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

Episode Notes

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

Jimmy Flavor's Last Day by David O'Hanlon

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

Three Days Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode Notes

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

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

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

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

Episode Notes

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

The Bad Schoolgirl by Rob Fields

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

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

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

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

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

Episode Notes

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

My Dog, Doug by David O'Hanlon

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

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

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

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

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Ep.74 – Old Jerry - The Trickster Becomes the Treat!

Episode Notes

Kids think they have a monopoly on Mischief, but tonight Old Jerry may just be the king of Tricks and Treats!

Old Jerry by RT Raynaud

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Great. Another broken blade. Goddamn Sawzall. This Japanese piece of shit just isn’t built for hard work. Or is it Chinese? I dunno. It’s one of those Oriental countries. I mean, if you’re using it in an air-conditioned, perfectly ventilated workshop a month after you bought it, and all you’re cutting is 5/8” plywood, it’ll work great. But, I swear, the moment you take it outside… or it gets dirty… or what you’re cutting is a little messy… you spend more time on saw repair than you do actually sawing. Hmmph… maybe I’m being too hard on it? I’m pretty sure that bone isn’t something the saw was designed to cut. … No, fuck that. This thing is designed to cut through aluminum. Bone shouldn’t be a problem. I should’ve just paid the little extra for an American made one. Fucker, fine. There. New blade. You happy, saw? Can we please finish this before sunrise? I still have a hole to dig. Relax, Jerry. Breathe. Just a little bit more work and you’ll never have to see this kid’s smug little fucking face again. At least he’ll never egg your house again on Halloween. I bet this was the little shit who’s been doing it every year. Without fail, each November 1 is spent cleaning rotting egg off of my stucco. Or toilet paper out of my tree. Or a smashed pumpkin off of my porch. I have been vowing for years to catch the fuckface who kept doing it. And I did, didn’t I, you little bastard? You thought that you could get away with it again this year, huh? You thought, “well, I’m just going to pick on Old Jerry. Just minding his own business.” You didn’t count on the fact that I was watching this year. That I saw you in your little Devil costume throw that egg, with your friends Dracula, Zombie, and Skeleton cheering you on. That I would recognize your stupid little costume when you walked up to my door alone asking for candy. Kind of a bonehead move when you think about it. Everyone knows that, when you’re “Trick-or-treat”-ing, you walk up to the door, knock, ask for candy, get candy, and go onto the next house. It’s called “Trick-Or-Treat”-ing” for a reason, you know. It’s in the disjunctive: you do one OR the other, not both. That would be “Trick-And-Treat”-ing, moron. Even if it wasn’t just plain illogical, if you’re going to do both, you should do the trick after you’ve already gotten the candy. Duh. And you’re NEVER supposed to go into the person’s house. Particularly when you don’t know them. Particularly if you’ve already egged the house because you’re a cocksucking, asshole kid with no sense of decency. Particularly when you’ve been fucking with Old Jerry for years already. You weren’t the sharpest crayon in the box, were you chief? OHHHH! Shit! See? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You’d think that a saw could cut through some viscera without getting all jammed up. But noooooo. Ugh. Blood’s all over the place now. Fuck… it’s in my goddamn eye. Hold on, this shit stings. Even in death, you’re giving me crap. Alright.  . I need a new saw. When this is all over, I’m gonna dump this fucker in the hole with you, bud. You know, I honestly wasn’t expecting the “welcome to my haunted house” line to work. Most kids probably would have politely declined; it was the obvious play. Admittedly, I hadn’t expected you to have the balls to actually walk up to my house. I didn’t have the time to think of a really creative way to lure you in. I was in the middle of cursing myself for my unpreparedness when you said “thanks, mister” and waltzed through my front door like you owned the fucking place. You fell for my ruse hook, line, and sinker; complete with stupid smile across your chubby idiot face. I had such a hard time restraining my joy as I marched you through the house towards the kitchen. I probably could’ve done without that snide comment you made about how my home looked “more like a haunted crackhouse”. Yeah, I get it. I live by myself and I wasn’t expecting guests. It’s as clean as I mind it, but it probably couldn’t hurt to dust and mop more regularly. Now that I’m reflecting on it, the condition of my house probably helped sell the half-baked scheme in the first place. But, who the fuck are you anyway? You’re just some idiot kid. What the hell do you know about interior decoration? You probably have a fucking video game poster on the wall in your room. Ugh… classless fucking asshole. And the comment about the insects on the dishes in the kitchen sink? Apparently, you’re too good to eat bugs. I mean, it’s food that walks right up to you! You’ll eat whatever the hell “nougat” is; but if it has a thorax, all of a sudden, it’s too gross for you. Bourgeois bitch. I swear some people have no vision. But, you know what I regret? I regret not having a video camera set up to capture your face when you turned to me and said, “this is a pretty lame haunted house”. You were expecting to see me disappointed at the bad review. I could see it in your eyes; in your shit-eating grin. You wanted to ruin my night; to inflict psychic torment on who you thought was a poor earnest haunted house proprietor with your “dissatisfied customer” routine. I mean, I know it was just a ploy to get you in the house, but I was offering you a FREE haunted house tour. Gratis. As far as you knew, it would cost you nothing. Despite this, nothing would have given you more pleasure than to see Old Jerry’s feelings hurt. It’s just sadistic when you think about it. You relished the opportunity to be an asshole… right up until the moment I cracked you in the forehead with the hammer you never noticed me holding. If we’re being entirely honest, I hit you too hard. I wanted you to know what was happening before I turned your lights out. I wasn’t going for a “scream of terror” or anything like that, but, if I had my druthers, a “no, please stop” would have been nice to hear you say before the end. To be fair, blunt force head trauma is more of an art than a science. And, it’s not like I do this very often. To kids your age anyway. As was, you dropped limp without a sound. But, oooooh, boy, it was still pretty sweet. I’m getting chills thinking about it again. I knew I had to hit you again to make sure the deed was done, if only to make sure you couldn’t surprise me and get away when I turned my back. I’ve been down this road too many times to know that one should never underestimate the resiliency of the human body. Afterwards, I dragged you over to the basement door and pushed you down the stairs. There was no way for you to somehow magically escape from down there. I suppose I may have been being too cautious, but these are the kinds of lessons experience teaches you, I suppose. That’s the difference between Old Jerry and “other people”; I like redundancies. But, my worries were needless. You landed at the bottom with a dull flop, eyes open and dilated. You were clearly dead, your blood droplets spattered all over my basement stairwell. Oh… remind me later to get to the pharmacy to pick up some hydrogen peroxide to clean all of this up. Then came step two of my plan: cut you up into little pieces so that I could properly dispose of you. I mean, of course, I kept the tastiest parts of you for dinner this week, but my refrigerator is only so large. Eventually, the rest of you’d start stinking. Eventually, the smell would draw notice. Best just to dump you in a shallow grave and be done with you. I had just been hoping that the disposal part of this process hadn’t been so taxing. If only this saw would cooperate. I mean, look at me; I’m covered in your blood. Old Jerry looks like he’s been… well, like he’s been in a basement cutting up a body all night. HA! No? Well, I thought it was funny. Being splattered with your blood does make for a pretty convincing Halloween costume at least. When all’s said and done, kiddo, you’re actually pretty easy to talk to. Don’t get me wrong, I still think you’re a prick. But, I haven’t had this much human interaction in months. Ever since the psychologist lady told me to stop coming by. Man, now THAT is a story. You see, the court ordered me to see a shrink a couple times a week. But, one week she forgot to give me my prescription. I ran out over the weekend, but her office didn’t open until Monday. So, I did some researching to find where she lived and went to her house… SHHHHHHH! Do you hear something? . . . I think I just heard a knock on the front door. Hold on. Lemme go see. . . . Hey, wouldn’t you know, your friends Dracula, Zombie, and Skeleton are here. They look a little worried. Perhaps here to check up on you? Ah. Now I see why you were so bold in coming up to my house: this was all just some bit. You must’ve thought your friends had your back if anything went wrong. Maybe you should’ve stuck with the plan and only asked for candy. Who’s the joke on now, bitch? They sure did take their time in coming to your rescue, didn’t they? No doubt the product of an extended debate as to whether to go tell someone and risk getting in trouble for tonight’s hijinks. I really have to question your friends’ wisdom in approaching the same house you didn’t come out of. You really picked some idiot friends. Seriously, what the hell are they teaching you kids about the mechanics of “Trick-or-Treat”-ing these days? Like I said, go up to house, get candy, leave, approach next house, repeat. None of this is rocket science. But, I suppose they still are “witnesses” who can “link you back to me”. And I really don’t want the police sniffing around here. WAY too much for them to find. Oooooo-wee, they’d bury Old Jerry under the jail if they found half of the shit I have down here. A few too many skeletons in the closet. And in the crawl space. And under the floorboards. And in the backyard. Do you think they’ll fall for the same haunted house ruse you did? I mean, you did give me a great costume! How’s about it, hoss – you in the mood for some company? Yeah? Then we’re agreed! Let me go get my hammer. . . Oh, fuck. The goddamn saw. How the hell am I gonna cut up three more of you with this thing? 

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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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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 . . .


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.” 


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.  


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. 


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! 


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! 


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. 


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.


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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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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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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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.


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. 


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.” 


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?”


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

Billy shook his head. “Go around back.” 


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.” 


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.”


“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?”


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


A gloved hand gripped her shoulder. 


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

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


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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