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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Flash Fiction: Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Bobby Hodges pushed his mask onto the top of his head and hefted the pillow case he had been using as a bag all night to inspect his haul. The bag was at least three quarters full and a lot of it was quality candy too. None of that candy corn or those orange and black wrapped things that he hated. He was especially looking forward to that full size Snickers Bar that Old Man Holliday had given out. Full size candy, truly the holy grail of Halloween candy treats. All in all, it had been an impressive night of trick or treating and he had managed to hit his whole neighborhood plus the apartment complex next to their development.

This was the first year his parents had allowed him to go out on his own. He had just turned 13 and had been helping out watching his kid brother after school since Mom had gotten that part time job at the Toys ‘R Us a month back. Mom had said it was just cause she was bored, but he knew things had been tough this year. She was probably working there to save some money for Christmas. He’d even re-used his costume from last year to help out, not that he really cared if he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle again, Bobby Hodges was all about the candy. Still as a reward they had let him go trick or treating with his friends instead of going with them and his kid brother, Kevin. He’d agreed to be home by 9:30, but most of his friends had to be home by 9:00. That’s when he decided to hit the apartment complex.

Bobby looked at the light up display on his watch and realized he only had 8 minutes to make it home before he was late. He swung the pillow case over his shoulder and tossed the dying glow stick he had pulled off the of his neck into the street. He grabbed the plastic Bo staff that went with his costume (cause Donatello was his favorite Ninja Turtle) and hurried down the street towards his house.

There were still a few people on the street trick or treating and he watched them as he made his way home. He recognized a lot of the costumes, Spider-Man, Batman, Princesses, skeletons and ghosts, and a whole lot of vampires, even girl ones. There were a few he didn’t though, like the guy dressed like some kind of yellow square with pants or the kids with the bulky metal headbands and orange karate suits. It didn’t rest long on his mind though as he rounded the last corner, coming up on Oak Street, his street.

Bobby lived at the end of the street, before it rounded left and made a big loop back towards the main avenue. All of the houses were pretty much the same on the outside, there were really only four models to choose from. His parents had chosen the only two story model and had it built, their dream house. Bobby had lived here practically his whole life. His dad loved Halloween though and always decorated the house. Some years they even did a haunted house in the garage, though not this year. Probably because of Mom having to go back to work. Still Dad had gotten out the old decorations and had done the place up grand. The hanging skeleton, the smoke machine, the creepy music, spider webs, the works. Dad usually dressed up as Frankenstein too and handed out candy from the lawn chair he sat up in the front yard.

Bobby slowed his pace as his house came into sight, realizing that something wasn’t quite right. He walked the last few steps and stood in front of his house, confused. It was his house all right, but all the decorations were gone. He didn’t understand, he had helped his Dad put them up two weeks ago. Heck, they had been there just a couple of hours ago before he went trick or treating. But they were gone. The hanging skeleton, the fog machine, the creepy music, heck even the porch light was off. They never turned the porch light off when he was outside after dark, let alone on Halloween. Yet here the house was, dark and plain, so unlike what Bobby remembered.

Bobby walked up to the front door and walked through, entering the dark foyer. The whole house was dark, just a single light on in the living room, the light that his Mom always left on when they left the house. Bobby began to wonder if both of his parents had taken Kevin out trick or treating after he realized the whole house was empty. The kitchen and living room was dark and his parent’s room was empty. Dad’s wallet and keys weren’t in the bowl by the door though, so that meant they HAD to have left. Bobby shrugged it off though and headed upstairs to his room, candy in tow. All that meant was he could sneak a few Three Musketeers bars before his folks came home. He pushed open the door to his room and flung his mask onto the bed and dropped his bag of candy in the middle of the floor to his room. He turned his desk lamp on, shedding some light in the dim house.

Something was odd about his room though too. It was his room all right, it was just…different. His posters were still on the wall, Spider-Man and the Turtles and Super Mario staring down at him, but his room was clean, un-naturally clean. His Lego stacked neatly in their bin, his action figures put away in their cases, his books and desk neatly organized. Even his bed was made, and unless his Grandma was coming over Bobby NEVER made his bed. Bobby shrugged it away again and began rummaging through his bag of candy. He turned on the TV in his room while he rummages, watching the end of It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown before he fell asleep, half a Twix bar uneaten in his hand.

Frank and Marilynn Hodge came home at 10:30pm. They never stayed at home on the 31st anymore, especially after Kevin had moved out. They usually went to a movie, or dinner, anything to try to forget the date. Frank punched the garage door opener, but stopped well short of the drive way. He looked to his wife, whose face went pale. There was a light on, a light in Bobby’s room. He felt his wife snake her fingers through his and grip his hand as he eased the car into the driveway and put it in park.

They both went through the front door and walked slowly up the stairs, stopping at Bobby’s room. His wife’s grip seem to tighten even harder as he reached out with his free hand and turned the knob. The room was empty, as empty as it had been for the last 15 years. Though Bobby’s desk lamp was on. A light that neither had turned on since that night 15 years ago when Bobby had been struck by that car speeding out of that apartment complex. Frank over to turn off the light but stopped when his foot brushed something. He bent down and picked it up. A crumpled Twix wrapper, left in the middle of the floor. He turned to his wife, watching fresh tears roll down her face, as he clocked off the light, once again, plunging the preserved room into darkness.

End of Line.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Poetry: Birthdays

Hey all,

As is my usual habit here I try to write a poem on my birthday, about the passage of time of growing older, something to commemorate the coming year. This year my poem is really about embracing all the things you've done wrong in your life and realizing that those mistakes allow you to be at the place you are now, for good or for bad. Getting older is merely a state of mind, I certainly don't feel more different today than I did yesterday, age isn't about the passing year, its about the passing of life. One year of opportunity is nothing in comparison to a decade of them. This year for me was about embracing the wrongs of the past, and living to the fullest extent of the future. As always, thanks for reading.


Years have passed that were rough,

Times I've face have sure been tough.

Decisions I've made have been mistakes,

And all the consequences and the breaks,

Don't get any easier with the years,

Or get washed away by shedding tears.

But as this year comes to an end,

The fruits I've sown I can't defend.

All I can say is after all these days,

I know now three hundred sixty five ways,

To make mistakes and fuck up your life,

How not to pay the dues you should tithe.

Or all the other ways I've screwed up then,

Can't even say I'm sorry or defend it when,

My life's a mess from from my poor choice,

Or when my words caress without a voice.

So as this new birthday comes to pass,

I'll view my life from a looking glass.

Reflecting on the many reasons,

I messed up these past four seasons,

One could certainly say without a doubt,

About all the things that life has held without,

There are plenty of reasons to feel sad,

When the older you get starts to turn bad.

And each new birthday fills you with despair,

I want you to look back and compare.

And if you live your life like I do mine,

As the years have passed you can find,

The things in which you've been blessed,

Are more important than why you've obsessed,

About getting on and growing old,

So listen to me and do what you're told.

The zest of life is yours to grasp,

If you just let go of to the fears you clasp.

And live your life like each day is your last,

Cause at the end, it passes by so fast.

Birthdays are not about the passage of time,

But remembering that the joys of life can be sublime.

The habits of life and love you can never shake,

But the world around is yours to take.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 31

Morgan had found the young girl on the side of the road leading towards Desperation. The poor thing had looked terrible. Her dress had been reduced to mostly rags and her body was a mess of cuts and scrapes. She had deeply purple bruises across her stomach and ribs as well as welts on her scalp. Her face was slightly swollen and blood still trickled from the fresh split in her lip. She had been shoeless and her feet had been a mess of cuts and burrs. Her hair was still damp from her douse in the river and she still smelled of of smoke. He had gotten off his horse when he had found her and took a knee in front of her, moving slowly. One not to frighten her, but two, well... the second reason was just in case. She had been curled up into a ball, but when she finally looked up, raising her head from between her knees, she had embraced him in a fierce hug, a fresh set of tears shuddering from the poor girl.

He had wrapped her in the blanket from his bedroll and helped her onto his horse, telling her he'd escort her to Desperation. She had nodded and they had rode in silence for a long time. After a while though, she had regained her composure somewhat and at Morgan's gentle insistence had opened up. Her name was Ally Marshall she had said, and told him her story. About the blond man killing her family and attacking her. About waking up in the stables. And about her family rising from the dead and her eventual escape down the river. Morgan hadn't told her about his wife or child, he didn't think she needed to hear it, but he listened intently. He now knew that it wasn't just his farm, that somehow, the dead were walking the earth again. He looked to the dead sun overhead and thought about the old stories of his people.

After Ally finished her story she closed her eyes and rested against Morgan's back. They rode in silence for a while, until the woods gave way to a scrubs, eventually settling into more farmable land. The pair rode quietly, coming up to a sprawling farm, it's house set just beyond the trail. The front of the house had tethers for horses along a small open air stable, an old way station for horses apparently that looked like it saw little use. A length of fence ran alongside the road towards a gate in the center. Morgan eased the horse up towards the gate and slid down, reassuringly patting Ally's leg.

Morgan held up a hand, motioning to Ally to stay with the horse.
"I'll be right back, just stay here. I won't be out of sight."

She had nodded silently, but he could see the fear in her eyes.

Morgan slid free his revolver and thumbed back the hammer, creeping slowly towards the main house. The house was deathly silent and the hairs on the back of Morgan's neck stood up. He crept up the steps to the porch, the front door wide open. He stuck his head in the house and looked around. The foyer was covered in blood, running from the top of the stairs into a pool on the floor in front of the main door. Morgan grimaced and pulled back out, following the porch as it ran around the perimeter of the house. As he turned the corner, he saw a shed behind the house. In front of the shed, he saw two forms laying on the ground.

They didn't move, but Morgan still moved slowly. He crept the gun in front of him, his finger tight on the trigger. He gave Ally a reassuring wave that he didn't quite feel himself and slowly approached the two shapes. He pointed the gun at the first shape until he was close enough to make it out. It was barefoot, wearing only coveralls, but it had been one of them. Despite the gaping hole in it's head, he could still make out the clawed fingers and sallow skin. A few steps later he saw the second one much the same, though obviously this had been the lady of the house. Her dress torn down the front, exposing the festering wound in her chest. Her head too had been split wide open and from the looks of it, by a shotgun. Morgan walked towards the door of the shed, slowly pushing it open with the barrel of his gun. Inside, he found one more body, shot in the head as well. Her dress had been torn off her body, leaving her naked and exposed, bruises and purple blemishes marking her skin. The only difference between this victim and the two outside was that this poor girl had still been alive before she was shot.

End of Line.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poetry: To Simple

Hey all,

I thought I really needed to do a love poem, something more upbeat and impassioned, especially with the kind of foreboding poetry that I have been writing of late. This poem is about how sometimes words cannot express all the emotions that a person makes you feel. That sometimes people make you feel in ways that you just can't put into words. I don't write a love of love poetry, but I am definitely a bit of a classic romantic. I very much want to be able to express these feelings, these longings, to another person but I tend to write poems to an idealized love. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the poem! Thanks for reading.

To Simple

Love is to simple a word,

To express so many things.

From feelings bold and passionate,

To sounding what your heart sings.

It cannot convey in words or speech,

Even text can fall so short,

The facets in which you lift me up,

And hold my soul in court.

Poems or rhyme may hold no verse,

A beauty that you can’t undo.

Perfection given earthly form,

Each time I come to think of you.

Even music is a dull affair,

You cannot be contained in song.

No verse or chord is worthy yet,

Your majesty is just too strong.

I struggle to find the words to say,

To express just how I feel.

The day you came into my life,

Is when the world became so real.

Even prayer cannot demonstrate,

The love and warmth within,

You’re my savior, an angel of the heart,

My lust for you my only sin.

Adore, admire, praise, and covet,

Each are but a pale lit dare,

To words or actions I hold so dear,

For a lady without compare.

As grammar fails to truly show,

All the things you mean to me,

Know that my heart is yours,

And everything I’ll ever be.

End of Line.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 30:

Ally had been forced to cut through the forest, leaving the protection of the river behind. Her feet bled from the rocks and shrubbery but she moved through the wilds as fast as she could. Fresh tears ran down her face, tears from a mixture of pain and fear. She remembered her experience at the river and bit her lip, trying to force down another wave of panic as she ran through the forest.

She had been making her way down the riverbank, following the shoreline, picking her footing as she moved towards Desperation. Then she had seen them. Two people, at the riverbank, bent over at the edge of the water. Her heart had soared. She felt the rocks stab at her feet as she ran towards the duo, waving her arms and shouting, feeling that for the first time today, something right was going to happen. She ignored the pain and continued running down the shoreline.

It was the smell though, that was the first thing that tipped her off. A smell like rot, or decay, something spoiled. Her running faltered, slowing herself as her cries had rousted the two strangers ahead. As she neared them, the two men looked up and Ally saw them. Monsters. Like her family. Their face was covered in blood, their black teeth glistened with gore. They had been bent over by the river and she saw now why. A body lay in the water, ripped apart as the creatures had been feasting on the carcass. Entrails had been ripped out of the poor man's chest, his head caved in. The water down river ran red with blood.

Ally stopped, her heart in her chest. All the pain and soreness seemed to drain away in an instant, replaced by fear. Stark raving fear. The creatures slowly stood up from the dead body and began moving towards Ally. She stood rooted to the spot, taking in the monsters. They had decomposed badly and wore scraps of rags as clothing and were riddled with maggots and dead flesh. They were covered in dirt and mud, their bodies having turned sour and moldy. But those claws and those teeth were all too real. They shuffled close, mouths gaping and let loose an angry hiss. They were mere feet from her when finally the grip of free released her and she screamed. She turned and ran, straight into the wilds beside the river and never look back.

That had been at least a quarter of an hour ago. Ally had finally stopped running, her breath coming in ragged gasps and all the pain and aches seeped back into her as the adrenalin ebbed. Ally stumbled a few more steps as the forest gave way to a hard packed trail. She dropped to her knees, finding it hard to breath. Ally sat by the road, pushing down a fresh wave of tears and trying to catch her breath. Her whole body shuddered, and Ally felt utterly defeated. She didn't care anymore, didn't want to run anymore, didn't want to live. She finally gave into the grief, and sobbed, knowing that she no longer cared what happened to her.

Her grief was finally interrupted by the clipping of horse hooves down the road. Ally didn't bother to move or hide though, she just sat there and waited. She didn't even look up until the clip clop of the horse stopped. She saw a man on horseback, a man in a cavalry uniform, and she cried again, a fresh set of tears. Though this time, the tears were of relief.

End of Line.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Word Balloon: Fell

Hey all,

Whenever October rolls around I like to pick a darker comic book for the column, something from the horror or occult genre. This month I chose writer Warren Ellis and artist Ben Templesmith's Fell, from Image Comics. While not necessarily a horror comic, it does deal with a lot of familiar Halloween themes. It's a comic very much about the darkness of humanity and the vileness of real life, though there is a sub-text dealing with implied magic and the power of belief. It's a complex book that shows sometime the truly scariest things in the world are the people around us.

Fell is about a disgraced homicide detective named Richard Fell who is re-assigned to a precinct named Snowtown, a dark city rife with urban decay, separated from the city by a lone bridge, isolating it from the regular world. Snowtown is abnormally cold, a cursed city that is made up of an impoverished amalgamations of several inner cities. Cloaked in mystery, you are never told why the people believe the town is a blight or why working there is considered exile for the police force. The inhabitants have even taking to marking doors and people with a protective marker, hoping that Snowtown will not turn its ill will on one of its own, succumbing to superstition and old beliefs as the world around them has descended into darker times. Still, Fell is assigned to the precinct's minimal police force and is determined to make a difference where many others will not, trying to help the impoverished town improve itself and to protect its inhabitants using his renowned powers of observation and deductive skills.

Snowtown is a dark, dank place, where vileness is an everyday topic that must be dealt with in Fell's struggles to better the community. His sole point of light in this otherwise feral city is Mayko, a bartender who takes Fell under her wing to guide him in the ways of Snowtown and act as a sounding board for the cases he is working on. She also acts as a foil to the bleak desolation that surrounds Fell while in Snowtown. She even goes so far a to brand him with the protective marker that the citizens have been placing around the city to protect him as well. Despiet the early branding and the friction it causes between them, Fell and Mayko grow close to each other.

Fell is a very different sort of comic, designed specifically as an experiment by writer Warren Ellis to produce a line of more affordable comic books in a market where comics are pricing themselves out of business. Fell is a 20 page comic, 16 pages dedicated to story, and 4 pages dedicated to what Ellis called Back Matter. Back Matter was where Ellis would expand on the concepts discussed in the actual comic book itself, answer email questions, and generally experiment with the medium. By pricing this slimline comic book at $1.99, Ellis strived to make the comic worth the price by offering less comic pages than a normal comic, but densely packing each issue with material. Another way he expanded on the book's density was to adapt the nine panel grid system, where each page is based on a nine panel layout. This causes each page to tell more of a story, thus giving the reader a better bargain for their dollar. using this format, each issue, while smaller than a regular comic, contains more story and additional material, making it a better value.

Each issue of Fell was a self contained story, another trick to make each comic more reader friendly and essentially create a better comic value for each issue. The reader was getting a complete story each time they bought a comic, never having to follow several issues in order to understand the entire story. That being said, Ellis did write in several things that rewarded readers who bought each issue, mostly in the form of a recurring character whose mystery deepened with each appearance. She was a short nun, dressed in a habit wearing a Richard Nixon mask and each issue her actions became more and more suspect. If that sounded bizarre it is, but Ellis is a master at taking the abnormal and fitting into the strange landscape he creates, and the nun's appearances in Snowtown simply amplified the darkness that permeated Fell's city Each issue dealt with a different kind of horror, from child abuse to murder, but Ellis always managed to cloud the results with in mystery that was Snowtown. Each issue causes Fell to slip a little further into teh darkness of Snowtown, and draw a little bit closer to the darkness inside himself. Ellis was trying to create value for the reader while crafting a story that changed expectations.

Warren Ellis is one of my favorite writers working today. He caught notice doing work for DC/Wildstorm in the late 90's, working on series like Stormwatch and The Authority and books Desolation Jones (a series I covered a few months back in this column) as well as his seminal runs on comics like Planetary and his signature series Transmetropolitan. Ellis has always been at the forefront of establishing new media and new ideas in comics, embracing the internet culture way before many other writers, always writing with a mind toward the future and about the inequalities and darker ambitions of man. Fell was his attempt to continue these themes in a format that both rewarded the reader and boldly redefined what comics could mean in terms of new publishing formats.

Ellis teamed up with artist Ben Templesmith, who gave Fell a ghostly, acid washed atmosphere, perfectly capturing the darkness and otherworldliness of Snowtown. Templesmith was best known for his work on publisher IDW's 30 Days of Night series with writer Steven Niles. 30 Days of Night was about a group of vampires who take over an Alaskan town that is plunged in darkness for months at a time. He was the perfect artist to bring his grim and gritty look to Fell, illustrating the horror of everyday life while keeping the whole series in a kind of murky sharpness. His art work always suggests far more than it shows, making the reader imply more about Snowtown than may even be there. His art so perfectly accentuates the mood and tone of the series that its hard for me to imagine anyone else drawing this book.

Fell was designed as an ongoing series and actually thrived when it was fist published in 2007, despite many industry pros claims that Ellis' publishing model would fail. In truth, the lower price point and Ellis' dense story telling style, combined with Templesmith's pitch perfect art, made the book an unqualified success. In a rare occurrence for comics, the book actually gained readers as it progressed, causing the first issue to go back to print 5 times. Subsequent issues also saw multiple printings. Ellis and Templesmith stated that they didn't make much money on the project, though for them that wasn't the point. They did turn a profit, but it was more important for them to show what they could do with the format and proving it to the world. It's a strange concept for many people outside of comics, to work on a series out of love for the medium, even though you can make more money on other projects. It's simply the love of the medium that guides you, and the love of creating genre changing books like Fell that motivated them. Most creators would say you don't make comics to get rich, you make comics because you love them.

Unfortunately for fans of the series, the book has been plagued by a series of shipping delays, the last issue coming out nearly two years ago. A combination of Templesmith's other artistic commitments at first led to the initial delays, though since in the end of 2008 much of the problems have been Ellis' fault. After a computer crash led to the loss of Ellis' scripts, including multiple issues of Fell, he spent much of the time catching up his contractually obligated commitments, though he has stated recently that work on a new issue has begun.

Fell is a perfect book for this time of year, dark and creepy, hinting at the darker undertone of the world around us, with just a hint of the fantastic. The book's cutting, murky style is a perfect fit for Ellis' work and his characterization is at the top of his game. The creators manage to ft each 20 page comic with more material than most full size books and it is a real value for your trade dollar. Fell is also a really good gateway book for fans of Ellis, as it borders Ellis quirkier mainstream approach while hinting at the gonzo surrealism of some of Ellis' more subversive and gonzo work, like Transmetropolitan and Black Summer. this is a fine comic, published by two creators making something truly unique in this day and age, a book for the comic book fan. Not something as simple as a mindless rehash or a spin off, but something original and fresh, using an approach unheard of in modern day comics. Check out the first (and sadly sole) trade today, collecting the first 8 issues of the series. Image Comics Fell: Feral City (Volume 1), by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith, a book that proves there is nothing quite as frightening as the real world. Happy reading!

End of Line.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Poetry: A Dream Denies

Hey all,

Wrote this poem during the past few days, where I have been just mind numbingly exhausted. The material was pretty easy to come by, considering how damnably tired I was. Its not the first poem I have written about being tired, but then again, I do seem to recycle subject matter a bit here and there. Anyway, it's a bit of a shorter work, but I like the symmetry and I knew when I wrote that final line, that it was the place to end the poem. Anyway, thanks for reading.

A Dream Denies

Eyes so heavy, blurry vision.

Sleep depraved, my own volition.

Long swept days of ill reform,

Staving away sweet slumbers norm.

Toils to grind for all the day,

Yet no lullaby tonight can assuage.

Fickle dreams on the edge of sleep,

Lay out of grasp, to far to leap.

To snore, to rest, to nap in kind,

Would feel so sweet to this weary mind.

Angst and pressure, my thoughts a-twirl,

These reasons why sleep can not unfurl.

Weary bones and tired muscles,

Exhausted soul turns and tussles.

But every time I close my eyes,

Sleep, perchance, a dream denies.

An empty black, these silent rooms,

All of which my conscious consumes.

Cannot find the way to peace,

As my reward this night is simply fleeced.

I toss and thrash in tussled sheet,

Praying the day to draw complete.

The sun has set the stars now shine,

Yet I'm wide awake and far from fine.

End of Line.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 29:

Cody stuck to the main road as much as possible, listening and watching for any kind of activity. He wasn't sure what time it was, but based on the position of the sun it was at least mid morning. He hadn't seen anything like the Johnson Brothers this morning, but he hadn't seen anyone else either. He felt uneasy, nervous, and Cody Jarret did not like feeling that way. He hitched up his saddle bags and continued down the trail. Fifteen minutes later, his nerves went away as he found someone else.

The farmhouse had been built along the road and at one point had been a watering hole for the stage and horses in the early days before Desperation had been built, which meant that Cody was still a quarter of a day from town. Nowadays it was just a farmhouse. It was the screams that alerted Cody. He crept up, staying close to the border fence that ran alongside the trail, separating the farmland from the road. He could see two more of the abominations clawing at the door of a shed behind. One creature was barefoot and dressed in overalls, a giant festering wound seeping gore from his neck. The other was wearing a nice dress, though it had been slashed down the middle exposing her chest. The dress was covered in blood and you could see were her chest had been split open. They each had the same gaping mouths and black teeth, like before, and their fingers twisted into sharpened points, streaked with red.

The screams were coming from a small shed. As he drew close he could tell the terrified screams were a woman's, a truly terrified woman. The two monsters battered at the door and Cody could see the frame buckling under the inhuman assault. The screams intensified as more of the door was beaten away, the cries seeming to fuel the beasts into a frenzy as they drew nearer their prey. Cody could see the door giving way, as if whoever was trapped inside the shed was bracing it themselves.

Cody felt that feeling of warmth bubble up in his stomach. He felt it spreading throughout his whole body. That special feeling he got whenever he killed a man. He had been surprised by the Johnson Brothers this morning, but he knew now. He knew that whatever these fucks were you could kill them. And Cody Jarret dearly loved the feeling of killing a man. Cody debated whether to use one of his beautiful Colts, or the sawed-off he had taken from the Johnson boys. In the end he settled on the shotgun, simply because he was already holding it.

He tossed his saddle bags over the short fencing and then hopped over himself. He breached the barrel of the shotgun, checking the twin shells in the chamber and slammed the barrel shut. He thumbed back the hammers and whistled, watching as the two creatures spun away from their panicked victim in the shed and slowly begin to stalk towards him. Cody smiled, his mind processing as the monsters drew into range. They seemed thoughtless creatures, based solely on instinct and need. Not capable of thought or complex action. He smiled even wider as he drew the shotgun up and fired. He smile descended into a mad kind of laugh as he ejected the spent shells, loading again. The creatures still moved futility, their chests gaping holes. The ground was streaked with a multitude of spoiled pus and blackened blood as Cody walked towards the monsters. They still clung to life, teeth gnashing as Cody brought the rifle up. He didn't even aim, just jammed the cold barrel of the shotgun into the thrashing mouths of the beats and fired. His laughter died down as he finished the monster's off, his once manic laughter replaced by a euphoric calm as he re-loaded the shotgun.

He walked up to teh shed, his body tingling and alive. He slowly pushed the door open, finding no resistance. He held the shotgun to the side as he peered inside, finding the loan occupant. A young woman, no more than 17 or 18, was curled in the corner crying. Her dress was torn and she had lost a shoe, her face streaked with dirt and tears. She uncurled herself, slowly realizing that Cody wasn't one of those creatures.

"Are..........are you alive?"

Her voice cracked, brittle with fear and trauma and Cody said yes. She bounded from the floor in a blur, wrapping her arms around Cody, her body pressing tightly against him. He wrapped his arms around her and felt another familiar feeling. A feeling he had ignored too much the past two days. That feeling that came directly after he killed a man, a different kind of warmth spreading across his body. He pulled her even closer, her soft bits pressing against him and Cody told her everything would be all right now.

End of Line.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Poetry: Beginnings, Endings, Endings, Beginnings

Hey all,

Kind of a weird poem effort below. Trying something very structurally different, where I built the poem based on the number of words in the stanza. The poem starts with one word lines and increases by an additional word each stanza. Finally it crests with a five word line only to then de-structure itself back towards the one word line. I took several attempts at the poem, more than normal for me. The poem itself was written in pretty much one sitting, but I have gone through the lines several times tweaking the wording and flow to make the poem more or less sound better. To iron out a better verbal flow. I'm still not sure as to how great the poem is of itself, but I enjoyed using it as a learning exercise and as a writing tool. It challenged me in a different kind of way that was fun. Enjoy!

Beginnings, Endings, Endings, Beginnings





Empty promises,

Broken dream,

Forgotten words,

Feeling obscene.

Cut to wit,

Pain so raw,

My blood flows,

Cold heart thaws.

In these darkened halls,

Hearing the silence walk,

Enduring these lonely days,

As my heartache stalks.

Time goes on, ever fast,

Simple moments just slipping by,

Fleeting hours, they tick away,

Only failures left to try.

Cast a gaze behind,

Yesteryears come and gone,

Happiness tuned to dusk,

Bitterness breaks the dawn.

Alone and awake,

This lonely night,

Regrets so fresh,

Reliving the sights.

So cold,

Here alone,

Craving changes,

Never atoned.





End of Line.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 28:


Father Enrico pulled Father Ruiz by the sleeve away from the door to the church. The creatures had broken through and were moving over the rubble of broken furniture. Enrico aimed slowly, trying to measure out his shots to have the maximum effect. He pulled the trigger slowly, deliberately firing when he had a clear shot, aiming for the head whenever possible, purely on instinct. Pedro skipped past him towards his mother Maria, who was still rocking herself in the corner saying the Lord's prayer. Brother Romero had taken a broken piece of table leg and had backed towards the stairs leading up.

"Ruiz! Romero! We must get to the stairs, it will form a natural bottleneck where we can face these damnable monsters!"

He saw them both nod and make for the stairs. Enrico fired again, watching one of the monster's head explode in a black shower as the monster fell lifelessly to the church floor. Enrico took aim again and fired, and again, long dormant instincts rising to the surface. He watched the cursed beasts fall under his assault until the old pistol clicked empty. At the sound of that "click" all of those old fears bubbled to the surface though. The realization of the situation came flooding in as he reached into his robes for more bullets. The dead walking, the sun dying. Hell coming to Earth.

Enrico managed to jam two rounds into gun before the monsters made their final surge. Seven of the creatures barreled through the door, gore glistening from their blackened fangs. Brother Romero ran up the stairs as Father Ruiz called for Maria and Pedro. Pedro was desperately pulling on his mother, trying to drag her from the corner. Maria was crying hysterically, wailing her prayer through blubbered tears as her son pleaded with her to move. Enrico was trying to load his third shot when the first creature descended on the pair. Enrico watched in horror as the monster swiped his long claw across Pedro's back, dark red tears through his flesh as the boy let out a scream. His mother never even broke her prayer as another creature descended on her son, tearing at his flesh with a sickening ease.

Enrico willed his hand up, his once calm aim now jittery, as he tried to bear down on the two monsters. It was then he saw Father Ruiz throw himself at the creatures. He had no weapons, he simply pulled at the monster, his hands around his neck, willing the beast's maw away from the wailing boy. He succeeded for a second, until the smells of fresh blood enticed the other creatures into a frenzy. The horde descended on the Ruiz, claws and jagged teeth tearing at Ruiz' flesh. Even the mother's once incessant prayer was choked off into screams of pain and terror as the monsters feed on her flesh. The cries of the three victims filled the church, screams of pain, or fear, cries for a God who wasn't answering.

Enrico wrenched his gaze away from the horror unfolding in front of him and looked at Brother Romero, still holding the broken table leg. Tears rolled down the young man's face, his eyes tinged red with sorrow and fear, and he heard tehboy call to him for help.


Enrico looked away from the young man, twisting his head even further from the abhorrent sounds unfolding just yards from him. he saw the cleared doorway, free from monsters, free for the moment. A chance. He looked back to Romero, as the first of the feeding creatures broke away from Ruiz's body, gore and entrails hanging from his mouth. The monster began shuffling towards Romero as Enrico slipped closer to the door. He looked back to Romero, his eyes tinged with tears, and whispered his failure.

"I'm sorry......God I'm so sorry......"

The creature stalked towards Brother Romero, drawing closer to the petrified young man. With a lump in his throat, Enrico turned away running for the open doorway, hearing his one time brother's cries. The pleading cries for him to come back, to save him. Begging to not be left alone. Another demon that would haunt Enrico's dreams. Another failure on his part. For the second time in his life, he ran away from the people whom he had taken an oath to protect.

End of Line.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Assorted Nuts!

Happy October!

Yeah, last month surely didn't go according to plan. I really wanted to do 30 posts, and I fell about 7 short. Still I think I did have some quality posts and I am a little proud of the amount of poetry I managed to crank out. It was a combination of several things that lead to the lack of output at the end. One was a clear lack of topical material, though I think the second reason was more the matter. I simply hit the wall. I just had no desire or energy to write. Personal issues with my car and such weighed in on the matter too, but honestly I can say I am disappointed in myself. I am not setting a post target this month, but I certainly am shooting for more of a regular output.

I do have some fun plans this month for posts though. I'm planning on at least two special posts, a flash fiction short story for Halloween as well as one of my annual poems. You can also count on Under A Dead Sun to really start amping up and seeing the characters start to come together. I also have some other non blog writing to do so hopefully this will be a busy month. I'm taking my last week of vacation this month as well so I want to do some serious writing that week to boot. Anyway, enjoy the blog, thanks for reading, and most importantly, thanks for listening.

End of Line.