A collection of horror, mystery, and science fiction tales, with contributions from fellow writers, James Darko and Dexter Lynch. If you wish to contribute, I'd be happy to showcase your writing. Just send me a message. The stories are free to read and always will be. Some are better than others (I'm speaking only for myself), but I can't give all my best ideas away for free, ha ha. Feel free to share any stories, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Cameron Davis had never seen a
deer up close before. On his daily nature walks, he’d see herds of deer
trailing in the distance. Whenever he tried to inch closer, the sound of
rustling leaves and fallen branches snapping under his feet would send them scattering.
The good news was he finally
got to pet one. The bad news was he rammed it down with his pickup truck. It
was a fawn that must have been separated from its mother. The baby deer lay in
the center of the road, twitching for ten minutes before it quietly settled
down. He tried to comfort it, gently petting its side when the twitching ceased
and he knew there was no time to save it. There was minimal damage done to his
vehicle, but that wasn’t his primary concern.
An older man drove by in a red convertible
and made a smartass comment about Cameron killing Bambi before he sped away.
Cameron was shaking his head, but this insensitive stranger actually made him
feel better about himself. At least he had the decency to stop and call 911,
who put him in touch with animal control. They sent a police officer who took
down his basic information.
“Is there any damage to the
vehicle?” was the officer’s first major question.
“Not really,” Cameron said. “A
slight crack in one of the headlights. I’ll get it fixed as soon as possible.”
“Well,” the officer shrugged,
“Don’t feel too bad about it. Happens all the time around here.” Then the
officer put on a pair of dark gloves and apathetically dragged the deer carcass
to the side of the road, leaving it behind for animal control to cart away.
Cameron returned home that
evening and spent four hours on his laptop, meticulously scouring every dating
site, every chat room, every personal ad. He needed a good lay, a one-night
fling to get over the trauma of killing another living creature.
He felt sick over the whole
ordeal. Though he believed getting struck down was a bit more humane than what
those poor deer had been through in the last few months. Carcasses found maimed
and mutilated; the damage so deliberate that no vehicle could have caused the
tissue injuries sustained.
Cameron lived in Dorchester,
and most of the town had already written it off as the work of twisted teens or
some devil-worshipping cult that sacrifices animals to their demonic savoir.
And the cops seemed in no rush to catch the culprits. They were wrapped up in
the disappearance of Ed Lee, a local auto mechanic.
The lengthy search turned up
nothing more than a severed ear that was found discarded by the entrance ramp
of Route 25. The ear could have belonged to anyone, but the bullet-shaped
earring dangling from the pierced lobe gave it away. Cameron didn’t know anyone
else in town who’d dare wear them.
Ed Lee was an avid hunter. He
was last seen by his wife, packing his rifle and hunting gear into his truck.
Half of Dorchester drove trucks, but Ed’s was more than conspicuous. It was a
shiny yellow pickup with a Confederate flag painted across the back windshield.
Under it were the words the south will
rise again! Cameron was convinced the poor bastard was delusional. That
didn’t stop him from feeling bad when they mentioned his disappearance in the
If a gun-toting redneck like
Lee was vulnerable, that made Cameron a moving target. He had never fired a gun
before in his life. He barely even had to raise his fists. The closest he ever
came to a fight was when he shoved some drunk who was trying to sweet-talk his
ex-girlfriend. And when the papers mentioned the cops finding his ear, he knew
if they found Lee, he wouldn’t be alive. But he wasn’t going to let this gruesome
discovery prevent him from carrying out his business.
It took Cameron four hours to
connect with Tara; a slim, athletic brunette from Ocean City. They chatted for
thirty minutes via Skype and a meeting was set for the following evening.
Cameron arrived at the pub
fifteen minutes early only to discover Tara was way ahead of him. She had
arrived fifteen minutes before him to prepare herself.
He recognized her, though he
was used to seeing her in a pink tank top, sports bra, and skin-tight
sweatpants. He had spotted her jogging many times on his daily walks.
“I’ve seen you around before,”
he commented as they ordered their first round of drinks.
“Dorchester is a twenty minute
commute from Ocean City so I drive down here a lot to use the trails. I jog a
“I can tell,” he grinned. “I
almost didn’t recognize you without the sweatpants.”
“I almost wore them tonight,”
she giggled. “But I didn’t think it was appropriate for a first date.”
“Is that what this is, a date?”
He sipped his drink.
“If you play your cards right,”
she winked as she downed her vodka martini. “Did you know that guy from around
here who disappeared? What was his name…?”
“Ed Lee,” Cameron answered for
her. “He worked on my truck a few times. But I didn’t really know him
“It’s kind of scary when you
think about it,” she said. “If that can happen to someone out here, it can
happen to any of us.”
Three drinks later and Tara was
already insisting on heading back to his place. Cameron knew this was going to
be easy, just not that easy. But he wasn’t one to question his luck. It usually
came in streaks. He was convinced his bad luck streak had climaxed when he
struck that baby deer. Tara was now the kick-start of his good luck streak.
“I’m engaged,” Tara confessed
as they entered his bedroom.
“That doesn’t trouble me if it
doesn’t trouble you.” Cameron smiled nervously. The fact did trouble him a bit,
but he was feeling buzzed and his judgment was fogged by alcohol consumption. The
words emanating from his mouth were not his but merely the words he thought
Tara wanted to hear.
“No trouble at all,” she
smiled, a little tipsy. Her soft lips pressed against his. But Cameron felt the
time for smooching had passed.
Cameron lifted her with
authority, but laid her down on the bed gently, the way a caring lover would.
He unbuttoned his silk shirt and lifted her purple blouse. Before he could
unhook her bra, she was already pulling the straps down and unzipping her miniskirt.
He ditched his pants and boxers and slid Tara’s panties down slowly, caressing
her glossy legs and thighs.
“I like to be on top,” Tara
“Whatever gets you off,”
He rolled over to let Tara
mount him. She leaned over and dug into purse at the edge of the bed, producing
a pair of metal handcuffs. “Do you have a kinky side?”
“Not normally, but I can make
an exception for you.”
Tara cuffed his wrists between
the vertical bars of his iron headboard and straddled his waist. She began to
slowly roll her hips back and forth, bending closer to his chest and then
With Cameron’s wrists bound,
his movements were restricted. He responded by thrusting upwards and falling
back. She reached up and clasped his hands, pulling them together tightly. They
started to move in unison, rising as the other fell. Sweat glistened on their
bodies as the room grew hotter and they began to quicken the pace.
Tara clamped her thighs tightly
around Cameron and dug in with her heels. She started grinding more forcibly
against him. He thrust harder with his pelvis as she moaned with delight.
Cameron’s curtains were open and the crescent moonlight seemed to beam off her
ample breasts as they bounced with every thrust or shift of her waist.
“Don’t come until I do,” she
Cameron fought to hold on as
she rolled and worked her hips faster and harder. The effort was draining him
and he wasn’t sure if he could abide. Tara was breathing rapidly, crying out in
pleasure. She began to gasp as she emitted soft little moans. He could feel her
smooth skin growing hotter. She sucked in the air and arched back, her nails
digging into his hands. He couldn’t hold out any longer and started to climax.
Tara bucked wildly against him,
her own orgasm consuming her. She moaned as she fell atop his chest and lay
motionless for several minutes, panting heavily. Then she reached up and
stroked his face, nuzzling hers against his. She planted a wet kiss against his
“You usually get all cuddly and
affectionate after sex, ’cause I’m not really down with that.”
“Not usually. But tonight is a
special occasion. I want you to enjoy it as long as you can.”
“What do you mean special
occasion? And my wrists are getting sore, you feel like unlocking these cuffs
“And spoil the fun? Not just
yet. I think you have some more left inside of you.”
“Two in a row? You’re quite the
“Ever heard of sexual
“Can’t say that I have,” he
chuckled. Oh, Cameron, he thought, you sure know how to pick them. First she
cuffs you to the bed, now she’s talking about people eating each other. What’s
she going to do next, show off her bracelet from the loony bin?
“After sex, the female praying
mantis will devour the head of the male. It’s often connected to reproduction.
The female needs the nutrients necessary to feed her offspring. Essentially,
one dies so others can be born in its place. They do this after sex because
that’s when the male is in his most vulnerable state.”
making me hungry,” Cameron joked. “We should get dinner.”
was dinner. Now it’s time for dessert.”
Cameron asked, bewildered.
Her naked body quaked, the skin
bubbling and pushing outwards as her figure increased in mass. The nails of her
fingers slipped off one by one as sharp, prodigious claws forced their way to
the surface and became whole with her fingers. Her legs were no longer the silky smooth
runner’s legs he had encountered that evening. They had swelled to the width of
telephone poles, and they were sprouting hair. The hair kept spreading until
every inch of her body was consumed by it. Her face had become distorted, taking
on the shape of an animal’s snout, with two rows of fangs jutting from her
mouth. Her eyes were yellow and glowing.
She leaned in and sunk her
teeth into his neck. He spent his final moments twitching, his mind flashing
back and forth between Ed Lee and that baby deer that lay helpless in the road.
He understood now how Lee and all those innocent deer had met their fates.
Unfortunately this newfound information would never leave Cameron’s bedroom.
Larson’s husband had not touched her in six months. Not so much as a pat on the
back or a kiss on the cheek. And though she took his lack of affection as a
personal insult, she was relieved he hadn’t raised his hands to her either. Six
months earlier, if she so much as spilled a drop of water, Dennis would’ve
blackened her eye faster than she could get a towel to wipe up the mess.
Larson was too preoccupied with Roscoe to even acknowledge his family’s existence
beyond the dinner table. Amy would swear he loved that dog more than he did his
own wife and child. Roscoe was a Saint Bernard that Dennis had rescued from the
Greenville shelter, looked just like the dog from those Beethoven movies. The
week he brought Roscoe home, Dennis spent five hundred dollars on a dog house,
bed, personalized collar, and a cage for when a visit to the vet or kennel was
the family scrounged and scraped to survive, Roscoe was treated like royalty.
When they went to the beach, Roscoe rode shotgun. While the family dined on
macaroni and cheese, Roscoe munched on raw sirloin. There was nothing too
expensive for that adorable little mutt.
let Roscoe roam free whenever he pleased, which angered some of the neighbors.
But they were too afraid of Dennis’s awful temper to speak up. When it rained,
Roscoe would track mud in the living room and shake himself off, soaking the
furniture or whoever was unfortunate enough to be standing in his way. Dennis thought
this was adorable. Amy found it to be a pain in the ass seeing as she was the
one expected to do the cleanup.
was a grey December afternoon when Evan Larson strolled in early from school. His
brown jacket was stained red, his knuckles skinned down to the bone. He had
been in another fight. Ten years old and he was already taking on kids twice
used to stay up late to watch amateur boxing on the sports networks. He loved
it so much that on his ninth birthday Dennis bought him gloves and a punching bag.
He figured wailing on a heavy bag wouldn’t hurt anybody and might help work all
the aggression out of his boy. But the bag didn’t quell Evan’s rage; it only
seemed to feed it.
recent incident involved a young boy named Ronnie Henderson who pegged Evan in
the back of the head with a dodge ball during gym glass. Evan leapt over the
dividing net and threw the first punch, which crushed poor Ronnie’s nose. Kids
were going around school saying when it was over Ronnie’s face looked like raw
hamburger meat, all mashed and bloody. The verdict was in on Evan: Permanent
expulsion. The doors of Greenville Middle School were closed to him forever.
were you thinking?” Dennis shouted, his face turning beet red. Roscoe got so
worked up over his master’s fury that he started barking along with Dennis’s
screams. “Do you know how hard it’s going to be to find a new school? And what
about the kid you sent to the hospital? His parents are probably going to sue
not a big deal,” Evan shrugged it off, shaking his hands to alleviate the pain
from his throbbing knuckles.
can’t go around beating people up. It won’t solve your problems.”
seems to work on mom,” Evan remarked. That snide comment sent Dennis sailing over
the edge. Amy was preparing supper in the kitchen and heard the crinkle of
leather as Dennis slid his belt from his jeans.
I’m going to whip the skin off your ass.”
turned her back in the kitchen, fearing that Dennis would belt her too if she
interjected. As Dennis raised his belt, Evan planted his fist in his father’s
gut. Roscoe jumped up and sunk his teeth in Evan’s forearm. Shaking Roscoe off,
Evan swung again. This time Dennis was prepared and as he ducked, Evan’s tender
knuckles smashed against the wall.
belt swung through the air and snapped across Evan’s back. Roscoe backed away
as Dennis lashed his boy again and again until his son’s back was raw as his
get your worthless ass upstairs, boy. If you thought that was bad, let’s see
how you like going to bed without your supper.”
can’t starve me,” Evan protested.
hell I can’t. Until we find you another school, you’re going on a mandatory
hunger strike. Now move it!”
Evan retreated from the living room without further resistance. Dennis kneeled
down and petted Roscoe behind the ears; gave him a treat for helping out.
the kitchen, Amy trembled like the last leaf on a dying tree. Dennis and her
son had their disagreements in the past, but it never came to blows before. As
many times as Dennis raised his hands to her, he never raised his hands to his
rearranged his room looking for a source of food. A stale bag of chips or stray
candy bar he had brought up and forgotten about. A whole night without food and
even the church shoes in his closet were starting to look appetizing.
retired that evening with a big smile plastered across his chubby face. His son
had stepped out of line with him, and he had remedied the situation in his own
savage way. Was it any wonder where Evan got his anger and violent tendencies from?
lied awake in bed, reading silently. She never once mentioned the incident. She
didn’t even bother to ask Dennis why Roscoe wasn’t planted at the foot of the
bed like usual. She just enjoyed the silence, took it as a brief reprieve.
room was side-by-side with his parent’s bedroom. Dennis pressed his ear to the
wall, expecting to hear his boy snoring away. Instead, he could hear Evan
chewing softly, slowly. Whatever he was munching on, he was really savoring the
got to be shitting me,” Dennis yelled, making Amy twitch again. “I think he’s
eating in there. I’ll teach him, that little bastard. Where’s my belt?”
the heck could he be snacking on?” Amy wondered. “There were no leftovers. And
there’s nothing else in the fridge. I haven’t been shopping since Sunday.”
Larson’s eyes widened. “Roscoe,” he whispered, and a single tear sprawled down
In the darkest corner of the Fisher family
kitchen, Casey Fisher used a stepstool to reach the countertop. Using a pitcher
he had filled at the sink, Casey dumped some water into a mixing bowl and added
pancake mix. Casey had studied his mother make pancakes for him and Bo every
morning. She always added the water before the mix to prevent the formation of
lumps. Then she would stir clockwise with a metal whisk, just as Casey began to
He was a young boy, nine years old to
be exact; short and skinny as a pencil. His dark brown hair was shoulder-length
and covered the sides of his face, hiding the faded scars that marked him.
Casey stirred until the batter was nice
and thick. He dipped his finger in the bowl and ate a glob of raw batter just
to certain it was ready. His dad would’ve caned him good for that one, had he
been around to see it.
Sunlight peeked in through the thin
cracks of the wooden planks and boards that were nailed across every window.
This made both entry and escape quite impossible.
The clocks still ran and Casey could
see it was just past dawn. He was learning quickly how to operate on little to
no sleep. He and Bo, his younger sister, took turns sleeping in shifts. He had
been keeping track of the days on a calendar tacked to the kitchen wall.
It had been two weeks since the chaos
erupted. Two weeks and the cavalry had yet to arrive. Every day, Casey’s hope
would dwindle. But he fought to stay strong for Bo and for his mother.
lifted the bowl from the counter and dragged the stool across the kitchen
floor, scraping the linoleum in the process. That was the least of his
concerns. He turned the burner on the electric stove and Bo passed him a frying
pan which he set atop the burner. He tipped the bowl gently and let the batter
drip into the pan.
was astonished the water and electricity were still flowing, though he figured
it wouldn’t last for long. Once the power went, Casey had a box of flashlights
and candles set aside. The clocks all ran on batteries. And Ben, his father,
had stocked up enough firewood to heat the house for a year. They had plenty of
dry and canned foods, and Casey was certain the conflict would be resolved
before supplies ran scarce.
“Don’t forget to flip them this time,”
Bo reminded him.
“You just keep an eye on that toast,”
he whispered. “Don’t let it burn. And remember to keep your voice down.”
“Sorry,” she whispered back. “Do you
think mom will enjoy this?”
“I hope,” he said, flipping one of the
pancakes with a spatula. “She hasn’t eaten in days. And it’s Mother’s Day,
after all. What mom doesn’t love breakfast in bed?”
Bo pressed the button the toaster and
four crispy brown slices sprung up from their individual slots. She slathered
butter on them and spread them out on a clear plate. Casey topped off the stack
of pancakes with a little butter and syrup. He placed the food on a silver tray
and considered pouring a glass of orange juice. But they were running low on OJ
and Casey knew his mom wouldn’t drink it. Since the accident, she had acquired
a thirst for something different.
“Do you miss dad?” Bo asked as they
walked through the hall, Casey carrying the tray and Bo toting their father’s
shotgun. Casey didn’t have the heart to tell her the gun wasn’t loaded. He
didn’t trust her with a loaded gun and let her carry it for false security. He
always kept the shells in his pockets for when they were needed.
He balanced the tray on one hand and
brushed his fingers across the scars under his long hair. He had momentary
flashes of the day his old man swung a coffeepot at him. He remembered the
sound the glass made when it shattered across his cheek. It sounded like a rock
being chucked through a window.
Ben Fisher seemed to have it in for
his only son. The beatings were a small fraction of his abuse. He would
verbally abuse his son as he would curse the players on TV when they missed a
field goal. Ben constantly ridiculed Casey for his long hair, and couldn’t help
but wonder if he was raising a queer. “Cut your hair, faggot,” he’d say. “If
your grandpa was around to see you, he’d buzz your head and boot your ass
straight to military school.” One night, Casey accidently spilled his father’s
Blue Ribbon and Ben snapped, ran to the kitchen, and grabbed a butcher’s knife.
“Boy, if you pull that shit again, I’ll scalp you like an Injun, you
understand?” Casey only nodded his head, the sharp knife glistening under the
got what he deserved,” Casey muttered.
“Still, we could have used him. He
could have protected us.”
“Dad was more harm than good,” Casey
explained. “I’m here to protect you. That’s all that matters.”
“You did a great job protecting me the
other day,” Bo rolled her eyes. She was smart and sassy for her age. But she
still required constant supervision.
“I warned you not to get that close.
Don’t worry, it’ll heal up.”
They approached the basement door and
Casey undid the latch. “I can’t go near her,” Bo pleaded, itching at the
bandage that covered her infected wound.
back then,” he cautioned her. He twisted the knob and pushed the door forward,
placing the tray on the top step. “Mom?” he called and peered into the darkness
mother emerged, ascending the staircase slowly. Casey locked eyes with her and
almost caught a brief glint of recognition from those blank, lifeless pupils.
Casey slammed the door, locked it, and
watched silently through the peephole he had drilled with one of his dad’s power
tools. The dry, rotted flesh still clung to her ample body. She leaned over,
growling, drooling over the food as she sniffed and poked at it. In seconds,
the tray was flung aside and she was clawing at the door, growling and
screeching like the rabid lunatic she had been reduced to.
“Happy Mother’s Day,” Casey whispered
as a tear rolled down his cheek and grazed his scars. He relieved Bo of the
shotgun, steering her away from the door.
“She didn’t like it?” Bo asked,
already knowing the answer.
“Regular food won’t do the trick,”
Casey sighed. “We tried. But she’s one of them now. And dad wasn’t enough to
satisfy her hunger. The only option is to find her another source of food.”
“There’s nobody out there,” Bo
“There has to be. If we survived, so
“We can’t do that,” Bo said, scratched
at her infected arm. “Dad was one thing. Hurting normal people is wrong.”
“Who said we? I’ll handle it.”
They moved to the living room, where
Casey tried the television again. All stations were down. Every channel he
flipped through flashed a blue screen with white text that read TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, PLEASE
Casey heard the soft approach of
footsteps, followed by the loud growling sounds that emanated from their front
porch. The porch made him think of the day Bo fell running up to the house and
skinned her knee. Ben Fisher was passed out in the recliner; empty Blue Ribbon
cans were strewn about the floor. And their mother was working at the market
that day. So Casey dabbed the wound with alcohol and bandaged it. Once her
tears dried up, she gave her brother a peck on his scarred cheek and thanked
him. It was that day that Casey realized he was more a father to Bo than Ben
ever would be.
Being the older brother is usually a
tough chore to handle. But now he was playing the role of the brother and the
parents. And he was charged with the task of dealing with Bo’ injury; the wound
their mother had inflicted when Bo simply tried to pass her an apple. Soon, Bo
would develop a bad fever and her flesh would rot to the bone. She would die
and come back as one of them… unless he spared her from that misery.
Bo shuffled away from the boarded
windows until she could no longer hear the clawing sounds from outside. The
sound of the zombies used to frighten her. Now what frightened her was the fact
she was getting used to it. Little Bo was old enough to understand the concept
of fate, and she had accepted hers. “I’m not going to get better. I’m going to
turn into one of them, aren’t I?”
“Not if I can help it,” Casey said,
slipping one of the shells into his dad’s shotgun. “I love you, sis.”
Outside, a horde of the undead continued
to gather as a single gunshot rang throughout the neighborhood.
It was the first traffic jam in the
history of Greenville. A minivan had swerved into oncoming traffic and its side
was clipped by a milk truck. The cops had the only main road in town blocked
until the wreckage was clear.
under the blistering August sun in her convertible, Bonnie Wheeler decided to
take a detour. Driving through the back-roads of town, she saw a yellow sign
poking up from someone’s lawn that implored her to drive as if her own children
lived in that neighborhood. Bonnie shrugged and thought to herself, What if I don’t have any children?
Her friends–all of them in their late
thirties and married with children–could identify more. “You don’t understand,”
her friends would lecture. “You’re not a mother yet. You don’t know what it’s
like to have kids.” And some days Bonnie couldn’t help but thank the good Lord
for that fact. But her perspective was about to change.
night, towards the end of summer, Bonnie met a handsome stranger in the darkest
corner of the grimiest watering hole in Greenville. She subtly inspected his
fingers for a wedding band, or some kind of mark or tan line that would
indicate one. Through this sneaky tactic, Bonnie was able to confirm this man
was definitely on the market.
Bonnie had tried her luck with all the
single men of Greenville, but still couldn’t find Mr. Right. But that tingle
running through her body said luck was on her side that evening.
He wasn’t a regular. Bonnie knew all
the bar flies that frequented Joker’s Pub. And this guy stuck out like the
proverbial sore thumb amongst the other drunken slobs that serve as the bars
He introduced himself as Max. No last
name, which didn’t strike Bonnie as odd because she was lost in his dark eyes. Bonnie
had spent a few short hours with this man, but she already had wedding bells
chiming in her head. Max was an out-of-towner, claimed to be from Tampa. He was
only in town on business.
“What kind of business do you have out
here in Greenville?” she asked.
“I’m just following orders from my
company. Got to spread our product around.” Handsome as Max was, he seemed a
tad bit shy about his teeth. He had this annoying habit of cupping his hand
over his mouth when he spoke. “Who knows? Maybe fate brought me here. To
Greenville, to this bar. Do you believe in fate?”
do,” she smiled, her green eyes shining with affection.
maybe fate brought me here to meet you, Bonnie.” That was the line that
cemented her plans for the evening.
By last call, they were back at
Bonnie’s place. What ensued was a steamy night of lust and burning passion that
Bonnie fooled herself into thinking was genuine love.
The next morning, Bonnie awoke and
rolled over to an empty bed. Max was gone. No number, no note, no nothing. She
had never felt so used in all her life.
What shocked her friends the most was
she continued to pursue him. She called every hotel, motel, and apartment
building in town. She checked the shelters and soups kitchens, called every
hospital and police station in a thirty mile radius. Bonnie even went as far as
to hire a private detective in Florida to track Max down. But he wasn’t in
Tampa. Wherever Max was, he didn’t want to be found.
Her friends encouraged her to let it
go, to move on. They couldn’t see what she felt. Bonnie was in love. She wanted
him, needed him in her life. What Bonnie couldn’t accept was that true love is
not always mutual. It’s usually unrequited.
Eight and a half months later, Bonnie
was carrying Max’s child. Her belly swelled and bloated like wood exposed to
constant moisture and even her maternity clothes seemed tight. Her back ached
and the cramps made her not want to leave the bed every morning. But her desire
for Max had not faded. She still thought about that night, about waking up the
next morning alone, about that embarrassing hickey that she had to cover with
It was a Friday in early May when her
water broke suddenly. She was at the mall with her friend Julie to shop for
baby clothes and satisfy her latest craving for hot chocolate. She really
wanted yogurt, but the yogurt had become too much for her unusually sensitive
teeth. Since the pregnancy, a lot of things about her body had changed. She
wore dark-lensed glasses outside to protect her eyes from the sun, as the light
was now blinding to her.
Julie escorted her to the nearest exit
and pulled her car up. Bonnie spent the first six hours in intense labor,
breathing heavily and sucking on ice chips. Her screams were so agonizing that
Julie couldn’t stick around to watch. By the last two hours, Bonnie was ready
to perform the delivery herself. She just wanted that little bugger out of her
already. Doctor Meyers was summoned when it was time.
Bonnie wailed as she pushed with all
her might. The pain was more extreme than her friends led her to believe. It
felt like squeezing a huge fridge through a narrow doorway.
“That’s it, Bonnie,” Meyers continued.
“Keep pushing. Just a little more. You’re doing fine.”
Bonnie dug her nails into the mattress
and pushed harder, the pain growing more unbearable with each passing second.
“Almost there, Bonnie,” Meyers
shouted. “I can see the head now. It’s a boy! I can see… fangs?”
Doctor Meyers swallowed the air and
all Bonnie could see was the white of his eyes as they rolled in the back of
his head. A nurse tried to catch him as he tumbled to the floor and a soft pink
lump slid from his mouth. Meyers had bit down on his tongue when he fainted,
and severed the tip.
One of the nurses covered her eyes as
she snipped the umbilical cord and wrapped the baby in a crisp blue blanket.
The nurse passed the baby along to Bonnie and tended to a fallen Meyers. A
second panicked nurse was already phoning for help.
Bonnie marveled at her beautiful new
baby. All her friends were going to be so jealous. She was pleased to see the
boy had Max’s dark eyes, and his sharp teeth. The only problem now was figuring
out how she was going to breastfeed.
Cradling that baby in her arms, she
realized it was a mutual attraction between her and Max. He had chosen her to
bear his seed, to help carry out his legacy.
The sound of Preston Kelly’s lawn mower
wakes me every morning at six o’clock sharp. I swear that guy must mow his lawn
two or three times a day. At this point, Preston will take any excuse to
distance himself from that ball-busting wife of his. He even helped organize
the neighborhood watch just to get more time away from her.
watch basically consists of Preston and three other disgruntled spouses who
pound beers as they patrol the neighborhood after dark. The watch was formed
amidst the slew of recent break-ins and missing person’s reports, so I can’t
really complain. My only gripe is with the empty beer cans I find tossed over
my fence from time to time.
Like clockwork, Kelly’s mower revs up at
six A.M. and shakes me from my slumber. I awake with an awful migraine that’s
only intensified by the racket of Kelly’s lawn mower.
roll over and realize I’m not in my bed, but rather sprawled out on the floor
of my hot, windowless guestroom. The stale taste of alcohol in the back of my
throat could explain this. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was hung
over. But as a professional alcoholic, I know a hangover when I feel one. And
as an alcoholic, I’m practically immune to hangovers.
No, this is something entirely
different. I can’t recall anything from last night, the likely result of
another sudden blackout.
The blackouts started when I was
thirteen. I’d just nod off and wake up in strange places. Walk home caked in
dirt or mud, or sand if I woke up on the beach. It got so bad that my parents
had to issue a curfew and lock my bedroom door from the outside when I went to
sleep. The blackouts stopped when I graduated high school, and started up again
my second year of college.
Then I met Evelyn and things improved.
The blackouts ceased and my life was normal again. Nine years passed and not a
single blackout. The only loss of consciousness I experienced was alcohol
induced. I was finally past this bizarre spell… so I believed.
I’ve experienced ten blackouts in the
last several months. I’ve been to three doctors and all tests have yielded negative
or inconclusive results. It’s not cancer or a brain tumor. My blood pressure
isn’t too high or too low. It’s not heart-related. I’m not suffering from seizures.
It’s not even the massive amounts of alcohol I consume on a regular basis. It’s
just another medical mystery. The only downfall is the lapses in memory. Some
mornings I wake up and can’t even remember my own name.
Evelyn has grown frustrated with me recently.
It’s not the drinking that seems to trouble her, though I know she could live
without it. It’s the blackouts.
don’t know why my personal condition causes her duress, but she hates having to
explain things to me repeatedly. I’ll wake up and she’ll have to recap the
whole night for me because I can’t recall a thing. Every so often I get this
odd feeling that she’s being untruthful with me. That she’s holding back
information with her stories.
I pick myself off the floor and mash
my bloodshot eyes with my knuckles as I stumble to the bathroom. The bathroom
tiles are clear, but sticky with some kind of invisible residue. I shrug it off
and snatch two aspirin from the medicine cabinet. I swallow them dry and examine
my face in the mirror.
The egg-shaped lump that has formed on
the side of my head answers the questions regarding my migraine. But I have no
memory of falling or being hit.
Alcohol on my breath. Scratches on my
cheek. Specks of dried blood on my shirt collar. Signs of a bad night I have no
recollection of. Was I at a bar? Did I get into a fight? Think, George. Try to
remember this time.
Downstairs in the kitchen, I find a
Dear John note from Evelyn. I should be angry or disappointed, but I’m not. I
should have seen it coming instead. Evelyn was an angel to endure me for as
long as she did.
Nine years is a deep commitment, but
even the best fighters have to throw in the towel when it becomes too much to
bear. The drinking. The lack of steady employment. The blackouts. Evelyn had
finally thrown in the towel. After nine years, she was calling it quits.
We've been married longer than most couples last nowadays. When you stop to think about it nine years with anyone is an accomplishment. I think a lot about how Evelyn looked the first
time I met her. Her curly blonde locks. Her radiant smile. Her bronzed skin
that seemed to be glowing under her turquoise bridesmaid dress. She always
smiled, even when it was someone else’s big day and not her own. She knew her
time would come eventually. And it did when she met me.
But after nine rocky years that smile
has morphed into a scowl. Even in the words of her letter I can feel her
contempt for me. My condition has cost me jobs, friends, and now, my wife.
Flies buzz around the fruit bowl that
Evelyn has made the centerpiece of the Formica kitchen table. Not fruit flies
either; plain old ordinary house flies. I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately.
At least I can recall that.
I toss Evelyn’s note in the trash,
swat a few flies away with yesterday’s newspaper and open a window to get some
air. The whole downstairs reeks of bleach or ammonia or some chemical odor. Why
bother to clean if you were planning to bail on me? Women; I’ll never get them.
The aspirin isn’t helping. I rub my
temples and my fingers accidently graze the tender bump on my head. Then I
search under the kitchen sink until I find the bottle of scotch I hid from
know I shouldn’t drink this early, but it’s the only solution I can think numb
the pain. I pour a glass, tilt it back, and drink it straight. I’m tempted to
slam another, but I tuck the bottle back under the sink and rub my sore temples
again. I started attending AA meetings awhile back for Evelyn’s sake. I missed
one meeting and never went again. I plunged off the wagon and never hopped back
on. I don’t know if that says my love for alcohol is stronger than my love for
Evelyn, but I’m certain she sees it that way.
My head still throbs as I ascend the
staircase. In the bedroom, I discover two of Evelyn’s suitcases. Both cases are
so stuffed they look ready to burst, not a chance that another piece of
clothing would fit. If she finally left, why didn’t she take her stuff?
The dry blood. The suitcases. The lump
on my head. Something ugly occurred here last night. Showdown at the Hartman
residence perhaps? Did I hurt Evelyn? No, I would never lay a hand on her. If I
did, I’d be in jail right now. Evelyn may put up with a lot of shit, but she’d
never put up some brute wailing on her.
Returning to the kitchen, I check the
answering machine. No new messages. I pick up the receiver, dial Evelyn’s cell
number. It goes straight to voicemail. I hang up and consider calling the
police. With some help from the booze, the throbbing pain from the lump on my
head has departed. But that doesn’t change the fact that I still have alcohol
on my breath, and I look like I’ve been on the wrong end of an LAPD beat down.
Perhaps phoning the cops is not the wisest decision.
I don’t even know what really happened
to Evelyn. Maybe she wrote the note, packed her stuff, had second thoughts, and
decided to take off for a bit. Think things over. Her purse, phone, and car
keys are all absent from the house. She could be with family, friends. She
could be out of state for all I know.
decide to phone Doug, Evelyn’s brother. Doug was a football buddy of mine from
my college days. He introduced the two of us at a mutual friend’s wedding. Two
years later, he was best man at our wedding.
Doug picks up after two rings and
greets me with a jovial, “Hey, George!”
morning, Doug. This might sound like a strange question, but have you seen
a delayed response, he simply replies, “No.”
haven’t seen her since last night, I think. I might have had another blackout.”
thought you had those under control.”
haven’t heard from her,” Doug assures me. “If I see her or hear from her, I’ll
let you know.”
Doug. I appreciate it.”
door slams as the receiver clicks and Evelyn peeks her head into the kitchen.
She glares at me disapprovingly. “Come back to gather your stuff?” I ask.
cleaned up the mess in the bathroom,” Evelyn says, almost seething. “Who was it
this time? You know what, don’t even tell me. I don’t want to know the sick
details. And don’t give me any of that crap about not remembering. I’m tired of
the blackouts and the lies and bullshit excuses.”
in God’s name are you saying? Are you implying that I’m having some sort of an
so clueless,” she says, swatting away the flies that buzz around her face.
“Wonder where all these flies are coming from? Check the crawlspace, George.
You’ll know the truth then.”
retrieves her luggage and leaves in a flash. Not even a stick of lipstick or a
pair of earrings remains. You’d never even know Evelyn Hartman existed.
head for the utility closet and yank the wood panel from the crawlspace. A
swarm of flies come buzzing out and the stench that emanates makes me gag like
a punch to the throat. I feel sick, dizzy. White spots of light obscure my
vision, preventing me from seeing beyond the square frame of the crawlspace. My
eyelids flutter, the air grows thin. I think I’m blacking…
Oh, George. Sweet, gentle George.
That’s it. Stay in the dark. Don’t bother checking the crawlspace. It will be
cleared out by this evening. Any minute now, the cops will be towing a car out
of the river. The local news will report another missing girl. By tomorrow, it
will be two missing girls. I’m sorry but Evelyn has become a liability. As your
better half, I can’t allow her to send you to prison, George. I must deal with
her so I can carry on my work. Don’t fret, you won’t remember a thing. It’ll be
just like the old days.