New Short Stories
By: Carole Gill
He wanted everything to be perfect. Breakfast in bed with flowers, no newspaper though, Ma hated the news. She said it was depressing. “They just have the worst stories there, in print, so’s people can read them and enjoy all the suffering that’s there! That’s what folks are like. That’s what the world’s like, son best you know now!” He was certain she was right. After all, she was right about most things, clever woman, especially discerning about him. Truth be told, she was harsh sometimes. That is, she could be if her mind was set that way. Her life had been a hard one, so had Pa’s and Pa took it out on her. Smacked her around sometimes when he staggered in drunk on cheap liquor (all he could afford) and smelling of cheap perfume. How she’d glare at him.
“Best go up to your room now, boys.”
He took that as the plea it really was. She didn’t want them to see the beating. Still, Eddie and his brother knew it was better for her…they were only kids, after all, better for them not to see the beating and the punches. The thing was they could hear it.
She never shouted. Hank said she didn’t because she knew it would give their father pleasure if she did. It was just as bad hearing the clouts and things breaking. The sound of china and glass thrown against the wall, hurled at her no doubt.
Sometimes she’d rush outside, but he’d drag her back, and when that happened, it would get worse.
There was something else he knew. His brother wouldn’t discuss it with him, but he didn’t have to. He knew anyway. He heard the mattress springs going a mile a minute even after the beatings. Their room was next to the boys room. Imagine! After an alcohol fueled thrashing he’d take her by force!
Eddie wanted to stop it. Covering his ears was stupid and weak and disrespectful to Ma. But he did it anyway.
“Please, Hank! We gotta go in there.”
His brother refused. “It would be worse for her and for us!”
The mornings that followed were horrible. She’d try not to show her face, but it was impossible not to. He’d see it. His brother used to go out early before she was up to avoid seeing what a bruised and swollen mess she was. Her face, split lip and one closed eye.
“You’re lucky I don’t close ‘em both!”
How many times had he heard that!
Ma was quiet afterwards. She didn’t talk to anyone. She always looked tired, never more so, and her appetite was off. Both he and his brother tried to get her to eat, but with little success. They were young but they knew how badly she was suffering, especially Eddie. She confided in him but not his brother.
“Your pa must have some fancy woman. Women are evil creatures, boy. Don’t you forget that!”
He swore he wouldn’t.
He’d pray for things to get better, but they got worse, Pa began coming home later and later, too late for dinner. When he first did this, he’d stare at his wife egging her on to say the wrong thing. It was obvious to both boys that he wanted her to ask where he had been just so he could tell her in excruciating detail. She sensed it, it was obvious: furtive looks, eyes cast down and her hands shaking as she heard his taunts.
There was so much hatred in the house it was like electric sparks ran through the place. It got so bad Pa wasn’t even coming home for supper after a while.
Ma had had it. One night, she said she was going out.
“You just wait here son. I’m taking the truck.”
The old pickup, a piece of rusty old shit. Eddie wanted to go along. However, she wouldn’t let him. When Ma gave you one of her looks, you obeyed. The thing was he did follow her on foot. Hank said he was nuts. “Don’t stick your nose in. It’ll be worse!”
Eddie waved him off and rushed out. He ran mostly, except for when he had to get his breath. Luckily, the truck was in bad shape. He knew it would take long for her to get there because it couldn’t do more than 35 since the roads were shit.
He caught sight of her at last near Clancy’s Cafe. Clancy changed the name and added the back room when prohibition came in.
Everyone knew they had whores there. Clancy, a devout Roman Catholic had his wife leave him over that. Folks said she had taken their four kids and headed out to Kansas somewhere, where her people were.
After that, Clancy carried on, in fact, he had more whores than he had before. Business was booming as they say.
Surprisingly Ma had walked past there and turned into a dead end. Eddie followed her into an alley. It was then that he saw them. Some half-naked woman with his father who was screwing the whore right there. He saw him pummeling her against the brick wall. She was laughing and moaning.
When she cried out, he saw his mother hurry away with her hand over her mouth. The vomit shot right out anyway. He saw it. Poor thing! He wanted to go to her, but he didn’t want her to know he had followed her.
He rushed away when he saw her get into the truck. He hoped he’d make it home first, what with her crying and banging the steering wheel, he felt sure he would.
How he managed to run as fast as he did, he’d never know. He had read somewhere about adrenaline and something called sense of purpose fueling a determined person on.
His father sickened shortly after this. He began complaining of bad stomach cramps. If she was poisoning him, Eddie reasoned, he deserved it. Old bastard that he was.
It was good to see him laid low, in the so-called marital bed with the shades pulled down. Ma was a perfect nurse though, looking concerned and giving him soup and biscuits. Mostly he couldn’t manage getting much down.
The doctor came a couple of times.
“Gastroenteritis.” He said then left. He knew better than to ask for payment. That was because Eddie always gave him fresh eggs as recompense. He was nice for a doctor, not at all uppity.
If Ma hadn’t expected Pa to recover, she was in for a nasty shock ‘cause he did. The boys were surprised Pa was less of a bastard then. There were no beatings or going off to town. He was quiet and there were no more fights.
Ma seemed to get even more religious then. She was always a devout woman, but now she wouldn’t shut up about the bible and how evil and corrupt people were. Loose and fallen women were her favorite targets.
She’d read from Revelations and scare the shit out of Eddie, Hank just sat there, pretending to listen. He warned his kid brother to take it all with a grain of salt.
Eddie said he was, but Hank just shook his head. His brother knew him too well.
Once Eddie was looking through a movie magazine, he had smuggled in. Ginger Rogers was on the cover. Ma saw it and tore it out of his hands, and began ripping out the pages, page-by-page, shouting:
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry!”
He started to shake. Ma didn’t see it because she had stormed out of the room. His brother just laughed about it. He said it was best she got it out of her system.
“Besides,” he added, “I’m going to work on the railroad. There’s a position for a laborer up in Chicago and I already got the job. I leave Friday.”
Eddie pleaded with him to stay. He had his differences, what brothers didn’t? However, no amount of pleading helped. He didn’t like being alone with Ma, not that he didn’t worship the ground she walked on sort of thing, he did. But he found her too domineering and loud sometimes, and the bible readings were getting on his nerves.
Not that she just read them to him, she didn’t. She read them to Pa as well.
Pa told her to fuck off when she first started to do it. Yes, some of his old personality was returning, but things were different. Now she just laughed when he said things like that and told him how he’d burn in the Lake of Fire.
His brother returned, only to go away to work again. But his pay came in handy.
Eddie finally fell out with his brother when he caught him with a girl. Some little floozy from town he picked up and screwed in the pickup. He saw them doing it. He was fascinated what with the girl’s legs spread and his brother’s butt cheeks shaking.
Eddie was aroused. He had been before. There were magazines and French postcards his mother never found, his secret stash. But this was different.
His brother turned around and the girl started to laugh. “Want to join in?” she asked.
He didn’t say a word, well he couldn’t because his brother clouted him one.
“Don’t you ever let me catch you, again!”
Pow! He gave him a black eye. Eddie didn’t want his mother to see. But she did.
“What happened, boy?”
He saw she didn’t buy it. But at least she didn’t press him. He was grateful for that. As for Hank, he just laughed at him. “You’re just lucky that’s all you got!”
Hank moved out after that. He’d come home to work on the farm, but he lived in town. His mother didn’t approve. Pa didn’t care because he was out of it most of the time.
Pa was slipping. They were losing him. His mother told him that. “You’re the only one I can count on, boy. You are my jewel. My treasure. I’d just die without you!”
His heart sank. Dead! She couldn’t ever die! He’d go crazy. No! He’d kill himself. No doubt about it. He couldn’t live without Ma!
She seemed to realize how upset she had made him so she tried to calm him down.
“Tain’t nothing to be sorry about. Every one’s got their time, Eddie. Let’s just work hard and see what we can do for Pa.”
Early spring it was when they woke up to some awful screeches. Those cramps again. Pa was yelling. His skin was grey and he smelled of liquor.
“You wasn’t drinkin’ was you Pa?”
Ma’s voice sounded calm considering the scene. He shook his head and gave her a twisted smile. “No, I wasn’t. You know I wasn’t.”
She may have known but everyone in town including the doctor didn’t. Acute alcoholism that was the cause. It was written on the death certificate. Hank came home for the funeral. He promised he wouldn’t leave again but he did. Liar. Ma was right she always said you never know where you are with a liar.
Things were tough after that. The brothers did odd jobs around town. Hank knew people. Eddie was pleased because Ma was worrying less. A kind of peace prevailed. Something Eddie had never known nor felt.
Ma thought he met someone. "Your brother Hank did. Some divorcee with two children! I don’t approve of that heaven knows I don’t! Tell me son, you won’t let evil temptation draw you away from God and your ma, will you?”
Eddie was adamant at one point he fell to his knees imploring his mother to trust him. When she put her hand on his head he felt the power of the Lord surge through him. He tried to tell Hank about it, but he just laughed. The brothers started to argue. That’s when Hank told him he best leave Ma. “She’ll be fine, and you sure as hell would be better off!”
Eddie didn’t answer. He was tired of fighting. Besides, there was work to do, Ma needed things done on the farm. He didn’t care either because he was looking forward to doing something for his mother. They had discussed it the night before.
In fact, she knew what he was going to do before he did it.
“I know Mother’s Day is coming up, but please don’t go spending too much on anything. Don’t get rooked now. They make money off people like us—and holidays are always a good excuse.”
He agreed even though he knew in his heart he was going to spoil her. If it meant travelling to another town to get what he wanted, he would do it. He was going to get her the best, fanciest card he could as well as store bought flowers all wrapped with ribbons and tissue paper. Yes, sir, his mind was made up.
There was to be a gift besides that. It was something else that he had to think about. She had what she needed, least ways she always said she did. Still, he wanted to give her something special—a scarf or slippers—or perhaps a nice brush, comb and mirror set. Yes, he thought. Perfect, she’d love it.
When he said he was going to be out the better part of the day in order to accomplish all of that, she sighed and shook her head. “I know you,” she said. “You’re going to over spend and it’s not necessary, son. I know how much you love your old ma.”
He rushed over. Never had his face looked more ardent. She smiled like always then she ruffled his hair. “I suppose I have just about the best son in the world. You always were my favorite.”
His eyes filled with tears because it was something he hadn’t dared to hope, though he fervently wished he were her favorite. Now—she admitted it! He was!
Feeling happier than he could ever remember, he left to buy her gifts. It took all day, too. He travelled far to the biggest town in the state.
He wasn’t used to the rush or the crowds, but it was worth it. He had money in his wallet. Money, he had accumulated for a long time.
He was intending to have lunch, and even though he had enough for hotdogs from Woolworths, he didn’t buy them. Instead, he splurged on an even more expensive card than he had planned to get, that and gifts. Yes, he had decided on a few presents! That was what she deserved.
He arrived home to find his mother in tears. “Looks like it’s just you and me son for my special day.”
“Hank’s not going to be here? Is that what you mean?” he asked sounding incredulous.
His mother nodded. “It’s that lady friend of his.”
She looked sad but when he caught her looking at the packages, she smiled.
“Someone’s been very busy haven’t they?”
“You’re a good son and I’m very lucky. Lord knows how lucky!”
He was almost too excited to fall asleep! Mother’s Day was tomorrow. He did eventually sleep because he was exhausted. He got up early, just as he planned, to have breakfast done. He only had to throw away one pan of burnt eggs, but the second batch came out right. Bacon was perfect as was the toast. Gosh, the kitchen smelled good.
She came in looking so lovely. He told her.
“Well I have to it’s my special day and all.” she said.
He saw her eyes wander toward the pile of gifts. She asked like a little girl if she could open them before she ate. That was one of the most endearing things about her.
She could be so childish sometimes.
“Course you can, Ma. You go right ahead.”
He watched her open each gift oohing and ahhing and crying too. She loved the scarf and sachets he had bought her and what about the rose water? “Fragrance!” she had cried out, shaking her head in disbelief.
She held each to her chest. “I will treasure these forever because you gave them to me.”
The giftwrap and ribbon was saved. One never knew when such things might be needed again.
“Now for breakfast,” she said clapping her hands. She loved everything. There wasn’t one dish she didn’t compliment him on.
“This is the best bacon…and the eggs--!”
He thanked her but wondered if she could smell the first of it that had been burned. He asked her finally but she said she didn’t, still he suspected she did.
When she told him, she was going to brush her hair with her new brush and comb set, he just about melted.
He watched her brush her hair making long, graceful strokes.
“I really need this,” she said. “That old brush was frightfully old. I hate to think just how old it is.”
When she stared at her reflection and told him how hard it was to age, he wept. “No,” she said. “There’s nothing anyone can do. It’s just the way life is. We get born, grow old and die…”
The word ‘Die’ did it!
“No, Ma!” he shouted. “Not you, not ever!”
“But we all will. It’s just the way the Lord intended son. Can’t do anything about it.”
He agreed though it saddened him. She saw that it did so she tried to cheer him up. She did in fact, but then she always could.
His brother returned from his girlfriend’s house two days later. He looked more stupid than usual and he didn’t even have the sense to tell their mother he was sorry for missing Mother’s Day.
Eddie had just about enough of his behavior. They were arguing about how a small fire started when Eddie exploded. He just picked up a shovel and hit his brother square on the head with it. Hank was deader than a squashed fly in a fly swatter.
No one doubted Hank’s death was an accident, not even his mother. She was upset though.
Seeing his mother crying was the only time Eddie felt guilty. In truth, he enjoyed seeing his much-despised brother buried; though he was all solemn and comforting to his mother. When she said she’d meet Hank in heaven, Eddie agreed and cried because he hoped there was an afterlife. He didn’t say it out loud. She’d have gotten upset being as religious as she was.
When they went home, he told her he’d care for her for the rest of his life. She cried when he said that. “I can’t believe Hank’s gone, son. Hank, my first born.” Eddie hugged his mother. “Yes, but I’m here and I always will be.”
He would have given his life for her in an instant. After she had her first stroke he appealed to God to give them to him instead—but he didn’t. His mother had more.
He knew he was losing her and when she passed from the world on Dec 29, 1945, Eddie knew he was alone.
How he prayed.
The angel came on the first anniversary of his mother’s death.
“I will grant you any wish you like, Edward for being a dutiful son.”
Eddie asked if he could have his mother back. The angel said he not only could, he showed him how to raise the dead.
“Easy as pie! Just say the right words and presto. They come back!”
It sounded funny to Eddie. But he wanted her back so badly, he fell to his knees in prayer.
“Come forth, Augusta Gein!”
The angel’s words and his mother obeyed.
She came forth alright and it was as though she had never been buried. She was speaking to him and laughing with him, sharing time with him, even resting with him at night so he wouldn’t lie alone in his cold bed.
“I’m here son. I always will be but you best get some other friends for yourself, Eddie—a person needs friends. I think I never realized until I crossed over just how true that statement is.”
“Okay Ma, if you think I should, I will.”
Eddie was so pleased he cried, and when the angel returned to walk with him out to Plainfield Cemetery, he felt lucky to be alive.
“I’ll always help you, Edward. Your mother is right. What you need are friends. Friends who really care about you!”
Eddie agreed even though he knew his best friend, his beloved mother would always be with him. Once again sharing the house with him, comforting him and loving him. She was the truest friend he could ever have. Still, he thought, he might like a lady friend as well…
Author’s Note: This story is based on the killer, Ed Gein of Plainfield, Wisconsin. Ed Gein’s crimes inspired Robert Bloch’s ‘Psycho.’
Southern Hospitality Series
by: Bryan RaineyFirst Moonlight Description: Devon Harrison, a freshman student at Jasper Springs Community College, is late for leaving his apartment the night of the full moon. On his way to a family cottage away from town, he is stopped by a Constable. He changes in front of the Constable alerting hunters and Metapol. Another lycan keeps him from tearing apart the Constable. From then on, things get worse http://books2read.com/SP2FM ---
Southern Hospitality Series
by: Bryan RaineyThe Phoenix Hunter Description: It is Destiny's sixteenth birthday! She learns that she is from a line of half-human / half-angel hunters, but, also, that she will be special among them. Then, all hell breaks loose... http://books2read.com/SP1tPH ---
Tonia sat at her computer going over the pictures from her session with Sabrina earlier that day. Sabrina had a big event coming up and needed the images for promotion. Tonia was putting the finishing touches on one of the images as she heard a knock at the door.
"Come in." She yelled from the kitchen. She turned as she saw her brother-in-law Skot walking through the door. "Oh perfect! Maybe you can help me decide which picture of Sabrina would be better to use for the poster." Tonia turned back and pulled two images up side by side. She turned back to Skot expectantly. As she did she saw a flicker of disgust on his face before it disappeared.
"The black and white one doesn't look that bad." Skot decided without taking much time to consider the images. He walked over and opened the fridge.
"Not that bad? Do you get how big of a deal this is for her? I want this picture to be the best because it is going on the event flyer!"
"Event flyer? I thought this was just a silly little book signing." Skot was dismissive of the situation as he rummaged through the fridge.
"It was before. But that changed when she hit the best sellers list over the weekend. It turns out this is going to be a lot bigger now." Tonia couldn't contain her excitement as she spoke. Skot grew stiff as he listened to Tonia's excitement. "What's wrong with you?" Tonia asked as she saw the annoyance on Skot's face as he slammed the fridge closed.
"Nothing." He snapped at her as he leaned against the counter next to the fridge. "I bet everyone is so excited for Sabrina." He rolled his eyes as his words dripped with sarcasm.
"Actually, yes! The whole family is happy for her!" She paused for a second, "well, almost the whole family."
"Why should I be excited for her? It's not like she is going to share any of her money with the rest of us!" Skot shouted as his body began to shake from the anger coursing through him.
"The money? Is that what this is about?" Tonia spat at him. Her anger written on her face.
"You have no idea what you are talking about!" Skot began yelling as he gripped the counter. "All I ever hear is Sabrina this, or Sabrina that." Skot began to pacing in the small kitchen. Tonia sat at the table watching him.
"Do you know why you hear so much about Sabrina? Because she did something amazing! She worked hard and made it to the best sellers list." Tonia tried to rationalize with Skot but it didn't seem to be working. His head snapped so he was staring directly at her. His eyes grew dark as he took a step toward her and the table.
"Sabrina did something amazing? I can do something amazing too!" Skot picked up the laptop from the table. It snapped closed as he gripped it with both hands.
"What the fu...." Tonia's protest was cut off as Skot smashed the computer into the side of her head. Tonia was stunned as he pulled back readying for a second blow. Tonia's groans filled the air as she was overtaken with the pain from the first strike. When the laptop connected with her head again the screen broke off and fell to the floor. The screen flashed with the two pictures of Sabrina that were pulled up before it went black. Skot began to seethe with rage after he saw that flash of Sabrina.
The blood began to rush down the side of Tonia's head. Her vision became blurred from the blood dripping into her eyes. She began to open her mouth to plead with him but she was met with another blow to her head. With a crack of the keyboard a few of the keys fell off. One of the keys was now protruding from her face as she fell to the ground. Skot rounded the table with ease as he took the side of the computer and drove it into the side of her head. With a sickening crunch Tonia's skull caved in on the side.
Tonia laid on the ground as her breathes were so faint Skot could barely see her chest move. Her brown hair was matted with her blood as it pooled on the floor around her. He lifted his foot and stomped his boot into the side of her head as the rest of her skull caved in. The gurgling stopped and the room was silent. Skot crouched down next to Tonia's lifeless body. He wanted something to remember this moment. He gripped her jaw and pulled. It easily detached from the rest of her face. He stood and appraised his new trophy. The adrenaline was pumping through his body as he replayed the last few minutes in his mind.
"This event is going to be a lot bigger." Tonia's words echoed on his head. He couldn't have that! He had to stop her big day.
With one final survey of the scene before him a wicked smile crossed his face. He turned to leave. "I'm on my way, Sabrina."
To follow this story along with other monthly pieces subscribe to my Patreon page at www.patreon.com/authorsabrinasamples for as little as $1 a month.
I’m running as fast as I can along the heavily wooded ridge, dodging downed tree trunks and avoiding the depressions in the snow. My toe catches on a branch. I take a spill and topple to the ground. My heart is beating out of my chest. I can’t get the memory of what I just saw out of my head. I pick myself up out of the snow, and turn to scan the tree line behind me before fleeing in the direction of the road.* * * Paulie and I were best friends. We attended the same schools, played the same sports. We even dated the same girl (but not at the same time) in high school. We had heard the legends since we were children. Folks would speak about “The White Nothing” in hushed tones—at least the ones who believed it. About the “thing with no shape that appears in the winter.” They’d talk about seeing the carcasses of dead animals ripped from limb to limb. Most would say the stories were hogwash—that it was only a mountain lion that roamed the land, although no one had seen a big cat in these parts for over thirty years. But that didn’t explain why the remains were found uneaten or why they bore no teeth marks. Old man Krugman said he found a large elk two winters ago, completely torn apart. He said it would have taken superhuman strength to do that. It was like, “someone—or something—is hunting and killing its prey for sport.” If I hadn’t gone off the trail some twenty yards away to take a dump behind a tree, I’d probably be like poor Paulie right now. I heard his screams, and I didn’t even stop to wipe myself. I pulled up my britches and ran back to where I’d left him. But there was no Paulie—only a trail of blood. I followed that trail for a few minutes until I found him—or rather, what was left of him: an arm on the left, his naked torso off to the right—and over there, a portion of his leg and buttock. His clothes were nowhere in sight. A rock face with blood trickling down caught my eye. Perched on that boulder was Paulie’s head! His eyes and mouth were agape; I’m sure he was trying to yell out a final warning. * * * I can see the road about fifty yards ahead now. For the first time, I’m beginning to feel hopeful, that I might survive this terrible nightmare. I’ll come back here later with the sheriff and her deputies, and we’ll catch whoever did this-- An unseen hand catches my left leg and jerks me to the ground! I look back, and in my horror I realize that there’s nothing there. Only, there is! The dull, gray tree line looks blurry, as though I’m observing the terrain through dirty eyeglasses. The blurry lines are moving, coming closer to me. I scream in terror, but I hear only silence as the blurry lines strike a blow to my head with great force. There’s no pain, only a curious numbness and a loud humming in my ears. For a few fleeting seconds, my eyes continue to see. I observe my headless body lying in the snow a few feet away. Time seems to crawl. As my field of vision shrinks to an ever-closing circle, I watch, dispassionately, as The White Nothing has its way with my remains.
By Barbara Custer Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. On the way, ravenous flesh-eaters attack Alexis’s team; one survivor turns on her. She realizes too late that the renegades have been tracking her every move. When officials capture her, she becomes deathly ill. Can DNA splicing save her? Will Yeron’s attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?.
By Frank Julius Palumbo Deep below Sullen Falls stirs an ancient evil. Seth left Sullen Falls monastery five years ago in search of answers to his life. With the unexpected appearance of a comet, he is lured back to the town he once called home. There he discovers that an evil warps those he cared about and threatens the woman he loved–Sophia.
By M.J. Boshers Sophie's seemingly ordinary life is about to be replaced with one full of chaos when she travels to an immortal land for protection. She discovers she is part faery and part witch, but she is more powerful than either. She soon realizes she will have to protect her family, friends, and this new world she has come to love.
Jodie Pierce In this police paranormal thriller, people start turning up dead all over town completely drained of blood. Are the murders random or whom/what is the common link? Does a vampire have civil rights in a human court of law? When the lead Detective is placed under surveillance, how close will she get to the new man and how much does she really know about him? How much does she even know about her own life? The two work together to bring down the murderer, uncover her past and maybe even make a future together for themselves. What twists, turns and surprises will they find along their way?
Jodie Pierce A young woman from Rio de Janiero, Brazil wakes up in a mausoleum to find herself all alone with no memory. When the vampire Thomas rescues her, he treats her like the child he never had. However, when Ranato comes into Christiane’s life, she knows she’s in love and leaves Thomas. Is Ranato all that he seems to be or does he have a more sinister plan for her? Will other forces help her or work against her? Will she be able to stay alive and find true happiness? Do you like Egyptian mythology? Then this book is for you.