The Supplement – Joey Payne

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAugust 15th 2015

I’ve started a new workout regime. It’s going ok so far, and I figured I would keep a journal about it: Just some free weights right now and jogging a little. Lots of the muscle heads at the gym who call each other “brah” make fun of me.

August 18th 2015

Today was a good workout: No real improvement yet, but the girl behind the desk flirted with me. So all in all, I had a good time; although the muscle heads still made fun of me.

August 21st 2015

I had a bad workout day today. I pulled something in my shoulder and dropped the weights. One of the muscle heads actually came over to help. His name is Rip or some such—I don’t even know if it is his real name. But he helped me up and told me I was going about it all wrong. He handed me some pills, and I shook my head and told him no thanks. Drugs were never my thing. He handed them to me and explained with a “Nah Brah” that they were all natural supplements of some kind. I looked them up and, sure enough, they’re legit (though I’ve never known an honest man to have to use the term legit). The pills are sold legally by a company. I’m not sure if I want to try them. If I do, and you find me dead here, arrest the muscle heads.

August 25th 2015

WOW, I took those supplements and they are amazing. I take one in the morning and one before I work out and I’m in the zone. My buddies at the gym are real supportive and scream at me while I work out. The sound of them calling me weak is a jolt to the system and makes me push harder. I worked out today and I’m still not tired—even ran the 5 miles home and barely skipped a beat. Might go for a short run now—still pumped up.

September 3rd 2015

Started taking more of the supplements. I’m really seeing a difference. I was able to add BLOOD 5 more pounds to the weights with little problem. My brahs at the gym are even saying I need to slow down. But they DEVOUR are just jealous of these guns. Going to up the dose a bit over the next couple of weeks. I’m not really worried FLESH about the side effects, they just have to put that on there to cover their asses.

September 11th 2015

Nothing seems to help anymore. I went rock KILL climbing, parasailing, everything FEED I can think of to get a rush and nothing seems to help. The guys EAT FLESH at the gym say they are worried about me. They are just FLESH TO BE EATEN jealous of my awesomeness.

September 14th 2015

I’ve decided to kill someone. This is not some MUST KILL premeditated plot against any one person. If I’m being honest it’s MUST CONSUME FLESH always been on my bucket list and I’m jonesin’ for a new thrill. I’m thinking the girl behind the counter WHORE she likes me and I bet I could get her on a date. I hope anyone reading this later doesn’t KILL HER think me too insane for thinking this. Really TEETH IN FLESH the supplements are doing the driving. I’m just following where they lead me.

September 15th 2015

I did it. I killed her and it felt great, amazing KILL AGAIN even. Took a big handful of supplements before I did and it was such a rush. I got her to this isolated location WHORE and it got kind of hot and heavy, brah. Then, in the middle of everything I strangled her. She was into it in the beginning and then she was all DEVOUR choke and gasp. It’s like nothing that I EAT DEATH I ever felt before. Now this may be a little twisted but after it was done I looked at her hand. It was so dainty FLESH so pretty WHORE and had this little ring on the middle finger. I stared at it and before I realized what I was doing I leaned down and took a bite. It was hard to get loose at first but then I must have separated a knuckle because it came right off with a pop. I swallowed it DELICIOUS down without chewing, ring and all. It kind of freaked me out at first because it happened so fast KILL MORE. But then I just shrugged and thought, “Lady fingers” am I right?

September 17th 2015

Guys at the gym won’t hang out with me. They say I’ve lost it. There was lots of talk about what’s her name not showing up for work. I DEATH can’t pick the next victim from there. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention there is going to be another victim. You see, I’ve REAP decided that I’m going to kill again. It’s an imperative, honestly. Nothing else can fill the void, you see. Life without KILLING WHORES the supplements and the killing just isn’t worth living.

September 19th 2015

Oops I did it again. Twice more, actually, and it felt just as amazing. I’ll spare you the details, but one of ‘em was so bloody it made the evening news. Let me DEATH TO ALL tell you, if you go the cannibal route, then knife is the way to go. I’m no doctor or nothing EAT THEM ALL but I was able to get that liver out of her pretty quick.

September something

I think I may have a problem, brah. I’ve been killing about one a week, sometimes two. I don’t think I want to but KILL THE WHORES the supplements always find a way to convince me. Every time I try to back out, the supplements push me and before I know it, I got some chicks’ kidney hanging out of my mouth. It’s the only thing that makes me feel whole, though. That last LIFE FEEDS DEATH little glimmer in their eyes as the light goes poof. It’s like a million fireworks going off as her soul clings to existence. It really is one of God’s miracles.

Sep

Not good brah, cops were here. They were askin a lot of KILL THEM questions about whets her name. I told em I didn’t know nothin brah. Hadn’t seen her WHORE in days. They left, but they might come back. Might have to EAT THEIR FLESH unleash the guns on em. Guys at the gym give me a wide berth now. I jump at ‘em and they flinch and I call em wussies. I AM DEATH They ain’t callin’ me weak now. Oh as a reminder, I ate 2 more chicks and need to work out to get rid of the extra fat. Guess the quickest way to a guy’s heart IS through his stomach, am I right?

Se

Cops at the door brah! I took out TEETH RIPPING FLESH one of em and got the others eye out and slammed the door. They are bangin’ hard brah. Must have dug up what’s her name. I knew I should have dug the hole deeper, brah. KILL THE COPS But I got a plan brah, gonna beat down the first fucker through the door and show them what I got. Ain’t takin I AM THE ANGEL OF DEATH me down town.

They. are through the door, theirs lots offgp5h

???

My kill the cops plan didn’t work so well, brah. They were wearin’ riot gear and shit. Damn militarized police. Got no idea what day or month it is. They put 9 slugs into me but couldn’t kill me. MUST FEED Takes more than that to kill the angel of death. Did take me a while to recover, though. Anywho, they are letting me finish MY BLOODY WORK this journal cause Im gonna tell em where couple of the bodies are. Damn cops are messin’ with my head though. Told ‘em it wasn’t me, it was the supplements but when I showed ‘em what I was taking one of the cops BASTARD laughed. Showed me a website VEINS IN MY TEETH that claimed they were just a basic placebo… had some Chinese plant in it that raised my blood pressure so I felt stronger. Was FINGERS IN VISCERA bogus of course. I mean, someone like me isn’t capable of murder without being on drugs. I’m a good guy, I give to charity and pay my taxes. I NEED TO KILL go to church most Sundays. Anyway not gonna be able to write anymore for a while brahs. They think Im gonna be locked DEVOUR THEIR CHILDEREN in here but I won’t be for long. And once I get out I’m gonna take a big handful of supplements and pay them a visit at their homes. Then KILL THE WORLD maybe I’ll swing by your place, brah.

~~~~~

Joey Payne enjoys writing post-apocalyptic novels and horror short stories. His first release, a book set in a grim future world, entitled Love and Radiation (Book 1 of his Radiation Tales series) was published in October of 2012 and is currently available via Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle App Store. The second in the Radiation Tales Series—Death and Radiation—is expected out sometime in 2013. His latest published work*, The Slow and The Dead, a horror short, appears in the 2012 13 Stories Till Halloween 2012 edition.

Joey is a Georgia boy and lives with his wife and children in his beloved home state. He also loves river boating, fishing and collecting antique firearms, which he shoots often to help him concentrate.

** editor’s note. Joey’s short story The Block appeared in the 2013 edition of 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween.

Gothic Revival – Jolene Mottern

Gothic Revival

Dominic sat in the coat closet amidst the bare bones of his new house, ripping up traces of threadbare carpet. It was the last closet left. He’d started upstairs, and he’d torn carpet out of twelve others. Since the house hadn’t been wired yet, he tried to do the darkest rooms while the sun still shone. If he had been honest with himself, he would’ve been forced to admit he didn’t want to be in the house after dark, regardless of the room or the project.

The first night Dominic had come to work on the house, he’d barely set up his shop light when a millipede scuttled out from the sink’s drain. Dominic stared in awe as it crawled carefully down the side of the pedestal before reducing its body to a sliver and slipping into an invisible slit in the lathe. He’d barely recovered from the sight of that when a velvety brown spider crawled across his hand. He reacted immediately by squashing it dead, but as he did, the dead spider seemed to transform itself into a multitude of miniature clones.

“Shit!” Dominic shouted, as he removed his shirt and used it to beat the tiny spiders from his arm. He shuddered and raked his hands over his bare chest, still feeling as though bugs crawled all over him, more than when it had actually happened.

Since the wolf spider incident, he merely swatted the smaller leggy creatures away, and with the large ones, he slid aside in retreat. Still, each time he encountered the millipedes, centipedes, spiders, or beetles, he was repulsed. It was the same with these closets. He’d swept the closets out with a broom, but seemingly overnight, new cobwebs were spun. The house had been abandoned more than twenty years earlier, and nature had reclaimed it. Every seam unsealed meant the opportunity for more bugs to emerge. Pulling out trim and replacing floor boards had taken Dominic more courage than strength. He was glad the floors were still viable, as when he imagined tearing up the floor, he could only envision a swath of swirling snakes covered in insects of every kind.

The house wasn’t infested with only bugs, but also with critters. He’d been plagued by strange noises of all sorts. Chattering rats seemed to play hide n’ seek with the possums and raccoons that shared the house. He didn’t know why the bats felt compelled to squeak. He’d always thought that they slept during the day, so his only conclusion was that they squeaked to drive him out of his mind. Dominic was a solo human, a minority. Once the sounds of howling coyotes and owls came after dark, Dominic felt like prey.

All this was made worse after his sister had driven out to see the property. The since-torn-down walls had still had a substantial amount of graffiti on them then, which Dominic assumed was the work of kids who’d used the house as a teenager hangout, but his sister told him the graffiti was a series of ritual symbols. She’d told Dominic to have a priest come out to bless the house before he started work. His sister always said things like that, to burn sage first, or to have a priest come out, but Dominic had never understood her flighty ways, and he’d long ago lost his faith.

A priest wasn’t necessary, but securing the house was, so replacing windows and doors was the first thing he’d done once the tear-out was complete. He’d carefully chosen larger windows to let in more light. He’d replaced all the wooden screen doors with full-length glass storm doors, again for the light, but also because they locked. Dominic often felt vulnerable with his back to doors and windows. The windows seemed to be the house’s eyes, as if the house itself hovered outside watching him. He could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up when the house watched. As a result, he often regretted giving the house bigger eyes, despite the light. He took comfort in the storm door lock.

Having crews in for repairs and drywall would be a relief. Maybe with other men around, he could shrug off bugs and laugh at snakes. Perhaps instead of losing his breath every time he heard those random footsteps which belonged to no living being, he could attribute them to his crew. That relief was a long way off. He’d called three plumbers, one who declined to come out, and one who came out, but then subsequently refused to enter the crawlspace. Finally, Plumber Number Three told Dominic that he wasn’t afraid of curses or spells, but he wasn’t keen on the vermin living under the house, so he’d want an exterminator to come out first. Then he told Dominic that the last owner had an exterminator come out, but all that had done was drive the spiders out of doors, resulting in fields covered in webs for months, until the chemicals wore off and the spiders went back inside. “Best to do it in the winter. Drive ‘em out into the cold so they die,” he’d said.

Every time he got into a closet, Dominic’s mind raced with all this information. He’d replay the words of his sister and Plumber Number Three. Combined with the real estate agent’s comment, “I can’t show you an old gothic house on Friday the thirteenth, now can I?” she laughed, “Let’s do it Monday,” he realized that the pittance he paid for the property was nothing compared to the price of fear. Yes, it was old, yes, it was gothic, maybe it had once been inhabited by crazy witches who liked to write and draw on every surface, and it might even be haunted. Ghosts couldn’t hurt anyone, even if you believed in them. The house had great bones on substantial acreage and he could make it beautiful. He took pride not only in restoration, but also in taking risks. So what if the fear grew greater each day? He was battling his own mind, not any real danger. He told himself that if he spent less and less time there each night, it was only because the sun set earlier and earlier each day.

He convinced himself that all the paintings hidden under the carpets were no more than silly talisman the crazy old witches used to make themselves feel better. He wanted to believe thirteen closets was coincidence. He pretended the noise level of the animals was not related to each drawing he revealed. With every carpet he pulled up, the animals immediately began their din. He covered his ears and told himself the noises were normal, animals going about their business, not meaning to scare him.

With the last carpet pulled up, another new drawing appeared, but this time, as Dominic went to cover his ears, he realized the animals were silent. Even the outside chatter, the sounds of birds and breezes, crickets and cicadas, all had stopped. He dropped his hands and looked at the ceiling, thinking maybe the last carpet was also the last of the clamor.

Footsteps started. The footsteps were never the same. He’d heard what he thought were children running barefoot, as well as heavily-shoed women walking quickly, and several times, he’d heard what could only be described as the sound of a dog chasing its ball, its claws scratching haphazardly as it ran and slid. The feet were heavy today, but not like shoes. The footsteps were familiar though, so Dominic listened until he could identify them. Dominic shook his head in amazement when he recognized them as the footsteps of a horse. The footsteps descended the back stairs, slowly.

Dominic went to investigate. He couldn’t stop himself from walking toward the sound. He was pulled by his curiosity and determination. He was desperate to discover the footsteps weren’t footsteps at all, but part of some earthly misunderstanding he could laugh off. As he trod slowly through the kitchen, a snake turned the corner, startling him. The footsteps continued. Dominic’s desperation grew with the realization that he could only hear the sound of the horse’s footsteps and the beating of his own heart. It was then that Dominic felt every single hair on his body stand erect. Terror seized his body. He raced to the back door. He could feel it, could see it lingering behind him, from the corner of his eye. He knew what it was without looking directly at it. He was determined to escape the house and never return. He fumbled, trying to turn the storm door lock, but no matter how he turned it, it wouldn’t open. The door would not unlock. It had caught up to him. Every inch of Dominic’s skin burned with fear. As he pressed his eyes shut, a single tear cooled his cheek. He turned to face the devil, and the devil politely said, “Thank you for summoning me.”

~~~~~

Jolene Mottern lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, primarily on the south side of a loveseat, where she reads everything and writes whatever people tell her to. In her spare time, she bangs cookware around, obsesses over things that don’t matter, and waves her loud Italian hands at her family. Jolene earned a BA in English Education from Ball State University. You can stalk her all over social media, on her blog jolenemottern.com , on Twitter @ joeyfullystated and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jolene-Mottern/

Pearls – Austin Malone

Pearls“I need you to stay late tonight,” Denton said before Bill was even halfway through the door into the office.

“No way,” Bill said. “I’ve got plans tonight.”
“And I’ve got an inspector coming to look at a vacant unit tomorrow morning. Your plans just changed.”

“Which unit?”

“923,” Denton replied.

“Shit,” Bill muttered. That had been Ms. Shapiro’s apartment, until she’d died several days ago. “Forget it. I’ll fix dishwashers, haul furniture. I’ve even climbed a tree to catch a tenant’s cat before, but you don’t pay me enough to be mopping up an old lady’s blood. What if she had AIDS or something?”

Denton pulled open his filing cabinet and withdrew a pair of yellow, elbow-length rubber gloves.

“The hell I don’t pay you enough,” he said, slapping the gloves onto the desk. “You walk out that door without taking these with you, and you won’t be coming back.”

Bill snorted. “Leaving you minus one handyman, and a whole lotta mess on your hands.”

“Yeah,” Denton said. “I’ll cry myself to sleep over that tonight. After I cruise through the Home Depot parking lot and pick up a Mexican who’ll be happy to do your job for half the pay.”

“What are you doing?” Denton asked, as Bill pulled out his phone and began tapping the screen.

“Canceling my plans,” Bill said, pressing Send and scooping up the gloves in his free hand. “Asshole.”

Bill handled the heavy stuff first, dismantling and disposing of the furniture. He worked his way through the rooms, around the bathroom. Load by load, the halfhearted mementos of an anonymous old woman disappeared into the property’s dumpster until, around sunset, there was only one room left to clean.

If there was ever a memory Bill would have liked to erase, it was of responding to a tenant’s report of a strange smell, and coming upon Ms. Shapiro in her bathroom. She’d been doing a little amateur dentistry when she died, attempting to pull out each of her teeth with a pair of pliers. Her anticoagulant meds hadn’t done her any favors. Somewhere around tooth number eleven, she’d passed out, to eventually bleed to death through her gums.

Bill took a deep breath and opened the bathroom door. “Just rust,” he muttered to himself, as he surveyed the brown crust that coated the floor and sink. “That’s all it is. Just like cleaning up junkyard scrap.”

As he bent to pull the mop bucket closer, a silvery glint behind the toilet caught his eye. Leaning forward, he hooked it with his fingers, and withdrew a bracelet. Fashioned from a wide band of silver, it had turquoise inlay, and was studded with shiny white beads that looked like pearls to Bill. It was a common enough thing to find jewelry in a woman’s bathroom, but Bill was transfixed by the object, running his fingers along each smooth, white bump.

Before he realized what he was doing, Bill had slipped the bracelet onto his wrist. The rubber gloves went on next, and he set to cleaning.

He dragged himself through the front door of his own apartment sometime after midnight. Gus, Bill’s cat, padded up eagerly to be let out for the night, but skidded to a halt at Bill’s feet. He reached down to pet Gus, but the cat recoiled, staring at Bill’s hand. Glancing down, Bill saw the bracelet.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, displaying the gaudy accessory to the cat. “Picked this up earlier, courtesy of the late Ms. Shapiro. What do you think?”

Gus yowled, and streaked into Bill’s bedroom.

“Yeah,” Bill said to the empty room. “I don’t think it suits me, either.”

Kicking off his shoes, he made his way to the bedroom. He managed to slip off the bracelet, setting it on the nightstand, and drop his work belt to the floor before he fell into bed, fully dressed and unconscious.

In his dream, his teeth were falling out. His tongue probed a tooth, felt it wiggle, and contrary to Bill’s futile protestations, pushed it out. This happened over and over again, until Bill forced himself awake, gagging.

His heart, still hammering from the nightmare, increased its tempo when Bill realized he couldn’t move. He wanted to raise a hand to his mouth, to check his teeth, but the limb refused to respond. He tried to wiggle his toes. Nothing. A full-body thrash ended up amounting to a hissed whimper through his nose, and that’s when he realized he wasn’t alone.

There was something hiding in the shadows in the corner. Bill had seen it move when he whimpered, responding to the noise. It stretched out towards him, always in the shadows, which themselves writhed out from the corner in tattered tendrils.

Bill sucked in air for a scream, but the breath whooshed out of him when the thing landed on his chest, its gaunt body in a predatory crouch. Even up close, Bill couldn’t tell what the creature looked like. It seemed to be made of shadows. A skeletal arm, wreathed in darkness, reached for his face. Bill opened his mouth to scream, but couldn’t draw in enough air. He felt the tickle of one of the thing’s fingers as it brushed past his lips. Then, there was the tugging scrape of something sharp against the back of one of his teeth. Bill moaned, and the thing leaned closer. Pulled harder.

Bill’s salvation came with a banshee wail and a streak of grey fur. Gus launched himself at the thing perched on Bill’s chest, and swiped his claws through its midsection. The substance of the creature tore in shadowy wisps, and it shrank back, disappearing into the shadows with a screech.

With a ragged gasp, Bill found himself once more in control of his body. He rolled over into a half-sitting position. His trembling fingers missed the cord of his lamp twice before he was able to switch it on and drive the shadows away from the bed. He sat there for a moment, head in hands, gulping fresh air into his lungs. When he looked up, his eye was drawn by the lamplight glinting off of the bracelet. He stared at the pearls as they winked up at him, and his mind made the connection. No. Not pearls. Teeth.

He bent forward and picked up the hammer from the tool belt at his feet. Gus chirped at him and jumped off of the bed, pausing once to flick his tail in the air before trotting out of the room, toward the front door. Bill stood, picking up the bracelet between thumb and forefinger of his other hand, and followed.

Outside, Bill smiled as the cat scampered off into the cool autumn night. His expression sobered step by step, though, as he approached the end of the driveway with the bracelet and hammer. Kneeling, he dropped the bracelet, and with aching muscles still protesting from earlier, he brought the hammer down on it. He kept at it until nothing remained but a battered strip of silver, turquoise shards, and coarse white dust.

Utterly spent, Bill trudged back inside, dropped the hammer on the floor next to his bed, and collapsed into it again. He was on the edge of sleep, attempting to roll over, when he realized that he couldn’t move again. His eyes flew open, searching the room. He found it on the ceiling. With languid, grasping motions, the creature descended like a spider.

Once more, Bill found himself struggling to breathe, as the loathsome thing reached for his mouth. He didn’t understand. He’d destroyed the bracelet. What did this thing want? A shadowy claw gouged at the enamel of one of Bill’s upper teeth. He couldn’t so much as turn his head away, and he lay there helpless, listening to the crunch within his jaw as his tooth was twisted back and forth. He couldn’t move, but maybe if he could get enough air, he could call out to Gus. The cat had saved him last time.

A memory flickered behind his eyes –a dark furry blur, bounding off into the bushes –and Bill felt a warm wetness trickling from the corner of his mouth. The creature continued its excruciating work uninterrupted.

Bill thought about his tool belt on the floor, mere feet away. The color blue flashed in his mind’s eye. Blue rubber, slightly scuffed from use, sheathed the handles of a compact, but powerful pair of pliers. He understood. He could endure this torture, night after night, or he could take matters into his own hands. Above him, the creature leaned closer, and somewhere in the featureless shadow of its face, Bill was sure it was grinning.

~~~~

The estate of Austin Malone regrets to inform readers that after uttering the words, “Pumpkin Spice Latte” three times in front of a mirror, the author vanished and was never heard from again. Interested parties are urged to follow @agmalone on Twitter, or /agmalone79 on Facebook for further details.

Getting Ready

The 2014 Writery Crew!

The 2014 Writery Crew!

We’re back!!!

On October 19th, we will bring you the first of 13 creeptastic stories. We hope y’all will join us, and if you like us, share us with your friends — if you hate us, share us with your enemies!

Here’s a little teaser of what we have going on this year -