Promotion, interlude

Front cover for Napkin Notes, an anthology by The Corner Scribblers writing group.
Cover design by Isaac Craft.
The book is now available on Amazon.com.
An anthology from The Corner Scribblers, available now on Amazon.com.

Hey, pilgrim .. like science fiction?” says a suspicious guy in a black cowboy hat and duster.

“My whole life is science fiction,” says a passerby, “So is this whole year.”

“Well you’re in luck,” says the cowboy, “Because the books I’m selling are gonna be right up your alley.”

The bystander looks at the books and grunts in approval.

“They make perfect sense,” he says, “I’ll take two of each. My wife needs to read them too.”

—from the play “The Cowboy Salesmen In The Werewolf Apocalypse” by renown playwright Frederick “Fransgrim” Cheese-Omelette-Bacons, written in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Mr. Cheese-Omelette-Bacons has since sold the work online to Undead Marching Saloon Publishing.

Not interested in humans, interlude

That’s just a roaming spider. There’s nothing to be afraid of. He’s looking for something to eat and you’re not small enough.

-from “Let out Charlie,” sci-fi live theatre show about a detective who solves crimes by studying spiders, especially a specific species of spider that scavenges off dead bodies.

Friday aftermath, interlude

…Friday the 13th is nothing to fear. Nothing bad happens on this particular day that could happen on any other day.

…However, Friday the 13th is undoubtedly a harbinger of terrible things to come. It is not the day itself one must be concerned about. Rather it’s the weekend of Friday the 13th, plus a couple days after, where lies the real danger.

–from Author G. T. Quilting-Wheeler, in an interview Friday, June 13, 2008.

The author’s synopsis was mocked and ignored until an unexplained, accidental death occurred two days later which claimed the life of an 18-year-old young man.

It’s scary, interlude

…When I’m busy researching how to write horror. Today it’s research on ghosts. I’m studying in my bathroom, on a rainy, quiet afternoon, and then my dog starts howling. Like he’s in pain. I’m getting hairs on the back of my neck standing up…

I get out of the bathroom and into the den just to find he’s trying to tell me our house guest is back to continue repairs….

–from an interview with renowned horror film director Teddy “Marsh Bob” Fobberman, on the topic of house guests his family would receive back when he was just starting out as a director. Recorded June 1998, Scared Coatwire Productions, inc.

White Cats, interlude

..When I was young, my grandfather never liked cats. He didn’t mind me having a dog though. But I was more fond of cats. I asked him one day why he felt the way he did.

“…Because dogs keep the mad scientists away,” he said.

..It took a few minutes to get him to explain what he said…

“..When I was young, I thought I could go into the state park at night. I didn’t fear the dark, didn’t know the danger that stalks…

“You’ll never see the white fur which seems to glow in the dark, or the eyes that reflect your flashlight,” he said, “You will hear neither the purring that comes down from his perch, nor smell the ammonia stench of his white lab coat flowing.. You won’t feel the prick of the blow dart or be aware of where you land…

“You won’t recall the taste of dead leaves upon hitting the ground, or see Dr.Winter, the large green eyes, watching and making his plans…

“So don’t find yourself in his laboratory. Be careful when you venture at night. Always be watching the trees. For you don’t know when Dr. Winter is watching. Be careful when you hear the breeze…

“He’s always looking for new test subjects, he watches, waits for the unwary…

“So get a dog, get a dog, grandson, and keep Dr. Winter at bay.”

–from “The White Cat of the Labyrinthine Woods” by Tyger G. Caterwauling, Summer Sunny Squashmare Publishers, Topeka, Kansas 1985.

Jack ‘o lanterns, interlude

Good evening. Our car broke down a few yards back. May we come in to use your phone?

–from “Count the Pumpkin Skins,” the 1980s horror film about a vampire who gets turned into a living jackolantern, who then preys on unsuspecting teenagers.

Creeper Corner Films. Air date: October 1981

Flammable Darkness, Interlude

 

Sparks. Find something that makes more sparks. The black slime creature had evaded the sparks sent out by the broken portal generator.  June ran to her kitchen with a crazy idea.

In the kitchen June kept a brown paper bag full of sparklers. They were leftover from last year’s July 4th.  She grabbed the bag and her cigarette lighter and ran back to the utility room.

June smoked, but not in the house. She never let her son see her do it, knowing the risks and all the scary stuff cigs were supposed to do. For once her bad habit could do something to save her life.

A sparkler was lit. The creature’s slick body reflected the light emitted from the sparkler. It slowly backed away toward the wall. June threw the sparklers at the creature. Not good enough. The creature evaded it until the sparks went out. Then it started to advance.

June went for bear and lit all of the sparklers, throwing them at the creature. So many sparks, so much light.

There was an audible wail as the sparks did their damage. It didn’t take much to quickly incinerate the creature until it was all smoldering ash.

FOOM

The creature exploded like one of those puffball fungi, filling the room with black, purple, and blue smoke. The smell of death and rotting flesh and decay washed over the room. June, lightheaded, was covered in the ash and ran out of the room coughing and sick to her stomach.

The ash was filling the house. June had to get out of there. she ran to the kitchen, opened the door, and out of the house. the whole house was filled with the smoke and ash, becoming clearly seen by the neighbors. Someone called the fire department. An ambulance was also sent.

*

“Oh thank God you’re safe,” said June’s mother Carol. Along with June’s mother were Frank and Anne, friends of June. Their children had invited little Eddy to stay over. Eddy was there to visit too.

June had been sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation while fire and rescue personnel searched the house. The entire inside of the house was covered in black soot and it had been determined that the fire started in the utility room.

“What happened?” asked Carol.

“I don’t remember. Electrical shortage maybe,” said June, “I feel fine.”

“No, I mean what happened to your eye?”

There was a bandage on her eye. June touched the gauze lightly.

“It doesn’t hurt. I don’t remember it being here.”

In walked a nurse to check on June. she politely asked friends and family to leave the room. Then a tall man in a black suit with a white overcoat showed up. June assumed he was a doctor.

“Hello, ma’am. I’m Doctor Thomas Phasmid. In addition to your smoke inhalation, we’ve done some tests on the type of smoke. It isn’t anything we’ve ever seen.”

“Why is my eye covered?” asked June.

“Well that’s what baffles us,” said Dr. Phasmid, “It appears the smoke infected that eye, but we were unsure as how to treat it.”

“I feel fine.”

“You’re also on pain killers. The infection was spreading. We  removed the eye.”

 

Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

 

Next page (stay tuned!)

previous page

Something Creeped In, Interlude

June wandered from her bedroom to investigate the noise.

Cat calls and fox whistles heralded June when she reached the laundry room.

Three sharply dressed men were in the laundry room. They were inspecting the washer and dryer, taking measurements of the walls and ceiling, inspecting every corner. The men had embroidered on their sleeves a letter S in yellowish green thread.

“Hey there, Pajama Mama!” said one of the men. He was a particularly slick young man in a grey silk business suit. “This is a nice place ya got,” he said as he eyed June.

June was not amused.

“Um, can I help you?” June said finally.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said smiling and offered his hand. It had many rings. “Name’s Ray. Here’s my card.”

The card read: Rayford Dusk; Pest Control Investigator.

“Hello, Ray,” said June, “Please tell me why you’re here?”

“Yeah, we’re lookin’ for someone,” said Ray, “Ya know, it’s been all over the news? About new bug peoples? ‘Enzecto-whatevas.'”

The other men laughed.

“Yeah… We’re here to catch it. Our sensors say it was sent though this here portal generator.”

June’s first thought was to yell at the men to return from whence they came. Then she noticed the suits looked the exact same. Like a dress code. Her heart told her they would not leave so easily.

“I’m sorry, boys. My house only has regular bugs,” said June.

“That so? We heard you are related to the Enzecto we’re tracking. She’s  especially dangerous and may return here.”

A light suddenly turned on in June’s mind. These men were authorized to hunt Enzectozoids. June remembered the news talking about that new bill addressing the new Enzectozoid threat. She needed to get them away from the portal generator.

June tried to stay calm.

“Can I offer you any coffee?”

Ray looked at his men, who were still calculating on their devices.

“Yeah. That, uh, sounds nice.”

Fresh brewed coffee was served in June’s kitchen. The three men sat at the table drinking their coffee and eating cookies June had made two days ago.

Ray finished his coffee, took out a comb and casually slicked his hair back.
“Last week we got a call from a…uh,”

He wiped the comb down with a napkin, and returned it to a pocket inside his dress coat. Then from the same pocket he pulled out a piece of paper.

“Mr. Swanson,” he read from the paper, “Yeah, Jorge Swanson. He said his wife turned into a five-foot-two, humanoid, preying mantis. With razor sharp. Lightening fast. Retractable blades on each hand and forearm.”

Ray folded up the paper.

“He said after his wife’s transformation she tried to kill him.”

June folded her arms. She remembered Jorge. Why Victoria loved him was beyond her. June could have predicted that Jorge would sell out his own wife.

“Is Victoria the only one you’re after?” asked June.

Ray gave her a funny look.

“Yeah, Victoria Swanson is the only one we’re tracking from your house,” said Ray slowly. “We’ve been busy with other reports of killer bug people.”

Ray signaled to his men and they got up from the table. June sighed relief and cursed under her breath at the same time. Had she just turned the portal generator back to Channel 5, Victoria would not have been hunted. But they had not been able to track Whartleburg.

“One more thing, and we’ll go,” said Ray, “I admit we’ve seen a lotta things on the job. A teleportation device isn’t something we see everyday. We already know your sister escaped through it, but I doubt she’s the one who built it. I don’t think she’s the tech type. I suspect you didn’t build it. Which makes me suspicious as who did.”

June was silent.

“Jorge Swanson contacted us because the police would not believe him. Not even after showing the deep gash on his left forearm. It cost him six stitches,” said Ray. “You see, these Enzecto-things cannot be negotiated with. You can’t make peace with them.”

“My sister. Would never intentionally hurt her husband,” June managed to say, “And she loves her only nephew.”

“Victoria Swanson is no longer your sister,” said Ray. “She’s an assassin bug. In the end, she will kill you and your son. Believe me, I don’t want that. Tell us where she is, and we’ll leave you alone.”

WHUMP

Something in the back made a loud noise. Ray and his men turned their heads toward the direction of the laundry room.

“Did you leave the portal generator still on Channel 3?” asked Ray to one of his men.

“Uh, oops,” said the first man.

“The lady offered coffee,” said the second man, “Who can refuse coffee?”

…RRRREEEEEEEEEEE…

“Holy Basil,” said Ray, “Something creeped in.”

It was their job to investigate scary situations. Ray made June promise she would stay in the kitchen. He then left with his men to investigate the noise in the laundry room.

Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

Next Page: stay tuned!

Previous page

Adolescent Infatuation, Interlude

Ring ring.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Is this Roger?”

Roger put down his sandwich.

“Um, yes.”

“Hi, this is Beth Azure. From school, remember?”

“Oh yeah. How are you?”

“Look, I’m running for class president this Spring. I’m calling everyone in class to vote for me.”

“Sure thing, Baby.”

“What?”

Oops.

“Er, sorry. You got my vote!”

“Ok, Roger,” she said, “Have a good weekend.”

Com’n, Roger, have some guts!

“Hey, Beth? Beth!”

Too late. She hung up. That’s ok. Just talk to her at school.

 

Unseen, having targeted him and followed him home, a certain personality was standing behind Roger. He had been with Roger since he had joined the school paper.

Sorry, kid. You don’t chase us. We chase you.

A member of the Unlisted Group, recommended through the former Head Coach, at Luthar’s insistence, he was hired to monitor. He was asked to watch and every now and again, keep Roger out of trouble. Out of Luthar’s way. It might not always be advice that should be heeded, but advice nonetheless.

Covering the various reported hauntings was advised against, but Roger did it anyway. Deciding to call back Beth right now, instead of waiting, would be foolish. But Roger wouldn’t hear that either.

From “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

Go to Next Page

Go to Previous Page

Hungry?

 

No Room for Reporters, Interlude

The Berenson Times was a student-run newspaper. Covering everything from sports highlights to who made the honor roll, the weekly paper addressed various school topics.

The latest topics this week were Miss Long’s new hairstyle, the new addition of “breaded pork fingers”(also known as “Mystery Meat Special”) to the hot lunch menu, and frightening proof the cafeteria was haunted.

The Berenson Times was headed up by the 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Eweson. Her love for all things ice cream showed in her writing, in her choice of stickers when grading, in the posters on the walls of her classroom, and in her dress size.

“So you wanna work for the Times, huh?” said Mrs. Eweson as she adjusted her glasses.

“Yes Ma’am,” said Roger.

“You’re rather late in the season to be applying. We’re full for the quarter. If you apply in January, we can have you on full time. But we can always make room for part time, volunteer, reporters,” said Mrs. Eweson, “Tell me why you want to write for the Berenson Times?”

“I want to explore topics and places in the school normally not covered.”

“And what do you have in mind?”

“I want to cover what other places around the school might be haunted,” said Roger.

“Now we’re not in the business of ghost hunting,” said Mrs. Eweson, “And we’re not a tabloid.”

“That’s fine, just let me write,” said Roger.

“However,” said Mrs Eweson, “You are in eighth grade. And you’re making straight A’s in my classes. I can make an exception for you in that regard.”

She smiled a knowing smile to Roger. Mrs. Eweson was one of the few teachers who approved of Roger’s sneaking into the cafeteria to prove it was haunted.

“What are you saying, Mrs. Eweson?”

“I’m saying write what you wanna write, kid!”

Roger was estatic.

“But first let me know what you’re covering.”

Roger walked away with renewed vigor, staring at his newly issued Press Pass. As long as he had this, and it was relevant for a story, he could go places others could not tread.

 

Principal Gordon Luthar was reading a newly pressed copy of the Berenson Times. There was an article here written by some Mr. Roger Flair. Hmmm. Was that the guy who trespassed into the cafeteria? It must be. He wrote about his findings about the Red Veil Phantom. And about, who was that? “Hector Hundred?” Blood on the walls? How barbaric. It shouldn’t be in a school paper, relevant or not.

Principal Luthar looked at his watch. It was Monday. Almost that time again to make an appearance. Visiting her was a random visit. He made sure, every quarter, to visit the others and remind them to who it was that put them there. He never predicted that his appearance would be witnessed, or that the witness had on hand, of all things, a mirror. Who could have guessed that he’d get caught by a student? He thought detention would make him not do it again and keep quiet. Now he’s writing about it in the newspaper?

Principal Luthar got up from his desk and addressed his secretary.

“Eugenia, I’m going out for a bit. When I return, have Mrs. Eweson come to the office.”

“Yes, Mr. Luthar,” said Eugenia. “Um, she’s in class right now.”

“She’s in class you say?” he asked, “Fine. Send her in when her class is over.”

Principal Luthar calmly went outside and to his car. In the glove compartment was a syringe full of dark green liquid. He injected the needle into a strange, soft green stone attached to a necklace he wore around his neck. He wore it hidden, under his shirt at all times. The soft stone briefly turned a brighter shade of green and became shiny again.

The Briostone once again showed exuberance. It was a hassle to satisfy. One had to inject ether harvested from other specters, or it would shrivel like a raisin and reveal who he was. But it was one of the few ways to remain physical and among the living.

 

From “Fall from Autumnway” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?

Go to Next Page

Go to Previous Page