Generation Gap

Raymond rode the moonbeams from the city until he arrived at the abandoned house in rural Upstate New York where Tiberius his Sire and the rest of The Family lived. It was Nightthanks – the most important family gathering on the vampire calendar.

Red Moon

image: Sudhamshu Hebbar

Into the house, then down into the cellar, and through a secret door in the floor. Then, a spiral staircase down into the dark, across an expansive subterranean gallery, and into the shadowless corridors of the Bloodline of Tiberius Aquilus Undermansion into the dining room. There they all waited, Tiberius at the head. Alba Agrippina his First-Bride was on his right, Brother Stephen on the left, and an assortment of cousins lined up on either side of a long, ebony table.

On the table lay three humans, still alive, and each attached to elaborate siphons and tubes that led to each place-setting. It was a sumptuous repast by the standards of most vampires. Continue reading

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I’ve Been (Almost) Everywhere, Man

Reno, Nevada

Sitting pretty on a big pile of chips. Unfortunately, they were potato chips. Had to mug some drunk bastard outside the casino to get bus fare out of this desert shithole. My guitar has a big dent in it now. Think I stepped on a rat.

Chicago, Illinois

Bus ride here was hell. It explains the devil-spawn I saw glaring at me every step of the Miracle Mile. Continue reading

Gas Money

Assignment: Urban legend

They read you fairy tales when you’re a kid, but urban legends are the ones you tell yourself to freak out your friends. One of my favourites was always the Disappearing Hitchhiker; the tale of a pick-up off of a deserted highway, and a ghostly vanishing act. So, this is my re-telling of that story, with an updated ending.

***

Autostoppeuse fantôme

I never pick up hitchhikers. But, this guy looked pathetic.

I was on my way back from visiting my friends at a campsite just north of here in the big woods. I’m a city boy, so I don’t do camping, generally. I went up there for the day, and was heading back to the land of warm beds, Netflix, and wifi. I’m not afraid to admit it; I like my creature comforts. I’d leave my friends to the mosquitos and methane-filled tents, thanks.

And then, on the shoulder of the road, there he stood. He was a young guy who looked like he’d just run away from home, or something. He was wearing a non-desrcript set of clothes, other than the fact that they were dirty. He had a sort of haunted air about him. I suppose I should have driven right past him. But, we were in the middle of nowhere, and there weren’t any cars on that road but me. I’m not even sure how the guy got there. Continue reading

Louis C.K. and the Three Bears

I love New York. Love coming here. I’m not here five minutes and I get mugged before I even leave the airport. No, seriously. That actually happened.

Guy comes over, all, “hey, you need a cab?” And I’m like, “yeah, I need a cab.” And he’s like, “OK, now you need a cab and a new wallet, thank you very much fuckface.”

What a jerk. Seriously, that actually happened. Continue reading

Let the Healing Begin. A Dungeon Tale

Dungeons & Dragons short story

Photo Credit: Mike O’Dowd

The carnage of the battle was all over the floor and the walls. There were even Goblin guts on the ceiling. This dusty old crypt of the Lich King was newly washed down in the blood of those savage creatures, thanks to deadly dungeoneering skills of the Fellowship of the String.

Daggerin the Barbarian, Gygax the Wizard, Lore, the Cleric of the White Wood and Steve the Rogue began taking stock of the spoils of their violence — a pitiful hoard of rusty copper coins, a silver candlestick and a long staff that could be a Wand of Lightning Bolts or a Wand of Instant Death to All Who Pick It Up. (On the advice of Gygax, no one picked it up). Continue reading

Quoth the Crow

Assignment: Mystery/Comedy with a random object/thing – a crow

When it comes to tales of mystery and the imagination, you could do a lot worse than going back to the father of the genre; Edgar Allen Poe himself. Poe was a haunted man who lived in obscurity, and who struggled with some pretty serious demons. I suppose that’s one of the reasons he was able to do what he did, which was to change the course of storytelling that helps readers to explore the dark side of what it is to be human.

Yet, he was a writer like any other when it came to sitting down and filling up a blank page. He must have had a process for it; maybe even a Dark Muse to help him along. So, this story is a sort of speculative fiction about the author of “The Raven”, and the inventor of the modern mystery story. But, where does the crow come in? Well, therein lies the comedy, complete with a pun in the end as a payoff …

***

Edgar sat at his desk, and the crow perched on his stand near the window, looking over Edgar’s shoulder.

Edgar Allen Poe the Raven

Illustration by Édouard Manet 1875

“Once upon a midnight dreary…,” Edgar recited, holding his quill meaningfully over the parchment.

“What the hell does that mean?” asked the Crow.

“Reggie, I’m trying to write something. Do you mind just being quiet for just a while?”

“Quiet? Dude, I’m a crow. I don’t do quiet, man.”

“Look, Reggie. You’re supposed to be here to, y’know, inspire me to explore the dark side of the human imagination.”

“Hey! I’m doing my part. And all you can come up with is ‘Once upon a midnight dreary’? Again: what the hell does that mean?”

“It’s just a line to establish the setting, and the mood. It’s a proven technique. But, what would you know about that?”

“I know what I like. And that sucks.” Continue reading

Indian Summer

Detective Jack McCoy coughed into handkerchief. He wasn’t sick. Not really. He was smoking too much. It was a bad habit that came up every time he worked a tough case; along with a whole slew of other bad habits: Chain-smoking, mostly just to feel the warmth of the lighter on his fingers for those few seconds; drinking to give himself an illusion of heat, even as his capillaries opened up to release their steam through his pores; Carousing with the girls down at O’Toole’s pub who were always up for a party, just so long as you were willing to pay for the privilege.

The heat they could generate was worth it. Hot – but still fleeting.

Now that he thought about it, he didn’t really need the heat after all. He felt… warm. Feverish, almost. But old habits died hard. Continue reading

Bloody Dangerous Liaisons

In retrospect, I let this dance of deception go on for far too long before confronting Count Dracula with my suspicions. I cannot say for certain whether my motivation for letting it carry on was a matter of professional courtesy, fear for the future of my career or a desire to avoid personal embarrassment. Perhaps it was a mixture of all of these factors. In any event, I write this journal with trepidation that it may be discovered by someone of ill character and unsympathetic mindset, or worse, that I might endeavor to actually submit it to my employers at Hawkins & Harker Co. out of genuine guilt. Continue reading