From the Slushpile: Some Kind of Way Out of Here (Part Two)

Happy Veteran’s Day. Thanks to all those who have served, in whatever capacity, at home or abroad.

mcgovern quote

On with the next installment…

### Part Two ###

When my beloved came to me, she appeared as she had in the days of our happier youth, before this latest Vietnam War. She beckoned me, curling one finger like she had the first time she urged me to slip from my home to accompany her on a nocturnal adventure. We had enjoyed many such rendezvous over the years. Our latest had proven to be our last, outside of the realm of dreams anyway.

Hot tears rolled down my cheeks. There had been no time to mourn her earlier. Now, I could not help myself. I bawled like a babe in its mother’s arms. I ached to rest my head on her chest and let her heartbeat lull me to blissful sleep.

Wordlessly, Lien led me through the temple, gliding with ease across its rubble-strewn floor. We traversed a series of oddly proportioned hallways and antechambers until at last we emerged into a grand chamber beneath a high-peaked ceiling. She paused in the center of the room to turn, raise her arms to the heavens, and stick out her tongue, as she was wont to do as a mischievous child.

Lien’s pose reminded me of icons of the Hindu gods depicted in Cham temples on the city’s outskirts. Spinning away like a top, she crossed to the far side of the room, stopped at a set of stairs leading below, and glanced back at me. A sad smile touched her lips before she slipped through the portal. Though she had disappeared from sight, her angelic voice sang in my brain, “To ascend, you must first descend. But be forewarned, my love, those burdened by too much sin will never see home again.”

Thunder rolled as if to punctuate her warning. It faded to a dull roar that did not stop, even after I returned from the land of dreams. Blinking back tears, I forced myself to focus on my surroundings. The harsh light of day stabbed at my sensitive orbs, which turned the ache in my head to a fire in my brain. I stared up at a shaft of sunlight. Streaming through a natural skylight in the domed ceiling, the narrow opening served as the cavern’s sole source of illumination.

I stifled a scream as my gaze fell upon a multi-armed elephantine beast seated on a raised dais in the center of a pool of water. My heart slowed once I realized it was a statue and not some otherworldly beast. Despite its monstrous appearance, the statue’s face was serene. Its eyes were closed, and two of its arms were poised as if in a meditative state. In stark contrast, its lower set of arms held grisly items. A human heart of polished obsidian rested in a dish in its upturned left hand. The right held aloft an axe with a shiny blade.

Bangles and jewels adorning the bloated figure sparkled in the single ray of sunlight. The largest of them was a fist-sized ruby inset into the handle of a golden kila, a ritual dagger common throughout Southeast Asia. The position of the kila gave the god the appearance of having a stake through its heart. A series of smaller rubies around the entry wound trailed downward toward the its distended belly in a grotesque albeit glittering representation of flowing blood.

As I scrambled backward from the horrid icon, unseen hands grabbed me from the darkness beyond the circle of light. My scream shattered the quiet and echoed back to me. I struggled against my unknown attackers, only to be slapped across the mouth with enough force to stop my screaming.

“Keep quiet, you fool,” Thanh hissed in my ear. “There could be a patrol up there.”

“If you get us caught,” Quan said, “I’ll chuck you into the abyss myself.”

“The same goes for you,” the sergeant warned the bully. “So shut it.”

As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I saw an array of familiar faces. By some miracle, Lieutenant Minh and mud-covered Hien had survived the temple’s collapse along with the scout and the thief. My panic waned. At least I wasn’t alone in the dark with that thing.

“Abyss?” I asked, unable to decipher Quan’s threat.

“That’s why we grabbed you, fool,” he replied, “to keep you from pitching over the side of the platform.”

The private thumbed the stud on his Soviet-style signal light. I gasped when I saw how close I’d come to plummeting to my demise. The wan beam of light diffused a dozen or so meters below our precarious position on the island of stone in the center of the cavern. Never a fan of heights, I scrambled away from the pit’s edge and collided with the sergeant. He grabbed me by the collar and shook me.

“Take it easy on the corporal,” Minh cautioned him. Addressing me, the lieutenant said, “You were out for a while. Have you ever had seizures before?”

“Seizures? Not to my knowledge. Why do you ask?”

“You convulsed for several minutes and then started snoring. You might have a concussion or a skull fracture.”

“Maybe both,” Thanh interjected. “Too bad we lost our medic back at the radio station. We bound the wound on your scalp the best we could before carrying you down.”

“Ba will be fine,” Hien interjected. “He’s as thick-headed as a water buffalo and twice as tough, only without the grace and good looks.”

“Thanks,” I replied with a weak grin. “At least, we didn’t lose you or your sense of humor when the walls came crashing down.”

“The war effort would never recover,” the joker retorted, laughing at his own comeback. “Corporals are a dozen for a dong, but good comedians are as worth as much as the shiny on that statue!”

“Speaking of that monstrosity,” I said, “what is it? And where are we? Last thing I remember was rushing into the temple and then darkness. Well, that and Lien.”

“You must have a concussion,” Quan concluded. “Lien’s dead. Don’t you remember knifing her in the sewers?”

I winced as I recalled the light dying in her eyes. But I had seen her in the temple. Had it been a dream? It had seemed too real. And what of her warning?

“All too well,” I replied. “I guess I confused my dreams with reality. In them, she led me to a barred door in a room filled with shrines. She said I had to descend to ascend, but if I had too much sin, I wouldn’t make it home again.”

Now, it was Thanh’s turn to laugh. However, his menacing chuckle sounded shrill, even inhuman. Shaking his head, the scout sergeant said, “You must have overheard our conversation in the shrine room. We found a door behind one of the idols, an icon of Kali, the Dark Mother of the Cham. The base of her statue contained a similar inscription. Once we unbarred the door, we found a set of stairs. They led to this cavern, a temple of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god known as the Remover of Obstacles. Trust in him; he’ll aid our escape.”

The sergeant’s eyes blazed with an intensity I’d not seen in them before he mentioned the ancient Cham deities.

“How do you know all of this?” I asked, frightened by the idea of placing my trust in anyone other than Buddha.

“Long before the Cham brought their Hindu gods to what came to be known as Vietnam,” Thanh said, “my people lived at the base of these mountains, fished in the primordial sea, and enjoyed a peace few know.

“Nothing would be the same after the arrival of these invaders and their alien gods. We tried to coexist and adopt their ways as our own, but my tribe was persecuted and driven inland to eke out a living in the highlands. Some of us came to pay homage to their deities; after all, they served the Cham better than our gods protected us.”

“Enough superstitious nonsense, Sergeant,” Minh ordered. “Fairy tales won’t help us find a way back to the surface.”

“But they aren’t fairy tales.”

“Bullshit is more like it,” Quan added as he drew his bayonet. “The only thing this statue is good for is filling my pockets with a small fortune.”

“Don’t you dare!” Thanh barked. “You’ll get us killed if you defile it.”

“The sergeant is right,” Minh seconded. “It’s liable to be booby-trapped. You might end up bringing the ceiling down.”

“Again,” Thanh added with a grimace.

“I wasn’t the one who shot down the Huey,” Quan whined, “or led us to this hellhole.”

“No, but you set the wheel of dharma into motion,” I ventured as I struggled to stand. “From now on, you follow the orders of your superiors or risk the consequences of insubordination and court martial.”

“Look whose balls dropped,” Quan quipped. “If all it took was a good lick to the head, I’d have volunteered to administer it ages ago.”

“Shut it!” I barked. And for once, the bully listened.

Taking advantage of the silence, Thanh said, “Lieutenant, with your permission, we should split up and look for another exit.”

“If there is one,” Quan muttered.

“There’s bound to be some kind of way out of here,” I said. “I doubt the laborers who built this complex used a single staircase.”

“Now, you’re thinking,” the sergeant said, clapping me on the back hard enough to send my head spinning. I took two drunken steps before I had to sit.

“Maybe I’ll wait here and catch my breath.”

Minh agreed it a wise decision and volunteered to stay behind with me. I had reservations about sending Thanh and Quan into the darkness with only Hien to keep them from each other’s throats. Then again, if the troublemakers killed one another, I wouldn’t have to listen to them bicker like roosters vying for the sole hen in the coop.

So, I agreed with their plan of action and steeled myself for an extended fight with exhaustion. The cool, dark confines of the cavern lulled me to the edge of sleep. I wanted to heed its silence call to slumber, hoping that I’d see Lien again.

### To Be Continued ###

This story was written by Jeremy Hicks. It is his original content and cannot be used anywhere else without his expressed written consent. However, this blog may be shared, reblogged, etc. on social media for the purposes of promoting the author, his blog, and his other creative works. 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events real or imagined, etc. is entirely intentional. This is a work of fiction but draws on real events and references the real world at times. Any reference, product placement, or pop culture quote is not intended to impinge on any trademark, patent, and/or copyright; rather it is flavor text for the dialogue of characters raised within the context of our pop culture.

 If you don’t like these terms of agreement, go check yourself. You’re complaining about a #FREE story.

From the Slushpile: The Devil & Klaus Kristiansen (Final Installment)

### \m/ ###

In the end, we dragged the dead into Luke’s tent and then burned them along with the pine forest. If we were fortunate, fire would cleanse the bodies and the crime scene. The lazy local police would write it up as a tragic accident: two druggies passed out, and their untended campfire burned them and the woods to ash. Case closed.

Klaus, Turtle, and I made a pact that night, one sealed with the blood of our friend. We resolved to never talk about it to anyone, even each other. It started as a dream, a nightmare to be honest, and it would end that way. We lived in the waking world after all and things like that didn’t happen here. Denial became our creed, our code.

For a time, it worked. As the years passed, we drifted apart. And like all college friends, we went our separate ways after leaving school.

I finished before both of them and got a job with a private archaeology firm putting my degree and my experience with shovels to use every day. I faced my dark times and moved past them; I enjoyed the woods around me, especially the grainy feel of the wooden handle in my calloused hands. For me, my work experience was cathartic.

Klaus finished his double majors and took a position with a rigidly structured, family-owned corporation that didn’t mesh well with his selfish satanic views and rock ‘n roll lifestyle. After his short-lived, volatile career in the private sector, he retreated from public life too. Instead of partying with friends or playing heavy metal music at local bars, he hid away from the world at his grandmother’s expansive farm in the southern part of the county. The last I’d heard he was delivering pizza to make ends meet.

Turtle, surprisingly enough, went into law enforcement. Or at least as close as they’d let him with bad eyes, bum knees, and a pronounced beer belly. He worked as a radio dispatcher for the county sheriff’s office and would always let me know if someone we knew got robbed, arrested, or even pulled over for that matter. Turtle provided better gossip than my grandmother, beloved family snoop and infamous community busybody.

Since he monitored other people’s communications as part of his job, Turtle avoided relaying anything to me through digital channels such as phones and Facebook. So I’d gotten used to the occasional handwritten letter from him stuffed into the tiny mailbox at the apartment building near my home office. But the overstuffed manila envelope from him took me by surprise. I found its grisly contents even more shocking.

Turtle enclosed a long, rambling letter along with newspaper clippings and what appeared to be photocopies of police files and crime scene photos. The clippings detailed the accidental discovery of human remains. As they are wont to do when replacing or installing a new water line, county workers had dug a trench across a county road that had been paved several years before. Only on this occasion, they had trenched across the femur bones of a local woman who’d gone missing shortly before the road was redone.

The newspaper articles were short on details, but the letter informed me that the police had withheld information until a proper forensic analysis of the body could be conducted. According to the photos and reports, they’d learned that she’d been a victim of a heinous but familiar crime. Her ribs had been cracked open and her heart removed. The county medical examiner called the killing ritualistic, perhaps the work of a Satanist. In his letter, Turtle appealed to me for answers. Did I think it was Luke’s handiwork? Could Klaus have been possessed by it when he killed Luke? Should he talk to the cops?

My blood ran cold as my breathing hitched, almost causing me to toss my lunch. I fought down the growing sense of alarm and the feeling of betrayal. I checked the postmark. It was dated almost a week ago, the newspaper clippings two weeks earlier.

I called Turtle’s cell phone several times but received no answer. Alarm turned to panic and paranoia. Perhaps he was at work. Perhaps he was at work telling his buddies in blue all about a similar murder he’d witnessed once upon a time. Or maybe he was dead already. After all, if this killing had come to light, so could the others. A smart killer threatened with possible exposure wouldn’t leave loose ends. And there were only three living souls who knew the truth about heartless victims in the rolling hills of Bama.

One call to Turtle’s mother confirmed my suspicions. Through the sound of tears and a snot-filled nose, she told me how her baby boy had eaten a big meal, drank most of a bottle of the wine I’d sent him from a winery in Tennessee, and then gone to bed for the last time. She’d found him the next morning. He’d been dead for hours. The paramedics had taken one look at the bloated body surrounded by crumpled pizza boxes, fast food wrappers, and empty beer and wine bottles and called it a cardiac event. The doctors at the for-profit regional medical center had confirmed it without so much as an autopsy. By the time my conversation ended with Turtle’s mom, I’d agreed to be a pallbearer. After all, I had to come home to deal with some unfinished business anyway.

I didn’t bother to unpack my work clothes or equipment as this trip was liable to involve some digging. I hung my black suit above my dress shoes in the backseat of the truck and headed for home. I dreaded going back there, even if only for a little while, so I took my sweet time. Alone with my thoughts, I hardened myself for the task to come.

Rain drizzled on the somber assembly around the grave of my friend. The Turtle’s law enforcement friends and co-workers had come out in force. Pardon the pun. But funerals always help me find the humor in life.

I stared across the thin blue line, an odd euphemism since most of the cops made Turtle look svelte by comparison. Klaus glared back at me. His cold black eyes seemed lifeless, his skin pale as a corpse, a stark contrast to his black-on-black wardrobe. As always, he punctuated his severe gothic punk look with his silvery pentagram pendant. In short, little about him had changed in those years since the bad old days.

I decided on my course of action as the preacher hemmed and hawed about the glory of the Lord or some other such nonsense. Like most ministers in the South, he’d chosen the forum of a funeral to harangue people into attending church rather than celebrating the life and times of our fallen friend.

Typical, I thought. Turtle must be rolling in his coffin. His parents might have found Jesus in their later years, but their gifted gypsy boy had remained an outspoken pagan and amateur psychic as an adult. Of the three of us, I considered him the least likely to set foot in a church and that was saying quite a bit. Klaus adhered to LeVayan Satanism as opposed to theistic Luciferianism, but he was still an ardent anti-Christian. And I’d probably burst into flames by walking through the doors of any church.

After the rainy, gray funeral ended and the army of men in blue dispersed, Klaus approached me. As always, he looked grave and serious. He’d been born and would die a walking stereotype. Too bad the people around him tended to judge a book by its cover, including his friends and family. He looked dejected, lonely, and a shadow of himself.

“We have to talk,” he said, adjusting the waistband of his Victorian dress pants. As he did so, the handle of his pistol became visible. Carrying a concealed weapon at a funeral, I thought. He must be scared, stupid, or serious, deadly serious. I bet on all three.

“There’s nothing to talk about, remember?” I reminded Klaus and turned away.

He grabbed me by the arm, and I locked eyes with him. My gaze bore into his vacant eyes, and he withered like a sunflower deprived of sunshine under its intensity. Klaus let go and stepped away from me.

“For what it’s worth,” he said, “I’m sorry for everything that went wrong back in the day. I wanted to tell Turtle that too. I didn’t think…he was still so young. But I guess we’re not guaranteed any day beyond this one, right?”

“That’s a truer statement for some than it is for others.”

Klaus shivered in his oversized suit and pulled the long-tailed jacket tighter around him. Raising his dark eyes to my own, he tried to smile and failed. He averted his gaze and shuffled his feet. I couldn’t admit to being any more comfortable around him.

“Let’s talk about this indoors,” he said. “I’m freezing my balls off out here.”

“Can’t do it at the moment. I have to visit family while I’m here.”

“How about after I get off work tonight? I’ll be there till around 11 o’clock.”

“Are you still delivering pizzas?”

“Yeah,” he shuffled his feet in the wet grass around the open grave. “It’s hard to find a job around these parts with degrees in psychology and sociology.”

“Imagine that,” I chuckled. “The way I keep work is by staying on the road. Speaking of the road, I need to be hitting it soon. Thanks by the way.”

“Thanks for what? The apology?”

“That and the gift.”

Klaus looked confused. After a moment, he asked, “The gift of friendship?”

“You could say that,” I winked. “It’s something I wouldn’t have without you.”

“Uh, give me a call at work later.” He added, “If you want to, that is.”

I smiled and said, “Neither heaven nor hell could stop me.”

I left Klaus standing in the rain. By the time, I saw him that evening it had ceased. The temperature was hot and muggy as it tended to be in the Deep South. He stepped onto the ill lit porch of the rundown house. One of many foreclosures in the avenues on the eastside of town, I’d taken the real estate sign out of the yard and made it my own for the night. There was one thing left to do here in the Hellmouth and then I could go.

“Ever seen the back of a shovel?” I asked my prey as he stood framed in the pale moonlight. Though I wore the skin of his former friend, I considered him to be one thing, a loose end. He might have brought me into this world, but I was taking him out of it.

The answer I sought came a moment later when the shovel blade made contact with an all-too-familiar face. His eyes rolled back into the sunken sockets as he groaned in pain. Unwilling to give my enemy any quarter, I swung again…and again. The shovel rang like a badly forged bell.

KLANG! KLANG! KLANG!

My heart raced; my breathing grew ragged and shallow. I needed to lose weight.

KLANG! KLANG! KLANG!

I didn’t stop until the bloody mess that lay below the blade of the spade was no longer recognizable as the man I’d once called friend. Klaus twitched spastically and tried to reach for the pistol in his belt holster. So I hit him once more for good measure.

Turtle, the facilitator, had been easier, an accident had sufficed. He sent me letters on a regular basis; and I mailed him unique wines and liquors encountered in my travels. When my grandmother, a faster but less reliable source of gossip from the county grapevine, had told me about the body found in a stretch of highway, I knew I had to act. Enough pure nicotine injected through the cork of a wine bottle had done the trick. An overweight smoker having a heart attack seemed as natural to the corner as the majesty of the secluded hilltop where I now stood over the hole I’d dug for Klaus Kristiansen.

On another fateful morning near the Hellmouth, I buried my conduit, the final witness to my unwelcome, unceremonious birth into the world of humankind, deep in the Alabama clay.

But not before I ate his heart.

THE END

This story was written by Jeremy Hicks. It is his original content and cannot be used anywhere else without his expressed written consent. However, this blog may be shared, reblogged, etc. on social media for the purposes of promoting the author, his blog, and his other creative works. 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events real or imagined, etc. is entirely intentional. This is a work of fiction but draws on real events and references the real world at times. Any reference, product placement, or pop culture quote is not intended to impinge on any trademark, patent, and/or copyright; rather it is flavor text for the dialogue of characters raised within the context of our pop culture.

 If you don’t like these terms of agreement, go check yourself. You’re complaining about a #FREE story.

From the Slushpile: The Devil & Klaus Kristiansen (Part III)

Author’s Note: In the interest of timeliness, I have compressed my serialization to five parts. I want you to read all of this before Halloween. 3:)

### \m/ ###

My eyes tried to focus on the unearthly visage of the beast, but my brain either failed or refused to fully comprehend its features. The inky mass moved rapidly. Tucking the heart in close to its own rotten excuse for one, it sprung toward the far wall. The shadow thing reminded me of a running back on the move and the open window appeared its end zone.

I rushed to the windowsill but moved too slowly to intercept the shadow. To this day, I’m not sure what I’d have done had I caught the tiger by the tail. Truth be told, I was woefully unprepared for the challenge, mind, body, and soul.

The shadowy devil leapt from the second story of the plantation house. It landed on its feet in the dense foliage below the window and fled into the forest. Stuck in a mind bound by conventional physics, I didn’t see how I could follow without injuring myself.

So I gave chase with my mind’s eye. Turtle took my hand there in the dimly lit bedroom. He had entered quietly; ignoring the dying girl, he’d moved to my side. As he took my hand, my metaphysical self flowed forth like a river, pursuing my prey.

Through the eyes of the beast, I saw the twisted foliage and dense woods beyond the edge of the college property. The shadow fled through all of it with ease, even grace, pulling our senses along with its own. As its malevolent thoughts intruded upon my own, I realized I’d come to share more than its senses. I shared its mind and accessed its awful alien thoughts. But as I peered into its abyssal depths, it looked back.

I had no sooner locked eyes with this devil, when I was suddenly pulled back into Klaus’s living room. Across from me, Turtle convulsed, frothed at the mouth, and then flopped onto his rounded back. As our flailing friend let go of our hands, Klaus flew backwards as if he’d been struck.

Feeling as if I’d French-kissed an open circuit, I slumped back on the overstuffed couch, exhausted yet exhilarated by the whole strange experience. The universe would never look the same to me again. And I knew my courage and curiosity would always see me through the trials and tribulations to come.

However, my fear returned in full force as our friend continued to convulse on Klaus’s carpet. The bewildered dreamer and I removed any items and furniture from harm’s way but knew enough not to interfere with Turtle’s seizure. Klaus was on the phone dialing emergency services when the spasms ceased abruptly.

Turtle sat bolt upright in the floor.  His head turned to Klaus stiffly.  And he said, “No police. No ambulance. I’m fine.”

Klaus looked at me instead of Turtle. I shrugged. After all, who was I to tell Turtle how he was supposed to feel after dragging all three of us into some dream hell created by Klaus’s diseased mind. Reluctantly, he set the phone back into the cradle.

“Are you sure, man?” Klaus asked.

“Yesss…” Turtle hissed, exhaling deeply. As he did so, his breath misted as it would outside on a cold winter’s morning. And with that he fainted dead away.

Goosebumps raced down my arms as frosty breath escaped from my pursed lips. Across the room, Klaus the human skeleton shook like an anorexic in the arctic, but at least he was conscious. Unable to process the reality of the situation around me, I hauled my ass over to where Turtle snoozed on the carpet. He slept so soundly that he snored.

“Holy shit! What the hell just happened?” Klaus cried, springing from the couch with renewed vigor. “Did we get dosed or something at the party?”

“Dosed?  I doubt it.” And I did. Ritually or recreationally, I’d ingested acid, absinthe, peyote, psilocybin, and, on occasion, mescaline; but none of those had ever produced such a pronounced effect. The immersive three-dimensional mass hallucination we’d experienced had appealed to all five senses. The only real life equivalent involved acute mental illnesses, for the technological equivalent required bulky hardware and expensive equipment to create so-called virtual reality. And the best on the market couldn’t fool all of our senses. So the scene played out like fiction, bad horror fiction.

“Gotta hit the head, boys,” Klaus said as he leapt from barefoot to barefoot. “Whatever it was caused me to damn near piss myself. Thanks, Turtle.”

“Yeah,” I added, “he nearly got me with that act too.”

As Klaus passed through the single bedroom into the solitary bathroom, Turtle leaned toward me and grinned. “It’s no act, boy-o. It’s all real.”

His eyes held my gaze levelly, soberly. If he was lying, Turtle had one helluva poker face. But the biting cold, the vivid vision, and the scream echoing from the bathroom lent credence to his dire assertion. One half of the door knob thunked to the carpeted floor. Someone, something clawed, then beat on the bathroom door. Klaus’s screams continued until he shattered the doorframe and burst into the bedroom.

“What the hell’s wrong with you, man?” I asked as I stood beside Turtle in the open doorway.

Klaus rose from the floor. He shivered all over, his coal black eyes riveted on the dark interior of the bathroom. The crotch of his black denim jeans was soaked through with what, judging by its pungent odor, could only be piss.

“It, it tried to get, get me,” he stuttered.

“Told you, dude,” Turtle said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Knock it off!” I shouted. “You’re not making this any easier.”

“No, he’s right,” Klaus said as he advanced on Turtle. Grabbing him by his collar, my enraged friend shook the grinning fool. “What did you turn loose in my apartment, you stupid sonuva–”

Stepping in between them, I wrenched Klaus’s hands out from around Turtle’s fat neck. “Knock it off. He’s screwing with you.”

Both men fell back as I filled the space between them. They huffed, puffed, and glared at each other. Klaus had berated Turtle before but looked ready to throttle him at a moment’s notice. But I couldn’t ignore the pain in my own bladder any longer, especially with the smell of urine permeating the stale air around me.

Drawn toward the bathroom, I said, “Big bad or no big bad, I’ve gotta piss.”

“Don’t go in there!” Both men cautioned.

“At least ya’ll agree on something.”

My smartass comment hung in the air, like the foul reminder of Klaus’s piddle party in the potty, as I entered the freezing confines of the tiny bathroom. My breath turned to frost before me; the cold caused my bloated bladder to cramp tighter. Ignoring the mirror over the sink, I stood over the urine-soaked toilet and shook my head.

I sighed with relief as the hot stream burst forth and splattered against the inside of the porcelain bowl. As release turned to relief, I groaned and closed my eyes.

“How do you ever expect to pleasure a woman with that wee little piggy, piggy?” An eerily familiar voice asked before chuckling at my expense.

Startled, I flinched and felt warm liquid coat my fingers, crotch, and inner thigh. Looking around, I saw no one but me and my reflection.

“Were you sick bastards watching me pee?” I called out to my friends.

Before either of them could answer, my image in the looking glass replied, “Nope. That was all me, piggy.” And then it waggled its tongue and a single pinkie.

I’d made faces in the mirror before but never with piss dribbling down my leg. As I backed toward the door, I restored my modesty to its damp shelter. But I didn’t dare divert my eyes from my doppelganger. Though the image didn’t say anything else, it stood stock still until I lost sight of it upon egress from the noxious bathroom.

Klaus said, “Not so easy to piss while taunting yourself is it?”

Shaking my head, I mumbled, “Felt like gym class.”

“Whatever it is, we have to get rid of this thing.”

“Get rid of it? Let’s get the hell out of here?”

“We could always call Ghostbusters?” Turtle interjected.

“Shut it, Turtle.” Klaus snapped. Turning to me, he added, “I don’t have the luxury of leaving; I live here.”

“Pull back and nuke the site from orbit. Only way to be sure.”

“Stop quoting movies, Turtle,” Klaus fumed. “You did this. Now fix it.”

“Me? I didn’t do anything. I merely facilitated. That thing was in your dreams already; you were carrying it around with you before you met either of us. For all I know, you were born with it. Or maybe it was Maybelline.”

“You think this is funny!” Klaus snatched Turtle by the collar of his work shirt and shook him. “You unleash some pissed off demon in my house and it’s my fault.”

“Better pissed off than pissed on,” Turtle quipped.

“Enough!” I shouted. First one and then the other squabbling man-child fell silent. “We’re going to my house, getting my pipe, and coming back to kick some spiritual ass.”

“Dude, now is not the time to get high.”

I slapped Klaus then. Hard. He stared at me, mouth agape for a long moment. I thought he might swing on me, but shock and slight damage had silenced him.

“What’d you do that for?” Klaus stammered as he held his jaw. From the way his bottom lip jutted out from its companion, you’d think I’d punched him in the mouth.

“Clearly, you were hysterical. Don’t let me ever hear you say that anything like that again. It’s always the right time to get high. But I wasn’t talking about that kind of pipe. Come with me, I’ll explain later.”

The trip over curvy country roads through the north end of the county passed in silence. I left the Turtle and Klaus in my silver, rust, and primer Hell Camino as I went inside the century old farmhouse atop the hill. Returning minutes later clad in a fresh pair of jeans, I placed the bulky doe skin medicine bundle in the trunk of the pickup car.

“What’s that?” Klaus asked as I crowded in beside him.

“A spiritual hammer,” Turtle answered for me.

“Let’s hope it’s big enough for the big bad,” I said, slinging gravel behind us.

I broke down the plan for them on the way back to town. In the process, I revealed some of my past, including my spiritual upbringing. Parts of my life I’d kept locked away from my college friends. I told them about my summers on the reservation, visiting distant relatives, and reconnecting with my roots through my medicine father, a close friend of my Lakota family.

The mixed blood Oglala man had taught me the rites and rituals associated with the chanupa wakan, the Sacred Pipe. Though most of them involved prayers of gratitude and offerings to the universe’s mysteries, both great and small, one of them involved a ceremony designed to cleanse people, places, and objects of corrupting energies. But would it cleanse a home of an unwanted intruder from my friend’s dreamscape? Time would tell, but I didn’t tell that to either of my companions. I needed them to believe not doubt the efficacy of the ceremony.

We reentered the apartment cautiously. Holding a smoldering sage wand aloft, I lead the way into the occupied dwelling. Though I could not see it, I felt it watching us, waiting for us.

I inhaled the sweet aroma of the burning leaves. My native forefathers believed sage repelled negative energy, especially spirits. As it turned out, it agitated them as well.

The door slammed shut behind us. As we turned toward the sound, the doors of the kitchen cabinets opened wide and then shut hard enough to rattle the dishes inside. Drawers shot out into the floor and scattered silverware, dish towels, and drug paraphernalia all over the linoleum.

Undeterred by the spiritual tantrum, we cleared the coffee table from the center of the room.  I sat on the floor in the north after placing Klaus and the Turtle in the east and south respectively. The position in the west remained open until I filled it with a seashell.

Ignoring the cacophony in the kitchen, I used the sage wand to light a braid of sweet grass, another herb known to affect spiritual beings. Then I left the wand to burn in the shell alongside the sweet grass. Reaching into my medicine bundle, I took out another smaller bundle, this one wrapped in the soft silver-and-black pelt of a wolf.

I unraveled the fur and revealed a chanupa wakan in two segments, stone bowl and wooden stem. Murmuring my thanks to Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery at the center of all things, as well as to Father Sky and Mother Earth, I joined the pieces of the pipe together. Once secured to the stem, I filled the blood red catlinite bowl with a smoking mixture of tobacco and other herbs known collectively as kinnikinnick and then touched a lit match to it. Inhaling the acrid mix, calm and tranquility fell over me despite the storm encircling me. But my peace was not to last.

As soon as I involved the others, the ceremony went awry. I’m not sure what happened, or who to blame for that matter, but the pipe made one pass and went out. I tried time and again to light it but failed. Disassembling the pipe and clearing it with a straightened coat hanger didn’t help the situation either.

The room felt different, however. The temperature had risen. And the cabinets had ceased to clatter. But the relative stillness lulled us into a false sense of security, for the unmistakable feeling of being stared at by something other than my friends remained.

“Do you think it worked?” Klaus asked.

“I dunno, man,” I answered, shaking my head in bewilderment. “But I can tell you one thing. I can see light through this pipe stem and it won’t draw air. What the hell?”

Turtle dispelled any hope that the cleansing had been successful when he said, “It’s still here. And it’s not happy. I think it might be sulking, like an angry, hurt child.”

As if in response to his warning, the door to the closet in the bedroom slammed shut with enough force to rattle its frame. Something thudded, thrashed, and then thundered inside the tiny space. But soon enough it stopped and left the apartment quiet.

We crept into the bedroom as a group. Something wet and dark covered the carpet near the closet. At first, I mistook it for urine that had run out of the tile floor of the bathroom to puddle onto the carpet. As Klaus switched on the overhead light, the single bulb revealed the fluid to be thick and viscous with the color and consistency of plasma.

As we watched in mute horror, the sanguine substance seeped from under the door of the closet. The illusion held us until I grabbed its handle and flung it open. The bloody imagery vanished, replaced by a biting cold and foul smell that wafted forth from the possessed space. The door closed in my face with enough force to rattle my teeth.

“Told you,” Turtle said with a smug expression on his fat face.

“Stop it!” Klaus cried. “Ya’ll are making it worse. And I’m stuck living here.”

“My advice is move,” Turtle replied, “for your sake, for your soul’s sake.”

“I’ll second that,” I added. “It’s a crummy college apartment in a town filled with crummy college apartments. Pick up and move ASAP.”

“Are you kidding me?” Klaus said. “Can’t we get a priest or something?”

“How many clergymen are we gonna find in Alabama who know how to perform an exorcism, much less who’ll perform one for a Satanist, a Gypsy, and an Indian?”

“Jay’s got a point there,” Turtle replied. “And they’ll blame it on us anyway.”

“You’re right,” Klaus said, “especially since it’s your fault.”

Turtle glowered at him and finally snapped, “Don’t blame me for the demons you carry around inside your head! I might have facilitated its escape. But you’re the conduit. It’s your darkness, not mine!”

Klaus huffed and puffed but did not speak. He looked crestfallen as he struggled to accept the maddening reality of our situation, a situation created by the hobgoblins haunting his mind. Sadly, neither Turtle nor I could do anything other than help him pack. So my friend moved that very night.

A few weeks later, our friend Luke moved into the possessed place despite our warning. A spiritualist like me, he prided himself on his connection to the natural world as well as the unseen world around us. But most of his occult knowledge had been distorted, along with his sense of reality, by a steady regimen of hallucinogens and psychedelics. For Luke, the prospect of a haunted apartment appealed to his esoteric, eccentric nature.

Our friend lasted less than two weeks before he fled in the middle of the night too. He refused to return to the apartment and moved into a tent in the dense woods behind his parent’s farm. We resolved to visit him, to hear the whole story, but that set in motion a chain of events that damned us all.

In our case, our road to hell was paved with good intentions.

### TO BE CONTINUED — Part IV Coming Next Week ###

This story was written by Jeremy Hicks. It is his original content and cannot be used anywhere else without his expressed written consent. However, this blog may be shared, reblogged, etc. on social media for the purposes of promoting the author, his blog, and his other creative works. 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events real or imagined, etc. is entirely intentional. This is a work of fiction but draws on real events and references the real world at times. Any reference, product placement, or pop culture quote is not intended to impinge on any trademark, patent, and/or copyright; rather it is flavor text for the dialogue of characters raised within the context of our pop culture.

 If you don’t like these terms of agreement, go check yourself. You’re complaining about a #FREE story.

Also, if I’ve let you read this story in the past, please do not post spoilers in the comments here or on any of my social media. Thanks!

From the Slushpile: The Devil & Klaus Kristiansen (Part 2)

Author’s Note: I will post all six parts before Halloween weekend. So stay tuned for one helluva horror story.

Part Two

### \m/ ###

As it turned out, the Hell portrayed in Turtle’s dreams looked like the byproduct of a collegiate man-child steeped in pop culture, rock music, and a lot of hallucinogens. AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” blared from the speakers of an unseen jukebox as we strode through the grandiose double doors of the antebellum home turned satanic frat house. Thick tendrils of smoke or fog curled around our feet as we moved through the riotous throng packed into the entry hall.  Over the doors, a tooled wood sign read:  Abandon All Inhibitions Ye Who Enter Here.

Faces of friends and enemies mixed with those of fiends. Together they capered wildly, spastically to the power chords of rock ‘n roll’s finest. I felt overwhelmed, my senses assaulted by the cacophony.

I turned back toward the doors, but there was nowhere to go. No moon, no stars shined in the night sky. The mist covered the parking lot like a blanket. The strange orange hue of the street lights obscured all but the house and its adjacent grounds.

“What the hell, Turtle?” Klaus demanded, seizing our friend by the collar of his faded Wolverine tee and wresting my attention from the dreamscape outside the house.

“Exactly!” Turtle answered. “What version of hell is this? Mine? Or one of yours? Because I didn’t have this nightmare until after I’d met both of you. And each of you is in the dream. But whose hell is this? Because you’re both there every time it happens.”

“Every time what happens?” I inquired, my sense of dread growing.

“You’ll see.” Turtle’s mercurial smile made me want to smash his remaining teeth out of his skull. “There’s still time yet. Until then enjoy the party.”

The Turtle danced, if you could call it that, his way through the crowd of raucous revelers. Klaus and I stuck close to our friend unsure what would happen if we became separated in his deranged dreamscape. A thousand vices and temptations surrounded us at every turn. I saw the things we normally enjoyed, but also mirrors piled high with white powder, stripped and ready pain-sluts of the barely legal variety, and a hundred other deviances ranging from the laughable to the unforgiveable.

Either Turtle the Video Game Virgin knew how to party harder than anyone had suspected or he’d tapped into some primal part of our brains…but which one of us. Perhaps he’d perceived repressed kinks, vices, and other socially unacceptable behaviors present in one or even both of us.  That possibility disturbed me, but little of what I saw scared the hell out of me. I did have a slight problem with the horned thing corn-holing our school mascot over the side of a sofa. And the sight of a sadistic bastard licking blood from the blade he’d used to slice spirals into the tender flesh of a pretty co-ed sickened me to the core.

Surely, none of this could be real. Even if it was a collective dream, some twisted, hedonistic manifestation of the universal unconsciousness, it was still a dream. I comforted myself with that fiction, ignorant of how wrong I was about our situation.

Turtle glanced behind him to make sure we were close on his heels and then mounted the grand staircase that dominated the entrance hallway to the mansion. A throng of partiers clustered on the winding stairs enjoying a wide array of pleasures. As I passed a diminutive woman bent over the sturdy railing, one of the two men penetrating her stopped long enough to ask me to join their public perversion.

Blushing crimson, I declined and hurried after Klaus and Turtle. As a virginal teenager, I felt overwhelmed by the sensational sins being committed all around me. My brain ached inside my skull, and my manhood throbbed in the confines of my jeans. I retreated inside myself as I tried to deal with all of the conflicting emotions in between.

Was this place hell? Or was it Turtle’s version of a wet dream? Or worse yet, one of mine or Klaus’s somnolent fantasies?

Although everything I’d seen at the party appeared deviant when compared to conventional social mores of the day, little of it seemed dangerous. Unless our creator considered anything visceral and enjoyable to be a sin. And I didn’t subscribe to that narrow-minded, puritanical view then…or now for that matter. I’d yet to see anything nefarious, much less hellish…unless one counted the pounding, repetitive electronica that had replaced legends of hard rock and heavy metal to become our new soundtrack.

The festivities on the second floor felt more like a rave than the festivities enjoyed by the Goth/Metal crowd on the ground level of the unnamed fraternity house. So in my mind, the party became annoying instead of more infernal, despite the horned humanoids twirling glow-sticks about their scaly bodies. If you’ve seen one dancing Sleestak with a glow-stick, you’ve seen them all. And raving demons were not my idea of hell; they were my idea of a bad pun.

“This has to be the lamest layer of all the hells in the multiverse,” I commented.

“Agreed,” Klaus seconded. “Hard drugs, kinky sex, and canned music doesn’t make it hell. It makes it a college party. The textbook definition of one as a matter of fact. I’ve seen scarier stuff at a Senate hearing on CSPAN.”

Klaus and I chuckled, but Turtle didn’t appear amused. Instead he looked at us as if we were stupid. But we weren’t; we were ignorant, cocky know-it-alls, like so many narcissistic nineteen-year-old nerds. In fact, without our narcissistic, nerdy traits, Klaus and I would have become enemies long before the events to come made it so.

Concern coloring his chiseled face, Turtle told us, “Dreams, like anything, exist according to certain rules. And one of those is the interconnectedness of all things, all places, all times. Dreams are the nexuses, the cruxes upon which the entire fabric of creation is built.

“After all, what are we but a collective realization of a universal dream. Somewhere, someplace, sometime, everything around us was dreamed into being by someone or something. As surely as we see this dream now, our creator pictured the dream that became our waking universe in its mind’s eye.

“And if dreams can show us a version of heaven that a sleeper can craft into reality upon awakening, a nightmare can become a living hell. That’s what I’m about to show you, the difference between dreams and nightmares, between heaven and hell.”

We turned down another corridor, and the scene around us shifted for the third time. As we entered this wing of the house, the furniture and the décor took on a style incongruent with the rest of the interior. I turned to pass my observation on to Klaus, but he’d fallen behind. In fact, he stood transfixed, his hollow eyes riveted on the lone door at the end of the long hallway.

“Are you okay?” I asked, knowing the answer already. My friend had grown as pale as a Hollywood vampire. Tears touched the corners of his eyes, a sight none of us had seen before…or since.

“But it can’t be,” Klaus muttered.

“What can’t it be?” Turtle inquired, joining us in the middle of the empty hall.

“I’ve seen this before,” Klaus replied. “All of it. I didn’t remember until I saw that door. That damn door and the horror that lurks beyond it have haunted me for years. But it can’t be. It’s just a dream.”

“Yes,” Turtle said, tapping Klaus in the center of his forehead. “It’s all here. Or we’re all there rather. Thanks to a little family tradition passed down through my mom’s side of the family. My gypsy blood produces a fair number of psychics, mediums, touch telepaths, and empaths.”

“And here I thought gypsies were alcoholics and kleptomaniacs,” Klaus joked.

“You forgot con artists,” I added, knowing in my heart what Turtle said to be true. But I wasn’t ready to accept it then. It took the unnatural shocks that came after for me to accept the paranormal as my new norm.

“I never thought I’d live long enough to admit it,” Klaus said, wiping his eyes, “but Turtle might be right. I’ve seen this house before; I’ve opened that door before. Countless times. And it never ends well.”

“What do you mean it doesn’t end well?” I asked, dreading the response.

Locking eyes with me, Klaus pleaded, “I wanna go home now. I don’t wanna live through this nightmare again. This might not be your idea of hell, but there’s a devil behind that door. A devil and a dead girl.”

“A dead girl?” I asked, bewildered by Klaus’s revelation. Glancing at my other friend, I saw that Turtle appeared calm, cool, and collected, the exact opposite of his waking demeanor.

“Well, she’s not dead yet…” Turtle said, “…not this go round anyway.”

A shrill squeal pierced the door, echoing down the hall. The cry of a damsel in distress, even a dream one, called out to my primal, protective nature. I charged the door while Klaus beat feet toward the stairs. Turtle lingered in between, unsure who to follow.

The locked door didn’t stop me long. Throwing my considerable girth against it, I overpowered the frame itself. As it separated from the wall with a sickening CRACK, I backed away and kicked outward. My big boot finished the work my sore shoulder started. The defeated door hung ajar from its ruined frame, orange light spilling into the hall from around its seams.

Shadows flitted in and out of the light in the room beyond the door. Throwing caution to an ill wind, I rushed through the doorway and into a blood-splattered bedroom. The room’s white interior had turned to crimson thanks to its two maddening occupants.

A shadowy figure perched on the center of a brass canopy bed; in its sizeable paws, the beast held the still beating heart of its victim, the nearly dead girl. The angel in alabaster lay sprawled on the mattress, wearing the remnants of a lacy summer dress. In the wan light cast by the street lights, her auburn curls took on the same shade as the gory fluids oozing from her savaged bosom. Only one perfect pale breast remained intact; its twin destroyed when the devil had ripped out her heart. The dying girl whimpered as yet unaware of her own demise. When her emerald eyes locked on her stolen heart, she wept a final tear.

*** Part 3 Coming Soon ***

This story was written by Jeremy Hicks. It is his original content and cannot be used anywhere else without his expressed written consent. However, this blog may be shared, reblogged, etc. on social media for the purposes of promoting the author, his blog, and his other creative works. 

Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events real or imagined, etc. is entirely intentional. This is a work of fiction but draws on real events and references the real world at times. Any reference, product placement, or pop culture quote is not intended to impinge on any trademark, patent, and/or copyright; rather it is flavor text for the dialogue of characters raised within the context of our pop culture.

 If you don’t like these terms of agreement, go check yourself. You’re complaining about a #FREE story.

Also, if I’ve let you read this story in the past, please do not post spoilers in the comments here or on any of my social media. Thanks!

D. Alan Lewis & A Double Dose of Lycanthropy

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With the release of not one but two werewolf-themed anthologies from Dark Oak Press this week, I thought it expedient and enlightening to interview one of the people who made it possible. Author, editor, and good friend D. Alan Lewis has been sweating these two Luna’s Children collections since last year, working diligently to comb through the massive amount of submissions, select the best stories, and then edit them for publication. Though he has not been alone in this daunting task, his drive and dedication have made these anthologies possible.

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This is a glowing introduction and rightly so. But then again, I am clearly biased as Alan saw fit to anchor the first volume, Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem, with my edgy, ultra-violent revenge fiction piece entitled “Beta Male, Alpha Wolf.” As editor, Alan also selected my Cycle of Ages Saga story about dwarves on a submarine powered by a dirty nuclear reactor for Capes & Clockwork, Dark Oak’s recent steampunk superhero anthology.

In addition to his duties as editor, technical writer, and father, D. Alan Lewis is a writer of some of the most imaginative fiction to make it onto my bookshelf. When I first met him at MidSouth Con in Memphis, this unassuming, quiet fellow with the wolfish baby blues sat behind a table with his first novel, Blood in Snowflake Garden. After reading the back cover, I took this absurdist Cold War-era noir tale of murder, mystery, and cupcakes at Santa’s North Pole home with me and enjoyed every page. You will never read another Christmas story like this one. Since then, he has written and published several pulp stories and a few novels. Of them, the gritty, unflinching supervillain tale, The Bishop of Port Victoria, is another favorite. Of course, I could go on and on about telling you about this talented technical writer turned genre author and editor; instead, I’ll let him tell you about himself, his influences, and his projects.

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Q. As writers, we all come from different backgrounds and found our way to this profession in our own way. How did you make the transition from amateur to professional writer? When?

A. I grew up telling stories, some for honorable purposes and some not. As a teen and young adult, I got into roleplaying games and usually ended up running the games, since my friends loved the stories I’d weave for them. I’d toyed with writing for many years, but never got started. This was partly due to procrastination and partly due to a lack of support from family and friends. After my last divorce, I decided to jump in to the writing world with both feet. I hooked up with a writer’s group in Nashville and with their support, I managed to finish my first novel.

From there, it became a matter of networking. I’d been going to SF&F conventions for years, so I started talking to authors and publishers who attend. Those contacts lead to multiple book and story deals. And that leads to the latest work, the 2 Luna’s Children books.

Q. What genre(s) do you write? And do you prefer writing short stories, novellas, or novels? Why?

A. I’m a bit of a writing slut. I write a little bit of everything in all kinds of lengths. I have 3 novels out at the moment; a murder mystery, a pulp/noir tale, and a steampunk adventure. As for short stories, I have steampunk, pulp/noir, superhero tales, horror, and vampire & werewolf stories, and straight-up Sci-Fi.

I don’t have a preference about the length, as long as I have enough room to tell the story that I’m trying to convey.

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Q. What writer(s) has/have influenced your writing the most? How have they influenced you?

A. Douglas Adams has always been a favorite and a major influence. His works were so ‘over the edge’ at times and I loved that. While I didn’t want to be his clone, I did want to write like him. Early on, all my stories were developed as comedies, but I didn’t feel that I could match his level of craftsmanship. And as I worked, I found that my skills were more along a darker path of storytelling. 

Q. Is there a work of fiction that you keep coming back to, one that you read over and over again? If so, why?

A. Douglas Adam’s ‘The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul’. I just love it.

Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Q. As a writer, are there common themes or topics that you like to explore?

A. I love surprise twists, so everything I write has something in it that I hope will catch the reader off guard. I also love having tortured, troubled characters. As far as topics, I don’t have anything that I include in every story.

Q. As an editor, where do you find the time and patience to edit something as daunting as an anthology?

A. Patience is needed in ample amounts, some of the time. It never fails to amaze me that some authors will send in a story riddled with errors, but if an editor misses one and it gets in the final product, those same authors will throw a fit.

 As the first reader, I look for a story first. Does it fit a need that my anthology needs? If so, then I look at the errors. If there are too many, I send them back to the authors and explain what mistakes I’m seeing and ask them to rewrite it. Then, once it comes back, I get to work. With Luna’s Children, there were so many stories that I had a team of editors helping me with all the stories, making sure that I didn’t miss anything. 

With Capes & Clockwork, I was dealing with mostly established writers who knew their craft. I also had only 16 stories to deal with, so that anthology fell into place quickly and efficiently. The Luna’s Children books were the complete opposite. While there were a number of talented writes, there are a lot of first-timers. Still, many of those first-timers were giving me great stories, underneath all the mistakes. Luna’s Children includes 43 stories in the 2 volumes, which were drawn out of over a 150 submissions.

 Needless to say, the werewolf stories took much longer to weed through, edit and put together.

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Q. What special challenges do you face in editing an anthology versus a novel?

A. An anthology is a collection of stories from OTHER people. These are not my stories, so I can read it as an outsider and can spot problems and issues. When I edit my own stuff, I have to try and remember not to read it as the writer but as an outsider. While in my mind, I know how a scene is playing out in the words. But as the reader, is that scene playing out in the same way? Sometimes as a writer, you can’t see the obvious mistakes since you’re too close to the story. 

Q. What can you tell us about your newest releases, the two volumes of Dark Oak Press’s werewolf-themed Luna’s Children anthologies? And where can readers find it?

A. Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem and Luna’s Children: Stranger Worlds is now available on Amazon Kindle and will soon be available in print and other ebook versions. All will be available at your local and online book retailers. 

Full Moon Mayhem contains 22 stories that are more based in the real world. While, the 21 stories in Stranger Worlds takes the werewolf genre into new worlds, other times, different realities.

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Q. Now that these collections are finally being released, what will you be working on next?

A. Currently, I am working on the submissions for Capes & Clockwork 2, which is an anthology of Steampunk’d superhero stories. The first volume came out early this year and was such a hit that the second book was green lit immediately.

In addition to that, I’m working on short stories for the upcoming ‘Black Pulp 2’ and ‘High Adventure History 2’, both from Pro Se Productions. I’m also outlining an untitled Steampunk/Noir detective story that I hope to have out by year’s end. In the long term planning, are the next books in the Hawke Girls and the Snowflake Garden series.

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Q. Finally, where can we find out more about you and your other works of fiction?

A.  My website/blog is:  www.dalanlewis.com

      I am on twitter:  @Dalanlewis

      I’m on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorD.AlanLewis

     And I have an author page on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/D.-Alan-Lewis/e/B006DA9P2U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1331611519&sr=8-2

 

Thanks for sitting with us for the interview today, Alan. Good luck on your future projects and upcoming appearances. In the proud tradition of tired werewolf cliches, I hope you have a howling good time. 😉