tanner saw at the creek bed. The sun was almost fully set with only the last haze disappearing, surrendering the day. It was a good thing they were wearing shoes with heavy soles because the crunch of broken glass under their feet as they got closer to the building was now prominent with every step. The darkness finally enveloped them completely and the night sky was star filled with a full moon that provided adequate light. There were no clouds in the sky and that was good. What the boys didn’t need was to be stomping around the inside of the gutted plant with zero visibility. Danny was very good directionally but complete darkness would definitely test his skill. “Let’s just stop for a minute and listen,” Danny said as he held the shotgun by his side. “I think you saw a buck, Tanner.” “It weren’t no deer, I know what a damn deer looks like,” Tanner whispered angrily. “Alright, shush,” Danny replied. The boys got quiet and listened. The wind had ceased and the crickets weren’t as noisy. They could hear some of them but not the overwhelming chorus that was common for this time of the day, in this part of the woods. Danny finally broke the silence. “Well, Tanner, I ain’t going in there unless we hear something. I don’t feel like tripping over something and breaking my neck. We can take the main road back. I know you can’t cross that pipe now,” Danny said. “Come on man, I didn’t make it up. Let’s wait about five more minutes and if we don’t hear nothin’, then we can scoot back. Just five more, ok?” “Alright then, five more and then we are out of here,” Danny replied. “Five minutes then,” Tanner said and no sooner did he get the words out of his mouth, there was another loud crash and it definitely came from the second floor of the plant. “Let’s go,” Danny said flatly. The boys entered the plant from what would have been the back entrance when it was functioning. Now there were entry points everywhere that the walls had crumbled. It certainly wasn’t a safe place to be screwing around, especially at night. What remained of the old stairs near the back entrance was a precarious stack of bricks that resembled stairs but there were chunks missing where you would have to really stretch to reach the next usable step. This wasn’t a problem for Tanner but presented a challenge for the shorter legged Danny. “Let me hold your lighter real quick,” Danny motioned for Tanner to hand it over. Danny flicked the Bic and carefully took the lead. Tanner stayed close behind so he could grab Danny if he fell backwards. The boys paused when another crash broke the silence. “Shit, it’s up there, all right,” Tanner whispered. “It’s not an it, it’s just some kids and they’ll piss their pants when they see us come up there,” Danny said. “Cuz, hope you’re right. What I saw weren’t no kids. Make sure that shotgun is ready,” Tanner said. There was no jest in his voice; there was a calm clarity that Danny didn’t recognize in his cousin. Tanner was never clear about anything so this gave Danny some inner pause to hear this unfamiliar tone in his voice. The two of them got to the second floor. Abandoned spindles were spread all around and the light from the night sky peeked through the many holes and craters in the walls. There were a number of large holes in the floor that would send you on a rapid descent to the first floor if you stepped fully into one – unintended booby traps that the boys would have to navigate in order to get to the sound’s source. There was another crash; bricks exploding back in the darkest corner of the second floor. It was completely engulfed in darkness and Danny was beginning to second guess their decision to chase Tanner’s beast. Maybe it wasn’t as imaginary as he’d thought just moments before. “It’s back there,” Tanner said and pointed. He had no reservation in his voice. It was more determination. Determination that they were going to find out what he saw and if they needed to pump it full of shotgun shells then so be it. “Watch your step,” Danny whispered back. “Stay close and follow my exact steps. It might still be some kids screwing around back there and I’m not shooting anything until I can see it.” “Gotcha,” Tanner replied in agreement and understanding. The wind picked up just a bit. The boys got closer to the dark side of the second floor and there was another explosion of brick against wall. Danny flicked the Bic again and held it out in front of him just for a second. He would have to give it to Tanner to hold the shotgun properly but he wanted to see if anything would reveal itself before they completely walked into the darkness. The boys heard the shuffling of what could have been claws but they still couldn’t see anything. “Ok then,” Danny said and handed the lighter back to his cousin. “Keep it lit.” Danny paused for a couple of seconds, held the shotgun out in front, ready to fire and hollered out, “Who’s back there?! Come on out now!!!” Tanner was steady with the lighter and his breath was measured. Danny couldn’t believe how calm his cousin was. Danny didn’t scare easy but he was beginning to feel something approaching fright but he fought the urge to be trigger happy. The boys stepped completely into the darkness and that’s when the red eyes turned to look at them. “Oh shit, shoot it, Danny, you don’t need to see it!” Danny fired the Remington into the darkness just below the red eyes. There was a growl of anger that shook the boys to their core. Danny chambered another shell and it screamed out of the muzzle with nothing but death as its intent. The red eyes were still there and the beast moved quickly. Danny was in the process of racking the third shell when the barrel of the Remington was sliced in half. The beast was in front of them now. Danny couldn’t believe his eyes. It was straight out of the movies, only it was much worse. The creature’s eyes were blood red and its canines were bared. It stood a good foot taller than Tanner and twice as wide. It was haunched on back legs. Tanner and Danny stepped back into the lit part of the plant and the creature walked toward them. The boys couldn’t just turn and run; they would surely step into one of those death traps. They had to back away slowly and hope for the best. As they stepped, the creature continued to follow. They should have just left this thing alone in the dark. Finally, the boys got a full body look at the monster. It was covered in black fur from head to toe. There was burnt hair and scorched flesh where the shotgun shells found their mark but did little but really pissed this thing off. It had the ears and snout of a wolf. It was a creature of muscle and destruction. It snarled in anger and had a hunger in its eyes. But, it also didn’t attack. It looked at the boys. Tanner and Danny were silently making their peace with the Lord as the creature was almost on top of them. They were going to die; no doubt about it. Tanner and Danny closed their eyes and wished for a quick death. Danny could feel the hot breath of the creature on his forehead and then it moved to Tanner. The calmness Tanner displayed just moments before was all gone. He pissed himself. The creature jumped into one of the craters in the floor and disappeared into the woods. Tanner and Danny kept their eyes closed for another minute or two. Tanner was the first one to open his eyes and he poked his cousin in the back. “I think it’s gone,” Tanner said nervously. Danny opened his eyes. He was still holding the shotgun. The creature had turned it into the sawed off variety. “Let’s just wait here for another couple of minutes before we go back out. Just in case he’s out there waiting,” Danny said. “Let’s not. If that thing wanted to kill us, he would have. Let’s just get out of here, get to the road, get back to the house and don’t say shit to anybody about this. That was a damn werewolf, Danny.” “Yeah, I wonder what it was doing back in that corner.”

“Well, we are on a need to know basis and we don’t need to know, let’s go!” Tanner shouted. And...that’s exactly what the boys did. They went home. They were asleep in their beds when Grandpa climbed up the back of the house and slipped into the attic. He’d transform and be down for breakfast. Grandpa was a good man. He wouldn’t kill someone unless he had to. When he transformed, he’d take out some of the deer around his property and then take his aggression out on the many bricks inside of the plant. It was better than ripping out throats and bringing the weight of the world down on his family. Grandpa was happy that the curse had skipped over Tanner but Tanner’s kid, if he ever had them, would be subject to the curse. And maybe that kid would succumb to the animalistic urges of the hunt. Fortunately for the Valley, the man that currently lived at the top of Wilson Road did not. THE END

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Ep.82 – Fun in Funeral - Clowning Around is DEADLY

Episode Notes

Clowns are funny, right? Well not when you find out the true dark secrets of these creatures that walk amongst us handing out balloons and laughter... Is that a chuckle you're hearing or a blood curdling scream?!

Fun in Funerals by David O'Hanlon

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Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

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Transcript:

The death of a Clown is no laughing matter. It leaves a bleak, unhappy void in the universe equal to the amount of Joy the departed had caused. Fennis Farcemeister, Whiteface of the Amityville shudder, had brought happiness to millions. His body rested in the lavender casket with his bright red shoes sticking straight up and his orange hair jutting over the side. Before him, a pedestal—too large for its contents—stood erect as a grim reminder of the task to come. The remainder of his shudder mourned in their own ways while they awaited the arrival of Pastor Crumb. “How are we supposed to close the lid?” Popsy Pringle asked gruffly, wiggling the toe of Fennis’ shoe. “Might as well just slap some Crocs on him.” “You don’t have to be in such a hurry, Popsy,” Sweet P. Cheepskate sobbed. Sweet’s brother, Blippy, put an arm around her shoulders and nodded in agreement. The twins were the shudder’s resident tramps. The tears rolled down Blippy’s rotund cheeks and disappeared in the smear of his greasepaint beard. The siblings both focused on the pedestal or, more accurately, the egg resting atop it. Blippy chewed his lip nervously and tipped his torn top hat respectfully. “We all know you’ll be the next Whiteface,” he said softly. “You don’t have to be so eager to take it. Callousness is for humans. Clowns are better than that.” Popsy groaned and gave his nose a squeak. “Spare me.” Blippy gasped at the insulting gesture and sobbed on his sister’s shoulder. Waldo Tatters’ tie-dye shitkickers clopped across the wood floors with his spurs jangling until he stood before the egg. Its scaly, vermillion shell was painted with Fennis’ likeness and locks of his hair snipped and glued to the sides. Every Clown had an egg in their shudder’s reliquary. Waldo traced his finger across the curve of the egg. He took off his cowboy hat and pressed it to his denim shirt. Rodeo clowns were rogues and rarely allowed membership in a shudder. Fennis saw beyond Waldo’s wily, psychotic, demeanor, however. “Don’t you worry none, pardner,” the cowboy said, lowly. “We won’t take too long.” “We’d better not.” Popsy checked his oversized watch. “Where the hell is Crumb? No one likes a sad Clown.” Sweet squirmed uncomfortably in her pew. She’d see a Pierrot once. It was the worst thing that could happen to a Clown. The Code called for funerary games so that the laughter of the shudder could carry the soul to the Palace of Joy. If the games didn’t appease the soul of the departed Clown however, it would become trapped in the void, and they would return as a Pierrot—a hideous, undead monstrosity that devoured flesh and spread coulrophobia. You can’t bring Joy if the audience thinks you might eat their faces. “The Code don’t cop to convenience,” Waldo reminded him. He looked at the flower on Fennis’ lapel. Its pedals danced in the artificial wind of the oscillating fan, but Fennis remained still. “Rather get on with the Chase myself, all the same.” “It’ll be a hell of a blow-off.” Blippy tugged the handkerchief from his breast pocket dragging out an extra three feet of multi-colored linen. He blew his nose on it and folded it back into his pocket. A sad smile stretched across his chubby cheeks. “Fennis will be able to rest easy in the Palace seeing the party we threw for him.” “Gonna be a different kinda party, if’n we don’t get a move on.” Waldo patted the egg and sighed. He turned to Popsy. “Who’s the peckerhead anyway?” “His name is Al,” a new voice said. “Al Musing.” The shudder turned their attention to the tiny, trapezoidal door leading to the church’s rectory. Pastor Crumb’s four-foot height made it through the door easily, but the prisoner he escorted on a leash took to crawling on his knees to fit through. Pastor Crumb jerked backward as the leather strap went taut. He huffed and waited for the prisoner to catch up, using the moment to attend an urgent itch south of his bulging belly. “Al doesn’t like Clowns,” the Pastor said. He adjusted the white collar beneath his second chin. “I imagine he’s really going to hate us after tonight.” The shudder laughed. Al tried to stand when eighteen-inches of checkered vinyl kicked him square between the shoulders. Popsy knelt on the human’s back and held his hand out to Pastor Crumb. “Enough propriety. Give me the biscuit.” Crumb took the revolver from the inside of his jacket and twirled it clumsily on his finger. He shook his head. “We have one more point of business.” He waved for Popsy to move. The Auguste Clown growled, but rose nonetheless. Popsy rolled his gloved hand theatrically and gave a phony bow. He slapped the toe of his shoe down on Al’s face. “There’s no reason for you to get up,” he said around the nub of the smoldering stogie between his yellowed teeth. “Get on with it, Pastor.” “Fennis Farcemeister was a Clown of the highest order. We gather here not just to honor the Code,” He glared over his shoulder at Popsy, “nor to anoint a new Whiteface. We are here to say a final goodbye to a Clown that was more than a mere leader or friend. Fennis was a mentor when we were ignorant, a father when we were alone, and a force of will when we were rebellious. He brought Joy to the humans like no other Clown before him, and in doing so he restored this shudder to a place of reverence among all Clown-kin.” “Amen, Pastor Crumb,” Sweet agreed. “Fennis did such wondrous works in his two-and-a-half centuries,” Crumb continued. “Why, if it weren’t for him, we might not even have the squirting flower gag. He took juggling to new heights, literally, by doing it on the tightrope. He restored the pooting bag to glory when he showed the humans how to make their whoopee cushions. There has never been a more beloved and potent Clown than Fennis, and never shall there be. We have made a grand day of remembrance; however, the time has now come to say our final goodbye.” “Goodbye,” they all shouted in unison. Pastor Crumb flipped the lid of the casket shut on Fennis’ corpse. It remained propped open by the bulbous toes of his shoes. The shudder chuckled at Fennis’ final gag. Crumb’s belly jiggled with raucous laughter. His laughter cut off as abruptly as hitting pause. His smile fell and the greasepaint did nothing to hide the dour expression etched on his face. “Al Musing, you have been chosen as the guest of honor,” Crumb grumbled. He waved his fingers to signal Popsy away. “A Clown is dead, a human must die. That is the Code to which both our kind are bound.” Al stood up slowly and tore the burlap sack off his head. He glared around the room at each of the Clowns. “You got to be fucking kidding me.” “Do we look like the joking kind?” Blippy asked. Sweet stood and sauntered to the casket. She dragged a wicker basket from underneath its stand and knelt with a smile toward Al before dumping the contents out. Her aquamarine hair tapered to fuchsia ends that acted like arrows directing all gazes to the struggling buttons of her unkempt hobo-chic blouse. It took great effort, but finally Al’s eyes jumped from the cleavage to the cleavers skittering across the floor. They were oversized and ancient, specked with rust and old blood, and accompanied by matching mallets. “So,” Al cleared his throat, “which one of you makes balloon animals?” “We all do, dummy,” Blippy informed him. “Good. Start with a cock and go fuck yourselves.” Waldo chuckled. “Pardner’s got some guts.” “I’ll be wearing them like a big, pink boa,” Sweet hissed sordidly. The blade of her cleaver scraped a divot in the floor. “I’ll keep you alive while I pull them out, so you can tell me how ravishing I look before I split your skull open.” “As appealing as that sounds, how about we just split and fuck each other silly?” Al winked and blew her a kiss. Blippy jumped up fast enough to knock the church pew over. “That’s my sister, dickweed!” “Your sister?” Al gave the Clown a critical onceover. “Your mom had an affair.” “You sonofabitch!” “Enough tomfoolery,” Crumb shouted. He jammed the revolver into Al’s waistband. “We’re not animals. We’ll give you a shot… but just the one.” “Fuck it. Why not?” Al pulled the leash off his neck and threw it down. “What’s the game?” “Time for games has passed,” Popsy said. “The Chase begins now. All you got to do is survive until midnight.” Al grabbed Popsy’s hand. The Clown jerked away, but Al held firm and turned his arm over to look at the face of the oversized watch. Forty-seven minutes remaining. “Probably be easier just to kill you all,” Al suggested. “That’s funny.” Popsy shoved Al away from him. “You’re a real comic… Al.” “Choke on my McNuggets, Ronald.” Al jogged for the doors. The Clowns set off giant party poppers, showering him with confetti and whooped with excitement behind him. Once he was outside, he took in his surroundings quickly. A polka dot Volkswagen Beetle was parked along the front of the Clown church which looked more like a converted funhouse with its colorful façade and odd angles. It was also smackdab in the middle of fucking nowhere. Rows of tombstones extended as far as he could see by the moonlight. “Think, Al. You need a plan.” He had a head start, a gun with one bullet, and five Clowns hellbent on murdering him in less than an hour. The outline of a mausoleum caught his eye. “You can’t spell ‘slaughter’ without a laugh.” A train whistle screamed inside the church. Waldo rubbed his ears. “Krusty H. Christ, Blippy!” Pastor Crumb mirrored Waldo. “You dolt!” “Sorry.” Blippy hung his head and tucked the whistle into his overalls. “I just wanted to let everyone know the Chase is starting.” “We’re all in the same room, dipshit.” Popsy slapped him in the back of the head. “Besides, Crumb starts the Chase.” Crumb patted Fennis’ corpse and proceeded to the pulpit. Popsy tapped the back of his cleaver against the metal head of the mallet until he got the precise rhythm. The toes of Clown shoes tapped in harmony with it. Popsy scowled and licked his lips with excitement. “Strike up the band, we got us a human to kill!” Popsy roared. Crumb pressed the button and “Stars and Stripes Forever” blared to life through the church’s PA system. The four others roared and stormed from the building in pursuit of their quarry. Blippy took aim and smashed the handle free from the mausoleum door. It wasn’t his first Chase, and the prey usually went straight to the nearest shelter. He twirled the mallet in his hand and kicked open the door with a floppy, torn shoe. Sweet rushed into the building with her weapons at the ready. The place was empty. The bronze name plates of the dead spread across the two, long side walls and the back wall was occupied almost entirely by a stained-glass window depicting the first Clown at the center and his six disciples in panes around him. Sweet crossed herself and approached the ornate tomb that sat in the center of the room. She took a deep breath and pressed against the top with her shoulder. Its heavy, stone lid scraped open slowly. She expected Al Musing to reach out for her, but nothing happened. She peeked inside and muttered an apology to the skeletal remains within the tomb. Doughy the Mime rested, as silently in death as he had been in life. Sweet turned to her brother and shrugged. “He’s not here, Blippy.” She looked around the otherwise empty room. “Guess we got it wrong this time.” “Rats!” Blip threw his hammer down with a clatter. “I just knew he’d come straight here. Where else could he be?” “Probably headed to the hedge maze. Let’s meet Waldo there,” Sweet suggested. The two tramps skulk out the front door and froze as the lights blazed before them. Circus music sounded from the VW Bug’s horn as it sped toward them, throwing a shower of dirt and grass from its spinning tires. Sweet cartwheeled out of the way, but Blippy was too slow. “Sorry to Bug you!” Al howled with a laugh. The car struck Blippy low, flipping him onto the hood. His face smacked against the windshield, streaking the glass with his greasepaint. Al smiled at him from the other side. The car smashed through the front wall, ramped off the tomb of Doughy, and launched into the air. They crashed through the massive window, showering the yard beyond in its psychedelic hail. The car landed hard. The tires exploded, the shocks collapsed, but its momentum kept the Beetle careening forward until it hit the oak tree. Al batted the air bag down and beat his shoulder against the bent door. It finally squeaked open and fell off beside the car. Al got out and popped his neck with a groan. Blippy B. Cheepskate’s eyes dangled from his skull, forced out by the impact. The rest of him just burst open like a confetti-filled balloon animal and sprayed the area in viscera. Al chuckled. “Guess that answers how many cars you can fit in a clown.” Sweet jumped over the car and slashed at Al with the cleaver. He ducked and rolled, grabbing the car door, and swinging it by the window frame to bat the diminutive nymph away. “Let me get the door for you,” Al quipped. “Hardy-fucking-har-har.” Sweet spat blood. “With jokes like that you could be a birthday clown.” “Do you think I have the chops?” “I’ll give you some chops!” Sweet lunged forward. Al held the car door up like a shield. Sweet’s cleaver cut through the thin metal with ease. Al fell backwards, flipping the tramp over him in the process. He snapped to his feet, but Sweet was up before him and climbed his body. Her stockinged legs wrapped around his neck. She locked her ankles behind his back, twisted her fingers into his mop of blond hair, and squeezed her thighs tighter. “Lucky fella, dying with your face in my cotton candy.” Sweet laughed maniacally as Al weakened and fell to his knees. Sweet dropped backwards, grabbing her own ankle to tighten the hold. Al threw ever-weakening punches at her. She drove her elbow into the top of his head like a jackhammer. Al slumped over. His fingers tapped and dragged through the grass for anything that might help. “Enough clowning around.” Sweet stretched out, reaching for her cleaver. “I’m going to cut off all your appendages in alphabetical orde—arrrrrgh!” Sweet rolled away from Al. She prodded the ragged hole in her thigh tentatively. The human choked and gagged behind her. “Fucking clowns always leave a funny taste in my mouth,” Al coughed, scouring his bloody face with the sleeve of his sweatshirt. Blood spurted between Sweet’s fingers while she worked a fuchsia tie from a pigtail to tourniquet the gaping bite mark. She seized the cleaver while she could and turned around… to find him missing. “Fuck!” Sweet panned around searching for him. She limped back to the church to regroup with Pastor Crumb in case the others failed to kill Al in the allotted time. Someone needed to be there to smash the egg. Whoever it was would become the next Whiteface… and Popsy would not be pleased. It beat the alternative. Sweet stopped in her tracks. Of course, if the human, killed them all, there’d be no one left to laugh for any of their spirits. Sweet gulped at the thought. She needed to stay in the hunt. Al groaned and rubbed a rising knot on the back of his head. The she-clown had kicked his ass. He needed to fight smarter. If he made it to midnight, they’d all leave him alone. That’s what they said anyhow. If you can’t trust a clown to keep his word, then who can you trust? He crept along the hedge row following the shouted goading of one of his hunters. He slipped through a gap in the wall and realized he was standing in a maze. “Of course, I fucking am,” he whispered. Well-spaced LED lights shone on the gravel track between the verdant walls on either side of him. They didn’t give him much light, but enough to pick out the deep grooves of cowboy boot tracks. He stayed low as much to keep his eye on the trail as to avoid detection. His sneakers gave him some advantage on the shifting rocks. As he moved through the corridors, the cowboy’s voice grew louder. Then he heard the jingle-jangle of the spurs. Al sank to his knees and crawled to the edge of another opening, peeking around cautiously. The boot heel struck him square in the forehead. Al toppled over, blinking spots from his vision. He got to his hands and knees when a kick met his ribs. “Giddy-up, fuckaroo!” Waldo howled. He watched the rodeo clown—thumbs hooked on his belt loops—dancing closer to him. The tie-dye boots shuffled through the gravel and then buried into his side again… and again. Al tried to escape. Waldo kept pace with the human, kicking him like a soccer ball as he rolled away from the deranged clown. Al felt the poke of branches in his back when he reached the wall. Another solid kick went into his gut. His microwaved dinner splattered the Clown’s boots. “You dirty sumbitch!” Waldo licked his glossy red lips. “I’m gonna line dance your fuckin’ face into pudding for that.” Waldo’s smile faded when he saw the gun barrel jabbed into his crotch. He patted the air and took two steps back. “Ever seen a clown juggle without any balls?” Al groaned and pressed himself up, keeping the gun trained on Waldo. He steadied his aim between the Clown’s eyes. “You only got the one shot, pardner.” “There’s only one of you.” Al straightened his arm and squeezed the trigger. The flag snapped out of the barrel, unfurling in an orange banner that read ‘BANG’ in purple letters. Al sputtered his lips and shook his head. Waldo slapped his thighs and whooped happily. The Clown danced in a circle, booming with laughter at the timeless gag. He turned back around and snapped his fingers, holding them at his hips like firing pistols. The miniature flagstaff rammed straight through his eye. Al swung the dummy revolver like a hammer, driving the spike through the back of Waldo’s skull. The Clown tipped over, the flag sticking out of his face fluttered lightly in the breeze. “Bang, you’re dead.” The gloved hands burst through the brush and seized Al around the throat. He battered the geometrically-patterned, yellow silk sleeves. His knuckles clanked off the oversized wristwatch. The Clown’s muscles tensed and Al’s face was pulled closer to the protruding branches. Al closed his eyes tightly, feeling the twigs clawing at his lips to get to the soft tissue beneath. “He who laughs… last!” Popsy shouted with a great guffaw. Al reached through the bush and grabbed the first thing he could. Popsy’s laughter turned to high-pitched wailing. “Let. Me. Go,” Al growled. Popsy’s white-gloved fingers sprang open and Al released him. The human strolled around the corner, popping his knuckles. Popsy rubbed his sore crotch and growled angrily. “Alright, Bozo Big-Dick. It’s just you and me,” he said. “We’re about out of time.” Popsy checked his watch. “Shit. I really wanted to enjoy killing you, but I can’t be late getting back to the church. I spent too many years in the shadow of Fennis. It’s my time to be the Whiteface.” “You killed your boss, didn’t you?” Popsy glared at him quizzically. “How’d you know?” Al shrugged. “Everyone wants to kill their boss.” “You killed Fennis?” a soft, melodic voice said from the shadow between two of the lights. “He was never going to rest until his egg was smashed. That’s why you were in such a rush to kill this human.” “You two clearly have things to discuss,” Al said, holding his hands up defensively. “I’ll show myself out.” “You’re not going anywhere.” Popsy adjusted his absurdly large tie. “Sweet, I understand you’re pissed.” Sweet hobbled forward, brandishing her cleaver. “Oh, that’s an understatement.” “If the human lives, Fennis becomes a Pierrot.” Popsy drew his weapons from his pockets. “We have to kill him first. It’s the Code.” Sweet looked at Al, then back to Popsy. She kicked the gravel with a frustrated shriek. “Two of us have a better chance, Sweet.” Popsy smiled at her. Al took his shot while the Auguste was distracted. He lunged to tackle him, only for the hammer to come down on the small of his back. Popsy drove a knee into Al’s chin. The human wrapped up Popsy’s legs. The Clown shimmied, trying to get his ridiculous shoes through Al’s grip. “Finish him, Sweet!” Popsy shouted. Sweet gripped the cleaver in both hands and raised it high as she stalked closer. “Break the egg!” Al yelled. Popsy stopped struggling. Sweet lowered her weapon slightly. “Become the Whiteface,” Al said, shuffling his feet under himself. “Stop him!” “No,” Popsy hissed. He glared at Al, then shot a glance to Sweet. Her tongue pressed against her cheek as she thought it over. If she smashed the egg, she would be the Whiteface and her and Crumb would send him to the Alley for trial. That couldn’t happen. There was only one punishment for jestericide. The thought of such horrors sent shivers up Popsy’s spine and steeled his nerve. He swung his own cleaver. Sweet’s head popped off her shoulders in a fountain of blood. She stumbled about, tripping over Al, and collapsing beside him. The stump gushed, her body twitched… and Popsy laughed malevolently. “Sweetie, you always did give the best head.” Al kicked off, pulling Popsy’s legs out from under him. He grabbed Sweet’s cleaver and swung at the Auguste, slicing the toe of his shoe off, but missing the meat inside. Popsy rolled and kicked the knife from Al’s hand before scrambling back to his feet. Al spotted Popsy’s mallet and rolled across the ground, scooping it, and coming up to his knees in a single motion. Popsy brought his cleaver down for a killing blow. Al deflected it and smashed the Clown’s ankle with the hammer. Al tried tackling him again and was successful. The mallet swung wildly. It struck Popsy’s bright red nose with a squeak that drowned out the crunch of the bone. Al laughed. It was all he could do. Laugh and swing. Hit and squeak. Over and over. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Until Popsy’s face collapsed and the mallet just made a sticky, thick smack with each repeated blow. Al finally stopped and came to his senses. He checked Popsy’s watch and headed back to the church. There was still one Clown left to kill and only four minutes to do it in. Al stepped into the Clown church and saw Pastor Crumb writhing on the floor. The top of a white head with flocks of orange hair was buried in his abdomen, munching noisily on the Pastor’s guts. The Pierrot lifted its gore-streaked face and hissed. “You must be the famous Penis the Clown everyone’s been telling me about.” Fennis stood in a hunkered, crooked mockery of normalcy. He tore at his clothing, revealing the ‘Farcemeister’ family name across his powerful chest. The Clown’s bared teeth wiggled in their sockets and fell away as fangs pushed through the gums to take their place. Smoke rose from his pores, steaming his greasepaint from his face and taking the flesh with it. Bone showed through in the original pattern of his makeup. The Clown shuddered and his chest tore open with a great blooming flower that spurted its nectar into steaming puddles on the floor. The Pierrot lunged forward. Al cocked back the mallet and took aim at the egg resting on its pedestal. He flung the weapon at it… and missed. The hammer sailed harmlessly over it and struck the massive cross behind the podium. The ornament rocked on its hangers. Fennis drew closer to Al, running with his now clawed hands tearing at the floorboards like a circus monkey. Fennis sprang into the air. The Clown seemed to fall in slow motion as Al awaited his demise. The cross crashed down on Fennis’ coffin, knocking it into the pedestal and tipping it over. The vermillion egg hit the floor a moment before Fennis landed on Al. The egg shattered, splattering the floor with its gooey, unnatural contents. Fennis exploded. The force knocked Al to the floor ahead of the tidal wave of viscera and blood that washed over him. He worked to untangle himself from a length of intestine and stood up, dripping with Clown goo. “I’ll probably laugh about this later.” He spat out a piece of flesh and shook his head. “I hate clowns.” Al limped toward the exit. He just wanted to go home—back to his shitty basement apartment with his Hot Pockets and his porn collection and he never wanted to see another fucking clown. He threw open the door of the church and groaned. Sweet was ambling toward him with her head in her hands. Blippy dragged his remains across the graveyard’s lawn. The snapping of the bang-flag blowing in the wind drew his attention to Waldo helping Popsy navigate the headstones. Al slammed the door and backed away from it. The knob started to turn. “It’s midnight,” he sobbed. “I made it. This isn’t fair.” “No.” A pair of bloody hands clutched his shoulders and Pastor Crumb leaned close to his ear with a giggle. “It’s a circus.” The door creaked open and the others shambled in. Crumb bit into Al’s cheek and the others closed in around him. Al saw their fangs and the bone showing where makeup had been. There was no one left in the shudder. No one to bring their souls to Joy anymore. Sweet threw her head at him and the damn thing latched onto his chest while Crumb dragged him to the floor. Popsy stood over him, his words came in a gurgled mess… “Laughter… never… dies.” The End

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Ep.81 – You Are What You Eat! - Prepare to Be Skinned ALIVE!

Episode Notes

Who's Hungry? Aaron is going crazy over his co-workers vegan diet, but how far will he go to prove MEAT IS WHAT MATTERS? Find out, and make sure to bring napkins...

You Are What You Eat by Rob Fields

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Transcript:

Robbie Farns walked into Mirren Automotive, the factory where he worked, about twenty miles from Strickfield. He didn’t particularly care about the place or the job itself, but at least it was steady work with a decent paycheck. He’d been working there for a couple of years now, at least as a way to pay his way through Strickfield University. As he walked through the plant to get to his work area, he knew it was going to be hot as hell. Carrying his lunch box, he knew he would soon get even more hell from one of his coworkers about what was inside. Robbie had been living the vegan lifestyle for the last few months. He had been careful to avoid eating literally anything that came from animals. That included – in addition to not eating meat – dairy, eggs, or any processed foods containing animal byproducts. Whenever he’d go out to eat, he was careful to avoid eating fried foods cooked in shared oil. He had even gone to a vegan festival in Erie City. When Robbie reached his work area, he punched in at the time clock. After putting his earplugs in, he went to his locker to change into his work shoes and prepare for his shift. It wasn’t long before he was greeted by a troublesome coworker in the form of Aaron Jameston. Aaron and Robbie were opposites in many ways. Robbie was a head taller than Aaron, also thinner. Robbie had long dark hair that went down to his shoulders and was always clean-shaven, while Aaron kept his head shaved and had a long, shaggy beard. Robbie’s skin was a clean slate, while Aaron had many tattoos. The big difference was that Aaron was a hunter who always bragged about his kills, the trophies that he kept from many of them, and all the meat that he enjoyed. Then he learned that the new guy in his department, this quiet young pup, wasn’t a meat eater – a vegan – which got his attention in more ways than one. As always, Aaron just looked at Robbie with contempt and disgust. Robbie knew and expected this every day, but he didn’t care. He’d been used to people picking on him about his vegan ways. Some of his other coworkers had asked him many questions about his veganism, mainly because they were curious. For the most part, people usually left him alone. Aaron Jameston, however, had issues with Robbie and would be anything but subtle. “What kinda rabbit food you bring today, Rabbit?” Aaron asked, taking a seat at a picnic table across from Robbie. Robbie remained calm, in spite of the nickname Aaron had hung on him. He looked up at Aaron. “What do you care?” Aaron was twice Robbie’s age and never liked when people back-talked him. There were times when he wanted to just lay into Robbie. Sure, Robbie always did his job and turned out great numbers. Just the same, he wanted to find something – anything – to justify giving Robbie a good ol’ fashioned ass whooping. As long as they both worked for Mirren Automotive, however, Aaron couldn’t physically lay a hand on Robbie, in or out of the plant. Not if he wanted to keep his job. “What, you don’t wanna tell me?” Aaron said in his always-threatening tone. Robbie sighed. “Look, we both know you really don’t care about the food I bring. So why don’t you just save it?” Aaron smiled, which Robbie knew was never a good thing. “Lemme explain somethin’ to you, Rabbit. I don’t know what you think yer doin’ with all this vegan bullshit. But here, outside Strickfield, we’re hunters. That means meat is the way we do things. We love our meat. We kill for our meat. We eat meat! Now you come in here with yer vegan bullshit and expect us to just stop eatin’ meat?” Robbie held up his hand in front of him. “Whoa! Let’s get something straight. I don’t go around telling anybody to not eat meat. There are vegans out there that would, but I personally don’t care what you eat. You eat what you want, and I’ll eat what I want. I mainly do it for health reasons, if you must know. I’ve lost weight because of it.” Aaron kept on him. “So . . . you sayin’ we’re all fat fucks ’cause we eat meat?” True, Aaron was quite portly for a little man, but Robbie wouldn’t go there. “I never said that. Don’t put words in my mouth.” Aaron threw his arms up. “Why the fuck be a rabbit? Why can’t you just go bust yer ass at the gym or somethin’? Why you gotta be so fuckin’ different?” Robbie countered, “Again, what do you care? I’m not here to preach vegan. I’m here to do my job and get paid so I can keep the lights on at my place, eat, and attend college. Leave me alone, okay?” Aaron smiled more sinister now. “Yeah, yer a rabbit now.” He pointed at Robbie and shook his finger. “I seen yer kind before. Yer gonna crack. Yer gonna be back. Yer gonna eat meat again. Know why?” He leaned in a little. “’Cause that’s the way it is. Our ancestors have been huntin’ and eatin’ meat since caveman years. Meat is the way! The only way! There ain’t no room in this world for fuckin’ rabbits like you. People like you are weak. Always have been.” Just then, Robbie and Aaron were greeted by the presence of their boss. “Hey, Aaron, you causing trouble back here again?” Mike Cruz demanded. “How many times have I talked to you about that? You looking to get wrote up or what?” Aaron wasn’t even afraid to talk back to his own boss. “You already wrote me up! What more you gonna do? I’m just havin’ a conversation with Rabbit here.” “I don’t see anybody here named Rabbit,” Mike snapped. “Last time I’m telling you, quit getting in everybody’s shit! I’m sorry about what happened to your sister, but mind your own goddamn business! You wanna keep going this way, I’ll give you your final write-up. After that, I’ll have no other choice but to walk you out. That what you want? You both do good work in this department, and I don’t want to lose either one of you. But if you keep it up, Aaron, you’re gonna be out on your ass. We on the same page here?” Aaron chuckled and looked at Robbie. “Know what, Rabbit? Yer part of a dyin’ breed. I mean it. Yer dead! Know why? ’Cause we meat-eaters hunt rabbits and other plant-eaters like you. You understandin’ me, you fuckin’ weaklin’? Only the strong survive! It’s only a matter of time before you end up like all God’s creatures . . . right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy! My sister was a fuckin’ rabbit – just like you. It didn’t keep her from bein’ kidnapped and killed a few months back. And you know what?” He pointed in a random direction. “The fucker that did it is still out there – still roamin’ free! And that’s another thing! Women are in the same place as you rabbits on the food chain – nothin’ but weak, dead weight. When the killer catches up to you . . . I’m gonna laugh my fuckin’ ass off.” Mike had had enough. “You know what, Aaron? Go home! This ain’t negotiable! We don’t need your shit here. It’s obvious you still ain’t over your sister’s death. Go home and cool off. Last warning! You come back in here tomorrow and start your shit again, I won’t worry about no final write-up. I’ll just walk you out myself, and you won’t have a job here no more.” He pointed in the direction of the nearest door. “Go home! Now!” Aaron didn’t move at first. Finally, he slammed his palms on the table, making sure he got Robbie’s attention. Then he stood up, still smiling his sinister smile at Robbie. “Be seein’ you, Rabbit.” “Move!” Mike commanded him. “Fuck you, I’m goin’!” Aaron snapped. Robbie and Mike both heard Aaron yelling and cursing as he moved to the exit door and walked out of the plant. Robbie was relieved to not have to work with Aaron, at least for today. 

Robbie managed to avoid Aaron when he returned to work. He started taking his lunch box to a different break area and eating there. Mike had told Aaron not to talk to Robbie, unless it was work related. However, that didn’t keep Aaron from giving him his sinister looks. Over time, Robbie had heard around the work area about what had happened to Aaron’s sister, Susan. Aaron had never gotten along with Susan. True, Aaron was old enough to be Robbie’s father . . . and Susan’s. Aaron’s mother had taken over raising him when her husband, David, had died of a heart attack. Aaron was around ten, and he never really got over the loss of his father. After that, he looked up to his uncle, George, who was even meaner and more vicious than his dad. Still, Uncle George taught Aaron everything he knew about hunting and fishing. Then, when Aaron had reached twenty, his mother had met a man named William Sanders. Aaron didn’t think much about it at first. As far as he was concerned, William wasn’t going to be around long. All of the other men before him had left. But months went by and William was still around, committed to his mother. Aaron never saw the surprises coming when his mother made two big announcements. The first was that she and William were getting married. The second was that she was going to have William’s baby. Aaron flew into a wild rage and threatened to shoot William. As far as Aaron was concerned, he was the man of the house – end of story. Just the same, William and Rosie were married. Months later, Susan came into the world. Aaron would never come to accept this daughter as his sister and let William and Rosie know about it on no uncertain terms. As Susan grew up, Aaron would be verbally abusive towards her. Being an overbearing bully, he never had to raise his hand to her. Over time, Susan became both angry and afraid of Aaron. As long as William and Rosie were around, Susan felt some semblance of safety from Aaron. Over the last two years that Susan had lived at home, she had taken up a vegan lifestyle and refused to eat anything that Aaron had put on the table for her. Aaron became increasingly frustrated and abusive with her because of it. Susan had finally decided that she wasn’t going to tolerate Aaron anymore. During her junior year at Strickfield High School, Susan moved out and went to live with friends who shared her compassion for animals, who were also vegan. It had taken a restraining order to keep Aaron away from Susan. After Susan graduated from high school, she had gone on to Strickfield University. Aaron was around forty and had become meaner and bitter than ever. During this time, Rosie had died. William died not too long after. By then, Susan was living in a dorm room at Strickfield University. Aaron had been arrested once for breaking the restraining order during Susan’s freshman year at Strickfield University. He’d gotten drunk and confronted Susan in Wilder Hall, the student union building. Susan decided not to press charges, and he was released. The police gave him a warning about what would happen if he broke his restraining order again. Aaron had heard through the grapevine that Susan had met someone on campus and was seeing him. He didn’t know who the person was, but he was determined to find him and make  life hell for anyone who thought about hooking up with Susan. A few months later, Aaron was arrested again when it was revealed that both Susan and her boyfriend had been kidnapped. The remains of their bodies were found not too long after, with their clothes on them and the flesh and muscles stripped clean off. Aaron went into a rage when he was in jail and screamed up and down that he had nothing to do with the abductions or murders. Aaron would be released since it was proven that he didn’t abduct and kill Susan and her boyfriend, whose name he didn’t know because he never could remember it. He had been home drinking with friends, all of whom were able to vouch for him. Aaron continued to go further down the spiral, and it showed at Mirren Automotive. If it wasn’t for Mike Cruz keeping the peace, Aaron would have created quite the hostile working environment. 

A month later, Robbie had accepted some overtime at Mirren and was given an hour break to go and get some dinner. Robbie hadn’t packed extra food for the overtime period, but he knew that Rockne’s Bar and Grill across the street was a place that had vegan options and decided to go there. Robbie went in and sat at the bar. Rockne himself knew Robbie and told him of the vegan special, which was a meatloaf dinner with macaroni and cheese and a vegetable medley. Robbie felt the glare and saw that Aaron was sitting about four seats down from him. Still, he knew that old man Rockne didn’t put up with Aaron outbursts in his bar any more than Mike Cruz did at work. Aaron gave Robbie his sinister smile, but he made no move. Robbie looked back to Rockne. “Sounds good. I’m going to go use the restroom.” “Your food’ll be waiting here for you when you get back, kid,” Rockne said. Aaron watched as Robbie walked away. He watched with even greater anticipation as Rockne prepared the college rabbit’s food. He put the finished plate on the table and then put the silverware next to the plate. He finished it off by putting a glass of water down. As soon as Rockne went to the back, Aaron struck. He had a big bowl of beef gravy that he used for his plate of food. There was quite a bit of it left. He picked it up and moved over to Robbie’s plate. After making sure that Rockne was still in the back, he tilted the bowl and poured the gravy all over everything. When he finished, he went back to his seat. When Robbie returned and sat down, he immediately noticed the gravy all over his food. When Rockne came back out, Robbie made his complaint. Rockne looked at the plate. “I didn’t put any gravy on that, kid.” He groaned. “I’ll getcha a new plate.” “The fuck you will!” Aaron called out. Then he pointed at Robbie. “You just sit yer ass down there and eat that food right there.” Rockne pointed right at Aaron. “I’m putting this meal on your tab, you little son of a bitch.” Aaron ignored Rockne and got off his stool. “Well, come on, Rabbit! Sit down there and eat.” Rockne said to Robbie, “Don’t touch that food. I’ll getcha a new plate.” Aaron glared at him. “No, you will not! He’s eatin’ this one.” He glared at Robbie. “Eat that food there! Or I swear to God I’ll fuckin’ feed it to you myself.” “Since you tainted my food, I’m not touching it,” Robbie replied in defiance. Aaron’s glare turned into a sinister smile. “Fine, have it yer way.” Aaron hauled off and punched Robbie in the face with enough force to send him backward and flying over a nearby table. Aaron was quickly around to the other side. He pulled Robbie up and hauled off on him again. Before Robbie could fall, Aaron picked him up into a fireman’s carry. He took Robbie to another table and slammed him right top of it, making the table collapse. “What’s the matter, Rabbit?” Aaron taunted. “It’s vegan food, ain’t it? I just spiced it up a little for you.” He kicked Robbie in the gut. “This place used to be just for real men. Then you fuckin’ college kids came along with yer vegan shit. Now Rockne’s servin’ rabbit food here.” He kicked Robbie in the gut again. “You can’t even get a real man’s meal in here no more.” He kicked Robbie in the gut one more time. “Because of you fuckin’ rabbits!” Robbie tried to pick himself up. Aaron helped him up enough to punch him hard in the gut. “Look at you! You ain’t even a real fuckin’ man. Yer just some sissy-ass kid who can’t even fight me.” Aaron grabbed Robbie’s hair and pulled him back to the bar. Before Robbie could think, Aaron shoved his face right into the gravy-soaked food. Then he started rubbing Robbie’s face in it. “Come on, Rabbit! Come on! Eat that fuckin’ rabbit food. Doesn’t that gravy make it taste that much better? Huh? Mmmmmm . . . ! Eat as much as you want!” But the sound of the pump-action shotgun quickly forced Aaron to let go of Robbie. Rockne had pulled his shotgun out from underneath the bar and was now aiming it right at Aaron. “Let go of the kid, you little bastard!” When Aaron hesitated, Rockne screamed, “I said let him go!” Aaron finally let go of Robbie and stepped back very slowly. Rockne gave Robbie a wet towel. “Here, kid, wipe yourself off. Don’t worry, I just called the cops.” Aaron raised his hands in front of him as Rockne kept the gun on him. “Now, look here, old man . . . We wouldn’t want –” “Shut the fuck up, Aaron!” Rockne interrupted. “You’re done here! You hear me?! You’re banned for life from here. You ever step foot in my place ever again, and I’ll blow your goddamn head clean off. And you know I mean just what I’m saying! And don’t think I ain’t collecting what you owe me for wrecking my place.” Then Aaron heard another voice. “Hey, Aaron! You ever step foot in Mirren Automotive ever again, and I’ll have security walk your ass out.” Aaron quickly spun around and saw Mike Cruz standing there. He pointed right at Mike. “Bullshit! You didn’t see nothin’!” “I saw enough,” Mike said. “You’re fired! You hear me? Fired! Don’t even bother coming back to work. I’ll be in on Saturday. You can come back in and get your shit then.” Mike came over to Robbie. “You okay, kid?” Robbie nodded. “I’ll be all right?” “I got the police coming,” Rockne told Aaron. “I’m pressing charges on you. You’re paying for all the damage you caused here – and that ruined plate.” Aaron pointed right at Rockne. “Fuck you, old man! You ain’t gettin’ one goddamn dime outta me.” He pointed at Robbie now. “This ain’t over between you and me, Rabbit! Yer permanently on my fuckin’ shitlist!” When Rockne raised the shotgun to Aaron again, Aaron shouted curses as he turned and stormed out of the bar. 

Around 3:00am, Aaron sat in his pickup truck and eyed the Mirren Automotive east parking lot. Aaron took another swig out of the bottle of whiskey he’d brought with him and felt the alcohol mix really good with his anger. He caressed the double-barreled shotgun that he had sitting in the passenger’s side. “Yeah, you think I can’t think, huh, Rabbit?” Aaron muttered. “Maybe I never knew yer fuckin’ name, but I know where you leave here from. I know what car you drive. I’ll fuckin’ kill yer rabbit ass before you make it back to that panty-waste college of yers.” He took another swig, then shouted, “Vegan, my ass!” He didn’t have to wait that much longer. Eventually, he saw a small group of people coming out of the plant. He raised his binoculars and saw that Robbie was among them. He grinned with anticipation. “Ooooh, yeah! I’ll get you easy, boy. I’ll run you right offa the goddamn road. Then I’m gonna go on a little rabbit hunt.” As Aaron reached over to caress his shotgun again, he suddenly realized that it was no longer there. “What the fuck?!” Suddenly, he felt the double barrels being pressed right up against the left side of his neck. Aaron turned his head to see who managed to sneak his shotgun out of the open passenger’s side window and brought it over to his side. His eyes went wide when he recognized the face. “You?!” Aaron choked out. “Can’t be . . . ! Yer – !” Aaron didn’t have time to finish. The person quickly raised a pistol and fired it. Aaron gasped when he felt the dart hit his chest. He blacked out seconds later. 

Aaron opened his eyes and groaned. “What the fuck . . . ?” he mumbled. Aaron sniffed and recognized that all-too-familiar scent of smoked meat. When he managed to overcome more of the tranquilizer, he realized that he was tied up and elevated in some backyard somewhere. He looked and saw somebody was roasting a big slab of meat over an open fire. “What the fuck?!” he repeated. The person turned around. Then he moved over to Aaron. In the dim light, Aaron could see Robbie now. “Oh, hey! Glad to see you’re awake, Aaron. Guess that was some pretty good tranq, huh?” Aaron glared down at Robbie and demanded, “What the fuck you think yer doin’, Rabbit?!” Robbie laughed. “Why . . . just watching you hang around. Literally! Pretty soon, you’re going into that little building right behind you. Since you can’t see it, it’s a smokehouse. Oh, and you’re going to be getting smoked to perfection. Once you’re skinned, that is . . .” Aaron screamed with rage and tried to squirm free. Robbie wasn’t in the least bit intimidated. When Aaron couldn’t fight anymore, he glared at Robbie again. “Lemme go, God damn you!” Robbie laughed. “Congratulations, asshole! You were right about me. Me being a vegan  won’t last. Okay, when we first met, I was eating vegan. Not because I wanted to, mind you. But the real truth is . . . you were the one I was hunting. See, I’m a hunter, too. Except I don’t just hunt deer and other wild animals. I also hunt for people that might make some great, tasty meat. And, yes, you were definitely right about meat being the way. Believe me, you were so right. And you are going to make some great eating once you’re all finished smoking.” Aaron growled. “When I get my fuckin’ hands on you, you son of a bitch . . . !” “Good luck with that,” Robbie said. “You might want to look down at your legs, though.” Aaron looked down to see that he not only had no pants on . . . he no longer had his lower legs!! Only stumps where they once were. “Holy motherfuckin’ shit! Oh, my fuckin’ god! Jesus fuckin’ – !” “Oh, for fuck’s sake, would you please – for once in yer life – just shut the fuck up?” a female voice familiar to Aaron called out from the back door. Aaron looked to see the girl who came and stood next to Robbie. “I did see you outside the factory . . . Susan! But . . . but . . .  yer dead!” Robbie wrapped an arm around Susan’s waist. Then the two of them shared a kiss before they looked at Aaron again. “Our plan worked, lover,” Susan said. “Yes, it did,” Robbie agreed. “Goin’ to college was the best thing ever happened to me,” Susan explained to Aaron. “You see, when I met Robbie, he was such a sensitive guy. Yeah, he done has his problems, such as all the meat he eats, but he’s still all sweet on me. I mean, I literally fell in love with him at first sight.” Robbie smiled. “I used to think girls were trouble, especially the ones who lived out here in the country. Then I met your sister here – a country girl – while I was at the university. Boy, did she ever catch me off guard. Now, I don’t know how I ever lived without her. Anyway, when she told me about what an insufferable prick you were to her and how she had so many sleepless nights because of you . . .” He sighed. “I flat-out suggested just killing you.” Susan was angry now. “And, believe me, you don’t know how many times I wanted to blow yer fuckin’ head off while you was sleepin’. Robbie done showed me that killin’ you will be so easy. We’ll even benefit from you, too. Surprise! I ain’t vegan no more. Turns out I love eatin’ meat.” She giggled a little. “Human meat!” Susan picked up a knife and carved off a small piece of the meat from the roast. She turned back to Aaron. “This here’s one of yer legs over this here fire.” Aaron was horrified to see Susan put the cut meat into her mouth and eat it. She turned to Robbie. “Mmmm . . . smoked to perfection,  baby.” Robbie smiled at Aaron. “For the record, I did go vegan for the last few months. See, Susan made a little bet with me. She said I couldn’t be vegan for two whole months, so I agreed to try it. She in turn agreed to try eating human meat. If I made it two months, which I did – today, she would go back to eating meat on the full-time basis.” He turned to her. “Don’t worry, hon, I won’t hold you to it. If you want to be vegan, it’s fine by me.” They shared another kiss. Then Susan said, “Vegan food is mighty good, but I’ll consider eatin’ human steaks. As long as it don’t bother you that I still wanna eat vegan.” Robbie shook his head. “No, we can eat vegan food. You were right, it’s actually not bad. I’d say we found our happy medium, you and me.” They kissed one more time. Again, Aaron struggled to free himself. He roared and thrashed with all his might. Finally, he realized it was useless and gave up. “You were dead, Susan!” Aaron protested. “You and yer college boyfriend both.” “You saw two bodies we done carved up,” Susan corrected him. “Robbie and I put our clothes on them bodies. The police never even thought to do any kinda forensics to see if they was really us or not. We’re both legally dead. My new name is Megan Farns now. We got married shortly after we decided we was gonna kill you.” “Speaking of killing you, Aaron,” Robbie said, “we’re going to strip the flesh off you. Then we’ll put you in the smokehouse and smoke you to perfection, just like we did your legs. Susan wanted to keep you alive long enough so she could see you before we do what needs to be done.” “I know I’ll savor every bite of you until yer all gone,” Megan murmured. “Still think I’m a rabbit now, you short little fat fucker?” Robbie teased. “This is bullshit!” Aaron cried. “Bullshit!” “Puttin’ up with you all them years of my life was bullshit,” Megan snapped. “Now I’ll sleep peacefully, and with my wonderful man.” She glanced at Robbie. “I’m done talkin’ to this shitheel now. Thank you for this opportunity, honey. I love you.” “I love you, too, babe. Here, I’ll give you the honors,” Robbie said, handing her a buck knife. Megan stepped up onto a sturdy metal ladder to look at Aaron one last time. “This is for my life of hell, you fuckin’ Neanderthal!” Aaron screamed as Megan stabbed him hard in his stomach. His blood was spurting out quickly. He groaned, intent on not giving up on his life. Megan knew this and drew back again for another hard stab. Aaron Johnston knew that the second stab would be . . . THE END!!

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Ep.80 – Dead and Breakfast - Behind the Snowy Blizzard There's a MANIAC!

Episode Notes

A group of teens get stranded by a severe blizzard, luckily they've landed on the doorstep of a humble Bed and Breakfast where they can get warm for the night... But something else is lurking in the white snow and it's dangerous.

Dead and Breakfast by Morgan Moore

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Transcript:

The screams of a young woman pierced the night as the source of the din exploded from the backdoor of her home… letting loose another screech in her wake.

Her screaming didn’t last long as the cold night air cut off her wind, forcing her to stop to catch her breath.

She was enjoying a night to herself while her mother babysat for her… but the peace she was hoping to get was shattered when a stranger knocked on her door.

When she opened it, the man rushed her and chased her into the living room… a bottle to the head lead to her escape.

And here she was, taking a break to regain her composure.

She was freezing, but there was no way she was going back into her house. A neighbor… any neighbor would have to do.

The young woman started to walk towards a distant gate when the man shoved his foot into the small of her back.

With no time to react, he flipped her over, sitting knees first on her stomach.

Stunned by the blow she looked up at him, as the ice pick… recently pilfered from her home… entered and exited her heart repeatedly.

When he was finished the man stood up and slid the ice pick into the pocket of his jacket before walking off into the cold, bitter night.

. . . . .

“I think it’s stuck Matt.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed Rachel.” Matt replied sarcastically.

Rachel, Matt, and their friends Danni and Jack had been trying to get in one last camping trip before the weather turned bitter… but a blizzard appeared out of nowhere mid-week, so the quartet had packed up and hit the highway.

The blizzard in full swing, the group took the recommended detours and ended up in a town called Oldsville… or more accurately on the front lawn of a house they almost hit as they skidded off the road thanks to the ice surrounding Oldsville.

“So now what do we do?” Danni asked as she held her arms against her body for extra warmth.

“There’s no way we’re gonna get any help out here tonight.” Jack remarked.

“Well we have to do something or else we’ll freeze.“ Matt interjected.

Rachel looked around the area. He was right she thought; they’d freeze to death if they stayed out here.

Rachel looked around the neighborhood, and noticed that the lights were off in every house except for the one they were stuck in front of. “Hey guys, it looks like the people who live here might still be up. Why don’t try asking them for help?” she suggested to her friends.

The other three looked at each other and shrugged.

“I’m game… as long as they have heat.” Danni said.

“And a warm bed to go with it.” Jack added, grabbing Danni by the waist and bringing her into a kiss.

“Don’t get too lovey-dovey, you might get stuck together, and not in a fun way.” Matt said as he hauled out everybody’s bags from the car.

The four trudged up to the house and banged on the door all at once.

Almost immediately the door swung open. A middle aged woman stood between them and the interior.

“Yes?” she asked, slightly annoyed.

“Hi. We’re sorry to bother you. But we slid off the road and uh, into your yard…” Matt started gesturing to the car. “...anyways it’s stuck now. Is there any way you could let us spend the night?” he finished before giving the woman a warm smile, the others following suit.

The woman looked at the group and shrugged a bit. “Well, I guess we’d be a really terrible bed and breakfast if I didn’t let you sleep here. Come on in.”

She ushered them inside.

“A bed and breakfast? I guess we lucked out big time. I didn’t see a sign out in the yard though.” Rachel remarked as she and her friends stripped off their winter gear.

“It’s more than likely covered by all the snow.” The caretaker explained.

She lead the group to the kitchen and after a few minutes handed them each a hot cup of tea.

The foursome downed their beverages eagerly which elicited a chuckle from the caretaker.

“Are there any other guests staying here?” Danni asked.

“Nope. You kids are probably the only ones we’ll have until the weather blows over.”

“How much do we owe you?” Jack asked.

“Don’t worry about it tonight. We can hash that out in the morning… no point in handling the business side of this now when you may end up staying longer.”

The group looked at each other sheepishly.

“Sounds like a plan then.” Matt said, breaking the awkward silence. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired. Would you excuse us ma’am?”

“Not at all. The rooms are upstairs for guests, pick whatever ones you want. My room is down here if you kids need anything.” She explained, giving them a smile.

. . . . .

The stranger trudged through the harsh winter conditions. He did not know where he was going… he was only moving because he felt the urge to do so.

He would need shelter soon.

As if reading his mind the snow let up some… the lights of the nearby house beckoning him.

. . . . .

Rachel walked into the room she and Matt had claimed, buttoning up a pajama shirt as she did so. Matt sat on the bed looking at his phone.

“Anything interesting?” Rachel asked.

“I was checking the weather. Looks like the snow is definitely not stopping until late tomorrow night.”

“I guess that means we will be staying here for a bit.” Rachel said, blowing a strand of hair from her face.

“Looks like it.” Matt said sternly.

. . . . .

The stranger pried open the backdoor of the dwelling and slipped inside.

Finding himself in a kitchen, he sat down at a table and pulled off his coat.

He removed an ice-pick from his pocket, laid it upon the table and sighed at the sight of the instrument before him.

. . . . .

Danni collapsed onto Jack and smiled before rolling off of him. The two lovers lied next to each other, sweat covering them.

“I’m gonna take a shower while there’s still hot water.” Danni said, exiting the room.

Jack dozed off seconds later, only to come to in pitch blackness.

He stumbled to his feet in search of his phone, and the light it would provide.

The stranger rushed at Jack and pinned him against the wall.

Jack’s assailant slid a gloved hand over his victim’s mouth tightly.

The blows came fast, tearing his flesh savagely again and again! The stranger let Jack’s body collapse to the floor before heading to the bathroom and the sound of running water…

. . . . .

Matt and Rachel rushed into the bathroom as Danni’s screams rang out repeatedly.

Now here they were, face to face with a psychopath.

“Run!” Matt screamed as the stranger bolted towards them.

The duo rushed down the stairs, nearly falling over one another as the stranger pursued them.

Their eyes went to the front door, widening in joy that they would be free of this nightmare.

The stranger tackled Matt.

Rachel screamed.

Matt turned his head to look at her as the stranger slit his throat.

The killer stood up and turned to face Rachel.

She bolted and dove out window in the far side of the room and ran pell-mell into the cold night.

. . . . .

The frigid air assaulted her lungs and skin.

Rachel pressed on, desperately searching for signs of life in any of the neighboring houses.

Minutes passed and she was ready to give up when a light appeared from a distant home.

She stumbled forth, up the stairs, and beat on the door until her knuckles bled.

The door opened a crack and a middle aged woman peered forth from the slight opening.

“Please… please help me!”

The woman looked at Rachel, stunned. She gathered her wits and spoke.

“What’s the matter?”

“Somebody is chasing me! He killed my friends!”

The woman ushered Rachel inside and bolted the door.

. . . . .

“Honey I’m home.” A voice called out.

“That’s my husband. Let me go tell him what happened to you.” the woman said as she left the room, wringing her hands.

Rachel listened to the sound of a clock ticking away in the kitchen.

The gentle “tick-tock” droned on and on as Rachel’s eyelids grew heavier and heavier

. . . . .

Rachel started awake as footsteps approached.

In the doorway stood the stranger, ice-pick in hand.

His lips split into a gruesome smile.

Rachel’s bloodcurdling scream rung through the neighborhood and across the cold Winter’s night.

Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com

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Ep.79 – Torture and Other Job Skills - Being Out of Work Can be KILLER

Episode Notes

Being out of work sucks, especially when that's how you value yourself. But what if you have another calling, a deeper calling... a DARKER calling...

Torture and Other Job Skills by Killian Crane

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Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com

Transcript:

Have you ever been laid off? I had my dream job in management. Good benefits, great pay. Small company, room to grow. Every day at work was a genuine pleasure. Most people say that to kiss their boss’s ass. But not me. I loved my job. When Debra left me, the job was all I had. I poured my soul into it. Those under me, they didn’t understand. They whispered behind my back, called me, “pushy, tight ass... nut job.” Some of them even called HR on me. They couldn’t understand. I demand nothing but the best from my team. Do your job to the best of your ability and we’ll have no problem. Do sloppy work, and I will make sure you face the consequences. And as for all the whispers behind my back, what they failed to realize was that my methods worked. I was by far the best manager at my job. Punctual, organized, efficient. Those under me knew my expectations. You see, people are like coal. If you put enough heat and pressure on coal, it becomes a diamond. Diamonds are the standard we should all strive to achieve. One thing I cannot stand is failure. I punished those that failed me. There are far too many weaklings in the workforce. The answer of course isn’t to fire them on the spot, that’s a waste of coal. But punishment, that’s the answer. More heat, more pressure. There’s a diamond in there somewhere. I was the best at making diamonds... until this fucking COVID-19 virus. I will never forget the day my boss Ryan called me into his office. The first words out of his mouth were, “I’m sorry I have to do this.” He was flat, formal, and precise. I sank into my chair. He said some more things about the virus, uncertain times, cutbacks in every department. Across the board, he said... I didn’t listen to all that. I was too busy looking into his eyes. They said everything I needed to hear. He wasn’t sorry, not at all. He wanted me gone. I couldn’t help but cry. It was unsightly and unprofessional, but the job was my everything, my only thing. And he took it from me. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. “It came from corporate. Nothing I can do.” Years of service, up in smoke. As COVID made a killing, so did delivery services. I had everything delivered to my apartment; food, basic supplies, alcohol. Not that I was afraid of the virus, I just... didn’t have the strength to go outside. I was a failure. Me, the best employee in my division, possibly in the entire company... had been laid off. Let go. I knew it had nothing to do with the virus. That was just an excuse for the higher ups to trim the fat. I never thought of myself as fat before then. Fat was something gross to be discarded. I hated myself, but more, I hated everything else. I started the search for a new job immediately. I updated my already outstanding resume, surfed the appropriate websites. Someone would have me. My bed became my new office as I searched. My laptop lay to my right, next to the television remote, the pretzels, the two liters, the whiskey, the box wine... I used the same cup for everything. Saved time during the search. Every time I went to the door for a delivery, I had to kick the daily paper out of the way. Despite the pandemic, the paper never stopped coming. Over time, they became a pile next to the door. They had their own ozone, their smell of ink and paper so much more pleasant than the rest of the place. It was funny. The world shut down, but not the mail. Should have been a mailman, I thought. Definite job security. Of course, there were no mail jobs available. There were almost no jobs available. And the ones that were disappeared fast. The market was more dog eat dog than ever. I’d send in my resume and check back the next day to find the position no longer available. And I hadn’t gotten a call. Their loss, I thought... but then more and more listings disappeared. Blinking out like stars in the night sky. When the check from the government came in, that was the worst. I’m sure it thrilled some people to receive one, but not me. I felt like a leech. More than anything, I wanted to work. To earn my way. But the night sky had grown dark, and so had my apartment. In the darkness, I fantasized about hurting Ryan. A lot. I wished it was just me and him and a fucking pipe wrench... Those weeks were hard on my ex, Debra. She called me often. I remember standing in my bathrobe at the window talking to her. The view was nothing spectacular, but it was nice to stand in the sun and listen to her voice. Too bad I couldn’t see her in person; she’d caught the damn virus. “I’m worried about you,” she said weakly between wheezes. I held my phone in the crook of my neck, checking my robe for smells. I’d flipped it inside out a few times in the past week. It itched, but I had a fix for that. A sort of numb-all recipe I’d perfected. “Me?” I asked on my way to concoct the recipe. I accidentally stepped in a puddle. Liquid seeped through my sock and in between my toes, “Don’t worry about me. Hey, this might cheer you up. I found out today they shut down my entire department. Even Ryan, the asshat that fired me, lost his job. And I think he has COVID!” “You shouldn’t laugh at that,” she said, “COVID’s no joke. I’m not liking it so far.” “Well, I hope it fucking kills him. Hang on, let me put you on speaker.” I put the phone down on the table. It was tough to find free space, so I knocked a takeout container to the floor. Globs of congealed rice spilled onto the hardwood. “I know you loved your job, but you shouldn’t say things like that.” My old job... it was why she left me to begin with. Late work hours, dates cancelled, time missed and all that. As she droned on about what the fuck ever, I poured myself the perfect numb-all. Three fingers of red wine, two fingers of bottom shelf whiskey. Pour over ice and slosh until mixed. Only one more ingredient... “No, I’m not,” I said, holding a little orange bottle. I wasn’t sure if that was the right response or not. Based on her silence, it wasn’t. Debra had left the bottle here at our- my apartment after a surgery on her knee. My supply of the last ingredient was low. The pills rattled as I popped the top and fished one out. Debra snorted. “You’re being strange today.” “Eh.” “Is there any way I could maybe see you, you know, after I get better? I’m just… tired of being cooped up.” I put the pill on my tongue and washed it down with a sip of my drink. Numb all coming right up. “We’ll have to see. I’m just so… busy these days.” “Busy?” “Yeah, sorry… can’t... can’t talk right now, I’m at work.” She went silent for a while before finally saying something terrible. “Take care of yourself, okay?” “Hey,” I said, ice clinking as I downed the rest of my drink, “who’s my pretty girl?” I licked my lips and tasted the world slowing down. Debra had a tattoo on the small of her back, a purple butterfly. Thinking about it made me the numb-all version of hard. “Stop,” she said, “you know it’s not like that anymore.” “Come on,” I slurred, touching myself. I tried to hide the slur, but that hadn’t been my first drink of the day. Or my first pill. “Who’s my pretty girl? Smile for me.” “Call me sometime, will you?” Fucking bitch, I thought before hanging up. Oh, how I wanted to fuck her brains out, and maybe more. If only... Oh well, I thought, eyes bobbing listlessly upon the fucking wreck that was my apartment. Before, I kept things spotless and sanitary. I did my laundry the second the hamper filled up, wash, dry, fold, iron, put away. Now there were dirty clothes on every piece of furniture, empty bottles and containers on every flat surface. The floor was a minefield of trash and puddles. The smell of household cleaners and soap was gone, replaced by something... sad. The only agreeable smell came from the pile of papers near the front door. It’s ozone of pressed ink smelled so nice… I blacked out then, not sure for how long. I woke lying on the ground in a half-dried puddle of piss, my head nestled against the help wanted section. And then it came to me… The help wanted section! Why hadn’t I thought of it before? How stupid had I been? Of course, all the job positions would be online, but what if…? I tore into the pile. That ozone of ink and paper stained my fingers as I flipped and tore and read. Loose sheets crumpled and flew away. I didn’t care about the news; everyone knew the world was going to hell already. I devoured the job ads, holding them in the light pouring through the window. And I was right! Every single paper had the same offer! Every single one of them! “Management position. Job is challenging and a test of dedication and skill. Nothing but excellence will be accepted.” I danced with joy, kicking trash and splashing in puddles as I spun around and around. I tripped over my couch and busted my lip on the armrest, but stood with not a care in the world! The answer had been in front of me all along! Everyone had missed it because no one reads the paper anymore! There wasn’t a phone number to call, only an address. I had no time to shower. Some other desperate fuck might find the ad too. I laughed at his misfortune. “Sorry, pal,” I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I’m gonna beat you to it!” I tried calling Debra. She didn’t answer. I found that she’d called me in my blacked-out state, but… I’d call her later, after I gave her the good news. Because things were about to change. I would get that job. I would. I peeled my wet underwear off, splashed water on my pits and junk. Put on deodorant, scrounged around and put on my cleanest work clothes. Slapped a mask over my face. I felt the blood of my busted lip leaking onto it. I grabbed another mask off the floor so I could change them when I got to the interview and filled my flask; four fingers of whiskey, topped to the brim with red wine. I mixed them together and took one good pull of liquid courage to calm my thudding heart. I pocketed the flask, my phone, wallet and keys. One good slap to the face, and I was on my way. I barely remember the bus ride there. I worked through what I needed to say at the interview… but I was nervous. Like my first date with Debra, only worse. This was my chance out of the hole. My only chance. I lowered my mask and took another pull. The bus came to a halt at my stop. I paid as I got off and was stunned by what I saw. The building was beautiful; a perfect square of black glass, like an onyx finger pointing accusingly at the sky above. I smelled the threat of rain through my mask. A good rain was just what the world needed. The filth could drown in it… but not before I got inside. I hurried across the street as thunder echoed in the distance. I stopped shy of the door, checking my dark reflection. I fixed my tie, checked my mask. Yep, there was blood. I threw it out, licked until there was no more red, and put a new mask on. But not before another pull of liquid courage. The whiskey wine burned my busted lip, as well as a fresh pain I hadn’t noticed before. In my fall, I’d apparently knocked one of my teeth loose. I wished I’d brought a pill or two… and then I remembered something else I should have brought. My resume! I’d come empty-handed! Lightning arced in the sky. Too late. I couldn’t go back... The flask loosened my nerves. The pain in my tooth made me sharp. It was time to prove I wasn’t fat to be discarded. I was excellence. I was perfection. I walked to the door like I owned the place and hit the buzzer. The sun was low in the sky. I thought maybe I was too late, but someone buzzed me in. The place was dark. No receptionist, no activity. An open elevator cab was the only source of light in the place. I stepped in and knew that something was wrong. This building was immense… but there were only two buttons. No floor numbers, just an up and a down. The boss had to be upstairs. Downstairs was probably to a parking garage or something. I pressed up. I worked my loose tooth with my tongue as I ascended. The wait was agonizing. When I thought it would never end, the doors opened. To either side were empty offices… but straight ahead I saw a man in a massive office standing behind a desk. He stared down at the world through a great window. Someone must have buzzed me in, and I hadn’t seen another soul in the entire damned place. I tread towards his office, scared for reasons I didn’t understand at the time. Even from behind, this man exuded power. He spoke without turning. “Come in.” His voice was velvet ice. I couldn’t help but follow his command. I stepped into his office like I’d stepped on a puppy dog. He turned with a smile. His hair was neat, blonde, slicked back on his head. His face was clean-shaved. I realized with broiling anxiety I hadn’t shaved before I left. I reached to shake his hand. “Hello, I’m- “ “I know who you are,” he said, gesturing to a chair, “Sit.” My stomach turned. “You know who I am?” I did as he command and sat down. Though I was scared, I couldn’t help but admire him. He was beautiful. And terrible. All my preparations flew out of the window, if I’d had any to begin with. I sat, crossing my legs and then uncrossing them. I didn’t want to seem disrespectful. He walked to a small cabinet. “Drink?” A test. He wanted to see how professional I was. He poured himself two fingers of scotch. It was my chance to impress him. I pulled my flask from my pocket. “Thank you, but I brought my own.” He laughed a practiced, unreadable laugh. Maybe I’d passed his test, maybe I’d failed spectacularly. I noticed there was no name placard at his desk. I didn’t know what to call him. “What do I call you, sir?” His coal eyes went to my mask. “You don’t have to wear that around me.” I took it off, noticing this mask was also soaked with blood. It was odd he’d said nothing about it. I began to spiral. Whatever this was, it was feeling less and less like an interview. I recognized the look in his eyes. It was the one I gave my employees when I had them right where I wanted them. At my old job, I constantly tested those under me, prodded them like a shepherd, herded them in the direction I wanted them to go. Now I was being herded. But towards what? “So, sir... what are your expectations?” He took a sip of his bourbon. I took a sip from my flask. It helped to even me out. Nervously, I pressed on my loose tooth, grimacing at the pain. The man studied me with that look. “I expect excellence. Nothing more, nothing less. And I think you have what it takes.” “You do?” “Yes. I think you have all the qualifications.” At this point, I was at a crossroads. I wanted this job, even though I didn’t really know what it was. But everything in me told me to run, so I tried to take an out. I pretended to pat myself down, looking for something. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I forgot my resume at home, on my desk.” The man smiled. He saw what I was trying to do. “You don’t need it. You see, I’ve been waiting for you.” The urge to down the rest of my flask was strong. I tried to hide the tremble in my hand but couldn’t. Taking this interview had been a mistake. But… I was compelled. And desperate. He knew that. “Waiting for me?” “Yes. You finally saw my ad in the paper.” The room spun. I thought for sure I had lost my mind. “It’s a shame,” he said, “no one reads the paper anymore.” I stopped fighting the urge to down my flask and just did it. It poured over my loose tooth, and the world stopped spinning. The man finished his drink as well. “Are you ready to begin the interview?” I could barely control my breathing. “This… isn’t it?” “No. The interview is downstairs. Come.” He stood and walked out of the office. I hurried to my feet and followed. We got in the elevator cab, and he pressed the down button. We went down… and down… and down… and down. Far longer than it took me to go up. It got hot. Maybe actual heat, maybe my nerves. Questions buzzed in my head. I realized I never even asked what the position was for, yet here I was in a box descending the depths with this stranger. “So... what do you do here? The ad was vague.” “It’s best if you see for yourself.” The elevator didn’t open to a parking garage like I thought it would. It opened on a pristine hallway lit by fluorescent lights. At the end was a large metal door. The man walked ahead. He looked over his shoulders and called to me. “Here, boy.” He clicked his tongue, and I was out of the elevator. As we walked, he pulled a keycard from his inner suit pocket. He waved it in front of a reader, and the door popped open with a hiss. Beyond was pure darkness. Someone was in there, crying. The man smiled at me. “Are you ready to begin the interview?” He stepped inside, and fluorescent lights illuminated the room. Ryan, my old boss, rested on his knees sobbing. His arms were clasped in chains that hung from the ceiling. Every part of me screamed to run, but I stepped inside anyway. Ryan looked up at me. There was recognition in his face. “Thank God, it’s you! You have to help me!” On a rolling table next to him lay a red pipe wrench. I couldn’t believe what I saw. “What... what is this?” The man held his chin in one hand, studying me. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” “How did you know?” He gestured at the wrench. “This is the job. This is what you will be doing.” He gave me a wink. “Show me excellence.” My heart thundered in my chest as I approached. Ryan forced a smile on his face. “Hey man, it’s good to see you! Jesus Christ, help me! I’ve been in here for days now!” I lifted the wrench in my hand. The weight felt good. Really good. Ryan shook his head. “What are you doing?” I pressed so hard on my loose tooth it popped out of its socket. I grinned at Ryan, blood seeping out of my mouth as I spit my tooth out. It jangled on the floor like an ivory marble. “I’m sorry I have to do this.” I was flat, formal... precise. “No,” he cried, eyes bulging like a pig at the slaughterhouse, “please! No- “ I swung. Hard. The wrench sank into his temple. His eye popped from its socket. He sputtered a bit, then went limp in his chains. I grabbed him by the hair, hauling him up. “No,” I said, “he can’t die. He can’t fucking die!” The man grabbed my shoulder, surprising me. “Why can’t he die?” “Because... I want more!” The man’s eyes went from twin black coals to shimmering diamonds. He touched Ryan on the ear, and he came back to life screaming. “It hurts!” The little piggie squealed, “oh God, it hurts!” I hauled his face to mine. “No God! Not here! I’m your god now!” I pulled the dangling eye from his head and popped it in my mouth. I tasted his sorrow as I chewed. “It came from corporate,” I shouted over his screams, “nothing I can do!” We played with Ryan for a very long time. I struck him, and the man brought him back. All that anger and fantasy released with unholy zeal. Goddammit I was in heaven. I fell to my ass, heaving. Ryan hung from his chains in an unrecognizable slump. His ozone was salty but sweet. Tears stung my face. “Thank you,” I told the beautiful man, “Did... did I do good?” He nodded. I smiled and wiped the tears away. “Does that mean I got the job?” “Not quite. There’s one more test.” He snapped. The lights went out, and Ryan’s ozone disappeared with them. The man snapped again, and the lights came back on. When my eyes adjusted to the sudden illumination, my heart stopped. Where Ryan was once shackled sat Debra, bound by chains dangling from the ceiling. She screeched, trying to stand but was unable. “What- what-“ she stammered, too shocked to speak. The man put his hand on her shoulder. His eyes were black coals that sucked her in. “Relax, my dear,” he cooed, stroking her cheek, “take a deep breath.” She calmed at his touch. “Where am I?” “You’re home, where you belong.” “No, I’m not. I was in my apartment, on my couch. How did I get here?” “You’d be surprised what lands you here.” “Where the hell is here?” The man pointed at me. “Isn’t it obvious?” She fell silent as she looked me up and down. I looked down at myself. Ryan’s blood still soaked my everything. The man ran his fingers through her hair. She shrank from his touch. “I want to go home now.” The man laughed. “I told you, you are home. This is where people like you go.” “People like me?” “People that deserve to be punished.” She winced at me as I stood, wrench in hand. I found the man staring at me. His gaze was piercing, but I found the words. “Do... do I have to?” The man’s eyes glowed like diamonds. “Do you want this job?” I remembered being in my apartment, dirty and all alone. All Debra had left me with was a broken heart and a little orange bottle of pain pills. I’d never admit it, but sometimes I would fantasize about fucking her, hurting her, sometimes both. But I never dreamed I would have the chance. Now, I wasn’t so sure. It didn’t feel right. The man backed away as I approached. Her eyes pleaded for help. I remembered all the good things. Cuddling with her as we watched television, walks to the park on late nights, drunken cab rides home. Thinking about those things, I almost wanted to set her free. “I tried calling you,” she said. “I know. I was going to call you back.” “I was in so much pain. And then I blacked out.” I cradled her face in my hand. She flinched from me as Ryan’s blood stained her jaw line. “Good news,” I said, “I’m having an interview! I think I’m doing really well, too.” Her lip trembled. “Get me out of here. Please.” Our time together had been sweet. And I was mostly to blame for why things fell apart. But... I needed this job. She looked confused. “What are you waiting for? Let me go!” I felt something in my heart rot as I fondled the edge of her chin. “Who’s my pretty girl?” Tears ran down her face and over my hand. “Please,” she begged, “let me go.” I gripped her face tight, scrunching her lips together. “Who’s my pretty girl?” Her mouth worked like a fish out of water. “I... I am. Just please- “ “I thought things weren’t like that anymore.” “They are! I swear to God- “ “No God! Not here! Only me! I’m your god now!” She burst into sobs. I almost felt bad, but I just had to rub it in. “Still feeling sorry for me?” She whined as she looked away. I choked her, forcing her to look at me. Heat and pressure... I would have my diamond. As her face changed colors, I let go. She collapsed, coughing. “What do you want?” She screamed. “I want you to smile.” “What?” “Smile for me.” “Please... don’t do this.” “Smile for me, pretty girl.” She looked me in the eye, still crying. A forced, agonized smile split across her face. I gripped my wrench tight. I remembered how pretty her smile was. Those candid moments at a restaurant, in bed after a date, in the morning over breakfast. Those thoughts drowned as I remembered all the things she said to me when she left... She mewed like a bad little kitten. “Things- things can go back to how they were. Would you like that?” I grinned back at her. “Sorry. Can’t talk right now. I’m at work.” Her smile evaporated into a shriek, and my wrench found her teeth. We played for a very, very long time. When I finished punishing her, I collapsed in a heap and passed out. I woke up in my apartment, head resting against the mostly shredded pile of newspapers. Lying next to me was a sheet of paper. Only... it wasn’t a sheet of paper. It felt wrong under my fingers. Too soft to be paper, and too thick. I instantly dropped it to the ground when I realized it was human skin. It suctioned to the floor. The flowery script stared up at me. I peered down and saw that it was a contract. A job offer. I’d done it! I was a contributing member of society again! I found a knife and pricked my thumb. It burned as I pressed on the dotted line, right next to a very familiar purple butterfly. Have you ever been laid off? I thought I had my dream job. Good benefits, great pay. The company was small, family oriented. I genuinely enjoyed coming to work every single day. Most people just say that to appease the boss. Now, I’m the boss. Now, I have my dream job. My nightmare job. Every day I’m at work, I feel myself changing. When I look in the mirror, I see my eyes are now as black as coal. Maybe one day you’ll get let go from your “dream job.” You’ll find yourself numb and alone and lost. Maybe you’ll see a special ad only found in the paper. After all, no one reads the paper anymore. That ad will lead you to a tall building made of black glass. Come on in. We’re always hiring.

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Ep.78 – The Last Days of Jimmy Flavor - Ancient Books and Hard Drugs Don't Mix!

Episode Notes

Tonight Jimmy Flavor is a world class thief and he's taking on a demonic cult for fun and profit.

Jimmy Flavor's Last Day by David O'Hanlon

Buy the new "Babysitter Massacre" book! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y911S4R/

Get Cool Merchandise http://store.weeklyspooky

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Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com

Transcript:

Jimmy Flavor stood in the shower letting the water scald his back. He took a drag off the cigarette and watched the smoke disappear into the steam, the same way the water hid the tears. Through the gap in the plastic shower curtain, he could barely see the revolver sitting on the chipped countertop through the manmade fog. The water pressure was shit in the sleazy motel, but it got hot. Hot enough to scour away the last three days. Jimmy tried to ignore the knuckles rapping against the flimsy motel door. The television was blaring with an old war movie. The knocking turned to pounding. Jimmy listened to the rattle of machinegun fire through the TVs busted speakers. He leaned his head against the wall and took another long pull off the smoke before dropping it into the blood-tinged water pooling around his feet. It twisted and danced its way to the drain behind him. The boot hit the door and he heard the frame shatter. His fifty-dollar deposit wasn’t going to cover the damages. He bunched the shower curtain in his fist and stared at that damn gun. Flavio Jimenez wouldn’t have reached for it. But Flavio was a charcoal briquette in the trunk of a firebombed car sitting in an abandoned lot. Jimmy Flavor felt the first, cheap plastic ring snap off the curtain rod as he made his decision. The more lives a man lives, the more deaths he dies. 

Three Days Ago

Flavio Jimenez tightened the tiny screws into place, one after the other in the cramped cellphone repair kiosk located around the corner from the mall’s food court. He shifted uncomfortably on the cracked vinyl stool as the aroma of Hamburger Hamlet’s kitchen wafted around him like a malicious spirit, leaving in its wake a slime trail of grease that Flavio could feel oozing through the pores of his skin. He powered on the tablet, unlocked the screen and turned it off again before sliding it into the envelope with the customer’s contact information on it and placing it in the ‘service completed’ drawer beneath the counter. Dweeb Space 9 was the premier cellphone and tablet repair service provider for eastern Oklahoma—at least that’s what the sign said. Flavio opened another oversized plastic bag and removed the archaic Nokia 8210. The customers were celebrating their twenty-year anniversary and wanted to recover their first text messages. He pressed the power button for no result and, of course, there was no charger included. He swiveled on the stool and pulled open the drawer for antique accessories. The cords were organized in a tangled ball wrapped in duct tape inside a grocery sack. Flavio sighed and dropped the bag on the counter. It’d be worth noting that he hated his job, if he liked any facet of his life at all. He did not. Flavio didn’t live, so much as he existed. In school, his grades stayed just high enough to graduate and he didn’t participate in any extracurriculars. Since no one was offering attendance scholarships, he went to work at Dweeb Space 9 and continued to stay there for the next seven years. He lived with his mother and sister and helped with the cleaning because he couldn’t cook anything that didn’t come with instructions on the box. His father was the risk taker and they lived comfortably on the life insurance as a result. It taught Flavio at an early age, not to do more than absolutely necessary. Mediocrity was a lifestyle he was born to, with a slight build and average face which he kept hidden behind a shaggy mop of black hair and perpetual five o’clock shadow. Flavio hated his hair because it reminded him of how stupid his name was. He was not ‘yellow-haired’ not that anyone in Etawa, Oklahoma knew that’s what it meant. Flavio was the butt of his own inside joke. It was a name that led everyone to believe he spoke Spanish, which caused him both irritation and shame since he did not. The worst part, however, was his best friend CK. Since their first meeting in sixth-grade, CK insisted that Flavio must be Spanish for— “Yo, Flavor!” CK shouted as he jogged to the kiosk. No matter how many times he said it, or how many Spanish dictionaries he was given, Chandler ‘CK’ Kosinski insisted that Flavio meant ‘flavor’ and refused to call him anything else. “Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” Flavio asked. “Jobs are for people that don’t like making money.” CK waved at the DS9 sign. “Case and point.” “You got fired again.” Flavio prodded the Nokia’s charging port with one unidentified cord after another. “Just find something that doesn’t suck and stick with it.” “Or,” CK leaned on the counter and glanced around before continuing, “we could do one night’s work and make enough to buy this kiosk and make a living off dumbass high school kids… or guys with absolutely no forward momentum, like yourself.” “That’s the worst motivational speech ever. Ha! Got it.” Flavio set about freeing the correct cord from the tangle. “What is this one night’s work?” “I told my priest about my side gig at confession,” CK said. “Stealing copper isn’t a side gig, it’s a felony, but please continue.” “So is stealing nudes off those phones, but I know you got a collection.” “It’s a service fee for all the dick pics I have to see.” Flavio looked up from his work with a sour expression. “Did you know people are putting domino pieces in their dicks now? Why is that a thing?” CK cocked his head and scowled. “I never realized how happy I was not knowing a thing until I learned that was a thing I didn’t know. Can I get back to the fucking point, Flavor?” Flavio rolled his hand in an exaggerated call for CK to continue. CK looked around to make sure no one was close enough to hear him. “So, Father Roland came to me the other day and said someone robbed the church and he wants to hire a couple guys to go get it back. He asked if I knew any hardcore, stick-up men and I told him I had the perfect guy. A real fucking professional thief.” CK snapped his fingers and pointed a finger-gun right between Flavio’s eyes. “You told your priest that I was a thief?” Flavio pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Kind of.” CK scratched at his platinum goatee. “I told him about a guy named Jimmy Flavor. I said he was this hotshot bank robber from Texas. Look, it’s an easy job but Roland won’t hire me unless I bring in someone with experience.” “You want me to lie to a priest, so he’ll hire us to steal shit? That’s the most Catholic thing you’ve ever said, CK.” “Six-figures, Flavor. That’s what he’s offering.” Flavio’s face ruined any feigned disinterest. “Get cleaned up.” CK slapped some folded twenties on the counter. “Cut your hair, shave that depression off your face, put on your club clothes, and meet me at the church in the morning. This is the kind of opportunity that could change your life, bro. One night of taking a fucking chance for a change and then you can go back to stagnating in normalcy.” “Jimmy Flavor, huh?” Flavio tried not to smile as he said it. That was a much better name than ‘Flavio Jimenez.’ His gut twisted with a feeling he didn’t recognize at first. Then it hit him—he was excited. “What time?”

Flavio slept in a succession of short naps—a victim at the mercy of his own excitement and anxiety. He was already up and looking at the stranger in the mirror when the alarm went off behind him. His shaggy mane was replaced with a short-cropped fade and the scruff on his face was nothing but a tidy soul patch below his lip. He smoothed the collar of his red, flame-adorned overshirt and shut off the alarm before heading outside. Flavio’s car was the only extraordinary thing about him. The 1953 Bel Air his grandfather bought new, and his father restored before his death, was Flavio’s only love. He cruised across town, wringing the steering wheel the entire drive. When he pulled up to the curb outside Saint Anthony of Thebes Catholic Church, CK was already waiting. He sat on the hood of his Kia Optima and talked to an elderly priest. Flavio watched them in the mirror for a moment, looked at himself and took a deep breath. “You’re not Flavio Jimenez anymore. You’re a hardcore criminal. Act like it.” He got out of the car and strolled over to the other men with a false confidence he hoped hid the shaking in his knees. He nodded to CK. “This is the guy I was telling you about, Father.” CK slid off the chipped, dented hood. “Meet Jimmy Flavor.” Flavio eyed the priest suspiciously. “You don’t look like a criminal mastermind.” “I’m Father Roland.” The priest didn’t offer his hand, which was busy manipulating the beads of a rosary. “What I’m hiring you for is hardly criminal. You’ll be acting with the full blessing of the Vatican.” Flavio looked to CK and then back to the priest and scoffed. “Don’t dip shit in sugar and call it a cookie, padre. You asked for a thief because you want thievery. Things that don’t belong to you now, are going to by the morning. That’s what you need to know. How about you cut the ‘mission from God’ line and get to the part where you tell me what I need to know to make that happen.” CK’s eyes were wide with disbelief and Flavio hoped his didn’t match. He wasn’t brash or disrespectful. But apparently, Jimmy Flavor was. Even his voice sounded different. It was deeper, with an edge that made Flavio uncomfortable. The priest nodded and smacked his lips. “Well, I was told you were the real deal so I shouldn’t be taken aback by such pointed speech,” Roland said. “The Vatican was in possession of certain artifacts linked to a Hittite cult, worshippers of an unsavory deity of disease called Jarri. They entrusted the collection with an explorer in the sixteenth century who was instructed to bury them far within the New World.” Jimmy Flavor shrugged. “You don’t need a stickup man for grave robbery.” “Some of the artifacts have been found,” Roland said. “The cult was revived at the beginning of the twentieth century, as seen with the arrival of the Spanish Flu. The Church has been trying to suppress these men and their machinations for some time. We recovered an idol in 1921 and a grimoire, a spellbook, in ’33. Both items were interred in the catacombs beneath your feet.” Jimmy Flavor looked at the sidewalk, then back up at the venerable cathedral. “You know who jacked you?” “A businessman named Earle Price is High Cleric of the Jarri cult.” Roland flicked his wrist, wrapping the rosary around his fist in a deft movement. “They’re rolling the infernal dice of damnation in a gamble to seize power beyond earthly comprehension. COVID, wild fires, rising hatefulness; they’re all signs of the cult’s meddling. Soon they’ll decipher more of the grimoire. We need it back before that happens.” “Sounds like a fucking D&D campaign.” Jimmy turned to CK. “This is what you’re wasting my time for? You want me to steal a book from some rich cocksucker for The Absent-Minded Preacher? The fuck was you thinking?” “The Vatican is paying a twenty-percent finder’s fee.” Roland shrugged with disinterest. “The book alone would be worth one-hundred-thousand-dollars for you. Retrieve it and the idol, and you could triple that number. However, the grimoire is the priority. They’re not fighters, Mister Flavor. This city is overrun with gang bangers that would jump at the opportunity. I would prefer a professional get back our belongings cleanly. That does not mean I won’t send an army of amateurs to butcher them all. Take it, or leave it. The deal is on the table for another thirty seconds.”

He took it. The day passed much differently. Jimmy Flavor didn’t want to let go and Flavio found himself along for the ride. He spent money in anticipation of the small fortune coming his way, investing in a new outfit and an eight-ball of cocaine before hitting the biggest club in the city just after dark. Flavio could count the amount of times he got high on one hand, but Jimmy Flavor was railing coke like an 80’s stockbroker. By the time his savings were gone, he was popular enough to drink for free until he found other pursuits more worth his time. At three a.m., his cellphone lit up with a text message from CK telling him it was time to meet. He pushed away the hand on his thigh to the dissatisfied groan of the woman beside him. Jimmy got dressed quickly and stepped into the bathroom. The other barfly was still in the shower and he wiped the steam away to check his appearance in the mirror. Flavio hadn’t been with two women in the last year, but Jimmy took two back to the hotel at the same time with ease. Jimmy Flavor was supposed to be a figment of his imagination—a character to play for a night. But he was more than that. Flavio stared deep into the dilated pupils of Jimmy Flavor and saw himself cowering inside. The thief lived life so fully that he was birthing himself in the void of Flavio’s empty husk. Maybe he had been the imaginary one all along. Jimmy’s eyes flicked to the blurred, naked form through the translucent shower curtain. There was no way he could ever go back to the droning zombie he’d always been. He was Jimmy Flavor.

CK screamed as he plummeted from the top of the twelve-foot concrete wall that surrounded Earle Price’s estate. Jimmy turned and went back for his friend. The barking of the Dobermans was full of hate and frustration as they tried clawing their way up the wall in pursuit of the thieves. Shouting cultists drew nearer, followed by the mechanical groaning of the gate’s motor. The barking changed directions as they bolted to the opening portal. Jimmy dragged CK to his feet which produced another scream. He looked down and grimaced at the angle of CK’s shin. The protruding bone tented the pant leg. “Quit being a pussy, it’s just a sprain.” Jimmy glanced over his shoulder to the moving outline of the gate. “We have to go before the dogs get out!” Too late. The duo shambled along another twenty feet before Jimmy let go. CK landed in the wet grass face-first and stared up at his friend in shock. The dogs were closing the distance faster than they could hobble. CK would get some stitches, but Father Roland promised the Vatican would keep them out of prison. Jimmy mumbled an apology and dashed away before the first dog dug into CK’s broken leg. The others circled their prey and pinned him in place, forgoing further pursuit of Jimmy. He stopped running at the end of the drive and heaved breathlessly in awkward silence. No one was chasing him. The robbery went smooth… for a moment. A single shot into the ceiling sent the twenty-odd cultists cowering. Then things got weird. The lights flickered, the room got cold—then there were the words and the darkness. The wallpaper peeled away in strips with whispers from within. Jimmy grabbed the book and pistol-whipped the guy in the fanciest robes before they bolted through the front door. The dogs were on them in an instant. And those damnable words followed them across the yard like buzzing insects. In the glaring floodlights, Jimmy could see robed silhouettes hoisting CK from the ground. Then came the screams. It was a demented shadow puppet theater from his vantage point as he saw the faceless shapes stringing CK’s intestines from his writhing figure. Lightning crackled overhead and CK went quiet. Jimmy watched the body fall limp and the figures turn his way. More whispers came from all around him. He didn’t understand the language, but he knew the meaning. He knew it was time to start running again.

Jimmy climbed through the bedroom window and shook off the rain. CK had the idol when he fell, but Jimmy still had the grimoire. He tossed the book on Flavio’s bed and stripped off his wet clothes. He heard his mother, always an early-riser, banging around in the kitchen. The red numerals on the alarm clock showed him a future that wouldn’t happen—the shrieking buzz of the alarm and the droll routine of getting ready to stagnate in the Dweeb Space 9 kiosk. Never again. He was a professional thief now. Jimmy dressed quickly. He would sleep when he got to the church and collected his payment from Roland. A glass shattered down the hall and Jimmy froze in place. His revolver was sitting on the bed next to the book. He stared at it trying to will it across the room and into his hand. His mother moved like a ballet dancer in the kitchen. He’d never seen her drop anything. His gut tightened and he tiptoed to the weapon, slipping it into his waistband and dropping the book into an old backpack that he slung across his torso. The screaming started and he found himself in wet pants once again. Flavio wasn’t gone completely, it turned out. His bedroom door flew open, crashing against the wall. Mari’s face was streaked with tears. His sister’s mouth opened to cry out when the visceral tentacle twisted around her neck, pulling her to the floor. Jimmy watched as the mound of slithering entrails converged on her body, smearing bile and blood across her satin pajamas. The puckered orifice of the disembodied stomach slid across her cheek like a snail, leaving a sizzling trail of digestive juices burning through the flesh. The small intestines gyrated across the carpet, securing Mari in their embrace. The organ positioned itself over her and forced its contents into her mouth with a wet squeal. Jimmy jumped through the window in a crash that did little to cover his sister’s agonized screams. He rolled through the mud and sprinted down the sidewalk to his car. The engine rumbled and the tires fought for traction as he pressed the accelerator all the way down. Flavio didn’t believe in anything he couldn’t see, but he still wouldn’t have believed what Jimmy had seen. Those sick bastards gutted his friend and somehow animated his guts into a grotesque hound to track him. Everything the priest said was true. The Cult of Jarri was real. The things they could do were real and if the magic was real, then so was their depraved god. That meant the world was up shit creek if he let them have the book. They already killed everyone Flavio cared about. Soon, they’d find him and he’d be just as dead. He rubbed the tears away from his cheeks. Jimmy Flavor wouldn’t be so easily killed. He would get the book to Roland, collect his money, and disappear. He still had five shots in the revolver and only an hour until dawn. He whipped the car around a corner and slid across the lanes before straightening it out. Jimmy took a deep breath and eased off the pedal. In his rearview, all he saw was wet asphalt reflecting the streetlights. The monster wasn’t back there and he let the breath out softly. Then he saw something else. The man lumbered down the sidewalk in soggy clothes. His wet, shaggy hair clung to his face. Jimmy pulled up to the curb and let the headlights fall on him. They were about the same size. Jimmy stepped out of the car with the pistol hidden behind the open door. The man’s clothes were ragged and dirty and a soggy cardboard sign was folded in the outside pocket of his backpack. “Hey, you need a lift?” Jimmy called out through the downpour. The man turned and jogged over to him. Jimmy’s thumb cocked back the hammer when he realized they were about the same age too. The man rested his hands on his hips and smiled a toothy grin. “Thank you. I thought I’d catch my death out here,” he said. “You have.” Jimmy raised the gun and fired a single shot through the man’s front teeth. Jimmy loaded the body into the trunk and drove to the abandoned Kmart where he worked on removing the rest of the teeth. He emptied a gas can over the body and tossed a hastily made Molotov cocktail at his beloved car. The last piece of Flavio ignited with the shattering beer bottle. A fireball tore through the sky as the fuel tank exploded and the sirens of rushing firetrucks became the soundtrack for Jimmy’s long walk to the church. Ahead of him the sun was rising on a new day.

Saint Anthony’s was empty and unlocked. Jimmy drew his weapon and called out for Father Roland. The priest didn’t answer. Jimmy continued his search, eventually coming to the open door of the rectory on the second floor. The smell burned his nostrils and he held his shirt tight over his face to combat the fumes which grew stronger as he explored deeper into the apartment and turned into the bedroom. A figure stretched across the soiled bedding. Above the white priest’s collar, strips of smoking flesh clung to the exposed skull. He jerked the shirt away and vomited across the foot of the bed. He scanned the room for the creature and found a smoldering slime trail lingering across a windowsill and down the wall outside. Jimmy calmed himself and went back to the bed. A fanny pack sat on the night stand with tightly rolled cash inside. Jimmy stuffed it into his backpack with the grimoire. His fingers caressed the ancient leather tome. He pulled the book out and flipped through the mildewed pages. The TV chimed an announcement of breaking news; the police were looking for twenty-five-year-old Flavio Jimenez in connection with the murders of his mother and sister. Jimenez was suspected of strangling the women and trying to dissolve their bodies in acid. Tears welled up in Jimmy’s eyes. He sniffled and cleared his aching throat. The cops would find his car soon and call off the search. He had to disappear before they realized it wasn’t his body in the ruins. He slammed the book closed and put it back in his bag. The Vatican still wanted it and didn’t know he’d already been paid. Vatican City was its own country with no extradition treaties. He could hide out there until he got fake papers and then slip into some Italian village with enough money to never work again. He made his way out of the church. The clouds were parting and the rain was just a light drizzle, shimmering in the sunlight. Things were going to be okay. He just needed to lay low and contact the diocese. Jimmy enjoyed the moment of calm. The Cult of Jarri must have taken the bait and assumed he was dead. That’s why the intestinal-creature wasn’t waiting around for him. He was free and clear until they ID’d the body in the Bel Air. That gave him a day or two. Jimmy smiled. It would all be over with a phone call. The black Chrysler eased to the curb. Jimmy’s face fell. He recognized Earle Price behind the steering wheel. The passenger door opened and another man stepped out. Jimmy drew the revolver and put two in the man’s chest before he could finish telling him they just wanted to talk. Then he ran. He ran until his lungs hurt, until he thought his legs would break away and continue without him. The Cult would be on his trail again. He was running out of time and bullets and he pushed himself faster down the sidewalks and alleys, never looking over his shoulder to see who was chasing him. He just ran.

The phone call went well. The Bishop said he would send someone to collect him and the book. Everything was falling into place until the five o’clock news showed the world the face of spree killer Flavio Jimenez. Footage from a traffic camera showed him gunning down Price’s goon in high-definition. They were also blaming him from Roland’s murder. The Etawa Acid Killer was suspected to be at large. Armed and dangerous—and completely fucked. Jimmy dumped the cartridges out of the revolver and tossed the spent casings into the waste bin, one after the other, flinching as they clinked off the metal side. He pushed the two remaining bullets into the cylinder and snapped it shut. Two bullets and maybe twenty minutes to go. He changed the channel to some war movie before heading to the bathroom. He turned on the shower and peeled away his clothes. The cultists, the police, and the Vatican were all coming to get him. There was nothing left to do but wait to see who got there first. He tapped a cigarette from the pack and lit it before stepping into the shower. He took a long pull and let the water scald his back. The movie was blaring in the other room but he could hear the knocking over it. It was urgent, frenzied pounding. Someone was shouting. Jimmy looked through the gap at the revolver sitting on the counter. He spat the cigarette into the water, watching it twist as it drifted away behind him. There was blood in the water, but he didn’t remember being injured. The door shattered with a brutal kick. Jimmy bunched the shower curtain in his fist. It definitely wasn’t the Church. He ripped the curtain down and stepped out, retrieving his pistol and aiming it at the back of the door. He could hear the men yelling more clearly. State police. He cocked the revolver. Jimmy Flavor wouldn’t be taken alive. The cops would lock the book away safely. The Vatican could collect it from them after the dust settled. At least then the Cult of Jarri would never have it. A smell stung his nose and he thought about the blood in the shower. He turned his head upward slowly. Through the steam he could see the dripping, pink mass swarming across the ceiling. The stomach shifted through the writhing intestines overhead. The sphincter puckered and blew an acidic kiss that splattered Jimmy’s bare feet. The bathroom door burst inward. Jimmy’s finger tightened on the trigger while the intestines tightened on his throat. He heard two shots. He thought they might have been his until he felt the damp tile press against his cheek. He stared at the thing slithering across the ceiling. His head lolled over. A chunk of brain matter oozed down the side of the bathtub. He was sure it was supposed to hurt, but he didn’t feel anything anymore. The room got dimmer. The voices got quieter. And Jimmy Flavor died just as quickly as he had lived. The End

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Ep.77 – Glenda's & The Snake Lady - Slithering Terrors Await You!

Episode Notes

On a cold night alone in the backroom of a dive bar Redd has the chance to find out the truth with the help of the menacing Snake Lady... but will the truth set Redd free or will it reveal the prison he actually lives in?

Glenda's & The Snake Lady by Charles Campbell http://valleyboypublications.com

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Transcript:

Glenda’s bar and pool hall has been a Valley staple for as long as anyone could remember. The beer was always cold and pool sharks with names like Bonehead and Tater frequented the joint over the years. Glenda’s was open for business Monday through Saturday. It was only closed when Christmas or Thanksgiving fell on a day other than Sunday. Glenda’s was open for all of the others; July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day. It was a place for adults to congregate and shoot the shit, bitch about their bosses, spouses or whatever gripes they wanted to get off their chest. The booze flowed and there were way too many fights to count. The front windows of Glenda’s were replaced at least twice a year because of out of control drunken brawls. The Burnettown PD had to be called over to Gloverville on a regular basis to sort out the riff raff, and there was a lot of riff raff to be sorted. There were bouncers employed at Glenda’s over the years but most of them wound up in the middle of the brawls instead of defusing them. One of the things...or, more properly, the thing that distinguished Glenda’s from any other redneck bar in the South was the legend of the snake lady. There was a dark room in the back of the bar and legend tells that on certain nights of the year it had an inhabitant. She would slither in from a secret entrance directly into the dark room. Glenda would chuckle if you asked her about it and blow it off as nonsense. But, it wasn’t nonsense. The snake lady is real and this is the story of a man that witnessed her firsthand. This is an unfiltered recount of what Redd Jones saw and heard on a cold December night back in 1985. 1985. Snow flurries fell upon the Valley which was a very rare thing. Even the hint of snow in this part of the country shut down schools and businesses. But one establishment that stayed open rain, shine, sleet or snow was Glenda’s. And Glenda’s was the favorite spot of Redd Jones. Redd lived on Oak Street in Gloverville and was a widower. He lost his wife, Edna, five years earlier when she died peacefully in her sleep. The coroner listed it as natural causes; open and shut, case closed. Glenda’s was certainly a place that Edna didn’t approve of and it was a spot that Redd never stepped foot in until about six months after Edna had passed. The visions of her kept him from sleeping. She would whisper in his ear in the middle of the night, always making him smile; a smile that would quickly give way to sadness when he reached over and felt the cold sheets of the empty side of the bed. Finally, one day after walking to the Minit Shop to get a loaf of bread, the neon light of Glenda’s caught his eye. Before, he never paid it much attention. It blended into the background of everything else that didn’t matter when Edna was alive. But today, it shined brighter than ever before. Redd didn’t walk into the Minit Shop that night. Instead, he crossed the street and into Glenda’s. His life would never be the same. It all started with his first beer and it snowballed from there. Redd had never been a big drinker, especially when Edna was in his life. He did the booze it up to be a big man in high school from time to time but it didn’t follow him into adulthood when he had to get a job, pay bills and provide for his wife. He and Edna never had any children which, in hindsight, may have been a bad thing. If he had children in his life the neon light of Glenda’s may have remained dull and in the background. Redd was quickly burning through his life savings and was earning a reputation as the town drunk. Glenda’s was his life night after night after night until this December night in 1985. He stepped into the bar and the atmosphere felt different. “Glenda here?” Redd asked as he stepped in from the cold. “Nah,” Sally Broner began, “she went to get Darnell. She said she was scared to drive in the snow,” Sally finished and popped the gum in her mouth. “Scared to drive in the snow?” Redd chuckled. “There ain’t no snow out there. It’s meltin’ soon as it hits the ground. Darnell better get her bony ass in here.” Edna would turn over in her grave if she could hear her husband speak in such a tone. “Well, that’s what she said. I’ll get your Bud,” Sally said and hit the tap. Something was a little off in Glenda’s tonight but Redd couldn’t quite put his finger on it. There weren’t as many people at the pool table for one and a good many of the usual suspects weren’t there. Surely the threat of a little icy rain the news wanted to call snow didn’t keep them home. Glenda wasn’t here. His favorite barkeep, Darnell wasn’t here. What the hell was going on is what Redd was thinking. Edna was the farthest thing from his mind. He was sure she would whisper her disapproval later that night just when he fell sound asleep. He only had Sally to look at and, quite frankly, her buck teeth freaked him out a little bit. He felt like he was talking to Bugs Bunny every time she opened her mouth. He wanted to shove a big carrot in it. Sally slid the cold mug over to him with that big What’s Up Doc grin on her face. He glanced down at his watch and it was almost eight o’clock. He figured he’d drink until about ten and then stumble home so he could get his beyond the grave scolding from Edna. Redd rested his elbows on the bar and Sally moved down the line to talk to Bonehead. He was looking for somebody to snake money from at the pool table. Redd finished the frosty mug and was about to signal Sally for another when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He had the uncontrollable urge to look to his left and Redd could see the light emitting from the bottom of the closed door at the end of the hallway. The door had always been there. It was at the end of the hallway just past the bathrooms. It was never anything special; never caught his eye. Maybe it was a room full of booze or maybe there was a bedroom back there so Glenda could just crash on nights she didn’t feel like driving home to Clearwater. Redd never cared about that room until tonight. Tonight, there was a purplish glow coming out from the keyhole and space under the door. It was a glow that pulled Redd away from his Budweiser and back into the curious man he used to be. Redd stood away from the bar and walked down the narrow corridor. He passed the restrooms and stopped in front of the closed door. Sally didn’t call for him to come back and get another beer. Nobody seemed to notice Redd step away from the bar. Redd froze in front of the door. He looked down as the purple glow seemed to press around his feet. There was a chill back here. It felt unnatural, like he was alone in a graveyard – just he and the spirits. “Come in,” the woman’s voice spoke from the other side of the door. Redd reached for the door knob. His hand trembled as he grabbed the knob; it was as cold as ice. He turned it, stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. The room was illuminated in purple by the black light hanging from the ceiling. The walls of the room were black as soot and there was what appeared to be a large wooden crate in the back of the room. “Who, who’s in here?” Redd asked. He could see the breath cloud like cigarette smoke from his mouth when he spoke. “Come closer,” said the woman’s voice. Redd stepped closer to the crate but he remained far enough away as to not see what or who was inside. “Who are you?” Red asked again. There was fear in his voice but the curiosity was there. He liked that feeling. It made him feel just a tiny bit normal. “I’m who you want me to be,” the woman’s voice said and continued, “come closer, Redd. Come closer and see what you came to see.” Redd’s curiosity overtook his caution and he took long strides toward the crate until he stood directly in front of it. He closed his eyes before the last step and kept them closed. “Why are your eyes closed, Redd? Open them and see what you came to see. Hear what you came to hear. You came in here for a reason, Redd. I’ll tell you what you want to know.” Redd took as deep a breath as he could. He imagined he was about to dive head first into the deepest corner of Langley Pond and he would have to do so on full lungs. After taking the breath and holding it for just a moment, Redd opened his eyes. He immediately thought that he was dreaming or just maybe he was dead. The being he was looking at was beautiful for sure but definitely not human. Her face was slender and seductive. She had the upper torso of a woman but from the waist down, it was the body of a long, black snake. Her eyes were bright yellow with the slit pupils of a viper. Her hair was long down her back and it was dark. Redd couldn’t quite make out the true color in the purple hue of the room. She slithered from her box like a cobra out of a charmer’s basket. “Oh my god,” Redd whispered. He was frightened but much like the prey of a viper, he was frozen in place; transfixed by the otherworldly eyes staring into his soul. “Why did you come here, Redd?” the snake lady asked. “To numb myself to the world,” he answered. Redd was under the spell of the gaze. He was hypnotized by the snake lady and all his answers had to ring true. “Is it because you lost your wife?” she asked with a hint of compassion. “It is,” Redd answered shortly. “I don’t reveal myself to many, Redd. People don’t think I really exist. They think I’m a made up vision in the minds of drunken men. Is that what you believe, Redd? Do you think I’m a drunken hallucination that you will forget when you wake up in the morning?” “I don’t. You are very real. You are in front of me and I barely finished my first beer.” “Good, Redd. So, when you walked into the room, what did I say to you?” “That you would tell me what I wanted to know.” “That’s right, Redd. I will tell you exactly what you want to know but make sure you think on the question because I will only answer one question. So, be certain it’s the question you really want answered,” the snake lady finished and the room fell silent. She could see Redd truly contemplating what he wanted to know. The gears were turning behind his eyes and the snake lady was patient. She would wait however long it took for Redd to ask his question. “I know what I want to ask you,” Redd said flatly. “Go ahead and ask,” the snake lady replied. “Tell me, truly, how did my wife die? The doctor said natural causes but I don’t think that’s true. I would like to know how my wife seemed fine when we went to bed and how she never woke up. I need to know the true answer to that question.” “I will answer that question, Redd. I don’t think you are going to like what I have to say but I did tell you that I would answer anything you wanted to know and you have asked the one question and that is the only question that I will answer. Your wife was murdered. She didn’t die of natural causes.” “What? How?” “I have answered your question. You asked how she died and I answered. I told you the stipulation and you accepted,” the snake lady replied and began coiling her body back into the box. “No, no, no! You didn’t answer the question. I asked you how my wife died. You didn’t tell me how she was murdered. You just said murdered. That’s not a full answer!” Redd shouted in anger. The snake lady stopped her coiling retreat and sprang back out of the box. “I will tell you how she was murdered in exchange for something.” “Yes, anything. I still have some savings; I’ll give it all to you. Tell me how she was murdered. Tell me who killed her.” “I don’t want your money, Redd. Look at me; do I look like I barter in human things like money?” “Well, what else could I possibly offer you?” Redd asked. “A sacrifice,” she answered coldly. “What kind of sacrifice?” he asked. “A sacrifice of spirit you might say.” “My soul?” Redd asked. “No, not your soul. I need you to tell me something that you’ve never shared with anyone, including your dearly departed wife. And it must be true. It must be something that you would be ashamed to admit even to a snake lady in a dark room. I need to know your deepest, darkest secret, Redd. Then, I will give you the answers that you seek. It is a sacrifice of your sacred spirit. Men harbor secrets that they take to the grave. I need to know your gravest of secrets, Redd. Tell it to me,” the snake lady finished. Her yellow eyes were locked onto Redd’s sullen face. “I killed a man when I was a teenager. The man was Lester, Lester Chitty. He was a well known man around the Valley, sold insurance. Anyway, I was deer hunting by myself and I saw him in a clearing about thirty or forty yards away. I don’t know what made me raise the rifle. I was there for a Buck. But, I raised my rifle, lined him up in the scope and pulled the trigger. I ran away as his body fell to the ground. Over the years I convinced myself it was something I made up. I remember hearing on the news about Lester being killed in an ‘apparent’ hunting accident. It was no accident. That was my last day hunting.” The snake lady smiled and a black forked tongue shot from in between her lips. “That’s a good one, Redd. Lester was a well known man around these parts, that’s for sure. He met me once. He told me his secret.” “What?” Redd’s expression was puzzled. The black light in the room intensified. The purple glow got bigger and filled the entire room. “Your wife was poisoned. You said there was no autopsy and there was a reason for that,” the snake lady said. Redd’s eyes welled with tears, he was about to learn the answer to the question. The question that caused him to look up at the neon sign and walk across the street to take the first drink. The drink that landed him in the destructive cycle that was now his life. In that moment, he didn’t know if he could handle the answer the snake lady was about to give him. He wished he ignored the door; wished he never walked down the hallway and put his hand on the cold knob. He wanted to take it back. Walk backwards and put his life in reverse. Put it in reverse all the way to the point when he and Edna were preparing for bed that fateful night. Back before she took the first sip of that deadly glass of innocent looking water. The snake lady pursed her scaly lips and gave the answer. “Do you remember the coroner’s name, Redd?” It struck him like ice water splashed in his face. He looked up at the snake lady, lips quivering and replied, “I do. The coroner’s name was Steven...Steven Chitty. Lester Chitty’s brother.” “Steven came to see me, Redd. He gave me his secret and I suppose you figured out the question he asked.” Redd was sobbing in his palms as he shook his head. “You have your answer, Redd. You will never see me again,” were the snake lady’s final words to him as she slithered back into the crate and disappeared into the darkness. The black light went off and Redd stood alone. Redd walked out of the room. He wasn’t dazed. He wasn’t confused. Darnell spoke to him as he walked down the hallway back into the bar area but Redd ignored her. Instead, he made his way to the front door and stepped into the icy rain. He walked back to his house on Oak Street. Redd pulled out an old tape recorder that had been sitting in the closet for years. He dumped the long dead C batteries out of it and replaced them with fresh ones he retrieved from the kitchen’s junk drawer. A blank Memorex tape was already in the machine. Redd pressed the record button and recited what happened to him on this night. He made apologies to his wife for her having to pay for his unforgivable sin and to Steven for killing his brother in cold blood. After Redd finished with the sorries, he rewound the tape, placed a sticky note on top of the recorder that read, Play Me and went to the shed out behind his house. He slung the anchor rope over one of the thicker branches of the big oak in the middle of the backyard. He thought of the times Edna lay on a blanket under this oak, just reading a book. Redd fashioned the noose and pulled a chair from the kitchen table, brought it outside and placed it under the tree. He stepped onto the chair, secured the noose around his neck, cursed the snake lady under his breath and kicked the chair away. The End.

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Ep.76 – The Bad Schoolgirl - Vampire Cheerleaders vs. Taibon!

Episode Notes

There's something not quite right about the Strickfield High cheerleading team... They've added violence, malice and blood to their routine!

The Bad Schoolgirl by Rob Fields

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Transcript:

I walk into the main entrance of Strickfield High School with Eileen Donnerly, or just simply Einstein. Einstein was a name her older brother, Martin, hung on her because of how unbelievably smart she is. How smart is she? Well, over that blizzard weekend, Martin and I just finished having some hot morning fucking. We stopped for some pillow talk, and he told me that Einstein once took his HDTV apart. She easily put it back together, but now he could access all of the satellite channels and streaming services for free. She even doubled the picture quality. I look at the little geek now and just want to wring her fucking neck, but of course I won’t. The problem with Einstein is that she’s always so fucking direct with me; she never sugar-coats shit. For example, I asked her why I fucking put up with her. I would’ve expected her to say because I’m sleeping with Martin. But no . . . she says it’s because she’s so cute and that I really like her. Sigh . . . I do have to admit Einny is cute. I also have to admit the little shit does grow on you. We’re walking the halls of Strickfield High, and I know I’m in hell. Just a few days ago, I had to deal with Jarren Hatley when she was on the ultimate caffeine high and tried to send Principal Matthew Van Diest on a permanent vacation. Speaking of whom, he’s standing right outside the door to the main office. And he’s eyeing both me and Einny. I’ll tell him to fuck off if he says something to me, but he doesn’t. He’s definitely checking me out, all right. Either he’s got an eye for me, or it’s the fact that I’m wearing this fucking schoolgirl outfit again: plaid miniskirt, white blouse with the sleeves torn off and tied up at my tummy, and my 80s Reebok Pump basketball shoes. I’ve been wearing this fucking outfit because if I wear any of Einny’s other clothes, I’d feel batshit claustrophobic and shred them. And I don’t really want to go shopping for new clothes. “Okay, Einny, where are these vampire cheerleaders you want me to check out?” I ask. “They usually hang out in the north hall,” Einny replies, in her mousy voice. “This way.” I let Einny lead me to said hallway. Sure enough, six cheerleaders are huddled together and yacking away. I immediately see the items of Olde Bloodstone they’re wearing as jewelry. Olde is spelled old with an e on the end. See, I’m the only vampire who can truly walk freely in the daylight. These bitches are using Olde Bloodstone to be able to walk in the daytime and not burn. Einny and I just walk right past them. Then I start hearing nearby jocks whooping and hollering. Turns out they’re doing it to me! “It’s the Bad Schoolgirl!” “You’re such a badass!” “Will you marry me?!” “How about a date, babe?!” And that . . . definitely pisses off the cheerleaders. Remember, most cheerleaders love the attention since they are at the top of the food chain in the female circuit of high schools. Now that they’ve seen me, they’re not going to be so happy. In fact, they all turn towards me and advance. The hallway gets quiet in a big fucking hurry. I’m ready to defend Einny if they decide to vamp out. “Who said you could walk our hallway, bitch?” Alissa Mirren demands. Her twin sister, Allie, grins. “This is our hallway. You need special permission to walk it. How much money you got?” The other four just look on in anticipation. I really feel the need to laugh. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Being the one unique type of vamp that I am means that I can detect other vamps, whether they’re Master or not. Now these bitches are just regular vamps, which means they think I’m completely human. Only other Master Vampires can detect me. In this case, they don’t notice my eyes are red. I give them the same sexy smile that Martin loves so much. “Oh, you two are so cute!” I raise my finger. “How about this? You two can take turns sucking my dick . . . and I’ll come and go wherever the fuck I like.” The twins just look at each other, mouths wide. They’re ready to start a full-on fight with me. I quickly raise my arm. “Now’s not the time . . .” I give them a quick nod to my right. They look to see Principal Van Diest staring attentively down this hallway. The twins each raise a hand, telling the others to back off. “We’ll let you go this one time as a courtesy,” Allie says. “Next time you come down here, you’ll be paying,” Alissa adds. I laugh as Einny and I turn and walk away. Einny asks me, “You think that was wise, Bells?” “What, pissing them off? Fuck yeah, they’ll be looking for me – exactly what I want.” I lightly slap her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.” And then I smell Principal Van Diest coming our way. I wait for him to reach us. “What can I do for you on this very fine day, sir?” I crack, not even turning around. He takes hold of my shoulder and turns me around. “Look, I know you’re new here, but we don’t need you starting trouble already.” I smile. “No trouble . . . No trouble at all. Like you said, I’m new here. Just want to get familiar with my new school.” He glares at me. “Um, I heard what you said to those girls.” “Yeah, and . . . ? You gonna take me to the office and wash my mouth out with soap?” Then I glare back and tell him to where only he and Einny can hear me, “I would love to see you try.” He’s irritated with me, but he knows he can’t really do anything. Then I show him my schedule. “Room 237 . . . is first period. Far as I’m concerned, we’re allowed to walk the halls freely to get to our classes. Maybe you should say something to the cheerleaders. Unless, that is of course, they’re in charge here?” When he doesn’t answer me, I flash my sexy smile again. “Way I see it, the students run this school. You’re just here collecting a paycheck. If you really do run things here, then fucking grow a pair.” As I turn to leave, he grabs my arm again. “Don’t you test me!” I’m still smiling my sexy smile. “That’s more like it.” I take my arm back. “Now fuck off and help make this high school a better place.” Einny and I turn away from the principal and resume heading to Room 237. The cheerleaders just glare at us as we walk right past them. I even make sure to flip the twin bees off. 

  • *                         * Throughout the day, I end up having classes with both Einny and members of the cheerleading squad. I can easily keep an eye on said people. The downside is that several horny boys are keeping their eyes on me. I hadn’t planned on being labeled the Bad Schoolgirl, but what could I do? I couldn’t just let Jarren Hatley have her way with Principal Van Diest. Oh, well . . . I don’t have to be the least bit afraid of the boys. I catch an occasional glare from whatever cheerleaders are in my classes, but I just give them right back. Thanks to my ultra-sensitive hearing, another Master Vampire quality, I can easily hear the cheerleaders talking. Tonight is a basketball game in the gym. After the game, they’re meeting the boys for their ritual. They don’t say where. Yeah, you bitches do that. You go hunt for your victims . . . and I’ll hunt all of you

That night, Einny and I are just outside the gym. Sure enough, the cheerleaders are inside and the game is going on. “What are you going to do, Bells?” Einny asks me. “Oh . . . I think I’ll head on in and watch the game,” I tell her. I can tell Einny’s a little scared. “You can go home if you want. I can handle those bitches.” Einny shakes her head quickly. “No! I got you into this. I’m going to see this through.” I turn my attention back to the gym. “Me, too. Then I can move on.” Now Einny’s gone from scared to upset. “No!” “We can talk about this later,” I say. “No!” Einny grabs my wrist and pulls me into the empty library. Then she points right at me. “You are not going to just up and leave Martin like that.” I fold my arms in front of me. “I asked you this before. I’ll ask you again. Am I just supposed to wear Martin’s college ring? Look! I only stayed because you told me there were vampires on the cheerleading squad. Okay, I confirmed they’re vampires, and I’ll deal with them. Once I do, then that’s it. I’ll give your uniforms back, get my shit, and leave Strickfield.” Einstein’s really pissed now. She shakes her head. “I said no! You are not walking out on Martin like that. He’s really into you.” She points right at me. “And not just because you’re fucking him.” I narrow my eyes on her. “What are you saying . . . ? That Martin’s in love with me? I don’t buy that. We’ve only known each other for about a week. We’re just sleeping together, Einny. That is it! And you . . . What, are we just supposed to be besties, hang out at the mall together, and do each other’s nails? I’m over a hundred fucking years old! I hunt supernatural vermin. I’m a fucking Taibon. I’m a fucking Master Vampire! A normal life will never be in my future. Why can’t you understand that?” “Stop acting all high and mighty, Bells!” Einny snaps. “And stop running away all the time!” “Who the fuck is running away?” I demand. “I don’t have any family left to run away from! I’m the last in my family tree! I’m alone in this world, and that’s the way it has to be.” I unfold my arms and raise my finger. “Has it ever occurred to you that my being in your house is potentially putting both you and Martin in terrible danger? All an enemy would have to do is know that I’m staying with you both and they’ll come at me – through you two!” I point to the gym. “Case and point. Those bitches know you’re with me. What’s to keep them from attacking your house?” Einny and I continue to argue. Some of Einny’s shit gets to be repetitive. I’ve finally had enough and walk out of the library. Einny’s right behind me. “We’re not done here, Bells!” “You’re risking bodily harm, Einstein!” I tell her when she grabs my wrist again. “You are not going to just up and leave Martin like that!” Einny hisses. I don’t turn to her. “I really don’t have time for this shit right now! We’ll talk about it when we’re done with what I’m here for.” I look inside the gym. “Fuck! The game’s over! The cheerleaders are gone!” I turn to Einny. “I could’ve been keeping an eye on those bitches. But, no! You had to get all fucking emotional on me!” I turn to her. “Why don’t you just go on home?! I’m gonna have to track them down now – before they hurt innocents. You’re just slowing me down here!” I march right into the gym to start tracking the vampire bitches. Unfortunately, I can hear Einny crying behind me. I can’t worry about that right now. But then I suddenly stop dead in my tracks. God damn it!! Thornton Jillian never had any fucking feelings when he was a Master Vampire. You’d think that when his blood mixed with mine, I’d have no feelings, either. True, I’m a Master Vampire, but I’m my own breed. I still have my humanity, which means . . . I still have feelings. And now . . . I feel like a complete piece of shit for hurting Einny’s feelings. I turn around and walk back to her. “Okay, come on.” She doesn’t move. I have to make this right. “Okay, I admit it. I’m a fucking hardcore cunt. You should know by now that I don’t have a filter. I say what I feel. I’m just telling you the honest truth here.” This is the hardest thing for me to say. “I’m sorry, okay? I know I was harsh, but I just wanted you to understand. I can’t be with anybody on a full-time basis. I just can’t.” Einny gets her shit together. “Martin’s been taking good care of me ever since our parents died. He’s been working at Mirren Automotive during the week, and Friday nights and weekends at Denoyer’s Grill just to keep a roof over our heads and the bills paid. All while taking classes at Strickfield University. He’s all I have. I just want the best for him. I know he’s really into you. My brother’s been with other girls, but he’s never looked at them the way he looks at you, Bells. I’m begging you! Please don’t hurt him!” I put a hand on Einny’s shoulder. “Martin and I will talk about things and go from there, but I make no promises.” She nods. “Okay.” “Okay. Now come on. Let’s go find those cheerleaders.” We turn and head to the girls’ locker room. As I suspected, they’re not in the showers. I’ve been around them long enough to get their scents. When we go outside, I see their footprints in the snow . . . until they just stop dead. “They flew away, Einny,” I tell her. “They turned into bats and flew off. I can’t go after them since I can’t change form.” “You’re a vampire and you can’t change form?” Einny shrieks. “If I can, I’ve never figured out how to do it. I’ll have to leap in order to go after them. If you’re coming, then you’re gonna have to hang on tight.” I grab Einny and leap high into the night sky. I still have their scents in the air. I manage to go a full three miles before I have to land and take another leap. Glad Einny remembered to wear her jacket. The scent is getting stronger as I land near a forest. Then I look and see some cars. I recognize a few of them and know they belong to some of the jocks. Stupid, stupid boys! They probably met up with cheerleaders thinking they’re gonna get laid. Yeah, they’ll fucking get laid all right! “It’s gonna get dangerous inside these woods, Einny,” I whisper. “You need to stick close to me. When I tell you, you run and hide.” “Got it, Bells,” she whispers back. I take Einny’s hand and lead her into the woods. The bitches aren’t that far away now. Their scent is very strong. Thanks to my vampire vision, I can easily see in the dark as if it’s still the light of day. We walk a little bit until we move behind a big redwood. There are four guys there with the cheerleaders. They’re all around a campfire. It looks as if two of them are flat on their backs, while the other two are in a trance. I know I could’ve saved them if I’d acted sooner. But . . . I have feelings. I guess it’s no wonder why other vampires I’ve taken down tell me that having feelings is my biggest weakness. Fuck them! I lean over to Einny and whisper in her ear. “Stay here!” I see her nod before I let go of her hand. I take off my shoes and hand them to her. Then I move and leap over to the other side of the fire. Everybody hears me land. When I reveal myself, everybody else that can look at me does. The twin Mirren bees point right at me. “You shouldn’t have come here!” Allie hisses. “Six of us to one of you!” Alissa notes. “You really came out here – alone?” one of the other cheerleaders asks in surprise. I put my hand to my chin. “Hmm, six of you to one of me . . .” I lower my hand and look at them. “Yeah, you’re right. Those are definitely bad odds. Yours . . .” Then I vamp out, changing my face and readying my claws. Then the bitches . . . scream?! What the fuck?! The bitches are actually scared of me?! I guess so, because they all turn tail and run. The two guys that are still tranced just stand there. I check on the two guys that are down. Einny approaches me. I’m ready to tell her she should’ve stayed put, but I know she’s concerned. “Are they dead, Bells?” I feel for pulses. “No, thankfully.” And then I finally understand. “I know why those bitches are wearing the Olde Bloodstone. Einny, what made you think they were vampires?” “I saw them smile and show fangs – like yours,” she tells me. “Alissa also showed me her claws. But . . . but they have to be vampires. They turned into bats, right?” “Yeah, they did. But they freaked out when they saw me, Einny. They can’t possibly know that I’m a Master Vampire.” “You mentioned Olde Bloodstone, Bells.” “Right, and here’s what I determined. If they were true vampires, they could use Olde Bloodstone to be able to walk in the daylight. However, they would have to keep their stones charged by drinking twice as much innocent blood. And by innocent, I mean virgin blood. I’ve been listening around school. I haven’t heard a single story about any bodies being drained of blood – or of that many people disappearing. So we get to the only other possibility. Those bitches are practicing witchcraft and are using the Olde Bloodstone to turn themselves into vampires. Yes, they can walk by daylight, which means their transformations aren’t complete. They have to charge their stones with soul energy in order to maintain their powers and continue their transformations. What they don’t realize is once their transformations are complete, they would need virgin blood to charge their stones to be able to walk during the daylight. I think you and I both know that pure virgin blood is very hard to come by in this day and age.” I point to the guys. “You keep an eye on them. I’m going after those fucking bitches.” They didn’t turn into bats this time. I can easily find the six girls, thanks to both their scents and their footprints. Seriously, I’ve heard over the years that cheerleaders can be such fucking airheads, but this is too much! I easily find two of them together. They’re both holding each other. Their faces are half-vamped. Suddenly, they scream and try to come at me. Classic rookie mistake! I snatch the both of them up and toss them over my shoulders. They both hit the snowy ground and groan. I’m on both of them before they realize it. They scream as I reach my claws out for them . . . and relieve them of their Olde Bloodstone jewelry to make them human again. I hold one girl to me as I glam the other and get information. When I get what I want, I glam the other. Unlike normal vampires who can only glam as a means of hypnosis, I can both bend people to my will and actually look into their memories, whether they remember or not. I come to find that these bitches have indeed killed people by taking their souls to charge their Olde Bloodstone jewelry. I could easily kill these two, but I’m not a butcher. No, I have a much more suitable punishment for them. I peer so deep into their psyches and corrupt them that they ultimately end up going insane. I let the girls go and pursue the others. Two more scream as they come out of their hiding places and attack me. I easily swat them away like flies. They truly have no idea of how fast a full vampire can move, even moreso for a Master. I’m on both of them before they can even get up. “So tell me . . . was this thing with using Olde Bloodstone to turn yourselves into vampires your idea?” I ask, knowing full well that it’s not. “We just wanted to live forever,” one of them says. “We just wanted to be important,” the other says. “You don’t know what it’s like to be invisible to people.” I’m not sure whether they can see me smile or not, but I find what they say funny. “Actually, yes, I do know what it means to be invisible to people. The only difference between you two and me is that I choose to be invisible. But you two . . . such stupid girls, you took lives for selfish reasons. Well, now you’ll have all the attention you two could ever want. I’ll see to that personally.” I take their Olde Bloodstone and make them insane also. That just leaves the little twin Mirren bees. Like the others, they’ve made the mistake of screaming before attacking me. These two are fully vamped out and want to give me a fight. Looks like these twin girls are the strongest out of what was their squad. They’ve probably siphoned more soul energy compared to the others. Well, they are Mirrens. All they care about is money and power. But being a Mirren means so very little to a Taibon. While Alissa and Allie are close enough to being full vampires, they’re finding out that there are bigger predators out here than them. They try to fight me with just basic street fighting. I’m a master of many different martial arts. To finish them off, I thrust my foot into one twin’s gut so hard that I can hear her spine crackle hard in many places. Then she falls onto her back. As for the other twin, I quickly bring my other foot up over my shoulder and connect with her neck. The slight crack tells me that I’ve damaged her spine also. She falls immediately. After relieving the twins of their stones, they become fully human once more. Only now, the two of them are paralyzed for life. I could drive them insane, but I feel I’ve done enough. No, I won’t let them die out here. I bring the former cheerleaders back to the campfire where Einny is. I know she has a smartphone, so I tell her to call 911 and ask for some ambulances. I still feel soul energy inside these stones, so I recite the spell to release the energy and send it back to the rightful owners. The two guys that were flat on their backs begin to move again. I make sure they’re okay before I glam them and make them forget about me. “You’d better get out of here, Bells,” Einny tells me. “I can see the flashers coming over there. I’ll get this.” I see where Einny’s pointing. “Good idea. You gonna be okay if I leave you here?” Einny grabs my wrist one more time. “Please don’t leave Strickfield! Don’t leave Martin!” “I’ll be at the house when you get home, Einny. I promise. Also, I promised you that I’d talk to Martin. I’ll be waiting for you.” When Einny lets go, I leap into the air and am long gone before the police and ambulances get there. I have no doubt that Einstein will take care of everything. 

Well, I won’t go into every little detail about all the sappy shit. It’s two weeks later, and it’s Friday at Strickfield High School. I look at my nails that Einny polished for me. God damn you, Einny . . . As you can tell, I did keep my word to Einny and remained at the house. Martin was already home when I got there. He looked tired from his classes. Still, he had enough energy to come and take me in his arms. As much as I wanted to tell Martin that we were done and that I wanted to leave Strickfield, I realized I just couldn’t do that to him – not like that. Again, part of me wished that I’d lost my emotions when I became a Master Vampire. But I love – and need – to feel, which is something very few vamps can do. Martin and I made love for the first time that night; normally, we just fuck. As for Einny, I think she pretty much knew that I was sticking around. The next morning, still two weeks ago, Martin had to go to work and then classes. He would be gone all day. It was just Einny and me, and we went to school. Wouldn’t you know it? Both of us were called into the principal’s office. Turned out that the talk of the school was that the cheerleading squad was permanently gone. It was in the Strickfield newspaper that something had happened to them in the woods near the south end of the village limits. Four of them were committed to a facility called Glennview, which was near North Ridgeway. As for the twins, they ended up in a special hospital over in Shore City where they would be cared for for the rest of their lives. It didn’t surprise me that their parents didn’t want to care for them themselves. Fucking rich misers . . . Anyway, getting back to Principal Van Diest, he had both Einny and me in front of him. He pointed right at us. “I don’t know what happened with the cheerleaders, but I know . . . I know that you two had something to do with it.” I roll my eyes. “Can you even prove any of this shit? If not, go fuck yourself and let us go back to class.” “Oh, you’re both going back to class, all right!” He stood up and put his palms on his desk. He had this weird smirk on his face. “I want you two go and see Miss Temple in her office. Now! I believe you know the way, Eileen. You can take our new student here to meet her.” When Eileen got up, I was a bit reluctant. I wanted to see what else this shitheel had to say. When he told me to get going, I got up. Before we left, I made sure he saw me give him the finger and flick my tongue. Einny took us to the gym and to Miss Temple’s office there. Turned out she taught a few of the gym classes, a few of the English classes, and was also the cheerleading coach. She looked really fucking happy to see us. There were four other girls there, too. I won’t go into details on them, but just seeing the six of us . . . We had to be the strangest mix there. Miss Temple couldn’t wait to tell the six of us that we were all the new fucking cheerleading squad! “Bullshit!” I quickly told her and stepped back. “You can fucking kiss my ass!” Believe it or not, Miss Temple wasn’t even upset with me. She just simply said, “Language . . .” Then she explained that Principal Van Deist had personally hand-picked the six of us to be the new cheerleaders of Strickfield High. I still told Miss Temple to go fuck herself. Then I about lost my fucking shit when I saw that Einny and the others gladly accept their uniform and shoes. As much as I protested, Einny looked so happy to have been given such an opportunity. I would’ve also told Einny to go get fucked, but we’ve had time to bond over the last several days. So . . . not only am I possibly developing feelings for Martin, I’ve gotten used to having Einny around. I think I’ve said this before, but she fucking grows on you. As soon as we were back out in the hallway, I grabbed Einny’s shoulders. “I am so gonna fucking kill you!” “No, you won’t,” she said quickly. “I’m your best friend.” Again, always so fucking direct. Getting back to now, I’m wearing a fucking cheerleading uniform. It’ll be another game night as a full-fledged cheerleader. Oh, and now I’m known as both the Bad Schoolgirl and the Bad Cheerleader. Einny told me she had a reason for the two of us joining the squad, and it wasn’t for us to show off our tits and asses in front of the crowds at the basketball games. Einny explained that a lot of shit goes on here in Strickfield. She promised me there would be more than enough work to keep me here for a very long time. In other words, we’d be keeping our eyes and ears open for shit to investigate. Over time, I would learn other interesting things about the other four cheerleaders. So I sigh to myself and realize I’ve gotten too close to the Donnerlys . . . and the great food at Denoyer’s Grill. Looks like I’m stuck in this fucking village indefinitely. Seriously, why couldn’t I have lost my feelings when Thornton Jillian’s blood mixed with mine over a hundred years ago . . . ? 

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Ep.75 – My Dog, Doug - What Lurks Behind That Cute Face?

Episode Notes

New house, new dog, but what evils could lurk inside of both?!

My Dog, Doug by David O'Hanlon

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Transcript:

“Daddy, I want this puppy,” Abby’s tiny voice replayed in Barry’s head as he wiped the dog shit off of his barefoot. Lindsey found the Armant on Craigslist. Normally, they were extremely hard to find outside of their native Egypt, not to mention expensive. Smart, protective, and loyal—they were the perfect breed for just about any family. He wasn’t a very large dog, less than two feet at his scraggly shoulders, nor did he look like he ate a lot. Plus he was free, which sealed the deal. The lady had told them that Doug needed more attention than she could provide, which wouldn’t be an issue with Abby. Why anyone would name a dog Doug, however, was beyond Barry’s understanding. Still, Abby and Lindsey thought it was adorable. So, Doug the Dog joined the family with an excited wag of his curly tail and a more excited screech from Abby.


The Warner’s had just bought a new home. It was much larger than they needed, but the location was isolated and it had been priced to sell. That was always a plus for the frugal Barry Warner. The fourth bedroom was an extra, so Barry had made it into a playroom for his daughter—who promptly rechristened it the set of the Abby and Doug Tea Time Review. Every afternoon, they sat at the pretty, pink picnic table in front of a live studio audience of stuffed animals while Abby talked about the cartoons that her and Doug had been watching. Doug’s role consisted of sitting on the bench and fighting the urge to lick his own ass. Barry credited the dog for being such a good sport. Every once in a while, the dog would even offer a yip of agreement to Abby’s seven-year-old opinions on the geopolitical climate of Oz and other fantasy worlds. They had been in the house a week when the noises started—scratching in the walls that immediately sent Barry’s horror writer brain into action. You can’t write scary stories without believing, on some base level, that it could actually happen. Barry was a practical man, so he immediately got out his EVP recorder and began to scan the house. Obviously, there was something strange going on. He didn’t pick up anything out of the ordinary, though. Lindsey told him it was probably nothing. By the second week, they began to find things out of place or just missing altogether. Still, Lindsey insisted that they were simply being forgetful or Abby was moving them in an attempt to be funny. Who wouldn’t find disappearing house keys humorous, after all? And the attic door opening on its own? Well that was just a real gasser. Lindsey swore it was a breeze blowing in from some bad seal or something, but Barry had written this novel twice and knew the skeptic was always wrong. The strangeness continued over the next three weeks and Barry was thoroughly convinced that there was a ghost in their new home. It seemed Doug thought so, as well. Barry had been woken up at three one morning by a low, long, growl emanating from the playroom. Barry crept down the hall armed with a less-than-intimidating participation trophy from a Halloween writing contest. He found Doug standing on the picnic table, ears pricked up, and teeth bared. He was staring at the ceiling growling continuously. “Doug,” Barry whispered. The dog didn’t respond. More growling at the ceiling, but nothing else. Barry stepped further into the room and said the dog’s name again. He noticed the time on the Disney clock. It’s just a coincidence, he tried to convince himself. It’s definitely not a demon. Still, he cocked back the little trophy unsure if he would be better striking with the faux-marble base or the bedazzled jack-o-lantern topper. Barry reached for a play broom propped up on the Little Tykes kitchen and bumped the spot on the ceiling Doug appeared to be staring at. Barry jumped as things in the ceiling ran in different directions to get away from his thumping. In the dead of night, the tiny claws scratching the crawlspace echoed around him. Barry patted the dog with a sweaty palm and went back to bed, but not to sleep. That would take a while. It’s definitely not a demon, Barry. He reassured himself. Shit. Please don’t be a demon. Once the sun came up and some Lucky Charms went down, he was ready to do some investigating. “Doug, find the rats.” He pointed at the ceiling with a thumb. Doug, climbed into the chair next to him and waited for his cereal. Barry looked down at his bowl, spooned out the last couple of marshmallows and slid the soggy leftovers to the dog. “Don’t get used to it. I’m only doing it because you’re my canary today.” Once Doug was done eating, Barry grabbed a box of Milk Bones and headed for the basement door. Doug whimpered and looked towards the ceiling. He ran upstairs and Barry followed after him. Maybe the rats are isolated upstairs. Or maybe the ghosts live in the basement. He wasn’t sure which idea he would prefer. The spry young dog made it up the stairs long before he did and he watched as Doug ran over to Abby in the playroom and gave her sloppy kisses. Abby gave him a hug and told him she loved him, after which the dog trotted back to the door, looked up at Barry, and gave a sharp bark before embarking back down the stairs. He wanted to kiss his human goodbye before we face certain death. Barry wiped a manly tear from his cheek. The basement stairs creaked as Doug and Barry inched down them. The dog was alert, Barry was spooked. His bladder quivered with each groaning step. The basement was well lit and spacious, the exact opposite of what every horror movie, ever, had prepared him for. He waved his EVP recorder around the room. Nothing. Doug stopped suddenly and began sniffing the air. He cocked his head sideways and then walked cautiously to the old work bench on the far side of the basement. Barry watched as Doug worked his head underneath the bench and came back over. Doug dropped the dead rat at Barry’s feet. Its head and one of its legs were missing, but it was most definitely a rat. “Damn it, Doug.” Barry kicked the rat. “Lindsey was right. I’ll never hear the end of this. We better find the rest of them.” He was sure there had to be more of them after the noise they made the night before. He inspected the baseboards for any holes they could be using to get around. It occurred to him, that he didn’t actually know what a rat’s hole looked like. He doubted that it would be the neat little archway of the cartoons. He heard the scratching again. An unseen rat ran overhead. Then another. Then a small group. A frantic burst of barking sent him into the air and knocked ten years off of his life. Doug was going ballistic. The Armant snapped at the air, snarling and barking, as he bounced around. The scratching in the ceiling grew louder and spread across a wider area than before. There were a lot of rats up there and they were all moving at once—moving towards him. The antique, asbestos ceiling tiles broke under their weight and dozens of rats poured from the ceiling. They swarmed around Barry’s ankles and crawled across his feet. He went Michael Flatley on their asses and started stomping out a jig in an attempt to kill the vermin before they could escape. He slipped on one’s rupturing carcass and almost fell into the sea of rodents. Doug ran the direction the rats had come from, hitting the wall full force. The rodents scurried away from Barry in too many directions for him to keep track of, but the dog was focused solely on the wall. Barry screamed shrilly and slapped the beasts away as he struggled upright. He shook and checked to make sure none were clinging to him before joining Doug by the wall. He beat his fist against it to see if there were any more rats hiding. But there was no scratching or fleeing this time. No, there were no sounds of frightened rats. This time, something knocked back. Barry and Doug exchanged concerned glances and then both ran for the stairs.


Barry went to the basement later in the day to clean up his kills before they started stinking. He rushed to dispose of them before Lindsey got home from work—partially to spare her from the gruesome bag of squished rats, but mostly to avoid admitting he was wrong. Unfortunately, she pulled in right as he dumped them in the big green can. Apparently, ghosts weren’t as scary as rats. As soon as Barry recounted the day’s adventure, she ran to their room and packed a suitcase for her and Abby. Barry and Doug would be left to handle the raging rodent problem. He tried to tell her about the strange knocking and how he thought that was a sure sign of a ghost. “It’s a sure sign of a big damn rat, Barry!” She shoved the clothes into the bag haphazardly. And that was the end of the discussion. If your wife says the house isn’t haunted, then the damn house isn’t haunted. That’s the way it works. Barry sighed in defeat and helped her pack. They left that night to stay with family in Rogers, away from rabies-infected vermin. Barry sat on the couch and opened a can of Arkansas Red. He turned on the EVP recorder just to be sure as he opened his laptop. “Tomorrow we have to find an exterminator, Doug. Tonight though, tonight we are kings!” The 69 Eyes began playing through the laptop speakers while Barry ordered a pizza. “Would you like breadsticks or cheesy bread?” Doug cocked his head and groaned. “Right, stupid question.” Six sticks of cheesy bread and one slice of Meat Cravers later, the dog was lying on its back half asleep and gassy as hell. Barry was trying to enjoy a Hammer films marathon, but the scariest thing in the room was the dog’s farting. The next morning, Barry stepped into the pile of dog poo by the front door. The squishy warmth between his toes, reminded him of his horrible decision-making the night before and he made a mental note not to feed the damn thing pizza ever again. He cleaned up the mess and started looking for an exterminator. Every job can be done three ways. Fast, correct, and cheap… but you can only get two at a time. He checked the Google reviews and found one that said “Cheap, same day service.” Yahtzee. We have a winner. He dialed the number while munching on a piece of the leftover pizza. He had time to kill, so he decided to get some writing done and sat down at his desk. He was halfway into his second paragraph when Doug nudged his leg. The dog held the TV remote from the playroom in his mouth. “Abby’s not home, you don’t have to watch cartoons today.” Doug whined in response. “What? You want to watch cartoons?” Doug’s tail wagged viciously. “Right. Of course you do. Come on, then.” Barry went into the playroom and turned on the TV and started whatever movie was in the DVD player. Doug hopped into one of the miniature papasan chairs and waited for the show to start. Barry sighed and retreated to the office where he managed an entire page before Doug was whimpering next to him again. “Not now, Doug.” He gave the dog a gentle push with his foot. The doggie door was unlocked so the dog could let himself outside and there was a bowl full of food. He wanted for nothing. Doug gave a small bark, spun in a circle, and ran to the office door. Barry grunted and turned back to the computer screen. He started rolling sideways slowly. Barry wasn’t sure how to process the sight of the small dog dragging the office chair. Barry got up and Doug ran out of the room. Barry followed him and found him sitting on the bench of the pink picnic table. Doug looked at Barry, then the TV, then Barry again. “Really? You want me to watch cartoons with you?” A single bark and some frantic tail wagging answered the question. “Can you understand me?” Another single bark. “You’re shitting me, right?” Two barks. Barry twisted his mustache around his finger, looked at Doug for a long minute, and then decided that this was the official limit for crazy in one week. “I’m going back to work now and I’m going to pretend this conversation never happened.” He had just sat down when the banging on the door made him jump back out of it. All he wanted to do was finish one damn chapter, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen. He looked out of the window and saw a PT Cruiser painted to look like a rat in his driveway. It even had a tail bolted onto the hatch. “Cheap and tasteful, I see.” Barry stomped down stairs and opened the door. The man in the brown coveralls was some horrific hybrid of John Goodman and an outhouse. He spat a glob of tobacco into Lindsey’s potted fern, narrowly missing Barry’s zombie garden gnomes. Barry squinted at the name stitched over the man’s breast in bright yellow. Looking back at the man, Barry was certain it was neither a typo nor a nickname—the exterminator’s birth certificate definitely said ‘Ham’ as well. “What’s bugging you?” he asked with a brown-toothed grin. “Get it? Bugging you.” “You’re a rodent exterminator, so no. Not at all, in fact.” Barry stared blankly at the neanderthal. “Well… rats.” Ham fake laughed at his own pun. “Not even a chuckle, huh? Damn. I worked hard on that setup too. Look, I get paid twelve shitty bucks an hour to crawl my big ass around in spaces sized for midget turds while handling chemicals that’ll probably have me growing tumors in my eyeballs. I suck at this people greeting stuff, but I’m mighty good at waffle-stomping cute and cuddly rodents. So, what do you want me to kill?” “Now we’re getting somewhere.” Barry smiled. “Rats, lots and lots of rats. They’re in the walls and ceilings. About forty of them fell through in the basement, but we’ve heard them upstairs too.” “Awesome. Rats are easy.”  Ham slapped Barry’s shoulder. “I’ll start by putting bait stations and—” Barry cut him off. “Do you know how to write a novel?” The exterminator thought about it. “Don’t reckon I do.” “Do you want to learn?” Ham gave an honest shrug. “Not particularly.” “Well, I don’t want to learn how to kill rats. I do, however, want to write a novel. So, you kill the rats, I’ll write the book, and when you’re done I’ll write you a check for an hour longer than you actually worked, so you can go grab a beer or something.” “Hell, that sounds like a mighty good deal.” Ham rubbed his double set of chins thoughtfully. “You know, my boss makes me use this really shitty poison. It only kills the weak ones, that way you think you’re getting your money’s worth, but still have to call us out for a second visit. But if you were to make it two extra hours, and pay that bit in cash, I’d go ahead and use the good stuff now.” “You have a deal, good sir. Now go make things dead, please.” Barry went back to his office and found Doug sitting in the rolling chair with a can of beer in his mouth. He let the slobbery can roll across the desk when Barry walked in and then picked up his ball from the seat of the chair. “You’re trying to bribe me into playing ball?” A single bark. “No, Doug. We’re not playing ball. Go watch cartoons and lick yourself. I would if I could, but I keep falling off the damn couch. Revel in my envy of your flexibility and let me get some work done. Please?” Two barks. Barry grabbed Doug’s collar and tugged until he got out of the chair. He picked up the beer, flopped down in the seat, and thumped the top a couple of times before opening it. “This is a really cool trick, though. Tell you what, when I finish this chapter we’ll play a little catch.” Doug skulked out of the room without a sound and returned to the playroom. Barry continued working on his chapter. The hero had just found the zombie whorehouse and he needed to keep the image alive—well, undead—while he completed the scene. He heard a crash down the hall and let his head fall on the desk. The solid mahogany hit back and he immediately regretted the decision. If Doug was tearing things up, he was going to get dropped in a wok before the night was through. In the playroom, he found the dog. Only Doug, didn’t look quite like Doug. The tan and black fur ball rolled around on the floor whimpering. Barry felt the sudden tinge of guilt. The previous owner said the dog was needy, but he never thought it would drop dead from lack of attention. Doug’s collar snapped off as his neck bulged and pulsated and then he went suddenly still. Barry stepped closer to check on him. Doug’s front leg reached out from his body and Barry stopped in his tracks. The toes had extended into nubby little fingers. He looked over the dog’s body and realized that wasn’t the only change. He looked stockier. And his hind legs looked… wrong. Slowly, the dog got up and stood on his back feet—his only feet. The bipedal Doug looked at Barry and then lifted a tea cup from the picnic table. He took a sip of the make-believe beverage with his brand-new pinky in the air. “Oh shit.” Barry eased the door closed and backed out into the hallway. The door knob turned and Doug stood there for a long moment. He raised his furry doggy hand and wiggled his fingers. Barry ran for the stairs, taking them two at a time. That is until he missed a step and took the last six at once. He met the hardwood floor with a thud. He tilted his head back and saw Doug bouncing down the stairs as best as his restructured legs would allow. Barry got up, felt the pops and aches from the fall, and limped to the kitchen. He threw open the basement door to get the exterminator, but stopped on the steps. Doug ran into his back and they teetered for a moment. Both of them stood there, staring down into the basement. Ham was nowhere to be seen… and neither was the floor. Instead there was just a tide of writhing black fur as thousands of rats tried to move around one another. Doug and Barry exchanged looks, decided that the basement was officially off limits and promptly headed back into the kitchen. Doug shut the door, which was somehow more disturbing than the rat orgy in the basement. Barry huffed with his hands on his knees. Doug stepped forward, standing eye-to-eye with the author. Barry gave the dog a quick kick in the balls and bolted away while he yelped behind him. Barry hobbled back upstairs with Doug the dog-boy in pursuit. He screamed for the exterminator, but got no response. Doug growled behind him and Barry ducked into his bedroom, slamming the door. Doug tried the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. “Ha! You can’t pick locks can you, Doug?” Barry yelled through the door. He leaned against the door and tried to process everything. An excited panting echoed his own heaving breathes. It was then, that he remembered the bathroom that connected their room to Abby’s. “Oh, you got to be kidding me.” He turned around in time to see Doug launch himself through the air. The door shattered into splinters as the dog collided with him. Barry laid in the hall, sucking air with a Doug sitting on his chest. Barry swatted the dog off him and tried to get up only to feel Doug’s teeth latch onto his ankle. Barry swung his leg like an extra in a ninja flick and bounced Doug off the drywall. Doug, the malevolent size of a toddler, threw a punch straight into Barry’s groin. The author collapsed and hit the dog with a piece of the broken door. They both groaned on the plush carpet, trying to catch their breath. Whatever was about to happen, however, was interrupted by the attic door swinging down. The oversized exterminator did a funny little roll down the narrow steps and face-planted. Ham scrambled to his feet, jumped over Doug and Barry, and ran away with a final scream of “Brownies!” He moved quickly for a man his size—too quickly as he hit the stairs faster than he meant and went toppling down. Doug and Barry got up and walked to the top of the stair case. At the bottom, the exterminator was still in the wreckage of a curio cabinet. His neck was bent at an unnatural angle and with a halo of broken action figures around his leaking skull. “I didn’t think anything else would surprise me today, but here we are.” Barry twisted his mustache. “My insurance is going to go through the roof.” Doug gave a bark of agreement. “What do you think he meant when he said—” “Knock, knock,” a raspy voice said behind them. Doug and his human turned around hesitantly. Twelve tiny men, about a foot tall, with sharp teeth, and clothes made from rat hides were standing with spears and swords made of broken glass. “Brownies.” Barry sighed. “I guess that means Lindsey was right. It’s not ghosts.” Doug barked once. “Well Doug, what do you say?” Barry looked down at Doug. The shape-shifting pooch laced his furry fingers together and popped his knuckles. Barry rolled his shoulders. “Let’s kick some brownie ass.” One bark.


As it turned out, cleaning dog crap wasn’t nearly as much work as getting brownie stains out of the cream-colored carpet. The ambulance had taken away the exterminator’s body and his boss promised a ten percent discount on any future service for the inconvenience of his worker dying in Barry’s home. Barry negotiated it up to fifteen. Lindsey and Abby would stay the weekend at her parent’s house while the poison worked on the rats. Which meant there was only one thing left for Barry to do. The sauce sizzled as Barry tossed the meat and vegetables in the wok. The damn dog had done a number on him and he had taped ice packs onto the various bruises. An imported bottle of Irish whiskey and fistful of ibuprofen were helping with any remaining pain. He spooned the stir fry over the noodles, grabbed a beer from the fridge, and went to the living room. He pushed play and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter started up on the big screen. Doug took the beer from Barry and cracked the top open. His mouth wasn’t designed for cans, so he poured it into a bowl on the coffee table and lapped it up. Barry took a bite of his stir fry and offered the plate to Doug who gave a low growl. “Oh, don’t be like that. You haven’t even tried it. It’s actually pretty good. And we have to do something about the rats, so eat up. Tomorrow we’ll try smoking some.” Doug took a tentative bite of the rat chow mein and proceeded to pig out once it met his discerning approval. “I hope you know, you’re going back to doggy Doug when the girls get home.” Doug let out a quick bark of agreement before holding the plate out for seconds. “You’ve got hands now, go get your own.” Barry put his feet up on the table and sipped his whiskey. Doug was certainly a handful, but it wasn’t all bad. The shape-shifter would make a great assistant and he liked all the classic horror films—he even gave Galaxy of Terror two freaky thumbs up. Having a dog-monster might actually be pretty awesome. Time would tell. Barry would work on the new book tomorrow. Tonight, him and Doug were kings again. The End

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