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Ep.73 – Slasher - Making Movies Can Be MURDER

Episode Notes

A group of college students set out to make a slasher movie but when real bodies start piling up who will survive these halls of horror?!

Slasher by Rob Fields

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcript:

Prologue

The group that was to breathe new life into the Strickfield University Film Society gathered in the movie room at Wilder Hall, the student union building. When Professor James Corgen arrived to conduct the meeting, he sat on top of his desk and looked at the others. “I see we’re missing somebody,” he said. “I’m sure Jennie will be here shortly,” Jessie, his busty, red-headed daughter, assured him. The professor appeared annoyed. “I’m not talking about your sister.” Just then, another girl entered the movie room. “Sorry I’m late. I got delayed.” Jessie turned to her. “It’s okay, Vickie, you didn’t miss anything. In fact, we’re heading out shortly.” Professor Corgen looked at Vickie. “You did read the script, right?” “Trust me, I know my lines,” Vickie assured him. “I know why Vickie got delayed.” Bethany Mirren looked over at the others and made an obscene pantomime of giving oral sex, getting a few chuckles out of some of the males present. Jessie pointed right past Bethany. “Hey! Don’t want to work with Vickie Valentine? There’s the door! We’ve only got one shot at making this movie. Just say the word and we’ll recast you.” Bethany flashed a toothy smile. “Your ad said you needed big-breasted girls for your movie. It just surprises me that you’d hire a porn star.” “That porn star can actually act!” Jessie fired back. “She’s already starred in a horror movie for the North Ridgeway University Film Club. The Murder Club is kicking ass all over the film festival circuit. My contact at North Ridgeway told me it’ll be getting a limited theatrical run in a few months. I want our movie to get that same prestige, especially if we want to keep the Strickfield University Film Society going.” “We’ve lost a lot of money over the past six months,” Professor Corgen explained. “Dean Roth won’t set aside any more money in the budget for us unless we can start making some of our own. We have just enough money left to make our movie. My daughter here wrote a script, which is both excellent and an homage to cheesy, exploitation horror. I don’t personally care for horror movies, but I feel Jessie’s going to do well with it. She’ll be in the movie with all of you, but will also be directing Slasher, the title. I’m merely here as an adviser. I don’t want any animosity between any of you, especially with Vickie Valentine here.” Jessie pointed to Bethany. “You in? Or out?” Bethany shrugged. “I’m in.” Jessie smiled. “Excellent! Now . . .” Professor Corgen picked up a bag and opened it. “All of your smartphones are turned off and go in there. No interruptions due to someone getting a text!” Some were reluctant in handing over their phones, but they were all collected. Jessie took an excited breath. “Okay, let’s head on over to the old Performance Hall. It won’t be torn down for a month yet. Dean Roth gave us permission to shoot Slasher there. Everything will be up and running, including the showers in the basement dressing room. If none of you want to go home, you can crash in one of the many old classrooms. Are we ready?” Cody King stood up. “Let’s go!” Everybody left the room and exited Wilder Hall. They walked across campus until they came to the boarded-up building that was once Performance Hall. The building had seen better days and was why a new building had been constructed. When Jessie was looking for locations to shoot Slasher, she had to convince Dean Jerry Roth to allow the Film Society to have the former performance arts building until it was time to be leveled. He finally consented and wrote her the permit she needed. He also had signs posted that only the Film Society had access to the building. When they reached the front doors, Jessie unlocked them and they all went inside. Jessie was so excited to be shooting her first feature film that she could barely contain herself. She took a deep breath and turned to everybody. “Okay, people, our first scene is already set up. Head down the hall to make-up, and then we’ll start.” The first day of shooting for Slasher was about to begin . . .

1

Jessie sat on the edge of the stage and looked over her copy of the script. Before long, she heard a door opening to her far left and saw her father coming in. “We’re shooting the opening scene in here,” she informed him. He came and sat next to her. “You’re going to do just fine, Jessie. I suppose I’m curious. Why did you cast an adult film actress?” “I told you, Dad, she really can act. I had a chance to see her in The Murder Club at North Ridgeway University a few months ago and knew she’d be perfect for Slasher. I met Vickie that night and showed her the script, which she loved. I can’t pay my actors much, but I’m glad she took the role anyway. Vickie’s trying to do more legitimate movies and get out of porn. I want to help give her that chance.” He put a comforting arm around her. “Okay, it’s your movie. I said I’d back you.” Jessie opened her script again. “Like I said, we’re shooting the first scene. I couldn’t find anybody to play the Scream Queen killer, so I’m playing two roles.” She picked up the blank white mask that signified the killer. “I still can’t reach Jennie. Do you know if she’s coming?” Her father looked grim. “I didn’t want to tell you, but your sister won’t be joining us for our meetings again . . . ever.” Jessie looked worried. “What’s going on?” He sighed. “She’s the reason we’re having our money problems. I discovered she’s been embezzling money from the Film Society.” Her mouth opened wide. “Oh, my god!” Then they heard a noise. Professor Corgen quickly stood up and walked into the stage area. “Somebody’s up in the catwalk.” Jessie found a flashlight and joined her father. She turned on the flashlight and pointed it upward. “I don’t see anybody.” “I’m telling you, I saw somebody moving around up there, Jessie.” Jessie slowly shined the light around a few more times. “I still don’t –” Suddenly . . . the figure appeared! The figure was obviously feminine, with a build similar to Jessie. The figure had the same red hair as Jessie’s and wore a sexy, form-fitting white dress that showed off how full and ample her breasts were. However, this female figure wore the very same mask that Jessie held in her hands. This girl was dressed as the Scream Queen, the killer of Slasher. She looked down at Jessie and her father for a long moment before she produced a bow and arrow. Before either of them could react, the Scream Queen took quick aim and shot the arrow – right through Professor Corgen’s heart! Jessie screamed as her father fell forward – dead before he hit the floor! Jessie looked up to the catwalk on impulse, but the Scream Queen was gone. Jessie held her dead father to her and sobbed. It was several minutes before the cast came in, ready to shoot the first scene. When they saw what had happened, they either gasped or screamed. Jessie turned to them. “Get out of here! Call the police!” Stanley Farnsworth quickly turned and left. It wasn’t long before he was back. “The doors are all chained up and the windows are boarded up! We can’t get out!” “Oh, bullshit!” Cody King snapped. “Get outta the way!” The cast members reached the main doors to find they were indeed chained tightly shut from the inside. They went and checked the other doors. Hope quickly turned to despair when they found the other doors were chained in the exact same manner. “We’re fucking trapped in here!” Cody yelled. “Bullshit!” “People, come on, we need to keep it together here,” Vickie Valentine said. “Let’s go back and check on Jessie.” They went back to the stage and found Jessie still holding her father’s body. Vickie lowered herself and convinced Jessie to put her father down. Jessie did and became angry. “I told you people to call the police!” “Let’s all go together,” Nate Henry piped up. “There should be a phone in the office.” “What about the bag with our phones?” Stanley inquired. Jessie looked dismal. “Dad put them away somewhere. I don’t know where.” Vickie stood up and helped Jessie to her feet. “We go to the office, then.” 

2

The seven of them entered the main office and found the landline phone. Stanley picked up the receiver and punched 9-1-1. Then he turned to the others with a grim look. “It’s dead!” “Bullshit!” Cody snatched the receiver from Stanley. After putting it to his ear . . . “The worm’s right! The killer probably cut the line.” He slammed the receiver back onto the cradle. “Fuck!” Vickie quickly cried, “Easy, people. We can’t be losing our shit here! Not now!” Bethany sneered at Vickie. “Just because you’re the porn queen doesn’t mean you’re the queen.” Cody turned to Vickie. “Don’t lose our shit?! We’re trapped in this fucking building! The phone ain’t working! We are so fucked!” Lizzie Jones finally got her words in. “I’ve actually been looking for a weapon or something, but . . . I can’t find so much as a single tool! I even went to a few of the other rooms nearby. There’s nothing to use as a weapon to protect ourselves in here! The killer’s thought of everything.” Stanley groaned. “We need to – Ohshit!!” Everybody else screamed and panicked as the Scream Queen now stood in the doorway – armed with a chainsaw! With one quick movement, she yanked the cord to bring the lethal weapon to life. Before Stanley could turn to move away, the killer thrust the chainsaw underneath his groin and worked right up the middle. Blood sprayed and splattered everywhere. The Scream Queen’s once-fully-white outfit and mask and exposed skin were being blood-splattered. When the killer finished, the two halves of Stanley fell to the floor. The Scream Queen gave them a long, blank look before she turned and disappeared. The remaining six were too shocked to run after her. “What the fucking fuck?!” Bethany screamed. Then she whimpered when she finally realized that she had Stanley’s blood splattered on her. “Eeew!” Jessie suddenly pointed to Lizzie. “You say there aren’t any weapons? I don’t believe that for a second! I’m sure the murdering cunt pretending to be the Scream Queen wants us to think that. There have to be things we can find to use as weapons. We just need to search the other rooms in the building.” “I’m all for looking,” Vickie offered. Bethany pointed to the doorway. “Hey, porn queen, in case you were sleeping through all this shit, that fucking psycho bitch is still out there!” Vickie glared at her. “No shit, airhead! We can’t just stay in here with our heads up our asses! You people can stay here if you want. I’m going with Jessie.” “We really shouldn’t be splitting up,” Nate stated. “Like Vickie said, we can’t just stay in here,” Lizzie recalled. “Hold it! I’ll go with you and Jessie.” As Nate reached out to take Vickie’s hand, she slapped it away. “Hands off! I’m married!” “Sorry.” Jessie turned to the others. “You three stay on this floor and look around. We’ll head up to the second floor. Plus, we still have the basement to check.” She turned to Nate and Vickie. “Let’s go.” Jessie, Nate, and Vickie split from the others and headed for the second floor.  

3

Bethany and Cody were looking through drawers, closets, and other places where they might find weapons. Lizzie noticed that Bethany wasn’t really making much of an effort. She seemed to be opening things slowly, all while keeping her eyes on Cody. She also noticed that the rich girl had conveniently unbuttoned enough buttons on her top to reveal the ample cleavage in between her two surgically-enhanced breasts. Truth be told, Cody really had an eye for Lizzie and kept checking out her ass whenever she wasn’t looking. Bethany noticed this and couldn’t understand why he would want to hook up with a future Suzy Homemaker, when he could have her hot and naked. All he had to do was just claim her. She had no problem answering Jessie’s ad for big-breasted girls to act in her movie. Bethany knew she had the biggest ones out of every girl in the cast. Hell, even Vickie Valentine’s natural ones didn’t measure up to hers. Bethany had spent a pretty penny on her breasts to turn lots of heads. Yet, Cody was wanting Lizzie? Oh, but Bethany wasn’t giving up so fast. After all, she was from the infamously-rich Mirren clan . . . and Mirrens always got what they wanted. Well, Bethany knew she couldn’t just strip naked for Cody, not with Lizzie right there. She would certainly continue to work her charms on him. Oh yes, he would definitely give in to her. If he was a good lay, she would keep him for as long as she would continue to want to play with him. “Everything good, Lizzie?” Cody whispered. Lizzie, the lookout person, whispered back, “I’m not seeing anything.” Lizzie kept looking one way, then the other. In truth, she wanted to help search for weapons, but spoiled Bethany just had to have her way. She’d had enough of Bethany’s hem-hawing. Before she could turn to tell Bethany to trade places with her, the blood-splattered Scream Queen was suddenly right there in front of her. Lizzie screamed when the Scream Queen grabbed her T-shirt and ripped it open to expose her bouncing breasts. Then the Scream Queen grabbed Lizzie by her long dark hair with the left hand and sank the blade of a boxcutter into her flesh just below her ribs with the right. With a few swift, precise movements, Lizzie’s stomach had been sliced open. Still holding Lizzie’s hair, the Scream Queen forced Lizzie to quickly drop to her knees – causing her internal organs to drop right out of her stomach with a loud, sickening PLOP!! Lizzie’s corpse fell onto its side. Cody charged through the door, knocking the Scream Queen to the floor. The Scream Queen quickly got to her feet and ran away. Bethany shot out of the doorway. When she saw what was left of Lizzie, she quickly cradled Cody’s arm. “Holy shit! What are we going to do now?” “We gotta keep looking for shit,” Cody said. “We don’t know if the others’ll be back or not. We gotta look out for ourselves now and find a way outta here.” “Please don’t leave me!” she moaned. “Shhh! Shut up! Come on.” Bethany nodded and held Cody’s hand. He squeezed her hand and led the way. 4

Jessie, Nate, and Vickie were on the second floor. They stuck together as they carefully examined classroom after classroom. They couldn’t find anything available to be used as a weapon. Not even so much as a pen. Vickie groaned in frustration. Nate put a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I know. This psycho seems to have thought of everything.” Jessie groaned in frustration herself. “Why is that sick bitch doing this?!” “You’re guess is as good as mine,” Nate replied. Vickie shook her head quickly. “We just . . . Goddammit, we just came here to shoot a horror movie!” She grabbed her hair and groaned again. “Am I being punished for being a porn star? My parents have never agreed with me doing porn to pay for school, but they supported my decision. I’m trying to get out, I really am.” Jessie stepped in front of her. “Look at me, Vickie! Look at me!” Vickie slowly focused on her. “I see you.” “You do what you have to do to pay for college, I get it. I know Strickfield University’s not the cheapest college. I don’t think the Scream Queen is targeting you specifically. You’d be dead already – just you.” She hugged Vickie. “For what it’s worth, thank you for much for agreeing to be in my movie.” Vickie hugged her back. “Thank you for asking me.” Then they came apart. “I don’t want to die. I’m a senior this year, and I want to graduate. I’m finally at a point to where I can leave porn and do something meaningful.” “What are you majoring in?” Nate asked. Suddenly, there was a loud racket down the hallway from them, which made them gasp! “We have to go check it out,” Jessie whispered. “Are you crazy? The Scream Queen might be down there!” Vickie whispered back. “Someone might be in trouble,” Nate offered. Vickie really didn’t want to go, but she nodded. They all cautiously moved down the hallway, checking every room along the way. Soon, they reached the room where they were sure they heard the noise. They entered the bloody room and found the remains of murdered crew members everywhere. Nate had to quickly cover Vickie’s mouth to keep her from screaming. Jessie had to whisper to her to get her to calm down. When she did, Nate removed his hand. Then Nate saw glass bottles of water on the desk. Being really thirsty, he picked one up and opened it. He’d only taken two swallows before he quickly spit it out, just missing Vickie. But he couldn’t tell her that what he had just consumed was not water. It was a highly corrosive acid! Vickie screamed in terror as Nate fell to his knees. His face, throat, and the flesh on his chest and stomach had melted away completely. Blood was pooling around his corpse quickly. Suddenly, the Scream Queen appeared with a bloody fire ax in her hands. “Fuck you!” Jessie shouted. The Scream Queen raised and swung the ax at Jessie’s neck. Jessie ducked – barely! When she came up, the girls both shoved the killer to the floor and ran out of the room. 

5

Cody and Bethany were exploring the basement now. They still hadn’t found any weapons, in spite of all the rooms they had checked. Bethany’s arm was still wrapped around Cody’s as she continued to cling to him. “Why? What did we do wrong, Cody?” Cody sighed and gave her a brief, comforting hug. “I don’t know. What I do know is we gotta get the fuck outta here.” They walked into the dressing rooms. Seeing nothing, they turned and walked into the shower room. Bethany was really scared now. “God damn it!” She held herself as she backed herself into a corner and seemed ready to cry. Cody moved to her and held her to him. “Hey! Don’t come apart on me here. Come on, blondie, stay with me here. Stay with me . . .” Cody moved his hands to the sides of Bethany’s face and began kissing her hungrily. Bethany snatched him to her and kissed him with equal hunger. Bethany let him finish unbuttoning her top to expose her abundantly large breasts. Cody had seen Vickie Valentine’s natural breasts many times when he’d watch her adult movies, but Bethany’s enhanced ones were much bigger. And to a guy, bigger was always better, right? Also, he would have liked to have hooked up with Lizzie, but . . . she was dead. For all Cody would have known, they were all going to die. Fuck it . . . he thought. Cody and Bethany undressed each other. Then Bethany turned on all the showers. As far as they were concerned, there was no Scream Queen in this steamy world. At least not for a few adulterous rounds of pleasure. For them, the sex was everything they’d both imagined. They were so into each other that they never heard or saw the figure appearing at the shower entrance. As Bethany was having her third orgasm, she opened her eyes and screamed! 

6

Cody screamed himself when Jessie yelled, “Are you two fucking kidding me?!” Vickie appeared next to Jessie. “Really?! We got a fucking killer running around in here, and you two are . . . are . . . This!” After Bethany turned off the showers, the naked couple grabbed for their clothes. Bethany took her time in getting dressed. Once more, she let her pride and status as a Mirren get the better of her. Still topless, she turned to Vickie and pushed up on her breasts. “Get a good look, porn slut,” she purred. “They’re so much bigger and better than yours.” Vickie just looked at her. “Yeah, and . . . ? Unlike you, people are willing to pay damn good money to see me fuck in the shower. What’s your excuse?” Bethany just sneered at her. Then she turned her back to the opposite entrance and finally started to put her top back on. As she went to button it up, she screamed when the loud roar of a very large drill tore through the air. Bethany gasped and started choking on her own blood when the huge drill bit went into her back and come out just below her prides and joy. Blood spilled from Bethany’s lacerations – some going down a nearby drain. Bethany finally fell forward off the drill bit and died. The Scream Queen came into the room and revved the drill in front of the last three still alive. The Scream Queen slipped on the wet floor and fell, allowing Jessie, Vickie, and Cody to escape. The Scream Queen got up and moved with amazing speed to retrieve the drill off the floor and begin pursuit. 7

Jessie, Cody, and Vickie made it to the stairway and ran up two steps at a time. Back on the first floor, they ran down the hallway. The raging drill made it quite clear that the Scream Queen was right behind them. As they made the turn to the stairwell, they just missed being hit with the drill that the Scream Queen had thrown. The drill had stopped when it hit the floor. They ran up to the second floor and kept moving. So far, the Scream Queen wasn’t in sight. When they reached the catwalk doors, Cody opened one and motioned for the girls to go in before he followed. They were careful in moving across the catwalk above the stage. The house lights suddenly came on, which made them all scream. As they reached the opposite doors, one of them opened. The Scream Queen stepped in. This time, she had a spear in her hands. Vickie quickly grabbed the spear and struggled to take it from the killer. Finally, she had seized it. The Scream Queen just stood there and seemed to be watching. Without warning, Vickie turned and drove the spear under Cody’s chin with enough force so that the tip came right out through the top of his head. Cody shook and gurgled for a few moments before Vickie just shoved him right off the catwalk. Cody’s head landed on the hard wooden floor where the sickening sound of 19his skull shattering was heard. Jessie gasped and looked at Vickie. “Why?!” On impulse, Jessie reached out and ripped the Scream Queen’s mask right off. Her knees wobbled when she saw the face of the killer! “What the fuck?!” she whispered loudly. Jessie held the bloody mask in her hands as she stared into what seemed to be her own reflection . . . a second Jessie Corgen! 

8

The second Jessie Corgen laughed gleefully. “Hi, sis! Miss me?” Vickie grinned an evil grin. “You don’t recognize Jennie, your own twin sister?” “You killed Dad!” Jessie cried. “Why, Jennie?!” Jennie quickly raised her finger. “Why?! Didn’t you hear Daddy earlier? He found out I was embezzling money from the Film Society. Guess I got a little too greedy. Also . . . why should I have to wait until he dies to get all those millions? When I can have it all now!” Jessie shouted, “That’s what this was about? Greed?! You were so goddamn greedy that you killed our father – for Film Society money?!” Jennie laughed. “Stealing money from the Film Society was bonus money . . . but no. You know Daddy had a pretty fucking hefty life insurance policy – worth millions!” Jessie put the rest of the pieces together. “With Dad dead, you’ll be the only beneficiary. You’ll be set for life. The Film Society will close down for good, and you’ll be on your way to a tropical paradise where you can live out the rest of your life. And you even had to go so far to make sure the Film Society’s horror movie would never be made. Anything to make sure Dean Roth would have no choice but to close the Film Society down, right?” “Oh, you’re wrong about one thing, sis,” Jennie purred. To Jessie’s surprise, Jennie eased Vickie to her for a passionate kiss. Then they turned to Jessie. “Remember when I told Nate I was married? Jennie’s my wife,” Vickie revealed. “We eloped around the time we came up with this plan.” “Which means we will be living in paradise,” Jennie added. “A little money and a crooked lawyer and I also got the will changed. All of Daddy’s money and insurance will go to us – as in Vickie and me. I’ll never have to bust my ass for anyone ever again. Also, my sweetheart will be done with porn.” She moved away from Vickie and towards Jessie. “Sorry, sis . . . Nothing personal.” Jennie reached out and shoved Jessie hard off the catwalk. 

9

Jessie screamed only for a moment, until she landed on the back of her head and was still forever. Blood began pooling around her head and neck. Jennie turned to face Vickie, who stood with her back to the railing. “No more loose ends, love.” Vickie gave Jennie a sinister smirk. “Wrong, honey.” Suddenly, Vickie grabbed Jennie and flipped her over the railing. Jennie screamed all the way down until she landed and broke her neck. Vickie looked down and smirked again. “Sorry, honey, but there’s only going to be enough money for one person – me! Till death do we part.” As Vickie left the catwalk and headed downstairs, she pulled a set of keys out of her pocket, which would unlock the chains and the doors. Vickie Valentine – the unlikely sole survivor – stepped outside. She pulled out her smartphone from in between her breasts, turned it on, and called the police. Truly, Vickie was indeed a great actress; the police bought everything. Vickie would only have to wait a short time to collect all of the money, graduate from Strickfield University, and say goodbye to the porn industry forever.

Epilogue

The cast and crew were pleased at their screening of Slasher, which played at the Strickfield Centennial Theatre downtown. This particular screening was invitation only, which included the cast and crew along with the Film Society backers who contributed enough to get tickets to the screening as a perk. The end credits began to role and the house lights came up. Jessie and Jennie Corgen were sitting with their father, who congratulated them on a job well done. Jessie motioned to the cast and crew members present to make their way to the lobby for a meet-and-greet. Many of the cast posed for pictures. However, Vickie Valentine would end up signing copies of her adult movies that people happened to bring with them, in addition to posing for pictures. This screening was to celebrate that Slasher had made it onto the film festival circuit. Once it would finish there, it would play on the midnight movie circuit, followed by a limited theatrical run. In all, the Strickfield University Film Society would earn enough money to both keep their doors open on campus and have a budget to film the sequel, which the Corgen Twins had already written the script for. They knew they were going to re-sign their cast and crew to help make it. Vickie Valentine was already guaranteed her role as the star – and accepted it on the spot. Vickie Valentine would now be able to leave the porn industry and become a premier horror movie starlet. Not only had she agreed to star in Slasher II: Valentine’s Day, she would also go on to star in other horror movies for other independent studios. She hadn’t forgotten that Slasher had made her a star and made it a point to make herself available whenever the Corgen Twins offered her a role. Bethany Mirren, Vickie’s rival, had actually been approached by Vickie’s former agent about a career in porn. Bethany would never admit it, but she had actually considered it. However, it was no secret to the other cast and crew that she and Cody were seeing each other. The secret they shared between themselves was that they actually did have sex during their shower scene; they just didn’t seem to want to be apart after that. When it came to the rest of the cast, Nate Henry and Stanley Farnsworth would receive individual offers to appear in or star in other independent movies. Only Lizzie Jones had actually been signed to a Hollywood contract out of all of them and would go on to win Oscars. As for the Corgen Twins, many of their movies are still playing on the midnight movie circuit to this day. And many, many more are on their way . . .

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Ep.72 – Grave Consequences - What Happens When a Grave Robs You Back?!

Episode Notes

Stealing from the dead isn't a terrible way to make a living, it just takes a little getting used to. But what happens when a grave tries to STEAL YOU in return?!

Grave Consequences by Killian Crane

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Transcript:

Dennis’ shovel bit into packed dirt. Years of practice told him he’d passed the five foot marker. Only a few more inches and his blade would strike the coffin lid. This was one of the good cemeteries. It was off of a main road, but the town was sleepy and there were no lights. No lights meant he could park damn near on top of the grave. He wouldn’t have to lug everything from a block or two away. As an added bonus, the night dripped with a heavy fog. It would be impossible to see his electric lantern from a distance. Mr. Pyles told him to look for an old money tombstone, and he wasn’t kidding. The once lavish tombstone had a statue of a weeping angel wielding a sword staring down at Dennis as he worked. At the angel’s feet read “Here lies Vanya Mills.” Her birth year was worn away, but she died in ‘62. Chances were, anyone coming to check on dear old Vanya was either an old fart or buried close by. He dug faster, feeling sweat drip down his chin. He learned long ago to keep plenty of sweat rags handy for long nights, and there was a fresh beach towel already waiting for him in the driver’s seat of his truck. He had a change of shoes in his covered bed, where he’d place his muddy boots and tools of the trade in one large trash bag and his haul in another. If it was too big, he’d just wrap it in painter’s plastic and tape it up. Once upon a time, Dennis was something of a jack of all trades. A pipe fitter when he could pass a drug test, a construction hand when he couldn’t, and a thief in between. It was a stroke of genius that he found his favorite form of larceny; grave robbing. Many homeowners were getting home security systems. The ones with anything worth stealing, anyway. The same was basically true of people. You’d never guess who all was packing across the country. Sure, some places had hinky gun laws, but that didn’t stop granny from carrying a .45. Dennis knew that from experience. Several years ago he held up an old woman and she pulled heat on him. Luckily her hands shook something fierce. The .45 rang his ears, but didn’t ventilate him. Dennis had enough gumption to snatch the revolver from her hands. He retaliated, stomping granny’s ass into the ground. She had just been protecting herself, but she damn near killed him. To teach her a lesson, Dennis made sure she had the ass whooping of her long life. When he found the only thing of value she had was the revolver and a coin purse with a whopping $5 in change, he decided that robbing people was just too much drama. That night, he used the $5 to get a coffee at a local diner. The night had been rough, so sweet thang at the counter wasn’t getting a tip. The local paper was on the counter, opened to the obits. One in particular caught his eye. A local heiress, pretty little thing, probably in her forties, had kicked the bucket. She wore something intricate around her neck. The black and white picture didn’t do the thing justice, but he could tell it was gold and diamonds. It was then he had an idea. While he waited for her to be buried, Dennis pawned the .45 for $300, then went to the hardware store for the things he thought he’d need; a shovel, crowbar, mallet, good rope, bolt cutters, flashlights and a lamp, towels and large trash bags. It all came out to just under $200. Another $85 went to a shit hole motel nearby, and the last $15 to his name went to a good hot meal. He had a full night’s work ahead of him, and needed to have his strength up. Once he was at the cemetery, he realized just how brilliant his plan was. Graveyards were empty at night. The dead made people uneasy, except goth kids but they were easy to scare off. Another plus, there were no pigs on patrol. Small town pigs couldn’t be bothered that late when there was a car to sleep in or donuts to suck on. Best of all, graves didn’t call the police or shoot back. They were buried treasure, waiting to be plundered. As he dug up the heiress’s grave, he had this feeling of destiny. This was what he was truly put on the earth for. His shovel bit greedily into the dirt. Like a first date, he was both nervous and excited to meet little Miss Money. When he finally felt the thunk of his shovel on her coffin lid, he scraped away enough of the dirt to put his hand on bare wood. He gave the coffin a little knock. “You in there, sweet thang?” No answer. “Don’t you worry. I’m on my way.” He cleared the dirt away from the top and the sides, and slid his crowbar under the lip of the lid. It was like he was at the casino pulling the handle of a slot machine. Would he hit? Would he bust? He pulled the crank, and the lid popped with a hiss. She still smelled sweet, like flowers. He turned away, caught in a sneezing fit. Anything scented always did this to him. Well, damn near anything, really. He had a sensitive nose. He sniffled, embarrassed that she saw him like this on their first meeting. But that embarrassment evaporated when he saw gold chain encrusted with diamonds around her pretty little neck. Jackpot. He took the necklace off her. She didn’t seem to mind. As he stared at her, he had another bright idea. She wasn’t doing anyone any good laying in that coffin. But maybe she could still be good to someone out there… He threw the heiress over his shoulders and loaded her into the backseat of his sedan. It took a little doing to get her seated, on account of her being so stiff, but he got it done. Dennis buckled her in and covered his work. In the drivers seat, he wiped his forehead with an old bandanna. He saw her through the rear view mirror, staring at him. The glue holding her eyes closed had come undone. It freaked Dennis out a little, but she was just a stiff. Nothing she could do anymore. “I know this car ain’t what you’re probably used to,” he said, giving her a bashful smile, “but I hope you enjoy the ride.” He threw the sedan in drive and crept out of the cemetery. To Dennis’ surprise; it didn’t take much searching to find a buyer for the heiress. Down a dirt road that the sedan didn’t like, he found the old ranch house of a Mr. Pyles. He was an old man with a look in his eye of terrible intelligence. He and Dennis shook, and he explained that he was a sort of… artist. After viewing the heiress and seeing what he liked, he paid Dennis $2,000 for her in cold hard cash. He was floored, like a kid looking at the ocean for the first time. Before Dennis could leave, Mr. Pyles fetched two glasses and a batch of moonshine from the cabinet. “You got time for a drink?” the old man asked. “I got an offer you might like to hear.” Dennis never was one to say no to good money, so he stayed for the drink. “I been looking for someone like you,” Mr. Pyles said, “been looking a long while. You know, in the right hands, a dead body can be spun into gold.” He poured two shots of moonshine, and slid one to Dennis. “How would you like to make this a regular thing?” Dennis stared at the shot of moonshine, reminiscing about the thrill of the dig. He flexed his fingers, remembering the tension of his crowbar under the lid of the coffin... For the sake of formality, had to ask. “What’s the pay?” Mr. Pyles smiled. “Same for her, $2,000 a stiff. Anything on their person is a bonus for you, unless specifically instructed otherwise.” For Dennis, it was a no brainer. They toasted. The moonshine burned on the way down, and their pact was forged. Mr. Pyles gave him a burner phone, a name, a photo of a gravestone, and an address. Dennis set out immediately. Things went that way for three good years. Since then, Dennis sold the sedan in favor of a four wheel drive truck with a long bed and a hard cover. An eight foot bed meant he could put a basketball player in the back if need be. His new profession took him all across the country. He found that northern dirt didn’t give like the ground in the south, and the more rain a place got, the better for the older graves. Wet ground meant the coffins weren’t busted when he got to them. He wasn’t sure why that was, he just knew it meant he had to do less work. A busted coffin meant playing archaeologist, and on more than one occasion it resulted in a bust. Despite his love of southern coffins, southern air played hell with his allergies. They were bad enough as it was, but the south really let him have it. He caught a sneeze in the crook of his arm for probably the tenth time that night. The angle looked down at him scornfully. “Bless me,” he said, blowing a snot rocket at her feet before he kept digging. Most of the houses near the cemetery looked like old money. Chances were, Vanya was probably a trophy wife for some local millionaire when she was alive, meaning she carried some trophies into the afterlife. Dennis hoped, anyway. He wondered if Vanya was feeling lonely down there. Maybe she was looking forward to finding a new friend in Mr. Pyles. He wasn’t sure what the old man did with any of the bodies. Dennis brought him all kinds of people at various stages of decay. He learned that graves over 50 years old were usually just the frame. He enjoyed those graves the best. Bones were easy to pick clean and load in the truck. As he bit into the dirt, the shovel jolted with a thunk. “Thar she be,” he whispered with a smile. He cleared away enough dirt to touch the coffin lid. If that little bit was any indication, Vanya’s coffin was a good looking one in it’s heyday. Finger’s crossed for a bonus, he gave the lid a little knock. “I’m comin’ for ya, old bitty. Ya better be decent.” He cleared away the dirt as he had so many times before, and grabbed his crowbar. If the lid wouldn’t act right, he’d have to grab the mallet and force it open. But he wasn’t worried about that. Vanya was gonna be a good girl. She wanted to feel the air on her old cheeks again. And, if she played her cards right, she could leave with Dennis… Like a good southern coffin, the crowbar slid under the lip with no resistance. Gripping it in his hands, feeling how ready the lid was to pop, Dennis wiped excited sweat from his brow. Would he hit? Would he bust? All he had to do was pull and find out… The lid popped with a hiss. Dead air swelled into the night sky, and Dennis found himself in another sneezing fit. Allergies and the dead didn’t mix well. “It’s okay, old gal,” he said once he could breathe again, “we’ll get you out of that stinkin’ box.” Lid up, Dennis leveled his lantern, not understanding what he saw. Where Vanya should have been, there was a ragged hole leading somewhere below ground. Dennis lowered his lamp, trying to see past the dark. Uneasily, he realized that wherever the hole went, it went deep. From the depths below, a screech shattered the silence of the night. Dennis tripped face forward. Before he could grab for anything, he was falling through the coffin into nothing. As he slid, the dirt scraped painfully into his stomach. Then he stopped sliding and started falling, spinning in the air. Something not dirt broke his fall.  A jolt of pain shot from his ankle as he landed wrong, and his lantern went out. Above, he heard the coffin lid slam shut. He was left in total darkness. Instinctively he reached for his leg, but he was waist deep in something slimy and dense. His heart pounded in his throat as pitch black pressed in on him. The smell was unbearable, making him vomit on himself. He tried to be quiet about it because somewhere someone was crying. He fumbled for his lantern, fingers trembling as they dug into slime and something else. “Please,” he whispered, the sound of his echoing voice terrifying him. After what felt like an eternity, he found the lantern. He pressed the button, but it wouldn’t come on. “No,” he hissed, “no, no, no.” He jammed the button madly, but still the light wouldn’t activate. He felt himself sinking deeper. Liquid drenched his clothes and wet his skin. Whatever it was, it felt disgusting. “Please!” he cried, terror almost drowning him. After an eternity, the lantern blessedly came on, and the echoes of someone crying stopped immediately. Despite its blinding effect, Dennis held the light close to himself, thanking the powers that be that it wasn’t dark anymore. But as his eyes adjusted, and he saw what it was he’d fallen into, realized what it was that he smelled, he wished otherwise. He was in a large cavern. As he squirmed, he sank deeper into a pile of bodies, each of them at wildly different stages of decomposition. Through the muck he could see they were missing parts. Faces ripped off, hands missing, bodies torn in two. He tried to wriggle free, only succeeding in falling further into the pile. The dead weight began to press on him, and with the little air he had left in his lungs, he screamed. From the single rough entrance to the cavern came a faint light, accompanied by wailing. Whatever the crying thing was, it knew he was near. He tried to turn off the lamp, but the button was jammed. The glow beyond the cavern grew brighter as the patter of bare feet and wild shrieking closed in on him. He was out of time, and only saw one option. He flung the lantern away and played dead. The crying thing stepped into the cavern, having to hunch over. She was tall, with long red hair and impossibly long arms and legs. She wore a ragged black dress that was much too short for her skeletal frame, exposing her bony legs to the tops of her thighs. One slender hand held an electric lantern, bathing the room with questing light. With her other hand she held her face. Tears streamed between her fingers and down her forearm, where they dripped from her elbow. Peeking between her fingers, Dennis got a look at her eyes. They were puffy and impossibly red and searching for him. It took everything he had to keep up the act. Her hand, which ended in jagged nails covered black with grime, dropped from her varicose face, revealing crude makeup that ran down her cheeks. And cracked lips dribbling the same black grime on her fingers. What that grime could possibly be, Dennis didn’t want to know. Snot flowed from her nose and a fresh line of drool leaked from her mouth. She looked like she was always trying to say something, but the tears only allowed hitching sobs. Her cries reminded him of his mother’s the day his baby brother was put in the ground. That memory in this strange place sent cold sweat trickling down his spine. He wanted to look away, but he didn’t dare move. She put her lantern down and reached for the one Dennis had flung, picking it up with two spindly fingers. She sniffed at the handle, licking it with a long dirty tongue. Tears streamed down the lantern, glistening in the light. She gently placed his lantern on the ground and sniffed at the air. Her nose danced in his direction. With a sad grunt, she worked both hands into the pile of bodies. She fished out the bottom half of a corpse, her other hand still searching the pile. Her sobbing mouth worked around a bloated thigh, every bite a struggle as her teeth sank into decayed flesh. Black goo bubbled around her mouth as her slender neck flexed and pulled. The sound of old thigh meat tearing from bone made Dennis sick again, but he kept his face stone dead. His eyes begged him to blink but he didn’t dare. As she chewed and swallowed, he could feel her other hand questing the muck near him. The dark liquids oozed down the length of the half corpse, mixing with her tears into the dirt. Even as she ate, she sobbed. Her fingers prodded his foot. His heart jumped in his chest as she grabbed him by the ankle, testing him. As she pulled his leg, he grimly thought of his crowbar against the lid of a coffin. Would she hit? Would she bust? She squeezed, shooting fresh pain up his leg, and he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt his ankle was broken. Like her, he began to cry. The tears rolled down his cheeks, but somehow he kept himself from blinking. Back and forth she worked his leg, forcing Dennis to use willpower he didn’t know he had to stay absolutely still. There was a rumbling in the pile. Her questing had disturbed some precarious balance, and the meat shifted in response. Dennis became even more entangled, only his head above the pressing corpses. The mourner squealed, her hand darting from his ankle and to the shifting. She thought she had him. This might be my chance, he thought. It was a slim one, so impossibly slim, but maybe if she didn’t find anything, she’d move on. It would be terrible, but maybe he could wait her out. There had to be another way out of this cavern, she got down here somehow. He wasn’t sure yet what he’d tell Mr. Pyles, but he’d burn that bridge when he got to it. Right then, he just had to stay calm. As the pile shifted, the body of an ancient woman whipped around to face Dennis. Around her bony neck was a solid gold necklace sparkling with fine emeralds. He was face to face with Vanya Mills. He didn’t know how he knew, but he did. This night had already been the craziest of his life. He was terrified, and he should have been screaming. But all he could do was look at that necklace. Jackpot. It was beautiful, easily the most valuable thing he’d ever seen on a dead person, easily worth more than the bones wearing it. Dear old Vanya was just another skeleton, begging Dennis to pick her clean. Mad glee threatened to creep into his stone face. He flexed his fingers, fighting the urge to grab the precious jewelry. The mourner wailed in anger, grabbing a body and flinging it into the cavern ceiling. It exploded up there like a party favor, and parts rained. An arm struck Dennis in the head. He couldn’t scream now. He had to have that necklace. This thing thought she had him licked. She didn’t. She didn’t have any idea who Dennis was, what he was capable of. He was in his element. He understood then the intoxicating thrill he felt the night he stole the heiress. His entire life had been building to this very moment. He breathed careful, shallow breaths, reveling in how the dead made him feel alive. Vanya must have been able to read his mind, because as he stared into her empty hollows, she gave him a tight, knowing smile. He wanted to smile back. No, Vanya, he thought unblinking as his vision began to blur, you won’t get me that easy. I’ll be getting out of this one. And that necklace around your scrawny neck will be mine! The mourner collapsed, pulling at her hair, ripping it out in clumps, and pounding her fists into the ground. The thuds made Vanya’s head tilt to one side. Now she was questioning Dennis. She thought she had him licked too. She and the mourner were in this together! He might take Vanya’s head as a souvenir, just to spite her. Take her on a vacation paid for with her necklace. That would show her. That would put her in her place. Who did she think she was? She thought she was a match for Dennis? He’d robbed hundreds of graves! Hundreds! All of them preparing him for this, his masterpiece! You can’t stop me, Vanya, he thought, no one can! I’m getting out of here! I’m gonna win! Vanya laughed at him. Not out loud, but in his head. As she did; her head whipped back and her jaw fell open. Dust spewed from her skull into Dennis’ face. The kiss of death hit him just right. He wanted to cover his face, but he was thoroughly trapped by the dead. His grand plan to steal the necklace and Vanya’s head evaporated as he let out a loud sneeze. The mourning lady stopped pounding the ground, and their eyes met for the first and last time. Terrified, Dennis realized he knew that look in her eyes all too well. Jackpot.

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Ep.71 – Party in the Woods - Unexpected Guests Have Big Claws and Bigger Appetites!

Episode Notes

A party out in the wilderness gets crashed by some unexpected guests. They're mean, they're big and their hungry for YOU!

Party in the Woods by Joe Solmo pennedinblood.com

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com

Transcript:

Tristian and Becca made their way down the wooded path behind Tristian’s neighbor’s farm. Josh and Emily went to bed pretty early, so for years Tristian had brought friends down here behind the farm to explore the woods. As he got older he explored less and came to the woods to drink and party with the girls from town.

Becca was new to town, just moving here a month ago. Tristian was infatuated as soon as he saw her in the hall in school, her long brown hair flowing behind her. He followed her after school trying to come up with something to say to her to spark a conversation. It paid off though, he thought as he sneaked a glance at her behind in the moonlight through a break in the trees.

She carried a bottle of Jack Daniels in her right hand, it was already missing a quarter of the brown liquid inside. She was more of a drinker than he was, he noted with a smile. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the way she walked, the curves swaying back and forth, it was mesmerizing. The swaying stopped in front of him.

“Tristian, did you hear that?” she whispered to him.

“Hear what?” he asked at a normal volume.

“Shh…something in the woods,” she replied. “Do you guys have bears around here?” She asked with a little bit of fright in her voice.

“I didn’t hear anything. Don’t worry I have been coming here since I was a kid, there is nothing out here that can hurt us,” he said and smiled that famous smile that got him the girl on numerous occasions.

Becca still stood there for another moment, when she didn’t hear anything she began to walk the path again, but cautiously. Tristian snuck up behind her and grabbed the bottle from her hands. She let out a scared yelp as he laughed at her. He took a big gulp off the bottle, letting the alcohol burn his throat.

“Are the others meeting us up here?” Becca asked. She wouldn’t agree to coming out to the woods with a guy she just met unless others were going to be there. He scrambled to find another couple to come along.

“Yes, it’s not much farther now. We got a little fireplace from an old house,” Tristian said. “It must have been from the seventeen hundreds,” he said.

“Sounds cool,” Becca said.

Thinking of the fireplace, Tristian frowned. He should be able to see it from here. He knew Greg and Beth were here already. He saw Greg’s car down by the side of the highway on the way over. Maybe he was just lazy, he thought.

The moon was hidden by the boughs of the trees above. Tristian made his way in the dark to where he knew the stone chimney was. He could barely see the lighter stone in the darkness. He felt around to the right where he stacked the kindling. It felt wet, but he didn’t remember it raining recently. “Greg if you pissed on our wood I will kill you,” he called out to the night. He hoped Greg heard him as he banged Beth, or whatever they were doing.

He grabbed a book of matches from his pocket after stacking the wooden branches into a small teepee shape, with pine needles and last fall’s leaves under. “I can’t see anything,” Becca said from behind him.

“One second,” he said, masking his disappointment. She was one hell of a looker, but she seemed kind of annoying to him. He struck the match, which blinded him for a second with its brightness in the almost complete dark.

He instinctively moved the match to the pine needles under the wood before it burned out or the wind got it. He saw spots in his vision as he gently blew on the pine needles. “Yes!” he called out as the fire came to life. It wasn’t piss on the sticks, it was a darker, thicker color. It reminded him of the bottle Becca carried. “Hey babe, can I get a drink,” he said getting to his feet. The sticks were catching now and the light from the chimney was spreading. Becca didn’t answer him. “Babe?” he said and turned around.

Becca was standing in front of him, ten feet away with the bottle still in her right hand. Her widened eyes stared past him towards the chimney. “What the hell’s gotten into you,” he said and took a step closer, but she didn’t move. He watched as the bottle slipped from her hand and struck the ground, spilling its contents.

“What’s wrong with you?” he said grabbing the bottle off the ground to save its contents which he tried to pour down his throat. He stopped with the bottle to his lips. Becca still hadn’t moved. He started to get a creepy feeling and turned towards the fire.

The light from the flames illuminated the immediate area. The stack of wood he had piled there yesterday was definitely wet, but it was also red. It looks like something bled all over it. His eyes fell to just in front of the stack of wood and he saw the source of the blood.

Greg, naked to the waist lay on the ground, twisted in a way Tristian could only describe as… wrong. His face looked behind him and several vertebra stuck out from a gaping hole in his neck. His eyes were wide open in fear, similar to Becca’s.

He turned towards his would be girlfriend, but she was still looking in the same direction. Tears streaked her cheeks and a sob escaped her lips. He turned back to see what she was looking at, and that’s when he noticed Beth.

Blonde hair mixed with crimson blood covered her young face from the caved in skull before it sunk into the opening that her missing lower jaw left behind. She was completely naked behind the wood pile. Tristian approached her body carefully. He tried to speak but nothing came out. She had large scratches or claw marks crisscrossing across her naked breasts at an inch deep filled with rivers of blood. One of her legs was missing. Just missing. How does that even happen? He couldn’t see it anywhere, but he did find her lower jaw. It looked like some sick bastard had tried to rape her with it, but all it did was tear her pubic area. Teeth peeked out from between strings of her mangled genitalia that hung from her body like the streamers on a five year old girl’s bicycle.

Panic started to settle into Tristian. He stepped backwards away from the mangled corpses of his high school friends. “Becca,” he called out. “Run.” He turned himself to run and saw a horrid sight. Behind Becca, who still hadn’t moved from the same position, stood three humanoid shapes. Their eyes reflected the firelight from the chimney.

“Becca?” Tristian managed to say before the creatures moved. In an instant two grabbed his date and held her arms back behind her. He heard a sickening pop as one of her shoulders were dislocated violently. The pain seemed to break Becca out of her shock. She screamed.

The third creature charged Tristian. He managed to land a punch on the monster but it didn’t seem to have any effect. It grabbed him and forced him to his knees, placing one of its large clawed feet on the back of his legs so he couldn’t get up.

“Help me Tristian!” Becca called out. It was her last words. One of the creatures hands suddenly protruded from her lower abdomen, tearing out of her flesh with a violence Tristian had never witnessed before.

“NO!” he called out in horror and began to sob. He swore the creature holding him mocked his cry. Tristian saw the moment Becca died. He could see it in her eyes. The moment it ceased to be Becca and became only a sack of meat. It was worse than the mangled corpses of his friends, watching her die like that.

Becca’s body fell down to the ground. The two monsters fought over her, tearing pieces of her flesh off in front of him. The same flesh he was admiring just a short time ago. Tristian couldn’t take it anymore, he put his head down, letting his hair cover his eyes but the creature holding him reached down with its gray hand and pulled his hair until he once again was facing Becca. 

Not only did they seem to enjoy killing, but it seemed they enjoyed making him watch. He cried out.

When the two creatures finished dividing up Becca they began to eat. Tristian struggled, but the creature’s strength was too much for him. He clenched his eyes closed to block out the horror in front of him, but the creature seemed to know. It dug a dull nail into the back of his neck every time he closed his eyes, only letting the pressure off when he opened them again. 

Closed or open, he was being tortured. He kept them closed as long as he could take the nail digging him, never in the exact same space, then opened them until the pain from the nail was replaced with the evisceration of his date.

It seemed to go on forever. He couldn’t take anymore. He tried to move again, but the third creature that held him, did so diligently. “Go on, get a bite,” Tristian called out to his captor. It was the only thing he could do, mocking his torturers.

He had no way to track time, but at least fifteen minutes passed as he watched his date disappear piece by piece down the gullets of these hellish creatures. He couldn’t take anymore and closed his eyes to escape but his ears picked up on the wet, snapping of teeth through her flesh and bones. It reminded him of tearing the wings off a chicken dinner and it made him want to throw up.

The creature holding him down pushed him all the way to the ground. He opened his eyes and looked at what was left of Becca. At that point he did throw up, but it had nowhere to go being forced down to the ground. He breathed in his own vomit and thought he was going to drown.

The creature yanked him up back to his knees as the other two  approached. He was pulled all the way to his feet and with a last act of defiance he kicked the groin of the creature right in front of him. It stepped back from the impact then reached out with its grey skinned hand and grabbed his chest, tearing cloth and flesh away from his body.

He screamed, the pain was intense. “Just fucking kill me already,” he yelled out, just wanting it done. He couldn’t take anymore. “Do it you cocksucker!” The monsters didn’t heed him. One of them grabbed his hand and held it out. The first creature, that had been holding him the whole time switched places with the one that tore a piece out of his chest.

It looked him directly in the eye, with an evil intelligence behind its gaze as it slowly and deliberately raised his hand to its mouth and bit off his thumb. He screamed out into the night. He held on to a slim hope that Josh or Emily might hear him in the quiet country night. They had just had a newborn so maybe they would be awake feeding it, he thought.

The creature bit off his middle finger, and smiled, Tristian’s blood and flesh still sitting in its gaping maw. Its body shook with small convulsions, with a grunting sound. A shiver shot up Tristian’s back as he realized it was laughing at his misery.

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Ep.70 – Be Mine - This Valentine's Day They Want Your HEART!

Episode Notes

On a cold Valentine's evening a young woman finds out she has a secret admirer, and they want more than just her heart... And they'll do ANYTHING to get it!

Be Mine by Shane Migliavacca

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com

Transcript:

She’d just sat down on the bed, with the cat snuggling up next to her, when the knock at the door came. Blake looked over at her roommate Cassie, buried in her phone and closer to the door.

“Door?” 

Cassie didn’t answer. 

“Nope, guess not.” 

Blake looked down at her cat, Dean. 

“Sorry buddy.” 

She stood, as the cat looked up at her completely disappointed. 

Blake crossed the small, messy dorm room as another knock came. 

“I got it.” 

“Huh?” Cassie mumbled. 

Opening the door, Blake was greeted by Maggie from down the hall. The girl beamed at her from behind a pair of thick glasses. 

“Here.” She thrust a pink heart shaped box at Blake.

“Uh, thanks. I guess.” Blake said, taking the box. 

Maggie frowned. “It’s not from me. It was sitting on the table in the lobby with your name on it.” “Oh, thanks.” A box of candy… for her? There was nobody she could think of who’d do something like that. 

“Going to the Valentine’s dance tonight?” Maggie asked, before Blake could shut the door.

“Nope, got a paper to finish.”

“That sucks.”

Blake shut the door. It really did suck, but not for the reason Maggie thought. She was struggling with the assignment, dragging her feet on it since day one. Now the deadline was looming. 

There was a pink envelope taped to the box’s front with Blake’s name written in glitter. Inside was a Valentine’s card with a cute cat on the front which read ‘Your purrrfect’. 

Underneath the card’s message was another, written in red ink. It read ‘Roses are red, violets are blue. I choose you. Meet me under the east bleachers at 8 pm’.

“What’s that?” Cassie asked. 

“It’s alive.” Blake answered. 

“Huh?”

Blake rattled the box. “Someone left me a Valentine's gift.”

“You got a secret admirer.”

“Guess so, they want me to meet them tonight, under the bleachers.” 

“Probably some townie rapists looking to assault a rich college girl.” “I’m not rich.”

“They don’t know that. Pop that fucker open.” Cassie said, sliding forward on her bed. “Bet there’s a human heart inside.”

“Nope, candies.” Blake answered, popping a chocolate into her mouth. 

“Damn.” Cassie groaned. “Gonna meet this mystery admirer?”

“No time for love Dr. Jones. I’ve got a paper to finish.” Blake pet the cat, still lounging on her bed, before picking up her coat and book-bag. “I’m off to the library. Billy’s letting me in.”

“Oh kinky.” Cassie laughed. “There’s your secret heart sender.”

“Billy? I’m pretty sure he’s gay.” 

“Well, so are you.” Cassie stated.

“It doesn't work that way. He doesn't have the kind of… parts I like.”

Blake slipped on her coat, and rested the strap of the book-bag on her shoulder. 

“What about you, meeting Steve at the dance?” 

Cassie’s gaze drifted over to her phone lying on the bed next to her. 

“Naw, he’s busy tonight. Just gonna chill here with the cat and some TV.”

“Oh, sorry. I knew you were looking forward to it.” 

A smile crept across Cassie’s face. “Hey, we could go together.” 

Blake could see the hopeful look in her friend’s eyes, which made what she had to say painful.

“I’m sorry… I-I wish I could.” She said. “If I don’t hunker down and finish this paper… I can’t screw up. My parents sacrificed a lot to get me here.”

She could feel her heart start to beat a bit faster as she imagined going back home after flunking out… the disappointment etched into her parents’ faces.

Blake felt sweat trickle down her cheek as she started to breathe more rapidly. 

‘Control’, she told herself, taking in a deep, slow breath. 

“Don’t worry about it. I wasn’t totally serious about it.” Cassie said, perhaps sensing her friend’s stress. “I’m better off staying in tonight anyway.” 

“Everything okay?” 

“Yeah, just a little bummed. Nothing big.”

“You sure? I could stay.”

“I’m sure. Go. Get that paper done.” 

“Okay. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I never am.”

Blake stepped out into the hallway, making her way past a group of girls all dressed up for the dance, before stepping outside into the bitter February air. The cold cut through her as she started across campus. Taking a pair of earbuds from her coat, she hit ‘play’ on her phone. She’d put together a mix for tonight… something to get her motivated and keep her going. 

Walking along a lit path, snow and ice crunched under Blake’s boots. Taking in a deep breath of cold air, she felt her heartbeat going back to normal. 

Since middle school, Blake had suffered panic attacks. She had trouble keeping her grades up… trouble fitting in. She’d found ways to cope with it over the years with the help of the school counselor, Miss Cheryl. 

Getting this paper finished would relieve a lot of stress. 

Most of the campus buildings were dark, only lit by a few lights left on inside and some spotlights outside. So many shadows, perfect for a townie to be lurking. Blake wanted to laugh off Cassie’s comment, but here… alone in the night… she wasn’t so sure it was something to laugh at. 

Stopping to adjust her heavy book-bag, Blake became aware of something as the song she was listening to faded out. Footfalls on the snow. 

She turned, picturing a salivating pack of townie boys ready to pounce. 

Ready to swing her book-bag like a mace, Blake wouldn’t go down without a fight.

She turned and found herself face to face with a campus security guard.

“Hey… hey miss.” The man nodded. “Where are you headed tonight?” 

Not wanting to get Billy in trouble, she fibbed. 

“Meeting a friend to study.” She smiled. 

She noticed his name-tag read ‘Stu’. He looked like a ‘Stu’ Blake thought.

“I see, nose to the grindstone and all that. Commendable.” 

“Thanks.” 

Blake could feel his eyes on her as she continued on. She felt a little better knowing there was somebody out keeping watch while most of the campus was at the dance. 

The library, designed in the mid-sixties, stood out against the rest of the campus which had been renovated in the last few years. 

She knocked on the staff door around the building’s back. After a few minutes of standing around waiting, and thinking Billy wasn’t even in there, the lock clicked and the metal door opened. 

A young man, a thin shadow of stubble covering his lower face, peeked his head out. His eyes darted back and forth before stopping on Blake. “Is it secret? Is it safe?”

“Billy.” Blake said, wearily. 

He smiled broadly. “Sorry, couldn’t resist… all this clandestine shit.”

“It was your idea for me to use the staff entrance.”

“Didn’t want somebody seeing you come in the front after hours. Old man Styles would have my ass for breakfast.” 

Blake shivered as the wind gusted. “Gonna let me in already? My non-existent lady balls are freezing off. ”

Billy stepped aside and Blake entered what appeared to be the library’s office area… a cluttered mess of desks and cabinets. From somewhere in the library, Elvis crooned away as they stepped into the main room. Only half lit, the library was a maze of bookshelves and shadows. 

“Feel free to set up shop anywhere, I’ll be down here doing inventory awhile, so don’t worry about getting the boot.”

Blake smiled. “Thank you for this. There’s just too much chaos back at the dorm to focus, besides Cassie didn’t go out tonight.”

“Oh, she didn’t go to the dance?”

“Naw,  got stood up.”

“Kind of the same for me, all my help bailed so they could go to the dance.”

“Well, at least you got the King.”

“Music isn’t gonna be a problem is it?” 

“Nope. Brought my own.” Blake pointed to her earbuds. “Where’s it coming from anyway?”

“Old man Styles has a record player hooked up to the PA. He’s got a shit ton of vinyl in his office.” Billy pointed over his shoulder at the head librarian’s office. “Helps the night go quicker.”

Blake headed upstairs, and plopped down at a desk off in a corner.

With her paper and reference material laid out on the desk, Blake popped open an energy drink and took a sip.

“Sweet, sweet caffeine.” 

She un-paused her music and got to work. 


Cassie’s finger hung over the ‘send’ button. How long ago had it been since she’d sent it? She wasn’t sure. 

She read the message again:’ I know about the two of you’. 

The message remained unseen by Steve. A part of her regretted sending it, the part that still loved him… even though she’d seen them together. 

Fuck it. Fuck him, the shit.

“More Cheaters coming up.” The TV promised. 

Cassie pet the cat lying next to her. “Here I am on Valentine’s Day, petting my gay roommate’s pussy, watching Cheaters all alone.” 

Cassie groaned, tapping the back of her head against the wall. 

“Sorry kitty, but I gotta bounce.” 

Cassie put on some lipstick, looking at herself in the mirror.

“Fuck you Steve.” 

Putting on her jacket, Cassie looked at the cat curled up on her bed.

“I’ll leave the TV on for you. Learn from Cheaters pal… don’t fall in love.”

Snow had begun to fall, whipped along by the wind. Cassie was in the mood to do something bad

She could head to the dance, maybe find some action there. No, all those couples… dancing… kissing.  She’d feel more alone then back in their dorm room. 

Instead, Cassie headed towards the library. 

She hugged herself as wind blew across the path, swirling snow in its wake. 

Cassie approached the sliding glass doors and peered inside. 

She knocked on the glass.

“Hello? Anybody around?” 

She shivered and knocked on the window again. There seemed to be music coming from inside. Someone had to be in there. 

“Hey! Anybody alive in there!”

“Keep it down!” A voice barked at her from inside. 

Billy glared at her from over a stack of books.

Cassie frowned. “Sorry. Jeez. Is Blake in there?”

“Why?”

“I’m her roommate. I gotta tell her something.” Cassie shivered. “Please.”

Billy shook his head. “Go around back.” 

“Thanks.”

Going around the back of the building, she saw the door open and the young man motioned for her to hurry up.

He slammed the door shut behind them as Cassie silently gave thanks for the heat. 

“When I invited Blake to study here tonight, I didn’t think it was an open invitation.”  

“Billy?” Cassie asked. “Blake didn’t tell me you were such a grump.”

He laughed. “I just don’t want to get my ass in trouble. This job helps pay the bills.”

Cassie looked him over. “I don’t see any trouble with your ass.”

This visibly threw him off. 

“Um, so Blake is upstairs studying. I can show you the way.” 

“No need to show me. I’ve been here before… I know her hangout spot.” 

“I’ve noticed you around.” 

“Really?”

A loud knock from the front of the library startled the both of them. 

“What the fuck?” Billy complained. “Are you expecting somebody?” 

“Um, no. Unless the cat followed me.” 

“Bill Murdock?” A man hollered from outside.

“Shit.” Billy said. “Stay here. Stay hidden.” Billy left the office, Cassie could hear him talking to the other man… music from the speakers obscuring some of their conversation. 

Billy assured him everything was okay. 

The man laughed, then wished Billy a goodnight. 

He came back looking harried. 

“Everything cool?” Cassie asked. 

“Yeah, just the security guy making his rounds. You better head up before someone else shows up.” 


Stu  almost made it back to the ‘security hut’ as he called it, when his phone rang. The ‘Psycho theme’ ringtone told him all he needed to know. He didn’t want to answer it… but ignoring it would be worse. 

“Hi honey.” Stu tried to sound happy as he answered. 

“What are you doing?” 

“Walking my rounds. How about you honey?” 

“Sitting here alone! What do you think?” 

Shit. Wrong choice of words. “I’m sorry baby. If I could get out of this I would. But there’s nobody else.”

“Tell me the truth. You're not banging one of those young college floozies, are you?”

“No… ” He tried to reassure her. “I never would. I love you.” Somebody giggled. 

“Are you laughing at me?” He asked.

“The hell are you talking about?”

The childlike giggle came again. This time he was sure it wasn’t his wife.

“Okay, who’s out there?” 

Another giggle from somewhere in the dark, just off the footpath. 

Stu took out his flashlight and shined it into the darkness. He expected to see a couple of the students pranking him… instead there was nothing. 

“Stu! What the hell is going on?” His wife asked.

“Sorry honey, work… got to go.” 

He hung up.

Stepping off the path, he shined his light over the snow covered ground. There was nothing out of the ordinary… but a quick flash of movement among the trees caught his eye. More giggling rung out. 

“Look, knock it off kid. Go back to the dance or the dorm.” Un-holstering his pistol, Stu approached the trees. 

“If I catch you and you’re high on something, your butt will be expelled!”

His gut instinct was to walk away. Don’t give the little punk the satisfaction of playing their game. Sadly, when it came to his job, Stu was a stubborn man… so he went forward. 

“Listen. Show yourself. I’ll take you in, you can sleep it off on the couch and go in the morning. Sound good?”

Stu was answered with the sound of glass shattering. 

“Shit. Had to do this the hard way.” 

Ahead, through the trees, Stu could see the side of the Visual Arts building. The glass of one of the ground floor windows had been broken. Shining the flashlight inside, he could see traces of snow on the dark linoleum floor. 

“So much for a quiet night.” He muttered, entering the side door.

Rounding the corner he stopped. Something was laid out on the floor in a straight line leading further down the hallway. 

Stu bent down, getting a good look at what was sitting on the floor… a little pink candy heart. 

For the first time he could remember, Stu was scared shitless. 

As much as he wanted to head back to the hut and forget this crap, he couldn’t. 

He stood, gun at the ready, and followed the trail of candy. The trail ended in front of a pair of large auditorium doors. 

Stu nudged the doors open slowly. The large room was completely dark. 

He advanced slowly down the main aisle, swinging his flashlight side to side. The light danced over the seats, pausing on each one long enough to see… nobody. 

There was only one place left someone could be hiding, the stage. The stage was made up to look like a girl’s bedroom. There was a large bed, a desk, and nightstand. 

As he walked up the wooden steps to the stage, there was an obvious shape under the blankets on the bed… a human shape.

“All right.” Stu said, gun trained on the bed. “Game’s up.”

He yanked back the blankets in one swift motion, ready to grab the little shit hiding there. 

A grinning plastic face stared up at him from the human-sized doll that laid there. 

Suddenly, pain erupted from his left Achilles tendon. 

He fell hard sending his gun and flashlight from his hands and across the stage floor. 

Stu watched as a figure slid out from under the bed and stood brandishing a bloody knife in their gloved hand. 

The short figure wore a beat up old army jacket, with a gray hoodie underneath. The hood was pulled up, hiding their face in shadows. They playfully waved at him.

“Oh god.” Stu stammered. Turning over, he crawled towards the gun. “Leave me alone!” He screamed.

Those words would be Stu’s last as the figure jumped on his back, driving their knees in, and knocking the wind out of him. Stu felt the cold steel of the blade against his throat, as that childish laugh filled his ears. 


Cassie found Blake sound asleep at her desk. 

She didn’t have the heart to wake her sleeping friend. Instead she went downstairs where Billy was still hard at work as Bobby Darin sang about the sea.

“Don’t you ever take a break?” 

“Sooner I get this done, sooner I get to go home and sleep.” Billy said, scanning a book. 

“Sleep is overrated. C’mon, take a break.”

She walked over to Billy and leaned on one of the bookshelves, trying to look as seductive as possible. 

“How’s Blake doing?” Billy asked, sounding a little uncomfortable with her close proximity. 

“Unfortunately, she’s sleeping. Now, here’s my thing. I’m having a bad night. I need something, anything to take my mind off the shit.”

She leaned in close to Billy’s ear. “So, how about taking a break?”

“Listen, you're very attractive. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. But...um, I have a lot of work here and shit.”

She kissed him on the cheek. “I can help, I’m very good with the Dewey Decimal System.”

“Well…”


“Oh!” Cassie exclaimed. “So not gay.” 

“Huh?” Billy looked up at her. 

“Nothing.” She said, breathing heavy. 

They were in the back corner of the library, behind a shelf of rarely used books. 

Cassie laid her head on Billy’s bare shoulder.

“I don’t do this, it’s just tonight.” She said. “I don’t want you to think I’m easy.”

“I don’t… I wouldn’t.” Billy said. “I know this is just a fluke… a one time thing.” 

“I wouldn’t say that.” She laughed. “We’ll see… okay?”

“Yeah!”

Cassie laid there feeling her heartbeat go back to normal. It was the first time she noticed the silence. 

“Record stopped.” She said.

“Guess so.” 

“How much trouble would you be in if Oldman Styles caught us?” 

“Are you crazy, he’d have my ass thrown out of school.”

“From what I’ve heard, this isn’t the first time someone got some in the library.”

“Miss Walton?”

Cassie nodded. “And Coach Greer. It’s a rumor anyway.”

Billy laughed. “It’s more than that. I almost walked in on them one night in the projection room.”

“She might have asked you to join in!” 

The pair giggled.

“Well, I got to get back to work.” Billy said. “I wish-”

Cassie cut him off, kissing him. 

“I know, duty calls.” She sat up. “I’ll go see if Blake is up.” The PA crackled with static as another record started to play. 

“How?” Cassie asked, looking at Billy.

“Only one way.” He replied. “Somebody else.” 

“Who? Blake wouldn’t, I don’t think.”

“I’ll go look.”

“I’ll go with you.”

“Stay here. If it’s the old man or Stu or somebody… I’m toast.”

He surprised Cassie by giving her a quick kiss on her cheek. She watched him hurry off, feeling a sudden nervousness. 

She waited, listening. 

With the music it was hard to make anything out. Cassie could hear Billy say something, then he yelled one word that sent a chill through her whole being.

“Run!”


Blake woke with a start. 

She’d dreamed of a dark figure standing behind her, stroking her hair. A great mechanical roar erupted from within it, making her jump. 

Above her the overhead heater rumbled to life.

How long had she been asleep? How much time had she lost? She’d only meant to grab a quick nap. 

Groggy, Blake fumbled for her phone, knocking over an empty energy drink.

“Caffeine, you betray me.”  

The earbuds dangled from her ears, but her phone was gone. Blake checked the rest of the desk and the floor. 

“What the hell?”

It couldn’t just be gone.

From downstairs music drifted up. Billy was still here. The music was something classical, though Blake wasn’t sure of the composer. 

Blake went downstairs, despite the music, there was an odd stillness to everything. 

“Billy?”

The song reached its climax before going to static. Outside wind rattled the library’s large glass windows. The snow was starting to fall heavier now. 

The clock over the front desk said 1: 30. She’d slept for hours. 

“Billy.” She called out again, worry straining her voice. 

From somewhere in the library a childlike giggle answered her.

“C’mon, this isn’t funny. Stop screwing around.”

Fear climbed up her ribcage and threatened to take hold of her. A flicker of light caught Blake’s eye. Something moved in the library’s rear, accompanied by the sound of voices. 

The light was coming from the conference room. The wall mounted TV had been turned on, and a presentation on the college's renovation played to a darkened room. 

A lone figure sat, back to Blake, watching the screen. Blake walked around the side of the seated figure, before she saw their face, she knew. 

Billy sat there unmoving, staring straight ahead. A large bloody wound covered his chest. His arms laid outstretched in front of him, his hands cupped together holding something.

An offering.

A heart sat in his hands. A note was pinned to it… ‘I heart you’ written in blood. 

She ran from the room, and charged the front door, only to find it locked. 

Frustrated and scared, she pounded on the glass, but it was unwavering. 

There had to be another way out. The office, where Billy had let her in! Entering the office, Blake scanned the room, there could be somebody hiding behind one of the desks. The door on the other side of the room might as well have been miles away. 

Blake grabbed a silver letter opener from the nearest desk. She held it out like a crucifix to ward off some unseen evil. 

Blake got to the door without incident and found it locked. 

“Shit.” 

She headed back out to the main area. There must be another way out… a fire exit, something... 

She headed through the center of the library. Something slowly moved down one of the aisles, making Blake stop. 

Crouching, she slid the letter opener into her jean’s pocket. She crawled on her hands and knees, trying to get a better view. Slowly she pulled a book from the shelf, and peered through the gap, coming face to face with Stu the security guard. His body lay on the ground, lifeless, his head tilted to the side looking straight at her. 

Her breathing became louder, more ragged… threatening to give her away. 

Control. 

A gloved hand gripped her shoulder. 

“Boo!”

Grabbing a book from the shelf, Blake lashed out hitting somebody. She didn’t stay to see who. 

She ran, throwing books over her shoulder at an unseen pursuer. 

Blake ran back to the entrance, pounding on the glass. “Let me out!” She screamed. 

Enthusiastic clapping made her turn to see a figure sitting on the checkout counter, a hood obscuring their face. 

“Wow! That was great!”

They pulled the hood down, revealing a young woman with short black hair. 

“I was surprised.” The girl said, holding up a cell phone. “You have an eclectic taste in music.” 

The girl started swiping through tracks on the phone as Blake stood watching in shock.

“Some of it is good… but there’s a lot of crap.” She continued going through the songs. “Crap, crap, crap.” 

“Ooh.” She laughed. “Barracuda!” Tossing the phone over her shoulder.

“What the fuck is going on?” Blake asked.

“Why didn’t you meet me?” The girl sounded hurt. “I sent you chocolates. Would it have been so hard? I thought you were different then those others.”

Blake had seen this girl somewhere before… in the dorm or a class… maybe they’d passed in the hallway. 

The girl looked at her genuinely hurt. “You don’t remember? First day orientation? You sat down next to me and smiled. We talked about how nervous we were. Or that time I tripped? You stopped when nobody else did… helped me pick up my books… asked me if I was okay.” The girl sighed. “I’ve loved you since I first saw you. That's why I got transferred to Mr Sigmond’s class. So I could be near you.”

“You-you killed Billy because of me?” Blake felt her head spin. 

“Like the song says, the problem with me is you.” The girl jumped down from the counter. “Billy wasn’t the only one. As you saw, I killed that doofus security guard… can’t have him interrupting.” She reached into her jacket and pulled out a keychain. “Besides I needed this.” 

This was madness, Blake needed to get away… get help. She felt her heart beat faster… felt it harder to breathe. 

“You think I’ll just fall in love with you?”

“Why not? You're the only one who ever noticed me… no one else has. They ignore me.”

“Oh god, you insane bitch.”

“I’m in love.” 

“Maybe, maybe you are.” Blake smiled. “You did all this for me?”

She walked towards the girl. “I don’t even know your name.” 

“Terri. My name is Terri.” 

“That’s a nice name.”

Blake reached her hand out towards the girl. Her other hand slid into her pocket, touching the hilt of the letter opener. 

Terri grabbed Blake’s outstretched arm, pulling her along.

“C’mon! I have one last gift for you!”

They stopped at the door to old man Styles office. 

“What’s behind door number one?” Terri asked. “Any guesses?” 

Blake held the letter opener, now concealed under her shirt sleeve. What could this maniac be planning?

“No? All right.” Terri sighed, a little disappointed.  

She opened the door, to reveal a beaten Cassie lashed to Mr. Styles’ chair. Terri wheeled her out of the office. 

“Oh shit.” Blake took a step back. “What have you done?”

“Nothing… but you’re going to. See, she had to come snooping around… screw up everything. She gave Billy a pretty good screw before I killed him.”

Cassie glared at the girl. A muffled “Fuck you.” could be heard through her gag. 

“If you really, really love me, then you’ll kill her… like I killed for you.”

Terri pulled Stu’s gun from her jacket, and pushed the barrel against Cassie’s temple. With her other hand, she pulled a large knife out and tossed it onto the floor in front of Blake. 

“Two things can happen.” Terri stated. “Pick up that knife and kill her… or I kill the both of you.”

Blake shook her head in disbelief. “How would we get away with it? Your fingerprints… my fingerprints… all over everything.”

“Simple. She did it. We’d be each other’s alibi. She went nuts, killed Stu… fucked Billy… and then came after us. We killed her in self defense.”

“And we live happily ever after?” 

“More or less.”

Blake looked down at her best friend, then up at Terri. Bending down she picked up the knife and stood in front of her terrified friend. 

Terri trained the gun on Blake. “Don’t try anything.” 

Blake and Cassie locked eyes. 

“Would you just kill the bitch already.” Terri ordered. “It’s been a long night.”

Blake took a deep breath, finally in control. 

She pushed the chair into Terri with all her strength, knocking the girl down. The gun erupted as Terri fired. 

Blake fell on the girl. They struggled, and the gun flew from Terri’s hand. The two fought for the knife, until finally the knife found its way into Terri.

Terri looked into Blake’s eyes, and smiled, blood staining her lips. “She loves me. She loves me not.” Terri lamented, touching Blake’s face before letting out a groan and going limp.

Blake used her last bit of strength to cut her friend free.

“You okay?” She asked Cassie.

“Not really.” Cassie laughed, choking back tears. 

“Fuck.” Blake said, looking down at her side. An expanding red stain darkened her shirt. “I’ve been shot.”

“Hang on, I’ll get help.”

Cassie ran into Styles’ office. Blake could hear her talking to 911. 

Blake leaned against a bookshelf, looking at Terri. 

“Happy fucking Valentine's Day.” 

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Ep.69 – Good to the Last Drop - A Hot Cup of MURDER

Episode Notes

Who doesn't like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter's morning? Well this percolator will make your coffee give you a lot more than a pep in your step, it could make you KILL.

Good To the Last Drop by Rob Fields

For more of Bella Taibon check out Episode 64 "The Last Taibon"

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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:

Adam Lester watched his girlfriend, Jarren Hatley, move around the kitchen. There were days when he really enjoyed seeing how animated she could be as she multitasked. She did it all: worked on washing dishes, tending to the stove for making both her breakfast and her lunch, wiping things down, and even making a fresh pot of coffee. She would even be able to talk to Adam as she did all these things. Adam was one of the premier basketball players on the Strickfield High School team. Adam had always been about sports from his days in Strickfield Junior High all the way to now. He even had scouts come and see him, some offering him full rides through colleges and universities. However, he would have to keep his grades up and be able to graduate. Mathematics was never his strongest subject, which was why he needed a tutor. Around football season, Adam saw a flyer on the school bulletin board that Jarren Hatley had put up about tutoring. He texted her number, got a response, and she had been tutoring him in math since their first session. Adam hadn’t planned on taking a real liking to this geek, but his overall grades were greatly improving because of her – not just math. He was so grateful to her one day that he kissed her, just intending for it to be a peck on the lips. But it ended up becoming much more. Now Adam and Jarren were an item, the talk of Strickfield High. The one thing that Adam couldn’t believe about Jarren was how much caffeine she drank. Now, she was pouring her freshly made coffee into a thermal cup to drink at school. She had just finished everything when she smiled at Adam. “Okay, done!” Adam accepted the breakfast sandwich from her, along with a kiss. The two of them were about to leave when they heard a strange noise. They both looked to see the coffeemaker making louder noises. Then it gave off a sudden surge; they saw a brief, giant spark of electricity. Shortly after, the coffeemaker was smoking. “Shit . . .” Jarren muttered. “And I just bought it last week.” “Take it back,” Adam suggested. “You still have the receipt?” Jarren gave him a look of finality before shaking her head. “Best Buy’s going to think I abused it.” She sighed. “I’ll just have to buy another one, but I’m not going to have time today.” “That’s right, you’ve got those meetings tonight,” Adam recalled. Jarren sighed. “Student council after school. Key Club right after. Followed by your football banquet.” Adam smiled and eased Jarren into his arms to give her a gentle hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll find you a new coffee pot.” Jarren looked into his eyes. “You’re not going to have time. We could make it out to Strickfield Towne Center Mall before they close at nine, but Best Buy closes at eight.” Adam caressed the side of her face. “I’ll get you your coffee pot tonight. That’s a promise.” They kissed one more time before they left her house and went to school. *                    *                    * After the football banquet, Adam and Jarren couldn’t get out of Strickfield High fast enough. Adam drove them out to Strickfield Towne Centre Mall. By the time they had pulled in and parked, Adam saw that Jarren was sound asleep. “Probably hit the wall,” he mumbled to himself. He wanted to wake her up, but she looked so peaceful that he just let her sleep. He got out and went into the mall. As Jarren had said, Best Buy had closed at eight. There were only a select few other stores open. Adam shook his head to himself. He couldn’t believe this mall was still open. There were so many vacancies, especially after the holidays were over. He kept expecting to come to the mall and see it finally closed for good. Still, it continued to stay open. Adam moved past the food court, which only had a Subway and a mom-and-pop pizza place. Just thinking about food made him think about Denoyer’s Grill. He checked out the rest of the mall, but he wasn’t having any real luck. There was one last store down where Radio Shack used to be. “Tinker’s,” he muttered. “What have I got to lose?” He walked to the store and went in. He couldn’t believe all the odds and ends that were there. Just then, a man in his late forties approached him. “Can I help you, young man?” Adam shrugged. “I hope. My girlfriend’s coffeemaker crapped out on her this morning, and I promised her I’d get her another one – tonight.” The man smiled. “Well, my good man, you’re in luck. I just happen to have one right over here.” The man took him to what appeared to be a percolator. Adam gave the man a look of uncertainty. “She’s more of a Mr. Coffee type person. She wants her coffee as soon as she gets out of bed. I mean, she lives on coffee – and energy drinks.” “I do have energy drinks in the cooler by the cash register, but I’m afraid I can’t help you in terms of an automatic drip coffee maker.” The man raised his finger. “However, your girlfriend will never have to worry about electricity with this percolator.” He lowered his finger. “Unless she’s using electric . . . ?” “No, her dad made it so her house either runs on natural gas or burning wood.” He took a deep breath. “How much?” “Hey, no pressure, son.” “I know, but I want Jarren to be happy and have her coffee in the morning. Maybe she can learn to appreciate this. If not, I’ll get her what she wants tomorrow after basketball practice.” The man took the percolator, and they went to the cash register. A few moments later, he quoted Adam the price. “Twenty dollars.” “Twenty dollars?! For this thing?” Adam raised his hands in front of him. “I mean, this thing’s gotta be an antique.” “And you are right. However, you look like your heart’s in the right place with wanting to get this for your girlfriend. So for you . . . twenty dollars.” Adam dug out his wallet. 

Adam knew that Jarren’s dad would be uneasy if he brought her home as crashed as she was. Adam carried her from his car and into his house, after he unlocked the back door. He carried her up to his room and laid her down in his bed. After covering her up, he went back downstairs to close and lock everything back up. As he was about to lock up his car, he saw the percolator he’d just bought from Tinker’s and picked it up. Adam went back inside. After locking the door, he decided to see how the percolator worked. He found a quick video on YouTube and knew he could easily make morning coffee for Jarren. 

The next morning, Friday, Jarren yawned and woke up. She saw she was in Adam’s room and turned to see Adam sleeping in the recliner next to the bed. She yawned again and moved to wake him up. Adam opened his eyes, and she kissed him. “Good morning.” “Hey,” he whispered. “You all right?” She nodded. “I could really use some coffee, though.” Adam raised his finger. “Say no more. I bought a percolator for you last night. We can try it out before we leave for school. Why don’t you go take a shower? I’ll head downstairs and make your coffee.” They kissed again. Then Adam watched as Jarren got some fresh clothes out of the two dresser drawers that he let her use for when she’d stay the night. Adam yawned, staggered out of his room, and walked downstairs. 

Jarren came down freshly dressed and accepted the mug of hot coffee from Adam. “I never made coffee before, baby, so I hope you like it.” Jarren didn’t hesitate and took a drink. Then she looked at Adam. “This is really good.” Adam gave her a weird look. “Really?” “I’m serious. This is delicious.” She took another drink. “Very strong – just the way I love it!” Adam wasn’t the cook that Jarren was. All he had to offer her was prepackaged food from the cupboard. She accepted a pack of Pop Tarts and opened them to enjoy with her coffee. Adam poured her some more and topped off her thermal cup that he had washed before going to sleep. 

Adam and Jarren had a little time before class, so they sat in the cafeteria and talked about whatever. It wasn’t long before Adam’s fellow jocks approached him. The truth was that Adam never really cared for any of them, especially when they showed their obvious contempt for Jarren. “Can it wait until class?” Adam demanded, without so much as looking at them. Brent Haskel snickered. “I don’t know why you put that ho before your bros, man.” Then he looked at Jarren. “Get the fuck outta here!” Adam was ready to get up and stand up for Jarren. Much to his surprise, Jarren immediately stood up. She looked at Brent with such a sharp glare; Adam had never seen this look from her before. “Why don’t you make me, asshole?” The other jocks laughed. Then Brent leaned in. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you, geek.” Jarren didn’t back down. “Yes, you did. You know, this school must be pretty desperate for a basketball team if they’re letting just any dumbasses play for them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you haven’t even won one single basketball game!” Apparently, Jarren’s stating of the obvious was too much for Brent’s ego, because he grabbed Jarren and raised his fist to hit her. As Adam was about to fight him, Jarren struck first. Still glaring at him, she raised her right hand – with lightning speed – and dug her long fingernails into the side of Brent’s face. She seemed to take great pride in dragging her nails down his flesh, making him scream and bleed fast. The other jocks were about to attack Jarren, but several teachers were quick on the scene. Brent Haskel kept crying out as he continued to bleed from his face, blood dripping on the floor. 

When Jarren opened the back door of her house and walked in, she saw her father waiting for her. “You wanna tell me why the fuck Principal Van Diest just called me to tell me that you’re SUSPENDED?!” Jarren took a drink of coffee from her thermal mug, finishing it. She didn’t even seem to care that her father had just yelled at her, as he had done so many times before during her life. “Yeah? And . . . ? Sure, it’s quite all right for a guy to try and beat me up, right? But when I strike back, oh fuck no! Nooooooooooo! That’s never fucking okay! You’re just supposed to be quiet and –” Her father lashed out and slapped her so hard that she fell onto the kitchen floor. Then he pointed down at her. “Don’t you ever talk to me like that in my house!” Jarren glared at him and slowly stood up. She put her hand on the side of her face and felt the heat her father had just inflicted on her and knew her face was red. Lowering her hand, she said to her father in a deadly whisper, “This is the last time you ever put your hands on me, you son of a bitch!” Without warning, she grabbed a knife out of a nearby cutting block and went at her father. He screamed as she stabbed him, making him bleed fast. Then she stabbed him a second time! A third! A fourth! Again . . . and again! When her father was lying dead in a pool of his own blood, Jarren laughed maniacally before she licked the blood off the knife. After she growled in satisfaction, she decided that she wanted some more coffee. Since the coffeemaker was still wrecked, she remembered the percolator at Adam’s house. 

Adam had been depressed after watching Principal Van Diest yell at Jarren. When she stood up and turned his desk over, he pointed to his door and yelled that she was suspended and for her to, “Get the hell out! Now!” What had happened to Jarren? She was always such a sweet girl. He knew that she had it rough growing up, being raised by an abusive father. Still, she had always kept her head high. She was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It wasn’t until the day’s events had unfolded that Adam realized that he truly loved her with all of his heart. He wanted to call her, but Jarren didn’t own a cell phone. Her dad wouldn’t let her have one. He decided that he had had enough of seeing Jarren suffer. He was going to go and get her and bring her to live with him. He would protect her from her father if push came to shove. He decided to stop at home first. He noticed the snow was starting to come down and remembered the blizzard that was forecasted for the weekend. When he walked into his house, the strong smell of coffee filled the kitchen. Jarren was sitting at the table, wearing one of Adam’s football jerseys, and drinking her coffee. “Hi, honey.” Adam quickly sat across from her. “Jarren, are you okay?” Then he saw the red mark on the side of her face. “Oh, my god . . .” Jarren took his hand and another drink of coffee. “I’m fine, babe. Just fine now.” Her face appeared more sinister. “Daddy’s not a problem anymore.” Then she looked to the percolator. “Have some coffee. Just made it fresh. It’s really cold outside, especially with the blizzard here now.” When Adam declined, Jarren shrugged. “More for me.” Adam took her hand. “Listen, you don’t have to worry about your dad. You can stay here with me – as long as you want.” She squeezed his hand. “I told you . . . he’s not a problem anymore.” She nodded to the window. “You sure you want to be cooped up with me during the blizzard this weekend?” “I don’t want you to go,” Adam replied. Jarren finished her cup and put it down. Then she stood up, came over to Adam, and sat on his lap. She gazed into his eyes. “I want you.” They kissed passionately. After a while, Jarren got off Adam’s lap. She took his hand and waited for him to stand up. Then she led him upstairs to his bedroom. 

It was Wednesday morning before Strickfield High School could reopen. Adam and Jarren walked in holding hands. Many eyes turned to Jarren. She no longer wore the clothes people were accustomed to seeing her wear. Her hair was dyed red and was frizzy and wild. Her clothes now showed off her tapered legs and skinny figure. Adam didn’t know what to make of Jarren’s new attitude – or her makeover. She seemed like her old self when they were together all throughout the blizzard. Jarren stopped just in front of the principal’s office. “Here, hold my coffee.” She handed Adam the thermal mug and marched right into the office. Principal Van Diest hadn’t expected Jarren to burst in . . . literally burst through his door. The principal pointed to her. “You aren’t supposed to be here! I suspended you for two weeks!” Jarren stood in front of his desk, raised her arms, and slammed her fists down. Principal Van Diest couldn’t believe that skinny Jarren Hatley had just destroyed his desk. She glared at him now. “Let me make this clear to you, asshole. I come and go when and where I please. You want to keep pissing me off, I’ll be glad to put you through another desk. Seriously, I am so sick of your fucking shit! How many times have you let bullies run rampant here, while you punish people like me?” She pointed at him. “That changes today! You hear me?!” Principal Van Diest raised his arms in front of him as Jarren grabbed him and lifted him right off his feet. She glared into his eyes. “Don’t fuck with me!” Then she dropped him back into his chair, turned around, and walked out. Jarren smiled with glee as she took her coffee back from Adam. “All settled . . .” The two of them hadn’t walked ten feet from the office door when it slammed open. The principal burst out and pointed right at Jarren. “You are expelled from Strickfield High School! Leave here now, or I’ll call the police!” Jarren stopped. She chugged the rest of her coffee before she handed the mug back to Adam. She turned around and flexed herself, causing loud cracks to come from her neck and back. Then she gave Principal Van Diest her evil glare again. “You just don’t listen to reason, do you?” Before Principal Van Diest could yell another word, Jarren grabbed him. Easily lifting him up and over her head, she threw him several feet down the hallway. He might have crashed right through the windows of the cafeteria had he not been caught by someone else. When he felt himself being put back down, he turned to see the blonde girl who had caught him. Next to her was Eileen Donnerly, whom most everybody knew as Einstein. He knew Eileen, but he had never seen the blonde girl who now looked even meaner and angrier than Jarren Hatley. “Principal Van Diest, what is going on?” Eileen asked with surprise, in her mousy voice. Suddenly, Jarren was right there. She grabbed Principal Van Diest with one hand and shoved the blonde girl so hard that she flew back and through the gymnasium doors. Then she shoved Eileen so that she fell hard onto her rear. “Now . . . Matthew, where were we?” Jarren sneered. “Jarren, stop!” she heard Adam calling out. She didn’t seem to hear him. “I’m going to put you right through these fucking cafeteria doors. Then I’m going to put you through every goddamn table.” Suddenly, Jarren felt Principal Van Diest being snatched away from her. The blonde was back. She put the principal back down and snapped at him, “Get the fuck out of here!” When Principal Van Diest moved away, the blonde turned to Jarren. “You just made a huge mistake, you fucking skank. Nobody puts their fucking hands on me like that. You want to fight?! Let’s fight!” “Bells!” Eileen called out to her. Bella Taibon quickly turned to Eileen, yanked her up, and pushed her next to Principal Van Diest. “Get him the fuck away from here, Einny.” Jarren grabbed Bella and attempted to throw her, but Bella was ready for her. Much to Jarren’s surprise, Bella was quite strong herself. Jarren found herself being thrown into the gym now. She landed on the floor and slid to the halfway point of the basketball court. Bella marched right in shortly after. “I seriously do not need this fucking shit, this morning!” Bella snapped. “First, I had to spend the last several days in this motherfucking village during that blizzard! Then I have to wear these fucking clothes just to be able to come to school!” She yelled over her shoulder. “A fucking schoolgirl outfit?! Really, Einny?” She glared at Jarren. “Now I’m in a fucking school. And I have to deal with you first thing this morning? What, did you put your fucking tampon on wrong or something?” Jarren screamed like a banshee and ran at Bella. The two girls met and started trading punches. Bella could easily have avoided Jarren’s fists, but she wanted to know what sort of a supernatural being she was dealing with. When Bella determined that Jarren was just a human, she started taking more of the offensive. Bella lifted Jarren off her feet and threw her into the bleachers. She crashed through them and groaned. Jarren was quickly back on her feet, both bleeding and bruised now. She screamed at Bella again as she came out from inside the bleachers. Then she ran at Bella again. Bella knew that she couldn’t unload anymore on this girl, as much as she wanted to. Despite having the strength and powers of a thousands-of-years-old Master Vampire, she would have to subdue her without killing her. Bella snatched Jarren and wrestled her to the floor. The two girls wrestled one another. Bella couldn’t believe that this human was so strong. Just by seeing the crazed look on Jarren’s face, she knew that Jarren was on something. She had seen many addicts in the past. While Jarren certainly wasn’t on drugs or alcohol, Bella knew there must have been some magic or potion that was making Jarren extraordinarily strong – and crazy. Bella was especially annoyed at the people who came into the gym just to snap pictures or take videos of the fight. No one would ever see it, thanks to Bella’s inability to be photographed. But in the hallways, students would call it the geek girl vs. the bad schoolgirl. Bella focused and took the defensive as Jarren threw fist after fist at her. She hoped that Jarren would tire and become easier to subdue. When she saw that this wouldn’t happen, Bella snatched Jarren and took her down to the floor. She wrapped her legs around Jarren’s midsection from behind and locked Jarren’s upper body in a full nelson type move. Jarren screamed and struggled to break free, but Bella was far too strong and could keep Jarren in her place. Bella held her incapacitated for several minutes. “Stop this!” Bella yelled. “Now!” “Never!!” Jarren screamed. Bella soon realized that Jarren’s strength would never diminish, but she had one more trick up her sleeve. She released Jarren and watched her get up. She came right at Bella, which was what Bella counted on. She snatched Jarren and held her so that she could lock eyes with her. Bella never really liked using her glam on people, but this was one time where it was warranted. Jarren felt herself under Bella’s spell and quickly became weaker because of it. Soon, she fell to the floor and went right to sleep. Eileen and Adam both came into the gym. “Bells, is everything okay?” Eileen asked. When Bella was sure that no one else could hear them, she answered, “I glammed her. I don’t know how long she’ll be out, but we need to lock her up somewhere where she can’t hurt anyone.” Adam knelt down next to Jarren. He took her hand and wondered what had happened to his beloved. In fact, that was what Bella wanted to know. She snatched up Adam and glared at him. “What’s she on? You better talk to me. I really don’t want to have to glam you.” Adam protested again and again that he really didn’t know. Bella believed him and put him down. She didn’t let him go, however. “Sorry, boy, but you leave me no choice.” Adam felt himself sink into Bella as she glammed him to her will. Being that she was a Master Vampire, she knew that she could go even further with her glam. She could actually peer deep into Adam’s mind and see everything that he had seen. She looked upon the last week. Then she came to the memory of him visiting Tinker’s at Strickfield Towne Center Mall. And then Bella understood. After removing the glam from Adam, the three of them waited as Jarren was strapped down tightly to a stretcher and taken away. Adam was ready to leave with the paramedics to be at Jarren’s side, but Bella stopped him. “Not so fast!” she snapped. “We’re going to your house first. I want to examine that percolator you bought for your girlfriend.” “But . . . !” Adam started to sputter. Then he sighed. “Okay . . .”

Adam, Bella, and Eileen walked into Adam’s house through the back door. Bella immediately spotted the percolator and opened it. The remaining coffee inside was still hot and smelled strong. Bella uttered a brief incantation and discovered that this was no ordinary coffee pot when it gave off a feint red glow. Bella turned to Adam. “How much of this fucking shit did your honey drink?” Adam sighed in exhaustion. “I really don’t know . . . Jarren drinks so much caffeine.” Bella closed her eyes and stifled a groan. Then she opened them. “Okay, we’ll assume she drank quite a bit, based on what we’ve seen from her.” Then she poured the remaining coffee down the drain. “Is something wrong with that coffee pot, Bells?” Eileen asked. “Oh . . . nothing much,” Bella replied. “The metal body is made with traces of Olde Bloodstone – that’s Olde, with an e on the end. Not the kind of shit you want falling into the wrong hands.” “Isn’t that a birthstone?” Eileen asked. “Take the Olde away, and you’ve got the birthstone,” Bella replied. “Keep it in, and you’ve got some potentially dangerous magical properties that come from it.” Bella turned to Adam. “Your girlfriend’s coffee was tainted with it. There’s a fucking good reason why Olde Bloodstone goes great with a percolator. The tainted coffee brought out whatever pent-up emotions your girlfriend had. Now, it can be good or bad, depending on the person. Say you would have drank the tainted coffee, and you being hopeless romantic, it would have made you appreciate love that much more. You’d even be able to score most any girl you wanted. But in the case of your girlfriend . . . She must have had some really scary shit happen to her.” Adam explained about how Jarren had gone through many years of abuse at the hands of her father. Then he finished with, “She was always such a cheerful person whenever I saw her. When I finally met her dad, I knew right away something was off about him.” Bella looked a little sad now. “I’m really sorry, Adam. Your girlfriend drank all that tainted coffee. It brought out all the pent-up rage that had been building up inside her over the years. The more she drank, the more she percolated. Until she couldn’t take anymore and started lashing out. Like I said, Olde Bloodstone goes real fucking good with a percolator.” She got serious and looked him right in the face. “Now . . . let’s take a little trip to this mall of yours.” *                    *                    * Adam’s jaw dropped. “I’m telling you, Bella, it was right here. I’m not making this up! The store was right here – where the old Radio Shack used to be. Right here!” Bella looked at Adam. “I believe you. When I glammed you, I saw the store called Tinker’s. It made me think of a certain motherfucker named Eisley Tinker. See, he’s known and renowned in the supernatural world for fixing and rebuilding things . . . only he likes to add something . . . special to them to make supernatural shit happen. I ran into him some sixty years ago. Even now, Tinker’s still a slippery son of a bitch. He must have known people would be coming and . . . poof! No more fucking store! The problem is . . . we won’t know where Tinker will turn up next.” Just then, Adam received a call on his smartphone. It was from Strickfield General Hospital. The more Adam heard, the more his emotions lifted. “Yes, that’s great! Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!” When Adam hung up, he looked to Eileen and Bella. “Jarren’s going to be okay. She’s sleeping soundly. She’s going to be kept at Strickfield General until she’s gone through her caffeine withdrawals.” Then he groaned. “But how will Jarren ever be able to come back to school? I mean, a lot of people saw what she did. And then there’s Principal Van Diest . . .” Bella sighed. “Sorry, honey, but I can’t possibly glam that many people. I can glam Principal Van Diest so that Jarren isn’t suspended anymore, but the rest will be up to her.” “Thank you,” Adam said. Bella knew that Jarren Hatley would be okay, but what about the other lives that Eisley Tinker had claimed? Bella was even more upset now that she couldn’t leave Strickfield knowing that her old enemy had returned. Sooner or later, Tinker, you’re going to fuck up. And then . . . you’re fucking ass is MINE!!

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Ep.68 – Careful What You Wish - Only Death Comes From This Genie

Episode Notes

Penn and Ed are an unlikely pair who encounter and ancient evil from the deserts of the middle east, how can they stop something with the limitless power to grant any wish?!

Careful What You Wish by David O'Hanlon

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Transcript:

Penn reached for the doorbell. His finger hovered over the button as it had the last two times he tried to bring himself to ring. He sighed and jabbed the button. Ed’s face pressed against the glass of the nearest window. Penn chuckled at the sight of the freckled, buck-tooth face smiling excitedly at him. The door opened and Penn was greeted by a far-less enthusiastic individual. Penn shifted uncomfortably. He didn’t look like an ex-con in his new jeans and custom polo shirt, but he felt the same way he did every time he was pulled in for a police lineup. Ed’s mother, Janet, held an obese chocolate-point Siamese cat against her chest and stroked it like a movie villain while she eyed the man on her doorstep. Janet slipped her robe up over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow. “You’re Ed’s friend?” Penn shifted the brown paper bag into his left hand and extended the right. “Yes, ma’am. I’m Penn.” “Been in a few too would be my guess.” She waved him inside. “You’re going to let the other cats out.” Penn stepped inside and glanced around the restored Brownstone. Three tabbies lounged on the furniture. A Maine Coon lifted its head from the arm of the recliner to survey the new arrival to its domain. The cat was seemingly unimpressed by Penn and went back to sleep. Penn turned to Janet. Ed had told him his mom used to be a famous model, but the horrible marriage and subsequent vodka-and-valium-based diet hid the fact now. Janet looked like she should be bumming smokes outside a 7-Eleven. Penn felt a tinge of guilt. He knew better than anyone not to judge a person by their circumstances. She dumped the Siamese onto the loveseat and straightened her pajamas before pulling her robe closed and tying the belt tightly around her slender waist. “Don’t you think it’s weird hanging out with a ten-year-old boy?” Janet snapped the elastic from her bun and let her brown hair fall as she walked past him and into the kitchen. She grabbed a glass from the dish strainer and banged it onto the countertop. “You’re like thirty, after all.” Penn shrugged. “So are you.” “Thanks for rubbing salt in that wound.” Janet poured orange juice into a glass and reached for the Popov bottle atop the fridge. “You can have something to drink if you like. Lactose-free milk, sugar-free Kool-Aid, caffeine-free tea. We even have the shitty soda that lacks all of the above.” “I’ve got a water bottle in the truck, but thanks.” “Cut the shit, Penn.” Janet sipped from the bottle before pouring a splash into the juice. “The boy’s allergic to everything. No one hangs out with him because they want to. The last date I had was four years ago and Ed broke out in hives because of the guy’s cologne. He has to wear a dust mask to walk through the living room because of the cat hair. The inhaler, the EpiPen, anxiety meds, and Allegra for sinuses. Seizures at the movies, motion sickness at the fair, panic attacks at the mall. There’s nothing you can do with him. Ed shouldn’t even go to the park, or wherever it is that he spends his time. What do you really want with him?” Ed sneezed around a corner. Penn wasn’t sure where the boy was, but knew he was within earshot. Janet’s eyes flicked toward the noise and back to Penn. Calling her son a loser clearly wasn’t outside the norm. Penn’s fist tightened, crumpling the paper sack noisily. “Healthwise, there’s a lot of things wrong with Ed. Everyone else sees those conditions as things that make him weak. I see them as the reasons he’s got such a big goddamn heart.” Penn stepped closer to Janet and took the glass from counter before she could drink it. “They’re Ed’s conditions, but you’re right, they do interfere with your life. You have to take the extra precautions and I bet that’s exhausting.” “Don’t you patronize me!” “I’m not. Honestly. I can’t imagine what you’ve had to sacrifice to protect him, but that doesn’t change the fact that Ed doesn’t get to be a kid.” Penn chugged the screwdriver and scowled at the aftertaste. He cleared his throat. “What I want is take him for the weekend so he can experience a sleepover, watch cheesy horror flicks, play too many video games, and eat a fuck-ton of red-and-green gummi worms with his friend the way regular kids get to. And you can go to the spa, or the mall, or a date, or at least to a liquor store with better vodka.” “You are one ballsy sonofabitch.” Janet huffed and put her hands on her hips. “Thank you for noticing, but let’s keep this professional.” Janet’s face slipped into a smile for a brief moment, then the serious, judgmental glare returned. “You want to know what’s in it for me?” Penn shrugged. “Ed’s the only person that’s ever seen anything good in me. I want to return the favor. I want to give him the experiences he should be having and as an extra bonus, I’m giving you the weekend off.” “He’s got school Monday.” Janet took the glass from Penn and jabbed the rim into his chest. “You have him home by seven Sunday night or you’ll be the one with medical conditions.” “Whoo-hoo!” Ed shouted from around the corner.

Ed climbed into the unmarked moving truck and clicked his seatbelt. Penn handed him the brown paper bag. “I don’t think your mom likes me,” he said. “To be fair, mom doesn’t get enough guests to know how to like people.” Ed uncurled the lip of the bag. “What’s this?” “A present, obviously.” “Presents don’t usually come in brown grocery bags, Penn.” Ed giggled and pulled out a black polo shirt. “Hey! It’s like yours.” “Exactly like mine,” Penn said as he tapped his own embroidered pocket. Ed found the chest pocket was identical and featured a stitched moving truck in green thread and gold letters surrounded it—Ed and Penn Moving Services. Ed reached into the bag once more and pulled out a lunchbox. He opened it and found a bag of gummi worms, a sandwich, two juice boxes, and a protein bar. Ed smiled sadly. “What’s wrong?” “I’m too weak to help you move things.” “People have little things to move.” Penn tussled Ed’s shaggy hair. “Besides, you don’t get stronger by not trying. I used to be scrawny.” “Really?” “Really. And look at me now.” Penn flexed, straining the sleeve of his shirt. “How do you think I got this strong?” “Because you had nothing to do but workout when you were in prison?” Ed answered chipperly. “That’s entirely true, and also not my point.” Penn pursed his lips. “Even if you can’t help with the physical part all the time, I’m going to need someone to help with all the business stuff. They don’t teach book keeping in the joint. And you have to help me paint the truck.” Ed sat up quickly. “Any color?” “Of course. Ready for our first job?” Penn held out his fist. Ed bumped his knuckles against Penn’s hand. “Absolutely, partner.” 

Crumbs rolled down Ed’s shirt and joined the others in his lap while Penn lugged the mattress up the loading ramp and into the back of the truck. Penn was right and the couple had lots of little things for Ed to load. Still, he felt bad leaving the heaviest stuff to his friend. He shoved the rest of the sandwich into his mouth. “Is there more?” he asked between bites. “Yeah, but not much.” Penn pointed to one wall of the truck. “Think you can move those boxes over in front of the dresser? There’s a big curio cabinet and two footlockers that I think would be more stable there.” “Sure thing!” Dahlia patted Penn’s shoulder as he hopped out of the truck and rested her hands on the bumper. “You’re a good helper.” “Thanks,” Ed said. “You have a lot of cool old stuff.” Dahlia laughed. “Oh love, this isn’t ours. My grandfather was a bit of an adventurer once upon a time.” “That’s so cool!” Ed scooped up a box and set it on top of the dresser. “So, this is all his treasures?” “Some of it. After my grandmother passed away, Poppa Harp became a hermit and most of it just stayed here collecting dust. My daddy used to tell me all his stories. I’m sad to say I never got to meet the man, myself.” “That does kind of suck.” “Kind of.” Dahlia tugged at a violet braid and twisted it around her fingers. “Not knowing him means I get to hold onto the hope that some of the magic in those stories might actually be real.” “Oh, magic is very real.” Ed smiled knowingly. “Where is all of this going?” “I’m sending it all over to a colleague. They’re going to sort it and sell it for me.” “Why not keep it?” Dahlia laughed sweetly. “Oh, I’d love to, but there’s just too much of it. The hubby and I are moving to New York. We found us a cute little townhouse… the operative word, being little.” “That’s too bad.” Ed lifted an ornate bottle from one of the boxes. “This stuff is really nifty. I’d love to hear the stories about each one.” “Maybe you will, love. I’ve got a book deal with a big publisher up North. I’m going to write all about Poppa Harp and his adventures.” “I can’t wait to read them.” “I’ll send a signed copy to you and your dad,” Dahlia said with a smile. “Oh, Penn’s not my dad. He’s just my best friend.” Ed’s face soured. “By default.” Dahlia cocked her head. “How’s that?” “He’s my only friend, so I guess he has to be the best one.” Ed stared at the bottle in his tiny hands. “Well, now you got two, Ed.” Dahlia smiled at him. “I got to pack up a couple more boxes that I think would fit perfectly right where you’re working. I’ll be back in a tick.” Ed leaned on the dresser and turned the bottle in his hands carefully. Raised figures around the vessel were carved from the green glass itself. Ed stepped toward the back of the truck and viewed it in the sun. “Nifty,” he gasped as the glass changed to brilliant red in the direct light. Figures bound to one another formed an unending chain near the base of the bottle above a silver cap cut to resemble flames that engulfed them. A cutout figure towered over them with a staff in his hand and the neck of the bottle was shrouded in a silver sleeve with intricate engravings of stars over the man. On the opposite side of the bottle was another figure bound by a giant snake with a hood over his head. He turned the bottle upside and felt the weight shift. Then held it up to light to discover it was empty. He shook it again, feeling the invisible contents bouncing about. “No freakin’ way.” He rubbed his thumb over the constricting body of the serpent and tucked the bottle away in its box as he heard the dolly bounce off the front porch. “This is so cool.” It took another forty minutes to load the rest of the things and say goodbye to Dahlia and her husband. She got Penn’s mailing address to send the book like she said and tipped both of them in cash for their hard work. They were cruising down the backroads to avoid the rush hour traffic. Ed turned up the radio and bobbed in his seat to Iggy Pop’s ‘Butt Town.’ Penn laughed at the boy and threw up his horns before headbanging along with the music. Ed exploded with laughter. Neither of them was aware of the happenings in the back of the truck. They couldn’t hear the glass snake’s body fissuring or the tiny pieces falling away from the hooded figure now free of its reptilian restraints. They couldn’t smell the acrid, semi-sweet fumes spilling over the lip of the bottle as the building smoke forced the cork up. Penn checked the time on the dashboard clock and grunted. “What’s wrong?” Ed asked. “I was hoping we’d have this all dropped off before dark so we could go to the park and get those hotdogs you like so much for dinner.” “If I had helped more, we might have been done faster.” “Don’t do that. It’s not your fault. It’s our first gig, we’ll get faster.” He shrugged. “Besides, there’s a place nearby that has huge coneys with every topping imaginable.” “Like?” “They’ve got one call the Gut Buster where the dog is inside onion rings in a cheese toasted bun and drowned in chili.” “Sweet! I think I’ll have two of those.” They both laughed. “Can we go to the mall?” Ed rubbed Dahlia’s twenty-dollar tip between his fingers. “Sure, we can do whatever you want, kid.” He squeezed Ed’s shoulder reassuringly. “But I thought you didn’t like the mall.” “I’ll take an extra anxiety pill.” Ed hung his head. “I want to find mom a perfume I’m not allergic to.” Something thumped in the back of the truck. “Shit.” Penn slapped the steering wheel. “I forgot to strap the mattress down.” Penn pulled over and unbuckled. Ed’s eyes grew wide as he realized the source. “Don’t go, Penn. It’s not much further.” “It’ll only take a second, kid.” Penn winked and stepped out, skirting the side of the truck in case of passing cars. Ed clamored out of the truck and watched as Penn rolled the door up. Penn sniffed the air and fanned his hand in front of his face. “Why’s it smell like a fucking opium den?” he asked no one in particular. The ornate bottle clattered along the metal floor of the truck and rolled off the end. Penn caught it before he could hit the ground. He sighed and held it up for Ed to see. “The mattress must have knocked over a box. Probably some old timey cologne that stinks,” he said. “How many years have I been captive?” A set of glowing eyes shined in the darkness. Penn knelt next to Ed. “I thought magic had to have a battery.” “What do you think you’re holding?” Ed whispered. “What is the price of my emancipation, master?” The thing in the back of the truck’s voice was a rumbling hiss, like steam through rusted pipes. “What is owed of Babak?” “Master?” Penn looked at the bottle quizzically and snickered. “Is that what I think it is?” “Yes and no,” Ed gulped. The speaker came forward. His body adorned in a silk cloak with strands of gold that shimmered in the setting sun. Wrinkled hands curled at the ends of the flowing sleeves before reaching up and pulling the hood away from his face. A sweeping, gray mustache covered his entire lip and swept out in grandiose curls. “Do you free me without obligation?” Babak asked. “You’re a fucking genie!” Penn exclaimed. “An ifrit,” Ed corrected. “The master is learned,” Babak said. “Speak quickly. I have been gone too long.” “Not until you grant us three wishes, though,” Penn said. “The Law of Suleiman binds me to one.” Babak held up a single finger. “I am free of my glass prison and now bound only by the hesitation of the master’s words.” “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know how this turns out. I wish you were back in the bottle,” Penn said. “It was the boy who set me free. He must make the wish.” “Wish him back in the bottle, kid. It’s not worth the risk.” “I wish I wasn’t a burden,” Ed blurted. “Fuck!” Penn waved his hands in the air. “Nope. That doesn’t count. He’s just a kid. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.” Babak twisted one side of his mustache and grin menacingly. “It is done.” Ed doubled over with a screech and collapsed to the gravel shoulder. Penn dropped to his knees and hugged him close. Ed’s fever was growing fast enough that Penn could feel the heat rising off him. “What the fuck did you do to him?” “He will be a burden no longer.” Babak shrugged. The ifrit burst into flames and flashed overhead, streaking upward and flying above the city like a comet. Penn lifted Ed and hurriedly put him in the cab of the truck, shut the back, and climbed behind the wheel. “Don’t worry, Ed.” Penn pulled onto the road in a wide u-turn across traffic. “I’m going to get you to the hospital and then I’m going to go beat the shit out of that genie.” “Ifrit,” Ed said weakly. “The hospital can’t help me.” “Hospitals can fix anything,” Penn lied. “The ifrit were created from the first flame in the universe.” “How do you know this shit?” “I read a lot.” “You should be reading Dr Seuss or something. Not… I don’t know.” Penn waved his hands. “Not whatever the hell you’re reading.” “Dad didn’t leave me any of those. He left me books on magic.” “I thought you said your dad was some scumbag talent agent.” “He left because he wasn’t my real dad. Mom had too much to drink and told me. It was my fault too.” “No, that doesn’t make it your fault. Your real dad is probably much cooler and that guy was just a chickenshit. Not the point right now.” Penn shook his head. “If not the hospital, then what do I do to save you?” “Get Babak to go into the bottle.” “Easy enough.” Penn grabbed his phone out of the console and pulled up the internet app. He steered with his wrists so he could type faster in the search bar. “Where are we going?” Ed wheezed. “He called the bottle a prison. Getting out of prison is something I know a lot about. When someone gets released, they want one thing.” “A woman?” “No!” Penn looked at Ed incredulously. “That’s the second thing. First comes real food. There’s only one place that serves Middle Eastern cuisine in this part of Oklahoma.” “Get him back in the bottle.” Ed broke into a coughing fit, spattering blood across the glovebox. He laid over and put his head on Penn’s leg. “It’s not your fault if you don’t save me, Penn.” Penn stroked Ed’s hair—strands came loose and clung to his fingers. He pressed the accelerator down to the floor.

The truck crashed through the front of Saffron Palace, sending patrons of the restaurant fleeing in all directions. Penn stepped out of the cab and slammed the door, pointing the bottle at Babak, who sat at his table completely unbothered by the destructive entrance. “You can get back in the bottle or I’m going to jam it up your ass,” Penn warned him. “You’ve worked so hard, please,” Babak gestured to the seat across from him, “join me for my first meal.” “I’m not asking.” Penn sat the vessel down. “You in the bottle, or the bottle in you.” Babak combed back his white hair and shook his head. “You cannot threaten me any more than a louse threatens a camel.” Penn slugged Babak square in the nose, shattering it and tipping him over in his chair. “I figure that magic lamp is like solitary confinement. The guys in solitary get soft. They can’t take a punch.” Penn kicked the ifrit in the ribs. “Now get in the fucking bong!” Babak’s mustache smoldered. The bittersweet smell of opium trailed from the glowing ends as he rose to his feet. Penn backed away slowly. The threads of Babak’s robes ignited and the garment fell away from his naked body as ash. Penn lifted a chair over his shoulder. Babak’s mouth stretched open until his jaw unhinged and continued to stretch wider still. His voice emanated from deep within him. “I am that which was created before all else. From the first flame, I took my life. You, child of the mud, are born in my shadow,” he said. “You suck at talking shit.” Penn lunged forward, swinging the chair at Babak’s face. A fiery cloud launched from Babak’s maw and engulfed the furniture. Penn let go and jumped back, gasping at the remains already scorched to a cinder between him and the ifrit. The creature laughed. Smoke oozed from his pores. Yellow-brown perspiration dripped from the wiry hairs of his broad chest. The glow returned to his eyes and his skin combusted. Babak clutched Penn’s arms, searing his flesh and tossing him effortlessly across the restaurant. The fiery figure stalked the room, leaving burning footprints in his wake. The ceiling tiles darkened overhead. Penn crawled under a table, only for a fireball to set it ablaze. He shot from beneath it and ran to the kitchen as more flaming orbs streaked past him and ignited the furnishings. Penn pulled his shirt over his head to examine his wounds. The creature’s handprints were black spots of charred flesh. “Jesus, I look like a fucking Whooper.” The plastic swinging doors melted into a puddle as the ifrit pushed through them. Babak turned slowly to face Penn. “Where is your bravado now, little louse?” he growled. “You know what the hardest thing about getting out of prison is?” Penn asked, looking around the kitchen for a weapon. He grabbed a large, curved knife and pointed it at Babak. “Enlighten me.” The ifrit touched the point of the knife. The blade glowed intensely until the tang cooked through the handle and Penn tossed it aside with a shriek. He continued moving away from the walking inferno. “The hardest part is knowing the whole fucking world went on without you. Everyone lived their lives, moved on and did their own thing.” The creature paused and cocked its head. “This is true.” “Everything changes when you’re locked up. No one gives a shit that you’re gone and the world isn’t the same when you come back. So much shit has been invented that you can’t keep up. Bet you never even heard of ANSUL.” Penn grabbed a pot and slung the boiling oil at the ifrit. The liquid flared to life, burning everything in its path. Secondary fires flashed around the kitchen. Babak’s laughter boomed. He stepped toward Penn and raised an accusatory finger. A gout of flame speared outward and contorted into a flaming sword that stopped inches from Penn’s face. Then the ANSUL fire suppression system engaged. First came the high-pressure blast of chemicals that extinguished everything, followed by the blanket of heavy foam that knocked both combatants to the floor. Penn pushed himself up and slipped about until he got his footing. He spat the non-toxic, but non-tasty, foam from his mouth. Babak sobbed on the floor in a quivering mass beneath the white, sudsy blanket. His flesh was charred from the fire-suppressing agents. “Let’s get you back in the bottle.” Penn grabbed Babak’s arms and the burnt flesh stripped away in his hands. “Eww!” The ifrit curled into a fetal position as his cooling skin crumbled and broke away leaving a human-shaped briquette on the floor. “Fuck!” Penn kicked the corpse and it shattered into soggy ash. “You weren’t supposed to die. I need you to fix Ed!” Something stirred among the debris that used to be Babak’s ribcage. “What the shit?” Penn knelt to inspect the movement. He dug his fingers through the slog, revealing a green, fist-sized, orb stretching open within the ifrit’s body. The red poppy petals pushed through and twisted open. The petals shuddered and the oversized flower moved shakily across the ravaged organs beneath it. Penn touched the petals. The flower twisted violently and the four, vice-like fangs buried deep into Penn’s hand. He jumped back, howling in pain. The fake flower lost petals as Penn shook his arm violently, revealing the creature whose back it grew on. Its spindly legs fought for purchase as it was slung back and forth. Penn banged it against a counter top, freeing himself from its bite—at a cost. He grimaced at the exposed bone before reaching for towel to wrap around the wound. A cowering cook ran past Penn and into the wrecked dining room. Penn ignored him and followed the monster’s tracks through the foam and out the service entrance to the alley beyond. He groaned. The overhead lights left pools of piss-yellow light between the restaurant and the neighboring building. “Come out, Babak,” he called. The ifrit did not oblige. Thin digits caressed Penn’s bare shoulder and squeezed the tense muscles sending a ripple of goosebumps up his spine as he whirled around. The creature wasn’t there. Just the cook. The diminutive Iranian man glared at Penn from behind thick lenses that occupied entirely too much of his dark face. The man held up the magic bottle. “You forgot this,” he said softly. “It seems to be missing the cork.” “Shit. I hadn’t thought of that.” Penn took the bottle. The man reached into his white smock and produced a cork of his own. He held it up, showing Penn the burned in hexagram on its wide top. “I think you’ll find this one fits perfectly.” The man scampered away. “The fuck am I supposed to do with the bottle?” The cook stopped at the door. “Put the ifrit back inside. Do you know nothing?” “As a matter of fact, I don’t.” The cook rolled his eyes and sighed. “Ifrits don’t like light. Flush it out, nail it to the earth, invoke the name of Suleiman and return it to its vessel at once to undo any wish it has granted. It is not that difficult.” The man disappeared inside and slammed the door. Penn’s shoulders sagged. He put the cork between his teeth and pulled out his phone, flipping on the flashlight. “Okay. I got light and a bottle. Where do I get nails? I don’t see a hardware sto—ooh! Motherfucker!” Penn cast the light down and found the source of the sudden pain. He lifted his foot and, with it, the broken slat of a pallet. He slid down the brick wall and pried the board loose. The rusted nails squeaked as they passed through the rubber sole of his boot. “Oh good, now I have nails.” He panned the light around. Nothing moved. He tilted the phone under the dumpster beside him. The monster screeched and lunged from its cover, attacking the phone, and knocking it to the ground. It scurried away and Penn crawled after it until he could get his feet under him and run. The thing’s ten legs carried it much faster than Penn could hobble. It cleared the alley and found itself in the glare of a streetlight. The ifrit screamed again and bolted around the building. Penn rounded the corner and searched for the thing. Then he saw the back of his truck sticking out of the side of the building. Ed was slumped against the tires—his clothes saturated with sweat and his face void of color except for the explosion of freckles. A clump of hair blew away from his head on the breeze. Bloody spittle dripped down his chin as his body spasmed with weak hacks. Penn slid to the ground beside him. He hugged the boy and stroked his cheek. The fever was gone, but Ed’s skin was deathly cold in its wake. “Come on, kid. You saved me. Stay alive long enough to let me pay you back.” “It’s okay,” Ed moaned. “At least I’m with my friend.” Penn wept as the boy fell limp against him. The ifrit shimmied out from under the truck and stared at the two humans with its beady, red eyes. Its fangs spread in a clicking-hiss that sounded like perverse laughter. The monster moved forward slowly, crawling across Ed’s wilted form. It watched Penn cry, but the man didn’t move. Babak took tentative steps onto his thigh and then stood tall and repeated the evil cackling. “What’d you call me, Kazaam?” Penn sniffled. He wiped his nose on the back of his hand, still clutching the broken board. “A ‘child of the mud,’ wasn’t that it?” Babak blinked each of his six eyes. “Guess that makes me part of the earth.” The board met Penn’s thigh with a sharp, wet smack. Babak squealed beneath the wood, with the nails pinning him in place. Penn pressed the board down harder and spat the cork into his free hand. He placed the hexagram against Babak’s face. Smoke roiled at the contact of the divine symbol and infernal flesh. “In Suleiman’s name, get the fuck in the bottle.” The creature’s flesh vibrated, shifted, and burst into a cloud of brackish smoke that swirled down the neck of the ornate glass vessel. Penn stuffed the cork into the top, sealing the ifrit within. His head thumped against the tire and he hugged Ed close. “I’m sorry I was late, kid.”

Janet adjusted the flowers in their vases. Her hands shook as much from stress and heartache as from the lack of a drink. She hadn’t had a drop since Penn returned without her son. She wouldn’t touch it ever again. Ed only ever had one friend, but the flowers seemed to come from everywhere. Even some lady in New York sent some. It seemed all the time Janet spent in a bottle, her son spent touching the lives of others. None of them were his friends. Just Penn. The rest sent cards explaining how Ed helped them. How the words and smile he shared touched them. She reread the cards and broke down in tears again. Penn placed a hand on her shoulder. She slapped it away. “I never knew what he was doing when I’d send him away,” she said, holding up the cards. Penn took them and flipped through the stack. He’d read all of them several times. “Ed told me magic is just a toy without a battery.” He set the cards next to the flowers and took a bag of gummi worms from his pocket. He’d picked all the other colors out to leave only Ed’s favorite red-and-green ones. He put one between his teeth and slurped it up before offering them to Janet. She smiled softly and plucked one from the bag. “What’s that even mean?” she asked. “Ed shared his magic with people that needed it. He got that from somewhere. Maybe you fucked up in how you showed it, but you still loved him or you wouldn’t be crying in a bag of gummi worms with me. That was the battery to his magic… love.” “They still don’t know what happened,” Janet said. “Severe allergic reaction,” a small, Middle Eastern man said from behind oversized glasses. He stepped into the room and slapped the iPad against his palm. “Possibly something found in the secondhand moving blankets inside Mister Pennington’s truck.” “Pennington?” Janet glanced up at Penn. Penn pointed at the man. “You’re the cook.” “Obviously not, since I am clearly the doctor.” He nodded happily. “And you are Casper Marion Pennington, are you not?” “Wow. Your parents hated you,” Janet said. “Yeah.” Penn pinched the bridge of his nose. “I am.” “You should be more careful of the things you allow a boy to play with,” the doctor scolded him. Ed turned away from the harsh glare of the overhead fluorescents with a groan. “Mom? Penn?” “About damn time you woke up, kid.” Penn rubbed Ed’s shaved head. “How are you feeling?” “Like I was in a car crash.” The doctor cleared his throat. Penn squinted at him then turned his attention back to Ed. Janet shoved him out of the way and snuggled her son. Penn sat on the corner of the bed and dug in his pocket with a groan. The skin grafts were tight and pinched. Ed pushed his mother’s hair out of his face. “Mom, you’re smothering me.” “I’m sorry, baby.” She kissed his cheek. “For so much.” Penn put his hand on her shoulder again and this time she let it stay. “Good thing you woke up when you did,” Penn said. “Why’s that?” Ed asked as excitedly as the recently resuscitated could. “Because you almost missed the coolest, most fun holiday there is.” He handed Ed a narrow box with a ribbon around it. Ed opened the box and smiled, holding up the prize inside. “I can’t believe I forgot.” “That’s right kid, it’s National Kazoo Day.” The End

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Ep.67 – Adam's Tale - Vicious Bloody Terror Comes in Small Sizes!

Episode Notes

On a camping trip Adam learns that bears and wolves aren't the most dangerous creatures in the woods, something else is coming and it's hungry for blood!

Adam's Tale by Joe Solmo http://pennedinblood.com

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcript:

In another time, the cool, damp, night air would have felt good on Adam’s drunk face. The moonlight shone between the thick branches of an ancient maple tree only feet away. It might have been a mile away as far as Adam was concerned. It was the pine tree he worried about. The pine tree that he could smell but not see. Its rough bark dug into his back as he struggled with the bonds that held him in place. How he got here was some sort of mystery. The woods he remembered. A party he remembered. Camping with friends was the last thing that he remembered. Where were they now? Did one of them do this? Where was Felicia? He tried again to turn his head to get a better view of his surroundings, but he still couldn’t move. Something was around his forehead keeping him against the hard, rough bark of the tree. He strained his ears, listening for some clue that could give him answers, but the only sounds he heard were a rustling in the branches above him in the trees. At first, he was alarmed but relaxed after realizing that whatever was up there, was too small to give him trouble. It was the animal that tied him up, that he was most interested in, anyway. “Are you out there?” he asked the night and listened. No response. He knew the man had to be out there somewhere. “Hello?” Adam called out to his captor. Frustrated, he kicked his feet, disturbing the bed of pine needles. That was when he heard the snicker. In the shadows of the maple in front of him something moved. A flash of orange light illuminated a face Adam had never seen before as it lit his cigarette. Who was this guy? “Who are you?” Adam asked, straining to see in the dark. “Let’s not worry about that now. You won’t be around long enough for us to get acquainted. It’s near midnight. The witching hour and all that,” the stranger said, waving his cigarette around as he talked. “Where are my friends?” Adam asked. “What did you do to them?” “I didn’t do anything. All I did was set the plate. Everything has to eat,” the stranger mumbled. “What the fuck does that mean? Untie me!” Adam said. “Why would I do that. Today has been going great so far. The best in a long time. They will be pleased.” Adam struggled against the bonds that held his arms behind his back, nearly dislocating his shoulder in the process. He grunted with the effort, which made the stranger laugh. He approached Adam and kneeled down, making intense eye contact with Adam. He got so close Adam could smell the man, a combination of cigarette smoke, sweat and halitosis, but the man’s icy stare kept him from retching from the smell. There was a timelessness in those eyes. He was only two inches from Adam’s face now. Too close for Adam. “Save your strength for the screaming, there will be lots of screaming,” he said and cracked a smile. He touched Adam’s cheek with his lit cigarette. Adam yelled out and tried to twist out from under the burning cigarette, but the iron clad grip on his head wouldn’t let go. He cried out into the chilly night again and again as the man burned him. Each touch a shock of pain on his cheek. “Yeah, like that. I think you will do fine,” the stranger said and laughed. In the distance a wolf howled, followed by another. Adam’s eyes widened. “Don’t you worry about them, now. Even they won’t come here,” the stranger said and flicked the rest of his cigarette at Adam. “This here is a special place. It’s time I head on out. They don’t like to be watched. This should buy my farm some time. They oughta leave me alone for a year at least.” “Who?” Adam said, but the man wandered off into the darkness without giving him an answer. He heard the wolves again and wondered if that was going to be how he died, torn to pieces by wolves. What was it the stranger said? The wolves won’t come here? Why not, he thought. He could smell the cigarette still burning and thought about it catching the bed of pine needles all over the ground on fire. He had a morbid question cross his mind. Would he rather die in a fire, or eaten by wolves? He almost laughed at the idea of getting a choice. He wondered if the wolves like Bar-B-Que. A half hour passed, the cigarette burned out and the wolves didn’t get any closer. He could still hear them howling out there in the forest somewhere. His cheek hurt from the stranger’s cigarette burn barrage and he wished he could look at it in the mirror. He heard sound of a small animal rustling in the dead leaves somewhere in front of him, near the maple tree the man had been standing by. He wished he knew why this was happening to him. The maple tree reminded him that the path beyond it leads to an old natural chimney. A rock formation that leads down into the earth. He had found out about it on a hiking app and he convinced his friends to come out here to hike and camp, but where were they now? He hoped they were ok. Adam thought his hand was going numb, the pins and needles sensation was beginning to set in, but then he realized it felt more like tiny little bites. He wiggled his fingers, and felt something furry run across his hands. What the fuck was that? Another nibble on his fingertips. “Ouch, you fucker!” he said and wriggled against his bonds as hard as he could, and to his surprise he freed his hands. He quickly worked on whatever was tying his head to the tree and wriggled free. He stood up and turned around to find a chipmunk sitting there, considering him with its black eyes. “You the one that bit me?” he called out and kicked at the rodent. It easily dodged his foot in the moonlight.  Adam rubbed his cheeks and tried to get a good idea of his surroundings. If the large maple was there, then camp must be this way, he thought and headed off in that direction trying to work the cramps out of his muscles. The little chipmunk hopped after him on the forest trail, keeping its distance. With all the roots and rocks, Adam stumbled through the woods while trying to make it back to camp, twice he almost fell, his hand was covered in mud and sticky pine pitch. He wiped them on his pants as he continued through the wood. He could just make out a fire ahead in the distance. It must be his friends! He called out to them. “Felicia! Jacob!” He got no response. He stumbled into the clearing, but he didn’t see anyone. His tent was on the other side of the dying fire, he went over to it and opened the flap. Felicia was inside, wrapped in her sleeping bag. They must have gone to sleep, he thought. He climbed into the tent and shook her, but she didn’t move. She was always a heavy sleeper. He poked her harder and lit the small battery powered lantern they use on camping trips. “Wake up! We have to get out of here!” he said. Finally, she was stirring he thought as he watched her swallow and turn her head.  “Come on!” Her mouth opened and a chipmunk climbed out, his face a crimson mask of Felicia’s blood. It squeaked twice and ran past him to the tent opening where another one was sitting watching him with those cold black eyes. “What the fuck is going on?” he called out and looked back down at Felicia. He shook her again, and got a better look at her. Her mouth was agape and he realized with horror that she had no tongue. He turned towards the doorway and saw that now there was about a dozen chipmunks standing there on hind legs watching him. The one with the bloody face took a step forward. “We are Tamias,” the bloody one squeaked. “Tamias,” the rest chirped in high pitched unison. “I’ve fucking lost it,” Adam whispered to himself and shook his head. “We demand payment for the transgression,” the chipmunk said. “Payment must be made. We demand it. The deal cannot be altered.” “I have no idea what you are talking about. What did you do to Felicia and Jacob?” he asked. Then started to laugh as he realized he was having a conversation with a chipmunk in a tent next to his dead girlfriend. Did he forget that he ate a bunch of mushrooms? “Two hundred cycles ago the deal was made. This land, our land to be shared. For a price. The blood price must be paid. A life for each season that passes, and we would share our sacred forest with the man and his kin. The most fertile land for his food to grow. Waters that grant a long life,” the chipmunk squeaked. The moonlight lit the orbs that watched him above its chubby cheeks. “I don’t understand,” Adam said and charged the entrance to the tent. The chipmunks scattered out of his way. He turned towards the tent and started to tear up as he glimpsed Felicia through the tent flap. The Tamias formed a circle around him, keeping out of kicking distance. “Human. You are the blood price. You and your friends must be given to the Tamias. The price must be paid!” the spokesperson for the chipmunks squeaked angerly. “You’re not going to get me. JACOB!” he yelled trying to get his friend to wake up. Maybe together they could escape this nightmare. “You friend is with the Dux Tamias. He cannot hear you,” the bloody chipmunk said calmly. “You will meet him soon yourself. The time draws near. The price must be paid.” “You can’t have us!” Adam yelled and ran to his friend’s tent. He ripped open the tent flap and jumped back at the horrid scene he saw inside. There was a chipmunk the size of a St. Bernard in the tent digging into his friend’s flesh, blood was everywhere. The large rodent turned to face him, an entrail hanging from its mouth, the soft tissue stuck between its elongated rodent teeth. He heard the patter of the chipmunk’s feet as they approached behind him. He backed out of the entrance to the tent, retching from the smell. “Dux Tamias, he is the sacrifice,” the bloody faced one squeaked and saluted the large beast. “It is promised. The blood,” the largest said leaving the tent. There was a shine of intelligence in its black eyes. “The blood,” the bloody one said. The rest of the chipmunks crossed their arms in salute as well, then returned to all fours. “Oh, fuck this nonsense,” Adam said and punted the closest chipmunk across the campsite. He turned towards the big one. “You want some of this?” he said angerly. “You are the promised. Bring the bowl,” The Dux Tamias said in a deeper voice that still squeaked and the bloody faced chipmunk ran off with two others. Adam looked around for a weapon. He saw his hiking staff near his tent. He worked his way over to it, keeping his eyes on the Dux Tamias. “You going to pay for this,” Adam said picking up the hiking staff. He pulled off the rubber tip that covered the metal spike underneath. He brandished it like a sword, pointing the tip at the Dux Tamias. “The bowl, the blood,” rang squeaky chipmunk voices as one. The bloody faced chipmunk returned with the others dragging a stained wooden bowl. The Dux Tamias stepped closer to Adam, a sneer crossed its adorable chubby cheeked face. “Stay back. I’ll skewer you and all your little friends. Roast you over the campfire,” Adam said and swung the staff at the large chipmunk. “Just like picking up trash!” he said and stabbed down, impaling one of the chipmunks who let out a chilling death squeak. The rest of the chipmunks circled Adam and started to squeak in unison to their approach. A marching cadence of the chipmunk army’s approach. Adam swung and knocked a chipmunk over. He turned towards the large one that was getting a little too close for comfort. He felt the weight of a few of them climbing up his legs, and tried to swat them off. That’s when the big one jumped on his back, knocking him to the ground. He hit his head on something hard and got dizzy. The Dux Tamias stuck its face close to Adam’s. “In two hundred years we have not gone without the blood. We will not now. Know this human. Your blood will satiate a hunger in us that is almost impossible to control. It keeps your species safe. It’s a noble thing, you are doing,” it squeaked. “The Blood. The bowl,” bloody face chipmunk said and dragged the bowl closer. The chipmunks all climbed on his back. He body was growing weak. Did he hit his head that hard? “By now the enzymes in our saliva have worked into your bloodstream. I am sure you remember a few nibbles back in the forest, yes?” came the voice behind him. Panic began to set in. For the first time Adam was worried for his own safety. Numbness took over most of his body as they moved the bowl under his cheek. He felt the Dux Tamias bite into his neck, and then the warm trickle of his own blood run down into the bowl. He couldn’t turn his head to see, but he felt the chipmunks leave his back and heard them slurping from the bowl. The Dux Tamias moved its form in front of Adam. It was hard for him to concentrate. The corners of his vision began to turn dark. He tried to focus on the dog sized rodent in front of him. That was when he noticed all the chipmunks were lined up in front of him like a buck toothed firing squad. “The Blood. The Life,” they all squeaked from the hole between their adorable chubby cheeks. Their black eyes flashed red before they charged him. He was helpless to stop it, Needle teeth tore into his face. He might have screamed just before darkness took over and he succumbed to the chipmunks will. 

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Ep.66 – For the Mother - Nordic Legend Becomes Bloody Reality!

Episode Notes

In a remote estate distant in the mountains something mysterious and bloody is going on, and it's all FOR THE MOTHER!

For the Mother by Mark T.B. Shields

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Transcript:

Astrid’s newly married grandparents had immigrated to America from a small Scandinavian village as teenagers a lifetime before she was conceived . In a similarly small California town, they opened an even smaller general store which grew just enough to support them and their one child; a girl named Synnove. The two of them worked very hard and when their only child grew up and married a fine young man from the city by the bay, they bought a small cabin in the nearby mountains on the lake. After a life of hard work and the birth of their first grandchild, they retired to the small cabin. 

Thanks to her grandfather, Astrid had always loved Norse mythology. Growing up she had spent most of her summers with her grandparents by that quiet lake.  Her grandfather took it upon himself to tell Astrid the many legends he brought with him from his childhood home.  She loved him telling and retelling her fantastic tales as they sat by the bonfire each summer night.  He told her tales such as “Sif and her Golden Hair”; “Sigurd and the Dragon”; and “Thor’s Fishing Trip”.  He seemed to know them all and when he inevitably retold her a story some night months later , they were always nearly identically.  He retold them as if he were relaying history; he retold them with passion;. he retold them like he believed them; and she remembered every word.  

Of these stories her favorite was always “The Death of Baldur''. The tragic tale of how Odin's wife Frigga's favorite son Baldur was killed by his blind brother Hodur aided by her adopted son Loki.  In the tale, a jealous Loki put the arrow in the hand of Hodur that killed Baldur the Beautiful.  She always wept by the time it ended. Forever hoping that this time Baldur would survive. 

After high school she applied and was accepted at Stanford where she chose her major, Actuarial Science, as a way to ensure future financial success. Although interesting to her, she wanted something a bit more light-hearted to break up the difficult class schedule. On a whim she decided to take an elective in the spring semester of her Junior year called “Early Scandinavian Folklore & Mythology” . This class soon became the highlight of her week.  At first it was the fact that her knowledge of Scandinavian folklore rivaled that of her professor.  She became a textbook example of a “Subject-Matter Expert” for the course and it made her very happy that the other students asked her for help often.  She seemed always to be the first to answer questions in discussions and to have the last word when it mattered.  Astrid loved the class as it was a way to always feel like she was close to her summer home and to help solidify a rather high GPA. 

This unintentional mental domination of the other students went on for nearly half the semester when her world changed forever. A handsome young student started to audit the class and immediately put everyone’s knowledge in that hall to shame. He usurped her position at the top of the class by having the ability to fill in holes of every legend they studied no matter the obscurity of it.  

The mysterious new student was not only well versed in Scandinavian Mythology, he was what one would call a perfect physical specimen.  In his usual attire of t-shirts and cargo shorts one could see an insanely muscular body that was only highlighted by his long blonde flowing locks and sky-blue eyes.   

To her girlish delight he introduced himself to her one day after class. It took her by her own estimation a good sixty seconds before she was able to respond. As he introduced himself as Baldur and looked into her eyes her first thought was “Yes, you are a god”.  

When Astrid finally spoke all her timid voice could say was her name “Astrid”.

“Yes, you are divinely beautiful” he said and when he asked her to walk with him, she was literally helpless to say no. 

That afternoon as they walked around the campus talking; she thought to herself that she was falling in love with a man she had just met. She didn’t know how this was possible, but she knew it was true.  That night she lost her virginity to this God among men and less than a month later they were married.   From that point on they were bound for life. 


Astrid was glad to be finally meeting Baldur’s family. Although they had been married since late spring, this winter trip had been their first chance to come together.  During the eight-hour drive from Stanford to his family homestead near Mt. Whitney, her excitement grew.

“Are we there yet?” 

Not taking his eyes off the winding mountain road Baldur said “Astrid, we are officially five minutes closer than we were when you asked the same question five minutes ago.” Running her hand down his powerful arm she cooed, “I know, it’s just that I have never met your family and you have told me so little about them.” 

“We’re just like most families.  We fight, but love each other. Mom is overbearing; dad is solemn; and my brothers are out to kill me if I don’t watch out.  You see, a normal family dynamic.  We should be at the cabin soon.” 

She glanced at the odometer and smiled knowing they were very close.  She giggled “Only about five miles out.” 

“Correct” was all he said as he turned up a driveway and drove under a stone arch emblazoned with their family's name; Borson.  As they pulled around the last corner and the home came into view Astrid was stunned.  He said they had money, but the home that sat before her was at least 20,000 square feet. 

“How can your family afford this?  You mentioned money, but this looks like money should not be a problem for your great-great-grandkids” 

Baldur pulled into the eight-car garage and said "It won’t be.  We are very financially secure." After he hopped out of the car he swung around and grabbed her door. "Welcome home."   She smiled and followed him in. 

As they entered the living room his parents sat sipping what appeared to be iced tea. 

"Mother. Father. We’re finally here." His dad stood and helped his pregnant wife to her feet. "Are we the last to get here?"  

"Yep, your brothers are downstairs preparing for later.  This must be the wife." 

"Mother, father meet Astrid.  Astrid this is my father, Odin and my mother Frigga." 

Astrid extended her hand. “Great to meet you. Baldur has told me so much about you.”

"Come now dear, we’re family now. Give your new mother a hug."  Reaching out Frigga gave Astrid a hug and Odin followed suit.  While still holding her Odin asked if she liked the house. 

"How could I not?   It is the most beautiful home I have ever seen." “Thank you.  The family has been working on it for a while now.  It was my fathers and his father before him. When I die, it will get passed on to the next generation.  This place is what you would call the family home.” 

Releasing the hug Astrid replied “Well, it’s truly breathtaking lovely, and it truly is great to meet Baldur’s parents.” 

“Hush dear.” said Odin. “We are your parents as well now. Baldur, let’s go help your brother's downstairs.  Leave the women here to get acquainted."  

Pointing, “After you Father.”

As the two men left the room,  Frigga grabbed Astrid ’s arm, "Come, child. Let’s get a drink,” 

As they walked, Astrid asked if everyone in the family was named after a Nordic god.

"No, just the three of us.  My other two sons are Larry and Christopher. Not as interesting as Baldur, but still good names. Now come sit. Drink some mead.  We cracked open a barrel.  I will warn you though, it will knock you on your bum." Astrid walked over and grabbed a mug off the coffee table. "What brand is this?" 

"Borson, we make it ourselves."  

"Obviously you guys make it yourself, you’re Nordic gods," Astrid took a drink and was amazed. "This is incredible." 

"Thank you, now come sit, before you fall.  We have so much to talk about."  Astrid sat after taking another sip. Her face was already getting warm. 

"Now Frigga or should I call you mother?" 

"Call me mother that is what I am." 

"Ok mother, I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think you should be drinking.”

“And why is that?”

“Well, because of the baby.  Research shows” Cutting her off and rubbing her own belly, Frigga said “I can assure you this child is perfectly fine.  I drank with all of my children and you can see how they turned out” 

“But”

“But nothing, our family all drank the mead and have given birth in this very home” 

Astrid was sure she had heard her right.   Europeans had not even gotten to California until the 1800's and as impressive as the home was, over 1000 years was a mistake spoken by a drunk old woman. 

Frigga took another drink of her mead and let out a sharp quick cry. Chuckling she said “The baby wants to join the world soon.   Either that or she wants more mead. “ 

“ You are an amazing woman. How is this possible at your age you even conceived?  How old are you?  I have so many questions?  I am so sorry if I stepped on any toes.”  

“Nonsense.  No toes were stepped on. You are family now and as family you are free to know these things.  This body is 84 years old and the child will be born tonight I would guess.” “But shouldn’t you go to a hospital. No offense, a woman your age having a baby is incredible, but complications make it far too dangerous to do here. Put down that drink and let me call an ambulance.” 

Finishing another mug Frigga relays, “You will do no such thing child.  All my sons were born at here.  This body knows its job and it has never failed.” Standing to go get another drink Frigga continued “Baldur said he had found the perfect wife, strong and independent, and I have to agree.   We are a powerful family and you are now a part of us” 

Before Frigga could fill her mug, Odin came back into the room “It's time my dear.  The food is on the table," and left the room as he had entered.   

Frigga said “Splendid, just splendid” Holding out her old hands, “Now child, help an old pregnant woman to dinner.  We have prepared a special meal for just this occasion.” Not knowing what to say, Astrid got up and helped Frigga down the stairs to the dining room. 

The dining room was breathtaking. The logs were stacked side by side and on end perpendicular to all the other logs she had seen so far.  On one wall was huge stone fireplace that held small trees burning at a temperature that would have made walking into the room unbearable were it not for a large opening in a sidewall.  The opening looked out upon the mountains and the valley below and the view was breathtaking. The four chandeliers were made from the bones of dozens of animals with each arm holding candles large enough to burn for days. From the wax collected under the chandeliers Astrid guessed that 100’s if not 1000’s of candles had lit this room.    A thirty-foot table was filled with an unbelievable variety of foods and the centerpiece of the table was a roasted goat sitting on a huge platter. 

As the women entered the room the men all stood up and toasted them “For the Mother'' and downed their full mugs.   Odin grabbed his wife and walked her to the head of the table taking a seat at her right hand. Baldur grabbed Astrid and did the same with her at the other end. 

Frigga stood and said, “By the gods, let us feast” and sat back down.  

Larry and Chris stood and served the feast.  Larry drew a pitcher from a huge barrel sitting in the corner and walked around the table filling all their mugs. Chris carved the meat in the middle of the table in a manner that more resembled ripping than cutting.  The two husbands went around the table collecting food for their wives.   

When the plates were set in front of the women, Astrid thought a 300-pound lumberjack would have a problem putting a dent in this thing.  She looked around for some utensils, but saw none save the large carving knife Chris had used to cut and rip the meat. Frigga on the other end of the table grabbed food off her pate and ate with complete loss of manners. 

With a mouth full of food Frigga yelled across the table to Astrid  “Eat and drink my dear.  I promise you will not eat another feast like this for a long time.” 

Astrid looked down at her plate and picked up a piece of cheese.  She took a bite and was enthralled by what she tasted.  Next, she grabbed a piece of the goat and again could not believe how good it was.  She washed it down with the mead and stopped. 

“What are these spices?  I’ve never tasted anything like these?”

Taking only a short break from stuffing food into her face Frigga responded “They’re herbs from a time long forgotten. Now eat” 

Astrid continued to eat. The meal was like no other she had ever had.  All the foods were exceptional. As if reading her mind Larry walked over and topped her off her mug.  Any gratitude she may have felt was lost in the moment she grabbed her mug. Mead, cheese, meat, mead, meat, vegetable, meat, mead, oblivion. 

During the feast Astrid lost all conscious thought and in oblivion she passed out from far too much drink.


Even as Astrid’s body began to slowly return to her control, her mind was instantly aware of itself.   Feeling both an extreme cold wind and unbelievable heat at the same time, she opened her eyes and tried to adjusted to the sight of a huge fire burning halfway between the low balcony she sat outside on and the mountain cliff over which a blizzard wind was blowing. 

As she tried to stand, she found herself tied to her chair by a rough hemp rope. Her fear was instantaneous and all consuming.   She screamed to be let up, but was ignored by four shadowy figures standing nearby. 

While looking around for any way to free herself, she noticed that the four hooded figures were standing in front of Frigga, who was laying on her back tied to a wood table.  Her mouth was uncovered so her screams could be heard if anyone was listening. 

The wind brought the chants of the men “For the mother, for the mother” again and again.

This mantra punctuated by Frigga screamed “Get it out. By the gods now it is the time my children. Now get it out.”  

One man walked between Frigga’s legs and another moved around to her head.  From where she was laid Astrid could see it was Odin between her legs, but could not tell who went to her head.  Astrid screamed “Untie me you assholes!”  The men ignored all she said. 

Odin raised his hand, and all went silent for a moment.  He spoke in a voice more powerful that she imagined this old man could produce. “It is the midwinter solstice and the time for a new mother has arrived.”

The other three men resumed chanting “For the mother”  and continued getting louder and louder as time went on.. Odin produced the large carving knife from under his clock. Passing it around, each son cut Frigga as the knife was passed to him.  Frigga screamed with every cut.  Stunned to silence, Astrid could only stare as this madness unfolded in front of her. 

As the knife returned to Odin, he spoke again and the other three men went silent.  “The midwinter solstice has come again and with a new mother chosen.  Her old body shall be renewed as all that is old shall become new again. May this child be acceptable to our goddess Frigga.  May many seasons pass in the new.  May we find a splendor by her hands.”  

The three sons each knelt and kissed their mothers weeping naked body.  As they stood each repeated “For the mother” 

Without warning Odin sliced Frigga open from her pelvis to just below the ribs opening her womb.  Frigga screamed in pain.  The son at her head took the knife still in her body and completed the cut from ribs to throat loudly breaking each one as he cut through it. Frigga was still crying out in pain as Odin took the daughter from her belly and the son took her heart from her chest. 

Two of the sons picked up the dead woman and walked into the pyre with it.  One moment they were there, the next all that was left were their screams of pain. Even if they had tried to escape the heat rendered that impossible. 

Odin, carrying the child, walked to the edge of the cliff. Standing there he raised the child in his old shaking hand and began speaking in a strange language, “At the dawn of a new millennium we speak. Dette vintersolverv var en spå fra mange måner siden. En død skal få nytt liv og hva var gammel skal bli ny igjen. Brenne den gamle og nye skal stige. Aske til aske, blod til blod, For mor.” As he finished speaking to the night, he lowered the child and kissed it. With a smile on his face he said, “I love you Frigga, now and always”.  Standing for just a moment more he stepped off the cliff with the infant into the oblivion.  The wind coming over the cliff stopped as suddenly as it had begun. 

Astrid could not see what had happened to Odin and the child from her vantage point.   The sudden stillness did nothing to allay her fears and with a soft voice she began to plead with the cloaked figure standing next to the sacrificial table.  Growing louder her pleas went unnoticed by the motionless man.  

After many long moments everything changed. A wind so powerful that it suffocated the blazing pyre flames and brought about a night only lit by the full moon.  It struck the cloaked man and knocked him back to Astrid ’s feet.  He was still… motionless and Astrid was able to finally confirm what she already knew; her husband had killed Frigga.  He had killed his own mother and he had left her tied to a chair to witness these horrors.  

Screaming at him and begging for answers he finally broke his trance.  Rising; with his mother’s heart still in his hand and the knife in the other; he turned and closed the distance between himself and his wife. Astrid was helpless to stop what came next.  Baldur took the still warm heart and forced it into her mouth, cutting off her cries.  With savagery she thought impossible from her sweet husband, he forced her mouth closed on the heart.  Her teeth severed off a chunk of the heart and held it in her mouth.  Her last rational thought was that, “That flavor.  It’s Figgas blood”.  

She greedily devoured it and pleaded for more from the man she loved.  He cut her free and dropped the knife.  She stood and took the once beating heart from his hand and said, “Jeg tar dette hjertet av min mor. Jeg lever av det. Jeg spiser det. Jeg skal bli det. Dette gjør jeg for mor.” before devouring it in ecstasy.  

A short time later the husband leaned over and picked up his sleeping bride. Carrying her inside he took her to the new moon bed.  As he stood watching her, she awoke with a smile on her face. Turning her head, she saw her husband and exclaimed “Odin my Odin. Oh, how I love The.” 

Her Husband smiled back at her and said, “Frigga, you are so beautiful. I love you Frigga, now and always. For the mother.” The End

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Ep.65 – The Last Taibon - Bloodsucking Vampires BEWARE!

Episode Notes

The Last Taibon by Rob Fields

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Transcript:

It’s dark, the middle of winter, and it’s a fucking blizzard. I’ve been walking along this highway for a while now, keeping tight hold of my Reebok Pump basketball shoes. I suppose I take great joy in knowing that I’m walking around in the elements half-naked and barefoot, and am actually quite comfy. Also, I’m fucking soaked from all the snow. I’ll have to take my clothes off and let them dry when I can find a place to take shelter. Not the first blizzard I’ve walked through, and it won’t be the last. It’s about an hour before I finally see the lights of what appears to be a tavern. I turn and walk across the snowy parking lot and past several covered cars. I’m sure there’ll be people inside waiting out the storm. But I’m wondering if a certain motherfucker named Richland Jillian will be inside. I open the door and walk in. Of course this fucking place is going to be filled with men. They all look at me, some gawking that I’m dressed like a slut, while others are probably wondering how long I’ve been out in the blizzard like this. And, no, I don’t see Richland Jillian in here. Might as well have a drink before I head back out. Not a single motherfucker in the place says anything to me as I make my way to the bar and sit on a stool. The bartender slowly approaches me. “Can I . . . help you?” I point to the bottle. “I’ll take that Fire Water – all of it.” He just looks at me. “All of it?” I dig into my tattered jean shorts and pull out some money. Then I slam it onto the bar. “Did I fucking stutter?!” The bartender takes my money and hands me the Fire Water. No asking me for an ID, which is how I like fucking it. After popping the spout off and draining the hot cinnamon liquor, I slam the bottle down and see the looks on everybody’s faces, especially the bartender’s. “You, um, want anything else?” he asks me. I point to the unopened bottle of Jim Beam. “All of it?” Slapping the bar gets that bottle put right in front of me. I open it up and this time enjoy my drink. So delicious . . . Then, one of those motherfuckers finally decides to approach me. I suppose I’m always asking for this kind of fucking shit since I’m a blonde who’s wearing tattered, short denim shorts and an athletic top that’s only good for covering my small titties. Like I said, I look like a total slut. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to wear normal clothes for a very long time. And now . . . I’m pissed when a guy who looks like he could eat me whole puts his hand on my shoulder. I neither hesitate nor look his way. “Hands off, motherfucker!” He clamps down on my shoulder now. “Quite a mouth on you, little girl. Little young to be in here, aintya?” I almost swing my bottle to shatter it on his head, but I stop and remember that it’s Jim Beam. I take hold of his wrist and make him scream in intense pain. Then I turn around and give him a kick that sends him flying across the bar and smashing into the jukebox. Oh well, country music sucks major dick, anyway. I turn around to see a few other so-called men bold enough to come at me. I have no problem picking one up and slamming him right through a table – one-handed. I grab the other one and throw him behind bar. He hits the back and falls forward. The rest of the motherfuckers quickly back away. I turn to the bartender and grab him to me. “Nearest town!” He gulps when he sees my red eyes and points in the direction. “Strickfield! Five miles!” I let him go. “Thank you.” I pick up my Jim Beam and my shoes and head back out into the blizzard. 

I’ve finished my Jim Beam by the time I cross into Strickfield. After dropping the bottle in a trash can, I walk around some more. Very few people are out in this blizzard. I do see a few cars on the streets, though. Then I see more bright lights and become excited. It’s a twenty-four-hour diner! Yeah, Denoyer’s Grill’s bound to have some good comfort food. I walk into the diner and get the same looks as the motherfuckers back at the bar. The college boy behind the counter gives me that look. I hold up my wet men’s basketball shoes for him to see. Then I drop them to the floor and slip into them. The guy smiles. “You can sit wherever’s open.” I park my sexy ass at the counter. Minutes later, I get my order. Wow! Now this is a fucking burger! I pick up the huge burger and take a bite. Sure wish I had more Jim Beam to wash it down. The Coke will be just fine. The counter boy keeps stealing peeks at me. Can’t really blame him. Some of the other patrons in here are staring at me with contempt. Fuck them! I ask the counter boy, “You don’t have any booze in here, do you?” He shakes his head slowly. “Unlimited soft drink refills is the best I got, Miss.” I slide my empty Coke glass to him. “Fine.” After I get my refill, I slip my shoes back off and relax some more. The counter guy is still looking at me. “You’re probably wondering what my fucking story is, right?” “Miss, please refrain from using profanity,” he asks me. “We’ve got other customers in here.” I smile a little. “Okay . . .” I look at his nametag. “. . . Martin. Since you asked nicely . . .” Also, this guy’s really cute, pretty easy going. I think I kind of like him. “What’s your name?” Martin asks. I flash him a sexy smile. “Bella.” Martin finally answers my question. “Okay, Bella . . . I guess you could say I’m curious, yes. I mean, it ain’t every day that I meet . . . well . . .” “A hot little devil like me?” I finish for him. “I get it. I know I’m not dressed for that blizzard outside – far from it. I’m cold and wet all over. But when you’re me, things like blizzards and summer heat don’t really bother you.” “Um, you’re not on any kind of drugs, are you?” Martin asks. I laugh a little. “I can drink all the booze I want and down a hundred ecstasy tablets. None of that affects me. Not when you’re not human.” Okay, fuckers! Here’s where you pay attention to what I’m about to tell you – and Martin, instead of wondering when I’m going to take my clothes off and fuck Martin’s brains out. As I’m sure you horror freaks already know, I’m not a normal girl. I mean, come on . . . a girl like me who looks about seventeen or eighteen doesn’t just throw around big men like they’re pillows. And I certainly wouldn’t be walking around nearly naked in a fucking blizzard, neither. I’m what you would call a Master Vampire. Or maybe . . . a derivative of one. My story begins around 1889. I came from Shore Village, which would years later become the huge megalopolis known as Shore City. I came from a family that was anything but normal. See, when you’re a Taibon, you’re forever fucked. Your life is tied to shit such as magic and the supernatural. You spend your whole fucking life training and fighting this shit. I actually started training under Gramps when I was about four. Every day it was the same fucking shit. Up in the morning . . . breakfast . . . training . . . lunch . . . more training . . . dinner . . . nightly hunting . . . sleep. I was already a trained killer by the age of six – and the bitch that I am now. In other words, innocence lost. Even then, I found I was always having to compete with my older brother, Nicholas. It was always a motherfucking rivalry between him and me. Nicholas was a good three years older than me. Still, he would prove to be a way better fighter than me. I’m not afraid to admit it. Still, he was always so sure of himself that he made it a point to prove it even to me. Probably why he always called me Runt. Still, I could be a pain in his ass, too. Gramps and Grams saw how vicious and clever I could be and called me Little Devil. Anyway, Gramps used our sibling rivalry to make us better fighters. Probably too well. I couldn’t tell you how many times Gramps had to break us up when we’d lose our shit and go at each other. Anyway, Nicholas got to be so good at what Gramps taught him, that he was actually good at killing Master Vampires. Master Vampires are quite powerful and are many times older than your average garden variety vampires. The older vampires get, the more powerful they become. I don’t mind telling you that Master Vampires are harder than fuck to destroy. Still, Nicholas actually surprised Gramps out in the field by taking one down – by himself. He understood the vampire weaknesses much better than anyone in our family. The fact that Nicholas liked to face Master Vampires by himself didn’t sit too well with Gramps. Even I voiced my concerns. Of course, Nicholas didn’t want to hear me and let me know about it on no uncertain terms. It was shit like that that made me just want to yank his dick off and choke him with it. So . . . Gramps started spending more time with me and working with me himself. Even though Nicholas continued to show his dominance out in the field, I had that gut feeling that he was asking for it. I mean, how long would his luck last? Remember that saying about how no matter how good you are, there’s always going to be someone else better than you? That someone was Thornton Jillian, who was the worst Master Vampire the Taibon family had ever faced. Jillian was thousands of years old and had slaughtered many of our family, including my own parents. The Taibons were renowned for taking down the supernatural, but Thornton Jillian would prove to be the deadliest motherfucker we’d ever faced. In fact, he was the reason why I’m the last Taibon. That fateful day came. Thornton Jillian attacked our property without warning. When Jillian subdued Gramps and me, Nicholas fought him and gave him one hell of a fight. It seemed that Nicholas was finally going to end him once and for all. The problem was that Nicholas got a little too overconfident. I knew that Jillian was someone you never let up on – even for a second. Jillian attacked Nicholas the moment he saw the opening. Just like that, he tore my brother’s throat right out. Nicholas still managed to cling on to life, until Jillian ripped his heart right out of his chest. Then he turned on Gramps and me. He slaughtered Gramps with a simple swipe of his claws across his throat. Then he turned on me. He hurt me pretty bad, but he refused to kill me. In fact, I had to watch helplessly as he killed Grams, too. He left me alive to remind me of how easy it was to decimate my entire family, even rubbing my face in it that I was the last Taibon. I could’ve just laid there and cried like I’d been raped. Thornton Jillian had greatly underestimated me. Through my injuries and pain, I forced myself to stand. I mean I was beyond pissed! All I could think about was how I was going to make that motherfucker wish he’d never been born. So, I worked through my pain until I was fully healed up, training myself harder than even Gramps had ever trained me. I studied Grams’ magic books and made some potions to use in my upcoming fight. I trained and retrained, perfecting my skills. I mean, I’d been at it for months. Finally, my patience was burned. It was either Thornton Jillian or me. I went out hunting for that motherfucker. I fought and destroyed one vampire right after another – anything to lead me to Thornton Jillian. I even met a Master Vampire bitch who hated Jillian as much as I did, but she swore she wouldn’t tell me where he was unless I let her take me to bed. Yeah, I was that fucking desperate to find Jillian. Her information paid off, and I finally caught up to him. I challenged Jillian to one final showdown. He just laughed at me and told me to go back home, saying I should find a husband to serve and make babies with. But when he learned that I’d all but destroyed his tribe, he knew he had to take me seriously. He promised me he’d kill me quickly. I was ready for the fucker and this time put up one hell of a fight. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes Nicholas did in underestimating Thornton Jillian. Otherwise, the Taibon bloodline would be ended. I was the last one who stood between Jillian and his reign of terror. At one point, Jillian slashed me just below my tits and injured me. I was bleeding out fast. It was now or never! If I was dying and going to hell, I was taking this motherfucker with me. I threw the last of my potions at him, which only slowed him down. He grabbed me and told me he was going to make a new tribe – using my womb. But I had one last trick up my sleeve. I pulled one last vial of potion out of my long hair and threw it right in his face. I had to cover my own eyes as the liquid sunlight burned brightly . . . searing his flesh. He dropped me, giving me one last chance to strike. I kicked him backwards and into a tree. A branch, which worked as a thick stake, pierced his heart. This alone wouldn’t stop him, though. Not a Master Vampire! I needed to decapitate him too! As I pulled out my knife, I had forgotten about underestimating Jillian. He grabbed me and pulled me right onto the sake with him. He told me that I would be his wife in hell. Knowing I would die soon, I made my last attack on Jillian. He was going to find out why my grandparents called me Little Devil. I raised my knife and pressed it against his neck with all the strength I had left. I screamed like a fucking lunatic as I moved the knife like a saw and worked it through his neck, through the bone, and finally . . . the head fucking fell off! I slipped off the stake and fell onto my back. I was so badly hurt. I laughed as I relished my intense pain. I had finally done it! I had killed Thornton Jillian and avenged my family. Knowing that, I closed my eyes and prepared to meet up with Jillian in hell. I was only dimly aware of something dripping quickly onto my chest. 

When I woke up, it was morning. I felt . . . fucking fantastic! I sat up and saw that I was still wearing the tatters of my clothes. I saw I was completely healed up. Not even so much as a fucking scar! I growled with excitement and stood up to look at the headless corpse of Thornton Jillian again. “Fuck you!!” I screamed at it. Holy motherfucking shit! I just couldn’t help myself! I felt so! Incredibly! Powerful! The first thing I noticed was my arms and legs. I fucking had muscular definition. I mean, I really felt incredibly strong. I also realized that I could see much better than I ever had. What the fuck had happened to me? I pulled Jillian’s body off the tree and started a blazing fire that burned his remains until there was nothing but ashes. As I watched, I felt that my clothes were just too . . . constrictive! I tore my jacket away and ripped tatters off my shirt. I kicked my shoes away and tore the legs off my pants. Anything to feel free. Half-naked and moaning in satisfaction, I turned and walked away. I went back home and straight up to my bedroom to contemplate my next move. I was now the last Taibon. Everything was mine: the house, the greatly-vast family fortune, all of our tools against the supernatural . . . And then I screamed when I saw the full-length mirror beside my dresser. “What the fuck?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I shot right up off the bed and straight to the mirror. “No, this can’t be!” But it was! I had no reflection! No fucking wonder I felt so powerful! Did Thornton Jillian fucking sire me?! Suddenly, I realized something else! “It’s fucking daylight outside! How the fuck can I be a goddamn vampire?! HOW?!” I moved to the window again and threw open the curtains. The daylight washed over my body, but I wasn’t burning in any way. Then I opened the window and leapt out to the ground below, landing like a cat. I looked up at the bright sun. It actually felt wonderful. And then I felt the fangs growing in my mouth. I even turned my fingers into claws. “How the fuck can I be out in the daylight?! NO fucking vampire can exist during the daytime – not even Thornton Jillian!” I yelled to nobody. Then I remembered the drippings I had felt before I passed out. I remembered that I was in a lot of pain from my injuries. And I finally understood! “FUCK!!” I screamed at the sky. “WHY?!” What happened? Thornton Jillian’s fucking blood had dripped and poured from his open neck and into my chest wounds – into my heart. Jillian’s vampire blood had fucking mixed with my pure Taibon blood – tainting me. But . . . Jillian never drank from me. He never once tasted my blood. I remembered that clearly! Yet, a large quantity of his blood dripped and poured into my wounds and turned me. I couldn’t cast a reflection or a shadow anymore, I felt so very wild, I was incredibly strong, and I could be in the daylight. And then I realized I was no longer breathing. Even though I’d destroyed Thornton Jillian, he still had the last laugh. Or did he? I realized I could still feel my heartbeat. But vampires don’t have heartbeats! What the fuck kind of a vampire was I?! Through the many years that passed between then and now, I found that I would never age a single day. I would be seventeen forever. Ah, but you would think that I’d have to drink human blood in order to keep my youth and beauty, right? Nope! In fact, as soon as I felt my stomach screaming at me, I tried using my new fangs to drink from a murderer I found in an alleyway. One bite and two swallows later, I quickly shoved the fucker away and puked my guts up. The only thing that took that fucking awful taste out of my mouth was several roast chickens from a nearby inn’s open flame. I used to eat like a bird, but now I have one hell of a monstrous fucking appetite. Over the years, I toured the world and found masters who could teach me in more ways to fight. One of them even taught me ways to reign in my libido, which also grew – much like my fucking appetite. Yeah, Thornton Jillian really changed my life, didn’t he? However, I am still a Taibon. My family’s mission has not – will never – change. I still hunt creatures of the night who would prey on innocent people. Taking down monsters, witches, and other vampires is so fucking easy now since I’m way stronger and far more powerful than they are. Having Thornton Jillian’s blood mixed with my own made me an instant Master Vampire. I guess I still have to answer that big question: Is this the ultimate fuck you to him . . . or for me? Speaking of hunting supernatural scum, let’s get back to the present day. While telling my story to Martin behind the counter at Denoyer’s, I managed to wolf down five half-pound cheeseburger platters, complete with fries, lots of Coke refills, and even two whole strawberry-rhubarb pies. Oh, and one large order of onion rings. Both Martin and Denoyer himself watched skinny little me put all that food away. I think Denoyer was wondering if I was going to be able to pay for everything. Not only did I pay for everything, I even gave Martin a very generous tip. And then I turn to see the motherfucker who was sitting by the door leaving. I get up to follow him. “Hey, you left your shoes on the floor!” Martin calls out to me. I glance over my shoulder. “I’ll be back for them.” I give him my sexy smile again. “And you.” I head back out into the blizzard. Sure enough, the motherfucker’s waiting for me. “You really didn’t think I’d fucking find you, Jillian? Please . . .” Richland Jillian is the younger brother of Thornton. Not quite a Master Vampire himself just yet, but he’s getting up there. “Will you never relent, Taibon?” Richland yells. I raise my hands, which are now claws. I even put my vampire face on. “Suck my dick!” Then I howl a battle cry and leap right at him. It’s too fucking snowy for the people inside Denoyer’s to see the two of us fight it out. Richland Jillian has been dodging and evading me for a good year now. Every fucking time I’d catch up to him, he’d always use my need to save innocents to get away. He loves to call it my greatest weakness. But no . . . I’m a Taibon and that’s what Taibons do. But I’ve finally got this motherfucker right where I want him. Richland is quite strong. He’s definitely a bigger man than what his brother Thornton was, though nowhere near as powerful. Remember, Thornton was a Master Vampire. Richland claws me, but I have one hell of a healing factor. When Richland realizes he can’t possibly win, he tries to escape. “Nope! Don’t even think it!” I tell him. “NO innocents for you to throw in front of me this time!” He roars one last roar as he tries to slash my throat with his claws. But I see it coming a mile away. I snatch his wrist and punch him right in the chest – enough for me to break through his chest cavity and seize his heart. Then I pull it out and pulp the thing right in my hands. The body falls over, and that’s all she wrote. Just to make sure, however, I glare at the body and make it burst into flames. I’ve never been able to figure out how to change form, if I can even do that. I can, however, create fog or mist, command animals and insects, and even make fire appear. When Richland Jillian is finally ashes and blowing away in the blizzard, I morph my face and hands back into human again. I move to the lake across the road from Denoyer’s and wash the blood off my arms and hands. When I’m finished, I turn and head back to Denoyer’s. I do have to reclaim my shoes . . . and a certain counter guy. When I come back in, I see some nerdy librarian bitch talking to Martin. They both turn to look at me. “Hey, you came back!” Martin exclaims. “Am I interrupting something here?” I ask. Martin shakes his head. “Not at all. I’m about done here, and my little sister came by to get me. This is Einstein. Her real name is Eileen.” I look at the librarian. “Ah, little sister. Of course you are . . .” “Wow! Were you really hanging around outside dressed like that?” Einstein asks in amazement. “Still a free country, right?” I reply. Then Denoyer calls out from behind the counter, “Martin! Sheila’s here now. She’ll relieve you shortly. Get home safely.” Martin smiles and looks at me. “Still want to come home with me?” I give him my sexiest smile again. 

Martin’s sound asleep as I slip out of bed and put my tatters back on. I pick up my shoes and quietly slip out of the bedroom. Martin definitely satisfied me. Now it’s time to get the fuck out of Strickfield and move on to another town . . . another adventure . . . another malevolent motherfucker to destroy . . . “Now you weren’t thinking of just leaving my brother, were you, Bella?” a familiar voice calls out to me as I reach the front door. The lights turn on, revealing the librarian, Martin’s little sister, Eileen Donnerly – Einstein. “What the fuck were you doing, waiting up for me?” I snap. “I needed to get laid. I liked your brother. We both got what we wanted. No commitments. I’m gone.” Einstein gets right to the point. “My brother doesn’t just take anyone to bed. You must have been really special to him. I’m not going to let you hurt him like that.” I roll my eyes. “What do you want from me, Einstein, to wear his fucking ring?” Einstein folds her arms in front of her. “I want for you to stop running and settle down here. I want for you to be good for Martin.” She raises her eyelid. “I think we could even be great friends, you and me.” I laugh now. “What motherfucking planet are you from? I don’t live in Strickfield. I don’t even fucking belong here. I don’t belong . . . anywhere really.” “You’re a vampire, right?” Wow! Subtle, ain’t she? Before I can ask how she knows, she points to a nearby mirror. “Okay . . . So?” I roll my eyes again. “I didn’t kill Martin, okay? I don’t even drink blood. Nasty fucking shit!” “Oh, I know you didn’t,” Einstein says. “But . . . my big brother’s really into you. You’re staying, Bella. And on Monday morning . . . you’re coming to school with me.” Before I can tell her to go fuck herself, she quickly unfolds her arms and raises her finger. “You walk in the daylight, right? So it’s settled. You’re coming to school with me on Monday.” She laughs a little. Now it’s my turn to fold my arms in front of me. “What makes you so goddamn sure that I’m coming to school with you?” I drop my arms. “Please, Einny, fucking enlighten me here . . .” She gives me a cute little smile. No, not the kind that says she’s got me right where she wants me. It’s the kind of cute little smile that belongs to a cute little face like hers. “Because . . . I believe the girls who are on the cheerleading squad at Strickfield High School . . . are also vampires. Maybe they’re not like you, but they are vampires. Possibly all six of them.” I raise my finger. “Let me stop you right there, Einny! As far as I know, I’m the only one who can walk in the daylight. How the fuck can these so-called vampire twats walk the halls and attend classes? Hello! Sunlight comes in through pretty much every fucking classroom window at a school.” Einstein shakes her head. “Oh, I don’t believe they’re like you, Bella. But they must be doing something to be able to walk around during the daylight. And I don’t think they’re wearing sunblock.” I nod in agreement. “There are very few ways vamps can move around during the daylight, but nothing they can do on their own. They need . . . outsides sources, if you will. And damn sure not fucking sunblock.” And . . . Einstein fucking smiles. The little bitch knows she’s got my attention now. “I’ll give you some of my clothes and shoes. I think we’re the same size.” I glare at her now. “If you’re fucking lying to me about this, Einny, I’m going to take you and offer you as a free meal to other vamps.” But . . . I can tell she’s not lying. I just don’t want to stay here in this fucking village is all. “Fine, I’ll go to school with you on Monday morning. Fuck!” Einstein smiles. “That means you’re also spending the rest of the weekend with us. Guess you’d better head back upstairs, then . . . Bells. Good night . . .” I give her a dirty look and raise my middle finger before I turn and head back upstairs. Martin’s awake when I enter his room again. Yeah, he knows I was about to leave him sad and lonely. I need to fix this – fast. I get naked again, climb back into bed, and we screw some more. Might as well occupy my time since I don’t really sleep, and Monday is several hours away yet.

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Ep.64 – Satan's Shotgun - Death Won't Stop His Gory Vengeance!

Mayhem is everyone on this splattery New Year's Eve!

Episode Notes

On New Year's Eve 1899 the ball isn't dropping but bodies are falling all around! A bloody vengeance that spams over lifetimes is about to conclude! Shotguns and rifles are nice, but an undying revenge can't be stopped!

Satan's Shotgun by Daniel Wilder

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcription:

I had me a revelation come New Year’s Eve of 1899… Jesus weren't nothin’. 

I reckon I could resurrect myself like a right heavyweight champion… long as my boy’s bones held out that is… but admittedly I couldn’t hold a candle to that water to rotgut routine, and I sure as fuck couldn’t walk on water, and there sure as shit aren’t any virgins in my vicinity… I guess I truly meant that coming back from the dead wasn’t any great shakes.

What brought me to that bit o’ revelation were the events of nearly 12 years prior… 1887 if you can cipher… the night Gideon Pharoh’s Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang came a-knockin’… and that’s exactly as those hocus-pocus braggarts billed themselves too; Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang… should have spent more time practicing with pistols than coming up with candy-ass gang titles, but I digress…

Ya see, I was a simple man then… farming… maybe a bit of trapping, not to mention interpreting for the local tribes and those they cottoned to trade with. It wasn’t the high life, but it was good enough for me, ‘Lizbeth, and our boy… Lazarus.

That name was a bit of on the nose serendipity that the fates served up to us by the by, let me tell ya true… and I sure as hell wasn’t amused.

T’weren’t eighteen months after our boy’s birth that that sack-headed side-winder Gideon and his posse arrived on our doorstep and ended his life… and his momma’s… but as was their folly, they never checked if my heart had stopped… and to be fair I never asked them why they were so sore with me and mine, so yeah, mistakes were made all ‘round on that day.

So, once their devilish deeds were done, they headed off into the still night with nary a thought of the hell they had born that day… and still my heart continued to beat… like a native drum… a doom dirge banging away to attract any midnight mother fucker within six hundred and sixty-six yards… and attract it surely did.

The shaman entered what remained of our home casual as can be… the fully bandaged man he lead on a leash followed seemingly devoid of thought as well as grace.

He slinked his way over to me like a mongoose, all sinew and glide… the bones around his waist clanking together like the gnashing teeth of some desert devil risen from an unholy hell ready to feast.

As my eyes strained to focus, I saw that bastard light a fire of green flame… a flame he used to rend the prone form of my boy to ashes and bone in as much time as it takes to tell.

I admit the darkness took me then as I was a powerful sight weaker in constitution than I am now… though I have a dread vision of that bandaged fella placing a lip-less mouth o’er my own and blowing a dust that reeked to high hell of rot deep into my lungs that made them feel as it they were filled with the fires of ol’ Scratch himself!

I came too walking along a trail deep in the nearby Adirondacks, a foul scented wrapping from the shaman’s… friend… tied tightly around my eyes. While you may get to thinking that would seriously impede my journey, the exact opposite held true… I could sense where I was going, and just where the first of those I sought were hunkered down.

So onward I trekked; my boy’s bones rattling in the leather sack strapped to my left shoulder. 

That same rattle let any man or beast in my path know that I surely was not to be fucked with as I began my stride along revenge’s rough road.

I walked those wicked woods until the sun fell low, and the sky was streaked in hues of lavender and rose… and it was then I came upon the cabin on New Year’s Eve, painted as it were in two differing colors… sky blue and soft pink… the abode of Gemini, two doses of poison in one pill.

The smoke that poured from the chimney let me know those that needed correcting were home sweet home.

I didn’t stand on formality…

The door exploded inward from the impact of my left shit-kicker, splinters spreading out like buckshot acting as my callin’ card.  

It took me a fraction of a second to realize no one was visible in the room, magic eyewear or no… but I could smell them just fine.

Naturally, they didn’t surprise me none when the exploded from the shadows of the cabin’s ceiling… however the fact they could move together like a great spider in their conjoined state definitely raised an eyebrow.

I unloaded my rifle with a thunderous roar. The shot tore a nice chunk in whatever the lady side of this thing was called, but she wasn’t going down by a long shot. 

Before I knew it, the male side of the equation had maneuvered himself in such a way that he both knocked me to the ground, and managed to wrap the fleshy band that kept these two eternally bound around my neck. 

That same bit of flesh began flexing and throbbing until I couldn’t draw a breath, the various veins and sinew contained under that warm sleeve pulsing like a bag of snakes.

Things began swirling and growing ever darker… that’s when I died for the first time.

The shaman appeared shortly thereafter though my enemies never noticed, although if they did I wager they’d have been confused as all get out. See, that fella simply strolled in, leaned low, and whispered in my ear. 

“Use a bone?”

I didn’t quite gather what he was on about, but it seemed like a question I should answer in the affirmative. 

He reached into my rucksack, pulled out one of the twelve bones of my boy that clattered inside and shoved that rune covered ivory femur right in my mouth.

It dissolved on contact with my tongue, and I was back in business.

I sat up, puked, and roared at my killers who had now sat down to a nice warm meal after their deed was done.

What I did next would become a bit of a legend. 

See, I grabbed the steak knife out of the hand of the twin closest to me… who honestly didn’t even resist… probably the shock of a corpse interrupting his din-din.

Anyway, I took that blade and commenced to slice that ribbon that held them together like a rabid wolf. But then I had a pang of conscious… these two have been together since day one, so it would be a shame to take that away from them.

Fortunately, I learned to sew at a tender age.

I can only imagine the look on Gideon’s face when he saw one… or two… not sure how they counted themselves… anyway, saw a member of his posse fixed mouth to crotch of their opposite number like those Yin-Yang symbols the Chinese fellas out west were so fond of. 

And “imagine” it would have to be as once my work was done I sunk into the Earth outside the Gemini’s doorstep and there I slept for a full year.


And so it went; at the very end of each and every year I’d rise up and put a murder on one of those psychos.

Pieces… hard to breathe with concrete in your gills.

Taurus… let’s just say he wasn’t just a bull from the shoulders up, but that would be his undoing when I rammed that tally-whacker straight down his throat. 

Aries, Leo, Cancer, Sagittarius, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Aquarius… dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, and double dead… don’t ask.

Year after year I fought, and year after year I lost a little bit more of my boy, piece by piece.


Finally I came to Scorpio, and if you think the other menagerie made for a one-of-a-kind corpse gallery I can assure you all that the final member of that gang… minus their ringmaster, but I’ll get to his arcane ass in a tick.

See, after the decade and change of carnival exhibits I’d tussled with I wouldn’t blame ya none if you wagered Scorpio would be some kind of insect man, but it wasn’t, hell it wasn’t even a man.

As you could guess from the hiring of those darling siblings I jawed about earlier, Gideon didn’t give a single shit if those that worked for him were men or women… a real rarity as far as evil posses went in the late 1800’s… course half those mother fuckers would be a right challenge to even classify as human.

When I sauntered up to that gypsy wagon lady Scorpio called home I could just tell I was in for a hell of a time.

The scent of burning herbs filled the air, and the roaring flame burning brightly beside the gaudy wagon was doing a solid job of roasting a large pheasant.

I hunkered down by the fire… it always feels good to warm my hands after pointing my boots towards the sky for twelve months.

The lavender and crimson curtains that covered the entrance to the wagon parted and she appeared. A raven haired beauty with eyes as cruel and cold then a whole nest of vipers could possess. 

“I told Gideon doing your wife and boy was a grave mistake.”

“Well, it’s a mistake that will surely put you in your grave, Missy.”

She laughed, and I had to admit it was an unbelievably delicate thing.

“If that is to be my fate there is little I can do to change it.”

I spit at her feet. “Yup.”

“Won’t you come inside a moment?”

“It’s your funeral, you can have it any way you want.” I entered the wagon, and beheld the interior which contained nothing save for an opulent bed. I sat down and waited for the show to start.

She slid into the bed beside me, pushed me down, and started to rub up against me all feline like. I grabbed her hair, tugged it hard and whispered the most romantic thing I could think of into her ear… 

“This is for ‘Lizbeth!”

I drove the blade of the hunting knife through the back of her head before she could even realize I had pulled it from my left boot. 

She made that weird gargle whistling exhale thing that you never really get used to and then the light in those big brown eyes went dim.

“Should have started with this one.”

I managed to remove my knife from her skull and kick her ass right out of the wagon in a near seamless movement. 

I heard her hit the ground and then… 

“Splash?”

Her skin flew through the curtains and collided with the far wall of the wagon with a sickening sound akin to pig innards being thrown at a whore-house.

“Ah, here we go… “ I said as the giant scorpion “clickety-clacked” through the entryway. The odd thing about this here scorpion had a great set of breasts and a tail equipped with rather ornery lookin’ cock where that poisonous sting should of rested.

“I’m going to fuck you one way or another, lover!” the beast spat from a mouth full of spear-like teeth and bad intentions.

“Get in line sister.”

I drew my iron and unloaded on that nightmare with barrel a-blazin!

That damn tail whipped at me again and again as Scorpio’s face looked like a vat of prize-winning chili… and to my horror the loads that appendage shot were some sort of acid. While the walls of the wagon began to dissolve the bitch stopped her bucking.

Well fuck me silly, I didn’t die this go around. I wonder if I’ll still take a dirt nap?

“Yup.” I said as I folded into the cold earth.


For the first time in years I dreamed.

I saw my family… the unspeakable terror life had become… the soul-crushing scream into the abyss I’d make year after year as I was reborn to put down one monster after another… and I saw that burlap headed bastard that had made this all so.

And I saw children… unfamiliar children with their faces tinted a glowing blue the exact hue of which I’d never seen the like of before.


Guess what day it is?

That’s right, the day I end the life of that masked son of a bitch and finally rest in peace. That’s the theory anyway.

The morning of New Year’s Eve of 1899 I had that “Jesus” thought I mentioned at the start of this yarn… and I found my self wandering the streets of ol’ Manhattan Town, beastly bandages in place.

Everything was cold gray… until I got that unholy vision that Gideon was well and truly a man about town… though he wore a false human face over his rough mask.

I followed him around a pace, but he seemed to make stops at random, and although he made no indication that he knew I was there, but I knew damn well he did.

Finally he got the drop on me after a rather well-executed disappearing act in the Bowery.

“Let’s retire to my residence and talk this through, eh dead-man?” he purred.

“Yup” I answered.


We entered the luxurious townhouse Gideon called home.

“Please, relax.” Gideon said, gesturing to an array of sofas and chairs that festooned his abode.

I took a load off on a nearby Persian rug… that furniture was doubtless cursed and would spell my doom if I dare put my ass upon it.

“Are you a gambling man?” he asked.

“Not by nature, no.”

“I am. And if I had to play my hand, I would wager you want to know why I chose you and your kin to slaughter.”

“The thought had crossed my mind a time or two if I am to be honest.” I answered true.

“I had heard that if you do someone a cosmic level injustice… like a random killing for instance… then powerful magic is revealed to those willing to travel a dark path.”

“You heard rightly.”

He gestured toward my rucksack. “The magic?”

“My son.”

“Your son became the rarest of magics? You should be kissing my feet for this gift.”

“I see it a tad different.”

“I wager you do. Nevertheless, my theory was correct.” “Nevertheless you should have listened to your pet bug.”

“Scorpio? She was always the most in-tune of my menagerie… “

Was is the operative word.”

“I care little that you killed any of those sideshow attractions.”

“You’re all heart.”

“No, I’m all business.”

“How so?” I queried. 

“Let’s say you give me the last bone in your sack, and I let you walk out of here and live a long and happy life.”

“Let’s say I do… what does that give me? An eternity without those I love… those you took from me.”

“True, but a life is a life.”

I thought on this a spell… and I had me a revelation, hold on… you’ll see.

“Fine, you want the bone, here it is.”

I removed my son’s skull from the sack and held it up for that snake to see.

“Glorious… please, let me hold it!”

The shaman spoke into my ear for the last time. I nodded.

I tossed my boy’s skull to Gideon… and as that bone grew ever closer, I drew my pistol and fired!

The skull exploded when the bullet hit the bone.

The shaman laughed.

His Egyptian pal laughed.

I laughed.

Gideon however, did most assuredly not laugh.

The shards of the skull became as unto missiles and pierced Gideon’s mask in a hundred razor-sharp volleys.

He did that gargle thing and fell like a sack of potatoes.

“That’s that then.” I said.

I waited for some sort of cosmic redemption… would I stand before my family once more? Would I finally be able to rest?

A glowing letter “A” appeared in the sky.

A glowing “S” followed.

And another “S”

“Ass… real cute.” I thought as I finally succumbed to the darkness.

*** 

Brent laughed.

“ASS… classic.”

“Yeah man… this game is so easy if you have enough quarters.” Todd said. “I’ve beaten it like a hundred times.”

The duo walked away from the cabinet as the attract screen of Satan’s Shotgun called out to the next player… and ‘Lizbeth and Lazarus died anew.

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